A Guilty Sacrifice

by Katherine Dressel

A Guilty Sacrifice

A ghost of clouds blankets the earth beneath the sky, menacingly whispering ideas of the unconscious. The trees struggle to withhold the weight of heaven's water while defending themselves from the aggressive striking of electricity. As stress influences black hair to white, the shouts of the storm force the leaves from green to the ugly despair of brown. The bitter blades of grass take advantage of their position as closest to the Earth, hiding, sheltering each other, laughing at significant figures and their reluctant exposure. In the distance, the mountains cry to their neighbors, begging for support (for they are most prone to collapsing).

I am a witness in the field, falling into sympathetic despair for the objects that surround me. The sun struggles silently within the translucency of a cloud only to be pushed away by the roaring wind and left banned and unwanted. I trudge on barefoot, nonchalantly aware of the numbness climbing almost to my knees. The assault of drops on my face feel like a violent sand storm, pelting and stinging without mercy, their victim helpless - hopeless. Inside I experience a maniacal sense of persistence as portrayed by the wild array of my wet clothes and hair, my true face exposed " yet the cleanliness is not a comforting caress but a mean display of nakedness. Nevertheless, I refuse distraction; I will not turn off course.

The road is still visible providing ironic proof of man's determination, still sturdy beneath my heel, strong enough to withstand nature's fury. I continue slowly, not able to focus, as if I were in some sort of desperate trance. Squinting at the world before me, I seek to determine the distance until the journey's end. My pupils' reply forms a desperate anxiety for the destination is so very far beyond my reach.

"Would you like a ride, Miss?"

"No." I did not peel my eyes from the road. I felt no desire to look at the gentlemen nor was I curious of his mode of transportation. I was not prepared to take the risk of this stranger learning my most buried secret. If he found what I was seeking, their would be blame to place. Perhaps if he glanced into my eyes, they would reveal my mind's prior vulnerability and its newfound fortitude.

The rain dampens his yearning voice, instigating its terrible power. Finally, he drives off, now only another shadow in the distance " one more. My footsteps proceed with a silent and insignificant presence, their feelings gone. Icy tears fester in the gusty blows encircling the atmosphere. Resting on my cheeks, they are ultimately transforming into drop like crystals that cling to my face at risk of falling to the ground in a battle against a more terrible tear shed from far above my head.

I see it now and walk the few final steps. Blades of frosty grass slip between my toes, condemning me by claiming for their own the only feeling my legs have still to offer. I collapse beside the figure that is crumpled on the Earth like a taunting shadow of remorse, still and lifeless. He is merely twice my size yet his unmoving features are so much more peaceful than mine, the only aspects the valley can claim no further. Holding the man's limp chest tightly beside me, I longingly search for the warmth to which I have become so accustomed. None came; I also had none to offer. His cheeks were those of a china doll, displaying in his eyes the emotions of a reclaimed sky. With him I cry, rocking, cradling, frightening myself with never before heard desperation. I cry with pleading anxiety, whispering into the ear of the once beautiful soul that too soon had been ripped from this Earth by his own proud hands. To him I voice my sorrow: the storm within your soul was much too violent to ignore. I expressed my regret, "I'm sorry, so sorry I left you." We lay on the earth glaring at a sky we did not know.

Hours have passed and the storm is growing peaceful though I cannot partake in its tranquility. It sends small clouds to grace their hands along my face. "Take me with you," I cried. There, under the aging oak tree, I lay with him, until the dismal sky claims its toll and eternity whispers me to sleep.

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