What I Am
The burning sky falls across my back. I don’t dare look up; hot coals and liquid fire would melt my eyes. What I see with my eyes closed is no better. Sometimes I think straightening my crooked back and gazing into the cursed heavens would be a sweet release from the hell of my own mind. Then I remember. There is no escape from this.
I step forward–inch by damnable inch–allowing the razor-edged pebbles to burrow into the tender soles of my feet, which never toughen. I trail blood like a stuck pig, because that’s what I am. A dying animal, a wounded dog.
I am a sacrifice. I am a forgotten memory.
Who is there across this desert of molten rock and smoldering ash? Who is there above the red sky, raining acid and shit? The answer claws at my mind, but I can’t acknowledge this truth. To answer would be my end.
When I find the energy–the willpower–to look ahead, I find I’ve traveled no farther across the expanse. I turn, slowly for fear I will crumble, and see a browning blood trail soaked into the parched earth as far back as the horizon.
I would sit and rest, but what good would it do? Is there any release here? Any relief? I ask myself these questions, but don’t dare answer.
So I trudge on.
I am a mistake. I am a question never answered. I am God, Satan, and everything in between.
A devastating cough tumbles through me. My body spasms with effort and blood splatters my lips. I wipe it away and wish for water, which is only a word to me now. I try to remember what water felt like on my tongue, running down my throat. But it’s lost to me, like everything else.
I would wish for death if I thought I could die. I would wish for relief if I thought it existed. But nothing exists here except for pain and anguish.
I am an open wound, a lost soul. I am a contradiction.
I did nothing wrong, and I did everything wrong. I deserve this hell, and I don’t. Salvation is always just out of reach, and there’s always just enough hope left to make me continue walking. Over the next hill, past the next fallen log. Through the searing pain and unrealized wishes, I go on.
I will never stop, because that is what I am.