The weight of the vessel – that constant burden of the man downtrodden – it grew more burdensome with each robotic step, steps he felt were prone to multiply with the drudgery of each passing day. There were others, an endless line of downcast souls. You and I, even we were in that hapless line somewhere, reluctantly packing the seeds of our own destruction. We never chose this; of course you know, but each of us lost control of our own functions long ago, in a far-off world. The choice was made for us, but there’s little to gain by silently protesting this fact. (I’ve tried!) Perhaps this account of the downtrodden man will prove my point.
The vessel was a reservior, crafted in fire, for its own perpetuation. It carried a fuel of the most potent sort, and its invariable destination – the destination for the man and the rest of us helpless souls – the World. Indeed, even the most powerless among us remained aware that the tragic remnants of creation we observed with dim eyes and muffled ears was melting down, aflame in selfishness and apathy, anger and fear.
This was the fate of the lot of us – emptying deathly vessels, engorging the flames, returning to black chasms to find ourselves more burdened than we were the day before, more burdened than we ever thought our frail bodies capable – with the refilling of those thirsty vessels to carry again to the flames that raged upon our tormented World. Meanwhile, in the most solemn moments of our ruinous march, we were aware. We were aware of the madness, the unspeakable harm wreaked by our own mechanical actions.
The downtrodden man was perhaps more aware than the rest. So aware had he become, so tormented by his conscience over reluctantly observing the daily destruction wrought by his own hands, that he began to hope – not that hope was at all justifiable, but it was necessary for him, in order to remain at least partly himself. For he was not fully himself, you see. In fact, none of us were. But unlike most of us, he found this less acceptable. And so he protested, not that any around him could hear his protests, mostly internal they were, but for an occasional whisper that he managed to sneak past his own lips. Those whispers, could they have been heard, would have carried words like, “Such a beautiful place, this World of ours. Pity we keep burning it up.” and, “These people in the hapless line with me, perhaps they are not such bad people. Perhaps they’ve lost their ability to stop fueling the fire, just as I have.”
These quiet, mostly silent utterances by the downtrodden man carried on for countless days, and with each day, he grew more aware, and so more tortured by the realization that all he could do – all anybody could ever do – was to burn up the World. His ability to contemplate and to hope, coupled with his inability to change anything, drove him sharply toward madness, until one day, moved out of raw desperation, he began to weep through his strange paralysis. Even as he observed his own dust covered feet shuffle on toward their inevitable destination at the front of the hapless line, as he witnessed the emptying of another scorching kettle of death by his own hands, he wept in protest. Something in the sensation of tears trickling down his face caused the man a revelation. As he trudged back to the chasms, his heart clung to the revelation with a fury, and he wondered to himself how the obvious thing had escaped him for so many years. He felt a warmth inside him, something he thought he might have known once, a long time ago. His index finger – that of his right hand – began to twitch against the vessel he carried, and his tears flowed even more.
As the man lumbered into familiar caverns, vessel in tow, he laid his hand upon the earth to steady his descent, and in a manner unthinkable to the imprisoned minds of the miles of automata behind him, he paused. Of his own volition, he stopped a moment, right hand twitching against the soil, then continued on. Were any paying attention, were they able to focus on the spot where his hand touched ground, they would have seen two words etched into the dust – COME LORD