Fear. I still feel it, like a wind, brushing down the cheek, a stern hand putting me in my place, making the hard forgetting reality remembered. And I remember. Each and every night it’s the same. Same feeling of dread, the same side street I get, the same flickering street light that keeps on switching on and off, back and forth, until my mind begs for sanity. And there he is. Waiting for me at the end, with the knife in one hand, and my head in the other, as I keep walking and the only thing my eyes witness is the silver grin, that damn smile that reflects the moonlight. And I cannot escape. Something keeps pushing me towards, making my feet disobey the commands that my body issued, as I walk further down that street, I can feel the stench of his breath, itching my neck as I go on, all the sounds around disappear, as the only thing left to be heard is his faint giggle, the sound of his enjoyment and the drops of my blood hitting the dirty floor. That gruesome picture, painted by the faint moonlight, of the killer that haunts my dreams, that damn sight of him holding the head that spins, by the long hair, I cannot see, the eyes to whom they belong, but the neck of mine, the straight line that goes abroad, it hurts so much as if a scorching knife is pressed on it as I gaze upon the gruesome image of the killer, then and there, I know…
That I am the victim he grabs every night. I try to run, but to no avail, as I am frozen by the primal fear that consumes my body, as I look at his grim face, to those yellow teeth that slowly shimmer on the pale light of the broken, flickering lamp, as his messy long hair waves in the cold wind, he smiles and screams and…
I am awaken…
Daylight always breaks off, holding me in its embrace, as I slowly find comfort in the new dawn and thank her, that at least someone is there waiting for this poor wretched soul to weep on its shoulders. It’s been weeks now. Every night I go to sleep, and every damn night it’s the same dream. Same man, same street and the same outcome. It’s been so long since I had peace, since the demons of my nightmares gave me rest and in this routine I began to find comfort, as it has been that long since the last day I dreamt of nothing.
I slowly get up, trying to gather the thoughts that scatter, but to no avail. How many days now I tried to make sense, as now it became clear, this is not a mere dream but a message. It cannot be repeated so long for so loud without the purpose for it to be heard. And I am getting it. Loud and clear. Sitting on the edge of my bed, drenched in cold sweat I admit defeat, knowing one more night has passed without me realizing the meaning hidden in the cold, murderous images that were presented.
But somehow the first light cancelled all that, as if it is embedded in our human nature as soon as we witness daylight that all of our troubles are washed away. As if the sun is an ally of sorts, how funny it is, we fear the dark because we don’t understand it, yet we celebrate the light, not knowing anything more of it either.
Sitting on the edge of my bed I hold my head, a mind full of thoughts, racing by like lights on a highway, a mere incoherent jungle of nonsense. And I keep thinking to myself… Is this loneliness of thoughts really the right decision, as I am willingly putting myself away. It’s not like I don’t have friends. No. I am happy in that regard, I reluctantly admit. So why do I choose so selfishly to fight my demons on my own, why am I waking up in cold sweat, shivering on the edge of my bed for weeks now?
What is there to tell? How would they react? Sam is my best friend. She practically took me under her wing when I came to this city, was just a small country girl with small dreams, it was Sam who embraced me and made a friend of a stranger. And I know exactly what she would say. Oh it’s just your imagination, the same imagination that landed you this job. It’s just in your head. Huh… My imagination. Then why does it feel so real? This isn’t just a dream. I can’t shake this, this feeling of dread, of this impending doom, as a storm that’s brewing on the horizon, I feel it, something bad is coming.
But there is no tomorrow, yesterday is far in the past, only today exists that much I learned in my life. No matter what, to dwell on broken dreams of a shattered mind is a past time I perfected, a habit I decided to drop, but seems to me some things you just can’t escape.
Since I am awake I might get ready. I always liked taking my sweet time, slowly doing the mundane tasks to start the day just so I can escape my thoughts. The sad truth is, no matter what you do to lose time, no matter where you run, the things that are burrowed deep inside your head always find a way to crawl out. As I slowly got out of the shower and started to brush my teeth, my hand swipes the foggy mirror, revealing the picture I never learned to endure much. The bags under my eyes are becoming harder and harder to cover, the sweet cost of trouble is becoming to show. I stop for a minute, holding the toothbrush still dangling from my mouth, as I push both of my arms on the mirror, I start to look deep into the stranger on the other side. Never liked her, not because of her looks, which were decent, or so I was told, no, I despised my supposed image only because I knew what rot and dirt lies underneath the skin, what black tar pumps that thing were the heart is suppose to be. As I look at the eyes I hate, passing the look by my crimson hair, I feel she is mocking me. As if when I shortly look away, she smiles and winks. But as soon as I put my eyes back on, the mimicry of my action resumes. On and on, I try to turn faster to catch it, but I would swear that from the corner of my peripheral vision is see the reflection smile. Jesus, am I that crazy? What am I saying? I need to get that coffee, make it triple, black as my soul and strong enough to set me right, even if it kills me. Shit, I am late.
As I walked down the street, with the new born sun warming my face, I couldn’t help but feel like I didn’t belong there, the people, many in form, shape and number, brushing me by like drops in the rain, yet amongst that faceless crowd I felt like an intruder. An outsider that didn’t invite the curious eyes of the beholder, yet with every step of the way I felt them on me, thousands of them, simultaneously imprinting their mark on the back of my head I felt their gaze, curious, judging, demeaning, burning a hole in my soul. With each inch I passed by, as if I could hear the humming of their smirk, the silent whisper that shouted, ringing in my ears, the all familiar judgment. From the burden of their judgment, my head dropped, facing the curb, as the pace that was slow now turned almost to running. I didn’t know was it all in my head, their beckoning, the wishful sorrow of my attempt, or was I simply mad? As my head went further down, I could hear it distinctly, the laughter that made my tired heart skip, as the tears started to rush from the weary eyes that were denied rest, my pace shifted to a faster gear, brushing a man down, hitting his shoulder. I tried to apologise, but as my face greeted his, I saw it, there and then, the most vile smirk of a human nature, just staring at me, not saying a word, with eyes wide open he just stood there and looked at me, with no words or remark, he showed no anger or emotion, just this intent. As our eyes interlocked, fear consumed my body and I ran away, never lifting my eyes from the cold ground, too afraid to face their mocking look, I continued to sprint, then walk faster, with his smirk still on my mind and I wondered…
“Hey you with me?” I heard the annoyance in Sam’s voice.
I looked around her, seeing I was at my desk, with an annoyed Sam sitting on the edge, looking at me as if she expected a few decent words to come out of my mouth. She just stared at me, with a blank expression on her face, letting me know that her long monologue was done and it was my turn to respond. But what was there to be said? All of the sudden I found myself at my desk, not remembering how I really got here and now seeing at the hanging clock from the wall it was already 6 P.M. Did I come this far in my insanity? That not just did I lose myself in the dreams that were pushed down my throat to relive them, but now the waking hour of this waking world was slowly taken from me? I had no memories of how I get here, yet suddenly Sam was in front of me, eye poking me with her stare to respond.
“So?” She asked, impatiently waiting for an answer. “Uhm… Yes?” With my puppy like eyes I stared back, not sure what was there to say. Without second thought Sam went down, squatting to the floor, as I was still baffling, sitting on the chair, she took a deep breath and looked me directly behind the glass of illusion my eyes held, as she held my hands I could already feel her concern. “Look I get you don’t want to talk to me about it and I ain’t pushing sister. But for the past few weeks you’ve been… Distant. As if a part of you ain’t completely there.” With hope and concern irradiating through her heart I watched the one who held me through some of the worst times in my life whole, and before her I stood without word. It’s not the question of what to say, but rather should I? While I held her hands even firmer, through my mind her faint voice echoed. “Oh it’s just your imagination. You are a writer for fuck sake, they pay you to have a broad imagination.”
