One day after work Maurice decided to camp out in his backyard. He wanted to ‘get back to nature’ and get used to the outdoor life in case the Trappist life didn’t work out and had to resort to the trappist life in Fairbanks. As night approached, Maurice found himself sitting on the ground stirring the embers of the campfire. He grew sleepy and presently nodded off.
The fire burned low. The dancing flames grew tired and now the embers spent their time flickering messages to one another in varying shades of red. Snap! Pop! A blackened stick broke into three pieces. One landed on a cooler ember and encouraged it to join the conversation. Another ember grew overly animated as it lectured the others. Briefly, he flared up and for a time all drew their attention the the fiery preacher.
“Ashes to ashes and dust to dust! From cinder to tree to tinder to crust!”
Then, in fulfillment of his prophesy, the flames leaped and the spirit departed.
Sometime later the moon crept from behind the clouds and nudged Maurice awake. The moon returned to her grey cloudy veils and massaged his mind with the deepest suggestion. How long had the moon lived? Did she see the first man? Did she know the secrets of the longaeva? His spirit grew warmer as dawn approached. The moonbeams rekindled the fire which then transferred its heat to his body. Off in the distance, an owl leaped to wing and descended upon a vole. A family of foxes trooped by just out of sight, paused for a look at the strange two-footed creature, then ambled off on their own business. The moon briefly revealed herself and sent a shaft of reflected light on Maurice. A shiver passed through him as again he nodded. He plunged into a dream.
It was not night; it was not day. It was simply a time that was. There were no stars, moon, or sun, merely a gloomy greyness. He stood on a large wooden platform at sea. Others were present, yet appeared as wraiths or shadows and called out as if in one voice. Not in words…but as beasts in agony…one long continuous groan. The platform rocked slowly and creaked like an old man in his death throes. Water lapped the edges and left frozen images of formless beings in its return to the water chaos. A loud voice bellowed from the midst of the wooden island. It rang of self-assurance, yet echoed a hollow wooden sound as one who remembered authority but had it stripped away in some forgotten past. A great being appeared in the likeness of a man. He looked like an unfinished statue. Stern and without pity, he walked towards Maurice and systematically beat the plankings. The being had no name, but destruction was his intent.