Alleyway

It’s dawn.

At least, I think so.

Light is faintly streaming downwards in that curious pastel hue that is concurrent with sunrise. The darkness of before shifts away to a fresher, newer realm.

I sit up slowly, for I have awoken in what seems to be a dark cavern. Drawn to the light, I get onto my feet and cautiously make my way forward, feeling along in the dark as I go. A light from above widens to reveal stone steps leading out. My fingers glide past the slippery stone walls as I make my ascent.

Eventually, I reach the top of the stairs and out of the pit. I’ve come to a narrow alleyway, pavement and blank buildings surrounding. Similar to a maze, I see that every few feet allows another turn and another alley to follow.

 I look directly above and see only pale sky with drifting pinkish clouds. My right leads toward a greyish dark—my left is the same. Question is, where do I go from here?

The sound of footsteps causes me to start a little, yet it also encourages for I must not be the only one here. I open my mouth to call out, then something in the corner of my eye makes me close it silently again.

The hairs on my arms stand up, goose-bumps rise on my skin, and my body goes rigid. I pivot on my heel and turn to face what stands behind me. Tense and excited, I murmur, “Ah, there you are,” and feel as though I have found where it is I’m meant to go.

Just behind the underground stairs, stands a structure that commands attention. It rises higher than all the rest, is larger than all the others, glistens gold in the light and is decorated with characters of ethereal qualities. Words are scrawled across its expansive walls and columns, words in an ancient script I can’t quite translate—yet know all the same. From its towers sprays a chorus of bells playing music of no structured melody or harmony. They play their own understanding of joy, exaltation, and beauty.

Inward urging propels me forward, that of a covenant meaning to be upheld. My first step is tentative, the next eager. Half of me wants to run to the great cathedral’s steps and bang loudly upon its proud wooden doors, for I am sure this is a structure meant for me to enter in.

Despite this, the other half restrains and whispers to return to the dark stairway, or better yet, go somewhere else. It is because of this that I keep at a clear walking pace. As I approach, I take in every inch and detail of the cathedral, memorizing it’s being and revelling in its existence.

Again, the sound of footsteps distracts me. This time I see the person corresponding with the steps. A woman strides past with great purpose to the west. I pause and watch her go, wondering where it is she is headed and why she isn’t going to the cathedral. Before I get a chance to shout after her, another person crosses my path. They, however, walk sharply away from the cathedral—shooting back distressed eyes as they flee.

This intimidates me a little. Could the benevolent building I so desire to reach be in fact, farce?

I raise my eyes to it again and instantly feel shame for doubting such a place. No. It is not farce. It is reality, and I must go.

So, I start up again, passing more and more people. I don’t hesitate or pause, afraid that if I stop again I might lose all nerve and give up the thing I want most of all to reach.

Finally, the alley falls away and presents me before the cathedral’s gates—the bells clamouring in my ears at blissfully deafening levels. The iron-wrought gates swing open and across the courtyard, others scurry forth from their own alleyways and up the stone steps. Every time the cathedral’s doors open; a chant of Gloria pierces the air and bounds forth before being muffled once more at their close.

It is at this point that I realize the light that drew me from the pit was in fact the cathedral itself. All that neighbours the cathedral is dreary and shadowy, and a sudden abhorrence to all such things makes me run.

Stumbling, staggering, scrambling, and huffing I run—run for the benevolent structure. Disregarding the many steps to the top, disregarding the unforgiving marble, I fall before the doors. Summoning the last of my strength, I submit a weakened knock–being too winded to produce anything more.

Instantly, the doors swing inwards and the chorus I heard before matches the rampant excitement of the bells from the tower. Someone gently helps me to my feet with a slight chuckle and ushers me inside.

And I enter heaven

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