Compartmentalize

Wheels turn. Gravel pops. It takes a while for it to come to a complete stop. Something has been delivered to the main gates of your Imagination. Its snout casts a long shadow over your Ideas. Its wooden mange creaks in the breeze. It’s a three-story stallion looming over the birth place of your fiction. Guards report whispers from its nostril. They report the sounds of footfalls and metal unsheathing. Suddenly the horse, is all that your Ideas can focus on.

Your attention turns to the waterfront. The Harbor Master reports specs on the horizon. Black sails approach through his telescope. The night’s tide is bringing something to the shores of your Imagination.

From the outskirts, Shepherds report movement in the hills. Silhouettes rush through moonlit paths. Branches sway against the wind. Bushes descend into the valley. Shadows are converging on your Imagination.

Beneath the city, Sewer Workers report footprints leading from the gutters. They’ve found drill presses in the levees surrounding your Imagination. They fear a flood of bad thoughts are about to come rushing in.

Under the cover of night, Inspiration loads all of her jewels into her carriage. She slips into the stables and steals your fastest horses. With all of the commotion, no one catches her flee into the woods.

A horn sounds as spears rise. Cannon balls fly. Brickwork bursts. Stress tears your walls down. The army comes, the horde, the plague, all those things you can’t stop thinking about. A Legion of Fear charges through your gates. A battalion of Disappointed Expectations storm your shores. A cavalry of Unchecked Anger flank you from the east. A phalanx of Harsh Truths descend from the hills.

Helmets roll across the grass. The royal guard bleeds out on the cobblestones. The spires that surround your Imagination burn and collapse. Your army yields. You’re not equip for this. Your Imagination can’t shut the real world out. No matter how hard it tries to.

Your story, your great utopia, falls. You’ve lost that thought. You forgot what you were working on. A darkness has crept across your Imagination. Steeples crash into the streets. Cabins burst into splinters. Ambitions sink back into the sea. The landscape starts to resemble the rest of your mind; an abandon relic, a hollowed out ruin. The invading army has paved the way for Apathy to settle in.

The Legion of Fear flies their black banners from every archway. Their flags flutter from the highest peaks. They have laid claim to this once promising piece of mental real estate. They’ve adorn their castle walls with the skulls of your half formed ideas. Their song of conquest echoes through every hall.

You keep your head down. It’s easy to hide in your tattered peasant’s robes. You accept the crown’s decree. You lead a meek and meager existence. The Legion’s rule goes unchallenged. Steal boots never come around to kick your door in. The pain and joy of creation is subdued.

Yet still you steal away. When the last lantern has been snuffed out, you climb to your hilltop temple with a satchel full of incense. You sacrifice what little you have left and pray to Inspiration. You pray that she might hear your call, so that you may rebuild again.

You make promises to the dust particles, to the silence, to the dark. You tell Inspiration that next time you shall build a fortress around your Imagination, a dome where nothing else can get in. You draw your schematic in the dirt. You promise her that next time you will learn to compartmentalize better. You will drive the Legions of Fear into a canyon, cause an avalanche and wall them all in. Your empire will reign for generations.

Incense smoke billows out the windows. A grey cloud wafts down into the valley. The Legion wakes. They march from their barracks with swords in hand. They follow the smoke up the trail. They surround the temple, but do not enter.

There you wait, in the last vestige of your Imagination. You wait for Inspiration to return, to purify this land.

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