From the ashes the phoenix rises
I feel a defining moment coming on as we approach crossroads on our way to liberate town. At the same time I’m at crossroads to liberate myself from the fear, guilt, self pity and an over inflated sense of myself that I’ve masked, but can’t hide, now I’ve been found wanting. The fear of losing Sarah, the guilt of not being there to save her and the self pity I feel because of it. As for my big head, well! Taking pride in my appearance, who am I trying to kid, full of myself more like it? My pride has been my nemesis for as long as I can remember, fist fights, lost opportunities, and heartache. All those times I thought it was protecting me when really it was stunting my growth mentally, emotionally and socially. I’ve finally been given the opportunity to shock myself into taking a good look at my actions and their possible consequences because this time around the stakes are the highest they have ever been and I can’t just sweep them under the carpet like so many times before. The denial of my human failings has now been exposed like the raw nerve of a decaying tooth and it’s time for a root canal.
They manifested again in the childish and self absorbed way I acted when I searched our home (that had been burnt to the ground) for Sarah’s body, especially believing that I could shoulder charge a meteor that’s as solid as a tank. My “so called” love for Sarah has me swimming against the tide while Yin is laughing all the way to world domination. It’s a selfish love and I don’t intend to feed it any longer. I should’ve been happy for Sarah if the meteor had taken her life; at least it would’ve been quick and painless. Instead, all I could think about was how I wouldn’t see her again and the heartache I’d go through losing her, when all the while she could be suffering a fate far worse than death.
The way I snapped at Jasmine was downright rude too. Controlled by Yin? Hell I’m acting like him, acting like a spoilt brat who just threw his toys out of the cot because he wasn’t getting his own way. I may be the product of a loving environment but I’m also the product of a narcissistic environment that heralded me king of the land. Accept now I have been over thrown by a merciless tyrant who’s raped and pillaged my land and demoted me to court jester. It’s time to wake up to myself and the smell the bullshit I’ve been spinning. At this point in time I’ve been my own worst enemy and no threat to Yin at all but that’s all about to change. My main goal as of now is too end Yin’s reign of terror and bring anyone who sympathies with him to their knees.
This change of attitude and the thoughts associated with them have my brain working overtime as we pass something that resembles a flattened car underneath a pair of cold, black and lifeless meteors. The metal body of the car must have drained the heat and life from them. I see this as an omen that will favour us in our war against Yin and I hope that Yin, like the meteor will underestimate his victim because of his own over inflated sense of himself and go into our next battle blindly. I realize he has already tested me with the trucks and was impressed even though I came up short of a victory but he can’t get into my head as I am an old soul per se. Giving me the element of surprise.
I spare a thought for the occupants of the car as Jasmine cruises through the crossroads without hesitation and that’s exactly the mindset that I need to adopt. I can’t hesitate and let my emotions hold us back any longer. Yin will probably know how much I love Sarah as he has already taken control of her and no doubt probed her memory. He will try and break me by torturing her or by making me believe she is not under his control, then have her turn on me. Well that’s where he is sorely wrong. I know this is what Sarah would want to. She’s always been a free spirit and wouldn’t want to be held captive in her own mind whether or not she’s in a happy place. Given the option I know she would welcome death knowing that she would be free, even if it means nothingness. I know that if we cross paths I will have to take her life to set her free which means I have to stay strong and stead-fast in my resolve. I have to see this as a mercy killing and take my emotions out of the equation and that is exactly what I propose to do.
I feel like I should be battling with my decision but to tell the truth my purpose and direction in life have never been clearer. My mental breakdown has me seeing life with a new clarity. Like a dirty windshield, my path ahead was obscured by all the grime I’ve collected over the years and like the rain, my tears washed away all that dirt and grime to expose a clear road ahead. With my personal and interpersonal demons exercised and the ties that bind me to society severed I fell like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders. I also have this strange feeling that I’ve been holding out for this moment in time all my life. It’s like I’ve been waiting in the wings for my call to enter centre stage too put on the performance of my life. Slay the evil villain, woo the audience and have everyone home safely and in time for supper.
The first thing I need to do is apologize to Jasmine for my disturbing behaviour.
