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The Tempest

[The Tempest, 841 words, Genre: Environmental]

* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn

It was raining that day. A great storm had built up within the weather cycle. The heat had battered down on the surrounding oceans, creating a vapor that transcended up and into the sky. That vapor created clouds of a greater degree, great and deliberate clouds built up in the sky and there was a swelling in the atmosphere. The sky crackled with lightning, a mist rained down on the surrounding forestry.

Edward sat at the side of the road. Waiting for the next car that would come along and deliver him to safety from the oncoming storm. He had rolled himself a cigarette and slowly toked away at it, breathing in the nicotine that sent a slight numb sensation down and throughout his body. Nicotine was never the sort of drug that killed the senses off completely. It was a drug that created a dull ease to the burdens of contemporary living. Knowing that cancer would one day engulf the body was more of an insurance policy rather than any source of fear and worry. The real fears and worries of the world were created by the problems of living in the real world. The real world in which one had to place food in their stomach so that they didn’t starve. If one went so long without food, hunger pains would be brought on. It would turn the stomach into a cloth that had been drained of all its liquid, left out to dry and just lying there. The cloth would go hard and stale, creating a substance like dried jerky. One that was hardened and could not be cured by a single drop of liquid.

The rain was coming in. Edward noticed another man on the same road, along the bush land. He wore a large trench coat, his beard had overgrown so that he blended in with the surroundings. The great bushy beard was like the shrubbery of all the surrounding plants; rough and wild. If Edward approached the wandering stranger, he would be sure that he would be confronted with a scent of a similar degree; rough and wild. The sort of fragrance that signaled that they hadn’t had a shower in days, weeks or a great period of time. He wore a wide brimmed hat, and as the rain turned into something more than a mist, that same hat would shield his face so that he didn’t have to close his eyes as the tempest that was on the horizon would rage all around him. What exactly the wild man was doing in the surrounding bush land with the storm on the horizon was anyone’s guess.

Edward feared to approach the man and ask. He was wild. Perhaps he lived here, in the bush, in the forestry… Living off the land, living as we were all meant to, off the land without any resources but the skills of his own survival.

As Edward sat on the side of the road a car pulled up to collect him and deliver him to the safety of shelter. It was a truck, the truck pulled to a slow stop and Edward stood there at the side of the road.

“Where you headed?” The truck driver asked him.

“Anywhere, but here. You can drop me off at the next gas station for all I care.”

“Done. Hop on in.”

Edward, hopped in the truck and as he did so the storm came falling down around him. Wind and water sprayed up against the safety of the windshield and as the truck drove off the road, onto the next stop, Edward thought about the great bewildering life that the bush man led. This was nowhere… Up in the hills. It was all a world foreign to him. Edward had grown up in the city and the city had proved safe and fastidious apart from the cannibalistic nature of other people. He understood the wild man and his life. Why he had decided to live that way… It wasn’t because it was easy. It was because it was an escape from the pain caused by people becoming predators of their own species. The solitude and independence of living out in the bush… It brought its own hardships, but was free of the pain caused by seeing one of their own species constantly taking advantage of one another.

And as the truck rolled on past and onward, back to civilization Edward envisioned the wild man. Standing at a cliff face with all of the rocks and greenery, the raw nature of the planet surrounding him. The wild man, living in the bush looking on at the city and bustling of people that lived below. He envisioned him with his hands out in the air, controlling the tempest of the storm, laying waste to the city and civilization below. Washing away the sins of humanity with a wild tempest… For things to be done right, we would all have to begin again. And before that could happen a great storm would be required.

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