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Victors and Lesser Men: Free Write by cam

Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

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The terrain was rugged, the air hot and stagnant, and the mountain they climbed was high.

In their muddled minds, the first to the top would win the struggle for domination, would hold the high ground from which to fend off the other, keep him down, drive him back to the bottom.

They were equals, too evenly matched for one to conquer absolutely. At times, all progress was halted, and toe to toe, blow by blow, each made ready to exploit the first sign of weakness.

The higher they climbed and the more they fought, lesser men they became. One lost an ear and could not hear, the other an eye and could not see, both lost dignity, but they battled on. At times, one seemed to have the upper hand and would bear down on the other to strike the fatal blow, a blow that never landed, and the race for the top was resumed.

One found the single moment of advantage and bound the other as he slept. The free one climbed on, unhindered, and dreams of domination clouded his mind, blinded him to reality.

The bound one struggled against the bonds, and horrors of domination clouded his mind, blinded him to reality.

A mouse crept among the rubble of the hillside to the one who had lost hope. The smallest creature nibbled at the ropes until the man was free, but far behind his opponent. He would not, could not surrender, and he set one foot in front of the other, eyes on the goal, heart set on the goal.

In time, he caught up and the battle was renewed with vigor unmatched by previous duals. Blood, sweat and tears poured from their bodies into the dust of the hillside. They fought until they could fight no more.

The two lay on the dry, rocky ground, physically exhausted, emotionally drained, spiritually empty. Neither could win, both would lose. For the first time, they looked into each others eyes and realization came like a sunrise. One could never be master over the other because each was both lord and servant.

They climbed on, side by side, because gaining the top would make them victors, not over each other, but over the fallacy of their original quest. They would claim the victory together, because that was the only way victory could be claimed.

When one faltered, the other helped him up. When one lost hope, the other kept hoping. In this manner they would continue to climb until one day, black hand clasped in white and raised to the sky, they would realize The Dream.

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