There would be something along those lines and the non avoidable offer for a drink or dozen. It’s not that I didn’t trust Sam with a share of my burden, far from it. It’s just that I was always reluctant to share, my problems were my own and my thoughts… Like poison they spread, contaminating every happy notion of hope that could be conceived just for its amusement, as before, I knew the well of sorrow that dwelled deep within, the water that was stored came from a already rotten soil. “I am fine Sammy.” I tap her hands and get up, trying desperately to avoid any further questioning. “Fine. I won’t pry. That is if you buy the first round.”
The night went by in a blur. One drink became four or five, I can’t remember exactly, as each one was followed by laughter, and as they piled on so did the joy my heartfelt for the first time in a while.
“Let’s toast for us.” “Let’s toast for all the good exes.” “What was his name again? Derek? Mark?” “For the both of them!”
Toast after toast I forgot about my darkness, all issues that carried a certain weight like I left at home, as now not even the people around us existed, only Sam and me, as we blended into the chirping of the crowed, we were gone. But in between all that laughter, as if those same eyes from my dreams started to follow me, as I felt a creeping sensation of coldness shifting down my neck. Sam’s laughter suddenly became distant, like an echo of a cave, a stone thrown deep down the well, I could hear her voice slowly fade away, as the only sound left in that bar was my shallow breath, the beat of my heart that suddenly felt like stopping, a fading music of a dying play, as if the curtains started to fall on the tale of my life, I could see it there, vividly, the cold air hanging from my mouth. And with the chilling embrace going down my spine I turned around and screamed. On the glass window, leaned with a killing intent stored behind those dead eyes, stood a man in old dirty clothes, with a messy long hair, grinning the remaining of his yellow teeth at me. From all of the patrons in that bar, dozen, hundreds of people in, his dark eyes only focused on me. The moment stood still, what felt like a thousand years, as he captured a piece of my soul, I remember, suddenly, the dreams we shared, the countless of times I relived, the moment of my death. And as his dirty hands caressed that glass, I felt the cold fingers etch in my neck, as it became hard to breath, he smiled and laughed more, as he watched me suffocate and I felt it, the stench of his breath on my neck.
“No…” “Please…” “NO!”
As I shouted, the room suddenly resumed with life, the music stopped and every look of every human in that place befell onto my shoulders, as they watched and judged as I still tried to grasp for the sweet sensation of air and peace, they all thought I was mad.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” Sam asked worried, as she jumped out from her chair, holding my shoulders worried. “I… Can’t… Breath…” I tried my best to speak, but the words were a distant memory as all I wanted was air. “Everything will be OK.” Sam held me close in her arms. “Come on, let’s get you some air.” As Sam rushed me outside, I looked around at their faces, every mouth was on me, every gossip of their toxic word I felt rushing against my mind in an instant as they all looked and judged. Sam got me outside, took me beside the bar, at the back of an ally, as I leaned to the cold wall, finally manage to breath. “What’s wrong? Do you need some water?” Sam asked worried about my well being as I saw the color leave her face pale. I wanted to say it, to explain what happened, as I weighed the outcome of her words, asking myself constantly would she judge me, would she understand and even if it mattered at all what would she think as all I needed now was an ally, someone to understand.
“His eyes…” Was the only thing I managed to whisper. “What eyes?” Sam asked, even more worried than before. “It’s him…” “Who? Hey you are starting to get me really worried now!” Sam said with fear in her eyes.
As she came close in front of me as I still had my back against the wall, for some reason my head turned right, throwing my gaze to the shadow bound ally, and I saw it. The same street from my dreams, every stone, window and paper, directly positioned same as the sight that kept coming to me for weeks now as soon as I would close my eyes. And on the end, covered in darkness, there he stood. Just a silhouette in the excess of light that was trapped from of nearby lamp that flickered, but undoubtedly it was his presence that, like a cold hand, grabbed my heart that felt pain. As if I had a heart attack, I grabbed by chest and screamed in pain, making Sam worried as she yelled for help. I couldn’t move, speak or breath, as my eyes kept fixating on that man, I fell down hitting my head on the cold dirt, with Sam over my body, I just watched him creep back into the shadows, as I felt the undying dark falling on my eyes, they slowly lost the image provided and out of their own accord, shut down. With Sam’s voice in panic shouting for help, I fell slowly into the darkness of despair, what felt like rushing back into the dreamland that I so much wanted to avoid.
And then out of nowhere, I heard an unfamiliar voice…
The ship couldn’t last much longer. The last punch that the ice made almost broke the hull, making the weary and tired men dump the excess of water out. Hellnar knew the old bucket won’t float for much longer, and that land should be imminent. If not they will meet their fate at the cold grip of the sea and by Odin, that was no good death. Many moons had passed since they set out to find the rich lands of the west, but instead they found a storm that destroyed four ships that were with them, and what was left of his men, the cold took already. 40 they were when they had set sail, now only mere 5 remain. The brothers, Feki and Aldur, the old man Orm and Olaf the Bone Crusher. And him. Son of a great warrior, wanting to fill the shoes his old man left, desperately needing to escape his shadow, he accepted to lead them to power, towards new lands, new riches, new glory. But look how it all turned out. He lost most of his army, and what’s left of his ship is barely hanging by a threat.
“Land!” Someone yelled.
Finally they will get rid of this snowy terrain, escape this ice, and seek glory among the green pastures of the western lands.
All of the remaining men came to the bow, standing in excitement, as they broke through the thick mist. The land of the green shall be theirs, shortly after so much loss and suffering, their blades shall bask in the blood of the enemy, taking the riches of the unknown land, in just mere moments the long journey shall be over. But as the bow of the ship had cut through the mist, another cloud would appear, then again another. As if the uncovered vail was infinite, never ending. But they didn’t despair. They were certain of their destination, as the dark smudge of the land was still on the horizon, even if they couldn’t see it clearly. Their patience prevailed, but still after so long on the open sea, some of them were eager to embrace the hard solid soil. “Come on, come on…”, young Feki nervously tapped his feet on the wooden floor, wanting the ship to sail faster then it already was. But Feki spoke what everyone was thinking. They were all anxious, nervous and eager to get off this wooden coffin, knowing it was by sheer luck and by the choice of Odin, that they were picked to live while watching their comrades drown and die from starvation and winter. Even if they wanted to shout and scream, they were warriors, leaving the nervousness to the younger pups. As the ship finally broke from the thick mist, to their dreadful surprise, they were greeted by something completely different then the promised green lands they were told about. A land of ice and snow, stretching far as the eye could see, with hills steep and unforgiving, making them fall to their knees.
“No…”, Feki sighted under his breath. Another struggle after the already hard fought journey. There was nothing left but to pull the ship on the uninviting shores.
The wind blew chunks of the ice from the surface, carrying it to the sea. As the ship gave its last efforts , the crew jumped out, knowing there was no going back. Hellnar, leader of now what was left, stepped first on the frozen ground of the new shores they would suppose to call home. Knowing that they would only find their end here, no riches or glory, he got down on his knee, holding his blade to the ground.
“Allfather, the one who shapes worlds and holds our destiny, please hear my voice. My men had suffered great loss and pain, only to be greeted by a land even harsher then our own. Even if the gold and silver we were promised elude us, don’t let these men die in vain like their brothers. I beg you. If all fails, don’t take the destiny from these people, my people, to earn a chance to sit by your side…”
As Hellnar prayed to the Allfather, his men strolled around these strange land, looking around in hopes of finding life. But to no avail. It was an uninhabitable land, only filled with ice, snow and rock. Most of it was flat to the side, so they easily saw in the distance the nothingness that it had to offer. All except few hard rocky hills that stood before them, only ice was their companion. Ice and the death it brought with it. Orm stood by his leader, waiting for him to finish his prays so he could advise with Hellnar about their next step. Aldur, the more mature and calmer individual out of the two brothers, tried his best to calm his hot headed brother who out of sheer rage took his sword and swung it around hitting the snow.
