The Labyrinth

Kate Fahy

Prose

Holy Child Killiney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I clamber to the top of a tree just in time. 

The sun begins to set strenuously, almost panicked. It’s glowing body, a crisp fine circle in the blood thirsty sky, is illuminating a shaky path across the tops of the trees.

The colours of dusk begin to fleet, and charcoal black rocks, swirl around small pools of water, shimmering confidently, before the dark envelopes them. Quickly enough, dark swirls around me, my silky shirt flapping against my skin in the warm breeze.

I look up, arching my neck to the sky, to see a blood red moon. A blazing beam in contrast to the stark black sky.

A wave of fog settles upon the rainforest, thick to the tongue, so heavy you could drink it. The moon shimmers like a diffuse ocean above us, lessening the inky blackness of the night, but not enough to dull the stars that glitter around it.

I hear the flap of wings and know that I must duck. I look up as I scramble down two of the wide oaky branches and see them. A magnificent flock of lorikeet glide above me. The milky glow of the moon kindles their beautiful, luscious feathers. Their heads are a deep blood red, that radiates their beady black eyes. Their necks are a lazy orange that fades into a harsh yellow on their wings. Their backs are bright green and their tails have an illuminescent hue of pinks and purples. They continue on and pass the moon, giving the silhouette of one hundred birds as one.

Once they find their place of rest, they will extinguish their cries, roosting with head tucked under wing until dawn. I climb back up and survey my surrounding.

Being up here on, a silver night, the sounds of pure life coursing through the rainforest is chilling.

Like being one the edge of the earth and sky. A whiff of damp moist soil filters into my nostrils. The trail of sodden earth, the irresistibly cloying smell of wild jasmine, the marshed stench of sleepless animals, and the aroma of honeysuckle drift into my crinkled nose.

I decide to climb down my tree, and make my descend, scaling down the scabrous bark gracefully, to make sure I don’t land a pile of bones on the forest floor. I land with a jump, the sound echoing into the deepest parts of the earths core, and making my bones almost shatter in my skin. My feet burn intensely, like a hundred needles are penetrating them at once and my knees convulse in a pain so sore it resembles fifty shark teeth biting me. A small squirrel monkey skitters away from me, it’s tiny infant resting serenely on its back. It’s tiny fingers push into the mother’s sides as the mother picks up speed.

I hear a purr, and turn around. A tree only several metres away from me, holds a large jaguar, lying like a king on its throne across a wide branch. It’s tail moves sleekly and fluidly in a fluent motion. It’s velvety sheen sparkles in the moons gleam and it’s head rocks steadily against the trunk. It’s tongue lolls lazily between its teeth like a cigar and its paws hang lethargically over the side of a branch. I quietly step away, careful not to wake it.

I begin to walk properly, following a moon lit artery that leads to nowhere in particular. An ocelot cries out distressfully, waking any life that dares to live in the inmost part of the rainforest. Midgets fiddle and fidget about my ankles, deciding if I’m good enough and fireflies swarm round me,
making my path as bright and glaring as a hospital corridor.

I stumble over a huge root that is intertwined with lots of small roots on the ground. I pick myself up and continue walking. Vines tumble down from huge hefty rocks and cascade into a pond, like snakes reaching and stretching down to try get a meagre taste of the idle, stagnant water. I stumble over to the pond and put my two dry hands in. When I take them out and dry them on my shirt, small blue and pink butterflies float in front of me, showing off a dance they have perfected. I put my hand out and several off them land on the tips of my fingers, looking around at the endless damp skin surrounding them. They face each other, as if to chat and suddenly float off my hand like fairies, fluttering into the unknown darkness. I turn back to the pond again and step in, my bare feet tingling with the sensation of the water. I slosh my feet around, slowly step out and continue walking on, through the rainforest. I cant move without a plant or shrub brushing and scraping my bare skin. The sheer heaviness of the foliage keeps me cosy, even with the dense air.

I promptly hear a loud sloshing noise and follow it. I come to a narrow opening which leads to a magnificent, gushing waterfall. It is more than double the size of the Empire State Building and water plunges down, like a rollercoaster. I cry out in awe and stand watching it for several minutes.

The water tumbles down from the source, which I could barely see with the mist, and pounds the rocks aggressively. Colours of blue and silver can be spotted as the water falls, and at the bottom sits a vast big lake, which isn’t stagnent like the pond, but is flowering and blooming with life.
Hulking koi of every colour, wade through the water timidly, unaware of their large size and skinny snakes ripple sleekly through the koi, catching the unlucky smaller ones, in between two long, curved fangs. I leave the waterfall, forlorn to go but knowing that I must continue.

It begins to rain and drops fall in the size of blueberries but weigh no burden in the slightest. The music of the resident animals changes to an angry, sullen tone as they have to shift their sleeping positions to find cover. Once my hair has made contact with the rain, it begins to get damp and flattened, all the thick curls unwinding and untwisting. My shirt gets heavy and almost impossible to walk in. My legs return to their normal colour and the dirt that was living there for the past while streaks down my legs in streams. I look down and water has pooled around my feet in massive murky puddles. I wring out my shirt and hair and settle onto a huge ivory rock.

I rest the back of my head on my hands and look up to face the fragment of heaven I can just barely see through the heavy vegetation. All I can think, is that maybe, if i stare at it long enough, it will stay like that forever. A dazzling beacon of reverie to those of us left behind.

 

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