The yak furs are warm but musty. I am tired. The grass plains below spread from horizon to horizon. My breath steams in the early morning air.
I have far to go.
A dot high above me drops. A hawk.
It lands on my outstretched arm, its heft a comfort. Two dim orange eyes regard me from behind its blinkered cowl.
A note attached to its leg.
“You have one unread DM.”
But… but I’ve read it, I think. I’m certain I’ve read it.
The monastery is quiet. The monks, serene, tend to their garden, to their bees.
I am welcomed.
Well… perhaps ‘welcomed’ is the wrong word. I am simply accepted – as existing, as being there, as seeking refuge.
I meditate. I heal. The calluses from my travels begin to soften.
I am sat in the garden and the peach blossoms are streaming down around me.
Cross-legged and eyes closed, I am finding my center.
A tap on the shoulder. I open my eyes.
A monk stands in front of me. He leans forward and breaks his 60 year vow of silence.
“You have one unread DM,” he says, his voice crackling with new use.
“I don’t,” I reply. “I have read it.”
But he is gone.
They had come at night. Quiet, at first, but without regard once discovered – tearing through the shōji screens of the house, blades out, cold and hard and terrible. Driven. Unblinking.
I lie propped against the wall. Bleeding. Unable to move. The back door is torn open. The moon is looking down on the bodies of my fallen enemies.
I am cut. Deep wounds. Such rough surgery.
I am wondering whether it is too late to compose my death poem.
An arrow thuds into the beam above me. A figure, clad in black, scurries from a distant rooftop.
A small banner unfurls from the arrow.
‘You have two unread DMs.’
Oh for fucks sake.
Photo by/CC Thomas & Dianne Jones on Flickr