“In the name of the Aesir, what are you doing?”, he asked his younger brother.
But Feki, with steaming blood in his eyes continued to hit the ground in sheer rage.
“Would you stop it? Stop!”, Aldur held his brother, hugging him, preventing the young warrior to continue his fight.
“We will die here…”, Feki said, “After that fucking storm, eating the maggots that infested our food and watching our friends die out of the unbearable cold, we will meet the same fate. For what did we endure? What did we do to earn this… this cruel joke? Shouldn’t we fight the westerners by now? Being bothered by the hot sun on our face, the smell of fresh grass? Not shivering by this fucking cold!”
As he finished, breqking from his brothers grip, he looked at the ground for a few seconds, then like from a dream, he quickly broke concentration, focusing on Hellnar, who was still kneeling, holding his sword.
“You…”, Feki pointed at Hellnar as he walked towards him.
“This… all of this is your fault. You were suppose to lead us to the new lands. But you disrespected the Gods and now we are all being punished for it!”
He came close to Hellnar, when Orm pulled out his sword, ready to fight the much younger man.
“Watch your tongue little boy… One more word out of you and I will make you mute!”
Feki just laughed at the sight of the elder, not seeing him as a threat.
“Really now old man? What are you going to do about it? You are the one who should watch it! I am not sure your hips can handle a proper sword fight!”
But Orm just laughed at the boy, being amused by his words.
“Aye. I might be old. But if you do not fear a man who watched young fools just like you die all his life and most I had cut down myself, then you will indulge me by teaching you that even an old wolf still has sharp teeth.”
Feki was furious, allowing his anger to get the better of him, as he pulled his sword high, ready to strike Orm down where he stood. But even before Orm could act, Feki’s sword was blocked by Hellnar, who in two swoop moves disarmed Feki in such speed and strength, that the boy was left stunned and shocked. Knocking his blade to the ground, Hellnar looked at the shocked expression of the kid who just couldn’t believe what had happened, as he met Hellnar’a fist, putting him on his behind into the thick snow.
“Get up.” Hellnar extended his hand to the kid who held his nose bleeding, left angry and humiliated.
“Yes this is unexpected. Yes we endured much of the pain that was put on our shoulders. But at the end of the day we are warriors. Fighters! And we won’t squander and argue like bunch of children! Do you understand? DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” Hellnar shouted as all of them nodded in silence, as Hellnar told Aldur to help his brother.
A thunderous voice came crackling from above the hill. The Bone Crusher made it on top of the steep and sharp stones, managing to climb above while they were all fighting. As soon as they heard, all of them ran up the icy mountain.
The Bone Crusher stood up tall, being built like a brick wall, tough as steel, he was the strongest of them all. A man of few words he was, but the few he spoke they all listened. Hellnar stood side by side with all of them, looking at the horizon.
“What do your eyes see, old friend?”, Hellanar asked the warrior. Silence was his manner, even in battle, so it wasn’t surprising when his leader asked him, that he firstly let no words disturb his gaze.
“Walls, there, few yards ahead. Look down, behind the snow and wind, you can see the interrupted line. Walls, definitely, most likely destroyed. Perhaps the inhabitants are long gone, nothing to steal, no one to fight. But at least it will provide good shelter from the storm.”
Hellnar looked down the never ending snow planes, seeing the image his big comrade spoke off. It would be a one way trip, as the wind that carried the heavy flakes grew stronger by the minute. Either they camp here, risk that the wind won’t make graves of ice for them, or they take a walk across the white planes to the unknown dangers that laid ahead, behind those walls. Hellnar knew his men, he knew the sheer amount of their collective strength. He knew what they were capable off, being raised in harsh and unforgiving land, he knew they would probably make it through the night if they camped on the shore. But unworthy death of the elements that they saw take their friends during this journey made them on edge. Nerves were thin, hands twitchy, eager to grab swords. He feared of the heavy toll that it would take. So in his mind there was no way but forward. He looked around at them, seeing his men all looking down the icy planes.
“We move. If we stay here the snow will bury us. Perhaps behind the wall we will find cover. So, steel on the ready, if there is anyone left living, be ready to send him to the land of the dead.”
The rest just nodded, looking back and forth at each other. They were all that was left of the great raid and now with the same fear they had looking at their friends die on the ships, they walked down the hill, towards the distance, not intending to make their deaths in vain.
The elements tested them. Walking on the planes of snow proved to be more difficult then they imagined. The uneven terrain was unforgiving, as with one step they would fall through the ice, the other would hide spikes of sharp stones. But holding together, picking up their brothers and going against the blowing wind, they managed to carry one another to the massive walls that with every step they took towards them, grew larger and larger. No one really expected it to be so big, as the horizon hid the lie of their size when they looked ahead from that hill. But now standing below them, they could see the sheer size of it. It was bigger then anything they came against, as the walls stood higher then any building they made. Twice as big then the tallest house in any of their city, build with a strange material, they looked in awe to the colossal walls. But something broke them, as when they came to it, they clearly saw a big hole that was carved in the walls, interrupting their perfection.
“What people build this kind of thing?, Feki asked shocked.
Orm took his glove off, feeling the strange material.
“Steel? No…”, he said.
The rest followed his example, except Aldur, the smartest of the bunch, who took his axe and gently hit a part of the wall. As he did, the axe vibrated from the impact, shaking his entire hand. It took a second for him to realize the severity of his actions. As the second he needed to gather his thoughts passed, he took his axe and swung it with all of the strength he had in his body, striking the wall. The axe just chipped the wall, sliding, easily braking the weapon in half. They all stood speechless, witnessing Aldur’s actions.
“No… not steel. Something much stronger.”, said Aldur looking at what was left of his axe.
Hellnar touched the wall, looking at the top of it that was caught in frost and snow, asking in what land did they found themselves in.
“What matter of men could build such things?”, Feki asked.
Orm looked around, not being sure at what to make of it.
“I was in France, England, I saw the settlements of the westerners. This is no work of the unbelievers. They had stone walls, but steel or whatever this is, no…”
They all basked, looking at the unknown, with a certain dose of fear being present among them.
“Men? No, men did not build this…” From behind them, the Bone Crusher spoke, keeping his distance, looking down at the snow.
“What are you speaking of you fool? If men did not build this then who did?”, Feki’s arrogance spoke.
“Who said we are still in Midgard? The storm spun us around the sea for so long, months went by without seeing any land. And the first soil after that while we see, is this?” As the Bone Crusher spoke, he got the attention of everyone, as they all collectively turned around to him.
“What bothers you old friend?”, Hellnar asked his comrade. Something spooked the big man, making him nervous all of the sudden, as he turned around, looking back and forth, expecting danger.
“This land, filled with nothing but snow and ice, it reeks of death. After this long, perhaps we are further from home then we think. And seeing this walls, bigger then anything we ever witnessed. Makes me wonder, if we left Midgard in those treacherous waters.”
All of them respected what the Bone Crusher told, except Feki, who just laughed at him, provoking him further.
“Are we seriously going to listen to the ramblings of this dim wit? Fine, I’ll indulge you. If not the westerners, then who build this massive walls?”
The Bone Crusher looked at the boy with rage behind his eyes, not really wanting to say it. “Giants…” It all just make Feki laugh even harder, almost falling to the ground. But he was the only one who did that, as the rest took the Bone Crusher seriously. Feki realized he was the only one who found it amusing, looking at them asking if they were serious.
