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Apocalypsis: A Journey Inward . The first in a series of episodes recounting the spiritual journey of a young man. . APOCALYPSIS Episode I A Journey Inward A figure wound his way quickly along an ancient cobbled trail, with heart pounding and breathing heavy from the hard climb and the thin mountain air. It was adrenaline and desperation that kept him moving through the rolling cloud cover of the ancient old growth jungle. While his breath came in hurried gasps, all about him the great forest was blanketed with a heavy silence. Out of the mist, ghostly grey silhouettes of the forest world formed about him. With each footfall, new forms up ahead came into being, while those about him faded again into the grey as he passed. Now and again the tinkling sounds of tiny streams would penetrate the silence, telling of waterways cutting their passage along the mossy forest floor. And into the clouded cathedral of leaf and limb high above, rose the dim shades of massive tree trunks. From the ground up, the great pillars ascended skyward to vanish into a gentle swirl of fog. Their buttressed roots below fanned outward from their trunks, split, then twisted and writhed, before plunging into the boulder strewn earth to wind along the forest floor like great serpents. As the figure rushed on, he ducked beneath giant roots that arched over the path. He leapt over small boulders, and wove through patches of ferns, grabbing hold at times, onto twisting, low hanging vines for balance and support. The space between the earth and the canopy above was growing ever greater as he hurried on, and the land continued it’s climb, higher and higher. Up ahead the mist was thinning. There, the moisture-laden leaves above began to shimmer as morning sunlight broke through the canopy and poured down in silver shafts. Over the stillness of the mountainside and the ever present tip-tap of dew droplets on leaves, came the faint hiss of rushing water. The young man followed the trail to the right as it cut back and descended steeply in a stair-step fashion between massive boulders towards the growing sound of the falls. At the bottom of this dip, the trail made a another sharp bend to the left, and the jungle’s roof suddenly opened up. The surrounding mist vanished with a soft rush of cold, wet air. Above it’s thunderous undertones, the loud hiss of the falls came down upon him now crisp and clear. He found himself standing in an opening; a cavernous stone sanctuary scooped out of the jungle mountain by the tireless years of tumbling boulders, rushing mountain water, and following air. Craggy cliff walls, dappled with sunlight, towered upward in an almost vertical climb, and tangles of roots and vines slithered down over moss covered ledges and outcroppings, to hang limp above a calm glistening pool of water at the base of the falls. There above the white veil of falling water, lay the gaping black mouth of an immense cavern. The young man stopped for just a moment to catch his breath. He’d been following the path for days with little food or sleep, and the arduous trek up the mountain left him weary to the point of exhaustion. He stood there gasping, taking in his surroundings, and then the realization of where he was seized him. “This is it,” he panted. “This is it.” As quickly as caution would allow, he began to climb the steep walls. He worked his way up the slippery, vertical ledges along side the roaring cascade, and finally reaching the top, soaked to the skin by the over-spray, waded into the middle of the cold, rushing water to face the mouth of the cavern. Then, the purpose for his journey, which had been driven from him by weariness and blind desperation, descended on him like a thunderclap. The thought stifled him, and he stood frozen, staring into the watery passage way. Slowly he turned from the cave to look about one last time. Beyond the falls, beyond the tree line and the misty mountains, there on the horizon, was the light of the morning sun pouring down over all the world. “Not even in my dreams was it this beautiful,” he whispered breathlessly. He shook his head and thought to himself, “Not like this. And here’s where it happens. All of this beauty, all of this life, this creation...and this is where I go to die. Or is this where we all die, all the world, all of us?” And with that thought, he turned again to face the great cavern. He took a deep breath, and striding into the oncoming current that issued from the mouth of the cave, he plunged towards his destiny and into the darkness. TO BE CONTINUED... See Episode II: The Conflict Within

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