The castle and the rotting wall and all those other things I think she never told you about, right? I’ve seen them all. I’ve been to that murky place between the corridors before you even arrive at the dead walls, and oh dear, you cannot begin to imagine how they are rotting away. It’s unbelievable, and it’d make you fear for the safety of your soul as your gaze walks up their entire length, where they end somewhere beyond the sight of mere mortal eyes, in some dark and unknown thick texture.
Though once you lower your eyes and manage the passing and end up at the derelict gate, you know you’ve gotten this far. You know this is real and she never did lie after all. By then you’re filled with immature bravery, and you wish to prove it to her. So you brace yourself and push open the gate, half scared it might collapse, but it won’t. Then you set one foot in front of the other, and you walk steadily up through the wild garden, where nothing grows and the soil is frozen like ice, but shining like blasphemous stars on an endless ceiling in hell. At this point you lose track of your breath for the first time, and you’re filled with dread all down to the moist spots of your socks, cringing at the feeling. At your feet, slowly, but with massive strength, the castle blends into view, drags itself into position. There it looms, half decayed, half torn and scorched. Glass broken, window frames hanging off, no doors anywhere, the hinges cut. A gaping thousand eyes of darkness.
I ran and ran for hours within the winding corridors of that old, cryptic castle. I crushed glass under my feet, but there never was a sound. The fear in my heart clung to my steps as I ventured past empty rooms and stared at barren walls. Where was the laughter and cheer of parties, where was the beautiful velvet lining it all…oh where the marvellous paintings once hung on these abandoned walls?
Less has been known to scare me broken, bruised and violated. Here it all just crushed me in one intake of air. And there was just no end to these corridors, the eternal corridors.
How strange to think of it the way I had supposed it would lay before me. I thought I might never even cross the walls. Hadn’t they been described as amazingly fortified, strong and vicious, with the tinge of a two edged sword to them, somehow. An emotion of pure strength. Now they were but legend and myth in one, unattainable for most, but a terrible sight to those who dared venture in.
And the castle! How must it have been the most beautiful and deadly trap, luring you into its hold and ready for its fangs. Now, rendered harmless and pitiful by dust and cobwebs, and not even a single soul to grace its ballrooms.
No, it was just so sad.
Shall I tell you what came next; shall I lace your nightmares with the rendition of true horror? But you are already running its lengths; soon you will be free of the castle. Oh, you have reached the end! The opening beckons to you, it calls… there is light.
I remember how my hands clutched my chest as I fell and stumbled for the last time, before the clearing ahead. Light shone in on the dusty surface, and the castle walls seemed to end. Barely was I able to contain myself properly, half in despair falling out into the light. But I yielded as darkness stayed behind me; I yielded as I raised my head again.
There lay a sky so clear and vast. Its stars shone like magnificent brilliants, its sun and moon joined in an unholy matrimony. Silent breath escaped my lungs and rolled off my tongue, but I could not take in new. Everything I could see shone like piercing snow white, though it wasn’t. My soles touched hard rock, or sand. There was no way to be sure. This landscape was infinitely more desolate than the ones I had trespassed earlier; yet, at the same time it seemed to encompass such depth and warmth. I tried to feel for the moist feeling of embrace all around, but my senses deluded me.
It was thus the strangest thing happened to me there. Bound to the ground by my body, forced to raise my head and lift my gaze. And there I met her. My eyes met hers. Her beauty broke my bones, shattered my thoughts, tore apart my soul and stroked my spine. A voice spoke in the most intelligible sound, the worst syllables spoken, and with an unmistakable hint of blood and honey. I thought to be the intruder of a world of death and cold, but here fire caught my skin. Her figure rose to a flame against the background while something twisted from within my eyes, and something changed. Ever slightly it moved forth and back and I was trying to adjust to it, but I was failing badly. Resistance would not be mine.
She slithered into it, her mass changed, she twisted and turned and then everything solidified.
I met the gaze of the woman she had always dreamt of being. And I watched the dragon become her.