Elijah Trouba
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Pilgrimage of the Wasteland

The beaked prophet beckons.

A man awoke in a dizzying haze on a hard, chalky, bleached white, ground and saw everything in a bright blur before his vision came back. He felt the hot sun beating down on him which was the only thing he could see that was wholly familiar. Everywhere else he looked was nothing but a vast rolling landscape of white that reflected the brightly burning light of the sun into his eyes.

The confused, and now slightly frightened, man did the only thing that he could. He stands, suddenly feeling light-headed which lasted only for a few moments, and began to walk in a random direction unaware of where he was. He walked over small hills, which from a distance looked like waves on the sea caked over by white sea-foam. And the sky which held the only familiar thing, the sun, had a light silver shine to it like liquid mercury. Noticing this made the sun feel a little less ordinary and more alien.

As the man roamed he felt an unnatural rhythmic feeling breeze pulsing onto him, but what made this breeze strange was that it didn't come from a lateral angle but a straight vertical edge down on him. It would last for a moment then abruptly stop for double the amount of time it stayed.

His pathless pilgrimage continued like this for hours but what felt like days to the dry roaming stranger. But then he started to hear something, and when he first noticed the sound, it sent a chill through him, and he was frozen in fear thinking it was a desert snake. He looked around slowly but saw nothing, then reassured himself by searching again. Seeing nothing anywhere around him and continued slowly then back to the tired stumbling but that same sound only kept when the strange vertical breeze breathed down on him.

The breeze began to blow harder as he stumbled tired and weak through the wasteland and as it swept harder down along came the jumbled sound becoming louder and more prominent, and he could have sworn it sounded more like whispers but so quiet and continues that he could not tell which began and which ended. The whispering sound was nearly maddening and gave him a splitting headache. It went on for hours, both wind and whispers continually getting stronger and more violent. Then, the man saw something, a familiar shape; it lied face down, it was another person. He ran to the fellow human yelling, "Thank god I'm not alone in this wasteland," completely ignoring the red marking or scribblings spread around them. He turned the other human over on its back. Its eyes and mouth were open wide. "Hey wake up, we need to reach the end, we must reach the others," he said over and over to the fellow human not noticing or simply ignoring the red stained hands and the deep gashes in its arms. He picked up his new sleeping friend and dragged it over his shoulders. "Don't worry I'll take you with me, we all have to be there, the whispers from the sun told me," he would whisper to his wide-eyed friend.

He still paid no attention to the red scribblings sprawled around where his friend was sleeping and continued to stumble on his pilgrimage to an unknown destination, trudging farther and farther into the bleached white void of rolling, grainy, and chalky hills. As he carried his new friend, he would have small conversations, mostly of him mumbling and rambling to himself. At one point he got upset over a minor disagreement with his sleeping friend and landed a strong punch on his pale, dry, friends lower jaw, fracturing and unhinging the jaw, which then ended with him apologizing and regretting what he had done to his only friend in this vast wasteland.

Though he was not alone the winds never stopped and the whispers, the whispers never stopped now, even with the wind stopping in its frequent intervals of wiping their clothes down and whirling the chalky dust around them. Though the hints may have been coming from everywhere, they sounded louder when he looked in a direction. That is how he knew where he was going, where everyone else was. He followed the whispers over the rolling white hills till he came to a shallow valley that was smooth on its sides. In that cavity were more friends sleeping in all different positions also surrounded with red scribbles spread around them.

"We made it friend, we found everyone else," he said slightly hypnotized by the vastness of the bed then he stumbled down the steep wall still carrying his sleeping friend over his shoulders, nearly tripping and tumbling down. He greeted each of the asleep friends as he stepped over them, who would welcome him with their stretched open mouth and eyes, and excused himself when he would accidentally kick or stumble between a few of them. He wandered through the vast bed of sleepers with his friend he had carried with him till he found a spot for it and a few yards away from his friend was a spot for himself.

"They wrote its name then rested and so shall we, my friend," he muttered to himself. He then knelt down onto his knees on the hard chalky flat ground. He then proceeded to dig into the crook of his arm trying to get to the red ink that flowed through him, the wind had stopped, but the whispers were now shrill screeching hisses. It was barely understandable, but the hissing was the same demonic jumble of words as it was when it was only a whisper. He felt the whispers telling him to write its name in the red ink. he picked and scratched at his flesh with long yellow nails like an ink black raven pecking at a rotting discarded corps. He broke the fleshy wall and the red ink leaked from the wide open gash, he smiled in satisfaction at his work now he could right its name like the whispers told him and the same to all the other friends around him. He dug his long yellow nail into his arm and pulled it out dripping with red ink and began to scribble its name over and over till he ran out of the worm ink in his arm. Then he did the same to his other arm, but with his teeth; he was unable to use his other arm, for it had fallen asleep. His work was nearly complete; he scribbled the name over and over again sprawled all around him as his friends did with the red ink running down his arm and dripping off his now long, crusty, brown nail. When that arm fell asleep, he knew there was only one last thing he needed to do till he could fall asleep as his friends did before him. He looked at the silver sky and its alien sun and screamed. He screamed with eyes and mouth open wide. He screamed its name over and over and over. 

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