For several minutes there was nothing but mere breathing. The run had exhausted us to the level of complete physical weariness. Slowly my breathing came back to a normal level and I managed to slowly lift myself up and look back to the invisible wall. Four of those creatures were banging their ugly fists against an unseen barrier, yet I could not hear or smell them in any way. They tried to use their claws, legs and teeth to somehow break through, yet it seemed to be a futile effort. Their eyes were focused on us all the while, emitting hate and a non-human evilness, that made my skin crawl.
Thomas had also regained some strength. Fear and confusion, mixed with momentary relief about having escaped death, were the pieces of a complex puzzle on his face. He mumbled slowly, obviously not aware of either my presence, nor anything at all it seemed. Imagine somebody who got out of bed in the morning to walk to the bus, only to find himself looking at some kind of man-ape-bear who is trying to force his way through an invisible wall to kill him. That is what he looked like and describing that is a little hard it seems. I became aware that I had not wasted any thoughts on what this clearing really was. I turned around for the first time, looking at bright blue sky , focused on one single place in a dark forest. Around me, on the edges of a green meadow, were beautiful big trees in full bloom. Centuries-old oaks with strong branches , covered by a canopy of green, healthy leafs. Pine with strong green needles and impressive branches. Flowers covered the green grass I was standing on. They were in all colours and shapes, butterflies circled over them. The sound of birds intermixed with the humming of bees , gathering nectar busily. To wrap it up, it was the kind of summer meadow that teenagers would chose to have sex for the first time on a hot day in mid-July. In the middle of the meadow was some kind of large stone. When I looked closer, it seemed that there was someone sitting on it. I froze, trying to make out whether it was man or woman or a human at all, for that matter. I walked over to Thomas. When I grabbed him by the shoulder he spun around and looked at me wide-eyed, like someone falling out of some kind of trance.
‘Fuck’ , was all he said.
‘Look man’ I replied. ‘ I know this is all some kind of fucking nightmare. But listen, we cannot just stand here. There is someone over there and looking at those ugly freaks, won’t make them go away.’
He looked at me foolishly and said ‘Who is over there, what is happening here man?’
He was obviously still struggling with the absurdness of our situation. I certainly felt the same, but we had to keep on going somehow, so I repeated ‘There is someone over there Thomas. We need to get away from here and find out what or who that is. We are in some kind of weird shit here and maybe we find an answer over there’. He studied me intensively, nodding slowly.
‘yes, we should, ok, let’s do it’.
We made for the centre of the meadow, leaving the monstrosities behind us, their hateful looks piercing into our backs as we set off. The bright sunshine on our faces felt weird after the complete darkness of just a few minutes ago. Weird, but also beautiful, a warming, gentle sunshine…not too intensively that you would sweat, yet sufficient to make you feel completely comfortable and warm. The kind of sunshine you would experience only a few times in a year, the perfect day. It was strange to notice all that, to have those feelings in an absolutely outlandish situation as ours. Yet, I started to, well, yes, I felt good, as if I was on my way to some fantastic thing to happen. Excited, yet relaxed. Full of anticipation, yet calm. Self-confident, yet not arrogant. Aware of my strength, yet humble. What it was like for Thomas, I cannot tell. My senses and eyes were focused on this place in the middle of the meadow. This big stone, no wait, it was no stone. It was some kind of altar. A chair, a throne , yes a throne! We arrived at it and what it actually was, was the most elaborate and fragile construction I had ever seen. It was made of black glass, or something like glass, it was about four metres high and composed of a million of sparkling, little pieces. There was something female to it, yet totally commanding. Something gentle, yet untouchable. Something full of love, yet distant.
All things I am describing where put into my brain and now in my mouth, without actually knowing why. A powerful feeling was surging inside me. I had found a place that was beyond our human comprehension, a place of something wiser, deeper, something above the capability of our human words to be described. My feelings were my mouth. Something as primitive as human speech was not needed in a place like this.