The reply to my thought startles me. I jump with fright causing the rear end of the moped to wobble and lose control momentarily. Jasmine skilfully steadies the ship and has us on course once again.
Hahahahah! Careful tough guy or you'll do us both a mischief.
Shit that was close!
Where the hell did those thoughts come from? They sure as hell weren’t mine!
They came from me, you numb-skull!
The one and only.
You got that right.
You gave me a fright!
I noticed, didn’t you recognize my voice?
Yeah, sorry about that, I’m not use to having a party line in my head. Besides you sound different on the “headphone”.
Nice use of words there Steve, so I’m guessing you’re in a better mood now?
Yeah, well you’ve already accepted my apology before I could voice it in the normal way and I guess you heard the rest with your “minds ear”?
“Minds ear”, I like that, and here I was thinking you knew nothing about psychic abilities?
Only what I’ve heard in passing.
Well, you’re either a good listener or secretly interested?
I must admit that the topic can fuel a good debate, dam this is weird!
Try closing your eyes; it makes it easier to concentrate.
I hope your eyes aren’t closed!
Of course they are.
I can open them if you’d prefer?
Yeah, I’d appreciate that... What the hell are you doing!?
I’m opening my eyes.
No! Why are you standing on the seat?!
I’m turning round.
So you can see my eyes are open, seeing is believing, remember?
I don’t need to see your eyes open; I need to know they’re on the road!
But you don’t trust me.
Where going to crash!!
O.k. I trust you, now turn around and face the road, please. No! Don’t sit down!
Didn’t you know that women can multi task?
O.k. I’m going to close my eyes now.
Wake me up when we “hit” town.
As you wish master.
Great now she thinks she’s a “Jeanie” too.
I’m still here you know.
Oh yeah, there you are, what’s that silly grin for?
You know you really should be careful what you think.
Sorry but I’m a virgin when it comes to sharing my private thoughts.
Its o.k., I’ll be gentle.
What’s that on the road?
It looks like skid marks.
How do you know, you can’t see?
But you can.
Great! Do you want the shirt off my back too!?
Blame yourself, you invited me in when you thought about me and “yes” you were very rude and still are.
o.k., I get the picture, the skid marks?
Jasmine winks at me and leaps onto her seat in a single bound, turns one hundred and eighty degrees on the spot and drops back onto the seat in one fluid motion. She slows down and veers off the road where the skid marks exist onto the grass verge. Then carefully steers her way through the busted up fencing and barbed wire, lighting up the fateful trial. The deep trenches that scar the ground soon turn into chewed up dirt and grass. There’s a short pause in the destruction before the chews turn into bites, with big hunks of earth being ripped from terra firma and spat out at random leaving behind a series of capping cavities. My thoughts of this being a rescue mission are becoming less likely as by the pot hole.
My fears are realized as we stumble upon a horrendous crash scene. A light coloured four wheel drive truck lays at rest on its roof with the passenger’s side facing us. The roof is caved in and everything in and around the wreck is still and silent. With my hopes dashed I take my time to hop off the moped and survey it, knowing quite well what I’m about to see won’t be pretty.
“There’s no life here Steve.” Jasmine says knowingly.
“Yeah, I sort of gathered that but if you don’t mind I’d like to be sure, for my own peace of mind.” I reply kindly.
“O.k. but you’ll need to brace yourself.”
“I know.” I answer compassionately.
It’s the old saying “where there’s life there’s hope” not curiosity that drives me this time as I walk cautiously up to the trucks front passenger window not knowing what to expect. This could be some sort of trap for all I know, although Jasmine would've alerted me by now if it was and as far as I can tell this isn't one of Yin's V8's. So I’m assuming a human was in control and even though there doesn't seem to be any movement inside I can't dismiss the idea of someone being alive but unconscious.
I lie down and peer into the narrow opening where the window used to be. With the small amount of light shining through I can barely see, "SHIT!" Shocked, I move my head back sharply trying to distance myself from the white, pupil-less eye staring back at me.
"Are you alright?" Jasmine asks calmly
"Yeah, I’m fine, I just need some more light" I lie in reply, my pride not completely dissolved.
