The Eight of Cups
You stare ahead through the death of the twilight. Earth’s elasticity caves in around your footfall. The sound of running water is heard but not seen. Amphibious creatures and jumping insects attack your auditory & tactile senses
You stand idly on the bank of a river and nightfall has only just earned its namesake. The fierce river flows in front of you. It’s far too dangerous to cross at night. If you were to make an attempt, your 3rd step would slip on a blue & green eukaryotic patch. It’d send you downstream sinking, thrashing about in the multiple layers you dressed in. That evening ends with you lying in the river’s bed. A far cry from the warmth of your sheets across from the balmy, dying embers combusting on the charred iron grate in the fireplace.
On the far side of the river, a crimson-cloaked man moves swiftly over uneven terrain. As he takes a mighty step his hood falls to his shoulders, revealing a mane of unkempt blond hair. The man walks slowly, taking caution with every step. He is attempting to traverse the floodplain alone. Questions and Causalities flutter through your mind. He is on the other side of the river, but he is not wet. It makes you nervous and frightened that he knows something you do not.
River rock has clumped together with loose soil, sand and clay. You hear the earth collapse, it crescendos rapidly like the onset of a rainstorm.The wanderer takes a false step on the organic staircase. His knees are sent into serrated stones forged by the river. The wanderer howls in agony. You remain the silent observer.
The wanderer rises slowly, his sight now never leaves his journey’s bedrock of bedrock. After deliberation, the wanderer again mounts the rigorous ascent. You continue watching him vicariously. For he is at the beginning of a virtuous journey. For it must be the beginning, the wanderer is too clean. His rouge cloak burns through the night all too radiantly and you had only been walking a few moments when you saw him treading along.
An aroma drifts on the wind. The saccharine sense of honey combined with a freshly extinguished match. The river’s new tempo generates an extra heart-beat in you. Thinking better of it, you remove yourself a single step.
The atmosphere releases its grip on you. You look down at what separates you. The tension in your shoulders disentangles and your head begins to swim as an abundance of deranged ideas come freely. White-crested rapids surge over the banks of weathered sediment and soil, leaving the tears of Adam lagooned on the tips of your best shoes.
You stare down at your feet and then stare upstream, from where the current came. Thunder rolls into a crescendo ending in a blaring roar. A humming reaches your ears. A baritone’s gravelly voice enumerates rights, wrongs, acts of vengeance, and a life’s worth of gratitude. You can only pick out the odd word as you catch yourself earnestly trying to follow.
You look up to the river to finally identify the man you’ve sought after. You manage to catch the man’s eyes, he descends the far side of the hill.
His words still reverberate off the large boulders sitting on top of his hill, like five fingers waving back at you.
You stand there thinking it foolish to yell and even more foolish to follow. But at this moment, your home doesn’t seem as inviting as it once did. As The Wanderer left you, there was a single line you could remember. A single line you trapped in your mind. a thought on the predilection of our illusion.
“…And as far as I go. Those phantoms still find me familiar.”