It was a dream from many centuries ago, and he stood after the night ascent at the mountain’s apex with the horizon ahead of him a twinkling mass. Even then the cities’ squalor was visible, but he did not care for he was elevated, elated above the clouds and now finally where his soul would not feel gravity’s woe. There, in this child’s triumph, he felt he could reach for the night stars and roll them between his fingers like playthings, and then as that vivid recollection faded he viewed a golden orb coming to grant everything seemingly unattainable, before everything slipped out of focus.

Despite incubating for what felt like years, he awoke from the dream in his cramped cellar without as much as a yawn. His abode was now a decadent thing, with a civilisation of his own that comprised silverfish, cockroaches and termites that scuttled away with every tired step of their awakened deity. He cracked his dormant joints amongst the faithful, and without so much of a thought as to why he was conscious merely checked his broken watch before walking out into the Tokyo twilight.

It was more or less the same as he had left it. Bleating and bleeding but now in faster, larger and more efficient ways in harbouring the flesh congested corridors. He had seen this entrapment of buildings as saplings not fully grown, but now they stretched infinitely, their antennas like branches to heavenly satellites, forming a canopy of garish lights that blinded the stars themselves. He wondered how anyone could sleep within this assault. It wearied him just the same.
And weary he was. Gravity had pulled his bones towards the Earth with a force that made his soul groan even in those endless days sleeping. His interrupted dream returned and there was a murmur, a longing shadow at the back of his mind that reminded him of sunlight, warmth that could not be built with neon lines and static glows. He knew then what he had to harness and like a beast escaping the biblical flood he felt the need to climb.

He took a right off the main street and his feet didn’t relent as he passed the rusted playgrounds, empty schools and decaying apartment blocks. He had not aged, and yet these great trees’ roots were crumbling beneath and he wondered if had slept just a little longer whether he would have been buried with them. Mephistopheles with his fingers as weeds and vines was coming up from beneath to claim back these misshapen rocks and materials into the Earth, and man would be the fertiliser of this new landscape. There would be no mercy, so still he ran to get above.

He found it eventually, an exit from this suffocating Earth; a steel door that guarded the ladder to the heavens. Inside he was presented with a concrete cylinder of stairs that were surely eternal, but up he went through levels monotonous, presented only occasionally with a glimpse of that gaudy outside world that gloated at those trapped inside its walls. He could not bend, he had to ascend, so his heart wearied (climbing and climbing), his back gave out (step by step) and his senses failed him one by one (breath by breath).

His broken body slammed through the door and there he was, at the top of the world seventy stories later staring down at the skyline fence of blunt metal needles. Capped they were with luxury and technological extravagance and he pondered to himself how little was gained when one rose so apparently high. He settled himself against a wall and like his many lives he waited impatiently to pass into the next.

Before long his wish began to bleed into the horizon, a mixture of violet and orange splendour swallowing the dark. Something tugged at him, and he turned to find a shadowy figure gradually undressed by light. Mount Fuji stared at him as he stared back and for a moment he smiled, for he was reminded there was a day when youth did indeed fade with boyhood troubles, that every day he did grow beyond himself and that it was within that spring dream of bliss unheralded that he could touch the sun and stars, and age gracefully beneath them.

He turned his back at Fuji’s now wholly naked being, defying and dwarfing man’s attempts to emulate it. A searing erupted on his ace, and he widened his eyes to take in what he was searching for all this time, now finally lifting its weight above the visible horizon to complete the picture. He grasped its light within his palm and laughed heartily to undo the static centuries of his life, until there was nothing left but smoke and ashes for the wind to pick up and delicately place within the cosmos.