Far Places
rating: +3+x

Mother always warned me to stay away from the old cities. She insisted on the danger that was sure to reside in those huge, monolithic structures that reach higher than even the Insects can fly. Even before her passing, I would often find myself out in those places, exploring. Looking back on it, she must’ve known…

I finally went to the far place today. At least, that’s what I always called it as a child. That place with those horrible spikes coming out of the earth. As terrifying as I thought they were from afar, they’re so much more frightening up close. Formidable is really the word. For the longest time, I thought they were some sort of tree, even when I got close the first time, I didn’t fully grasp that they weren’t natural. Even still, I can’t fully figure out what they are. I want to say metal, but I can’t be sure. Maybe some type of hybrid material to keep them from rusting or wearing down. I brought Callie with me, but she refused to enter the place, whining and pulling on her leash like her life depended on it. I ended up hitching her to a bench in the shade with plenty of water and food in case I was gone long.

Of all things, I wasn’t expecting the intense feeling of longing coming from the place. No, not longing… loneliness. As though it was a place to be hidden and forgotten. The further I got into this strange forest, the more I could hear my mind begging me to turn back and put this place behind me.

I must’ve walked for hours. Some of the spikes had smaller ones coming out of them near the tops, while others were near my height. The deeper I got into the area, the thicker the air seemed to get. I couldn’t breathe. I had to sit down on that dry, cracking ground and just watch the sky grow dark. I had to fight myself to get back up and go back to Callie.

When I finally got back home, I found myself looking back again and again. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, about how I had felt there. Like I was in the presence of gods who I should’ve feared.

I think I left some piece of myself there. Is it too easy to say I left my sanity? It sounds like something from one of those books I’ve found in those old, broken-down buildings. Maybe mother was right to try to keep me away from these places; she knew I’d get sucked in and would never be able to go back to who I was. I’m terrified.

There’s something about that place that just draws me back in. I’ve been planning my next expedition there, and this time I don’t know that I want to come back. I want to see what’s on the other side. I want to see how far it goes. I’ll have to find someone to care for Callie in my absence, but that shouldn’t be too hard. She’s a sweet dog and an even better scavenger, so I’m certain someone will want her. I have to get started planning.

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