F3: Our Bright Horizon

Once again I’ve tried to produce something a bit different to what I normally write. I’m not sure if it succeeds – I think I hammered it out too quickly for that – but I quite like the style at points, if nothing else. If you have a read please let me know what you think; feedback is always appreciated.



We set out for the horizon with laughter in our eyes and dreams in our hearts. The future was a great unknown, alive with possibilities that we felt compelled to explore. Together we traversed great swathes of land, moving like blood cells along the capillaries and veins of the tracks and roads that bound the flesh of nations together. Sometimes we walked, sometimes we hitched, and for a few hundred miles we drove a small convoy of almost-junk cars. After the cars and our legs gave out, we switched to the railroads. Trains running on tracks like impulses down nerves: tightly bound, but with clear purpose and destination. We joked and called ourselves intruders, micro-organisms riding electric impulses as we journeyed to nowhere.

The metaphor gave out someplace, sometime, so we clung to cities for a spell. That bright horizon still surrounded us but was hidden from view by the high-rise towers of the rich and the shanty-towns of the poor. Other cultures’ inequities always seem the more naked and exposed, and for a time we sat and meditated upon this, waiting for our preconceptions to be stripped away. Eventually, lacking the intervention of a being spiritually greater than us, we hit the backstreet bars and their dangerous, honest alcohol. Soon enough we forgot the horizon, dwelling in the cramped darkness of a rambunctious underworld. Eventually the bullet came round in our game of Russian Roulette in the form of a string of brutal beatings, so we cut our losses and bailed out, unfinished business streaming behind us like torn parachutes.

Back we went to the trails, slowly hiking our way across hills and vales, circumventing great treacherous peaks, admiring their splendour and smiling at the fear they conveyed. Fueled by such arrogance we walked for months, buying food where we could and foraging where we couldn’t. By now we had become part of the landscape, indistinguishable from the flora and fauna that surrounded us. Even our rutting became bestial, crudity and tenderness intertwined in an inescapably animalistic double helix. As we explored the world around us we explored what was within us. Drugs helped; at times we felt messianic, sharing with one another our wisdom and insight.

Eventually we had all but traversed the world and we found ourselves back at our point of origin, not in any literal sense, nor spiritual or metaphoric, but deep down we knew that the wheel had turned a full cycle and our backs were broken upon it. Though we no longer knew of a home to return to, we traced back along our memories until we found what might have been a point of origin, and there we returned.

7 Responses to “F3: Our Bright Horizon”
  1. Shaun CG says:

    Actually… I think it might just be that last paragraph I don’t like.

  2. Shaun CG says:

    I am a dirty, dirty revisionist. But it’s still Friday, so I guess it’s okay, right?

    For anyone who’s curious, I removed the original final paragraph:

    “Now, as we turn our minds back upon our journey I feel that we lost sight of that horizon, forgetting what it represented when the sun was at its brilliant peak. Too soon we turned inwards, letting our joy at the world become disinterest and contempt. Our response to a world of infinite possibilities was not to embrace but to exploit and discard them, until we were left with nothing but ourselves and each other, all empty vessels for narcissism, and as I reflect upon what we squandered I feel nothing but a sense of loss.”

    You can see why it got jettisoned, right?

  3. GLP says:

    I like this, Shaun. It reminds me of Delany’s “Aye…And Gomorrah” (well worth a read if you haven’t read it already). It has a sense of determination and optimism.

    Although I like the phrase “the sun was at its brilliant peak” I think you were right to jettison the final paragraph. It makes the rest of it stronger.

  4. Love the exuberant metaphores (and similes).

  5. neil says:

    Beautiful prose – Thanks Shaun, I really enjoyed this.

  6. Shaun CG says:

    Thanks, everybody, I’m *really* pleased this one seems to have worked out. It stretched some severely under-used writing muscles.

    And wow, GLP, it reminded you of Delaney?! I’m going to take that as high praise indeed. ;)

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  1. […] Our Bright Horizons – A deliberate stylistic and thematic departure from much of what I’d written before. Difficult, but fun. […]