A dramatic monochrome of a stream running between two large bluffs.

He spilled from the thicket into a stream that wrapped and wound through the towering bluffs. How he had frequented this forgotten space as a child, dreaming of alabaster roads and robed druids, ancient shrines and a guardian spirit that watched from the heights with eyes of a lion. Nothing of those tales to teach and frighten and instill wonder appeared before him. Whatever road he quested upon, tended to, or scoured as a lad was lost to the still reflections of the stream. Whatever childish superstition had always stopped him from wandering too far into the overgrown basin tugged at his heart and cried for him to leave.

No more could he hear arrows sailing overhead, blades running through flesh, farming implements clanging against full armor. The victorious yells of the oppressors and anguished cries of his people, so clear moments earlier, were now barely louder than wind through the looming trees. Would the old gods grant him an audience? Would they take offense at his presence and scoff at his his pleas for aid? Would he find anything at all?

He stifled a pained cry as the arrow dug into him. He knew that he bled, that he grew weak. Whatever lay at the end of the path, beyond the warm radiance that seemed to pulse far off, beneath the densest canopy, he hoped it would see the earnestness of his petition, that it wouldn’t begrudge him coming forward because his people were in need.

A tranquil stream between two sandstone bluffs, found at Starved Rock State Park in Utica, IL, USA.

Mamiya RB 67 Pro-S
Mamiya 50mm f/4.5 C
Rollei Infrared – ISO 400 – 6×7