How to Get There from Here 5.8.16

by Jade Crystal Harmon

Smoke stings my eyes. A grinding roar fills my ears. The tunnel is narrow, glowing dull orange, getting hotter. I shuffle through the dimness, feet crunching over hot, brittle stones. My companion pulls me forward, down into the darkness and the heat. I can see the rough outline of his small body ahead, pulling me on doggedly, fearlessly.

We turn a sharp corner. Heat blasts my face, sulfur stings my eyes. I squint through the sudden brightness and flinch backward against the wall, pulling him with me, protectively. For a moment we cower on the edge of a stone shelf, inches above a boiling river of molten lava. My heart races; I smell my hair burning.

The volcanic river is too wide to jump, but there are slick obsidian slabs jutting out of the lava. On the other side I can see a tunnel leading upward. He points – it’s too loud to hear – wildly excited to reach the other side. My whole body aches for that opening, for cool air, space and light. I am terrified, but I nod.

I watch him balance on the edge, sweat pouring down his face, his eyes mapping his route. When he jumps I cry out, though it’s swallowed in the hot roar. He lands on the black stone, my son, my baby, separated from me by a river of liquid fire. I leap.

I land, feet skidding on the smooth rock. The heat is scalding, but I’m so charged with adrenaline that it feels distant. He is already three stones ahead, and I leap after him, laughing crazily. Then he is on the other side – he’s made it! and I have one jump left. The ground shakes. I waiver and vertigo tips me. I fall. And as I fall, I reach to him, ashamed. Through the rank air, the smoke, I can see him smiling.

“It’s okay, Mama” he says sagely, reaching for my hand to pull me off the pink bedroom carpet. His feet are carefully balanced on a bed pillow. “You’re wearing lava-proof socks.”

Amazed, unhurt, I stand trembling at the entrance of the tunnel. He’s already pulling me on, and I can see that the path ends abruptly at a towering waterfall that we must go over, sliding down each carpeted stair on our bellies and onto the raging cataracts in the living room below.



This entry was posted by mamaorion.

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