A/N: This is a story one of my professors (who really rocks, by the way) asked me to write: he gave me a picture which I was to use as my source of inspiration. The image was very funny, indeed. It showed a sign which read: "ROAD STOLEN". I thought I'd weave an angsty story around it...Bad me! ^_^

Only last week, I was tucked away in the interior of a rickety bus, gazing through the window. That is when I saw the sign. Quite a few of my fellow-passengers burst out laughing as they recited its message with many a guffaw:

"Caution! Road stolen."

Some more chuckles followed:

"Hahahaha! Oh my, that's just too funny!"

"It wasn't there before," a youngster pointed out, still chortling.

How that sign wrung laughter from the others! My wretched state of mind-; my dismal view of myself and the world remained untouched by the admittedly comical message written in somewhat crooked, but distinct characters.

The day after my ride on the bus, I parked my car on the side of the dusty road. I left the vehicle and approached the sign and examined it briefly. It was evidently handmade, and roughly nailed to a wooden pole. No, there was no road visible, for the grassy ground gave way to a deep ravine; around it, the landscape gazed back at me, the solemn spectator, with a green eye, and breathed a feeble wind in my direction as if desiring to speak to me. Utterly dismayed was I by the view, for the overcast sky rendered everything bleak, my heart heavy, and my mind even more anguished than before. Loneliness, my faithful companion, assailed me triumphantly, stamping upon my forlorn frame an impression of being abandoned; unloved; unwanted. The sign, I thought bitterly, was right. A road had indeed been stolen from me; snatched away from underneath my feet, making me crash-similar to a felled tree-upon my face; and on rising, I had been confronted with bruises which would never heal; behind me, there was a crooked road-; and before me? Nothing more met my eyes! The road had vanished. My confidence that I would set my foot on that road of bliss was shaken; and then, overpowered by the sensation of loss, it was broken, smashed into a million fragments; which, as I yet attempted to collect them, were scattered by a malign wind, superior in force to the one which sighed and muttered around me as I stared at the landscape. Most sorrowfully did I smile as I and my loneliness kept the sign company; and most willingly did I at length answer the summons of that little wind, replying:

"I will follow you."

I turned to the sign, a stiff, grave messenger, silently giving it my thanks for its unintentional aid. I took a step I had wanted to take long ago; I decided to enter that road which had been stolen from me by the combination of fate and errors committed on my part, and terminate the suffering which hung over me like a pestilent cloud.

So I took the step; the last one.

The sign still stands alone, displaying its three words to attentive eyes.

But sometimes, on cloudy, grey days, when the sun hides its bright face and the atmosphere is sombre, I will drift up from where I threw myself. I then leave that pit of temporary oblivion, and glide around, above and through the sign, a shadowy spectre who, even beyond death, cannot retrieve the stolen road, and is doomed to haunt the site of self-destruction.

Thus I and the wind sigh together in lamentation of the hurts of the crumbling world. We watch, and will watch forever until what was stolen from me is returned; but I know that my patience will never be rewarded.