The fire crackles quietly as it gnaws on the dry campfire wood, slowly turning it darker. The orange flames dance silently surrounded by a ring of charred rocks. Despite the rock's cold and uncaring stare the flames go on dancing long into the night. But even their dance must end eventually. All that remains behind them is a pile of smouldering ash, lamenting the beautiful spectacle that once was.
The ash's soft glow reflects faintly in the eyes of a rugged, young man. He sits in the grass, close to the fireplace. Messy, thick, black hair covers his head, accompanied by rough stubble across his jaw. The expression on his face is emotionless, distant. The rugged jeans and shirt he is wearing are torn, skin showing through here and there. His feet are without shoes, dirty from the mud and roughened up by the ground. A single ring decorates his right hand, though it too has lost its shine, now bleak and without soul. A mere piece of metal worn solely due to habit.
Finally the ashes lose their last light, and it all goes dark. The man keeps on looking patiently, waiting and hoping to discover a last glimmer of hope somewhere between all the blackness, but nothing shows. He slowly averts his gaze and without changing his expression goes on to search among the stars above. An endless starry expanse opens itself up to him; a never ending sea of possibilities and chances. Stars of all sizes glistening among the emptiness of space. None are the same, but yet they are all alike, all so similar.
He watches and examines them, but no matter how hard he looks and tries, they remain distant and faint. As soon as he looks away from one it is gone; lost among a multitude of other stars and galaxies. He reaches out slowly trying to capture it, but the light keeps on slipping away from his grasp. He sighs and stares back at the ashes. The universe keeps shining softly above him, bathing the landscape in a dim and cold, blue light. Whether the man was there or not was of no consequence to it; the universe would keep on shining.
The warm, orange light was gone– vanished and forgotten. The only thing that remained of it was the feeling of what it all had been like, and the desire to regain it. The man had tried for so long, tried everything that stood in his might. He had struggled, fought, screamed, and cried. But what chance was there? How could he ever hope to regain something he had long since lost and left behind? Whatever his initial reasons may have been, he no longer knew them. There simply wasn't anything else left at this point. Nowhere else to go.
He slowly stands up. He looks down the hill as it vanishes into the darkness below. His limbs had gone numb from the cold and an icy breeze washes over his hair. He slowly raises his hands to his face and rubs over his burning cheeks. The skin feels brittle and dry, his hands cold and rough. Finally he lets his arms fall and steps forward. He walks into the ashes, the heat singing his feet. Unfazed he continues, leaving everything behind him, going forward.
On into the dark.
Written by shinmera