Kavi walked alongside the darkly glistening stream, savoring the unique sound of the water pushing past the immovable stones in their path. The only other sounds emanated from his boots crunching against the rocky soil of the river bank and a soft, slow, surreptitious breath. He was satisfied with merely taking in the beauty of this unguarded Eden. The trees sprawled on either side of the brook, creating a singular path following the body of water. Sunset long past, the radiant moon lit the sojourner's way toward his destination, giving direction to his wanderings. Kavi pictured this paradise the home of nymphs whose pleasure was bringing the forest closer to the impossible standard of perfection. His fancied cherub's affinity for nature won his admiration as he made his way, each step showing more nuances of their work than the last.
The boy had dark brown eyes and even darker hair. His complexion was bronzed from many fatigued wanderings as a merchant's son. He was drug along due to his father's superstition. He believed that as long as Kavi was with him the train would elude highwaymen. While it may or may not be the reason, his father was right. No real misfortune befell Kavi as he travelled. No one accompanied him this time however. He even forsook a horse; preferring instead his own legs to carry him. His mother claimed it to be foolhardy, but Kavi, creating his own rite of passage, ignored her. Still, the town that supposedly lied ahead is only two days away by foot, and though he was not as fearful as his mother, he did have enough precaution to bring a gun and spare supplies in case the town happened to be farther than anticipated.
As he approached the primary bend of the somewhat meandering water the traveler decided to set up camp. He scanned the sky for signs of rain, and seeing clouds; began to construct a crude tent from his thick fur blanket and lumber he whittled into pieces for a frame a few years ago. Once his yurt was built he went about starting a campfire because while it was unnecessary, Kavi wasn't accustomed to a cold camp, and so it was a luxury he labored for almost eagerly. His kindling blazed, lighting up the cozy river bank. The fire swayed with its own life as the wind manipulated the already volatile light.
With no thought to Prometheus, Kavi began eating a portion of bread and cheese in front of his gift. The bread was stale and crusty, while the cheese was finely aged in his rucksack. Still, travel food was rarely desirable and sometimes utterly distasteful, so to the young traveler this meal was above par. Eyelids growing heavy, Kavi spurned the last few bits of bread for his fur blanket lain over the wooden skeleton posing as a tent. He had a lighter blanket to use as bedding in case clouds should threaten as they did this night. As soon as his body warmed the small makeshift room, with assistance from the fire a few yards away, he went to sleep.
A pair of blue doors stood before Kavi guarding some hidden secret. He reached for them, and as his hand slowly closed around the handle the wood changed colors converting into a deep red, starting at the bottom but slowly crawling to the top. Pulling the left door open caused a blinding light to rush through the gap. As he stepped into the room the light subsided into an irrevocable dark. A dense heat crept on the confused sojourner increasing rapidly until it reached beyond a point of toleration…
Kavi coughed violently as he started attempting to force the smoke out of his lungs. He coughed until he got out of his tent to see the fire spreading to closer trees. The rain beat down hard against his frightened face. Thunder moaned deeply and powerfully every so often, whilst lightning illuminated his small camp alongside the surrounding wood. The rain had long since extinguished the campfire he had toiled for, leaving wet ashes and half-burned logs in its wake. Tumultuous winds blew smoke back and forth creating a pseudo-fog around the river. He took his bedding to use it as a filter as he made his way to the haven the creek offered.
Frigid air and cold water were a welcome discomfort for the frenzied Kavi. Though now safe from the lick of flame, he couldn't think. His breathing became more rapid as the cold water gripped his ribs. In the chill a sense of loneliness overtook. Even the ferryman was nowhere to be found as Kavi spun around slowly, looking for some witness to this event. Seeing none, the frightened traveler crossed his arms, locking the position by grasping his elbows with tight cold hands. He waited.
Shivering, Kavi waded in that stream as he watched Eden engulf itself. Red and Yellow took place of green and brown along the pathway. Burning Branches fell on the bank to either side cracking loudly in a frail challenge to the bolts that tore them from their hosts. Panic welled within as he watched Perdition and Paradise intermingle. The Cherubs revealed themselves to be terrible things, not the infant-like angels painted by visionaries in European nations. Trying to ignore it, Kavi closed his eyes to hell and focused on controlling his breathing. He meditated for hours; his eyes closed until the only noise still being made was the light crackling of a dying fire.
His vision was blurry when he first opened his eyes. Kavi saw only splotches of red, black, and grey. The image sharpened quickly however, revealing the desecrated landscape. Blasted trees lay around in clusters with five to six feet remaining upright. Above that mark however, laid broken trunks splintering toward the sky like the hands of a dying man desperately grasping for a tangible heaven as his vision darkens and his senses fail slipping farther from life. The forest was reminiscent of a ransacked temple. The standing parts remained only for contrast to the debris strewn around them. One tree remained whole. The trunk of this withered sapling was charred in places and bent to one side as though his burden was akin to Atlas's. No leaves remained on the tree, and one small branch smoked with the memory of recent flames.
Kavi's mind raced as he took in his surroundings. The seemingly perfect woods, in which he found solace, were obliterated. Everything changed in the course of a night. Kavi trudged out of the water heading back towards his camp. As he stepped out of the creek water flowed out of his clothing, slowing to a drip quickly as the brunt left en masse. He stood over his fur tent, which held a burnt branch from a nearby tree. The limb broke the beam holding the middle of the tent up, creating a fractured shelter. Not wishing to dwell on just one piece of desolation he turned from his camp.
He began to wander around the field of ashes. A small stump caught the toe of his boot stumbling him. The violence of the night before fed a paranoia that caused Kavi to inspect the remnant. He found an additional splintered part nearby. He fit the piece into the stump perfectly, adding to the base of the tree. Kavi smiled as he realized such a truth. Though the forest is now ashes and the morning dew replaced by rising smoke, the trees remained, merely from the perspective of lightning. Nothing changed, but everything took on a different meaning.