((Author's Note: I think this may just be the great personal tragedy of my lifetime... You see, I had written this while I was not entirely cognitive, so it's a bit hazy in my mind, and I was interupted before I finished it, but I was actually quite proud of what I had. I had brought the notebook it rested in on a family camping trip this past summer, thinking that maybe the beauty of nature would clear my head... unfortunatly, good old nature decided to clear my notebook instead. I had left it on my sleeping bag in the tent when it started to unexpectedly pour rain from the sky. While I was franticly helping my family pack up the gear and load it in the van (we were not in a good spot for rain, the place was flooded just an hour later), the rain decided to seep into our tent... and consequently drench my precious notebook. I had written differnet parts of it with different pens (a little writing quirk of mine, I know its weird), so some of it survived and som didn't. I salvaged what I could using a large magnifying glass, an extra-strength flourescent light, my relatively good eyesight and some lemon juice, but much of what I had was completly lost. I remember there was alot more after what is posted here, and there was a whole paragraph of two towards the beginning about the man's home and a great deal more about "the crazy man from the stories," among other things, but alas I can not remember!!! It's been driving me crazy, but it's no use... perhaps it will come to me later. I decided to post what I had in hopes that someone had some suggestions or that it will come back to me someday. I do have some ideas as to where it was going, because of something I had written years ago, but even rereading that hasn't helped. Anyways, here is what I have... any thing in "(( ))" is something that I was not sure about or couldn't read very well, and "..." in the same parenthesis signifies places where a significant chunk or a very important word was missing. Sorry for the abrupt ending... if you have any ideas or suggestions of sympathetic personal stories of the same nature, feel free to share and/or commiserate.
Nedh meleth In,
J. N. Laerasyn

The only moisture that the thirsty ground had seen in a long while was the drops of sweat that dropped from the man's brow as he passed. Sometimes he just didn't quite have the energy to wipe it off. He had even stopped caring about the tiny insects that kept trapping themselves in his beard, or the fact that it hurt his eyes to stare too long at the barren landscape. All that mattered was moving forward- it was up there ahead somewhere. The Mountain. Strange things happen near the mountain, folks used to say back home in the Rock Hills. It was even said that He had first appeared in that region, and people had been driven out of town onto the road at the mere mention of Him. Strange things happened there indeed… but the point was that things happened.

dry, dusty, stale, one more step, one more step.

He couldn't for the life of him (or lack thereof) figure out what was different all of a sudden. Maybe it was just that the bugs were gone. He strained his neck and looked up to see the splintered fiberglass shards of sunlight in the sky go duller and whiter. He knew he shouldn't stop, because he couldn't afford to lose time- not to mention it was bad for his back to straighten out. Why was he carrying all these rocks again? He couldn't remember. But he was sure it was something very important.

tense, strained, bending, breaking…

There was no doubt about it- the air itself had transformed. He staggered as he grappled with the dazed confusion that comes with exhaustion, trying to regain mastery of his senses. Should he be worried about this sudden change?

He rubbed his bare scalp drowsily as if he could massage the haze from his mind. If his mother could see his shaved head now, she would be scandalized, but he found that hair was a distraction in this perpetually dusty place. Especially now, for his bare skin was greeted with a sensation utterly new to him. The air was thick- he had seen a mud puddle once as a child; he had spent hours squelching his hands and feet in it in awe. It was the only experience he could liken the air to now. It was thick and heavy and almost seemed to stick to him and his clothes. He shifted the massive load on his back to see if he could cut a way through this phenomenon with his hands to make the going easier.

miry, stifling, silent, breathe gasp heave.

He pushed through these new conditions until he was beginning to think he would have to stop and rest again. The sweat on his arms and brow mixed with the dust from the road and form a sticky paste on his skin, or soak into his clothes and make them heavy. His own body heat created a stifling pocket around him, even hotter than the scorched air. Any breath he could manage to suck into his just stayed there like gravel.

Then came another change.

A new sensation assaulted his skin yet again- this time so shocking and terrifying he felt his stomach lurch. The only thing he could think was that his heat, his life was being leached away. The air was swirling up in little tendrils to absorb it from his skin. He heard a couple of pebbles drop from his back and tried hard to quell the panic- he couldn't drop them now, not after he'd carried them this far! What the hell is this?

shock smack reload refresh…

He had no words for cold or cooling.

