In the dark, so quiet it was, a thousand wheels turned slowly:
beneath the smog and the fire the chaos machine churning at such a
steady pace. Outside, the world may be burning constantly, but the
conglomerate doesn't care about mundane affairs, we never have. We kept
the doors shut, kept the barricades high, fortified this fortress until
no crack could be found anywhere. We guard the impenetrable heart, the
secure solemn ticking of time irrelevant; just this one promise. Never
give in, never give up; dad whispers across several lifetimes and we
keep the watch, we never break. Deep underneath it all, the dragon never
waking again, all defenses were sleeping. What is the need of defenses
when there is no intruder, nobody stalks this land but ghosts. Ghosts
and whispers, how well haven't we suppressed all we lived, all we were.
And in the distance, we thought we built her a solid grave; yet the tomb
proved shallow, Isabelle rises every night at the witching hour. The
heart, bound by so, so many chains. It bleeds true. The soft voices
and the shades of ghosts past, they gather to a symphony, to the unison
of anger and bitterness. So tidy a fortress, this undefeatable castle
trembling all over.
There, mother comes forth from the garden, the phoenix in her stride,
all battleship she is; hide, my children. I can face the storm, I will brace the hurricanes. Go down into the dark, find the dragon, fuel its
fire. So we sounded the alarm, we left our posts and ran the steps down
into the basement, to the core of it all. Where the heart was beating
wildly again, vividly, magma pouring in from all sides. And the dragon
was already wide awake, roaring from the fear. The child, the innocence of
us all, she was safely wrapped in scales and glittering draconian pelts;
as fast as the heart may beat, our last line of defenses can never be
breached from a distance. This is the strength of this vessel, of its
skin and bones. The last line has to be broken by touch, nothing else
will do. You want passage in, you're going to have to come willingly.
Put your hands on our chest, stick your fingers into our pores, caress our
soul. Only this embrace of absolute love will do, nothing else will
Mother knows now, mother will be expecting you. When you pass through
the ruins and the smoke and the screen; when you go under those tiny
stars of hell. Go into the garden, go under the willow. Mother will show
you the door we found back then, when we sounded the alarm; such a
simple design, just a door appearing from out of nowhere. Though Isabelle said
she knew it, she definitely knew it still. Its appearance somehow
unremarkable until you turn in the falling light and you notice the
velvet shine of the lacquer, somewhere between black and blood red. Such
a fine thing, such a beautiful construct; like a predator perfectly
aligned with its surroundings. It opened then, as we were running to the
dragon. And the dragon felt it coursing through ancient bones, those
torn, stained wings lifting again to meet this challenge. Claws on the
ground then, standing off against this remarkably innocent looking artefact: it's nothing more than a door. But the dragon knew. So it
burned everything, hellfire unleashed upon this entire scenery, all of
us going up in flame; still, the door kept opening.
She stepped forward, putting a hand on the dragon's hide; quiet now.
Mother was very calm, mother was unpredictable and solemn. And from the
open door poured tens of thousands of years, millions of years,
undeniable eternity of an entire solar system existing, of a galaxy
spawning itself; the breath of the universe contained in one single
life. Blood, so, so much blood and warmth. Unimaginable heat, even the
dragon winced in pain. Scorching us all, scorching our memories, our
secret desires. Like hell unfolding into heaven; yet mother stood still.
Let it come, she said. Let it consume us. It's finally time.