by Kylie Marden
by Nikhil Krishnamurthy
Glass. That’s what the man felt like. He carried a pot on his back. The world around him was solid; a barren expanse of grass. He walked with his burden across the land, towards a city in the distance. He did not seem to be getting any closer. He looked to his right and saw a small cottage with a chimney shaft spewing smoke. He made his way to it. By the time he arrived, his burden was too great and would have collapsed, if not for a robed person who caught him. The man looked into the robed person’s face. He did not see a face, as it was covered by a mask. He was brought inside to a small yet warm setting. A fire blazed in a fireplace. In front of it sat a couch. The robed person sat the man down on the couch, taking the pot off of his back. The man took the pot in his arms as he sat, clutching it with both arms like a mother would clutch her child. The robed person brought a chair in front of the couch, facing the man. “What is in the pot?” The robed person asked. The man said nothing. The robed person asked, “Why do you carry it?” The man responded, “It is a part of me. I can not let go of it.” The robed person asked him to open it, and the man obliged cautiously. He lifted the cap off and inside were tiny floating flames of different colors. “Let me help you carry these fires,” the robed person said. “It will be easier with my help.” The man said, “I can not ask you to do that. It would be selfish of me.” The robed person reached into the pot and took out half of the fires, looking into them. “Let me keep these for it will lessen your burden.” The man said nothing, but stood and strapped the pot to his back. It felt lighter. The robed person sat watching him. The man left the cottage and continued his trek alone.