My mind is unable to recall falling into a slumber swiftly so serene that when my eyes lazy, jolt open in surprise sudden, I find I am floating mid-air bat like in the fragile scent of sandalwood. Unsteadily I steady myself from toppling over characteristically clumsy. Sunset orange burning walls carelessly rejoicing in heat hissing against their damp coolness. Hypnotic rhymes of cheerful waves crash gently in the background blind to my vision blurred. I reach a new level of oddness. Amongst this strangeness suspiciously unsurprising, the Guru appears as the only familiar norm. A picture perfect warrior poised artistically as a father proud in full blossom. Crimson silk hovers around his slender bones, a cloak clinging in bewildered excitement. A soft beacon of blueish light glistens from long tender fingers, sparks dripping wet paint like. My entire existence prickling in his dazzling glow gleaming in glory. Tingling electricity coats, my fluid spine, elated in a joy unexpectedly pleasant for now. I am temporarily free from my redundant disabilities. My magnificent moment interrupted by the gushing greed of a mighty tornado disturbing nothing else but me alone. The stoic Guru stern as I am boarded on the fury train of winds arrogant in their grand presence. Nothing daring to stand in its proud determination as it collects a prize perplexed. I am this prize, unaware in my own inner turmoil.
Defenceless, caught in a spell commanded not by my own will, with no choice of its course or direction, I follow the natural order unravelling. We can’t always control circumstances, could we? Shivering in the arms strong of a master forging his own charged path, I refuse resistance. I am learning, I remind the noisy panic in my head. Coldness craves the warm lull of the Guru, I swallow my sobs weeping. Fear tears its way into a heart choking in grim expectation. Freezing ice, chills cool bones into a place rigidly morbid. With an abruptness rough, the wicked tornado seizes just before it dumps my stiff tin body at the peak of a snowy mountain, shy. No longer able bodied. The winds rumble, a loud clap fierce in an accent faintly oriental.
“Sorry about the ride. These paths are testing.”
My throat sandpaper dry barely manages a few words in reply.
“What path are we on?”
My grunt gruff meets with a laugh boisterous.
“Only the Guru knows”
With that unhelpful declaration, I am left deserted on a mountain top caked in velvety snow crafting fragile ice sculpture fairies in deep concentration. The elegant snow show a welcome invitation into the unknown. What was the Guru plotting this time? Weary clouds grey blink in distrust, then disgusted turn away in agitated jitters. Shadows eery drift in their place as the desperate sun gives way to a moon modestly humble, slowly filling its void. Everything unusually frozen in time, long forgotten it seems. The overwhelmed mountain quivers nervously as if contemplating thoughts unspoken. I stand straight, shaking every stuck limb. The Tin Warrior is no fake feeble one. I got this. It’s a message of some kind. A fine hour for a performance spectacular. Whilst, in my own thoughts, I muster courage unwilling to present itself. I am a star, comically gifted. My mind mocks random thoughts trickling down my apprehensive consciousness. Accidentally, in my inner scrambling, I slip, falling on the smooth skin of snow, white.
“O-o-opps, d-d-deary, b-b-be c-c-careful n-n-now.”
Stumbles the mountain in a stutter slow.
“Where am I?”
I shout above the howling wind, which ironically chooses this wise moment to gather momentum. Sadly, the reply drowns in my own hysterical giggles that are cut short by the sharp sting of stone battered by age. The path blazing in mischievous silver moonlit mayhem. Before my offended eyes unfolds the horror of a 1000 rusting elderly steps, grinning facetiously. Egged on by the chatter of millions of wintry ice coated cherry blossoms, the scene animated in a wonder of its own enchanted making. At my presence intrusive, briefly rattled blossoms silently shake solemnly. The next second they continue their hushed musing. I’m irked by their immediate dismal ignorant. Invisible, even in bitter ice age. How dare they. Demands my undignified ego. I ignore the chaos. Focusing my attention at the task at hand. Bravely, I command feet cold to charge this uncertain course, of course they refrain rather defiantly. Afraid of the unknown. With one mighty thrust I plunge onto the first step, which in a startled ambush fires to life. Beneath the surface of the stone archaic an impressive order stirs to drunken life. A miraculous world of an ocean brimming in a full blooming pregnancy impulsively surges to wakeful reality. With each step forward, wonderfully majestic sea life displays miracles never seen by eyes captivated in such curiosity. Splendid biodiversity caught in a mesmerising opera orchestrated by gifted regal tang and rainbow parrot delight. The finale a spellbinding explosion of uniquely vibrant colours of harmonious companions working as one. Gentle jellyfishes applaud in proud victory at the exotic shower of purple coral teasing cheeky crabs clicking claws excited. I feel their ecstatic joy. This is happiness, I realise. Before I know it, my aged step adventure ends with the flippant flick of a mermaids grand silver tail. Glossy emerald swirls splash in a glittering rainfall as they serenade her in an attempt honourably brave. Boldly greeted with a cheer squabbling as an octopus withered, flamboyantly hands her a bouquet colourful of soft colours. For the first time in a long time, I am present in the moment without emotional inconsistency heaving down my terrified throat.
