The Hanged Man - Unfinished Business

The Hanged Man - Unfinished Business

Destined to be an unforgettable night, Robert and his friends made their way through the woods to the campsite reserved for his best friend's stag party; through the trees, flashes of lights bounced as beams of light shot up into the starry night sky. The muffled sounds of a DJ, followed by a cheer and a loud thunderous boom, elevated their excitement. Robert made a toast to his friend, took a long swig from one of the group's whiskey bottles, and passed it to the soon-to-be groom, who took an even greater drink and passed the bottle around.

The young men were well into their second bottle when they stumbled into the woods towards the party. Tripping over rocks and roots, the group quickly became fragmented in the darkness. Robert soon found himself alone and disoriented. Somehow, the music seemed further away. He pulled his phone from his pocket, but to his horror, he had no signal. He tried to move in the direction of lights, but they seemed to have vanished, and the faint sound of music disorientated him even further as it drifted in and out from all sides.

And then, in a split second, the world turned upside down. Literally, Robert was ensnared in a trap and found himself hanging by his ankle, his heartbeat ringing in his ears louder than the music. As the initial shock subsided, he tried to figure out a way of getting free. His attempts at wriggling out and calling for help seemed to be met only by the mocking echoes of the forest and the eerie quiet of the looming predators. As the minutes passed, Robert's fear and despair deepened as he tried to keep the blood from rushing to his head. Initially, he thought his friends would find him, but as time passed, he imagined them all passed out drunk, unaware, at the campsite.

Exhaustion set in.

Robert watched a rabbit cautiously approach the clearing. From its perspective, the world was a vast plain of dangers, its life a continuous dance with death. Robert thought about his privileged life and how his trivial problems seemed so insignificant now. The realization that everyone and everything has its struggles, no matter how big or small, humbled him. He thought about his brief fling with his best mate's fiancée and how he would come clean after the wedding. He thought about how he wouldn't take things so seriously and would enjoy life more.

He exhaled, knowing that his friends would surely notice he was missing and rescue him. And just as he couldn't hold his head up any longer, he heard footsteps. Crying out, Robert felt a sense of relief and gratitude. Tears of joy ran down Robert's reddened face, softening the ground beneath his head.

Robert lowered his head for a moment, relaxing into his position. It felt good to stretch. His wait was finally over! He called out as gleefully as he could; however, what came into his view were not a friend's legs; they were the golden eyes of two curious and hungry wolves. At this moment, Robert knew it was time to succumb to the circumstances, to let go. He would find his freedom and be released; he just needed to accept that it would require seeing his situation from a different perspective.
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