The Marble Castle – Part III

The Marble Castle Part II here

I wake up to the bright sun rays and catch the chill of the wind that creeped in through the doorway. I must have dropped onto my bed after the vassals’ visit. I get a happy rush streaming down my throat after recalling early morning’s visit and spring up from the bed to put on my robes. I look at the window and extend my hand towards the sun to see how much time I have left till the sundown. It seems to be the midday – good time to visit Frank once again before I hear what the king has to say. I sense an adventure down the road but peril crippling alongside it and I cannot put it together to understand which thrills me the most. On a bright side, the old man may shed a light on this sudden visit from the king’s servants as he tends to have ears on the back of everyone’s head. Although, I am not sure why he did not speak of this yesterday as he usually is the first one to know everything that happens within and outside of the kingdom.
Leaving the armour behind me, I pour myself a lukewarm water into the goblet and start hungrily sipping on it. I cannot gather my spirit not to rush to hear what Frank knows about tomorrow. It has been a long time since my last service done for the king and my muscles have been growing weary and strength leaving has slowly left from my body. No matter how much I train and how long I carry this armour for, I cannot summon the same courage and passion as I had before. Being a knight is not something that one is born with – you learn and practice to be one and once you have mastered that skill, it will scar you for the rest of your life. Some look at the scar as an old wound and some see it as a gift. The former turns into madmen while the other see their gift fade away over time. The saddest part is that neither of them can live the same way.
I put the goblet on the side of the table and look around just to see if I need to take anything else with me. I come up to get my pouch of silver coins (to re-pay for some of the Frank’s past rounds and also to soothe the old man down into giving me more details on the upcoming event) and fly out through the doorway and out into the forest. Frank’s establishment is not located far away from my house and it is on the way to the kingdom as well (which is why I anticipate for the old man to spill the truth and all the rumours he has collected from the visitors all the way from there).
The forest has been very quite and I have grown too comfortable with the calmness of it all – so calm, in fact, that it has dumbed my mind.
The sun’s rays were slowly being covered by the clouds – I could sense the rain brewing. The time has come for Autumn to colour the trees and soak the ground. Most beautiful time of the year before the cold malice of winter. I can cherish those winter days spent in the kingdom – so warm and hospital it was. The huts, the houses were lit and the fire was constantly dancing outside of everyone’s place. All the kingdom folk made winter the most anticipated and jolliest seasons of all. The streets were always swarming with people, songs, celebrations, festivals and hot wine that could boil the coldest soul of any human. It was mesmerising to live there. My hut, though, cast me into a cold oblivion and made me urge for spring to return. Luckily, Frank always had a brew to warm me up and he would sometimes invite me to stay in the brewery, which was always glowing with warmth and hospitality.
I approach Frank’s brewery and, to my surprise, I do not hear the crowded noise and goblets smashing against one another in cheering. Only the dimmed lights and the same familiar warmth, crawling from under the door crack, and the smell of glazed chestnuts. I walk up the stairs to open the door and see that the place has only a few people and Frank stand behind the bar stand, preparing another brew. I nod at the visitors and come up to the old man.
“Top of the day, Frank,” I said. “Surprisingly quite today, is it not?”
“Yes, it is,” he responded quickly. “I can imagine most of my clients enjoying today without my usual sarcasm and old stories. I bet that they are only waiting for my brew to get stronger to hit their heads quicker and make them drunk. Judging by the amount of brew I have sold over the couple of years, my visitors can easily enter the ranks of Barbarians, I bet that. I certainly do not mind the quite days as I have longed for them already for quite some time. It looks like my brew has had an effect on you too now that you cannot fit into your armour now, haha!”
“Have you heard of anything that will happen tomorrow?” I interrupted Frank’s laughter.