My eyes slowly went upwards to the top of it. And there she was, sitting there and looking at me. The most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Was she truly a woman? She was a queen, so graceful and strikingly, shiningly, stunningly angelic that this word seems such an underestimation to describe her, that it felt like calling the Taj Mahal merely ‘nice’. Her face was angular, yet not really slim. Her cheeks were a little ample, yet not too full. Her lips were pointed and her lips were red. Her nose had a cute length and seemed perfectly in place, just where it was. Her skin was slightly dark, like a natural tan, as if Mother sun has left its mark on it to claim it for her. Her eyes were of a light brownish colour, to me they seemed like the entrance to a universe, the doorstep to heaven. Her angel-like appearance was framed by dark hair that were slightly curly in places and looked healthy and strong at the same time She was dressed in a beautiful green gown. The upper part was cut in a clinging style, so the shape of her fragile body was easy to imagine as I looked at her. The lower part was wide, like a monks robe, resulting into a strange piece of clothing that I had never seen before. Yet on her, it looked ‘right’, yes, as if her tailor was also her best friend, knowing every twist and turn of her body. She sat on her throne like the master of a realm, used to obedience and submission of others. Yet there was no arrogance of any kind about her. ‘Loveable’ is the only word that comes to my mouth, again not able to grasp the supernatural power of her. She looked deep into my eyes and into my soul. She seemed to look through all the walls I had built up inside myself to protect that little vulnerable core inside me, that was my true personality.
All these walls were wiped away as her eyes found the true me. When she seemed satisfied with what she saw, she changed her look and smiled at me. She showed no teeth, it was just a light movement of her lips, yet it turned all my doubts about myself to dust. Her smile had been one of those unearthly messages again. It had told me that all the doubts that I have ever had, all my weaknesses and inabilities were meaningless for her. She loved me for what I was and she approved of me. And I loved her too, I pledged my heart to her, totally and completely. Yet it was no selfish love, no demanding love, no jealous love. It was a love that would be fulfilled by the mere presence of her, by knowing that she was aware of me and that she was in agreement with me. I was willing to give my life for her , had she asked me to. There was no doubt about that. When she took her eyes off me, it felt like life itself was slipping out of my hands.
A deep feeling of loss washed over me, and I yearned for her eyes to return. She looked at Thomas now, her eyes studying him intensively. Suddenly there was a look of disappointment on her face. In that moment Thomas fell to his knees and started to cry and whimper. Tears streamed down his cheeks, his face a mask of desperation. Whatever she had seen in him I do not know, yet she seemed displeased for some reason. Nonetheless, her expression changed to that of a forgiving mother. She slowly opened her mouth and for the first time she spoke, her voice like a soft, cooling wind on a hot day in a dry desert: ‘It is good’ she said.
When Thomas heard her voice, a feeling of relief rushed visibly through his face and body and he laughed happily, bowing deeply while doing so. Her eyes returned to me, happiness filling me. She said: ‘It is time, my heart’ her voice a mere whisper which sounded like a butterfly passing by your ear. I did not know what she meant and what I was supposed to do. I felt panic coming up from deep inside me. To disappoint her somehow was a thought almost impossible to bear. She seemed to sense that and she smiled at me gently and reassuringly. I relaxed and she bowed down to take something from the ground in front of her. She opened some kind of metal box and from inside she took a sword. Its blade was white and did not seem to be made of metal or steel at all. It was impossible to say what it was made of , but it was obvious that it was a powerful weapon. Sunlight reflected on its blade when she lifted it high up into the air. Its point looked as if it pierced right into the sun. She stood up and threw the sword high up into the air. The sword spinned and rotated through the blue sky, the reflections of light on its surface created a beautiful arrangement of light and colour. I admired it like a spectator would admire a kite flying through the air. Not for one second did I fear that it might hit me or pose any type of danger to me. She would never hurt me, she loved me and I knew that as much as I knew that my own mother loved me, no matter what. It landed right in front of my feet. About half the length of the blade was buried into the ground and the hilt quivered slightly, before slowly coming to rest. I looked up on her. She gazed at me, consciously and expectant. I stuttered:’ I…what…’, glancing at her like a cow would look at an algebra-equation. ‘It is time my heart’, she breathed, before she lifted her arms from her sides, palms upwards, and moved her head back slowly.