I’m running through a forest that looks battered to hell. Pines standing proudly tall next to others that are splintered into as many branches on the trees standing around it. Some fallen over completely, some that had disappeared entirely. And some on its way down but stopped by the neighbouring pines still holding their ground.
Everything is covered in a thin layer of white, while the white itself is still lazily falling through the air. At first, you’d think it was snow. It was beautiful. Until I began to realise that it was too thin and too fluffy to be snow. My focus shifts to something closer as I’m running, and then I feel it as it begins to get thicker on my shirt, on my skin.
I’m still running. I didn’t notice at first, but then my focus shifts again to what I’m chasing. A dog. No…I’m not chasing, I’m following, as it keeps turning back to see if I’m still behind it. I see it barking, but I can’t hear anything. All I can hear is my breathing heavy, and deafening silence of ash falling. No birds, no animals, not even a sign of the war that had waltz through this place like a drunken man in heels through a china shop. Why this man would be wearing heels, I don’t know. But my theory/analogy still stands…even if this man in heels couldn’t.
The thickness of trees begin to lessen as I’m moving at speed through this forest. Funnily enough, there is a perfect path that carves through this foliage of standstill madness. Winding as it goes the final tree line is pass me before I know it, and there it stood. A small building. In what seemed like a small village. This building was obviously either a café or a small shop of some kind. Long abandoned, and boarded up. Beaten and scared with bullet holes and timeless ripping of its paint on the walls. There were no colours of significance, as one would think in a such a small french looking village. The colour palette of what I saw was dark grey, grey, black, and a dark maroon.
What seemed like should have been a beautiful Christmas, was actually just a peaceful after-war of settling death. Everything was still, like a mirrored lake. I notice I had slowly walked forward toward this beautiful capsule of what was once a small hub of laughter and joy, the building that stood before me.
I turn around to see this dog, a husky, just staring towards the building, as if it has meaning to it, as if it’s owner once lived there, as if it is bound for revenge. The husky is also now as still as a statue, no longer barking, but at peace somehow. The husky is covered in a thick layer of ash, but as a part of the layer coat it normally wore. And then I saw the only colour I had been able to see during this entire footrace; the piercing blue sapphire of the K9 cutting through the ash and grey, completely unblinking and steady. If those eyes could have said one thing, it would have been this:
“I only wanted someone to see what I once had, to see what I once saw, and what I still see now; home.”
I wanted to get down and hold this husky as if it were my own. To give them the feeling that everything was going to be alright. But everything started to slip. The only colour that pierced the entire scene started to fade. The ash, started to fade. The building no longer standing there, but gone as silently as the colour black, if the colour black were to ever sound like something. And everything goes dark.