CAVERN OF THOUGHTS

His steps echoed in the great expanse, ringing in a cavernous echo.

 

Robert Trent stood in the bright sunlight steps away from the shadows cast. His desire to remain illuminated was left in the hands of another. All Robert had to do was trust in that; to believe that his fate was assured.

But assurance wasn’t just the wish for such, and Trent hated that it was something over which he could not exercise any control. He centered his mind and headed into the darkened alcove. His steps echoed in the great expanse ringing in a cavernous echo.

For quite a while Robert moved in trepidation, the darkness enveloped and devoured him. There was no confidence in his stride; baby steps would have been leaps over his slow careful shuffle. He had the sensation of falling, although tethered and secure, and the blackness contributed in some small part to that feeling.

There was a patch of light ahead, and Trent moved toward it, still fumbling but curious as to what it revealed. As he neared it, the image became the light, flickering like an old newsreel report. He saw a young boy.

His blond hair and freckled cheeks sheltering piercing blue eyes reminded Trent of someone he knew. The boy sat on the front porch of a tan clapboard house. Watching the world pass him by, the boy sequestered in a wheelchair, legs braced encased in metal and leather. Ambition was the inner fire that illuminated this vignette. Robert and the boy looked at one another. Trent felt sadness for the boy; the lad smiled with hopeful optimism.

Robert was once more bathed in darkness. He almost stumbled when that had occurred. Again his feet moved unhurriedly, yet his curiosity pushed him onward. He heard rumbles in the distance, like the muted softness of voices; murmurs beckoning. Trent stumbles and falls twice, lifting himself back to his uneasy feet each time. He knows his journey must continue; his rest awaits him. A flash of brilliance draws his attention.

A young man, dirty blond hair and legs that moved faster than his body sometimes. Speed was his ally. It was his companion. The bubbling enthusiasm outweighed those around him. It was as if he possessed a secret; a formula for success learned in his young life, through hardship and desire. Robert saw a fire in the young man’s eyes as they met with his. Trent stared back in wonder; the teen smiled back in accomplishment.

Another scene fades to blackness. More obstacles flash as synapses fire and manifest themselves in visions that Robert finds strangely repetitive. Joys and celebrations appear. Failures and disappointments provided balance. A father’s pride. A mother’s support and comfort. High school sweethearts and the girl next door, all filled his personal slideshow. A tour of duty in the Persian Gulf became a drama that stung hard to Trent’s heart and mind.

Now, there stands a seasoned veteran of a relatively young life graduating at the head of his class, a police recruit anxious to protect and serve. He receives his badge and the admiration of his widowed mother and young bride. The man stands as a shining example to a young son standing in awe of the man and the uniform. The boy’s blond hair and freckled cheeks sheltering his father’s piercing blue eyes, reminding Trent of his own young son.

Plunged into the void of nothingness again. Eerie silence a thick atmosphere fills Roberts fears. The sound of footsteps running, racing from behind. Heavy breath and shouts are also heard. Trent is shoved to the ground as a scared and angry figure rushes past him. Another man chased in pursuit. As Robert starts to rise, he is pushed down again. When he finally comes upright he becomes engrossed in a final vignette. The confrontation plays out is slow motion, or so it seemed to Trent. Trapped and afraid, the young man turns with gun raised shouting obscenities and blasting the officer in question. Robert counts…one, two… he witnesses the bright flash of the third shot and then is plunged into a deep, dark and total silence.

Officer Robert Trent remained in the shadows of his coma for days, steps away from the bright light of day. His desire to return to its luminance was left in the Hands of Another. All Robert had to do was trust in that; to believe that his faith was assured. Officer down, but certainly not out.

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