The Climb

By Deniz Keleş

During one of his regular walks in the country Libertine Constance sighted a massive tree he’d never seen before. He approached the tree as if all his attention was getting absorbed by it. His gaze was directly concentrated on it and he walked as if the only thing he cared in the world at that very moment was that tree. Thus, he did not see it coming when, as he was about to reach the tree’s roots, he fell into a deep pit of mud. He couldn’t make any sense of it, why was it there and how? The pain was tolerable, but the pit was steep, and the mud was not graspable, so, after many attempts of climbing back up and shouting for help he realised no one was coming and nor was he ever going to be able to make the climb. In his despair, Libertine looked at the sky and thought how he would do anything for a rescue. 

Time passed by and a strange man in his youth stumbled upon the pit. He looked down at Libertine, showed him the rope in his hand and told him to wait while he tied the rope to the tree. Libertine’s eyes filled with inexplicable joy and he thanked his nameless saviour countless times. After a while, Libertine became curious as to what the man was doing and why it was taking so long. He cried several times asking for the stranger’s help, no answer came. Soon, the joy that was given to Libertine by the man was taken away by him and he was silently cursing this betrayal. Suddenly the young man’s body came falling down with the rope tied to his neck choking him to death, Libertine meanwhile seemed as if he was paralysed, unable to move a limb to help, so he saw the shaking of the boy’s body and felt the air leaving the boy’s lungs for a final time. 

Unable to assess the situation, Libertine fell and looked at the corpse hanging in front of him, the corpse that once was his rescuer. When libertine somewhat came back to his senses he got back on his feet and looked at the  corpse. He looked familiar, but Libertine didn’t know him. Before long, Libertine noticed a piece of paper crumbled inside the boy’s left fist. Libertine grudgingly took the boy’s hand and opened his fist. A single word was written on the paper: climb. Libertine gazed at the paper and at the boy’s dead body, he was almost crying now, he shook his head slightly and out the paper in his pocket. Then he very hesitantly grabbed the boy by his shoulders and pulled himself towards the rope, he got a tight grip on the rope and pulled himself a bit further, then, stepping on the boy’s head he climbed up the pit. Once he was back next to the tree, it was drizzling, Libertine looked back at the stranger who saved his life and took his own. Rain was drizzling, it would fill the pit and cover it with mud thought Libertine, clearing the scene from the face of the earth, but never from his mind. In his confusion and dread Libertine walked away hoping never to come across such a tree or to receive such help again.