Each step I took, I heard the sound of my shoes striking the ground echo down the length of the stone hallway. It was a dark, damp hallway, and as I walked it, I could feel the weight of the stone above me. Solid, heavy rock, that threatened to crush the tiny hallway I was in, and thus crush me.
The hallways walls emitted a soft, faint light, just strong enough to see the world inside it in black and white, with no detail. Only the endless echo of my shoes on the cold stone floor as I walked along.
There was no way to know how long I’d been in that hallway, no way to measure its length, no way to reach its end, or its beginning. It remained the same, in both directions, endlessly. To walk it seemed pointless, and yet, something inside me, some feeling in my bones, told me to walk, and that if I walked long enough, I would find something.
Walk I did. I couldn’t remember when I started walking. I couldn’t remember how I got in that hallway. Had I always been there? Had I found my way to the place, and then gotten lost in its endless stone?
One step after another, I walked. I tried counting steps, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Eventually, I lost count. I started again, counting by blocks of ten steps, and grouping those into groups of ten, and those into groups of ten. I lost count again, after countless thousands.
“Perhaps this is a circle. A large circle, that barely turns to one side. Just enough that eventually, it comes back on itself. And I’m walking in a circle. Endlessly. Without knowing it.” My mind tried to explain the hallway. “It’s a circle, and I’m trapped to walk the same path, endlessly.”
When I found a light hanging on the left wall, I decided it wasn’t a circle. I’d never seen that light before. Another hundred steps, and I found another light. A third one at 50 steps. Then one at 25 steps. Then, three lights. Between the first two, hung on the wall, was an old, wooden shield. Painted blue, with white and black circles. In places the paint had worn away and revealed the wood beneath. The blade of a large knife hung by a chain on one side of the shield. Another weapon hung by a chain from the other side. I wasn’t familiar with it, having never seen anything like it.
Between the second and third lights was a door. One look told me it was ancient. A sign of the door read, “It is the demons who take life.”
Maybe, after walking that hallway for however long I had, I’d lost my mind, lost my ability to reason, or to understand written words. Because I opened that door, and stepped through it.
Into a room filled with weapons. Swords, knives, whips, bows and arrows, spears, pikes, axes. Every weapon I’d ever heard of, and what seemed like an endless array of weapons I’d never imagined existed. I couldn’t see the back of the room. It was like the hallway, unending.
Beside each weapon there was that same sign. “It is the demons who take life.”
I heard her voice, her words to me, from years ago, “The Devil and his minions can’t create life.”
Then my own words, “Neither can humans.”
Then, the thoughts of my mind, “But both can certainly take what they are given, and modify it, change it, adapt it, for their own purposes.”
That sign was beside every weapon in that endless room, “It is the demons who take life.”
And I opened my eyes, as I realized it was daylight, and time for me to get ready for another day at work. But, since that dream of that endless hallway, and that endless room filled with creations used to end life, I have never escaped the words of that sign, “It is the demons who take life.”
I wrote this for week 145 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.