Fire and ash and heat and the fetid stench of burning flesh-
That is what I expected of this hellish place.
But instead it is cold, sheathed with ice and harsh wind,
No fire here to warm even a weary soul.
It is like a desert, dry and uninhabited, dead.
Bare trees hang menacingly over a broken skyline,
The sky’s dark and dreary hue setting
a mood of despair.
The buildings are dank and dirty, with not even a single welcoming site.
The only people here are like zombies, their eyes dark and hollowed out,
Staring before them as they shuffle along, without a thought or a care.
Leave them alone, and they do no harm, but so much as run into them, and you’d better watch out.
These normally apathetic creatures become violent, developing a taste for human flesh.
They’ll pick out your eyes, so that you become like them, walking death.
You’ll no longer care; you’ll no longer see; you’ll no longer feel.
You’ll have become a zombie.
So you’d best run and learn to fight back,
because they aren’t going to leave.
And you’re stuck here, so you cannot go.
You’d best beware of the zombies on death row.
But are you truly stuck you ask?
For that matter, am I?
I do not know dear friends,
But feel free, try your best, begin to climb.
The ascent feels like forever, a constant uphill climb.
Can you see the top? I cannot.
I have never seen it, not once.
How can that be you ask? It’s simple really.
I was born here, in this darkness, in this waste.
Of the light I have only seen glimpses, designed to tease and to taunt I believe.
I’ve been climbing my whole life, and still never the peak have I found—
Or even a plateau to level out and to rest, a place to stop for more than mere hours.
I fear I shall never make it.
But is it really that high? You wonder.
Perhaps you have just lost your way?
I do not doubt it, for I was born lost, not even knowing so,
so there were no hopes of being found.
And then I had hopes, shining and glistening in the sun.
They propelled me higher toward what? I didn’t know.
Something better I hoped, for nothing could be worse.
Or could it?
All I’ve found is more blackness,
More troubles, more lies.
I’ve been climbing so far; I’m so tired.
I think I am going to fall.
Oh, don’t let go! You say.
But you don’t know how tired I am.
We’ll help hold you up for awhile.
Except I can’t let you.
You have your own climb,
Your own journey must progress.
You must leave me.
Go on your way.
You refuse? But why?
I don’t know how much further the climb will be;
You need your strength; you need your might.
You need to leave me tonight.
My troubles are so heavy,
and my hopes are so few.
They weigh me down;
they’ll weigh you down too.
But it doesn’t work that way you say.
Is that true?
If you share your sorrows, the load becomes lighter.
It is only the joys that multiply.
What joy? There is no joy in this place.
Only sorrow. Sorrow that builds to destruction—it made this place.
Not so, not so, you tell me.
Because this is how it works:
We carry you, and then you carry us;
A partnership it must be.
A partnership? Really? I don’t think that would work.
A lousy partner I would be.
You shrug and when I wave you on,
You finally go.
I wish you well,
And better luck than I seem to have had.
I look down below at the sinking depths,
And wonder how hard a fall would hurt.
It cannot be any worse than what I feel now,
The weight no heavier.
To give into despair? What else can I do?
The zombies will surely eat me, devour me alive,
But even that could bring solace.
For what kind of life leaves you constantly fighting?
Or perhaps I would become like them,
So cold and unfeeling?
And how could that be bad?
Surely losing feeling would become a relief I suppose.
All I want is freedom, isn’t that what anyone would say?
But I’ve gone from one jailer to another.
What wouldn’t I give to just soar over this mountain,
And leave all this behind?
But I haven’t the strength, nor the courage to fly anymore.
It takes too much out of me just to climb or to crawl.
I really am so tired, and who can really fly anyway?
So I lean over and spread my arms to fall.
Except nothing happens; then I feel the grip on my arms.
You came back-why would you? And you’ve held me upright.
Let me go—I’m ready to fall!
I swear to you I want this, now just let me fall!
You merely shake your head and let me scream,
Waiting me out until my voice becomes hoarse.
How could we leave you? You ask.
You are our guide.
I am no guide, I reply.
Just a lost little girl.
But surely you’ve seen more horrors than many.
You can tell us what to expect.
I sit, and I ponder that, while you hold me up.
I still haven’t the strength yet to pull myself up.
It is true; I have seen much;
But really, what’s the use?
All I’ve seen is a neverending labrynth, designed to wear down
Even the strongest of warriors.
But it could be different for you.
It is hopeless for me.
It is never hopeless, until you give up hope.
I want to believe you, rest assured that I do,
But hope is dangerous you see,
And I’ve had enough of danger.
I thought once that I could soar
Over the top of these cliffs
Sailing higher and higher
Away from all this forever and ever
But you must learn how to crawl and to walk and to climb,
Before dancing and flying.
And crawling and walking they are so tiring you see.
And to climb is an exhaustion for me.
But if you are sure and insistent on climbing
Accompany you I find I am trying.
You carry me, and I hope I’ll carry you
But I’ll promise you not, for I don’t want to break it
I will promise you this, and that’s all I can do.
I will keep trying, if only for you.
I want to go on; perhaps if together,
We might find the secret and fly off to heaven.