“What makes you think of that old friend? Giants are things of old, things of legends. Things that belong to Jotunheim , not here in Midgard.” Hellnar came close this his friend, showing his support.
“The land of snow, ice and death we find ourselves in, sounds like the folk tales our parents told us. The land of the Frost Giants. And the wall that stretches so far in the air, only one could build. Ymir and his children…”
Fear was present among them, as the theory the Bone Crusher had sounded very plausible. But perhaps seeing the biggest of them all shake of fear was the tipping point that made them scared. Hellnar looked at them, trying to figure a way to keep his men straight, as straying away, being consumed by fear would be the end of them. The wind grew stronger exponentially, blowing snow in their faces.
“Right now it is still uncertain where we are or who was here. But what is certain is that a storm is brewing. Shaking form fear in the open is the last thing we can do right now. We continue with our intent. All of you! Gather your steel and your strength, sheath your fear away, as Lord Odin does not welcome any cowards at his table. Move!”
Hellnar’s words provided the required nudge they needed as they all got in the huge hole in the wall, proceeding further in the unknown. As they went in, he stood a bit behind, taking a final look at the wall.
“Do you really believe that? That we are in Jotunheim?”, asked Orm who waited for his leader.
Hellnar looked with eyes of dread, not really sure what to make of it all.
“I do not know brother. Right now it is not my concern who built the thing, rather what made the giant hole in the impenetrable wall.” As they both looked at the massive crater that stood in the wall, as they gathered their belongings and marched on, catching up with the rest.
Getting through the huge crack in the external barrier made Hellnar think even more about what could had caused that kind of damage. Was the Bone Crusher right all along? Did the gods punish them, exiling them from Midgard? The walls were huge, it would make one think only giants could manage to build such monstrosities. But whoever did put them there, what happened to them? Where are they now? Did someone kill them all? Perhaps whoever could brake these fortifications proved to be more then a match. Whatever dwells here now might be their reckoning.
The land beyond the wall was different. Even if it was mostly covered in snow, it reeked of death. The chilling embrace was not caused by the falling temperatures, but rather by the dreary feeling that enveloped these lands. It was filled with questions that they did not know how to answer. The high snow fell on most of the structures that were beyond the wall, burying them down, creating a graveyard of a once great nation. What little that was left, stuck out from the white dust, soaring into the air. It seemed no matter how harsh were the elements in their effort to erase this place, it still fought back, as some structures were intact from the snow, still accessible from land. The group looked in awe to the sunken city of ice. Beyond the wall, as far as the eye could reach, a clear view that this was no mere city, but a proud and advance nation that held this area. Strange pillars with spikes and cords struck out of the ground, soaring high into the air. Surrounding the group as they followed their curiosity inland, were these massive rubbles of steel and all sorts of unknown metal. Feki, allowing his curiosity to get the better of him, broke off from them, running away towards the few buildings that they could get in.
“Where does this fool go now?”, Orm said getting the attention of the party as everyone turned towards Feki who got lost beyond the metal pillars that stood in front of a giant building that was half sunk into the snow, but still revealing its door to all.
“We shouldn’t split up. Not now. Aldur! Stay with your idiot of a brother and make sure he doesn’t get himself killed. Yet… Rest of you lets move on forward, perhaps we will find some luck and some supplies. Night is bound to find this place as well. No matter how much this land is lost. Shelter would be nice too. And don’t touch anything, for Odin’s sake!” Hellnar shouted at the Bone Crusher, who laid his hand on a metal chunk that fell to the ground, but as soon as Hellnar raised his voice, the mountain of a man pulled his hand back to himself, as if he wasn’t twice the size of his leader, rather feeling like a small child scolded as if his mother caught him eating her fresh apple pie.
While others were bickering about what to do next, Feki marveled in the architecture of this place, daydreaming what wonders lived here, how this place looked in its prime. He strayed far enough, finding a perfectly preserved ruin. With half of it missing, the other half was in pristine condition, allowing the young warrior to enter. He found it strange, as there was no furniture, the half building that was missing resembled a sword cut, as if a humongous blade sliced it in half. As Feki dwelled further in, all he could find was a big white boulder just sitting in the middle of one room. The stone was strange, as it was cold on touch, feeling more like a cold metal than a smoothness of a stone. On it just a small black curricular mirror in which Feki saw his reflection stood. It amused the young pup, as he watched himself in it. As he touched it, the black mirror suddenly turned bright red, the boulder released a dreadful sound, as if someone blew the war horn and it moved. The stone was alive, it stretched and four legs came out of it and before Feki a metal beast with limbs and a mouth appeared.
It was hard to explain, a wolf in a metal armor was the closest thought that went to his mind, as firstly it moved its head, observing him. Feki pulled his sword forth ready to defend himself, but the iron wolf just stood there, moving only his head back and forth. Feki’s heart pounded so fast, as calmness left him, being replaced by panic and fear. His left foot fumbled, making him almost fall on his back as he wanted to gain distance from the beast. As his leg suddenly went down, the wolf moved with astonishing speed.
A loud cry could be heard through, filling the chilling air.
“What was that?”, Orm asked as he looked around for the source of the dreadful sound.
“Where is Feki?” As soon as Helnar asked, Aldur rushed sprinting. The rest followed closely behind and as they made just few yards from where they originally were, a gruesome sight greeted them. The metal beast, with a glowing red eye, bright as the sun itself, slowly stepped forth, holding the top of Feki’s mutilated body. The blood was still fresh, dripping on the cold snow below, painting the dreary white surface red. Aldur’s eyes filled with rage and tears, seeing his brother’s body desecrated. He released a piercing battle cry and without thought, with his axe held high, charged the beast.
As he lunged forward, the beast without too much effort evaded him, quickly moving to the side. It dropped its trophy, as the torso rolled down its mouth, now with all focus on Aldur, it circled around him. The rest just watched in shock, not understanding what was happening. The beast was a thing of tales, but no moment was wasted as they all went to aid their comrade. Aldur went forth once again, now successfully hitting the beast. But as his axe touched its cold skin, it just broke into pieces. The iron of the wolf was much harder then their steel, rendering their weapons unless. The beast tried to bite Aldur, but before it could even reach him, the others engaged, just to be greeted by the same outcome. Their blades cracked and broke as the wolf pushed Orm away, sending him flying into the air. Its sole focus was on Aldur, as it slowly stepped forward to his pray. But the giant of a man he was, the Bone Crusher clenched the beast, grabbing its jaw. But it knocked Olaf down to the ground and bit off his hand. As it came to finish the job, it bit the stump of the bleeding arm, holding it and while it was in the wolf’s jaws, Olaf with all his might punched the red eye, embedding his fist into it, pulling the strings that were inside.
As he retracted his fist, the wolf released again the sound of a horn, tumbling to the side and withering away, becoming lifeless and motionless. Olaf held his bleeding wound, where once his arm was, as the others came. Helnar quickly made a fire, commanding his men to hold the Bone Crusher as he burned the stump, stopping the bleeding. Olaf didn’t even flinch as his breath was deep.
Aldur mourned and cried over his dead brothers body, or what was left of it. Orm grabbed him, trying to pull him away. “NO! Let me be with him! Let me be with my brother!”, he shouted, fighting the old man se he tried to escape his grasp. “It’s all right lad… He is gone… Your brother is gone..” Orm tried to console the young warrior. But he just knleeded on the bloodied snow, crying. Fear filled Helnar’s heart, as he was now sure… This is not Midgard, only death awaits him and his men here.