Frank stopped rubbing the thick glass, looked at me and put his rug aside. He took a deep breath, as if we would not be able to take another one and put his hands onto the table. Frank stared at the floor for a few moments, lifted his head up and came up to one of the barrels and started pouring the drink. I gathered that the drink was meant to be for me, so I reached out for the silver pouch in my pocket and quietly placed it onto the bar stand. Frank could hear the coins touch his stand faster than they actually did. Once he had the goblet full, he placed it in front of me and pushed the bag of silver towards me.
“You may need this, boy,” he said in a deep voice.
“Pardon?” It came as a genuine surprise to me that Frank would not accept the money that I owed him. “This is the money for most of the rounds I had owed you. I am not certain of when I may be back here to drink your brew once again if the king orders us to go on a long journey. Take it now while you can.”
“You owe me nothing,” he continued. “And I sense nothing benign behind that gathering, in all honesty. The kingdom has been in peace for a long time now and it foresees no further clashes, skirmishes or wars in its path. It has made allies with everyone that it possibly could. If there is any blood to be spilled, that would be way up in the North of this world, which is of no concern to his highness and of no interest to the Barbarians that inhabit those regions.”
I was not sure what Frank had on his mind or what stories he had gathered from the others who passed by his brewery. He sounded alarmed and worried to me, and looked quite upset that I knew about tomorrow’s event.
“I gather that the vassals already paid you a visit earlier today. That is unfortunate. No matter how many times I had told them not to venture deeper into the forest, their noses appear to be longer than my stick, which I attempted to scare them off with. They should not have found you.”
“Why is that, Frank? What are you trying to say?” I took my first sip of his brew, which felt surprisingly more bitter than usual.
“You better stay where you are, boy, if you want to live.”
“I swore my life to the king. I owe him everything – what he has done for me, other knights and his people. How can you say that? If my life needs to be sacrificed for the greater good, then it shall be.”
“This won’t be a worthwhile sacrifice – that you can trust me,” Frank continued sounding unlike himself. “The king cannot continue supporting the lot of you. You are of no purpose to him any longer. He cannot disband you nor can he put you into a civil life any longer. The king once created the purpose of your existence and he is afraid of the consequences that may follow. Run while you can and hide in a new house, while you’re young and have a long life ahead. Your discipline is of my and many other people’s admiration and you have to place it elsewhere while there is time and while you are alive.”
The silence stood upon us and I tried deciphering Frank’s riddles one at a time as I could feel that he was hiding something from me or he did not know the whole story and what was about to happen. My hope was growing dim at the same time and I could feel the old man’s concern over my life.
“The king wishes you nothing good, any longer, my friend. I wish you could stay out of this trouble but I know that you shall not. This is not how you have been brought up and for that, I am glad. You are fearless and are ready to embrace the trouble and look into the mouth of the danger. But this is not the right time or occasion to do so. Stay out of this if you can. He shall set you on a mission that you shall not come back after alive.”
The sense of confusion started growing deeper inside of me and it kept me speechless. Frank could feel it as well but he knew that it would be dishonourable for me not to follow the king’s word and at the same time he had a hope that I would not go. I continued sipping on Frank’s brew and staring at him being puzzled. I was waiting for him to tell me more of what he knew.
“I am worried about it all, to say the least. Stay out of it if you want to live and if you have something to lose,” he concluded.
I remained in the brewery until late evening as Frank continued serving me the brew and tried reading one another in complete silence under the dimmed lights. I could sense that Frank knew nothing more of what were to follow tomorrow. He continued persuading me against going there but something kept on telling me that I had to. And, unfortunately, I had nothing else to lose but my word and life to my king

