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The End of All Cares
by Sly Squirrel
©2003 Sly Squirrel -- all rights reserved

Jerry threw open the final door on his journey. He limped out into the sunlight, sides heaving, a thin smile on his face. It had been over a year since he started this quest; the authorities didn't make it easy for someone to find this collective, that was for sure.

"We've been waiting for you," came the voice, soft and warm. Jerry shed his eyes as the sun hit the man-made elevator. He stepped on once his eyes adjusted, and found a small being waiting for him on the platform. The being's arms were open for a hug.

Jerry fell into it.

"You've searched long and hard for us, I know," the small being continued, "Many people do. Ours is a completely different world, one where you can be your heart's desire and learn to live in harmony." The stranger's smile seemed to glow; suddenly Jerry didn't feel so tired.

"I knew you would be here," Jerry replied as his strength returned, "Everyone said it was a legend, but I knew better."

"Good man." Jerry's eyes no longer burned from excess light; he opened them to find a waist-high teddy bear smiling back at him. His half-smile seemed mean by comparison. "I'm glad you never gave up hope. Your heart is indeed strong."

"Thank you." The bear's chest glowed again; Jerry could feel the same warmth in his own body.

"You will become part of a revolution," the bear continued, "And I have a feeling you shall be a front-runner. With our new Tank we shall show the world what peace and harmony truly mean by creating forms gentle and loving. Are you prepared to be the epitome of caring and love?"

Jerry's voice was barely audible. "Y-yes. It is my dream."

The cloud elevator came to the end with a soft click; a cloud paradise awaited the two. Heaven, Jerry thought. "Right this way," the bear said, "We'll get the process started right away."

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