Wet leaves pick up on the cold wind; they glide slowly into the air before descending back to the ground. Trees sway with the weight of the subtle wind. Pebbles move slowly down small streams. Sounds of birds echo throughout the dense forest. Families of deer lay sleeping in the dim sunlight. Out in the shadows, a man stands still, coiling rugged rope around his hand firmly. Deep lines traverse his face, pale as the apparitions of the dead. His sunken eyes flow with salty tears, his hands caked in dry blood.
Wind circulates through the quiet house, warm and welcoming. Chests rise and fall to the rhythmic beat of the heart. Out in the corner, fragile hands grasp soft cloth. Rosy cheeks poke out of the tender care of the cradle. Smiling with the comfort of dreams, a man sleeps next to his betrothed. His betrothed lies gingerly curled up next to her husband. All is silent in the dead of the night. Quickly, without question, there is the sound of glass shattering. Shards of glass disperse in all directions before laying to a halt. With surprise the man wakes suddenly, shocked and confused. He jumps out of bed to investigate this event.
Silence ensues as the man walks toward a tree. Birds no longer chirp, deer no longer slumber, the trees no longer sway. Howling in distress, the wind dies away slowly. Slender and tall, the tree towers over the man below. Gripping with grim intent, the man scales the tree. His rough hands dig deep into the bark. Sounds of cracklings echo through the forest as branches snap beneath his weight. He grunts as his hands are ripped open with contact on the rough bark of the tree. He continues his ascent to the top.
Stairs groan as the man rushes down with fright. His hands curl up into tight fists, ready to strike. Cold wind bites his skin: cold turns his rigid skin pale. Doors crack under the pressure of the doubt, crying out with dismay. Screaming, the wind enters the house with dread. Solitary the roundabout stands. It beckons him forward to the scene. Grasping the corner with a gentle touch, the man looks around the corner. Draped firmly on the ground lays a fallen paladin of crystals, shattered and discarded. He stares on in awe, his gaze fixed with disbelief. He looks frantically in every direction, but not before he feels the cold grasp of metal against his head.
Birds flee in the opposite direction as the man breaks the surface. His hand tightens to the rope at his side. He stares out into the vast forest before him, his eyes reflect only black. His red hands begin to move as he slowly loops it around his sturdy neck. Rough and worn, it tears his already damaged skin. Tying the rope to the near continuous branch, he stares down at the floor below him.
The man’s eyes widen, his hands enclose into cramped fists. His brow sweats profusely. The sound of a click resonates through the hallway. Everything draws breath in anticipation. The man, in a last desperate resort, stomps on his assailant’s foot. His moment of satisfaction is short lived as he hears a loud sound echo in his ears. He stares down to his chest and sees in horror as the blood soaks his wrinkled flannel. Left to die, he collapses onto the glass filled hallway. Feet patter as they make their way to the man’s bedroom. A woman screams, one shot echoes. It is quiet. A baby cries, one shot echoes. It is silent. The barrel clicks once more, and one shot echoes.
His stare is as dark as the now morning sky. It skims the vast land beyond, searching it desperately. He looks to his left and sees a morning bird perched on a branch. Outstretching his hand, he attempts to stroke the bird. It stares deeply into his eyes before flying gracefully away. Never did it another thought. The man stares longingly at the bird before shifting his gaze to his chest. Blood is plastered across the already red fabric. His hand finds it’s way under his shirt and feels a gaping hole. It is crude but fine and clean. He removes his hand quickly, as if the wound stung him. Grunting, he stands up. A depth of appealed magnitude stands before him. Daunting…taunting… He looks up and whispers. It’s carried on the wind and forever lost. He leaps. The rope snaps and stays still.