The Circle

I wake up from the bed, which appears to be made of sand. My eyes start hunting for the light – first rays of the sun are beginning to creep out off the bald hill. I then look around, surrounded by the yellow – I don’t recognise this place. Where am I?

My lips are dry and it feels as if my tongue was bitten by a snake. How long has it been since I’ve woken up? I am in the desert and I cannot see anything but sand, on which I stand barefoot. The air feels heavy – it’s almost as if I have been inhaling the air out of the plastic bag throughout the night. One breath after another and I am feeling more awake. Where do I go? 

The sun comes out and I immediately sense its rays clenching onto my back with claws. It now feels heavier to walk. I don’t remember how I even got here in the first place – I don’t know what day it is and where my home is. I feel like a blank sheet of paper, thrown into the bin full of dust. I am afraid and the scream is pushing its way towards my dry throat.

The further I walk, the more I want to turn around and walk back to the bed – I don’t know where I am going. May be I reach the edge of the earth and will have nowhere else to turn. Nothing feels real here. And this strange feeling, this stinging in the back of the neck, telling me something in a tongue I don’t comprehend. This whole picture is out of the frame.

I have been walking for days and the sun is still angrily feasting on my back. I look behind me to see whether the sun has its eyes on me and for a second I saw it blink. I swear. Like a huge lamp it is following me and the moment I turn my back on it, it swings towards my neck and almost burns it – when I face it, it rolls back to where it was. What is this place?

The sand is growing warmer and softer – I hope not to sink in it. I can see hills down my path – one after another and not a single body of water – I sense my blood turn crusty.

Having walked this long here, I have not reached anything – the lamp’s blinding and burning rays are vile and merciless. Only water here is the sand I walk on. I see myself going towards to are the hills, masking the horizon. The night never comes here – not a single star, not a single blanket of endless darkness. I am alone.

I have lost the count of everything – my head is boiling and feeling heftier. My lips are broken into pieces, back is sinking deeper into my legs, the prism of spiteful light is looking down at me with its malicious eyes. The hills are growing taller and wider, building a circle around me. This is hopeless and I cannot run away from this void…the only void I am in.

And then I stop. I stand still, slowly looking around in hope of the change of the scene.

Everything is still and suspended and my knees are anchoring me to the scratchy floor. I refuse to walk – I have given up. Nothing is holding me anymore and I give in. I give myself in to the floor, burning my feet. Slowly and steadily I start drowning. The hills are building themselves taller and greater as I am falling in. The sand is remorseless and is consuming every inch of my body – peace by peace. I can feel it sting my skin. But then I see something else emerge from the sand in front of me. A head protruding out of the thin layer of the dust – who is it? The lower I sink, the more I can see of the figure, emerging from the crust of the sweat I have left behind. Every inch of me sinking is coming out of the sand on the other side. Slowly but surely I can recognise the hair, shoulders, back… My lungs are being pressed against the sucking void and I am loosing my senses. If only I could see who this is, if only I could let out one last scream for help – may be I would be rescued. May be, if I have not given up, I would have been saved by this figure. My throat is touching the burning lips of the sand and my eyes are being buried next to the emerged body…the body I can never see again. Who is it?

I wake up from the bed, which appears to be made of sand. My eyes start hunting for the light – first rays of the sun are beginning to creep out off the bald hill. I then look around, surrounded by the yellow – I don’t recognise this place. Where am I?

A Hollow Kingdom

I am the prisoner of beauty;
The elegance portrayed so deeply in the shades of flashing colours.
I am like a dog on chains again,
No other solid rhyme compels me
To override the pain.

No other words of passion,
Expressed in every language of the world
Can summarise simplicity of everlasting fame;
And smashing head against the metal bars,
I am the prisoner of bad-end game.

So call me Mr. Passion, dare me to play!
I know I lose just like in chess,
Where every movement’s played against the queen
To f*ck the big time king
And leave him in desolation.

Don’t tell me how to dive, I’ve drown before
In every word I’ve carved into my chest.
It’s a never-ending battle, player one,
I’ve placed the bets: eighty eight to one,
To do with agony away.

Your beauty – simply crashing
Avalanches on the bridge of clay.
But why am I still running? Playing still this game?
Well, because I’m used to losing…
I never learn my lessons, so let me face my fate!

I shall not turn the pages
And write the numbers down,
I am embracing all this pain
Just because I need to feel alive
And let the actions soar my throat.

What’s the use of laying down the carpet
Before your feet?
I keep on boiling all these futile passions
Just to overlap discussions
And save myself some time.

Yes, it floats in circling madness
And the walls are shutting tight.
Call me Mr. Poet, call me Mr. Drama!
I’ve put these pallets under my seat
And now watch me put some more.

But you should know that as the king,
I am surrounded by jesters,
Composing all these bullsh*t rhymes for me
And whispering so madly, sucking on my feet,
Conclusions with a dirty fee.

One day you’ll realise as well
When all your jesters flee,
You have nothing in the kingdom
But lifeless sacks of gold and burning feet.
Just like in chess you’ll end up with no queen.

And I shall have a pleasure
To watch the clouds burst their dust on me…
I have everything and nothing else to lose!
My kingdom’s empty, I can cast it all to flames
‘Cause here it’s empty: the kingdom does not hold your name.

