My heart is racing, but the beast has past.
After my last post, I felt opened that door, and found another. I drove myself to walk through each door that came in my way; unlike every other time when I have wandered this maze of bricks and mortar, I felt as if there was something driving me. That I was approaching my goal, although I knew not where my goal was. Each door confronted me with a new land that I had not traversed.
The first door led me to a beautiful fountain; water soared high into the sky, before tumbling back into the pool, only to be subjected to the fountain's function. Even the grey backdrop to this did not remove it from my mind; I only saw it for a brief moment, before I remained on my course and went through the next door.
There, I saw a supermarket - that's what my head tells me it was. Empty rows of unstacked shelves, followed by yet more. This felt almost poignant. Did this impart some distant memory into my mind? I don't know, but I kept walking; a door with the words "Staff Only" written upon it was the one I pushed open, to find myself back onto the city streets once more. I kept walking; these were the environments I felt at home with. The concrete city-scape which had enclosed me when A was near, protected me and pulled me away from them.
Walking through another door brought me into a church, or what seemed like one; no, a temple. A majestically large place, with figures cut from stone stood on pedestals. They looked down at me, hoods over their faces; their hands stood out firm, as if giving a speech. There were no seats and no people to want to sit in them; I walked up to the altar, and ran a hand across it. Unfamiliar symbols were cut into it, as if worshipping some unknown god, forgotten in times long since past for me. I looked up; the roof looked so very far away. A colossal dome, stretching up to the sky. There were paintings, but I could not truly comprehend them, really; I can't really explain this.
Remembering the temple, I can almost feel as if I am forgetting things I thought that I'd never forget there. The stained glass windows were a true majesty of design, yet I cannot even remember the faces on them. It's a shame.
Nevertheless, I soon found myself pulled to exit through a side-door, but I found myself forced to stop, for I found A beyond it.
Not A in any way I had seen them before, though. But the face still struck terror into my heart; even when they looked sad, they had been able to hurt me before. I kept my distance, but noted the person before me.
Their hood was down, their face revealed. Their blackened attire, which I had not seen them without, remained as it always had; immaculate and preserved. Not one inch of skin exposed. I looked around the room; they were sat on the chair, facing a door that I had not been through. As if this place was merely an extension of the temple, windows of stained glass (although not as beautiful as those outside) remained fitted, A's face outlined against one of them.
And such a face; I've not clearly seen it before. Prematurely aged, to be sure; I could see scars, both old and new, cut into it. Their nose, long and hooked, completed their face's outline. Although I could see it perfectly, I could still not be sure as to whether I was looking at a male or female face. Hah, a typical story. Clean but messy hair adorned their head, going down to their shoulders; I don't know what the style is, but I could see that it was not groomed; brown hair that had gone to grey in recent times, to be sure. At a table between them and I, I saw two things; a knife and a handgun. I'm an expert in neither field, but I'm sure that either would be sufficient to end my life.
I'm not sure what compelled me to memorise that; perhaps what they said next.
"The time that is coming," they said, in a tone that I did not recognise from that mouth. A tone that seemed... contemplative. "It is one time in which the time inside this place and the time outside it come together. On both inside and out, it shall be the winter solstice. I can imagine this time a year ago; a time of hope and of happiness. And of longing, at least for me. I was hoping then, like I had never hoped before.
"I wanted the nightmare to end. For it all to cease and to be done and forgotten. I wanted my past to leave me; to fade. I wanted a hero to rise up and defeat the monster... I saw the golden dream that others held and held it myself. In my silence, I prayed as hard as anyone else did.
"It was not enough. The dream was just that: in the morning, my nightmare haunted my waking hours, the dream extinguished. The world had lied to me; the world had led me astray; the world was wrong. I had followed hope, and hope brought me to crushing despair. I abandoned the companion that I had acquired; I severed the loose ends from my past; I moved on. I had to move on, lest I collapse into the ruins that surrounded me.
"I lost my way. I wandered in the darkness, hunting for a light. A guide, to show me the way. And for all my searching, I found nothing. I kept going so that I did not stop. Every step brought me no closer to my goal, but I knew that my goal was an impossibility. But stopping would have meant that everything I had done, every sin that I had committed, was worth naught. I told myself that the dream wasn't over yet, that if I didn't stop, the flame of hope would rekindle into a neverending blaze that would consume the past.
"In my head, there were words begging to be let go; I couldn't tell anyone. A thousand words, a thousand confessions. If I kept them close, I could control them; if I let go, I would be carried by them to a place that I might not want to go. I wanted to be myself again. I wanted to command my own fate; to go where I wanted.
"I met people who were trapped in the nightmare with me. We bonded and shared our feelings; each face, I couldn't forget. They were pulled into the darkness of the night, all of them. They all went, you could say. They were there, and then they were gone. Perhaps, in another life, I would have wept for them. I merely stared into the darkness and burned with anger. I was being forced to dance in another's palm, made to play the part of a puppet. But it's not the same now.
"I don't know what changed. Perhaps something else took me in; something else took my strings and is still playing my strings as expertly as any puppeteer. But something snapped. I shook myself from my fear and from my despair; I rose up, and climbed higher then I ever had.
"The dream wasn't done, not yet." A grim smile crossed A's face, as something appeared in their eyes. Tears? "I still felt that call to action, echoing across time. Anger may have worked then, but now I knew that I could not wait for a hero. Now, I was strong enough; waiting would solve nothing. The thousand words could wait, as could the thousand confessions. A hero would not come, so I would become the hero that everyone awaited. The mantle was thrust towards me, so I wore it with pride."
I stood in the room's corner, awkwardly. Were they trying to convey more half-truths? Or was this someone who had not talked from their heart for too long, who were now just looking for an excuse to dump them on the nearest passer-by? Nevertheless, they did not seem to want to stop.
"I had purpose and I had drive. Even if it meant forsaking my fellow man, I had a calling; the greatest calling of all, perhaps. And so, I did what I did. And finally, it has all come... to this."
A's hand grasped the gun on the table firmly; hand around the grip, finger on the trigger. They shifted their grip, examining it with a form of wistfulness that I'd not seen in those eyes before. "Before, I felt afraid of the future. Now... I still am, I think." A relaxed grin crossed the lips. "But this time, it's something that I have constructed. I have done all I can. I control myself now; my fate goes where I command it. I progress ever-further into the future. I cannot stop the beast I have let loose, but it's a beast I've wanted to ride."
A turned to me, placing the gun into a holster on their hip, and picking the knife up and hiding it on their person. The eyes pierced my soul; I felt some solidarity with this person, monstrous though they were. "It's almost time, you know," they said, pointing towards the unopened door. "Beyond that door is the new world. A world of harmony and order; of freedom and passion. It's a world that I've always wanted to see, and it's the world we'll soon be in. The whole world will become like that one, one day." They stood up, and walked towards it. They placed a hand on the ornate handle, and pushed it, just slightly.
"Come with me. Come to the new world. The door will always be open."
Pushing it open, they walked through, to a faraway world, perhaps.
Some of me wants to look at A in a new light. It's far drowned out by the rest of me, who realises that this person who has known fear just loves to inflict it on me. How could I feel anything but contempt for such a beast?
I'll follow them to this 'new world', and view it for the sham it is.