Her body, ashen and grey, lay cold on a slab of stone. In her hand, she still clasped her mother’s cross pendant, gripping it tight as she took her last breath. Clinging to an almost forgotten childhood faith, she had relived her life in those final moments; an incessant search for love, succumbing to the mythical promises of a world full of depravity and decay, in an endless quest for home.
Now she stood in the center of a throne room, pulling the meager scraps of soiled garments that clothed her tighter around her body. The stench that radiated from her being nauseated her and she stared downcast at the white, marbled floor.
An ominous voice called her name from a pillar of blinding light, but she dared not lift her head. She closed her eyes as the charges brought against her were stated. One by one, the jury of 24, seated in thrones all around her, declared her verdict: Guilty.
Shame swept over her and she cared not what her sentencing would be. No plea of mercy or defense formed on her lips. She stood, small and alone, tugging at the scant, filthy rags that covered her body.
As she waited to be condemned, the shadow of a man fell across her. Her body trembled as she felt a hand tilt her chin up, forcing her to meet his gaze.
“I love you,” he said.
His words sent a rush of peace though her, threatening to overwhelm her in its serenity, but she quickly averted her eyes. Bathed in this sacred milieu of light, she was painfully aware of her wretched appearance, knowing every moral crime she ever committed had been brought out of the darkness and now lay exposed for all to see.
She tried to speak, but her voice was choked with tears. “I don’t belong here,” she whispered. “I don’t deserve your love.”
The man took her face in both his hands and kissed her forehead. “I died so that I could be with you.”
At his kiss, the filthy rags that clothed her body transformed into luminous white robes and the odor that had wafted from them dissipated, replaced with the sweet fragrance of incense. Tears welled up in her eyes as she realized her beauty now mirrored his.
“No more tears,” he said, gently brushing a scarred hand across her cheek. “Come, I have something to show you.”
He led her across a pathway in the clouds, as though they danced in an ethereal courtyard, the tranquility of his touch washing over her. Beyond the mist, she beheld his kingdom, a celestial city of gold; its open gates welcoming her home.
Like a knight in shining armor
Taking darkness captive
I come to rescue you
And carry you home
To my castle in the sky
Like a prince in a fairytale
I search until I find you
Waking you with a kiss
From your slumber in sin
The sweet kiss of life
And take you home
To my castle in the sky
Like a bridegroom awaiting his bride
I have captured the essence
Of your heart’s desires
And prepared a place for you
An eternal ever after
In my home
My castle in the sky
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