Box of Heart

What is dire and crucial in this life…can this something be beyond what we fostered ourselves to believe in? The modern clock seems to have been invented only for one to end up wishing for it to become dormant.
I wake up to a scream, which seems to be coming from within myself. I attempt to recollect shattered images from my dream – I distantly remember being embraced in someone’s arms and lying gently on a side of a bed. There was crying, although I do not seem to have been upset by anything. And there was lust – horrifyingly impure. I was in the midst of something blissful and affectionate, although disturbing at the same time. But that seems to be so distant yet more real than this cup of yesterday’s moulded and cold tea, standing on the edge of the table. I always finish my tea but not this time. Something worried me so much yesterday that I forced myself to cover with blankets and fall asleep. Unfortunately, me going to bed did not follow up with a good culmination of being able to put bad thoughts at the ocean’s bed… I need to make another cuppa.
My socks touch the nailed and cold floor, shivering from the dust, and I slither towards a familiar view of the kitchen. Did I not see it in my dream? Did I worry about the over-boiling water or that I need to…yes, the fridge is empty. Probably even emptier than other things I direly care of. Oftentimes, I wish I could squeeze my head into a mash to prevent the thoughts from spinning in an endless whirlwind, keeping me distracted from everything that is around me. Oh…the water is already boiling…
Same rusty, satisfyingly bitter taste enters my throat, transporting hot liquid from one kettle to another one inside of me. Have I mentioned the occasional burn of my lower lip? My tongue gets so irritated by this. But the pride of being able to drink my tea hot overshadows these irrelevant and short bursts of stings against my body. I should stop drinking my tea on a naked stomach though – I might end up giving it for a repair and then wait days until it’s been fixed. Walking about with the temporary bag and needing to fill it with the acid can ruin your best meal, you know. It’s time-consuming and I want to enjoy my meal. Speaking of food – my fridge is not going to grow any food on its own. And so, fixing my eyes mindlessly onto the edge of the missing piece of marble in the wall, which went missing ages ago, I get to the last, most bitter sip of the tea. It tastes like heaven. I need to think of my stomach. Where did I leave it?
I sprint towards the door and then carefully open it, with the sound of cracks sliding gently into the edges of my ears. I look around to make sure no one is here and squeeze the set of keys in the fist. I go towards the box. How well preserved and unspoiled it is. The almighty metal shackles sancturing the bubble of life. So sacred to me it is. Looking around once again, I slide my keys into the box and carefully open it, not to damage the frames of the small door. The heart, everlasting and untiring muscle, is beating along with the rhythm of the clock, hanging from a cracking wall, and I see it still blush with scarlet tones and radiate the warmth. My heart.
I dare not touch this fragile sculpture of existence but I cannot avoid thinking and worrying about it being behind this frail door. What an interesting thought – we protect most sacred things to us behind thin walls. Are we careless or awaiting to let regret into our lives when we realise we’d broken it? All these thoughts aside, I am glad that our boxes are inside a big house but one never knows for sure who can enter this house and break get hold of your box to steal your heart. But my neighbours seem to be careful about this, so I can trust them, should anything happen. After all, you do not want your heart stolen either – you will be running out of breath, trying to get it back and you will sell them everything that you own to get it back. Those Trickers, who steal hearts, might end up puncturing it and leaving you heartless. You can’t even trust Pickers nowadays either, like we once did. I miss that genuine feeling of agitation to have your heart being picked up by one of them and being taken care of – this is how we used to fall in love with one another back then. Nowadays, it boils down to them Pickers owning others’ hearts as a token of superiority – something they would rather own as a thing than treasure. They mistreat it, feed upon their malevolent desire to prove they deserve attention to themselves. Everyone is afraid now. Everyone is shutting their doors, locking themselves in, hiding their hearts away only to open that huge and consuming void inside of themselves and realise that they cannot run farther four walls. I close my chest.
I cherish those moments when I could keep my heard inside of my human shell. Fear took over people’s minds and made them put something this precious outside of themselves like a jewellery, only to not feel it rot within themselves. Fear drew them out of the brutal and shortish reality into a tedious and emotionless eternity. And I am only a victim of this imprisonment.
After a while, I disassemble onto the dark prints of my floor, leaving my stare fixed at the ceiling – I am hopeless, I am careless. All the hatred put under my lip is clenching my teeth, leaving my mouth at an uncomfortable rest. I have not spoken in days and cannot think of anything to say out loud. No one else to tell anything to either – I am eagerly awaiting for the Picker to come in and take my heart; play with it, deconstruct, learn it and share the joy of its existence. All the days of wait turn into a nightmare – it feels as if I were sleepwalking. I want to feel awake. I want to be accepted, I want to end this struggle. Curtains cover me with their crimson-thick weight and I lose it all to the night.