The moon winks in delicious delight, as if uncovering truth unseen by spectators innocent. A sensation strange stirs in my gut. Why does this feel familiar? Guided by the watchful moon, I begin to stalk the cracking earthy soil. The sea life wonder, lost amongst the living. The steps, again distressed as if nothing prevailed earlier. Disturbed by the loud pounding of my heart anxious, I stare ahead. At least I can name my feelings now. Progress, whoopee. The walk is a short one, I arrive beneath the towering guide of a temple dipped in crimson ink. It’s beautiful face hidden behind a mask of cruel snow. At my feet aching, a river of molten lava silver bubbles in watchful agony. A message coded curling in the midst of waves melting in melodrama. The scent of the ocean stirring in the air still. My body betrays its fear. Where the hell was I? Finally, adjusting to light dim, I seek the moon. It’s presence greatly needed. Do not be afraid, you are the mistress of your own destiny. The Guru means no harm. Mildly reassured by my own silent voice. Nothing could go drastically wrong, right? My attention is though diverted by a fin slicing through the gurgling lava luscious. Maybe my betrayed senses are deluded by the over excitement of today’s travel. My gut remains dormant.
“You have nothing to fear but yourself,” moans the husky tones of a stranger hidden.
The voice awakening a sleeping curse deep within, without warnings much. From the watercolours of metallic silver emerges a rare exquisite beauty breathing taking. I am unable to look away, shamelessly I stare in a trance. My throat throbs in nervousness. Her graceful milky skin bewitching in erotic submission. Its velvet smoothness coated in intricately embroidered tattoos of silver linings. Messages, I gather. It was blasphemous addiction to the unfathomable unnamed cult. Intoxicated high on her ecstasy. A rush powerful fighting it’s way into my blood stream. Her body a fossil primal imprinting a language peculiarly known to my mind dizzy in this unexpected elation. Deeply drawn into her enchanted mania, I watch the fragile patterns disappear into oblivion, only to re-emerge as fresh impressions of messages singing mutely. A hushed heat creeps to consciousness beneath my embarrassing blushing flesh. Redness marks my cheeks as I gawk at her blessed heart-shaped angular face, on which deliberately arranged artistry flutters in charismatic charm. Rosebud lips smile at my naked marvel. Wide set feline mocha fireworks are sheltered with lashes thick. A darkness lurks behind her light. Intently watchful, she tilts her chin to survey my appalling stunted tin demeanour. Long waves jet black bleed into the silver liquid cooing in slow harmony now. What is wrong with me? I am being a pervert. Stop it, I order myself. Disturbed by her musical laughter echoing in this hallow between us.
“You are no fool, my friend.”
Lost words choke to spluttering life, I gasp for air grappling to breathe.
“I … I … I … um … please forgive me.”
Dismissively, she waves frail fingers, impassively cool with my immature foolishness. She draws a light bow and arrow in the midnight hues, releasing rainbow birds into the night. I try to control my befuddled senses, clutching to some reality. I am here for a reason, it certainly wouldn’t be to fall in lust with the uniquely amazing creature before me. Fighting the dreamy pool of my mind, I force my unwilling eyes to avert away from her face remarkably pristine. I sense her awareness of my conflicted confusion, yet she does nothing to aid my unplanned obsession with her. Without indication, she swims to the edge of the temple, further away from me now. However, I am forced to follow her with my pleading gaze. Blueish purple sparkles ignite at her feet, roaring to passionate wakefulness as they make contact with her skin. Within seconds she is alight in a fire restless. My heart aches in quiet longing. Tears, far too exhausted to fall.
“You cannot hold fear in your heart and hope to live freely at the same time.”
Her words rising above the spectacular flames spitting viciously.
“I don’t understand any of this. Why am I here?”
“Why wouldn’t you be here? You are no longer running, so shouldn’t your question be, where next from here? If you always stand in the same place, you will yield the same outcomes. You are obviously here because the time has begun for you to move forward. Asking stupid questions will only set you back.”
“I am moving forward!” I shout over the hungry waves licking her flesh.
Her reply a sarcastic slap.
“You lie to yourself. You are tethered to your attachments, to your bindings, to your family. You are not fully free from those shackles. You simply tell yourself that soon you will move beyond them. All a fabricated web of deceit that spins out of control every time you fall in your own trappings.”
