By Aiden Rayner
The cavern was dark. Black as pitch it could be said. Light seemingly never having touched the obsidian surfaces of the walls. Not that the figures ever looked to the left or right. Their eyes stayed always fixed on the things that would assist in their survival.
They hung by scratched and scarred hands from a shimmering golden tower, illuminated at intervals by powerful blue flame. It stretched high into the inky black above and deep into the certain doom below. The male figure – tall with brown hair that he fancied made him look like a rock star but really gave the impression of Randy, the hobo from behind the petrol station – reached for another hand hold and looked down at the female figure below, ensuring she was still doing the same.
In an apartment building in Melbourne, a man entered his bedroom. He looked across at his partner, a previously loving woman, and took a sharp breath to steel himself against the worst. The suitcase lay open on the bed and the wealth of clothing she had acquired ove the years was being thrown unceremoniously in.
The stone of the tower was cold to her touch. She could see him looking down, hoping she would continue upward with him. He was pleading, in fact. The will to hold on and continue this upward journey was fast escaping her.
The man followed her into the bathroom. He was saying things. Just things. Not much meaning to be found in his words for her these days. Not now. She collected her perfumes in a small plastic bag and marched through him back to her overflowing suitcase. This was the last of her things. If she was going to go, now was the time.
The man saw her falter, saw her footing against the tower slip. He leapt down towards her. Desperately grasping for her arm. More desperate then he’d ever been before. Too late.
He was yanking the suitcase now. He used all his might to pull it towards him and impede her departure. She spoke – yelled maybe, who could tell? – and in a moment of his shock she manoeuvred the suitcase back into her control.
He watched her fall the length of the tower into the shadow far below.
He watched her walk the length of the hall to the stairs. Watched her go.
And in his vast, black cavern the golden tower crumbled to dust.
Image: Robin King