As the men gathered around, lifting Olaf and Aldur, through the land a sorrowful sound pierced the air. Same as the wolf’s, as if someone blew a horn, but now louder and bigger. One after the other it continued to blow, shaking the ground, vibrating it, moving the very snow beneath the Vikings feet. As the fearful sound came closer with every other horn, there, in the distance, a big shape could be seen, a shadow beneath the fog, with a giant red eye staring them down deep in the mist.
The ground began to shake, with every sound that the creature produced, that piercing screaming of metal, made the very icy soil tremble before their feet as the company of men who knew no fear, but met their match, tried hard to steady themselves not to fall over. With every passing sound, they looked at awe and shock at the gruesome image that started to appear more vivid as if it paced forward, breaking the thin now vail of mist that hid that mystery.
“Helnar…”, the old man Orm called out to his leader, with fear and anxiety shivering his voice.
“I see it. Giants…”
Out of all, Hellnar was the only one who kept his eyes calm, dead to the touch, cold as the very snow that surrounded them. But beneath that cold demeanour, his heart ran away, calling his body to follow, but the mind of a leader, the soul of the warrior, remembered the image of his father, in that moment of doubt, seeing his comrades falling to the ground, he held his demons at bay, unsheathing his sword, holding it to the sky.
“ODIN! Here my call! We stand on the brink of death. We stand together…”
As the great leader’s speech was at the pinnacle, as his men disregarded the notion of fear that took seed in their hearts, a metal rod came as thunder crushing down from the misty clouds, impaling Hellnar right through the chest. As his men saw the unrealistic image of their leader’s surprised face, as his motionless head fell with the last breath he took, the sword his father, the sword of his clan, falling to the ground, as the last of his line bled out, with the metal pipe, dark of color, crushing his chest into nothingness, as Orm still in shock, ridden of all sanity, slowly approached the now dead Hellnar, in disbelief looking at the hole in his chest that the giant’s weapon made.
In their culture there was no room for weaknesses. In their land tears were only reserved for the newborns, no woman, man or child was taught to show mercy or weakness. But this… Times were different. Orm knew his father, after he was killed in a raid, he raised Hellnar himself. Yet now, his son stood, bleeding to the white ground, dying for nothing.
Aldur and the Bone Crusher couldn’t help. They looked at each other not knowing what to do, is it better to stand their ground against this giant or run like a coward and try to survive? But run where? This land was the land of horrors, the land of monsters, wherever they would go, only death would follow. In that moment all three asked themselves, was the death their comrades recieved at the cold sea really a shame, or perhaps mercy?
“Old man, he is gone. We need to move.”, Aldur grabbed Orm by the shoulder, trying to grip him back to reality.
“Orm, he is gone! So will be we if we don’t move!”
As the old man closed his eyes for one more time, still with the image of his dying son impaled to that rod, he gripped the blade that Hellnar dropped, with rage in his heart burning what little fear remained, he was ready to meet his end.
As he nodded to Aldur, giving him the confidence to stand with him, Aldur picked up the old man, as once more they will stand together against the cold grip of incoming death. But as the two smiled, knowing it might actually be a worthy one, one last sound of that deep, metal screeching horn could be heard, echoing throughout the sky, making the land shake and shiver, as the ground began to crack. The giant was now clearly visible, as the dust began to settle, and the Earth became calm once more, the three that remained saw thr monster clearly, as it escaped the thin cover of mist. Same as that wolf from before, it possessed a glowing red eye that stared down, sending shivers down their fragile spines, as it stood taller then any wall they built or broken, over the small mountain that overlooked the icy remains of the buildings in which they found themselves in. The creature did nothing, as it stood motionless, with its body of metal and strings that fell down its back, as if it noticed the small men in front of it, yet it did not find them worthy of battle.
As the three stood together, they calmly watched the creature, ready for any move it might make, with swords and axes at the ready. Time stopped for a moment, only the wind that blew the snow to their faces filled the dreary silence that stood between them. A creature that tall could not be stopped by them. It was either to charge into their deaths or run back to live a coward’s life.
“What is it doing?” Aldur asked confused.
“It is observing it’s pray…” The Bone Crusher responded, hiding his fear with the already familiar cold demeanour.
As the men waited for their doom, three smaller bursts of sound could be heard, not as tall in echo as the giant’s, but still enough to make you fear for your life. As the echos stopped, three iron wolfs appeared, one in front of the men, the other climbing a ruin of a building that remained and the other to the left up on a hill that overlooked the small valley of the remains that they found themselves in.
Their red eyes glew bright as blood fresh from a kill, they slowly jumped down and surrounded the men who turned their back to each other, with weapons at the ready, they knew the end was nigh.
“For what it’s worth, my young pups…” Orm spoke with fire in his breath.
“It was an honour for these old bones to fight and die right beside you. Even if this is the end of our time on this mortal plane, even in these final moments of despair, hold your head up high, let the steel shine bright on this cold sun and let them know, these sons of Ymir, that today they face the spawn of Odin himself.”
With his final word spoken, the old man looked at the two and smiled as he ran towards one of the wolfs, swinging Hellnar’s sword and releasing a battle cry that even shattered the hearts of his compatriots, as they felt his sorrow and lust for revenge, they too took on the remaining beasts.
With tears on his eyes, holding them barely at bay, Orm missed his first swing as the wolf dodged, he proved to be a better match, even if he was 20 years younger. As the beast tried to bite and get his limbs, Orm barely moved fast enough to evade. It was pointless, he knew as much, looking at his friends who were younger then him, yet they found the same obstacle, being inadequate to win. The Bone Crusher had no problem swinging his axe with one hand, as the wolf observed his moves, it somehow predicted them, evading more faster and precise, until the Crusher finally landed a blow on his head, just for his axe to break into pieces as it made impact. The Bone Crusher looked in shock for a second, not knowing what to do, as he immediately stepped back, dodging the wolfs bite, and punching him on the head. From the severity of the strike he felt his hand break, as the beast was knocked a few steps it became disoriented, swinging his head back and forth.
Orm watched the scene for a second, as his eyes turned to young Aldur next, seeing how difficult he found rolling in the snow just to evade its teeth, the old man knew what he had to do. Orm tuned to his opponent, with the sword in his right hand he extended his left, as the beast took a bite out of it, just before tearing it off, he pulled the blade right in his eye, making the beast fall down with him. Bleeding on the ground, the old man smiled as he watched the sun reach down to the ground between the misty clouds, he felt the joy of a good death. As the beast fell, the other two stopped for a second, as if they were surprised, in thay moment Aldur reacted fast enough to slice the red eye of his beast with the sword making it scream in pain, tossing its body left and right before it fell down to the snow lifeless. As he saw Aldur taking his opportunity, the Bone Crusher thought of the same, but having his only hand broken he couldn’t grasp what remained of his axe in time, and the beast refocused on his pray, ripping the big man’s throat out. It crushed his body, flipping it left and right, as if it was a piece of meat, it played with it until it was completely torn to peaces and the ground around it became a river of blood. The young warrior watched it happen in horror, as the beast now turned to him, slowly stepping towards, he backed up slowly, taking one step at the time, firmly grasping the blade in his hands until his back hit the wall. Feeling the chilling embrace of death, Aldur stood tall, preparing himself for what was to come.
The beast was mere inches away, opening its mouth he could still see the small pieces of flesh that remained of the Crusher, thinking to himself will that be the same fate for him to find. And as the beast was about to jump towards him, it suddenly stopped. Still holding its metallic teeth shining forward to Aldur, it suddenly turned to stone, motionless and steady. The boy started to laugh, more from fear then joy, as he thought he escaped sudden death. But as the last man was laughing, from behind the snowy terrain, walking out of one of the structures that remained, two men in strange armor came out. They were tall as Aldur, yet their faces were covered on some shiny thing, as their armor reflected on the cold sun.
