Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Final Hour

                The man wafted upward as if carried by a pillow of smoke.  Roof no obstacle, he continued to rise high above the copse of redwood trees surrounding his home.  A feeling of serenity spread over him, growing along with his altitude.  The man’s crooked scowl morphed into a smile long past-due.
            A voice boomed from farther above, saying, “your time in this world is nearly spent.  I have granted you bliss, recent years forgiven.  You have one last hour here, although you alone know of it.  Use it wisely.”
            The man stared at the clouds wide-eyed.  His ascent had stopped when the speaker began, yet he wasn’t falling either.  He looked down at the ground thousands of feet below him and flailed, the effort jetting him forward.  “One last hour,” he said, and then added, “And I can fly.”  The smile returned.
            Tumbling through the air, the man zoomed north-west.  “I’ve always wanted to see the Aleutian Islands,” he remarked, although his choice of direction was more random than otherwise.  The forest below bled to beach and then to sea with what seemed to be successive blinks.
            A puff of tephra alerted the man of his position a several minutes later.  Stratovolcanoes were spread out in front of his tilted view.  The water below him was an angelic shade of crystal blue.  Descending, he reached his hand out to break the surface and awed at its warmth.
            The man shot into a climb, staggered by fits of laughter.  “To the Great Wall,” he shouted against the consequential wind while veering south-west.
            A mix of humble villages and smoggy factories littered the ground once the new continent was reached.  Not long after, a snake-like structure carving into mountains and woodlands emerged.  The man matched every turn for many miles.  “It’s magnificent,” the man said.  He wiped his eyes with the back of one hand.
            The man made a conscious effort to slow.  “Where next?” he pondered.  Glancing up, he arrived at a decision.  “Jerusalem.”
            Fertile land became arid and dusty.  The sky changed tone as well.  It was a soft orange when the Jordan broke into view.  The man knew his time was running short.  He high-tailed it to the largest settlement he could see, the place he realized was closest to his heart.
            The man didn’t know how he found it, he dropped and it was simply there, a little hill.  He landed at the top and gasped.  One moment­ there was nothing, the next—a cross.  On the ruff wood frame was mounted by a bearded figure wearing a crown of thorns.  The man dropped to his knees and wept.  “Thank you,” he muttered.  “Guide me to your house, my shepherd.”

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