“It’s not a new life… It’s the same old one.” His whisper echoed through the silent halls of the cathedral. No matter how many times he shut his eyes, repeated those very words, the world remained unchanged. Yet, despite knowing how fruitless such endeavors were, he continued to delude himself into believing things would change. Each night he visits the same cathedral, sits on the same bench, and awakens after a short rest with those same words. As if one day expecting something different, even if just a subtle alter. It has been so long now that he can not even remember when this ritual, of sorts, began. Only the moments when he awakens, and the sheer disappointment washes over him.
“Again…” He complains after pushing open the cathedral doors and being struck by the freezing torrents of wind from winters eve. Whilst shivering he makes way, clinging to his coat, wrapping it tightly about his chest and crossing his arms. Each step seemed a hazard as his black leather boots sank into the inches of soft snow. A keen sense was needed, lest he miss a step and collapse into the biting cold below. Aware, yet ever distant, lumen irises wander about the empty city streets. Lights flicker in the darkness ahead, barely illuminating the shadows yonder. Yet he knows the path home, it is all too familiar. Like a lucid dream from which he could not awaken – always the path home he remembers, never the journey from and to the cathedral he leaves behind.
The details were irrelevant to him though. Still, each night, he awakens there. Each night plagued by monogamy. Yet he could not seem to shake that odd feeling: As if something were different, just beyond his notice. It was not a comfort to him, but rather a haunting sensation. It bothered him, not being able to escape the feeling, but onwards he trudges through the snow. Into pitch alleys and out onto open, ebony fields. The world seemed dead at this hour, unmoving but never still. In the distance he could see lights – perhaps the small specks of street lamps and lit rooms – yet something told him that, no matter how long through the night he walked, he would never reach them. Thus he continues to trace a familiar path. Through empty corridors and streets, past barren parks and homes. Ever watchful, trying to spy on moving shadows, hoping to see familiar faces behind each lit window. All for nought. He felt alone, and perhaps he was. So he begins to ponder where everyone might be, to question how he arrived at the cathedral, and even when last he had seen the sun rise. Yet it was not answers which came to him, but rather an atrocious pain.
Like a knife, the sharp pain cuts deep into his mind and quickly brings him to his knees. Both hands grasp his head in a desperate attempt to quell the pain, he exhales, trying with all his might not to scream. Small whimpers escape his lips, body shaken by the sudden jolt of agony as he shuts his eyes and tries to bury the anguish away. Yet, like a summer breeze, the pain washes over him and is suddenly gone. Abashed and shaken, he slowly stands and continues on his way, he did not know why, he feared asking more. Needless to say, the familiar sight of that small red door never looked so pleasing. For he knew it was home, and here he was safe.
He enters home, instinctively calling out with a “Hello…” if only to stop himself from going any further as he remembers a bit of that forgotten past. True enough, he was alone. Venturing through a scarlet hallway his eyes fall upon faint traces of the past which came in the form of family paintings: Often times himself and his many siblings together. The eldest of many, he faintly remembers what it was like to bask in the adoration of a long lost father. Yet the faces of his brethren remain imprinted upon his mind. As if burned by the regrets of him ever having left such a comforting home. On his way toward his room, however, he stops before a portrait.
Melancholy swells within him upon gazing at a portrait of himself and his three eldest kin. Behind them towers their father, whose face was left obscured by a singed canvas. He seemed lost within the image, attempting to remember its origin. Yet he could do little, just barely clinging to the names of his brethren. It was becoming late, however, and he wanted nothing else than for such a night to end. Thus he tears himself away from a failed attempt at remembering and carries on toward his room.
At the black door he stops, reaching for the knob yet stopping just short of its grasp. He hesitates, but does not know why. That feeling of familiarity washes over him, how many times now? He slowly looks back, at the long corridor behind him, and is consumed by terror upon realizing there was nothing. The paintings were gone, the walls blackened, and no red door in sight. Nothing. In the blink of an eye it was all stripped from him. Quickly he turns, reaching for the doorknob to his room, yet finds nothing to grasp. His eyes come upon blackness, and suddenly he realizes the door too was gone. All had vanished in a moment. Surrounded by a pitch black, the world had been enveloped in darkness before his very eyes. Until he was all that had been left, alone in the abyss… Suddenly he falls.
It was only then when he remembered: the anguish of flames enveloping his wings, the terror of falling through unending skies, the heartbreak of betrayal; To be removed from the side of such immaculate love. For a moment he was free of the weight behind his actions, yet it was just a moment. Falling in to the endless blackness, the truth had revealed itself to him again. What was lost had been found with consequence to bear in pain, “Awake, arise or be forever fallen” he whispered shutting his eyes as a smile crept upon his lips.
“It’s not a new life… It’s the same old one.” His whisper echoes through the silent halls of the cathedral. No matter how many times he shut his eyes, repeated those very words, the world remained unchanged. Yet, as he rises and turns, a lone figure emerges from the shadows of the cathedral doors. The silhouette glares with aureate irises as a single name escapes under his shaking breath, “Michael…” and all falls silent.
– The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven…