Drifting: The Pillar (5)

Read part 4 here Drifting: Glass. (4)

I don’t know why I kept going. I was so close now. The sky was eclipsed by a new tidal wave after every strike of the drum. At the top of every swell I looked towards the source of the sound. Clouds. I only ever saw clouds and wind and waves.

My ship maintained through every wave, but with every shattering blow of the drum I lost some courage. The sky was dark and frightening. Clouds were encroaching everywhere; fastening to my clothes and clinging around the ship. Every time I rose above the swell of an enormous tidal wave, a bigger one was always behind it. I was a spec of dust that floated atop the granite of a colossus.

Every time I rose to the top of a wave I could only see fog and clouds. These waves brought me higher than any bird could fly.

The air was weak in my lungs. It made me gasp.

Closer and closer I came to the source of the sound. I was starting to think that it was a spirit. Some invisible force beneath the waves. . . . Once the fog cleared a bit, however, I finally saw it.

There was an island far off in the distance. It was as round as an eye, surrounded by sand and rocks and gravel. Trees grew inland with no order or reason. Some were tall and old and gaunt. Some were just beginning to take root; eager and strong. A pillar rose out of the island. From the very center of the eye. It was black as darkness itself and cast no shadow. It was as if the sun avoided it, for fear that the pillar would steal it’s light. It was taller than the height of the greatest tidal wave, and continued on well above the sky itself; reaching into the stars.

I knew immediately: This is where the hammer falls.

Far above, where the sky touches the earth, the top of the pillar could be seen. As I breached the top of the highest wave, I could see it. At the top of the pillar was a massive hammer. It floated with no handle. It was a massive bulk of stone; floating above the pillar. With every strike the earth shook, and a shock wave ripped through the air and the waves exploded again and again.

The pillar was being driven into the earth like a stake. It must have been a microscopic amount, thinner than a hair. The hammer was unrelenting nonetheless. It struck with excruciating tempo. And with every strike the earth gave way a bit more. Cracks had already formed as the pillar pushed deeper and deeper. Diamond and coal, gold and bedrock, all was the same to the pillar. It broke it. It melted it. The Pillar felt nothing. The pillar was harder.

Suddenly the fear hit me. The darkness enveloped me like a sudden fog. The pillar was all I saw. The hammer rose and fell, and with every thud it pierced my heart. I was standing. Now kneeling. Now on the floor of the boat. I thrashed and hid my face, yet the darkness still cradled me with it’s menacing grip. The pillar was stamped onto my eyelids. Every blink a new strike. Every pound of my heart was a pound of the hammer.

The boat turned with alacrity. We zoomed down the cliffs of a wave with such speed I nearly rose in the air. The rigging of the boat wrapped around me as if to brace me from the force of our escape. The air returned slowly to my lungs, and the darkness slowly receded as we sped away from the island.

I can see it when I close my eyes. The darkness. The hammer.

My pulse will forever remind me of the stake that pierced the heart of the earth.

We sailed on.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

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