Monday, March 2, 2009

Illumination--The Finale

Adam, having decided to journey on his own, is now about to venture on his own path, based on the advice of Chicane. One might anticipate how well this will turn out...

Illumination, the Finale.

After a while, the forest started to close in on him, but enough light remained to stay on the path. Without realization, he traveled deep into the forest and deeper into the darkness. Adam continued without hesitation, for he was a man, and he could make his own way. The darkness had completely surrounded him, causing him to stumble as he fought to see the light. Before long, he was groping on hands and knees, searching for the way. He could not turn back, for back and front had long ago merged into the same. He was completely lost, without hope of redemption. He leaned against a tree and decided to wait until light came to him before continuing.

Something seemed vaguely familiar about his surroundings. Had he been in this place before? How could he know, for even his hands were unseen by him? If only he had a way to find the path. He leaned back to think. Once, long ago, he had met a man that offered to help him. What was his name? There had been two men. One had helped him and the other… He couldn’t remember. To great a time had passed and his memory seemed askew by the darkness. Adam forced himself to think, to remember the name of his friend. He was growing sleepy; maybe he should rest for a while before continuing. His eyes closed and he began to relax. Sleep seemed to beckon him, seducing him to let go. He began to drift away, to let go of his surroundings…

Caminero! That was the name of his friend. The thought of the name brought him out of his sleep. Had he been asleep, or only near it? He couldn’t be sure. Caminero. Such an odd name, one he had never heard before. It was on his lips and he spoke aloud before realizing that he had spoken. “Caminero.”

The darkness began to squeeze around him, causing him to loose breath, as if a chain was coiling about him, like a serpent. The darkness had fingers, sticky fingers that reached to subdue him. Terror seized his voice; he was unable to think. “Camin…” Words would not form on his lips. “Cam…” If only he could call for help. Perhaps it was too late, just as he was warned. Mustering all his strength, he cried out in a last effort, “Caminero!”

A light pierce through the darkness, causing the ebony around him to flee. A man stood before him with a lamp. It was Caminero! “My friend, you have come to me!”

“Of course. You only had to call out to me.” He held the lamp closer to Adam, “Can you see to walk?”

“Only by your light.”

“That is what light is for. Follow me; we have a long journey ahead.”

“But Sir,” Adam inquired. “What will I owe you for your help?”

“You owe me nothing that you can pay now. Come with me at once, lest you die in the darkness.”

“Sir, there are many dangers in the forest. A serpent almost killed me just now.”
Caminero held the lamp closer to himself and the light reflected off a long sword attached to his cloak. “Fear not, my friend, for I am skilled in the art of war.” He turned and walked into the darkness. “The way is very close.”

Adam did not hesitate to follow as closely as he could. The light was with Caminero, illuminating his every step; for him the path was clear. Adam could only follow with each step immediately following his guide. Suddenly, the woods cleared and they stood in a large meadow. Adam stopped in disbelief. “I have stood here before.”

“When you left me you returned to the dark path, rather than follow me into the light.”

Adam pointed ahead. “But I followed that path in the light. It’s a trick! I followed your direction after you left.”

“But you did not follow me, only where you thought I went.”

Adam surveyed his surroundings. “Are we alone?”

“Whom do you expect?”

“I am not sure, but I seem to remember another person. My memory is so dark, I can’t see clearly into my past. It’s a tangle of broken promises and deceit.”

“Then you are remembering yourself.”

“What does that mean?”

“Your heart is full of deceit, for you are a liar.”

Adam leaned forward, indignant. “My word is my bond, I have never told a lie.”
“Do you remember when I found you in the woods? You said that you would follow me as long as you have the means.”

Adam was silent for a moment. “Well, one lie does not a liar make.”

“Very well, then how many lies does it take in order to make one a liar? Ten? Twenty five? At what point is one no longer truthful? Are you truthful when you tell your first lie?”

“No, but…” Adam hesitated, looking down at his feet. “Sir, I can see that I am wrong. I did lie to you, but not with the intention of deceiving you.”

“No matter.” Caminero waved him off. “The lie was a matter of convenience for you. You might not have deliberately lied, but the truth was violated just the same.”

