(In a dim cavern, a turtle lies prone on its back, feet flailing in the air. A dragon approaches it sporting a wicked grin.)
DRAGON: Poor creature, I see you fearful
on the armor you possess
now vulnerable to any and all wickedness.
TURTLE: I came here of my own free will
and stumbled for the plan.
An event horizon: when expiration began.
DRAGON: He who has the flame will burn
whatever entices his sight.
There is no doubt in the killing light.
TURTLE: It’s confusion that animates us,
allows us a manic thrust at breath.
The only certainty is unapologetic death.
DRAGON: Shall I spare you my aggression
for your suffering yields no gain?
TURTLE: Would you spare me this writhing in pain?
DRAGON: Should I tip you over,
let you on your tiny way?
TURTLE: Would you defy your nature as you say?
DRAGON: What I choose to do matters not,
for I have no soul to save.
TURTLE: That would truly mark you brave.
DRAGON: The flame would extinguish;
Fear would give way.
Darkness is not a deepening
but the birth of day.
TURTLE: The sun in morning rises high,
and so in mercy will I.
(The dragon turns the turtle and puts it back on its feet. The turtle begins to move slowly toward the cavern’s exit.)
DRAGON: Yet you still are underground,
beneath the dirt but not growing.
TURTLE: Step by humble step, I am going.
DRAGON: And it was evil that gave you power
to move through life again.
TURTLE: So it has always been.
We don’t choose our world or harden
the stone that pock our garden.
We are fate turned right-side-up,
and that must be enough.
(Fade to grey.)