The Illumination

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A girl discovers a strange place by accident and finds love and beauty because of it.

Submitted: January 13, 2012

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Submitted: January 13, 2012

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The Illumination

If there is anything anyone should know before visiting Chicago in the winter, it is that it can get extremely cold. Not just the “You should probably wear a jacket, its cold out” king of cold. No Chicago in the winter should be called the Frostbite State. Now it was on one of these cold days that a young girl arrived in fair “Shy-town”. She was not a Chicago native; she was not even an American. She came from a place where winters occurred only on paper and where summer never seemed to end. Her name was Florence and she had hair the colour of fire and a heart to match. Now, Florence never really knew why it was that she had chosen Chicago, but there she was, standing in the cold with her wide eyes, taking in the enormity of the city. She knew no one and she saw nothing familiar, but never the less she rented herself a cheap room and took off into the depths of the city.

All that Florence saw on her explorations can not be said, but she did see worlds collide and merge, things she did not understand, beautiful things, horrid things and everything in between. Florence realized that the city was alive, that it breathed and lived its own life and that it transfers this life to its people. She saw people sad to leave their city and others so happy to return to it, others left grateful that that they could leave. These were the one’s that she pitied because it seemed as if something was chasing them, like there was something awful right behind them and by leaving the city they thought they could leave it behind too. She wished that she could tell them that no matter how far they run they will never escape what they are running from unless they turn around, face it and make peace with it. She wished she could tell them that the city was not to blame for their troubles and their demons. The city was simply living as it does, day to day, giving it’s life to the people, but what each person did with this life had nothing to do with the city.

On one of Florence’s ramblings she came to a road, near the outskirts of the city, which held a small sign with only a single arrow on it. She had never seen this sign before and immediately turned down that road. Unfortunately she found the road which led out of the city was too long to attempt on foot so she turned back home. The next day she woke up with a resolution to follow the arrow to it’s destination and so she hired a taxi, which took her to the end of the tarmac, where a dirt path surrounded by trees, began. “Are you sure about this?” asked the concerned taxi driver when they had stopped, she opened her door and replied, “Yes very sure.” She paid him and started down the path. It did not occur to Florence that she should be frightened of this place, even though it was desolate and abandoned. She had been walking for some time, the trees had become denser, the light was darkened somewhat and the path had disappeared completely, but still she was not afraid. She walked over a rise in the earth and came to a stand still for in front of her was a wall of very dense trees and bushes. She looked for a way around the obstacle, but could see none so she went right up to the trees and started pushing her way through them. It was difficult and she though about giving up, but she kept at it and even though she felt completely and utterly lost in the sea of green, she believed that it was worth it. It was. She was still pushing through the branches when suddenly she stumbled into a clearing. For a moment she was disorientated as there had been no indication that the trees were thinning out, one moment they were as dense as ever and the next they were gone. After her moment of disorientation she looked up at the most beautiful place she had ever seen. The clearing was circular and not very large with lush green grass covering the ground and a few wild flowers growing in patches. There was a tree in the center of the clearing and when she looked at it she had tears in her eyes because this tree was so like the one she had played in as a child back home. In fact many things about this clearing reminded her of home; the climate: she had been walking uphill and steadily the cold of Chicago fell away and was replaced by the perfect temperature of her home. As she stood in awe taking in this place, she heard her name whispered and suddenly the whole spectrum illuminated the clearing. Her breath caught in her throat as she watched the colours move over and around her, they were brilliant and she saw reflections of colours that she had no names for. After along time or maybe a short one the spectrum of light disappears as suddenly as it had come, but the echo of magic remained in the air. She smiled up at the sky and whispered, “Thank you.”

After that first day Florence went to her sanctuary, “The Illumination”, as she had named it, almost everyday, but never again did she hear her name and watch the spectrum exploding over her. She spent whole days there, lying in the grass, climbing the tree, reading or just simply being. Sometimes she spent the night there as the temperature never wavered and the weather was never cloudy. The Illumination sustained itself without rain, but she never questioned it. What she did question however, was how no one else had found this place and why there was a sign directing people to it in the first place when no one but her ever came. One day she went to the place where she had first seen the sign and to her surprise it was no longer there.

When two Chicago winters had passed in this way and the third was wreaking havoc in the city, she discovered the reason why she had been lead to this place. One day while in The Illumination she was sitting on a low branch of the tree watching a few birds on the branch above her when she suddenly felt a chill. She had never felt a single chill in The Illumination and this disturbed he profoundly. She looked up sharply and saw the branches of the trees surrounding the clearing quiver, “No, no, no” she thought, “This can’t be happening. Someone has found it!” she experienced a feeling of absolute horror as she watched the quivering grow closer until suddenly he stumbled into the clearing. As soon as she saw him she knew and she understood. She watched him experience the same disorientation that she had upon first entering the clearing, then she watched his eyes rest on her. The branch that she was sitting on was very low so he could see the whole of her, she was wearing her favorite summer dress and it hung over the branch like some miniature lilac waterfall. For a moment they only looked at each other and all went quiet. Then she nimbly slipped from the tree and advanced towards him. she was barefoot and her wild red hair was loose, hanging down her back. He was in jeans and a pale blue t-shirt, his jacket in his hand, with an astounded look on his handsome face. She stood right in front of him, smiled and said, “You are the one who said my name,” at this his face broke into a smile and he replied, “Yes I did. You are the one I dreamt of,” Florence nodded. Under the irresistible force that had brought them together they took each others hands and at the same time she said, “Ryan,” he said, “Florence,” and together they watched everything being illuminated and they caught their breath at the sight. They let the spectrum in and they too were illuminated by the magnificent colour. She looked at him and said, “We are shining and we’ll never be afraid again.”

The End


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