“Who are you?!?! What do you want with us, sons of giants? We did not invade your lands, our ship crashed on your shores!”, Aldur tried to speak to the strange men.
But they just looked at eachother, not saying a word, as if they did not understand what the last one was saying.
“There is no ill will here. I have no quarrel with your kin. Release me and I will find my way out! There is no need for my death!” Aldur tried to bargain his life.
But the men just took some strange tablet of stone like nature out, writing down what Aldur thought was their language so they better understand one another, but as one of them wrote something down, he looked at the other and spoke.
“Told you the clones would put a fight. You owe me money, a bet is a bet.” One of them spoke.
“Yea you got lucky. This new batch is better than the last ones. They really gave the hunters run for their money. A bet is a bet.” The other spoke and gave some strange papers to the first.
Aldur looked in shock, as he understood the language they spoke but did not make sense of their words.
“Please I just want to go…”
As Aldur tried to speak, one of the men pulled a strange object which he pressed and fire came out, stinging Aldur in his stomach, making him bleed. The pain was that of an arrow, yet there was nothing sticking out of his gut, as the young warrior fell down, bleeding, slowly loosing consciousness, he saw the two strange men coming above him, observing.
“I guess that’s that for today. Maybe the next batch would be even better. Wanna bet again?” One asked laughing.
“Nah, fuck you! This is rigged man. Drones should devour clones. We need to go back and redesign the armor better. Told you the eye is a major weak point”
As the two were leaving, so was Aldur’s last breath, as he closed his eyes for one final time he knew the cowards way of life, the last moments he begged, were enough to shut the gates of Valhala forver.
My first book, the Lonesome Road is on sale at Amazon for a limited time! If you are looking for a great gift or perhaps a new read for yourself I recommend this gripping tale of mystery, where you will not see the answers that lay directly in front, with the twists and turns, this tale will surprise you. Other versions are on sale as well.
Looking for the last remains of human life, a lonesome wanderer must find his identity and the reason for his journey.
The fallen Earth holds secrets, an ancient war that will show him he is not alone. With old forgotten feelings of mistrust and sorrow, the Wanderer will have to navigate his path and remember his past.
The journey is long, filled with thorns and friendly people with hidden agendas. And unfortunately, not all have his best interest at heart.
The Wanderer will have to stay neutral and true to his path if he wants to uncover the truth. But all things come with a price, and the cost might be his soul.
Life as we know is gone. The once vivid city now stands abandoned. Earth became a wasteland, stripped of all life. Broken, confused, and in a desperate search for answers, one person still roams its desolate remains.
The Wanderer has no memories, no recollection of the events that led to the end of the world. All he sees are deserted buildings and the smoke that covers the sun.
While taking shelter in an abandoned house one night, the last man on Earth gets a knock on his door. He finds an unexpected guide in a woman who feels familiar.
Will he choose to keep traversing these lands, lost as before, or will he take her guidance to find the answers his heart so deeply desires?
Hello. It’s me. Been a while. This feels awkward. You know, same as seeing an ex at a party or a social gathering and you never knew they gonna be there now you are in a situation to talk after few months? Yea… How you’ve been? All jokes aside it is good once again to write a few lines, even though as I do, I am struggling to find my way around words that need to be said and want to be written. I always had my patches of absence, so to speak, but now I stand in front of you, with my head bowed down in shame, as I have been away for some time. What was it this time? What excuse could I possibly possess that would make my actions of absence valid you might ask? Was it depression again? In part yes, even if I feel sick of using it again and again as my crutch whenever I go away. Was I busy? Most definitely, as my day job took me away more then it has in the past few years, working all day every day even after summer which never happened. But truth be told, as I am standing now in front of you, the few that reads these lines, I have no excuse. I fell in a hole, a familiar place of darkness that felt oh so comfortable, so well known, as it embraced me in its arms, I felt my dark thoughts weeping with me. A familiar friend, from a familiar life I never could escape. But it’s not all that grim. These past few months came with moments of joy, moments of happiness that I was not accustomed to. It is still a strange sensation, to feel good things happening to me. You can not shake that corrosive emotion that with every good deed, every benevolent moment you experience, that you are owing it to someone, as a debt of a loan shark, your mind never stops trembling in fear that someone will come to collect what it’s due. But disregard the ill feeling of dread, ignore the depression that always hangs with me in the corner of my mind, you would have to admit that at the end of the day I left. No matter how valid an excuse, the fact is I need one, means I failed, mostly myself.
So many paths, so many roads to take
That’s how I felt. Like I see roads and paths that stretch as far as the eye can see, me with my confused and dazed expression not knowing which one to take, as the night, heavy as iron, was slowly but surely coming down, warning my soul and lost heart to make up my mind, as I could not stand there forever pondering on the choice that needed to be made. I always felt in some sort of way in that situation, but now it was different. The stakes, the risks, even life itself, started to feel real. Each choice that could brush life, that could strike the heart, be it with joy or terror, lost its allure of romantic slumber that a dream carried and now I found myself in reality of life. That reality slowly chipped my heart away…
I tried a lot of things in life. As a piece of puzzle, I looked for my place to fit in. Years of rejection and trying passed by, until I remembered a passion of a childhood, until my mind became heavy with dark thoughts that seeped through and cracked my brain, leaving permanent scars. It’s been now maybe 4 or 5 years give or take when I attempted to write, a journey in which perhaps I do not have much to show for, but looking back now I, for the first time in my life with certainty and calm heart can say, found my place, my purpose, my fate. In 4 years I written 3 books, hundreds of poems and shit ton of post, mostly talking about my experience with mental health and life that reached hundreds and found themselves in my words and experience. Should I be proud on the progress I made? Surely, and I am, I’ve proven countless of times that I am more then capable of doing this. But generally? I doubt. And how could I not? I worked for almost 10 years jobs that drained my soul, broke my back and mind thinking I was worthless and with the life I lived I tried to live it convincing myself it was true, that that’s the best life can get and that I do not deserve anything better. It took years and lot of talk to convince myself that I can and should do better. In life, as a person. The struggle was real and it’s still ongoing. But now, perhaps more then ever, it’s reaching a pinnacle. Even though I made enough, as I would like to put it, in my 4 years as a writer, still it is not enough for me to keep doing only what I love. I am at a crossroads. Switching countries means I need to find a steady source of income, even if it is putting myself in that position I was for almost 10 years. For the majority of my life I lacked ambition, be it from a mind that prevented and prohibited me to feel joy and satisfaction as I thought I was not worthy of it, be it from a surrounding that I grew up in that made me feel like I had it good where I was and should not strive for more as I might be disappointed, I’ve always struggled to find a path in life and convincing myself I was worthy of it. But writing, ignited a passion that was lost, that I never thought I possessed. It was so much more then just a career path I wished to actually fight for. It was an escape from depression, a ladder that made me climb out of that dark pit I dug out myself, it was belief and hope that I could actually be something and someone more then I was, a way to offer something to the world that would make me worthy of living. And with that new found hope, came fear. After finding something I never thought to gain, came the realisation of what if I am not good enough, what if I was fooling myself into thinking I could actually do this, as perhaps this was just one of my many foolish and failed attempts that would end up in only one way.
Now I stand before you, the few of my many, with a small comeback to these lands of the written word, perhaps no stronger then ever, but more eager to prove my worth. After 8 long years, I will be quitting my job, moving away and will try my best to grab that piece of happiness everyone is mumbling about how good it is. I am curious myself to see if there is some left for me. It has been so long since I dared. Since I made myself live life. I mustered the strength to find out, am I really worth living. As I know, better then most, staying in one place, satisfying yourself with the bare minimum, is not living. As your soul slowly grows dark and the hope and ambitions become a distant wish and memory, you find staying, is just a slow death.
