Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 136

feet, keep the body warm, grab a breath and go back under – for the fire can’t last . . . no, it cannot last.

It is a short swim to shore, then wading, a walk through the tepid water, and once those tired legs feel the weight of gravity, those feet the squish of clay and mud, there will be redemption. The night will still be warm, a million glowing embers radiating to the heavens. Ah, the fire, the endless burning fire . . . will it ever leave this earth?

The rescue helicopter spotted Griff that next morning, hungry, exhausted, blue skinned and waterlogged. His throat and lungs raw, hair singed, his forehead pocked by heat blisters, his breathing wheezy and labored; the rims of his eyes bloodshot. The landscape looked like a nuclear blast sight, the lake a dank smelly mass of black and gray flotsam. Thousands of silvery fish littered the soot-covered shores, and everywhere stumps smoldered, and smoke lingered like a dirty fog. None had figured to bring Griff home alive. Griff’s survival was a miracle of sorts – but nobody understood what had taken place . . . no one could.

It wasn’t Griff they’d pulled shivering into the helicopter’s belly that chill morn . . . no, he had long since fled the scene, leaving his weary frame behind. He was cleansed of all things great and small, virtuous and wicked, left and right; the slate had been wiped clean – the beliefs, the inner conflicts and self-contradictions, the ideals and projections of the perfect man.

Gone was the search for glory, the unlimited possibilities; gone were the notions of good and evil, black and white, anxieties, guilt, the uncertainties and apprehensions. Gone was that often hostile world where no-one understands; the fanciful joys, unlikely dreams, the faults