I’m alone now.
The journey began with a host of followers in the wake of a destructive and irresponsible wave that swept through the north side of Chicago like biblical pillars of fire and brimstone. When the wave had crested and receded there were but a few scant survivors left from a time long since forgotten.
As the chaos settled we were left with a perilous road that traversed ghastly peaks on craggy mountainsides.
“The way is long and unforgiving my brethren, steel thy nerves.”
The warnings were heard, but time proved that they were not heeded. Time eroded optimism like rust eating away at the metal edifice of a once proud statue.
Our hope was residing in a coven of oracles and a hero whose legend we all thought was growing.
The Starlin Castro arrived before the coven, but his fanfare was much louder. He was given to us from the baseball gods on high and we were left to marvel at his preternatural ability to control sticks. Over time some came to despise his perceived lack of effort. Some began to question his defensive prowess. Others simply did not believe he had the lifeblood of the gods within him and that his supernatural abilities would be his hubris.
I was not amongst them.
The Castro had a following which was deeply loyal and ever inspired by his awesome feats of grace and natural ability.
“He will learn,” we said.
“He is still a young one,” we cried.
“He has natural talent that cannot be taught,” we sang.
Verses of poetry were dedicated to his feats, but slowly the stories of his failings became interwoven into the very fabric of his mythos.
The Castro was not very attentive.
The Castro does not show patience.
The Castro will never learn.
Familiar verses and choruses were exchanged, and the bitter infighting began. As we approached the hardest of climbs many of my brethren abandoned me. When the demons of St. Louis and Cincinnati came to tear out our bowels and feast on them my brethren dropped their makeshift weapons fashioned from simple farming implements and left.
Our numbers dwindled but we persevered. The nights grew longer and colder as we ascended to the top of the peak. Some succumbed to the cold unloving embrace of “Failure Mountain”. We clung to the notion that The Castro could ascend to Olympus and take his place amongst the gods themselves.
The Castro’s latest failure has culled our numbers down to a solitary few. We few who still believe in the mystical wonders of his ability. We merry few who still wonder and marvel at his grace.
I ventured forth alone and met an oracle to better prepare myself for what is to come.
“Child, the future is a creature ever in motion. Time sits still for none. I can give you an idea of what appears to be in store but ultimately the fates of men and women are in the hands of the individual. What has been foretold may never come to be.”
With that warning we entered the vision room. We sat in the heat for four hours, awaiting a vision when it happened.
I saw The Castro, and what he hath sown. The land was fruitful and plentiful. The monsters of the central plains were at bay. His helper guardians were ever watchful at the gates as the maw of hell was held at bay. The coven was watching on. They appeared pleased. I wandered the garden and saw some of the compatriots that had deserted us on the mountainside.
Rather than cast them out I embraced them with pure love and joy. On this day we were as one in victory. The wine was sweet, but the very air itself was sweeter.
I was shaken from this dream some days later, alone on some forgotten path deep in the mountainside. The caravan was days ahead of me, and I would have to make haste to catch up.
What the visions mean, I do not know. I do know one thing, however.
I am alone now.