10. The Arena


After only a few days Mika saw a tiny village up ahead. Feeling a little lonely, he decided that he could stop for a day or two.

But when he passed through the open gates, no one seemed to be around. He walked slowly down the street, looking at the houses, hoping to see someone. Suddenly he was surrounded by a group of not-too-pleasant looking people. They moved in closer and closer, leaving him no place to run.

Mika struggled while they tied him up and placed him in a cage, and carried him down the center street. Peering out through windows, other faces looked on. Some were sad, some looked apologetic. Other people stood in their doorways. "Now, let him go," they yelled. Others tried vainly to set Mika free, but they were pushed aside. The crowd carried Mika to the Town Hall.

It looked to Mika like a giant arena. All the people sat watching the stage, and he was the main attraction! All those faces. They looked so odd, somehow. Some were old, some young. There were men, women, and children. Yet they all looked strangely similar -- like they were all from the same family. The door of the cage opened. Mika looked out and saw the stage was covered by different colored squares that surrounded a very black-looking hole.

Suddenly he felt the cage being tilted onto its side, and he slid out onto one of the squares. He began to feel dizzy and a little sick, when he realized he was standing on his head! The people cheered. He stumbled to his feet and stepped onto another square. Suddenly he began to dance uncontrollably.

"What's going on!" he thought as he stepped onto another square, and it felt like he was drifting away from his body. And when he looked down he saw his body stepping from one square to another, each time falling into another role. And after each performance the crowd cheered.

Mika didn't like this at all. He was more than an actor playing a part, wasn't he! But there below was Mika of Algor, "So who am I?" he wondered. "How can I be here, separated from my own body!" He looked down, determined. With all his might he fought to return to himself. And when he did, he struggled even harder to move in the direction of the hole. And then he fell,

And he fell...

And he fell for what seemed forever. And still he kept falling. After a while his eyes got used to the darkness and he thought he could see something in the distance. As if it were water he was falling through, he began to swim as he fell. And then he saw the Painter.


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by Robert Alan Silverstein
Avstar Publishing (2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1492114291
$3.99 paperback

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