Autumn Osborne, “Desire”

The grass is cold and wet under my feet from the layer of
morning dew. The sun is just barely cresting over the far hills, and
light is beginning to show through the trees. I follow along the
river for what seems like hours, until finally the silhouette of my
destination reveals itself at the top of the mountain ahead of me.
The grand towers of the castle stand tall against the now shining
sun, and the thick, ivy-covered cobblestone that lines the walls
calls to me from afar. I thank the gods. At last, I have found the
clandestine fortress that has been searched for, for a millennia.
I somehow escape the cover of the thick forest and find myself
trekking through the tall grass of the fields that journey towards the
mountain. As each foot moves in front of the other I know I am one
step closer to the end of my quest.
When I finally find myself at the bottom of the mountain,
the singing of the sweet inhabitant of the castle is lightly carried
down to my ears. The music of beautiful Princess Desire is sought
out by all the gentlemen of the land, but I, now, am the only one to
have heard it in a thousand years.
I claw at the ground, desperate to get to her, and as I climb
the steep hill before me, soil pushes itself permanently underneath
my fingernails. Her singing gets louder and louder the closer I get.
My legs are becoming numb underneath me. This doesn’t matter,
however. I do not truly need my legs, as long as I get to her. I pull
myself further and further, until suddenly her singing is the only
thing that I can hear. There is no longer anything other than her.
The sounds of the birds and the trees have all completely vanished,
and there is nothing but an invisible rope around my waist pulling
me to her window at the top of the castle.
I have never heard anything as beautiful as the music that she
sings. And I know she is singing for me– if only I could just get to her.
I climb and climb and climb, not caring to look how far I
have gone. When I finally stop for a moment, I look up towards the
castle. Strange. I thought it had looked that far away when I started
up the mountain. No matter. I will get there.
I keep going, my arms and legs becoming so weak I am
certain they will simply fall off. Her singing is ringing in my ears
now. It seems to be the only sense that I still have. My vision is going
foggy, and the scents of the wilderness have disappeared completely.
I ascend further, and suddenly I catch sight of something in
the corner of my eye. I dare take a break to look to my left.
Another man. No, no. No. She will be mine. I rush over and
grab his shirt to throw him back down the mountain, but as I pull
him backwards, nothing but a hollow skull stares back at me. He
must have gotten here first but was too weak to make it to her. I
certainly will not be like this man. I throw his bones back down and
continue my trek.
I climb for hours, until the sun begins going down once
again. I do not stop. I just listen to the sound of the sweet princess’
music. She is longing for me too; I just know it. I stop to look up
at the castle. Still, it seems to be the same distance away. I push
and push as my legs shake and my clothes tear. Closer. I have to be
getting closer. This is just an illusion. I will make it. I know I will
make it. I will make it to her if it kills me.

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