Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Short - The Wanderer



                Guy was a rather odd man. Most would label him as insane, really. He wandered during the day, and he wandered during the night. Darkness did little to impede his progress as he continued to walk. The sun didn’t do any better in trying to blind him from his destination. It couldn’t. The reason why it couldn’t is the same reason why most people would label him as insane. Guy simply had no destination in mind as he wandered. He walked without reason or purpose, and in this sense he was indeed a wanderer. He never settled down, and he never stayed attached to other people.

                This is not to say he never had companions as he wandered endlessly. He had met a great many of people, and a few even walked with him. Some stayed longer than others, as they eventually found their own places to stop and rest, but for Guy there was no rest and no stopping. There was simple the road in front of him. 

                Someone named Ennui traveled with Guy, separating from Guy repeatedly to only join him once again further on Guy’s journey. Ennui was an odd person as well. Ennui would oft talk to Guy and ask him why he wandered. Guy would simply look at Ennui with a blank expression as they walked and remained in silence when Ennui asked such a thing. 

                “Surely you want to stop, Guy. Walking is so repetitive. So boring. Why don’t you do something else? Why not run? Or dance, or skip? Perhaps at the very least you could jog?” Ennui asked Guy, pestering him as to why he only walked.

                “All roads eventually lead to the same place, at different paces. Some people run, and some people dance, and others skip or jog. I walk,” Guy said in answer, his gaze unwavering as he faced forward. Another person would probably consider Ennui’s words, and perhaps even change the monotony. Perhaps they would indeed do something other than walk. Guy wasn’t such a person. He would walk, as he always had. There was no reason in Guy’s mind to change.

                “That’s not very fun,” Ennui said, pouting a bit. Guy paid no mind to Ennui’s expression, and not that long after Ennui was gone, and Guy was alone once more. Guy didn’t know if Ennui would show up once more, as Ennui tended to do after leaving, and Guy didn’t care. 

The next day a woman named Sphinx appeared by his side as he traveled. She was quite feminine in appearance, but she seemed to possess the strength of a lion and the grace of a bird. Occasionally she would ask Guy various questions, or pose to him different riddles. He would answer as well as he could, and Sphinx would nod and shake her head according to whether she believed him right or wrong. 

                “What is the answer to the mystery of life?” Sphinx asked him, her tone implying that this would be her final answer. Guy simply continued to walk as he considered the answer. Sphinx had traveled with him before, as had Ennui, and she would ask trick questions at times. Guy didn’t care if he answered correctly, but he would give them thought anyways.

                “If anyone knew it wouldn’t be a mystery,” Guy said, after a long moment of reflection. Sphinx hid a small smile behind her hand, but she neither shook her head no nor nodded. Soon after his answer Sphinx left, as Ennui had the day before. Another day passed for Guy, and another. He noted mentally how many times he saw the sun, and how many times he saw the moon. He had seen them both rise and fall so many times that the numbers were currently at least six digits long. He didn’t know how he remembered these numbers, but he did, and he was fine with this knowledge.

                Four days after Sphinx’s departure from Guy’s ever-continuing path, Arbiter joined Guy. Arbiter was large in size, at least nine feet tall. Arbiter loomed over Guy, who was neither tall nor short. Arbiter didn’t introduce himself to Guy, yet Guy knew his name in his head regardless. Guy didn’t introduce himself either, yet Arbiter knew who he was as well. Arbiter was more silent than Sphinx or Ennui, merely watching Guy most of the time. Arbiter didn’t talk, and neither did Guy, yet the silence wasn’t uncomfortable. They continued like this for several days, until one day Arbiter followed the pattern left by the two before, and asked Guy a question.

                “Why do you not complain, Wanderer Guy? Does not the red weigh heavy upon your hands? Does not the breath that is life burden your shoulders? Why do you keep your head held so high, when others have been forced to keep theirs buried in the dirt under such weight?” Arbiter asked Guy, the words as heavy as lead in the air. Guy did as he had done before with his previous companions when they asked questions, and that was continue to walk. A time passed, then another time as well as a dividing of a time before he finally answered.

                “Aye, the red does weigh heavy upon my hands, and the breath that you call life does burden my shoulders, but I must keep my head high despite such weight. If I don’t look up, I will not know where I go, and if these burdens were lifted from me then I would not know where I had been. One is lost if one does not know where they are going, or where they have been. I am not lost, the Judge named Arbiter, nor do I plan to become lost. So I shall continue regardless of that which hampers my path, and I shall never forget. As long as I can do this, I am content, and have no reason to complain,” Guy said. Arbiter raised a giant’s hand and patted Guy on the shoulder as they walked together, and then left as the others had before. 

                It had been some time since Guy had begun walking, but he finally reached the end of his path. He didn’t know why, but he knew this was the end regardless. Ennui, Sphinx, and Arbiter were gone, but a person stood in front of him. He felt as if this person was an old friend, and so he walked his left steps to the person and held out his hand. The person shook the hand, and smiled. 

                “It has been a long time, Guy, but your journey is at an end now. Your traveling companions shall find another to travel with, and they will continue to do so for a long time until the time to rest comes for them as it has for you. So close your eyes, and sleep, Guy, sleep for a time. You will awake again when the time comes,” the person said. This person moved closer to Guy, enclosing him in a hug. Guy nodded and closed his eyes, allowing his body to relax. The person held him up, and slowly lowered him until he was laying upon the ground.

                “Can I lay my burdens down for a time now, Mortifer?” Guy asked the person. The person, Mortifer, nodded. Guy didn’t open his eyes, but he knew the answer, and so he did as Mortifer instructed, and he slept for a time.

2 comments:

  1. The clever usage of the name, "Ennui" mirrors the tone of the story. Well done.

    ReplyDelete