Krinsala wondered if he was the first to attempt the stairs in such a tattered outfit, his previous battles taking their toll on his skin and on his khaki-coloured garments; even the red bandana, keeping Krinsala’s hair from interfering with his eyesight, was torn and aged. The voice inside his mind telling him it was time, so he lifted his boot and took his first step on to the stairs.
Although he was closer to the sheer drop above the trees, Krinsala felt more comfortable climbing the left side of the moss-covered, concrete staircase. Perhaps he was attracted to the idea of having some alternative views, or maybe there was a presumption that any creature intent on causing him harm would emerge from the clouds above in the centre of the stairs. Krinsala concentrated on being grateful for each step towards the summit, ignoring the voice telling him to slow down. For a moment, Krinsala looked out over the tops of the trees, his thoughts briefly drifting towards his previous life. He brought them back to the task at hand, but he was too late. In the centre of the stairs, a green arm appeared, and a creature crawled out of the mist.
Krinsala showed no signs of weakness by moving closer towards the centre of the stairs while he readjusted his grip on his staff. The creature was not as nimble on the stairs as Krinsala would have suspected and was concentrating intently on placing its hands and feet in the right places. This was unfamiliar territory for both of them. Once they were close enough to see into each other’s eyes, the creature leapt to attack. Krinsala swung his staff under the creature’s hind feet and stepped out of its way, causing it to fall several steps below. Unable to use its hands to grip the stairs, the creature continued to tumble downwards. The creature struggled to its feet and staggered into the forest below. You choose your path and you choose the direction.
Realising his error and claiming the centre of the stairs as his own, Krinsala slowed his breathing, placed his staff in the sheath on his back and continued on his journey, disappearing into the mist until he could only see ahead two to three steps at a time. As the voices as clear as if someone were standing right next to him, told Krinsala he was too weak and too tired to continue. No voice appeared to be coming from the same individual making it more difficult to focus on the step. He carried on, convincing himself that each step he took towards the top was a great achievement itself. The voices continued for days, Krinsala having to dig so deep that he nearly crossed the line into questioning himself. And then, sunlight.
The mist now gone, Krinsala remained focussed, the temptation to enjoy the feeling of the sun on his skin growing by the second. The light is a source for both warmth and blindness. This was where most failed, and where Krinsala was determined to succeed. There was nothing except the next step. Unaware that his skin was beginning to burn, Krinsala celebrated the next step and the next step after that. Then, he stumbled. Not over an obstacle, but over his own feet. Krinsala had become so accustomed to climbing that his feet had forgotten how to walk when there was nothing to ascend. He got to his feet and, for the first time since beginning his journey, took a moment to enjoy the beauty around him.
The clouds rolled passed peacefully under the concrete path where Krinsala stood. He soaked in the beauty of the sky for as long as he could before the voice told him it was time to go. Krinsala continued walking forward, not daring to look back, stopping only when he reached the edge of the path. He filled his lungs with the cool air, slid the staff from its sheath and, holding it in front of him, took his first step down towards the forest below.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
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