The Swordsman

A wise scientist named Einstein, described insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting the same result. Currently that was what I felt, as I ran frantically in the dark. I felt like I wanted to escape, but no matter how much I ran, the darkness yielded no destination. But then I noticed, in the corner of my eye. Out of the darkness, there was a light, at the end of the tunnel. There were beautiful fields, trees, the clear blue sky, and a golden swordsman with a scarlet cape.

Suddenly, the vision disappeared in a symphony of dreadful beeping, from the merciless morning alarm. Groggy and frustrated, I threw aside the covers and dragged myself out of bed. The recurring fear of the fay’s daunting tasks made me put the dream aside. It was just a dream after all.

I quickly washed up, took the morning’s dump, and blurred through breakfast. Dressing up was trivial, as I gave little concern to my appearance. Grabbing my laptop from my desk, the checklist of due dates caught my attention for a moment. I steeled myself and took note, before leaving. I didn’t clearly hear my mother bidding me goodbye, as I hurried off to university.

Classes were boring, and I felt like I didn’t catch much of it over the lecturer’s bland presentation. Lunch time was lonely, as I sat alone at a table whilst the other people cheerfully chatted away at their other factions. The rest of the day was excruciating, crunching the assignments and work as time ticked by, counting every single remaining minute until the impending deadlines.

When I got home after the sunset, I was exhausted. I would say very little to my parents during dinner. Then I would go up and sit down, working more on assignments. Today’s progress was not ideal as I still failed to solve the problems. I collapsed in bed, finally hitting my limit.

As I tossed and turned in bed failing to fall asleep, I noticed that this feeling of emptiness was all too familiar. It was then that I realized that I had been repeating this insane cycle for the past 2 years in my degree, and it felt dreadful, taxing, and empty. I wanted to cry, but no tears would flow out. It was as if the very life itself had been drained out of me.

The next morning was peaceful, but the calm only lasted shortly. I threw myself out of bed to realize that the annoying alarm was missing. Something had changed. In the dead of yesterday, I had forgotten to set it, and had missed the morning class. I sat cross legged at my bedside, letting out another sigh.

Then I realized that my room was in a terrible state. I had not cleaned it up in ages. Dust and hair collected on the floor, papers and books were strewn about all over the desk, except for the part where my laptop sat. Now I understand why my mom used to nag me about the importance of keeping my room clean.

As I was arranging the paperwork and books, I stumbled upon something dusty and old, yet it shined with color and vigor that felt all too nostalgic. It was a collection of comics and artwork that I drew in my childhood. Then there it was, the golden swordsman. It was my original character, which I spent years developing from primary school up till secondary. The stories, the adventures, all came crashing back to me.

Reality warped around me as the concrete walls of the rooms faded away into the garden. I watched the swordsman in his adventures, meeting many interesting friends, traveling from lush forests to dangerous dungeons. As for the enemies who stood against him, he seemed calm, harmless and innocent as he observed them across the field. It was difficult to read his emotions or predict his next move, as if they were staring at a plant. But in a flashing second, he had cut them all down with slashes of blazing fire. His swordsmanship was superb, as he defeated all of them without taking a single life, a feat that required a lot of control with a sharp blade.

Slowly, he then turned at me, and I saw his warm smile. In the light, I felt the warmth of the sun, and the life I once had returned to my heart. He then departed to finish his journey, leaving me standing in my room. Tears streamed down my eyes, as I realized how far I had roamed from what once mattered to me. Meeting the swordsman lit a new fire in my heart. I was never one to conform to repetitive but purposeless routines, especially one where my talents remained buried and unused. Like the swordsman, I was just going through a phase in the journey, but there was more to it, as there was a goal at the end that I aspired to achieve.

It was the next morning. The alarm rang as usual, but I got out of bed in an instant. I organized my appearance better, and chose specific colors in my outfit to reflect the same colors that the swordsman wore. I got some fruits for breakfast, and gave my mum and dad a hug before I left. Lectures and assignments did not change, but my mindset did. I held no attachment, but swiftly and calmly did what I could, cutting through them with my own sword, which was the knowledge, talents, and skills that I was good at. I did not need to worry about being alone, as long as I was kind and respectful to those who I met on the way. I now remember that I am the swordsman in that story, and I will keep going forward until I reach the successful destination at the end.

A short story by Jon Hathow

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