Following footprints over hill and dale. Wandering in every direction, like doodled arrows drawn on a page. Where the earth is soft there are clear footprints. Bigger than those of a human footprint, but with only three toes. Occasionally a bit of claw breaks off, and will continue growing by itself, even when detached. Through streams and across beaches the footprints go. Where there is concrete and hard ground one can only follow the trail of damage left behind. Uprooted trees, smashed buildings, litter and rubbish strewn about. Wasted and broken humans too. Slaves, pawns and peons, all crushed in the pursuit of the beasts single goal – whatever it is.
Something dreadful has happened. A monster is on the loose. Rampaging and rollicking. How far its destruction will go nobody knows. I have a grand plan, however. I can do something about this. I will do what I can to stop this horror. If I find the monster I shall block its path, slow it down, terminate its progress. Bring to an end this dire episode here on planet earth. I will lead it away from everything that could be harmed by it. Whack it on the head with a wok, and run, dodging and turning suddenly to let it trip and fall into a ravine. It will fly unimpeded for a few moments before joining with the jagged rocks, the roaring torrent and hungry beasts below.
If that plan fails, there will be no choice but to bow and let him tear me apart. Offer my head and my sacrum. Allow the brute to bite through my face, chew off my flesh and crunch on my bones. Let it slurp as it eats my guts and organs. When it is finished it can lick my blood off the ground. May he sate his hunger, and therein follow a peaceful path.
But alas would this sacrifice of mine be enough, or be of any value at all. With me inside his stomach and he not stopped in the least little bit. What indeed of the parts of me that it cannot eat or devour or reach in any way. All I could do is watch as it devours the fleshy corpse, missing out on what is the most important part of me. The invisible parts. The beast devouring me and me watching, as if a king on a throne holding court with a slobbering monster. It is a strange world indeed. I could feed my flesh to this beast, and yet it will remain, free to maraud others. Others whom I wish to spare this type of bother. For it is my desire that they might live in peace, and see out their days in the way that nature intended.
Out on the trail the signs of the beasts passing become fresher and fresher. Perhaps I am imagining things but there seems to be the smell of brute in the air. A faint sulfurous perfume. Or is it some other awful thing. As the signs become fresher, I might pause to remember the shape of things before birth and after death. The background in which this blip of human life appears. Reacquaint myself with the feeling, lest I should find myself in that place in a more permanent way.
I might reacquaint myself with it so that fear may no longer arise in my heart. Perhaps this will be my last event in my foray into the field of form and folly. Perhaps I chose this event a long time ago. Perhaps not.
Finally it appears before us – the great slathering beast. It dominates the scenery and seems to fill the sky. Its unbridled aggression causes everything around it to wilt. But there should really only be sadness for it. It devours one thing after another, its appetite increasing with each one. With each one becoming all the more insatiable and more embedded in the monster form. Further and further from the gentle and yet more difficult course of following the true and gentle way. More and more becoming bound to more and more of the same.
Perhaps I can change the plan. Could I offer it a portal to step through. Guide it to learn to live in peace with all and itself. Perhaps I might go equipped with a reflective mind. To let monster see monster and be cured of monsterness. To let myself see the source of monsters in the monstrous minds imagination. Be cured of that and be cured of the afflictions of I and I-ness. Be cured of it and it be cured of me.
I might lunge forth and act – do something that will alter the course of life, the universe and everything. For the better. Perhaps I might turn my back or retreat out of range. Let the scene unfold in its own way without any interference from me. In its own way, in its own time and with its own results, and accept the result as if I chose it. I did.
If I were to battle with it it might merely create more chaos and havoc in the world, for mirroring the monsters monstrousness is the worst folly of them all. So it is that a decision has been reached. I will turn my back on the monster, although it might easily smite me down. Maybe we will be one step closer to that not happening to other inhabitants of this planet. But maybe not. Let it do as it will, although it might be to the detriment of all.
With a firm and clear mind turning away from the beast. A decision has been made, a course of action determined. Then just taking a peek over the shoulder to see what is happening. But the monster seems to have vanished. The smell of brute is now faint in the air and growing fainter. Before long it is but a memory. One may even wonder whether it ever existed, and how it was that it elicited such strong feelings. A mere memory, a figment of the imagination of the world. A reflection of the individual that sees it, a facet in the mind of minds.
An illness it was – an illness begging for a cure. An illness and a cure, mixed into each other. A cure for my own illnesses. It is gone and we would have to work hard to find another illness of equivalent magnitude. That challenge has arisen and moved on, and it might not arise again. We might never again have such a clear view of what it represented. We might have to wait a long while until that particular face of ourselves is revealed again.
At the end of this adventure turning to return to wherever it is that we came from. Following our own footprints over hill and dale. Through beach and forest, farm and vale. The time eventually comes when we can no longer see our own footprints. Mixed with the monsters and fading before disappearing altogether. It is hard to discern one from the other. Eventually coming to the conclusion that maybe they are one and the same.
Looking also for the path that we were treading before this whole episode began. That too has disappeared. Wherever we were going has disappeared, and been replaced with a new version of itself. Whatever we were doing is gone to. Gone gone gone. Wherever we came from has disappeared too. With everything all gone, stepping out to face the new day.