27 December, 2006

Rage

His rage consumed him.

He raised his arms, the tall willow staff clenched in his gnarled hand, and the earth began to tremble. Birds and animals fled in fear, startled from their places of refuge. The trembling increased until the trees swayed and small rocks jumped and danced. Cracks appeared in the ground, radiating outward from where he stood. They lengthened quickly as they spread apart into great rifts in the land. The sky turned dark with a false twilight as clouds, black with his rage, gathered and swirled above him, obscuring the life-giving sun. Lightning lanced down to pierce the now heaving ground. An ancient granite boulder behind him exploded into lethal shrapnel when struck by a hammer of the celestial fire. The earth responded by shooting enormous burning rocks and chunks of earth high into the sky, trailing plumes of magma and sulfurous smoke. Lava, flowing out of new holes and fissures, lit the underside of the clouds with a demonic red light. A mindless, screaming wind rushed in, turning ice and debris into deadly missiles. The thunder of the sky played a terrifying counter melody to the thunder of the tortured earth. The ancient snow capped peaks to the south collapsed and sunk into the ground as a new mountain rose up to the east, with saw toothed peaks and sheer cliffs. Lava ran in rivulets down the new slopes and cascaded onto the ruptured plains. The mighty river to the north boiled away in great clouds of rank steam as it disappeared into the yawning chasms that cut across its path. Tongues of flame erupted from newly open fissures, a hellish reflection of the spears from heaven. The trees of the forest were torn from the earth and lifted into the roaring wind, to be tossed about like so much thistle down. The symphonic dissonance of the roaring and shrieking elements was punctuated by tympanic bursts of trees and rocks colliding and shattering in the air. He threw back his head and howled a primeval scream into the wind as the destruction rose in an awesome crescendo.

At last his rage was spent. He dropped his arms and the wind died, causing fresh destruction as it dropped its captive debris. Trees that landed too near the pools of molten rock burst into flames, while others that landed a little farther away simply smoldered and smoked. The clouds quickly dispersed and the sun emerged again to shine on the twisted landscape. The earth calmed, the tremors slowly subsiding as it settled into its new form.

His head hung from stooped shoulders as he turned, and with shuffling steps picked his way westward across the broken world, the tip of his staff dragging in the dirt behind him.

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