She lifts a leg from the sludge, taking a step forward. She lifts the other leg, it slowly emerges from the brown sludge.
Sludge covers the ground for miles. Its so thick that walking thought it is exhausting and slow-going. The muscles in her legs ache as she pulls them free with such force, one at a time, over and over.
She looks behind to see if she’s actually making any progress. Sweat gathers on her brow and she wipes it away as she stops momentarily to catch her breath.
The heavy chains she carries sink into the sludge, making them more difficult to drag. They dig into her shoulders as she forces herself forward once again.
The sludge pulls at her feet as she tries to lift them and take another step forward. Each step is more difficult than the last. She pauses to look at the sludge surrounding her. Its not deep enough to pull her under, to end it all. It is merely deep enough to make the journey more difficult.
The chains disappear into the muck. She has no idea how long they are; how far behind her they reach. With a heavy sigh, she wipes her brow again and adjusts the heavy chains. Leaning forward, she continues onward. There is no shade for miles and nothing can grow in this sludge. The sun beats down on her as she takes one heavy step after another.
Every so often, the sludge becomes so thick that she stumbles. Her hands go out to catch her, only to be stuck in the sludge, the weight of the chains pulling her down. She pulls with such strength until one hand yanks free of the sludge, then the other. She quickly catches her balance before falling again.Her chest heaves rapidly as she breathes. Exhaustion set in a long time ago.
It’s all she knows.
She examines the landscape around her once more as she tries to catch her breath. Her voice catches in her throat as emotions boil to the surface. Tears burn her eyes as she tips her head back and screams.
She lists her hand to wipe her brown once more, only to smear it with sludge. With a deep breath, she pulls herself together, adjusting the heavy chains once more. She forces herself forward through the muck.
One foot pulled from the muck after the other, only to have it sink back into the same sludge. The chains still dragging behind her, buried in the thick muck.
She just knows there has to be something better. To be free of the sludge, she has to get through it. All of it.
And so, she steps.