I feel my chest burst with aroma of anxiety – I am awake. I find the same cup of tea, standing on the edge of the table. I rush towards it from the floor and stare into brown spots, left on its walls. I forgot to buy more tea. I am still hungry. Where is my stomach? I believe I checked it yesterday – it must have been empty for days now. I am not so sure it is in good of a condition, lying next to my other organs in that box. By Jove, it will be an adventure when first piece of foods hits the rock bottom of my human bag of concentrated hunger. Where are my keys?
I am looking out of the window in the search of a ray of the light but an angry cloud seems to have imprisoned the sun behind itself. It’s been like this for months and I lost the count of days, since each one of them is equivalent to this everlasting gloom. Lanterns’ lights are slowly fading out and people walking down the street begin to disappear behind the sinister fog. I lose the sight of the buildings and over time their outlines…then the horizon vanishes and the outside of the window turns pitch black. I stand alone, hearing only my own breath echoing within my mouth. It has never felt as hollow as this.
I cannot recall the last time that I spoke with my neighbours. I remember that one of them got desperate to an extent that he had his private parts sent to another town in search of love. His heart went entirely missing and he succumbed to lust without turning back and was left corrupted. Year by year, he lost all of his organs and became a broken man, only having heavy air withheld inside of him. His memory blanked, his muscles weakened, his perception became dull. Before he had lost his last human cell, he was stranded as an empty shell in humid deserts.
My stomach, my heart – I need to check back on them before they get worse by any chance. I find my keys, lying by the door and having opened the door, I rush my eyes around the corridor and find something odd – something out of place. Oh no…Oh no! No! How…how could have this happened? No!!! Leaving the door to my flat open, I run towards the boxes and see my box wide open. They took it! They have it! I flash my eyes onto the door and see it closing slowly, someone’s leg protruding from the open space between the door and the wall. The lock clicks, along with my distantly beating heart. This is it. There is no turning back. I am lost without it, I am condemned to forever living as a thoughtless vacuum of meaningless breath…no, no! I must run, I must hide, I must hold onto hope!
I storm back into the flat and shut the door behind myself. What have I done… What have I done! Now it’s forever lost and I cannot fight back – I am the glass, I am the crack. So many things to see and tell about, so much behind me and to live for. All of it has come to an end. I dive into my memories to bring them all back before I lose everything that is human of me. I can feel my body shake but I refuse to give in. I want to bring the past days back, I need my light back. So comforting and inviting. Full of warmth and bliss. The cold shakes my bones. Concentrate, focus on the thoughts – it is the last thing that I can do!
And all of a sudden the silence is broken by a loud and frightening knock on the door. Knock, knock and another knock. The louder it grows, the heavier I breathe. I hide behind the sofa, covering my head with arms. I don’t want to open the door. I know how this ends. I want to spend the last moments with myself. Knock. Knock. Knock. One after another, filling in every inch of the room with vibration. I want more time to recollect all the beauty and picture it in front of myself. Knock. Knock. Knock. I want to cleanse all the regrets and welcome the dark-blue sky and its stardust curtains once again. I seek forgiveness in this terror. Knock. Knock. Knock. I want out of the hole I trapped myself in. I have never managed to get out of it and now it’s too late to climb my way up the rope. No second chance. Knock.

