The Tower

I was weaving in and out of the ancient columns and archways.  Exploring the castle ruins was exciting.  I could just imagine myself back in the times of valiant knights and festive court banquets.  It was an exhilarating revelation that I was stepping through mysteries from long ago.  I had hoped to find a throne room among the wreckage, but I was unsuccesful.  I sprinted to the edge of the island to see the teal waters swish and sway over the metallic rocks and cliffs that hugged the coast.  The wind was strong enough that I could feel the cool mist on my face.  Every time the waves hit, it was like a crashing cymbal.  “What an adventure.”  I whispered contentedly to myself.  As I turned to continue my expedition, I saw a small glimmer high above in the steely, gray clouds.  The wind quickly parted the clouds to reveal an ancient tower.  It appeared far more ancient than the ruins I was standing in, and taller than any skyscraper I had ever encountered.  My heart jumped with excitement.  I had to see how tall it was.  I came to the foot of the tower and when I looked up, I felt like an ant would while gazing up at a sunflower.  There were still many hours left in the day.  I decided to start climbing.  Foolish of me, since I didn’t bring a helmet or a harness with me that day.  Something told me that I could do it before nightfall.

My nails dug into the powdery rock as I rapidly started up the tower. It was hard for me to keep my arms straight while the wind was raging.  My legs reminded me to keep my balance at all cost.  The glimmer beckoned me to climb higher.  After what seemed like hours, the top of the tower did not appear any closer than it had before.  I became discouraged and I could feel my foot start to slip.  “Grip your toe!” I scolded myself.  I gently flung my back to the wall so I could catch my breath.  The ruins below were like doll houses, and the ocean was no longer rippling pleasantly.  I imagined falling and being consumed by the tide.  The thought of the water tossing me in a violent squall captivated my thoughts.  The monstrous roar of the waves echoed in my ears and I became dizzy.  In a tiny blue patch of sky above me, an eagle appeared.  She soared in a majestic descent, opening her large wings and embracing the air.  The bird circled the tower above me.  I took a breath and started to climb again.    The top of the tower was still nowhere near visible.

After awhile my legs and arms started to burn.  I hung my head, drenched with sweat, struggling to breathe in the high altitude.  Why did I think I could scale this tower?  My stupid, proud self!  How I longed to be back down on the beach with the soft white sands squishing between my toes.  “I had better start back down.” I thought to myself.  “I won’t make it.”  I was startled by the eagle’s piercing cry, so close to me I could feel the tips of her feathers.  I reached up and my foot slipped.  I was dangling from the tower now.  I screamed and dared not look down.  I opened my eyes and I saw the eagle.  She was hovering in the sky, inches from my face.  Her striking black eyes stared at me intently.  She was silent.  I shivered, planted my foot firmly and pressed my back against the rough surface once again.  I pushed a little more and gripped a crevice where I could rest comfortably.  It was at that moment I glimpsed an unexpected flitter; the eagle’s young baby, also hovering, shielded beneath her mother’s pinions and fixing its gaze on me.  They seemed undaunted by the storm surrounding us.  “Okay,” I gulped.  “I’ll keep going.” The ascent was grueling.  The more it hurt, the more I longed for the top.  My fingers went numb and my legs shook along with the rolling thunder splitting the sky.  It started to rain.  My fingers slipped as the rain melted the terrain into mud. “No!” I shrieked.  With newfound speed I scaled the tower, trying hard to keep my body from sliding.  Suddenly-a barrage of noise.  Lightening, tidal waves, the crumbling structure, howling wind, the eagle’s cry.  I pulled and kicked and yelled as the peak came into view.  Almost there! It felt like I was lifting a tank in order to stretch my fingertips to the surface.  With a burst of air in my lungs, I pushed myself up.  I collapsed in a ball at the top of the tower.

All at once the storm subsided and all was calm.  I rolled a few times to relish in my victory.  I looked behind me and saw that the glimmer was now a blinding light.  A golden almond blossom tree shone in the center of a courtyard.  Delicate green buds, pure white flowers and luxurious almonds graced every single branch.  I approached it on my hands and knees and fell at the base of it.  The sweet aroma of honey filled the air.  Nested in the magnificent tree, was the eagle and her eaglet.  I had found the throne room.

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