PHOTO SUBMITTED BY: dodgegrl411"CINDY"

 

She wanted to believe.

 

But believe in what? People around her talked about belief like it was something she could find in just about any ruined building, or maybe stuffed into the pocket of a dead man. If belief came in the form of a handful of caps, some loose bullets, and a bit of duct tape, Aloy wasn’t sure it was worth it. If belief seemed tied to death, why should she run after it? Why should she care whether or not she could hold belief in the palm of her hand?

 

Standing before the lighthouse, Aloy felt the cyclone of questions and doubt circling about her head. They plagued her, incessant in their pressure to strive for some sort of answer; something concrete that she could wrap her fingers around and feel the firm truth. If only she could have just the brush of a singular moment of truth against her fingertips, Aloy could believe.

 

The light slowly surged and dimmed in the constant cycle of presence upon the hillside. The wings of fireflies whispered back the echoes of light, small beacons that were something between herald and harbinger. Aloy took a few steps towards the monolith and peered upwards. Lighthouses by design were guardians of passage--constructs that sought to guide those that could not see through the darkness and storm towards safer water. She didn’t know the history behind this particular figure of concrete and light, and it didn’t matter.

Aloy asked for belief, for a reason to do more than simply survive. In the faces of those she’d passed, there was the future. In the faces of those she’d killed, there was ash--the remnants of the last flickering flame. It was her cycle, her pattern of existence, this inconsistency in granting life or death upon the whim of her thoughts. Was it power? Was it control? Aloy struggled for a moment to understand herself, to understand why she so desperately wanted to find belief in something more, and yet was willing to take even a single life for no better reason than a pocketful of caps, a handful of bullets, and some duct tape.

 

Standing there, Aloy felt the world shift a moment, as if the ground itself could hear her, and responded. The very air swept out of her lungs, sucked out and tossed aside as her mind went from the living to the dead, and back again. It was the very cycle that defined her in that moment, that shackled her to a desire she understood to be broken by its very design.

 

And when those lungs were fully emptied--when the decay of doubt and the shadow of suffering--were expelled and released before the glittering beacon, Aloy gasped, and breathed in anew. Her lungs filled with the brilliance of the moment, with the understanding that cycles only persisted because they were allowed to persist. Her own cycle--one of struggle and desire, of apathy and hope--was the blinding force that kept her from seeing the reality of belief that had always been right in front of her.

 

Staggered by this, Aloy sank to her knees as the air of belief filled those near-asphyxiated lungs, expanding them beyond the atrophy of disillusion and healing them, breath by breath, belief by belief. And overhead, the fireflies still whispered their soft ways, the echo of heartbeats that reverberated into the soul and secured the intangible to more than simply a brush of fingertips.

 

Aloy had found her belief.