The Mountain (Flash Fiction)

The mountain looked down upon Brian from its height. The dark blue sky of a thinning atmosphere was its home. Shadows fell into deep crevices filled with ice. Soft snow blanketed it with powerful beauty and jagged stone showed the lines of its age.

Brian climbed.

As Brian climbed, his body worked. He kicked at the snow and rock with spiked boots. He stabbed at the mountain with carbon steel axes, and snow flurried around him. The wind whipped his low-temperature jacket and snuck in through the gaps and found his skin. The ice, thick and entombing stone older than all of humanity, didn’t budge. He pulled with his arms and he pushed with his legs and his muscles filled with fiery strain. His lungs were seared by the freezing air.

Brian climbed, and the mountain did not care.

When Brian reached the top, he threw his hands in the air in weak victory. His legs trembled and he soon sat down. His body was hunched and tired, but his lungs found the air they needed. He looked over the horizon and saw the spiked range around him. All of the mountains, dozens, hundreds, looked upon him without regard. They did not celebrate his accomplishment. They looked on and looked down, and they did not care.

Brian sat and looked down with the mountain, facing the valley below and eating his lunch. His strength came back, and the heat in his body faded. The wind tore at him without end. Across the range, on the edge of the horizon, he could see the city from where he came. It was low and flat, and the air around it was dirty. He thought of all the people down there living their lives. He thought of how insignificant they all seemed. He looked at his climbing axes, the finest that money could buy, and thought of where they came from. Then he thought of where the mountain came from.

The mountain was born from the death of stars that exploded before time was invented. The mountain swam and swirled through space and was compressed by the gravity of itself. Its soul created the molten core of this world; that core flowed out as its blood. Its edges were heaved up by vast, moving plates. Its stone was tempered by a billion years of light from the sun. The dead wind was its lungs, and the galaxy was its eyes.

Brian began to shiver. He felt the mountain’s cold seeping into his core. He made his way down the mountain and back to where he belonged. The mountain waited and watched, and the mountain did not care.

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