Shocked I choke on my own words. Smoke scratching my eyeballs. I want to deny it, yet I cannot. I run itching claws in my unruly hair, hoping sanity shows up soon. I know it will not. It is not over yet, by a long shot. Curses spring to my mouth, if only the Guru was here. The fire display dies in triumph, in its path moonlight twinkle shines a spot light on her allure. Surfacing in a satin samurai warrior armour, her hair braided in hundreds of plaits, a china doll. Her markings shimmering in zesty liveliness. A spell transfixed. My fate doomed. My mouth sealed shut. Taking a step towards where I am, she glides across the tamed inky metal.
“You and I, are one of a kind. All you need is to remember your inner warrior. You are the Tin Warrior for a reason. You must wake up, in order to reach the truth. Sadly, you fall under the lull of mediocrity. Tempted by flawed altruism to heal those unprepared to see beyond their very own illusions. Bleeding in the cycle of chaos to save anyone but yourself. You see but only until you feel the pain of others, then again without rationality you enter a hell of your own kindness. Designed- implemented-executed by your mighty self. You are no martyr, my love. You are a victim of your history. A history that you are at the cusp of escaping, only if you permit yourself the freedom. However, you leech onto the dead in futile hope that they will change.”
I am overpowered by the raging rattling of my troubled bones. The closer she reaches, the more I shake helplessly. Her words slaying through the deep-set slumber inside my gut. Coiling unexpected cool fingers against my scorching ones, she draws me into her creamy lava. It bursts into pools of sneering lamps staring in suspecting wonder. Anticipation hangs in the veil of the silky night. I want to speak but my lips remain sealed. Fingers tenderly stroke my cheek. Her fingers.
“Once, I was like you. Confined to a lifeless life, with nothing but attachment to a narrow-minded family. Without opportunities, hope, possibility. Trapped by a community uninterested in my desires, in my wonderful capabilities. Defined by my sexuality and gender. I was killed everyday by my own willful submission. I wished for death. I was not meant to be that girl. So many lifetimes seem to have lapsed since I was promised to a husband in rural India, my uterus repelling at its impending rape. I refused to live a lie. Dying everyday in the breast of furious oppression. I had no choice but to defy their honour and to walk away, without regretful shame. Nobody needs attachment, obligation, duty or bindings. Especially, when it is deliberately designed to control free will. Elaborately crafted to tie you down with conformed fear. Neither of us, a stranger to this manipulation. Break their hold. They do not see you. They will neither accept or understand you. You hang your soul to this infinite death sentence. You cannot die again, repeat again, only to struggle in the same crazy mess. You want to know why you’re here? This is why. Do you hear me?”
Melting ear drums ache as her words sink beneath disobedient long standing filters. The urge wicked to block her out. However, I fail miserably because her seductive spell, strips at resistance desperately holding on to its home. She threads her way through may plaque walls. Sweet earthy scent clings to many places inside. Running her fingers gentle across my lips, she tilts my chin. Her vibrations electrifying. My power of speech forsaken for her truth. A smile small spreads across her tantalising mouth just before she grazes her mouth against mine. Stunned in shock, I cave in her clasp. Embarking on a journey new. The half snowy temple coughs loudly at this sudden combustion of fireworks. Our eyes in a lock unbreakable. My wish for words no longer wishing.
“You are beautiful.”
Her voice faint against my neck as she traces my brittle collarbone coy. Her fingers surge into bright blue light. I manage a muffled thank you between my teeth shut tight. My thoughts cut short by hands swiftly shredding open my chest and forcefully clutching my afraid heart. Her fingers throb as beads of lava sweat glares at me. A whirlwind wild jump starts in my chest, suffocating my lungs. Blue heat beats through the chaos. The imprint of her lips burning my flesh. I fall into an enchanted spell as I watch her in a stupor. Her ink toying with my sensibilities. I have no comprehension of time or space. For this special moment we are one. Our lives interlocked by this stream of wonderful light. Her soft breath crashes against my skin as my heart skips a beat. This must be what heaven feels like. She grins, her eyes drifting shut. Her body moving to music noiseless. Her hands penetrating my heart with life brimming in a will to live. I further sink into her aura majestic. Eternal peace etching its way into my soul at last restored. I am home. The magnetic charge of this moment lusting eagerly at nothing beyond this. Being present wasn’t a curse bleak. Her hands continue to craft my heart into the unknown. Its beating paced, fearing no more. Resistance is futile because in the pit of my stomach, I know I belong here. This really is home.
A rapid movement shifts the current wiping it short, the offensive outburst, breaking her attention focused. She looks up, her eyes huge in confusion. I am shattered from her hold. Tiny pieces falling apart in motion slow. Exhaustion clings to broken parts severed from her bond blinding. With a dive dismissive, she sinks beyond the gushing lava, troubled by this treachery. Her fin waving a farewell final. I am swept up in the protective arms of the Madhatter, who gallantly rides an invisible horse upside down.
Snow begins to falls at our departure premature.
Everything a bleak blur from hereon.
We will meet again, dear precious souls. We will.
Photography credit to the original artists.