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  • Writer's pictureLoveday Funck

The Hollow Man

In my personal life of late, all came undone. Forced to move, I packed up my children and possessions in a matter of days. Unsettled but breathing free air, I am starting fresh.

For now, all I own is scattered to the four winds, but slowly I am picking up the pieces and rebuilding. I try to remember that no matter what pestilence and horrors exist in the world, hope remains.

The wind howled around him, a lonesome wolf searching for a pack, but the man sat unmoving, a hollow shell on the edge of the wildwood. He wasn't empty; he was the emptiness itself, a vast echo where a soul should be. Hunger gnawed at him, but not for bread or knowledge. He craved something to fill the abyss within, a purpose etched into the blank slate of his being.

By the Pool of Truth, its surface a shimmering mirage, he saw his reflection. It wasn't his face staring back, but a mocking grin, a distorted echo of a life unlived. In frustration, he snatched a mask from a nearby tree, grotesque and garish, hoping it would sculpt an identity onto his faceless void. It clung awkwardly, a cheap carnival souvenir, a constant reminder of the hollowness beneath.

Driven by the gnawing hunger, he stumbled upon a feast, the scent of roasted meat a siren song to his starved soul. He devoured it with the frenzy of a famished beast, each bite a desperate attempt to satiate the void within. But the plates were scraped clean, the laughter died in startled gasps, and the emptiness remained, a bottomless pit echoing with loneliness.

Next, he found a haven of forgotten stories, books stacked like silent sentinels. Here, the hunger twisted into a yearning to understand. He tore pages, devoured words, hoping the ink would fill the void with wisdom. But the stories offered no comfort, the knowledge no solace. The room, once filled with the scent of aged paper, was now littered with shredded remnants, reflecting the desolation within him.

He craved validation, the applause a balm to his hollow soul. In a bustling marketplace, he mounted a makeshift stage, the mask his shield, the stolen knowledge his weapon. He spun tales, his voice a booming echo, the mask straining on his hollow face. But the laughter curdled into unease, the applause a hollow clang. The emptiness roared back, deafening in the silence that followed his pleas.

In a rage, he tore off the mask, revealing the void to the world. His scream, a howl of despair and loneliness, echoed across the marketplace. Defeated, he retreated to the edge of the wildwood, back to his nest of scavenged fabric and weeds. He curled up, the emptiness a heavy cloak, the silence deafening.

But as the wind whispered secrets through the leaves, something shifted within him. He wasn't a man carved from absence; he was a man living with it. Perhaps, he thought, the answer wasn't filling the void, but learning to dance with it, finding meaning in the spaces between. The first tendrils of acceptance bloomed in the desolate landscape of his soul.

He sat then, not empty, but open. The journey ahead was uncertain, but for the first time, he wasn't alone in the emptiness. The wind, no longer a lonely wolf, sang a different song now, a song of acceptance and the fragile hope of a new beginning.

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