A journey's end

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

A hooded man stands infront of the gates, waiting for them to open. Waiting to take the final steps of his life.

So this is finally it.


A man in rags stood in front of the gate. The gate to where it all began and where it would all end. A thousand steps it took him but he was reluctant to take the last step. After all who'd be willing to walk to their deaths.


Yet his mind was ready. His body steeled. The man took the hood off his head to reveal an aged face. With many wrinkles and more scars. He took a deep breath. Breathing in the fresh mountain air and the bloomed sakura trees. This beauty, he wondered if he'd be able to appreciate this picturesque view after...


"I have finally come my brothers."  Finally he took that last step and knocked, three times. First time, for the beginning, second time, for the journey, third time, for the end. One second, two seconds, three...The gate opened, with a creak echoing through all the mountains.


"Who goes there?" A voice boomed.


"I have come for my rest, as my master before me and his master before him."


"What're you called?" The voice asked once again.


"I am Serene Dancer. 10th Master of the Golden Columns."


"You may pass."

 

Serene Dancer passed the threshold. He knew he could've done so before hand but traditions were important. Especially in this sacred place. Tradition...how big part of his life has that been ever since he joined the Golden Columns.  How it moulded him, made him the man he was today. Should he be proud, or should he be ashamed? He could not truly answer that.

But the being atop the stairs would. The stairs that begun from the gates all the way up to the Kami Temple. It was truly majestic, Serene Dancer could not help but take a few moments to appreciate it. But he knew he could not wait any longer.  He had to keep going.

First step, ten steps...twenty...Serene Dancer counted each and every last step. Taking in every last blade of grass and pebble, until he reached the main temple with their grand doors open.

The first step tentative, each one helped Serene Dancer gather more courage, until he entered the temple itself.  Inside the temple was darkness, with a path of light leading further in.


Serene Dancer was surprised, he was expecting splendour. Beauty to match the outside, but the darkness felt as if it would swallow you whole. It felt as if Serene Dancer would lose his mind inside this darkness and would be forever trapped.

 

"Calm mind, calm spirit. The great one shall guide you." His mantra. He kept repeating those words until he had renewed courage to challenge the darkness. The courage did not come But he knew he could not turn back, thus muttering the words under his breath he followed the path of light.

He walked and walked, ten minutes, twenty an hour. "Calm mind, calm spirit..." The only words echoing in the darkness. As it kept encroaching the path of light, dwindling it down.

"Enough." A voice joined Serene Dancer's prayers as the darkness retreated from the path and revealed a figure sitting upon a throne, shining so brightly that it overtook the darkness and there was only light.

"You have come far, Bongzhon."

Serene Dancer wept, for he was so overwhelmed by the sheer presence.

"Come, let us talk." Serene Dancer felt his legs move on their own as he walked closer to God. Upon reaching the light he bent his knees, laying his, bald, head down until his forehead touched the path of light.

"You, as many before you, have come to be judged. Do you swear to accept my judgement, whatever it may be"

"I do so swear." Serene Dancer's voice sounded so tiny, so miniscule in his ears. Especially compared to the voice of god.

"Very, well.  Raise your head." As he did so, God's shape began to change, morphing into something else, something smaller. Until the light stopped fluctuating and a small boy appeared out of the light.

"This is the past you." Voice still unchanged. "Tell me why did you decide to join your order at such a young age?"

Serene Dancer sat in silence for a while, gathering his thoughts. "I wanted more out of my life. My parents were honest people, but poor. They were not able to provide for me and my siblings..."

"Is that why you abandoned them without saying a word?" Gods words cut through Serene Dancer's as if knife cutting butter. "Do you know that they have spent years searching for you? That they blamed themselves for your disappearance? They died, 10 years after you joined the order. Thinking they have failed you, leaving your siblings on their own. They are all dead now aswell."

Serene Dancer sat in contemplation. It was his family, but it has been so long ago since he stopped being Bongzhon that it mattered little to him. The loss of life was horrible, but it was all in the past.

"Do you still believe you have made the correct choice? Of abandoning your family leading them to ruin?"

"Yes." Was the only word Serene Dancer said, for that life would lead to ruin whether he would've stayed or not.

"Very well." The light changed form again. This time to a grown man. With well developed muscles and a shaved head. "This is you when you have taken the mantle of master. Tell me, do you believe you were worthy?"

"I do." For believing otherwise would be dishonouring the choice made by everyone who chose him. The mantle of master is passed on through vote. With everyone in the order eligible to vote, from the youngest acolyte to the hardened elder. Serene Dancer would respect their choice.

"And what of your choices? Would you do anything else or do you believe you were perfect in your role?"

"I was not the perfect master, but I would not change any of the choices I made." Before, the answer would've been yes. But not anymore. Did all his choices lead to a good conclusion? No. But they were his choices and he would stand by them.

"Good." A shift again, and this time Serene Dancer saw an older man. A man with a bent down posture and beard that only ended at the waist. A man who had both wrinkles and scars on his face. A man that was him.

"This is you now, with all of your experience and wisdom you have gained. Tell me, why did you decide to rest now?"

"Because I am tired." Tired of seeing his friends die, tired of seeing people in a cycle of poverty and violence, tired of seeing the young ones deny tradition and stray further away from the righteous path. His time has come to an end.

"Any last words before I begin my judgement?"

"No." Serene Dancer cleared his mind, it was time to let go.

"Bongzhon, Serene Dancer, I have judged you worthy of the land of light. Go and find your rest."

The light enveloped  Serene Dancer, as he felt it's light touch and warmth. He felt his body slowly disappearing as it joined the light and he felt, for the first time in decades, happy and in peace.

 

 

 


Submitted: June 19, 2020

© Copyright 2021 EAleksandrovic. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Criss Sole

This had a very good ending. I am glad he was able to find peace.
Very lovely story.

Thu, July 2nd, 2020 12:17pm

Author
Reply

Thank you very much Criss! Glad you enjoyed the ending

Thu, July 2nd, 2020 5:31am

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