The Space Visage

The ship is hovering helplessly over the string of light, being illuminated by the background of the carpet full of stars. The sun rays are innocently touching the edges of the vast sphere, melting the bright particles away – everything feels ablaze. The distance is devouring the unaging energy of the red giant’s palms – I am drifting away deeper and deeper into the singularity of darkness. The image is becoming yet more vivid as my eyes begin to widen in amazement – this may be last sunlight I am ever going to see over this melting sphere… of what once used to be the Earth from this viewpoint… from the viewpoint in the space.
I am millions of kilometers away from the Earth, or rather what I last remembered it to be – the everlasting marble, floating casually in one of the smallest pockets of the universe. The sight of it, out of the porthole, is still as breathtaking as it was when I first stepped on the shuttle and this sight never lost its grasp from the back of my head. Who knew that this view would become a legend. Something that took billions of years to evolve into what now can only be seen on pages of encyclopedia…
The planet is non-existent any longer – luckily or not, I was the only one, who survived on the ship (not counting the robots, some of which I had already assigned names to). When the news hit the radio stations a year ago, all members of the crew left back to the Earth to be next to their families and help others assemble pronto carriers. The situation was dire and soon turned into a catastrophe – way too abruptly…while I remained here, stuck between galactic dimensions – hopeless, helpless and desperate. Seeing something you know has existed for billions of years, being wiped off like cream from a cake, is beyond comprehension. In front of my eyes – it is terrifying. Ironically, it made me even feel less realistic about being here in the space as I was “detached” from the earth forever – the idea of a horror dream!
To add to the irony (I guess I am the only bearer of the irony now), I had nowhere else to go or hide – I felt truly naked, along with all the other stars around me. The perception of the reality and time, which I was so accustomed to, was no longer existent for me. Getting away from it [reality], was something I was striving for and battling in my mind with by creating my own little world inside of another. The reality then felt sometimes so alien to me. Now, after all this time spent here, lingering around the ship, I am not sure if I want to redeem the reality I was trying to escape from on Earth. Without a ground under my feet, I feel lost.
I can clearly recall faces I have not seen in years. I still remember their voices, smiles, aspirations and even the way they walked. I don’t remember a single picture I have taken with them but I can imagine them, standing right in front of me as I speak – who would have thought my eyes would be a better photographer than my camera? My lover, my friends, my parents – I shall hold onto the memory of you until my last breath and keep you inside of that reality I had left on the planet Earth.
It feels extremely bizarre to be the last human being in this endless universe – on a side note, I can now feel special, whether I truly am or not – I have no choice, ha! Lenny and Emma (the robots decided on their gender themselves – without my approval!) remind me of that every day. I am still in the progress of “humanizing” other wireless creatures on the ship. I have recently started teaching Lenny emotions and how to understand, when I feel like drinking tea (so he can start preparing it for me, without me asking). Emma, along with other robots, has learned how to say awesome and tells me that whenever I finish doing something, I have been working on. A pat on the shoulder in addition to that would be even more awesome.
I have already passed Mars and am heading towards Saturn – the planet most similar to my home – Earth. I cannot wait to see its rings for the first time. I have quite enough provisions and plenty of oxygen left. I am not even sure whether there is any point in leaving anything behind in the ship – I am the only man left in the universe after all. Another thing for sure – I won’t miss the Earth’s horizon. The universe’s stretching visage is overwhelmingly charming and its mystery is thrilling me to the bones… On a sad note, this is going to be my last recording. I have run out of digital memory and don’t even have a single pencil to note anything down. Nevertheless, there is no one, who can hear my voice out here, so what’s the point? Even if (and that’s a big “if”) someone manages to get hold of this recording – I won’t know it. I genuinely hope that I won’t lose my mind on this long journey though…
I keep on cruising through the eternal darkness inside this vast space coat. I will never see the light and feel the way it shone behind the creamy clouds, giving me that unconditional and pleasant warmth. Never will I hear the rain drops, humming gently onto my umbrella and exploding into the sonnet. Never will I hear the laughter of children, echoing in my ears. Not a single soul will ever hear my voice, disappearing into the distance. Although, I keep finding myself contemplating – which thought is more terrifying: the fact that I may be alone in this infinite universe or not?

