Otzi's Odyssey Chapter ONE
There was no one to hear the screaming. Even if a hunter did scale these mountains, the sharp gusts of winds whistling through the glacial and rocky outcroppings would have drowned out the torturous cries. It took time to understand these agonizing howls were coming from deep inside me, and not from the corpse lying below. While I observed a body, half-buried in the glacial ice, I could not reach out and touch it. While I heard the shrieking winds, I could not feel the frigid snow being pushed up into towering drifts. While I shouted my anguish aloud, my words fell silent upon the mountainside. If it is true that I existed, then it must be also true that I am not of body.
Countless days and endless nights have rolled past my sight allowing me to take notice of the gradual change in weather, though I am numb to it. The places where men, women and animals once traversed snow-covered pathways and scaled steep icy terrains are now exposed, rocky trails. This I know to be a sign that the snows have ended, and visible evidence of the natural life of springtime, which will soon return.
Regardless, the body below me remains frozen. How long has it been for this lost memory of a man? How long has it been for me?
As time crept on, I continued to look upon this stranger who lies face down, his legs encased deep in solid ice, while his upper body remains exposed, folded over at its waist. I see that he is lying upon an outstretched arm, awkwardly pinned under his chest. His back displays ribs pushed up against leathery-orange skin, like when the shallow roots of a tree uplifts mossy earth.
I am haunted by questions. Who is this Iceman beneath me? Could it be we are connected? And if not, why am I here?
Through the darkness and the light, no matter the vision of the world before me, I remained aware, and tormented without pause by the unending chatter swirling within me. While the Iceman lies still, lifeless, I continue and carry on.
It appeared I was tethered to him with some sort of unbreakable, invisible rope that maintained a constant distance between us. The Iceman is far enough away to be beyond my reach, that is if I had arms and hands to touch him. Instead, all I am able to do is simply observe, unless I look away to the world beyond, which I’m able to do, but only briefly, before the Iceman pulls me back.
During my momentary glances, I absorbed glimpses of the mountainside, which delighted me with explosions of new life. Once frozen rivers trapped within stone cliffs are now mighty waterfalls, cascading into magnificent explosions against grand boulders and continuing on, depositing their rushing waters into a sparkling lake far off in the distance.
A quick gander showed a herd of ibex stopped by a small pool of tranquil turquoise, glacial water. Their large, backwards-curved horns featured rows of symmetrical ridges, tilting downwards, as they drink. How I wish I could stroke their soft fur.
From up high I gazed down upon the crowns of majestic pine trees grouped together, creating small clusters of woods, while the open terrains in between are covered with emerald fields of tall green grasses, and newly bloomed, pink flowers. Soaring among the landscape is a bright orange, bearded-vulture, searching for discarded, picked-over carcasses left behind by packs of generous wolves.
When the light shone bright, the life below invigorated and engaged my senses of sights and sounds. But when the darkness swallowed the sun, my world is turned upside down, directing my attention upwards into the familiar patterns of sparkling points in a black endless sky.
It is between these two realms of day and night, beyond the wondrous life teeming beneath me or the dancing stars above, this is where I seem to dwell. A place where all is frozen, where all is dead, where nothing lives and nothing grows, this is where I exist.