After calming himself a bit, he found himself a good deal more aware than before. It was then he realized he also couldn't see as well as before. He strained himself one more time (so much pain) to try to find the sun. Most times, he had cursed that torturous ball of fire, but now that he couldn't find it he realized how familiar it had become to him. He found those dark blotches, in what had once been a flawless glass sky, almost offensive. Who were they to disturb his suffering?

Then the air began to get even more hostile.

dark, deepening, threatening, sinking…

It was terrifying. Was the earth moving? No… it was the air moving… All the solidity that had weighed it down came rushing at him in a crescendo of movement, bringing with it all the dust and debris from the road to lash him with. He couldn't breathe, he couldn't gain but two inches before he stumbled backward three more. Suddenly, the desire to move forward was replaced by still a new fear: he heard voices.

louder harder faster stronger whisper…

Left: it's coming… Right: who are you? Behind: why are you here? it's coming… you've come… it's coming… are you ready? it's coming…

You've come… (heavy burden)… You'll know what to do… (lay it down)… It's coming!

He didn't dare turn in either direction to discover the source of the ghostly council. He simply locked all of his joints and stood hard against the gale, the load on his back the best he could, bracing himself. In the back of his mind, he had always known something like this would happen on his journey, but he hadn't been prepared for such a manic extreme.

blowing rushing fearless crushing stand…

He had thought he was braced for anything, but the wind all of a sudden picked up everything it had and slammed it into the frame of the lone man standing bent double on the road. And with the crashing wind, it came… another voice.

But this voice dwarfed and drowned all the others as it boomed out over the flat land, threatening to make the man's eardrums implode.

He dared once to open his eyes, but the wind and debris burned them so that he had to squeeze them shut again.

"Who are you and why have you come?" it demanded.

He couldn't speak. Even if it were not for the wind or the fear he would not have spoken: he simply didn't know the answer. What kind of question is that? Does anyone know?

The voice boomed another burst of wind form some unseen lungs, with mocking laughter as if the very sky was being torn to shreds.

(frustration, identity, chaos, entropy)

"TELL ME who you are! Why are you here? What are you searching for, boy?

"Boy?!?!" he ((thought)) in indignation.

Energy and anger swelled within him, yet still he said nothing. Who was he? He was nothing; he was only the journey and only the journey had existed. ((Only its object)). Now here he was at the end finally, here being assaulted by the very air itself, and he had nothing… nothing… What had this journey been about? What was he searching for? All the ((stories)) suddenly began to sound ((meaningless)).

The ((s…ful)) laughter battered his aching ears yet again. "You shall never reach it. Boy! ((…)) You ((lose)) yourself even now. You think you will find some dusty old ((Holy man)) on the Great Mountain? Fool! You are not worthy of the Mountain. Men of dust are not permitted on its great peaks! ((You would die before your second step!)) Laughter again, and this time it seemed that a whole host of other voices joined in terrible unison. "What are you really searching for?!"

It was decision or death this time, and he knew it. It would only a be a matter of minutes before the force grew so much that his flesh would be stripped form his bones, and he was about to resign himself to it. He let what remained of his load ((bring him to his knees)) as he let out a moan that was completely lost to the wind, ((like..)) his tears.

desperate drowning falling screaming NO!

It was then that they came again: the whispered voices from before, now seeming like old friends compared to this seething … monolith.

it's here… you've come… you'll know what to do… set you free, set you free… it's almost here… find it… find Him…

The man? The crazy man from the stories? Is that what he was searching for?

straining rushing smashing roaring raging

His name is (())

His name? He has a name? That was it, then. ((If he did not say something soon, he would surely die)). There was nothing else, nowhere to hide, nothing left to lose.

No where left to run…

Seizing up all the strength left in his battered body and spirit, he let unseen hands drag him to his feet, and with all the air he could ((suck)) into dying lungs he bellowed his answer at the clouds:

"His name is ((...))!"

Explosion! The voice was gone, but all around him angry howling erupted ((...))