Wisdom of a Monk

It was a rainy day that one time but I had to hit the road. The journey was long and no more time could be spared. Naturally, I was the only one driving, surrounded by the natural skirmishes of mother nature. The rear window was hammered by rain and I could feel it almost crack under the pressure. I was feeling weary just like my tires and longing for a rest. Eventually, the rain and wind were growing stronger, the wheel started feeling heavier and I started slowly tilting from left to right. The fear was growing stronger in me and the image from afar was becoming more blurry as was my vision. I felt that it was time to stop, take rest and wait until the weather had started looking in my favour. I pulled over to the side of the road, not being able to clearly see my surroundings and hoped that I would not be standing on someone’s way. I crawled to the backseat and my head hit dry, cold and stiff cushions.It was a rainy day that one time but I had to hit the road. The journey was long and no more time could be spared.

I woke up to a noise of something hitting my car. Everything felt hazy and it took me a while to come back to my senses and remember where I was. The fog outside was clenching onto the car windows and I could feel its moist smell going through every crack in the car. I lifted myself up to open the door and look around. I remembered of the noise that woke me up and I went to look around the car to see if there was any damage. I could see the outlines of the road but I could not see where sides of the road were. It looked like the road was wide and unending – I do not remember where I pulled over and there did not seem to be any damage caused to the car. I lit up a cigarette and looked through the fog in hopes of it clearing up. I kept on feverishly looking around until I had burnt my fingers by the lit cigarette butt. I lit up yet another one and a shape of a building started emerging from the mist.

With every puff, the figure was becoming clearer and it soon appeared to be a monastery. I nearly gulped the whole cigarette in the vastness of the holy building. Strangely enough, the fog still kept its heavy covers around everything else besides that monastery and my car. It felt too strange to me and I took out my third cigarette and hopped into the car. I turned the lights on but the car would not start. The engine was coughing up on something, it felt like, and I slammed the bonnet open. The fog started creeping into the engine and every other particle the car was made of. It felt hopeless to try and fi it. I jumped inside of the car and could clearly see the road leading to that mysterious place. I had nowhere else to go, so I gathered myself and walked all the way to the door of the monastery. I broke the silence with a heavy knock.

I was greeted by a stranger in a cloak, who welcomed me inside. There were other, it seemed like, monks with him inside of the building, who welcomed me warmly and offered me a stay. I firstly politely refused their genuine offer but they insisted and asked for nothing back in return. The fog outside seemed to have grown even thicker, so I ended up staying with the friendly strangers. Their food, drinks and warm-hearted stories made me feel alive and it felt like I was re-born into a new myself – it felt great to be back in touch with someone else, someone new. And so the day passed and the spirit of the drinks and food started wearing off. I found myself yet again crawling to a soft spot, somewhere where I could put my head on and fall into the realm of dreams.

I was going through a dark open corridor towards some door. It felt that home was near the closer that I was to the door. Deep and welcoming sound was echoing against the cold, shadowy walls. I reached for the handle and slowly opened the door only to find a way to yet another, similarly looking corridor. The air grew warmer and that sound was growing louder. I wanted to hear that sound better and understand what it meant, so I blindly continued walking onto the next door. I pushed another door open and found myself in a smaller, less familiar corridor. I stepped into it and the sound was clearer, smell more attracting and somewhat lustful. The other door looked more colourful and was embellished with ancient runes and gemstones. I felt drawn to it and could feel my head starting to spin in finite circles but I kept on walking forward. I reached the path to the third door, already drunk from its beauty and the noise that felt yet closer than ever before. My hand felt the sensation of pulling the handle and the blood started streaming through my lower part of the body – my head started spinning more in a euphony of the mysterious levels of the corridors. I walked into a red-lit room, glimmering with gold and the silver of the night from the open windows. It was right there, the sound, it was coming towards me, right behind the magnificently old door, right in front of me. So close it was. I paced forward and put clutched the handle. I was anticipating to see who was making that charming noise and what it meant but the growing feeling of lust was overcoming me. I collected myself together and pressed the handle – it would not budge. Suddenly, my feeling of temptation was replaced by the urge and angriness. It felt so unexpected for the door to remain closed, while the rest remained opened, and the more I tried pressing the handle, the heaver I felt and the more power I was losing. Shake upon shake, knock upon the knock and I started twisting from side to side, full of rage and misunderstanding. I started shouting and slamming the door, while the voice was fading away and the room started growing darker and darker.

