Flicker flames and haunted faces
Shuffling feet find empty spaces
Moving shadows, someone's hurting
Huddle closer, campfire burning.

Saturday 11 May 2013

Game Saved: ICO

This is Game Saved. I’m Daniel Ness.

(Music: Castle in the Mists)

Imagine a windmill, fins spinning in the breeze, near a pond, in a castle, in a land far away.

It’s respite for weary travellers and we’ve travelled so far. We found a girl in a cage and rescued her, because that’s what we do when finding princesses imprisoned in castles. We fought shadow creatures with sticks, and lit fires with other sticks which we held like torches lighting the darkness and our way.

We ran through courtyards, under trees and over grass. And the sunlight, when it shines, is dappled by high leaves swaying in the wind that stirs the mill, and her dress, and our hair.

And the walls we’ve climbed support towers high above us; we ran along them stopping sharp at their edges. The ground below was lost beneath mists like a sea. If we fell now, we’d fall forever.

Has ground ever seemed harder? Has it ever flown to meet us so fast? There are no cartoon final moments after hitting that ground; no standing cross-eyed, no holding banners that read: that’s all folks. There are only long falls and sudden stops, and broken bodies, and games over.

So when we come to the bridge with the princess still holding our hand, and it breaks in the middle separating us, we know we should run. We know what’s down there. We’ve teetered on the brink of falling so many times and every time pulled away, treading carefully back from the edge. Every ladder, we’ve approached with caution; every rope we’ve swung on with care.

And every step of the way we took her with us. Trailing two steps behind, we held her hand and called her on. With the princess at our side the doors that blocked our path opened: if we hurried through them, we might escape.

But the bridge opens and the gap grows wide, and we reach for each other, arms stretched, fingers fumbling through air.

We needn’t turn back for her but we do so all the same. Faced with freedom we run toward death, toward the edge, toward her.

And we jump. And we slip. And we fall from a bridge, in a castle in the mist, over a lake, in a land far away.

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