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Icarus Unravels

Anushka Raheja

The light at the end of the labyrinth. How tempting, how tantalising.

Wings settled on my birdlike shoulders, a coronation mantle fashioned out of wax. Father is somewhere in my periphery, ribbons of apprehension tying him to the skeletal frame of his own wings. He is calling out to me, voice terse and hurried.

It is impossible for me to discern his words. The siren call of the Sun rings
persistently in my ear. Anything else is secondary.

Is there a life beyond this? If there is, it is within my grasp. The taste of freedom
warms my bones. I rise and I rise and I rise, higher than anybody has ever risen
before. Father is in front of me now, gliding gracefully and whispering instructions
into the wind.

I do not care for the wind. It comes and goes, ephemeral and treacherous. The Sun is forever, the Sun is so close.

My wings flutter delicately behind me, gold dust wafting in their wake. The dust
isn’t gold. The dust isn’t even dust. Droplets drip from me like a waterfall. I am a
river of sunlight. I melt and I diffuse.

The Sun is within my grasp.

Father is screaming now, thrashing wildly as he makes his way over to me. He isn’t close enough. The Sun is too close.

Freedom is within my grasp.

Chains whittled down to wings whittled down to liquid. I am free. I am embracing the Sun. The labyrinth, cavernous and monstrous, can't swallow me whole now. Ariadne’s String could never reach the Sun. I am the string and the reel and the kite. My back arched towards liberation, away from desolation.

Father howls in agony. He cannot reach me now. The ropes around me are
unwinding. I liquefy. I am molten. I am free. The Sun is within me. It feels like a heart, pulsating.

The taste of freedom. How tempting, how tantalising.


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