The Rising

Posted: January 6, 2010 in Fictional stories


Nathan McNally stood at the door placing both his hands on the doorway and peering out into the unsolicited darkness that approached ever so slowly. He turned around, slammed the door with his foot and walked in slow tedious steps towards his desk littered with rolled up balls of paper. Some more wrinkled than the others; some strewn around like tumbleweeds that migrated over distances of landscapes with no particular aim or progress. Some lay close to the can that held trash refusing to land in it, for fear of cleansing a dirty spot with warm, pure thoughts that originated and disseminated into a thousand listless words that rolled off a mind that grew weary and silent every passing day.

This was not meant to be. He circled the chair and ambled around aimlessly within the confined space his feet crunching the rolled up paper. They protested, straightened out and lay limp like soldiers who died in a valiant battle but had nothing left to say other than offer their bodies as witness to carnage. He turned around and swiveled the chair until it creaked itself to a dying stop, halting in a weird angle and direction somewhere half-way between the door and the window. He walked over and shut the window that had permitted light on his desk, adding to the ink-spots and tired marks of use and abuse all though its life.

 A veil of nondescript trepidation hung over him eating away over the years a carefully nurtured bustling mind that had sustained him in his quest for perfection in whatever he had planned to achieve throughout his life. Somewhere along the way the impenetrable decoy had punctured letting the shrapnel of life get to him affecting him far more than he wanted it to. The carefully cultivated veneer tore apart exposing the rawness and a sheltered child within, that took the blows rather badly. Everything that bounced of him suddenly found their way straight into his heart and mind tearing him apart leading him into a slow dance of death that he eventually succumbed to, playing second fiddle to an orchestra that during his hey days kept him alive with the vitality and power of life goading him to achieve all that was humanly possible. 

He grabbed his coat from the hook on the wall, pulled it over him like an unwanted shroud and reached for his only possession that was of value. His sweaty palms circled the keys and he set off in the direction that the door had opened to; one foot in front of the other, a motion without any hesitation, yet tedious and overtly laborious as if his whole world had collapsed in a heap around his frail shoulders. The light in his eyes dimmed to a compelling night vision for fear of walking the wrong way. The endless path he was walking towards seemed to beckon him, calling out and yielding to him. He knew it wasn’t hard to cross this stretch of road but somehow a rigor-mortis seemed to have set in, slowing him down and dampening any hopes he had.

It was the letter that arrived that morning that had taken the wind out of him in a second, leaving him comatose yet walking. He had lost his world and was at the mercy of others. The bank had taken his only possession, his house, while a long time back fate had decided to erase his family from his life in an accident, leaving a vacuum that he could never fill. It was a downward spiral that he had no reigns on. He didn’t feel it or think for a second that it had all conspired against him, leaving him wanting nothing except a semblance of a normal life. The concept had gradually become mundane and he never rushed to answer those questions. He knew life did not come neatly packaged and labeled in little compartments with an answer tag on everything, but he didn’t care anymore. 

The last blow that felled his only reason for living was snatched away from him as he learnt about it that morning. He walked until his legs could carry him no more, drained out of the last vestiges of energy and strength his body and mind could endure, he stretched out on the parallel lines that connected lives and people from nowhere and everywhere. The cold, rusted metal touched his face as he lay face down and stretched his hands on both sides willing to let go of his bindings to earth. He didn’t have any. He made no attempt to get up but lay there in anticipation as the night wore thin.

The morning dew touched his face and he awoke to the sound of silence and a distant cry of the birds. The glare from the sunlight blinded his eyes and he squinted in both directions. The long stretches of the railroad tracks looked like a ladder that lay horizontal. The new dawn awakened in him a small spark that he had given away as the last ember of a dying man. He pushed himself up and walked back to where he started from. This could be done. He was still himself and that was a lot to live for- even if there wasn’t any possession he owned or could stake claim on. ‘Himself’ was reason enough for him to carry on with a purpose that he slowly started defining in his mind. His true self was reason enough for him to rise from the ashes and move on. What more did he need? He could build back every brick of his embittered life, erasing the day he had given up on himself for nothing in return.

He rested awhile and with a calmness as still as the landscape around him, he opened the door and walked in. He threw his coat in a languorous motion as it sailed and caught the hook swinging like a pendulum. He walked in with measured steps, yanked the chair out and let himself in. Throwing his head back he stared at the frail rotten beams holding the ceiling for ages. His palms reached out and straightened every bit of crushed paper. Those were his life lines before. Not anymore. Not now. Not ever. He wouldn’t need them.

 He had a new story to write and he would from that day pen those words that would take him on a new journey. A new frontier: a re-birth. In every which way he saw it he had it in him. It was his rising that would lead him on through a path that only he had the power to control and fight for and he knew he was not giving that power away to anyone or anything. He awakened to the thought of the indomitable human spirit that leads, guides and traverses on, irrespective of the kind of blow that is dealt out to him. His forehead creased out as he wrote with a new vigor, another chapter of his life. It was a dam that burst, with words gushing out of an invigorating mind in torrents. A sublime mind so free that  words rode on its magical wings tumbling out in quick succession and he couldn’t stop them and he didn’t want to.

 He would call his book ‘The Rising.’


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