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Fearless

#MidWeekFlash prompt 141

This week’s photo is of a sculpture by Rook Floro. He calls it ‘Shadow.’

“You have no power over me!” Byron stepped forward, brandishing a blade which hummed with an ethereal energy. His foe blanched and faltered, stumbling over his own feet. A confident smirk played on Byron’s face as he delivered the last, fatal blow.

As their swords clashed, a brilliant beam of amber light spewed forth, knocking them both back. Byron fell to the ground, but was at the ready again in moments. Glancing to his nemesis, he relaxed his grip. A pile of smoldering black robes was all that remained of his haunting adversary.

As he turned, harboring every intention of leaving this internal purgatory, he heard a voice call out to him. The celestial tone rang out as the lilt of a tinkling bell, “Byron, you mustn’t leave! You have one enemy left to fight…”

Byron spun on his heels, fuming, “I have conquered my demons! What more do you want from me?” His shouts, aimed at the empty air, were laden with desperation.

After a long silence, the voice replied, “It is not about what I want. You know that. This is about you. It has always been about you. The question you should be asking is, ‘Who is my last enemy?'”

“Okay, then… who’s my last enemy? Let me guess… myself?”

“Who do you think you just defeated? No, you’re comfortable enough in your own skin. Your enemy – the one thing you’ve yet to conquer – is your Fear.”

Byron’s jaw dropped in disbelief. “Fear?! Really? I’m not even afraid of spiders! I’m almost notoriously fearless.”

More silence followed his outburst, and he got the feeling he was being studied intently. A gust of warm, sweet wind sent his sweaty hair fluttering above his ears. The bodiless voice returned, “Yes, Fear. Your Fear stops you from enjoying life. You continue to mask your true self to please others. It is the fear of judgement and rejection which troubles you most. Conquer this, and you will finally be free of your inner turmoil.”

Byron gulped, anxiety twisting his stomach in knots. He knew there could be no denying the truth. Yes, he was comfortable with his sexuality, but he’d largely kept it a secret. Only his brother knew, and that was by accident – snooping siblings are bound to uncover a secret or two. Still… could he? Should he?

He knew what he must do. With a resolute nod to the unseen entity, he hesitated only a moment before stating, “I am proud to be a gay man!” The words rang out, seeming to echo into vast emptiness which surrounded him. As each syllable reverberated back, a shockwave of sparking, electrically-charged air roiled over him. At once, he was cast from the lugubrious limbo.

A shell of his shame, a remnant of his conquered fear, was left in that desolate place. Piece by piece, it crumbles, as Byron finally begins living a true and happy life.

Thanks to Miranda Kate for this #MidWeekFlash prompt!

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