The Gates

Standing before the gates, I patiently wait for their slow groaning to begin, the first indication that freedom is near, i long to hear the rusted hinges screaming when finally the gates will begin to open.
The gates have only opened to allow entry before now, many times I have shuddered at the noise of their movement as the newly recruited have passed through them. I have watched them from a sheltered doorway, hiding within my hooded cloak as the reality of the contract becomes clear to them, the look of horror that gets entrenched on their faces. A thousand years here? Any vision of hell they may have carried pales in comparison to what they now witness.
Most go fully insane in the first hundred years or so, never to be released, just to be used as playthings of the enforcers, gibbering fools thrown at the newcomers to show what they will to become.
A few accept and appreciate the demented persecution and eventually become the enforcers, administering at will whatever evil torture comes to their mind.
For a thousand years I have endured the torment and cruel inhumanity of this place. Isolated from all I have loved and cared for, my sanity reduced to a small locked cell buried deep within my psyche.
No one before me has survived.
What I have endured and seen endured by others is beyond description and should not be shared. Never should I or the poor souls have been cast to this place, an anomaly in the essence of time and space.
One foolish moment of weakness, the offer of a lifetime, pleasure and riches beyond our wildest dreams there for the taking, a simple signature on a contract, sealed with our own blood.
Way too rich a temptation for a greedy mortal to reject. To sign over our souls for a thousand years, a small price to pay.
The contract signed in blood to be held before me, taunting me, time after time for eternity. Until now.
My patience runs thin as the gate stands before me, not wavering, My time is up, I have lasted the distance, kept my mind and now it is time for me to be free.
It will be the first time in history a soul has ever been released from this place.
The gates finally begin their monotonous slow grinding movement, allowing me a small glimpse of my hard earned freedom.
As if by evil sorcery my belongings I arrived in appear on the ground before me, ready to be collected on my exit.
As the gate finally gets to the point where I can exit a shadow enters my mind, all controlling, a dark cloud filling every corner.
“No” I scream at it, “I will not buckle before you, not now not ever”
The darkness overpowers me and all goes blank.

Consciousness returns. I dare not opens my eyelids, I don’t want to know where I am, I am supposed to be free.
Am I? Or am i still behind the Gates.
I feel my heart beating rapidly, my precious blood carry’s more oxygen in its cells than it has for a thousand years. It is my first sign of freedom, the stank, stale air behind the gates is gone, I can breath, I inhale deeply, savouring the sweet taste of freedom. My oxygen enriched system produces feelings of strength and energy not felt for an eternity.
Slowly allowing my eyelids to open, I find myself looking up through a canopy of leaves at the bluest sky i have ever witnessed.
With the late afternoon setting sun giving its surreal glow the leaves of the canopy is visible in the finest detail, a detail i haven’t seen before.
I appreciate what i am seeing and feeling for the first time in my overextended life.
Raising myself up to view the surrounds, i find myself on a small hill overlooking the most tranquil beautiful valley ever seen by man.
The free flowing hills that line the valley are lightly covered by a smattering of pencil thin trees, full of life and colour as their limbs spread to allow the light to enrich the leaves that are heavily endowed in their upper reaches.
A slight breeze sways the majestic plains grasses that cover the valley floor like a thick rich carpet. The rhythms are hypnotising as the small birds duck and weave amongst it, searching for the quick last meal of the day.
This can’t be real, it’s too perfect, I am being manipulated by them, Again.
There is only one way to really know. I must speak to Her.
I couldn’t speak to her behind the gates, it is the only place she can’t go.
Standing, I withdraw my sword and carefully, methodically scratch my circle of trust into the earth.
Sitting cross legged in the centre, I rest my hands on my knees, palms facing upwards towards the sky. Taking in the glorious view one more time, i close my eyes and slow my breathing, the meditation is the beginning, a cleansing of the mind, removing all distractions, and being as one with the earth.
I lose track of time, but I am free, I know and feel it, as the cleansing light from within spreads and glows within me, the first sign of her approaching.
The glowing light now encompasses me completely, protecting me from all and as its power grows, it takes my mind to her.
The white whirlwind swirls my mind along the brightest tunnel, eventually placing me before her. My image kneels before her with my head down, not daring to glance at her or speak till She allows.
“Welcome back” appears in my mind, the voice of the Goddess, soft and strong, so full of compassion and understanding.
“My goddess” I stutter “I am undeserving of your presence”
“You provided your own punishment for your indiscretion” she whispers in my mind. I feel rather than be told that I have permission to look upon her.
Raising my eyes to her for the first time in a thousand and forty years I am astounded by her unchanging and astounding beauty that flows from within her. The long blonde hair that falls across her shoulders frames her face in the most beautiful portrait border I ever been fortunate enough to see.
“Be ready” appears in my mind
A flash of light as sharp and as rapid as a lightning bolt sears through my thoughts, filling my mind with a thousand years of history in a single moment.
The information is staggering, a world that has changed, moved on and has a people thriving upon it that have no idea of why they are here or their purpose.
‘Yes” she says “now you know what has transpired, Unlike in your lifetime, now our numbers are few, the people of the world take what they want as they want, no offering, no thankfulness and with no regard to any other life but their own. The gate keepers are growing in strength, the greed and selfishness the people of the world show gives the gatekeepers all they need to grow in numbers and in power, My guardians have been defeated, one by one in the battles that have ensued, and now you are the last. Are you still one of my Guardians?”
My relief of being accepted by her again, let alone back into her inner circle of Guardians is overwhelming. I was one of many guardians, A mortal, who believed in, worshipped and loved my goddess, before I succumbed to the gatekeepers and the contract.
“I desire and deserve so much less than this ” I reply
“Your heart has remained true to me with all you have done and endured, it was your mind that was weak, I know” she states, “but you of all I know deserves to be my guardian.’
My mind is spinning out of control, to be forgiven and then offered a place as a Guardian is more than i can take after what i have done and how I deceived her and Myself. Her forgiveness and love is complete and unwavering.
“I respectfully accept your gracious offer my goddess” I stutter
A small smile crosses her delectable lips and it lightens my heart, all the suffering and torment I have suffered melts away at the sight of my goddess’s happiness at my decision.
“Go now and rest, I will call on you when you have recuperated a little and I will bestow upon you your quest”
As quick as I came here I am back in my body, time has frozen, I open my eyes to watch the last vestiges’ of the sun lower itself behind the horizon.
As the final rays fall across my face i drift into the sleep of a newborn infant, resting on its mother’s belly, as it is with me at this moment, I am with my goddess. I am home.

The Gates

strangers

Risdon Vale, Australia

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