Entry for "no dialogue" challenge.
Rain pelted the stone outcrop he’d taken refuge beneath. Flickers of lightning telegraphed distant thunder. His shoes squelched with moisture as he shifted from foot to foot.
Gazing upwards, he tried his best to peer past the fog. To even glance at the mountain’s summit: the goal he’d long since abandoned.
Under the gloom of grey clouds, he exhaled a plume of mist.
There were complaints in that sigh. A long-winded, hate-filled rant at the world. Of course, there was no response, save for a sudden gust of wind.
Not that any reply would have satisfied him. The people he’d had to part ways with, the things he’d had to let go of. Tragedies born of coincidence piled up over time and robbed him of the hope that anything good could come out of this weather. Before he realised it, he began to hate the rain. Some part of him scoffed at his childishness. But he still held on to his hate. He needed somewhere to direct the anger. Otherwise…it would fall on him.
The wind found gaps in his cloak.
The pellets of rain became a steady roar, but they couldn’t drown out the rising din of doubts. What if his failures were all his own?
Streaks of lightning split the sky, drawing closer each time.
Each flash lit up a memory and brought his disappointments into the light. He could have done better there. There, he should have been smarter. Kinder over there. Tougher there. But above all, he could see where he could have been braver.
Something in him creaked under the weight of that realisation.
The things he held in his hands were never taken from him. It was just that, when they fell to the ground, he lacked the courage to pick them up. A coward. But it hurt to accept that. Instead, the storm swept things away. The wind tore things from his hands. As long as he told himself that, he didn’t have to feel too bad.
His body trembled. Whatever had been supporting him all this time…buckled.
He prepared himself. With a will this brittle, it wouldn’t be strange for him to be washed away too. Just like all the things he desperately tried to hold. He accepted his fate.
But she was different.
A hand tapped him, fingers transmitting a spark of warmth.
He turned to face her, but she was already running. She always was. There was no grace in her movements. She didn’t care for it. Crashing through sheets of rain, splattering mud with her boots.
All he could do was stare. The place where she stood seemed infinitely brighter. That was how she was. She ruled any space she entered.
Oblivious to his awe, she stopped and faced him, mouth forming words that the wind snatched away. He didn’t need to hear her though. It was clear what she expected. Cemented in place by fear he dropped his gaze to his feet. There was no guarantee he could hold onto the small bit of warmth she’d given him. But her laughter wouldn’t permit his doubts. It was a carefree, unapologetic declaration that she wouldn’t be drowned out by a mere storm.
Amber eyes staring at him expectantly, the corners of her lips rose.
It was not a smile of assurance saying that things would suddenly get easier. It was not a promise that moving forward was the best choice. No, it was a smirk. A challenge.
Satisfied that her message had been received, she turned to face the mountain’s peak. Even with the fog in the way, he was certain she could see the goal.
And then she was off again.
As her back grew smaller in the distance, somewhere in the dark, hollow cavity of his being, that solitary spark waned.
But he willed it to burn.
In the next instant, it exploded into a blaze that banished the cold. This was not the place to stagnate. There was no time for regrets. He could whine about his failures after he’d burnt up all he had.
Mimicking her, he charged into the storm. With hopes of surpassing her, he chased after that reliable back.