He had been ready; a small bag packed, boots oiled, axe sharpened. He had meant to go, but he had not gone.
He could remember the feel of it still, the sense of a burden lifted, of freedom at last in his grasp. It had felt … lonely, in a way; frightening. Before, he had had his task, his role, his definition. In that brief moment of independence, those certainties had gone, vanished like rain seeping into sand, leaving just a damp, irritating grit behind.
It rubbed now, between the thick calluses of duty, and the fragile fabric of hope, worn thin as memory. Soon enough, that fabric would tear, and he would have to admit at last that only useless rags remained.

“Building on Sand”
1 July 2019

About the story: Sometimes the epic battle is fought at home.