In the desert of this land, heat rises as soon as the great sky beacon shows itself, and with it the humidity rises like a torrent. In the wastes, it can get so hot that the rain will not touch the ground if it falls in the day. The heat will bring the water to combust and it will vaporize and evaporate.

I am saturated inside myself. I remove another layer from me and drop it to the ground. It lands with the wet plop of leather and begins to hiss on the now cracked dead earth that was once a rotted scab and then a field of green. The shadow garment blackens and finally, bursts into flames.

The heat, and the solitary refuge of the desert is a great purge and I utilize every moment to meditate on the past, the present and the future… if there be one. All that remains is waste. There is no green. There are no demons. I have no charge to protect. His true self was lost long ago and yet, I continued to defend this land against it becoming overwrought with putrescence.

The loss of the demon love was all consuming for my charge and the recovery was never complete. His love was true for his part and loosing true love can destroy the essence of a being. The cancer moved faster than a plague, and it did not rot as much as wither and crumble away. With the losing of her, came the demise of his will, and with that, the green began to yellow and fade.

Even the demons that came and went over the years had barely any fight in them, as if the trauma that they were based on also had no meaning. In the final reckoning, I was able to find that bitch and remove the coil from her flesh, but their connection had been more complete than even I had ever known, for at her loss the land began to turn.

The demons began to fade, nothing again grew where they had been and dried dead spots began to show itself over the face of the land. He must have known, must have sensed. It seemed that without one the other could not exist.

The yellow grass dried and died, breaking apart to blow with the wind and tumble into forever. The sun sparked a fire at one point. It burned for months laying everything waste before it. That portion of the land was forever after toxic, and nothing of life nor demon could survive in it.

I watched as my charge faded in sadness and loss, retreating from everything until the final nothingness overtook him. He had been laid up for days and one morning I attempted to wake him. His body crumbled in my hands. Now this vast empty void of sand and rock is all that remains and he has become one with the land.

To that I ask why then am I still here. My place is to serve for I am the Shadow Dancer, the Death Bringer, the protector of the wastelands that no longer need protection.

The great burning sky beacon sets before me ending another day. I stand and face myself towards the light and something so very simple occurs. In the slow drip and fade of the light I begin to jog towards it. Slowly, the jog turns into a steady lope and I increase my speed. Then still, I add another step to move ever faster.

I am aware of the ground beneath me, the dried desert earth that is without life, or love, or care. The air in my lungs begins to come faster, burning inside. In my hand, I hold my shovel still. My reliable forever companion, that I have never been without in this place. It hangs like a spear and moves with me ready and prepared for anything as I break into a run.

I am the Shadow Dancer, trucking across the land. The air moves from a moan to a whistle as the ground begins to blur.

The beacon is my focus, my light. Its burning orange glow blurs everything before me in waves of heat. Determination drives me towards my future while the past moves through me. Burning fatigue brings my body to numb and I open myself to the memorable visions from past battles with their pain, satisfaction and loss.

Forward, ever forward I strive and struggle to find a strange incomplete peace in each victory. Secure in the knowledge that I am never far away. I find I have learned as well as my other, how to live in this reality. Though he is lost and had given up, I will return if ever he calls to me.

My body leans forward. My legs pump faster still as I push harder towards the fiery yellow yolk that descends on the horizon. It is the future and the future is mine to do as I please in this world.

Faster still the shovel swings on the end of my arm in a rolling motion and I become a great and powerful locomotive spurned on and on until… slowly… slowly… ever so slowly, it begins. The setting beacon of light begins to rise on the horizon again.

I grit my teeth as tears and sweat is now being burned away from me. I bear down.

Faster still and my last layers are removed in a fiery flash that sets fire to the handle of the shovel in my hands and I blast along the desert floor, a comet, no longer touching the ground. I am becoming one with the energy that is all that I am. The shovel is, but a fiery blur pumping beside me on my train as are my legs that now move independently of my thoughts, seeking only to achieve my will, to touch the beacon.

I am the Shadow Dancer, the lord of all that was before, beneath and around me. I have fought many wars. I have lived countless lives, with every moment both little and big leading me here to become the culmination of who I am now.

The great beacon looms before me getting larger by the second. The life, the creatures, good and bad, the demons seeking to usurp everything, my other self, each and all that have lived together on this landscape of which I am the caretaker.

Your mind, this world, my charge. You have nothing more to fear. We exist together. Without one or another, we could not achieve the balance that is so very important.

The great round beacon is visible before me now, whole and complete and still rising. Demons will come and go as well as creatures both good and bad. My other self is moved beyond, older and wiser. I hope, searching for a companion that will ultimately compliment us both.

I bid you sleep well, knowing that I am here residing in your mind, ever watchful over my other self. You.

My legs no longer pump. They have faded to become one with the energy that is everything. I rise moving onto the goal. I am the Shadow Dancer. The ringmaster of your mind, I know you like no other. I have seen all, been all, done all, everything along with you. My rule is total, my judgment absolute, my companionship is never-ending. I will carry you by my footprints when necessary, helping you towards what you seek.

The great fire, the burning orange globe is all I see before me now, humongous and gargantuan as Ra. I will touch it. The heat is intense. The burning which will sear flesh takes me, but in the end is truly nothing compared to everything that is, the Shadow Dancer.

END…

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