Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fulfillment (04/06/06)
TITLE: Journey to Celestia
By Pamela Bridgeman
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As she approached the enchanting woods, the sounds reverberated through Skylar. She began to laugh and to dance, whirling round and round with outstretched arms. As she did, joy arose. She sang a new song, a song of praise to the Great I AM. She thought surely this signifies I am about to experience my deepest longing to see face to face Him whom my soul loves. Surely this is the Secret Place.
She ran toward a brilliantly green clearing. It was covered with flowers she didn’t recognize whose petals and leaves were shaped like none she’d ever seen or even imagined. Most amazing, the exotic aromas wafting in the air were wonderfully intoxicating.
The allure of the stunning sights, sounds, and smells mesmerized her, drawing her hypnotically toward them. She began to run. Her gait became faster and faster as her longing for a more powerful experience intensified, a desire that drowned out her song of praise. Now she sang of wanting to feel pleasure and to taste sweetness and to hear of her own goodness. I must be in the midst of these sensations, she thought. I have to. I just have to.
But as she neared the first patch of flowers, she was shocked by a searing pain. So badly did it hurt, it took her breath away. She stumbled and fell. Pierced through with fiery sensations, Skylar could not scream or cry out. She could only lay whimpering face down on the fragrant carpet of the meadow.
No one told me there was pain in Celestia, she thought. I’ve only heard of desires being fulfilled and of dreams coming true. I heard this was a place of eternal bliss. Why am I hurting, she wondered? Finally, the throbbing in her legs subsided and she was able to breathe deeply again. She took a breath and sat up so that she could examine her wounds.
“Wounded in Celestia, how sad,” said a voice behind her.
The sinister tone of the speaker was masked by a feigned benevolence. Skylar snapped her head in the direction of the voice. Though she knew she wasn’t dreaming, she rubbed her eyes to clarify her sight. She would have sworn on the sacred text that when she first looked, the figure standing there was grotesque, clothed in dark garb; but not now. He, or perhaps she, was surrounded by radiance and dressed in the purest white Skylar had ever seen. Periodically the shimmering radiance dulled.
“You’ve been wounded in Celestia”, the being asked?
“Yes”, she answered hesitantly. “Do you know why?”
“Of course, I do. The one whom you seek purposely put thorns in your way”, the being accused. “He doesn’t want you to be numbered among the fair folk of Celestia. You are not worthy because you changed your song. He did the same thing to me”.
Skylar was about to ask for more detail when she recalled a distant memory.
“I know who you are, Fallen One. Leave me.”
The being did not protest; rather it vanished immediately.
Then the Unseen One spoke. His voice seemed to permeate the forest and the meadow; but it seemed also to come from within her.
“Well done faithful one. Now get up and look around you. You will see why you stumbled upon the thorns. Most importantly, you will see the path from which you strayed while lusting after sight and sound and smell.”
Skylar stood up and looked to her left and to her right. On the right she saw the narrow path.
“It is narrow faithful one; but as long as you experience the harmonics of Celestia and stay away from songs of deception, you will fulfill your desire to see me face to face.”
At this Skylar arose and whispered, “I come.”
She began again to sing a song of praise to the Most High and found herself on the narrow path through the dwelling place where lions lay down with lambs and the fair folk of the land know no war.
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