The Passed Note Issue 1 June 2016 - Page 51

"You’d better stay in the mountains if you know what's good for you!" Zestial screamed before waddling after his carriage. The boy’s body continued to rush toward Mount Albot until he no longer could see any of the wheel’s fragments when he looked back.

Mount Albot shot vertically up like an earthen finger trying to poke the sky. The boy could not see the mountain’s peak from where he stood, its crown occluded by the clouds it impaled. From the onset, scaling up proved difficult. Every step atop the craggy orange rocks was an invitation to fall, and the boy did exactly that numerous times as he tried coordinating his two obstinate halves. Twice he tried to descend back down to the familiar expanse of broom-corn and meadow thistles, and twice his body put him belly-first on Mount Albot’s uneven bluffs.

The higher he climbed Mount Albot, the more the sun engulfed his body in a warm yellow film. His limp worsened whenever the path led toward the sun. The boy’s oak side vibrated, coming alive in the glow of the golden star. An ache crept into his ankle when he set his foot down, despite the fact that the path had smoothed out into flat shale.

The boy removed his boot and turned it upside down. Out fell a small mound of broken wooden sprigs. He noticed three knots protruding out of the pad of his foot, each bump as wide and flat as his fingertip. As he raised his foot to his face to better inspect it, the compact knots caught the sun’s glimmer and stretched them into thin shoots. The boy broke them off one by one, wincing, and placed his boot back on. The remnants fractured beneath his weight. As he continued, the boy watched two rock wrens skitter where he'd been, collecting the fragments in their beaks.

As the sun slumped into the horizon, the boy felt the pitch blanket of night cover Mount Albot. He could no longer see the path before him, so he settled down to sleep. The boy’s light clothing couldn’t keep him warm. His chest and arms quaked, ravaged by shivers. The gusts rolling through the high altitude made his iron half retract into itself. Every inhale of the night air only seemed to chill