From the profound depths of my mind, I knew that my end was coming. I came to realize that I would not continue on; I would not go forth. My life was ending in this bleak, tenebrous world, a world that I had never seen. Suddenly, I found myself beginning to dream.

Once more, the mythical beast entered my mind, smiling with joy. The dragon lightly sprinkled the world with her peaceful laugh. So soft and so gentle, it relieved the stress from my body. I felt completely placid watching the beast twirl and soar through the clouds. There were no worries lurking in the shadows of my mind and the pain departed from my body along with the shrill, wet feeling. This was the way I was to leave the world. This was the way I was to go…

There was silence before the sounds began to return to me. I could smell the thick smoke of a fire and heard the flickering crackles that emitted from it as it spread its warmth over me. There was a sturdy rock wall that supported my back. I seemed to have returned to the cave from before and felt relieved to know that I was alive and safe, but, where was I?

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All was shrouded in silence as I lay against the cold, hard surface of the rocky mountain ground. The penetrating frost bit into my skin as I shivered and trembled with shock. I could feel my life slipping from me with the thoughts of death consuming my mind. Using all the strength that was left in my small, weak body, I reached for my walking stick but was unable to find it. I lay there helplessly as I waited…waited for death to meet me.

I was unsure of when my mind had left the world and had entered the freedom of dreams. I felt light and weightless as my mind created pictures, vivid in my imagination. The only time that I was ever able to see the world clearly was when I closed my eyes and hid the world away. Only then could I truly see.

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The next morning, I found myself pressing lightly against the soft, dew-covered ground with my walking stick. My father carved me a new stick as I grew older and I always kept it close. Each one was made to fit my height, and carved from the sturdiest of wood. My brother and I found it a tradition to venture out each year to find the perfect tree to cut from, and I always enjoyed it. I depended on my stick, for it was my eyes.

“Be careful here,” my brother warned ahead of me. “We’re just entering the mountains.”

Mountains, I thought to myself. Oh, how I had dreamed of what the image of mountains might look like. All that I knew of mountains was what my brother had described to me. He’d explained that they reached to the skies and blessed their lands with their majestic appearance. I was taken by surprise when my stick hit the hard surface of rock at my feet. The vibration through the carved wood sent a sudden message to my brain, “Rock.” I lifted my foot and pulled myself atop the first rock with great confidence.

“Do you need some help, Arin?” my brother asked me. I felt his touch against my arm.

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“But, Father! You know that I’m old enough to go!”

“Yes, I know, Arin, but-”

“You let Theo go when he was of seven years!”

“Arin, please. Just listen to me!”

“Father! I’m of ten years! I’m old enough to go with him! He only has four more years than me!”

My father groaned as I persisted to travel with my older brother into the wilderness of the mountains. I could sense the tenseness in the air as I listened intently. “Son,” my father paused. “You…you just can’t go with Theo.” I noticed the sympathy in my father’s voice as he rejected my request. “You aren’t like your brother. You’re…different, special. You’re special, Arin.”

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