The Keeper

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  “I,” said the impossibly tall figure, “am the gatekeeper of man.”
  The fox was surprised, not only at the criminally under-spectacular introduction but also by the comprehension he found coursing through he cerebellum. It was, for all intents and purposes, the tongue of humankind, yet he understood every word. Perhaps it was due to the proximity of his goal – he wasn’t sure.
  Continuing in this newfound tradition of unexpected surprises, the fox opened his mouth to respond only to discover his tongue wrapping around the language with a familiarity that suggested he’d been able to speak it – and spoke it – since he was but a cub.
  “Why do you stand here, Gatekeeper?” he asked, bravely resisting the instinctive urge to cower before the magnificent presence.
  “Nothing-” boomed the towering being, “passes through the veil of the kingdom of man without sanction, neither entry nor exit. I am the first and last that all shall see.”
  “Are you death?” said the fox – reverential, fearful, and as cunning as every legend would have you believe.
  “If I am,” said the gatekeeper, his usual stoic demeanour almost betraying his amusement at such a question, “then I am life too. I am Taijitu complete.”
  The fox’s keen eyes almost betrayed his front too, glancing towards the abyss behind the gatekeeper – briefly but tellingly – the finish line in sight, so close, the distance a dart away. But he knew the keeper wasn’t to be taken lightly. He was an opponent undulled by his infinite age. He was stronger for it, stronger than any obstacle the fox had come up against – and outwitted – before. To underestimate him would be a grave mistake.

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~ by Joseph Blame on January 22, 2011.

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