my feathers, blacker than the air around me, rip through the rain and wind of the storm-tossed night.  closing fast on the forest, i fold my wings slightly, and plunge beneath the thrashing canopy.  angling my body, i weave between trunks and around branches, my entire being focussed on my path between and around every unseen obstruction.  the only illumination to aid my way is the lightning that forks and spears through the roiling clouds above.  it does so as i reach my destination.  the trees open to form a clearing around a lake and, as i drop to the shore, sucking my feathers back into my limbs, it lights the seething curtains of rain. hair straggling and plastered to my goosefleshed limbs, i fall forward to my hands and knees, heaving and sobbing the pain that radiates from my core, threatening to engulf my soul and draw me into nothing – crushed in my very own black hole.  crawling forward, voice raw and face distorted by grief, i drag myself to the water.  lightning flashes once more, thunder following hard on its heels – the ear-splitting crack and rolling roar drowns out my howl of despair as my momentary reflection is not me, but you.  your eyes hold your raw and bleeding soul, your grief deeper and wider than i ever thought possible.  softly, now, silently, i lower my body and slither deep into the black water.  opening my mouth, i draw it as far into my lungs as i possibly can.  the millstone of my horror and self-loathing drag me through the endless dephs, and i welcome the water’s crushing embrace.

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