The Road, by John Wu

A child came upon two diverging roads.

The first is an asphalt road carved into the mountainside. It does not waver. Higher and higher the road rises, until it lifts off from the precipice, becoming concrete, glass and steel, then carbon nanotubes, and eventually materials unknown.

The road climbs, until it pierces through the atmosphere.  A vast structure built to accommodate the anatomy of those unbound by this planet’s rules, it splits the sky in two, encroaching on the vast emptiness of space.

It then continues, jumping from sphere to sphere, from system to system, relentless in its endeavour to escape the flares of dying stars. It leaves in its wake a trail of hollowed-out planets, dead spheres that someone, somewhere, once called home.

Across light years the road progresses and evolves, a declaration of perseverance against an cold unfeeling universe. And then it was no longer one road, but the infinite road: a passageway leading from anywhere to everywhere all at once. Still the road continues, racing towards absolution, ascension, apotheosis.

Until suddenly the road ends, having reached the inevitable truth that nothing can last forever. In that fraction of a moment, what was everything was then nothing, hurtling off the road into the infinite depths of the void. All of existence, released from itself by the heat death of the universe.

The second road is a dirt trail winding through the woods. It is a road yet be walked, but somehow, it evokes a feeling of nostalgia. The wind speaks through the trees standing vigil over the path, foretelling trials and tribulations, and days of quiet contemplation. Where the road leads, and where it ends, one cannot see.

The child began its descent into the woods below. But as it prepared to take the first step, it stopped itself.

It would be the one to start on this road. But it would be its children’s children who would walk it to the end.

Changing its mind, the child begin to climb.

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