Metamorphosis

I believe this is the result of a school assignment when I was about 13 years old. Having gone through a lot of my school work recently in choosing material to post, I’ve cringed at my language and style quite regularly, but I hesitate to edit anything now – I’d rather leave it as my 13-year-old self had it. I’ve rejected most of my past writing for this blog, but I think this still has something.

 

He lay restless, but all the time sleeping. The agony was constant, and even while he was dreaming of a better place he was aware of it. He never chose to sleep, but was always fainting from exhaustion, often soon after waking. Sometimes he thought he could hear footsteps, or people talking in an incomprehensible tongue, but every time he awoke he was alone still. For ten days he had been like this, his condition growing steadily worse until he couldn’t even pull himself to the water’s edge to get a drink. The tide had been unusually low for three days now and he hadn’t tasted anything but sand in that entire time. Occasionally a bird would fly overhead, proving to him that there was still life surrounding his own desolate piece of land, but apart from that he was completely alone. Marooned, some might say; left by his peers to face a slow death from hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and god knows how many other things that were going on inside his body. He couldn’t even remember how he had gotten there any more – he sometimes dreamt of the image of a woman, calling to him as if from far away. He recognised the woman as someone from back home, whatever that meant now, but he couldn’t quite place her. For almost a fortnight he had had no human contact and, although the wild animals had become accustomed to his presence, they could sense when he was waking and would flee as fast as possible. On one rare occasion he had woken to find a boar staring at him, and he had looked deep into the boar’s eyes and penetrated its soul, and found nothing of value. He had not even been satisfied by the contact with another living creature for his exhaustion had taken away any ability to be positive.

He awoke to find the sky pink on the horizon, at the water’s edge. It was a sunset on what normally would have been a perfect summer’s evening. He could see the top of the sun as it serenely sank closer to the surface of the dark blue water. He felt the pain throbbing throughout his entire body, and would have groaned if he could. Throughout his life he had always been fascinated by pain. He didn’t know why, nor did he care why, but he had always felt some strange excitement whenever he felt the tiniest prick of pain; now, though, he hated the pain more than the people who had done this to him – the people who had left him on this forsaken island to rot until he was dust, nothing more than an extension of the sand on which he lay, motionless. During the first few days he had tried to hunt the wild animals on the island, but could never get close enough to kill one. He’d gained some hope upon wounding an infant boar, but he couldn’t find the creature to try to postpone the agony, and so he lay down on the beach to watch the sunset, and he hadn’t gotten up since. The sweltering heat during the daytime emphasised his fatigue, and left him even less hydrated, if that was even possible at this point, but this time, witnessing this beautiful sunset, the lonely man felt different. He could sense a slight tone of joy racing through his body, and he revelled in it as much as he could. He closed his eyes to rest some more and saw the brightest light he could ever remember seeing. He heard a voice talking to him, but he couldn’t quite make out the words. He moved towards the light to try and get a better chance of understanding. “Welcome.” The voice said calmly to him, and he realised that he couldn’t feel the pain any more. The man walked further forwards to the light until it encompassed him wholly and he passed peacefully into the unknown.  The tide lapped at the man’s face and the smallest glimpse of a smile faded from it as the top of the setting sun disappeared beyond the horizon. The man was now dust, nothing more than an extension of the sand on which he lay, motionless. He was at peace.

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