As I lay prone under the cover of the thick brush. I look over the rock ledge. The valley stretches out before me. My position…
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As I lay prone under the cover of the thick brush. I look over the rock ledge. The valley stretches out before me. My position is about a hundred feet above the Valley floor. Below me, the valley meets the base of the cliff face and runs out flat as a table. Stretching somewhere close to half a mile. Reaching a building that is so old, it looks as if it could collapse at any moment. The dilapidated building stands twelve stories tall, and spans the full width of the valley. It looks like someone made a bad attempt at a dam.
In the hrs since I found this little perch. I have seen many pieces fall off. Watched soldiers get too close to the edge and jump back just in time. Scared, that a piece of the floor would give way. They seem to play games, attempting to cheat death. Seeing which one of them is the bravest. Who will get closest to the edge. A large soldier with a slight limp, has no luck. He reaches over the edge, from high upon the eighth floor to wave at his fellow compatriots. Suddenly, the concrete ledge he is standing on, and the wall he was using for support give way. He falls without any grace, bouncing a rolling off the lower floors. Finally, landing on the broken concrete below. I don’t know exactly when he died or passed out. I just know that eventually the sound of his death cries faded.
The other three dozen or so soldiers take no notice to the fact that one of their comrades has perished. Although they do not seem fully aware of their current plight, or their own situation. They are organized and well armed.
If I was going to get through this alive. It was going to take some serious skill. We are heavily outnumbered, but surprise and superb sharpshooting skills are on our side. There are six more men like me, and they are stretched along the cliff face. Our one mission here is to get to her. To be on the same level as her. She has the answers to it all. Yet, deep down I don’t really know if it would be the answers I want.
It was over almost too quick, as time goes. Yet for me, it was an eternity. The shots were timed to work our way down. One floor at a time. The muffled rifle shots rang out from either side of me. I could hear the the steady, but quiet pops from the silenced rifles of my men. As I watch, the enemy combatants drop all around the structure. I can feel the hope start to rise in me. We might just pull this off. Yet, before I even squeezed the trigger. I feel the pressure on my back deepen. It is smooth, and displaced over the entirety of my back. I turned my head to look, as that was all I could do at the moment.
There He stood, the biggest panther I had ever seen. He did not snarl, or growl. He just looked, right into my soul with those black eyes. Endless depth, not even a hint of light reflected. You didn’t see yourself, you saw nothing. Just a black sphere of darkness.
“Watch and feel it.”, the words came soft and from everywhere.
I couldn’t answer, and I couldn’t turn away. All I could do was watch as my team was torn apart by the soldiers. Each grueling death I could feel. And each one I could have stopped. If not for the panther. When the last of my men fell. The few enemy soldiers that were left alive didn’t celebrate. There were no jubilations of joy. No firing of their weapons into the air. They just stopped.
“I am just, and I am fair.”, said the voice. The feminine voice, that carried a sense of purpose.
At that moment two large lionesses emerged, each came from either side of the valley. And attacked, and killed all the enemy soldiers. When they were finished, they stopped. Chest heaving from the strenuous effort of the slaughter. Mouths and fangs dripping with the blood of their victims, they each looked up at me.
“What the Fu-“, was all I was able to say before the Panther reached out and swatted my head. No claws, just that massive paw. Ending what ever thought I had in a blackness of unconsciousness.
When I awoke, I was slumped over in a red leather seat. The kind that matches a love-seat. Deep, with tall arms. The ones you sink into. Apparently, I was on the top floor. The longest wall was open and faced the cliff. I was looking at the opening. In the corner to my right, the Panther was laying with his paws crossed on front of him. He looked like an over sized house cat. Looked as if he was enjoying himself. I on the other hand, was thinking to myself, how am I still alive.
“Because I wanted it that way! You are not done. Your journey is just begging.”
It is that voice again! The voice comes from the robed figure to my right. Both lionesses stand on either side. Sitting on a throne made of stone slabs. All the slabs about 3-6 inches thick. Layered out and stacked up to form a throne. The arms of the throne, stretched out like branches. And the back rest is covered in moss. Her robe is long and black. Dingy dirt covers the bottom edge, where it appears to have been drug across the ground as she walks. The hood of her robe is large and covers her head completely, obscuring any view of her facial features. Her hands are hanging over the arm rest. As she is leaning forward, seemingly looking at the ground.
When she lifts her head. She pulls back the hood slightly to show her face and looks at me. I can feel all the pain and sadness. There is something about her. I know her, and on some level deep in my soul, I feel her. There is a strong bond and an undeniable connection. It is not a lust, not a need. It is a desire to be with, know, trust, hold, care, show all the emotions both good and bad. Also to know all the pain, feel it, understand it. Not to fix, but to move through life together. To know that every feeling and emotion that will arise between us will be met with understanding and proper communication. That we will form the bond that will set the standards for all living things in the universe. And she is cute, beautiful, and adorable in a way that I could never live without.
“Yes, we do belong together. We’ve been apart of each other since the beginning. Since time started. You and I have been, and will always be. This is our end to this tragic story. We haven’t always ended this way. But it does always end. It must end, so it can start a new. Start fresh, that we may find each other again. But it has to end together. We will always end together, at the exact some moment. As to be reborn at the exact same time. Breath for breath, pulse for pulse. We are eternally bound. I’m not long for this world. Only a short while left in my hour glass.”
She motions me to the table in the middle of the room. “Please come lay on this table. Make this easy.” She said, rising from the chair. And floating across the floor. She stutter steps and almost falls. The Lionesses move toward her in a flash, but are stopped short by her raised palm. “I’m good Ladies!” She said with a slight raspiness in her voice.
I rise and meet her at the table. Laying down and accepting that this was meant to be. She reaches over me and secures the straps. Arms, chest, legs, and feet. She then kisses me on the forehead. A sweet, kind, loving kiss.
“I have Loved you through it all. I know you have Loved me through it all. This is not always our fate. I have been in your place, and you in mine. We have ended peacefully, and gracefully. Yet, always together. It brings me no joy that it ends this way. But you have chosen your path. You made the choices. So this is your end. It is not up to me. The cosmos have chosen this for us. We will end together. As we always have. “
“I Love You!” Was all I can manage to vocalize.
“I know darling. We will draw our last breath together, and then start a new. Find me sooner, I’ll be looking for you!” She drew back and took her place at the throne.
The Panther didn’t need a nod or a command. He knew his role. He strode forward, each step, defined his huge legs. The muscles formed and flowing. Powerful, strong, and rolling. His shoulder blades slowing rolling up, then back down with each step. He drew up on the end of the table.
That massive paw reached up, this time the claws were extended. Sharp, clear, thwarting claws. He swiped! First my legs, which drew a scream that I didn’t know I was ever capable of forming. He slashed, cut and clawed all the way up my body. By the time he reach my face, I was already free. Floating above myself, I watched.
He stopped and I finally was able to look away. I gazed at her body on the throne. Limp and lifeless it sets. Like a marionette with its strings cut. Above it, she floats, happy and at peace. My soul is at peace as well. We float together. Hold each other in a long embrace. It feels to have been an eternity, that’s if you could measure time at all. Hanging there in the endless depths of the cosmos. Her eyes peered into my heart, the soft glow of tears filling the soft tissue under her eyes. The fluid reflecting the colors of the ambient light that surrounded us.
She looks at me and speaks softly, “ Find me sooner Love!” And she is gone!
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