Chapter 4 - rising

The smell of grass filled the soldier's nose. For a few moments, that was the only thing his mind knew, the sweet smell of grass. Inhaling and exhaling, he absorbed that smell. He was not aware, there was no conscious thought, but there was the beginnings of a want, a desire.

Something in him wanted, really wanted, to remain in the grass, to be there. He wanted to sink deep into that grass, to its roots, to the soil below. His mind began to sink down, darkness was forming around the edges. It was almost as if his very mind was becoming the dirt. With a simple unawareness, he stretched toward the depths. Eventually the longing and the desires faded as well, and he simply was.

All was dark now.

Beautiful, yet unrecognizable scenery filled his mind. Most of it green and lush, with splashes of blue from sky or water. He raced through these blended countrysides. Was he flying or running? He could not tell, nor did he even ponder the question. For a moment he pondered the aromas. The smell of dirt and grass was all around him. He dismissed the thought. His arms were outstretched, his fingers skimming the tops of long blades of grass, the grass that consumed his sense of smell and kept coming back to his mind. The scenery became a little more clear now, and he saw in the distance a small cottage. He was heading right for it, and he felt an intense desire to be there, to walk through its door, to sit at the small table inside. He didn't know how he knew that there would be a small table inside, he just knew that there should be a table in there, a small wooden one with two chairs.

He was standing in the garden now, just outside the cottage. He brushed his hands over the tops of the flowers, and along the edges of the tomato plants. He saw the small green buds of tomatoes sprouting from where there had once been the small tomato blossoms. It brought a smile to his face as he continued through the garden. He looked now through the window. He wanted to go in because it felt like his own house, a house that he hadn't been in for such a long time.

He heard voices behind him now and turned, only to have everything shift slightly. The garden was overgrown with grass now, grass that was all bending in towards him. It was touching his face and suddenly the scenery began to lose its focus. It seemed to be pulling away from him as he sunk into the long blades of grass. The world was giving way to something else. The beauty was fading, and it was being replaced by darkness and pain.

There were hands on him now, not blades of grass at all. They were pulling him to his feet. They were helping him walk across a field of flowers, red flowers and blue flowers and... such a horrible stench. He looked down at these flowers as he stumbled along with these hands. As he focused, he realized that they weren't flowers. His senses were returning now, and he realized that there were bodies all over these fields.

The voice of the hands on his right side said, "Come along sir, we've got you. Now watch that, OK. That's good sir, keep coming. Almost there now..." and so on. He watched his feet as they stumbled along.

His mind still considered the small cottage as he plodded along. He hadn't died, he knew that, at least not yet. The monks that were walking him along had better do their work well, or he could still die from the arrow that was still sticking out of his back.

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