Stagnation is the great life killer.
Worthy of the word
What really defines our own worth? That’s the question I keep asking myself. Is it the deeds we do? Or perhaps how good of a life we live? For most of my life, looking at the mirror I do not recognise the reflection gazing back at me. I do not know the name of that man who’s eyes look like mine, as he feels familiar, yet unknown. I know who I want to be, what I want to do, yet the path of how to do it is unclear. After every major project I make, the first thing that sets in are not the high five’s of well done, neither are the words of encouragement, but thoughts of doubt as why did I make it in the first place, or did I just create a thing no one would even see. To most of you, who dare to create, the natural thought occurs if it will be liked or hated perhaps, while in my mind a single fear exists – to be forgotten. Even now, while the sun is about to rise, writing these words to you, I ask myself, to what end? Do these words matter, do they reach any lone hearts such as mine? Sure, you would say as long as it matters to you, and I understand that premise all so well. But my dear reader, I’ve spent my life talking, masking common words with pretentious lies, cloaked into cheep clothes of intelligence. I, which is weird for a writer, am done with words. Not in a sense of writing, creating, no. But out of fear that whatever I say may be born as an excuse. So what is left? I ask myself the very question, fighting each and every thought that dares to rise, making my mind well awake for days, as sleep is not yet deserved. To take that leap of faith? To jump and trust my instincts, not the rationality of fear? How good it sounds, simple yet complex, as I stand on the crossroads of time, not knowing is my fate right or left.
I admit, I wanted to come here, write something, anything. But with fear that my mind carries too heavy of a burden right now, I stayed back, looking from a distance, wishing for an opportunity. It is this, the lack of dream, that brings me towards you. Broken? As always. Dismayed? Oh please, that’s my natural state, if nothing is wrong I worry why it isn’t. Defeated? Well, no. No. I have been defeated before. Broken time and time again, by my foolish choices, by the depression that held me and the anxiety that shouted I can not do more or better. As a man who lost not all, put plenty, before, now I stand in front of you and ask how can I be defeated? For I wished death before, cursed life to end, now wanting to live, I find it hard living. I have my vision. What to do, what I want to achieve. Perhaps it is not in my destiny, to become more then I was, perhaps I too shall fade, with this new found dawn that I now wait, maybe obscurity is what waits down there in the end. But what can I do? I poured my life, my soul and beating heart to the pieces that were created, few have seen and I still do not know what to think of what am I capable to do. Maybe it is doubt, the all living shadow, that brings me down, or perhaps I think too much, one thing is certain. Defeat, until the heart beats, is an illusion. As long there is breath in my lungs, there will be the will to fight.
For now I retreat, for now I rest, as the dawn rises, I shall greet her properly. And then once again, lay my head down, hoping, that somehow I still am invited to the land of dreams.
For you, the few, yet the many, thank you. For the support here and in general, I hope I muster enough strength to continue to come back quickly, hoping this hiatus was just an anomaly. Till then, keep your head up high, your heart beating true. And never give up on what was dreamt.
We all saw the Matrix, right? Neo gets offered two pills, one let’s him stay in this world, sleeping the sweet somber dream of illusion that was installed, never the wiser of what goes above. But take the red pill and all the illusions shall be shattered, the eyes that were deep asleep shall be wide open and he will be granted the sight to see the world for what it truly is. Recently, as I embark on a life changing journey, trying to move countries and jobs, I started to realise and see things. For the longest time I felt worthless, as in my years I achieved almost nothing, the environment always saw me as incapable and clumsy, constantly reminding me that I can’t do the most simplest of tasks. But as I plan and prepare to leave, I am starting to see that environment I was brought up in. In this case that same environment will be my family, especially my old man who always had an advice even when I would do something good, but as soon as I saw something that he did that is not in any sense good, I was chewed up as what do I know. My family made mistakes, whole lot of them, leaving us in financial ruin. I don’t hold that against them, we all make some bad decisions during our life. But what I do hold, is their incapability of change. Even after what was done, no one can move from the past as they put it, they don’t have any regret. So it beggs the question, the nature versus nurture, as I slowly started rolling the film backwards, how much does our environment affect our upbringing or even more so what does it take to rise above the toxicity of constant strain of thought that is pushed on to us that we are just simply worthless?
To rise above the tide
We all at least once get into contact with it. Be it our own family, friends or even a stranger, the walls that are around us can be brought up. If we are told constantly, with every action we take, that we are worthless and insignificant, can we really rise above the words we hear every day? One thing I found was you can simply sit down with yourself and realise that the people who speak such things are not important, their opinions are invalid, but the sad truth of it is hearing it every day makes it harder for us to attach some insignificance to their muffled insults. But as I said, I am more and more thinking about the past, ever so willing to change for the better, I start to realise one big thing. Those people who speak such vile things never accept change, they are adamant to stay in their lane, never truly accepting that they are capable of being wrong or even worse, they are proud of the mistakes made. Slowly you will realise that over the course of their life, they never amounted to anything, making their frustrations that they pull on you seem even more miserable. I am starting to see, the opinions of people who don’t dare to admit that their hearts were at a wrong place should not hold any value when it comes to words, as they are just that, empty words and promises, people who don’t dare to take actions as they see themselves as better. I talked about the human condition a lot, the toxicity of ego and the nature of narcissism, but I grew up with it, making me a keen observer of how it can ruin a man. Words are words, hurtful, shameful and piercing. But without actions to hold them, you start to see their emptiness. More times then I can count I said I am done with this world, as I was constantly sitting in an toxic environment, making me feel that small little circle is all there is to it. But step out and see, you will find eternity awaiting. A whole new world who can be as hurtful as that small circle, but healing and positive as well. So, when you spent so long in the circle, how can you be afraid of that whole new world as it can only be an improvement. It is hard to know your own self worth, as there are so many people who would be more then happy to tell it for yourself, rather then let you find it out. For the longest time I was confused, not knowing was I worthy enough even to live, not knowing what kind of person I was good or bad, as people around me always had an opinion so mine must been invalid. I am starting to see, slowly but surely, that all opinion should be heard and considered, but that counts your own as well. At the end of the day, when you walk in your room, you are left with only your mind and heart. Not the others who constantly had a word in who you are. So sit down and listen, because no one but you can tell you who you really are.
Success is made in attempts of defeat
And it’s true. More they try to break what you build, more it holds value. More they mock, it just means it is worth something. As if you had nothing, made nothing or achieved nothing, you think they would care enough to see it brought down? Our life is our own, our success, our failure, as at the end of the day the sad truth is everyone wants to ravel in your success and everyone wants to mock your failure. Not everyone I know, but you get my point. It is hard to accept we are not the product of who brought us up, we even are not the conclusion of the life we lived. We are our own person, complex, beautiful and faulty. That’s the beauty in humanity, that major imperfection that we stumble, crap every plan we have and make mistakes, but we get up, try numerous times as we find we deserve better and should strive to be better. So who are we to say to anyone who they are, what they can or can not do or how worthy are they? In the simplicity of life the line always goes that there will be failure and faults, but success as well. At the end of the day we walk the path, alone or not, it is our strength and will that makes us go forward. Your worth is determined by how happy you are with yourself. And if you aren’t? So what? The road for self belief and self discovery is a long one, if you look today in the mirror and don’t recognise the person staring back that doesn’t mean tomorrow you won’t. We don’t know life. We don’t know time. The only thing we can hope is that tomorrow will come and that we will do better then yesterday. And for all of us, that should make us enough. We are only human. We are trying. And that is enough. Stagnation is the great life killer, not failure.
