The edge of the world

It was difficult to find the entrance. He knew that the path existed and was hidden in plain sight. Many had walked past it every day and every hour. In fact, when he found the entrance to the path, the place was crowded. People were everywhere walking about and not realising that right where they had been was that secret path to the edge of the world. It took him an immense amount of time and effort understanding how the entrance looked like. Then again, that was a strange thing to say because the entrance really did not look like anything. It was not a door. It was not a gate. There was no indication of any light shining from the sky, neither was there a glowing mark on the ground that said, this was the entrance to the path that would lead to the edge of the world. When he arrived, he knew it was there. He just did. Right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of people, there stood the entrance. Nobody paid any notice to him as he trembled and made his way towards the entrance. Irritated passersby made tsk noises as he got in their way towards that unmarked and unassuming spot. His feet finally stopped at the entrance itself. He looked ahead past the busy mob. Someone was advancing quickly towards him, eyes on her phone. She was going to collide into him, except that he knew she wouldn’t. He would have already stepped through the entrance by then. Just as the lady on the phone thought there was someone standing in front of her, she halted in her tracks to avoid crashing into the stationary individual who seemed to have stood still in the middle of the moving crowd. She gasped and pulled her phone to her chest, as she abruptly stopped. She looked ahead and saw no one standing there except for people jostling about. Another passerby made tsk noises as he tried to avoid walking into her. She must have been imagining things. However, she really was not. He was indeed standing there but he had stepped through the entrance. He could still see her looking confused glancing about with her large confused eyes. It would not matter now. She would not be able to touch him. He continued walking through the crowd except that this time, no one could touch him. It however did not look like he was an apparition gliding through the moving people. It looked like he could possibly touch them, except that as he walked through the crowd as naturally as he did, the people somehow were not about to make any physical contact at all. He stood still and a group of teenage boys were walking towards him. Just as  they would have collided into him, one of the boys happened to playfully slap his friend on the head. In the middle of their childish wrestle, the boys somehow missed crashing into the traveller, and they continued walking their way. He knew now that he was on the path to the edge of the world. No matter how he tried, no one was going to be able to touch him or see him. It felt like he had stepped into another world, but he could see that he was physically still where he was. He seemed to have fallen into the cracks, and now no one would notice him, and no one would touch him. He continued walking through and past the people. The journey to the edge of the world would not be for a while before he got there. He walked towards the direction that he entered the entrance from and knew where the path turned. He found himself walking through busy roads and somehow every vehicle missed him. He walked through an opened door of a home, that led up the stairs and into a bedroom where a couple were angrily screaming at each other. The path led him out of an open window where two black crows narrowly missed him as he stuck his head outside. The path went over the balcony and onto roofs, leading towards the nearby hills. When he arrived at the edge of a roof, the path seemed to continue on a heavy branch of a tree. He was not sure if the branch was able to hold his weight, but he was sure that it was the path. He stepped on the branch and it did not creak. The path remained firm and strong. He carried on walking. He carried on through the woods. At some point, he met a swollen river. He was not able to see any rocks that he might be able to step on, but he saw that the path did go through the raging waters. He just needed to know that the path was there, and he strode onto the water. The water did not wash him off, and in fact, the path that he was on felt as firm and sure as it was from the beginning. There had got to be rocks under where he happened to walk over, but he did not care. All he cared about was that he stayed the path. The sun eventually lowered behind the hills. He had been walking a long time. He did not mind that, because he wanted to go to the edge of the world. His stomach growled. The wind was getting colder. Stars started appearing in the sky. He was tired, but he knew he would be arriving soon. Just as the moon showed itself from behind some clouds, he arrived. He had come to the edge of the world. He looked beyond the edge and saw a horizon of stars. Stars were above the horizon, and stars were below the horizon. He was awe struck. The beauty of the edge of the world was not at all what he had expected to see. Now he was sure that if there was anybody in the area, although beside him but not on the path that he was on, that person would not have seen what he was seeing. Sure enough, he looked to his left and there was a road. On the road, a truck was driving on it and headed over the horizon of stars. The truck did not fall over into the stars below but drove through it. To the driver, he was probably on the same road that he frequented every day. He would probably have been seeing the silhouette of the same old trees on the left and right of his vehicle. But not the traveller. The traveller could not tell from his eyes if there were trees. All he saw were stars. He stared up and down the edge of the world. He was standing at the end of the path. He was not sure what to do. He could turn back and make the long journey back, to end up at the busy spot of pedestrians. Or he could sit by the edge for a while. He rested a foot on a rock as he stared longingly into the edge. He started wondering how the edge would look like after the sun rises the next morning. If what he saw now was an endless horizon of stars, surely in the morning, it would be an endless horizon of sun beams. He imagined that it would have been beautiful. However, the stars were beautiful, and he was already content. He smiled and was grateful to have been one of the few whom had ever found the path. He started to understand why none of those who were suspected to have found their way to the edge of the world, never came back to lead more people here. People had to chance upon the knowledge of this place, and had to figure out how to make their way here with little or no living reference at all. That is why so few people made it here. And those who have, he realised, did not want to return. He kept his eyes on the horizon of the stars, and walked off the edge of the world.

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