The fourteenth day of August,
The year remains unknown
By the gods I have managed to pass beyond my fever induced stupor that should, by all rights, have taken my life. I do not recall my previous entry, writing it, that is. It makes little sense in meaning or context and the numbers have no discernable relevance. I find myself in a sanctuary of sorts, but am unsure where among the lands of the north it is situated. I woke to find myself cleaned, fed and clothed yet I cannot recall a single memory of what transpired from my last entry on the twelfth day until now. My journal, I found neatly situated on a polished wooden table beside the bed upon which I woke. Imagine, a bed!
If only I could recall laying my head on the pillow and enjoying the night’s sleep –a comfort that has eluded me for over a decade. The pen with which I write appears to be full of ink where previously I was concerned that the ink would run dry. The room tickled memories long past with a hint of familiarity. Having no urge to find food or relief, I strode into the hall outside the room only to find more rooms lining the hall identical to the room I exited. I followed this seemingly endless hall with its limitless supply of identical rooms until it opened into a courtyard. Snow covered the ground and was lightly falling yet I did not feel the chill nor could I see my breath. My slightly worn boots left no tracks as I crossed the courtyard toward the stone archway on the opposite side. As I neared the archway –seeing no sign of life or even inhabitance, I felt an urge to move quickly and so proceeded. Opposite the arch was a solid stone wall. To the left of my position was a stairway (likewise hewn from stone) descending into darkness. Here is where I sit, upon a stone bench conveniently located just across from the stair as if this place knew I would pause before continuing on. I am gripped with such a fear of the darkness below. Considering all that I have seen, the extent of my horror is inexplicable. I cannot turn back for something beyond my understanding compels me to move on. Despite that compulsion, my fear will not allow me to continue. Looking back through the archway, I see that the snow has stopped falling and appears to be melting. I can nearly make out the gray stone that was just moments ago blanketed in white. I can see through the archway yet something in my mind tells me I may not pass through again.
The bench, the stairs…those terrible escorts into something beyond fear or reason. Beyond the bench is an alcove –empty save a gas lantern that hangs from a chain in the center. I do no fear this alcove yet see no reason to explore what is obviously a fruitless task. So, I sit nervously twitching my right leg and casting my eyes from archway to alcove to stairs. Now is a fine opportunity to visit my tearoom and begin a new conversation.
If this were the last entry and I was fortunate enough to pass this along to my children, an impossibility, I am well aware –but we have delved into this fictitious discussion and I hope to be able to indulge the question. To my dear children –the loves of my life, the lights in my day, the stars in the darkest of nights. You already know how much I love you. I’ve said it as often as possible during your all too brief time together in this world. I believe the question best asked is what would I like to pass on? I believe one lesson that may be taken from my daily actions is simply persistence –never give up. Endure. Grab hold of what you believe and see it through to the end. Will it be hard? Yes. If it isn’t, then perhaps you haven’t gone as far as you need. Second, love fearlessly. Will you be hurt? Yes. But such is life when it comes to life and a loveless life is a life –but one without the greatest experience it has to offer. Loving someone requires patience, resolve, fortitude and the willingness to compromise. Let go the small battles in exchange for a more peaceful life together. Revel in your partner’s victories even if they come at your own defeat.
Noise; an echo? Something at the bottom of the stairs? A terror in the depths beckoning me forth? The bloodhound stands, scratches –extending his front paws and arching its back. He then circles the hearthrug three times before laying back by the fire. Frozen by fear, I wait.