The Mountain Man

His name was long since forgotten, by the world and by himself. He wasn’t even sure he was technically alive anymore, though he could think and see and hear, and it still felt very much like living. He was embedded in rock, part of a mountain face, looking out at wide valleys covered in trees, and witness to the millions of travellers who had passed by his burial site in the years gone by.

People called the rock that held him a mountain, and so he called himself Monty. He knew it was not his real name, just as he knew no one would ever believe that he was there, or that he was not alone.

To each side of Monty were elephants, a hundred feet tall each, their features withered by centuries of wind and rain and cold. They were barely a fraction of the beasts they had once been, roaming the world with Monty atop one or the other. That was his only last memory: a journey that had brought him around the globe, riding upon beasts that would become one with the world that had sprung them up.

He struggled to remember what it was he was searching for, and he might have smiled if he could, knowing that so many who passed by him every day were looking for their own answers.

Monty supposed that maybe they were all looking for the same thing, though most lacked the means he had had. He was a larger man than any he had laid his cracked and withered eyes upon. He stood a full forty feet, he was sure, going by the measurements he heard others refer to. A full forty feet at least, he decided. There was definitely a chance he had been taller at one point.

In all the time that Monty had been encased in the mountain, he had not felt anything upon his skin. He had not slept, he had not eaten, and he had not felt the inclination to do either. The days were long, the nights were long, and if he had been any further away from the front of the elephants, he wasn’t sure he would have been able to experience the world with the limited senses he still possessed.

That frightened him regularly. He thought about life in darkness, deaf and mute and blind, but still able to think. He wondered if he would have kept his memory if he had lost his senses, or if time would have stolen his most important thoughts regardless.

He could still remember brief moments from his life. He could remember walking, and he felt sure that even if he somehow escaped the mountain he would not walk again. He had once caught a glimpse at an image of the mountain within which he rested, and he had not seen himself. If stones could cry, Monty would have wept until the oceans overflowed. He had no legs, no arms, no body. His heart did not beat. All that remained was his mind, his eyes and his ears, and every year he lost something more of his ability to experience the world.

He would never travel again. He would only wither, in body and mind, until he could barely see the world and never understand it.

Monty needed answers. He needed to know why he had travelled, what had been so important to him that he would go from coast to coast, across land by elephant, across sea by… he couldn’t remember. He needed to know if he had been alone, if he had a home beyond the mountain.

He tried to scream, though the tourists he could see from his vantage point were deaf to his wails. He could only drown out his own thoughts, deafen his mind to the thoughts that raced through him in a panic. He wanted to walk again, and he did his utmost best to do so. He tried to pull his arms away from the rock, to feel the air upon his skin and the heat of the sun. He tired, and he tried, and he screamed the entire time.

The world beyond remained quiet, and Monty did not move.

He struggled again, keeping up the effort as the day turned to night and back again more times than he could count. He ignored the facts he knew to be true, that he was not moving and he had no body to speak of. There was only his struggle, before there was rain and lightning and thunder, and that deafened him to no end.

He wanted to cover his ears, but could not. He wanted to shut his eyes, but he could not. Monty wanted nothing more than to break free from the rock to make the overwhelming senses he was experiencing go away.

When he did fall, and it was quite a way he fell indeed, he was not sure what to expect. He hit the ground, but did not feel it. Rain poured through his body, and he could not drink it. The wind ripped at his skin, but he was safe. He looked to the mountain, and the rocks were breaking apart. The elephants crumbled, and Monty could only watch in horror.

There were no people around him. There was no one to tell him that everything would be okay, like he had heard parents tell their children. There was only Monty, standing the middle of a storm, and then there was only lightning.

In the brief period of time from when the lightning struck the exact point Monty had been standing, he had vanished. He had been pulled up into the air, and he felt himself grow in every direction, and lose all substance. He felt the world rumble beneath him, and he felt a thought return to him: find home.

A strong wind pushed at him, and he felt himself drift within a cloud, and he knew that his journey had begun anew.


This story was written using the following photo as a prompt:


About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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One Response to The Mountain Man

  1. Pingback: Friday Flash » The #FridayFlash Report – Vol 5 Number 41

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