Finding myself suddenly unchained from a giant wall in front of me, I was surrounded by the overwhelming sensation that what I saw were mere representations of what was indeed reality. Until moments ago, I had thought my life my own, now understanding that it was all, in fact, a lie. All around me were people…millions of them, all without faces, all chained to the same wall I was released from, seeing the same distortions I saw as reality.
Each person had a bronze collar around his neck, myself included. While it was my greatest fear, my greatest curiosity was what was projecting these distortions, now looking like simple shadows as I drew farther back from the crowd. The only decision now was to turn and face whatever it was that had been blinding me all these years. As I turned, I truly was blinded by some massive light; I immediately dropped to the ground, into the shadows of what seemed to be a great wall.
The wall was quite high, and appeared at first to be unscalable. There was no life anywhere now, far from the clutches of the fetters, now faced with the horrible reality that was a new wall. As I sat, looking up at the wall, I gazed down at what were once my fellow comrades, still chained to the massive wall. The shadows were easier to view now, and I began to realize that the shapes were indeed men, but they were not accurate representations. This, obviously, was a device of control.
Upon this realization, I looked to my left to see a ladder leading up to the upper rampart. I climbed over the wall into a great causeway, filled with all sorts of traffic; hideously ugly faces adorned every soul, each with a silver collar which, unbeknownst to me, also became the color of my own. Some had great armor, others great wealth, but all were obviously driven by one thing: an endless and futile cycle in the quest for power, actions strangely reminiscent of the shadows projected onto the previous wall.
In order to move beyond the battlement, I was forced into their midst, attempting to disguise myself as best I could, moving as quickly as I could beyond their midst to the far edge of the wall which led into cliffs which seemed to be endless, with the great light at the top. I began to scale it, and while I was at first panicked by the threats made by the silver souls below me, but they soon began quarreling among themselves as to who would have the honor of capturing me, and by the time I was halfway up the wall they had forgotten about me completely and concentrated on their greed. I continued to climb towards the light.
It was as I scaled this cliff that I began to understand the light, until suddenly I was upon the crest of the high cliff. As I pulled myself over the ledge, I was immediately stunned by the colossal blaze that was in front of me; it was as if as soon as I noticed it, it was prompted to enlarge and come towards me. At this point there were two choices – jump and die or fight the fire. There was no fighting the fire, there was only the fight of the soul, the barriers of rationale and logic all began to crumble inside my mind as I charged through the inferno.
As soon as I was on the other side of the fire, and through it, I turned around to look at what I had passed, but saw nothing, as the fire appeared to no longer be there. While this puzzled me, it would all be understood soon, as I would find my way out of this cave. The only way was, “up.”
The journey lasted forever, being confined in a single moment, as I began to understand that what I had known was useless in the rest of the cave, and that I was continuing to unlearn, while at the same time taking it all in as I climbed. Soon, or perhaps longer than that, I saw a glimpse of a crack in the distance. As I approached it, I found it was indeed a hole to the surface.
I climbed out of the cave into the sunlight, basking in its warm rays and healing wisdom – suddenly everything made sense – I knew what I had to do, and it couldn’t be more ironic. A golden collar now shone in the sun. Just as I was suddenly enlightened, I was as suddenly depressed about that enlightenment, with no one to share it with and appreciate. Thus begins the second part of my journey…the ride that, to me, was to the bottom of an endless pit. Where I had slowly climbed into the light, I quickly jumped back down the hole, making a strong charge down the mountain.
The fire still looked extinguished, so I began to attempt to relight it. To no avail, I decided perhaps I didn’t need the fire, so I walked towards the edge, turning around to see that the fire was indeed still lit, I just couldn’t see it from the other side. I stared at it, thinking of the sun and how much purer and warmer it was, and how I missed those fleeting minutes of euphoria on the surface. Jumping off the cliff, I planted my feet onto the rock and slid down the slope to where I first had my silver collar. But for some reason, my collar maintained its golden hue, and I was stunned as I climbed back over the rampart into the causeway, finding that my gold collar allowed me to selectively invisible to these souls.
Panic struck, as I realized I now had a choice. At first, I thought I could stay on the battlement and attempt to cast proper shadows on the wall to enlighten the masses, but this was not in the cards. I knew the light was false, so any shadows made from it would be equally false. At the same time, the bronze souls were all so dependant on the shadows themselves that I couldn’t destroy the fortification, and so I found myself with only one possible alterative.
I hopped over the wall, back onto the ladder leading into the shadows, sliding down into what now felt like a great abyss; the fall lasted a lifetime, or perhaps just a moment, in the cave one can never be certain of these things. Gazing towards the wall, I knew exactly what I must do, the only task that I was suited for. Approaching the wall, I took my shackles and cuffed my wrists, gold collar shining from the shadows, in the hopes that someday, somehow, I could help the faceless sea to unshackle themselves.
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