(Photo Credit: Stefan Keller)
19 tired but determined souls weightily trudged along the barren land. A cold wind that cut like a knife blew right into their faces. Faces that were protected by fibre glass helmets that released a steady flow of Oxygen via ultralight cylinders ensconced within even lighter back packs. The howling wind whistled away like troubled wolves predicting a pattern of doom. The perfectly circular orb that was the moon shone in milky white splendor.
Venky’s concentration however was on the magnificently regal and natural formation of mountain made of ice. The indentations and cutting edges remarkably represented the image of a Socratic elder squatting on the ground and intently examining a patch of land with what seemed like an exquisitely sculpted arm. This jaw dropping spectacle reminded Venky of the mythical Gandalf. Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien’s immortal creation who in the blink of an eye could transform lament into laughter.
It was exactly such a messiah that Venky was in dire need of. He had plunged into what seemed like a reckless and suicidal mission just because it was – well reckless and suicidal. The first phase of colonization of the Planet was announced with spectacular pomp and shameless proclamations. The Joint Declaration by the 19 Presidents coming together under the aegis of “A New Eternal World” (“ANEW”), a lofty euphemism for crony capitalism, was welcomed not just with fanfare but with funds.
Venky could care less about either the advantages of living on the moon or the anxiety of losing one’s way on Earth. Since the time his Ash had left him in a huff, carrying along with her not a shred of material possessions but his very soul, Johnny Walker had become his confidante and John Steinbeck his comrade. Books and bottle occupied him during the daytime. The arrival of nightfall just had the order reversed. Hence when a call came from the Altruistic World Publishers Association asking for a volunteer to chronicle what was being hailed as a path breaking expedition involving Nuclear Physicists, Particle Physicists, Chemical Experts, Microbiologists and Botanists, Venky jumped at the chance like a drowning man clutching at a straw. He was not looking for either a resuscitation or a resurrection of his career. He just wanted closure, a closure that would finally bring him peace, quiet and fulfillment.
Taking out his all-weather stylus and electronic keypad, he paused went down on his haunches and wrote, “We all need a Gandalf in our lives. We might not find him if we consciously set out seeking him. We just need to be unconsciously aware of his presence when he finds us.”
This is a piece of fiction piece written for D. Wallace Peach’s monthly Speculative Fiction Writing Prompt.