For the first time in many years I find myself in a new place. I needed to escape from the mundane existence I had grown so accustomed to for far too long. Where I am now matters not, but I must say I find it very refreshing to be somewhere different and unfamiliar. Even the constant rain and dismal weather does not seem to bother me. In fact, I have taken to walking most places within reasonable distance and find it a healthy way to clear the mind of distraction.
On my usual route there is a cottage sitting on one corner that I find very unique. It is a quaint little place that seems to be caught in time. The home itself is kept in immaculate shape. I find it quite unusual that a home so well taken care of would have a yard that is so obviously neglected. Overgrown and unkempt.If it were not for the girl in the window, I would almost think that the place must be recently abandoned.
Ah yes, the girl in the window. I find her the most compelling of all. She has been there every time I pass by. Day or night. Watching the rain fall and the world go by. More than once I have caught her gaze. She looks so sad. My mind has often strayed to thoughts of what has made this poor damsel seem so forlorn. Is she bound to a wheelchair? Sick with disease? Where are her parents? How long has she been in this state? The questions keep mounting. I am driven almost to the point of obsession with this young maidens plight.
Once again on an evening stroll I pass by that corner house. Again, the young lady sits in waiting. I just shake my head as I think to myself how unfortunate her situation must be. It is evident in her eyes that her heart weeps. She looks so pale. My heart begins to weep for her as well.
A short while later I find myself in the local pub trying to shake off the cold and having a shot or two of liquid warmth. Being so new to the village I have refrained from asking, but with the comfort of strong spirits from the bottle, I am compelled to know once and for all the truth behind the cottage and this mysterious sad girl. Bringing it up in general conversation with the proprietor of this fine establishment, I asked in what I thought was the most respectful way possible if he knew anything of the property and the girl I see each time I stroll past.
The response I received was both the most unexpected and chilling thing I have ever heard.I am sure to be haunted by these words in my nightmares and in my waking thoughts until the day I die. The man looked at me with a very stern face and said ” I know exactly the girl you speak of and I find your attempts at humor in extremely poor taste. Surely you know that a house no longer stands on that property. That lot has remained vacant ever since the fire”………….
Have you had this dream as well?? It comes to me often in restless fits of frantic slumber. The destination is always unclear, but the urgent desire to arrive is pressing and tangible. As I cross the threshold into the empty cavernous stairwell, I am drawn to the darkness below. An indescribable feeling of anxiety and agitation takes hold of me as I draw from a deep well of courage to continue down the dimly lit steps into a vast and harrowing hallway of uncertainty.
Why must the lights flicker so? With no rhythm or continuity the meager lights cut in and out adding to the thick and palpable unearthly tension. With each descending step the fear increases astronomically. Almost to the point of paralysis, but never quite enough to prevent me from taking the next terrifying step downward. Familiar shapes begin to shift and move in and out of the wavering lights. Darting back and forth from dark to light, light to dark. Elusive but intent on making themselves known.
Then come the voices…Seemingly thousands of voices speaking clearly, plainly, yet cannot be understood. A myriad of indecipherable exclamations fill the air around me. So very many voices speaking as one, and one as many. Listening to this cacophony at great length would surely drive one to utter madness would it not? But would it be an insufferable madness? Or quite possibly a pleasurable new existence to be embraced with eagerness and open mind. Certainly there must be a reason for this yearning to discover what beckons me from below.
As I press on toward the depths, I become aware that the steps that were taken with such fear and trepidation are now replaced by much more relaxed and purposeful movement down the steep stairwell into the dark unknown. My entire body still consumed with terror, but somehow at ease with the reality of being overwhelmed by sheer unrelenting horror. The flickering of the lights and shape shifting shadow creatures coaxing me ever downward into the concrete abyss. My senses telling me I am growing ever closer to the realization of all my fears and desires simultaneously.
So close now I can feel it. The anticipation of the impending realization is heavy and distinct. The moment I have been cautiously awaiting is finally at hand. As I continue to make my way down the steps, I am overcome with the feeling that the mood has changed. Is it my imagination or is it becoming increasingly brighter in these depths? Yes…. the shadows that led me to this point have all but disappeared as the light gets brighter still, and brilliant streams of sunlight start to pour through the cracks in the walls and ceiling. As I start to run downward chasing the darkness, I am pulled away by the light.
Sadly, this is where my dream ends. Each time I seem to get closer and closer to the point of dark fulfillment, only to be taken away and left to walk through my waking hours consumed by the curiosity of what I hope to find at the bottom of that stairwell. For I am certain now that the only peace I will find will not materialize in the conscious world, but in the dark expanses of my own eerily imaginative unconscious mental dreamscape. Perhaps next time I am drawn into that descending stairway of dread, I will be able to make haste and find true discovery of self and purpose with whatever waits for me down below.