Friday, July 10, 2009


His lonely voice echoed in the high vaults of the empty cathedral. The rows of pews were derelict and dust covered, while hangings of cobwebs draped down across the wide, dusty nave. He held up the single candle as he walked further into the humid air, like a cloying dying breath held inside a moist body. The pale moonlight, glided over the surfaces like liquid silver, outlining the shapes of massive pillars, arches, angels, gargoyles, and things which weren’t really there.

He had come this far and he had to see for himself. He swallowed and walked further into the large, empty building. His shadow fell across the grey marble, growing further and further until it came to the end of the long nave. And there it settled, like some black bird of ill omen, upon the altar.

As he passed the tarnished candle sconces they began to flicker to life, long yellow flames of yesteryear, reawakened in their warmth and youth. The soft glow of the candles spread out like a slow moving current of gold, breathing life into the old building, the soft sound of music beginning to play upon the air.

And then he blinked. And it was all silent and silver once more. The humid air had turned icy as the wind blew through the broken stained glass windows, which stood now like stone spider webs, missing all their color. It was as if all color had been drained from the room, like it was all made of ash and would blow away in the wind at any second. All except for the area illuminated by his single candle.

“Light.” He spoke silently.

And all the candles long forgotten obeyed, jumping to life, quivering with anticipation that he could maybe be the one. The one they had been waiting for. The one to breathe life into the old cathedral again. The ivy and briars that had crept in through the walls, whispered in the wind that ran across their gleaming leaves, almost a giggle with what was to come. The man walked further in, the cobwebs drawing back in fear, disintegrating into the rafters, and even there the light found them and they were undone.

“Music.” He spoke again.

And the call of the instruments answered him. It flooded in the windows, running across the marble floors and spreading across the foliage, causing the mantles of green to burst forth in pure white roses. The scent drifted heavily upon the perfumed air like sweet incense offered up to the heavens. The music brought color back into the tapestries which fluttered in the musical, perfumed breezes, as if the figures upon them longed to step down and dance one more.

But this light and this life that had awoken in the cathedral had touched all but one place. The apex of the long nave, where the altar still stood, thick and cool, bathed in the silver lines of the moon upon its dark surface. The light around him seemed to dullen and fade at the reminder of the cold end of the long aisle. He has been walking towards it the entire time, passing glowing candles and crowds of tapestries, his own tallow candle’s flame stretching long and thick, with blue smoke curling heavenward from it. Now, he had reached the end.

There stood the two statues, gleaming cold marble in the pale moonlight, with eyes that begged for some brave soul to traverse the cathedral and break the spell of the twilight. And he had come. He gazed upon the incense braziers on either side of the altar and snapped his fingers, each answering the call by sparking to life, long tendrils of purple smoke beginning to reach to the arches above.

“My love.” He spoke as he knelt at the cold altar.

Upon the solid block of immovable granite was spread a thick mantle of softest, deepest, bluest velvet. Upon this bed lay a figure in perfect repose, her ivory skin catching the moonlight and holding it hostage. Her hands, like two perfectly interwoven silver willow branches held a single, white lily to her as dear as life itself. Her hair, crowned with a wreath of lilies, spread out in long tresses that captured the colors of the living heartwood inside the ancient forests of the world, each shade of brown and chestnut and auburn flowing gently into one another. Her eyes were closed, as if in perfect sleep, but her brows were furrowed, as if she could see but did not want to.

“You are an enigma. You call to me to rescue you, to save you from this never ending sleep, from the nightmares, and yet, when I come here, you wish to continue dreaming. What is it you want from me? Do you even know what you really want? Will you be happy if I wake you and you realize this has all been a dream till now?”

She gave no answer, her silence was deafening, the music having stopped when he had addressed her. He noticed flames all around him, hidden in ambulatories and niches, flicker to life upon rose colored candles, till they were surrounded by a sea of flickering flames. Flickering heartbeats. Breathing with the two of them.

“But how can I keep you like this? You are happy, yes, but you are not really living. You are imprisoned within yourself, in a prison of your own making. How can I live, knowing that you are not?”

He stepped upon the veined marble steps leading up to the solid altar, and leaned over her, watching the slow and steady move of her shallow breathing. A single tear gleamed from the corner of her eye and trailed down her ivory cheek. He caught it before it reached her sea of hair, and raised it up on his finger, watching the moon and candle light caught inside the crystal orb.

“I’m sorry. I know you’ve felt pain. Just as much as I have. We’ve both been on a very long journey, and it has been so easy to think that I was the only one… I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

He stood back up straight and looked back upon the lit cathedral, warm and glowing as the tapestries and flames and white roses all watched him with eager anticipation. They begged him to free her, to awaken her from this long dream.

“My princess. May I kiss you? It will make all this go away. The dreams and the nightmares. The false good and the false bad and all the other imitations in between. All I need is your permission and the slumber will end and your life will begin. But I won’t force you. If you want the fantasy, then I will not force you to find the truth. All you have to do is say yes.”

She still lay there, her eyes shut firmly, her moist lips folding ever so gently, with a slight quiver, as if her inner turmoil was being fought right there upon her soft mouth. He leaned forward with anticipation, urging her with all his soul to give that long looked for answer. But then the quiver stopped, her brow rose in haughty pride. And she slipped into the soft folds of slumber once more.

“Then you have decided.” He said, stepped and turning, walking from the altar.

As he walked, time seemed to slow, a cold wind sweeping up behind him, the candles fluttering out and changing to rivulets of grey smoke running upward. The entire room grew grey once more, expect for the halo of rose candles around her alter, which enveloped her in a soft, pink glow. He walked onward, his eyes closed in pain. He had prepared for this. He would not shed a tear. He had promised himself.

“Yes.” Her whisper flew across the empty room.

He turned to see her rising up slowly from her cold bed of stone, eyes still closed. Her mouth quivered as she struggled to utter the words. Tears began running down both her cheeks as her eyelashes fluttered like butterflies in a hurricane. And then she opened her eyes.

“Yes. I don’t want to sleep anymore!”

He ran to her, candles jumping to life, music rising in crescendo, roses blooming once more. He bounded up the altar steps and through his strong arms around her, his eyes moist with unbidden tears as well. His met hers and the warm glow of the candles of the cathedral seemed to draw in just around the two of them. Then he leaned forward and captured her lips.

And life and light burst forth from the altar. The windows glowed with the old glass restored. Where once hung cobwebs now fluttered silks in the breeze. The tapestries literally came to life, people stepping down from them as if they were doorways. The entire cathedral was soon alive with people talking and celebrating by the time the two parted.

“Thank you.” She whispered. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” He answered.

And so they both woke from the dream into something much better.

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