I was awaken by one of the monks, who found me loudly talking and pushing around while asleep. It must have been a nightmare, he thought, but I had told him all about what I had seen, the rooms I walked through, the voice that I heard and the divine feeling that I experienced. The monk remained calm and I enquired him whether any other of his visitors had experienced anything like that before. He told me that it was a common dream for strangers to have and that very few ever got to the end of the room. The monastery, it seemed, gave that dream only to the ones who remained unchallenged in their lives and sought greater wisdom and peace at heart. I asked the monk to help me see the end of the room, hear that noise and find myself. I was too worn out to continue talking, so I crushed back onto the soft cushions of my bed.

When I woke up, I was greeted to warm breakfast and festive smiles, which determined to seek greater meaning of the upcoming day while I was munching on my food empty-headed. The friendly monks told me that they had fixed my car and the fog cleared up, so I was ready to go anywhere I wanted. I inquired the monks about my dream once again and told them that I wanted to seek nothing else but the mysterious dream that I had seen. One of them shook his head and told me that I was not ready, that I was full of negative energy and could not see clearly in my own demise, that I had to become a monk, learn of their wisdom – become one of them, become at peace with myself and everyone else around me. I had been told it was going to be hard for me and that no one else had ever become one. Every challenger who ever attempted to become a monk only ended up losing their mind and seeing the same dream over and over again, unable to open the final door. I had no better journey to take a part of, so I told them that I was committed at becoming a monk and improving myself in order to find the path to inner peace and wisdom. And so, the monks had told me of the challenges that I had to go through. They told me that I had to go to the biggest of the deserts and count all of the sand grains that there were. Then, I had find the largest and brightest of the meadows and count all leaves of the grass that there were. Determined and unstoppable, I walked out of the monastery towards my car and onto my challenge.

Three years had passed and I came back to the same monastery, surrounded once again by a fog after a rainy day. The same monks had welcomed me back but could barely recognise me. They told me that I had changed, looked, felt and smelt differently. They were astonished by my changes and yet more, they were thrilled to learn of my findings. I had told them that no matter how much time I would spend counting every leaf and grain, it would never had been enough. It was a human greedy nature to find an answer to everything that ultimately would lead to no definite answer. No matter how many sand grains I would find, there would be another sand storm that would bring more and counter my result. No matter how many leaves there would be in the meadow, more would grow and more would wither. The life had never been about seeking an answer about oneself but rather living in harmony with that mystery.

The monks expressed their deep gratitude and welcomed me to stay with them in the monastery. They told me that I was ready to become a monk and seek eternal wisdom. I lost count of days as I became drunk with water and food in anticipation to become one of them and see things through the divine oracles. I had been told that I had to let the worries go and clear my head. Once I had truly become free, the door would open itself in my dream.

I was going through a dark corridor. The path was covered by a light flog that excreted an inviting  and curious smell. I could sense that something different would happen in that dream as every other version of the same dream was nothing close to that. So I stepped forwards, one foot at a time, not in a hurry anywhere at all. I had all the time that could be spared. While I was approaching one of the doors, I tried not to think of what would be behind it. My focus was on the voice that was accompanied by subtle tones of instrumental music. Instead of willing to find the source of it all, I focused myself on enjoying it instead. I felt the energy consuming me and I stood before the door with my eyes closed, just listening until I had become one with it. The time became a loop and I surrendered myself to it. I was ready for something greater than myself. The door pushed itself opened and the fog invited me to step into another room. I slowly walked into in, admiring the wall paintings, the lights, the midnight glow and divine notes that I could hear yet clearer. One door followed the other and I could not make sense of when the loop would break and I did not even try. It would be pointless to fight against the illusions of the dreams and why would one – they are special and different for everyone. Further and further down the road, I got into the room that felt like none other before. I could feel it was the one and it felt that I was the one, who could dare to walk in and learn of its secrets. I slowly approached it and it opened itself ajar. The voice, the music, the celebration of life was in front of me and what I saw brought tears to my eyes. Gasping for air, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I entered the room. The warmth of the air filled my chest and I could feel its presence right there in front of me. And what I had seen was…I cannot tell you what I had seen though because you’re not a monk, you see.