Lying alone in this irksome forest, my eyes closed, yet my mind wide awake. I hate it here. I loathe it here. Every aspect of it a decaying mass. But what is this now that drifts so low I can feel it brush against my nose? Golden feather, yellow feather. Glorious, iridescent feather. Where have you come from? Holding it against me, feeling its biting touch, its fragrant smell. Inside my mouth it tastes of Heaven, if it does indeed exist. Then all is black. I’m no longer present. Where have I gone?
No, I’m here, I’m still alive.
The vibrant colors that flow back and forth beckon me.
Come, follow us, they seem to chant with childlike voices dipped in evil harmony.
There it is. I know I must go. A gate, so rusty yet once must have been of pure gold.
Perhaps, this is it. My Heaven. This portal that I have been seeking all a long. I’ll take a look.
If I don’t like it, surely then I can return.
Ah, but the gate swings closed. It’s sealed tight. It won’t even budge despite my might.
Don’t be afraid! Come! They cry. Those little wispy joys that pulse such a radiance so divine.
I follow them, deeper into the light. I find myself grateful my egress has betrayed me.
Sugary sweet, lustful, and spirited. My mind is blasted with every alluring secret.
I spin, I twirl, on this never ending high. I will never come down, what a far better life.
I can float, I can fly, I feel no pain. I dance and dance and open my arms to embrace this Arcadia.
But what is this that whimpers underneath that vast array of brilliance?
Oh no, they say. Come play! Come play! They shout and cry. And pull me far away.
But again, it’s there, a sickening moan.
A familiar sob that sends shivers down the warmth of my spine.
I draw so close I can feel it near. The colors shrill and shriek in my ear.
Their grandeur now has dimmed and grayed. What I thought they were is now no more.
And there it lies beneath the dark, the vision of my own self, open mouthed and gaunt.
Lying in the forest she is alone. Her eyes aghast in blank stare.
Her lips tremble with a soundless word.
No longer splendor in the sky, but the darkening angry swirl of this deceptive storm.
I place my hand on that golden light that shines from those lips of death.
And with it I remove a single feather.
I’m still here. Lying alone in this welcoming forest, with open eyes and fingers grasping the ground. What is that brushing me, touching me, ever so lightly on my arm? It is the feather. Plain, colorless, bitter feather. A feather that I will take no more and watch it float away from me, through the beauty of this forest light. A beauty I have never seen before.