Timmy planted his feet firmly in the sand. A warm wind swept through his feathers, coaxing him to jump. Yet, his body remained too paralyzed to move.
“Let’s go Timmy! The water’s great!” cajoled his siblings. “There’s plenty of fish across this river!”
But despite the convincing, Timmy always had trouble taking the first steps. New places, foreign foods, and other flocks scared him. A hundred “what if” questions would be raised that needed answering before any progress could be made.
“What if alligators from the Zoo escaped and were holding-out beyond the next bend?”
“What if those snapping turtles from that one time by the Duck pond followed us here? They were on our turf!”
“What if hunters spot us in the middle of the river, all lined up in row while making the crossing? We’d be sitting ducks!”
The questioning continued for another hour before thoroughly satisfying Timmy. He hopped into the water and the pod swam to the opposite shore without incident.
“See that wasn’t so bad Timmy?” quipped one his sisters. “We made it across in all one piece.”
“Yes…” replied Timmy. “But what if we left something behind?”
A final bridge separates Alexander and his army from their homes in Babylon. His men, pining for comfort and familiarity after years of brutal conquests, rush the bridge en mass. The suspensions, unable to sustain the stress of so great a weight, snaps and the crossing collapses. Half the men drowned in the raging river below. The other half spent another month retrieving the bodies, lamenting their haste.
Grey. The fury of a winter’s storm stifles every movement forward. I hardly see the ground some two paces from where I stand, enduring the mountain’s wrath. Yet, I still sense my companion a few meters in front radiating with a burning passion that casts all doubts aside. He was going to scale the mountain with or without help.
Red. Blood boils in defiance of death. Such was the color and mood of the sky when I reached the summit the next evening. I found his frozen body, stiff like the mountain, yet unyielding to its will. His was not alone for many others just like him also stood, encased in icy opposition against fate. Their spirits continue to fight, torching the clouds and staving off night. Blood burns the brightest when drawn to Death’s peak I thought.
Heaven falls. The spirals of new Babel that pierce the God’s realm began to buckle. My companion and I race down the tower, rappelling off the million-step coil that strangled the tower. Above us, the descending storm eviscerated man’s creation but not his hubris. The way forward was barred but not lost. Let us build Paradise on Earth to match the heavens then.
Hell rises. A wave of sand chokes new Atlantis, the city of the Sea. Now desert nomads, we huddle in sand pits as dust storms rage amidst the ocean’s carcass. Electrolyzing the sea-water was certainly a mistake after the atmospheric breach. A price we must all pay when we toyed with climate controllers. Is it man’s nature to transgress its bounds my companion mused? When man believes itself God, who is left to check him I replied?
Upstream. A young woman saunters down the banks of the river Lethe, distraught over her lover who drank from its waters and lost his memories. Torn between severing her own memories, she leans over to the water’s edge and casts her reflection on the amnesic currents. Despair prevails and she throws herself into oblivion.
Downstream. A young man saunters up the banks of the river Lethe, disoriented from having imbibed its waters. He witnesses a young woman struggling against the river’s currents, desperate to remain afloat. Out of instinct, he dives into the watery rapids and rescues her.
Parts 1, 2, 3