“I am truly sorry for lying to you. It won’t happen again.” He paused and sat on a large rock nearby. “Fortunately, that is the only time I wronged you, you are a hard one to please.”

“You also adulterated our relationship. You had fully devoted yourself to my service, yet you abandoned me to pursue your own wishes. In doing so, you chose to serve yourself. I see your selfishness as idolizing only yourself.”

Adam lowered his head. “Sir, I see that I am wrong, I am guilty of offending you. My heart is pierced with shame.”

“Then you have a choice to make. You have to make a commitment to me before we can walk in the light together. You must abandon your old path forever, never to return. Forever more, you can only walk where I lead you, and you can only move when I tell you. You are giving me your life. In exchange, I will give you mine. I will give you a pardon for violating my laws.”

“Sir, I have no knowledge of your laws.”

“Before you started your journey, I wrote the laws on your heart. Otherwise, you would not have felt guilt for those you violated.”

“Sir, I would not have violated your laws, except that I was lied to, I was deceived.”

“No matter. Only you have the ability to make the choice. You choose to either believe or reject a lie. You chose poorly last time; you were very selfish. Now you must choose again. Follow me at the cost of your life, or follow your own path at the cost of death.”

Caminero’s intense stare was penetrating Adam’s heart, his very soul. It was true. Adam was going to be required to sell his soul… “How can you expect me to give you my life? How can I continue?”

“You will pay either me or Chicane. If you pay me, then it will cost you your life. If you pay Chicane, then it will cost you death. You will die either way. Either die to yourself, or die to life. The choice is hard, for you have violated the law; a penalty must be paid. I will pay your penalty, but you must give me your life and become my servant.” Caminero looked deep into his eyes, but Adam had to look away. “When you give me your life, I will give it back to you.”

Adam had no argument. How was he to know that he was trespassing against a law he never saw in print? He had heard it said before, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Adam could see no way out, he had to commit his life to Caminero, or he would die in the darkness. “Very well, Sir. I surrender to you. I am unworthy of you paying for my crimes, but I am grateful for your benevolence. Where you lead, I will follow.”

Caminero produced a bag of water, which he handed to Adam. “I am sure that you thirst by now.”

Adam drank from the flask. Cold, clear water poured endlessly from the pouch. Adam drank, but could not be satisfied; yet, he could not be filled, either. He closed his eyes and drank. He had never been so thirsty in his life. When he opened his eyes, he could see the light; it was shining brightly on the path before him. Caminero motioned for him to follow. “Come, my brother, for we have a long journey ahead.” Adam followed his new master, grateful for the light on his path and the water in his hands.

The End

8 comments:

Avily Jerome said...

Nice!!!

Very cool story, Travis! Thanks for sharing it with us!

gzusfreek said...

I'm with AJ. Great story! Can't wait for the next one!

Billy Coffey said...

This just might be the best thing I've read from you yet.

Well done.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

I really enjoyed it too! Thanks for the post.

Alison Bryant said...

Why do you have to write things that are convicting? It's really inconvenient.

Actually, it reminds me a lot of a book I'm reading: "Get Out of That Pit" by Beth Moore. Neither you nor she sugarcoats the truth. One of the lines here hits on a big source of my trouble and, I suspect, the source of trouble for many people..."Adam continued without hesitation, for he was a man, and he could make his own way." Ouch.

This story also continues your tradition of effective verbal debate and exchange and the use of meaningful names. Kudos!

Sockrma18 said...

WELL DONE!!! I really like the way you write....don't like how you TEASE with writing a little bit here and there though! :0)

Keep at it! Looking forward to the next!

Travis said...

My friends, you are a source of strength to me, and I dearly value your comments.
Avily, KM -- Thanks so much. I'll post something soon, when I have a little more free time.

Billy--I can't tell you how much that means to me. Thanks!

Rosslyn--Thanks so much for stopping by. Your thoughts are always appreciated.

Alison--I know you really appreciate the hidden meaning of words and word play. I expect to see some of that in the novel you're working on right now!

Sockerma--You rock! Thanks for the encouragement.

Talkin' Texan said...

I admire anybody that can write fiction. I can't come up with anything that goes anywhere, says anything, or makes any sense. Good job.