The proficient expert of failure
I feel like if I have a degree, that would be it. A worthy title of an unworthy son, who somehow botched success that was never ment for him. It took me a life time to understand that I have my own pace, my own life and my own worth. No one can say it’s wrong or invalid, unworthy, only the individual who walks his own life path can determine that. I failed so many times, more then I can count, that it should probably come as a surprise to myself if I succeed. But after all that was said and done, after all that failure, I feel serenity. And it confuses me. Where after so many wasted attempts I should feel doubt and sorrow, it is all substituted by confidence. Why? Perhaps when you get to know failure so many times, hope is etched deep in your mind, as that is the only thing remaining to be discovered, aspired and yearned for. Success. Perhaps tomorrow will come and I will not make it, but I must try for another day. Not to prove the ill mannered voices wrong, not to break the chains of toxic nature or nurture, not even to ease the suffering heart that beats in my chest. No. I must for the same reason we all have to. Worthiness is not determined by how many attempts it took us to make it, it is determined by how long we stood our ground while life threw bricks at our head. I must to prove, that after all I am still standing and I am still worthy of life.
I am breaking. A smile is harder to maintain, Feeling the cracks of the pressure that prevails, I find myself in an awkward position, Where the mask I wear is impossible to maintain.
My heart ripped apart, As my gut torn outside, I feel the invisible hand reaching, Finding nothing to pull out.
Hollow, My heart beats, Frozen, I stand in disbelief, Calm, My demeanor seems, But inside I cry myself to sleep.
To feel less then before, To shut my feelings of yore, I shove them back where they came, I want no part in their game. Sick of sorrow I stand my ground, To seek out what I found, The bitter truth and self relief, I hide it not, Put all hope to sleep. It’s hard to see, But the end of me.
Life as we know is gone. The once vivid city now stands abandoned. Earth became a wasteland, stripped of all life. Broken, confused, and in a desperate search for answers, one person still roams its desolate remains.
The Wanderer has no memories, no recollection of the events that led to the end of the world. All he sees are deserted buildings and the smoke that covers the sun.
While taking shelter in an abandoned house one night, the last man on Earth gets a knock on his door. He finds an unexpected guide in a woman who feels familiar.
Will he choose to keep traversing these lands, lost as before, or will he take her guidance to find the answers his heart so deeply desires?
Ah yes it is the season. The heat is dwindling down, the air is becoming more and more breathable as the world somehow seems to plunge itself more and more into an apocalypse, I emerge from the shadows of my day job that kept me clenched for the last few months as I can roam around a bit more freely. Not yet entirely off my chain, as there is still so much to do, but now I can muster enough strength to get up and actually write something. Not just that, as I abandoned my duties, feeling the immense guilt hovering over me, I try to make myself feel good about my so called profession (as it is still hard for me to consider myself a full pledged writer) and I dive deep into the query trenches with my fellow colleagues, ready to get hurt again. But my oh my, have I forgotten the sweet and somber taste of tears as you wake up and see that one mail notification, not really having the strength to open it as you may presume what answer came in so quickly. But then again, they say writing a book is the easiest part of our journey, of our job and this I take, is one of the more heartbreaking ones.
I am ready to get hurt again
I am well aware I have been lacking when it comes to my duties as a writer. The future is still there, ready to be made, as I make plans and sacrifices that I meticulously preform, I decided it was best to step back from writing as I needed to focus on my day job and get the most out of it financially as I will be quitting it in the following months and moving away. That for one is a moment I can not wait, but until it comes I need to persevere, stand my ground solidly, keeping my head cool and composed, as now with more time on my hands I can get back to doing what I love, what I feel was brought here to do in the first place. So this year was immense for me, not just because of the terrifying notion of the changing future, but as the great start of my writing career. The blog is still going strong and I will be doing more here as I promised, but in this year alone my first book was published, “The Lonesome Road”, and I have finished writing my third book called “Equinox”. So with time on my hand, I slowly began sending queries, forgetting the pain that experience brings with. Ah, the rejection, the anxiety and depression of that one mail, where you know well that the majority will be denied. I was ready, so I thought, as I sent only few out and the other day got only one response that was quicker then I would predict. When you do this few times you get to know that getting a response so quick can never mean anything positive and surely, as I opened my mail after pondering on the question do I want to know what’s in it, I mustered the remaining strength and saw the rejection. Did I predict it? Most definitely, as this is not my first ride and I know how hard it is to get some attention with it. Did it sting never the less? Oh, as a dagger plunged in my heart. You see, there is something in it, where you prepare yourself for it, make your own mind understand it will be a process, that only the rare ones get it resolved so quickly and you practically sit down with yourself and talk to your mind and heart that we are bound to get hurt and that is OK, it’s perfectly fine and normal and yet again it doesn’t diminish the pain recieved. There is some consistency about it I reckon, where it will awake the doubts that you try to keep silent, making yourself question your capabilities as a writer, with the usual questions am I good enough. But one thing is funny to me. I really am at peace. Without pressure I go back down, with all of you my fellow colleagues, down back at the trenches, not losing hope, while accepting the pain od denial, knowing well that what I have in my hands, the work of my mind and heart, is valuable and it will find a pair of eyes that will appreciate it.
To live is to learn
I always say querying is an art form. Something, same as writing, you must master. And I can see that in my case. I compare it, when I started, with my first manuscript and how it went to now and I can see the difference in the approach of querying and even writing. In this profession you always learn something, you always upgrade your skill and I can see that, but what I found the most curious is how my mind set changed. When I first tried to query, I remember the constant rejection, the pain caused from it, how it made me doubt that I was stupid to think in the first place I could be a writer. But now, after everything, the confidence and self belief is astonishing. Especially with someone who battled with mental health issues for most of his life, I am surprised to why do I feel this sudden surge of confidence and serenity. It is almost worrying as I am not used to it. But I guess it comes with age, with experience, with life. After getting through so many mistakes, perhaps it is possible that even I, began to learn from them. Perhaps when we find our purpose, when we find something we love to do, we find ourselves. Maybe in writing more so, as we writers, orchestrates of events and tellers of tales and life, put a part of ourselves in the stories we create and with it comes an instinct to protect and nurture the thing we put out, as it contains our soul. Confidence comes from experience, yes, but it also is created, as no one is born with it. As we are able to create whole new worlds, so we are able to create the self belief necessary to put our faith in them.
The story that the mind holds
Now I am in the toughest position for a writer. I know I have a good manuscript which I need to send out, having the “The Lonesome Road” out which I need to promote, my heart right now cries for new stories to be made. It always pulls you away, the things you want to create, the worlds and tales you wish to present to the world, but I must stay consistent, as that is I feel the thing I lack, the thing that authors need to possess, consistency. I have this idea, which I talked about before here, a series that I want to create which has been in my head for decades now. But fear that I lack the experience to give the story justice prevents me to put it on paper. So perhaps one more project before that one is due, as I slowly started to write few words about it, then we take on the dream. Like I pointed out, with each story we gain experience, learning something new and valuable and for this dream to be put into writing I feel I need to be prepared. So before I take it on, one more manuscript will be written and I feel I will possess enough confidence to do that dream justice. But until then? I am not losing hope. The belief and trust in my capabilities are still there, more mature, more consistent. Right now I will continue to crawl in the trenches of querying, eat the mud and tears as I know that even from that I will gain valuable experience and knowledge. I am confident that Equinox will be accepted, but until then I commit myself to my duties to this blog, to my ongoing projects that are out, not losing faith, never losing hope and slowly making my return to the fold. Much love to you all beautiful people,
If you want to witness the start of my journey and give my first book a shot, here is the link for “The Lonesome Road”, you can find out more about it.