Without delay the entire inside of the truck lights up leaving no shadow unturned.
"That’s great, how'd you...don't worry." I say knowing I won't comprehend the answer.
"Your welcome." jasmine replies casually.
With the interior of the truck lit up like a sunny day I move forward for another look knowing that any new surprises will have nowhere to hide. Now I can see everything in fine detail but the cab is tightly cramped after being slammed into the ground time after time on its death roll. The back of the person's head is hard up against the crushed roof and at ninety degrees to their back, their spinal cord has broken through the skin at the bend and the aorta has been torn open releasing all their precious blood. The pale skin and contorted skull make the person’s face unrecognizable as human and more like a monster. That and the smell of rotten meat denies this individual the dignity they deserve, and has me feeling queasy, so I back out, sit up and take a deep breath of fresh air.
I store my emotions away for a quiet and personal time then make my way to the driver’s side of the wreck, almost certain that I am going to find a similar grotesque figure that only hours ago walked, talked, drew breath, thought and loved. Much to my disappointment I was right accept the air bag had deployed, fat lot of use that was. Last but not least I’ll check the back seat. The rear of the cab hasn’t been crushed as bad as the front part which gives me a little slice of hope for anyone that may have been unlucky enough to have taken this ride down a nowhere road.
I let out a big anxious sigh as I crouch down, my heart pumping faster from the anticipation of what the last section of the cab will bring to light. My worst fears are realized as my mind catches up with my sight. The body of a child hangs upside down like a puppet on strings, suspended from his seat belt. The sheer force of the accident has left his fragile little body twisted out of shape. Like the passenger his eyes have rolled back into his head although his expression is somewhat peaceful. I reach out and touch his arm as a comforting gesture only to find that rigor mortis has frozen him in time. A tear escapes from one eye as I avert my attention to the ground, hoping that if I stare at it long enough the image burnt into my mind will somehow magically vanish.
I have to think of something else to simmer the emotions brewing inside me. My thoughts cut to better days with Sarah, but I can’t muster any solace there either, I can't push past images of me slaying her and the sadness I see in her eyes as I do. I feel myself spiralling down into a pit of endless despair. I have to get a grip and fast. My will makes a gallant stand as I grab a section of the truck below the window in an attempt to release some tension without making a scene. But my anger and hurt bubble and toil within me as my grip around the fatigued metal tightens. My fingers curl inwards towards my palms taking with them the crumpling truck body like it was made of aluminium cans. All my negative energy is focused into a ball of raw power that originates in my gut and explodes through every muscle in my body as I let out a primal ROAR! lifting the Truck up and over in one swift motion.
It lands on four wheels like a cat as the pure adrenaline cursing through my veins has me on a surreal high making me believe I’m invincible. I breath in copious amounts of oxygen to feed my over worked muscles as I stare blankly at the up turned wreck In front of me. Slowly but surely my breathing starts to regulate at a normal rate as I come down from mount Olympus and back to earth.
“What the hell just happened!?” I ask myself out loud while staring back and forth between both my arms, expecting them to be huge and green with veins popping out all over the show. But they’re still plain old white albeit a little more inflated than usual.
“Jasmine…, what the hell just happened!”
I notice the bright light in the truck’s cab shut off, pulling the curtain down for the last time on the acts of all its occupants, may they rest in peace... Simultaneously the light on the moped comes to life and points in my direction. I look into the light as it’s the only thing I can see in the surrounding darkness, but it’s blinding.
“Jasmine, is that you? Talk to me.”I blurt out firmly while covering my face from the annoying light. The light from the moped blinks out and there is a slight pause in time while I stand in complete silence with darkness all around. Without warning Jasmine materializes a few feet away from me like she stepped out of a room that has no windows and into the radiance of a full moon, taking on the appearance of a porcelain doll. She’s so luminous that I almost have to shield my eyes again. I instinctively search the night sky for the source of light but the moon is nowhere to be found. I turn back to Jasmine who is about a foot away and staring at me with admiration. She looks quite chilling with her inquisitive stare and pale white glow that's radiating from within her. I want to break the silence for some normality but she pre-empts me.
“Like the phoenix he rises from the ashes.”…
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