Time had come for Aristotle. He found himself on the Interstitial Sea.
He vowed not to be one of those aimless souls that had been spoken of. Souls who wander aeons across the Interstitial Sea. Averse to arrive. Consumed by wanderlust. Not lost to the sea, yet lost to themselves.
It would go differently for him. He was determined.
Yet it would prove not simple for Aristotle.
His craft was a sturdy one, made of strong yet supple wood that responded well to the changing forces of the sea. The mast was tall and straight, its sails eagerly danced to capture the wavering winds. As with all who traverse the Interstitial Sea, he travelled alone. Yet he took solace in having prepared well for this journey. His craft took a lifetime to build, and it served him well now.
Then the challenges came.
A thick, smoky fog descended upon him and his craft. He found a sense of dread building up within him, and as it did so, in an uncanny synchronicity so did the fog. Before he knew it, Aristotle found himself in pitch blackness, with a heavy feeling against his chest as he breathed.
The more he feared, the more it consumed him. The more he wrestled with the fog, the stronger it grew. At that moment, Aristotle knew what he had to do. He let go. He surrendered to the fog. At that moment, the spell broke and the fog lifted. For the fog was the effect of his fears, as much as it was their cause.
The next challenge was not as easy to overcome.
A sense of comfort washed over him. Here, he realized, he could stay. Why yearn, strive, or grasp? Here is all that he could need. As he was lulled by the intoxicating blanket of contentment, he remembered the others. Those beyond the Interstitial Sea. Those who suffered and those who experienced joy. Those who were like him, and those who were different. He realized: the comfort of solitude is a fraudulent one. True meaning is found by sharing one’s life with the lives of others.
Thus he rediscovered the will to continue.
As he sailed, looking back at the challenges he had overcome, he could not help but feel accomplished. Land was in sight. Solid ground was within grasp. He spied a sliver of land on the horizon. The sliver expanded into a broad shore of crisp white sand. The hull of his craft slid smoothly onto the sand with a satisfying crunch. Aristotle stepped out, feeling the sand’s warmth as it enveloped his feet, the tiny grains shimmering in the sunlight. He began to walk inland.
Yet as he walked, the shore widened. The sand buried his feet even deeper. He began to sink. As the sand crept up his torso, fear crept into his mind.
He reflected on everything that led to this point. It could not have gone any differently. All that had transpired was precisely how it should have been. He did not understand. Then came his final realization.
This was the final challenge.
He accepted his bewilderment.
Instead of grasping for an explanation, he gave in.
Resting in a state of confusion, Aristotle thus returned to the world.
Inspired by a writing prompt.