I was standing in the crowd, clapping beside a dozen strangers and screaming to be heard above them. I strained my eyes against the light blinding us all. I shook, I shivered, I shuddered with the greatest anticipation that has ever risen in me. It was like my soul and my skin and my bones had taken on lives of their own and were each competing for prominence in the crowd. I felt free and loose and alive, and I felt like it meant more to me than to anyone else. I felt like the exception in the crowd, like I was so unique that they had come all this way just for me. I needed to be seen, way back where I was. I needed to stand out or they might not see me, they might just go on and never know that I was right here, watching, screaming, battling the crowd. I was giving it my all just to keep my head above the shoulders of the rest, and my voice couldn’t even leave my lips, but they were so strong and so many. We all surged forwards, then side to side and back again, fighting with all we had and getting no closer.
Then a voice rang out above the rest.
A lady’s voice, barely above a whisper yet dominant above the chaos, which sent a comforting chill through the crowd and brought about stillness and quiet. I heard it with every hair on my body, so soothing it was that I could feel it in my soul, and as I listened to the silence in the sudden pause I could hear every soul around me gasping and whispering to themselves. There had only been one word in the voice so far, “Greetings,” but already I trusted it as truth and law and would die at its word if it so asked. The word carried such beauty within its vibrations that not one person present could resist falling completely and devotedly in love.
A peaceful breeze preceded the next words, infatuating the crowd before delivering its message.
“On this day, we have come. We have been travelling a long time to be here. On this day, we look inside you. We find your deepest desires and we bring them to being. On this day, we make all your dreams come true.”
The crowd erupted around me, leaping and dancing and screaming to the sky in all mass hysterics. It was the day of days, the magic day, the day their dreams came true. But I did not cheer. I did not dance or leap or shout to the sky in ecstatic elation, no. I listened and I believed the voice and I felt horror to my core. I screamed, one long scream that only my lung capacity could end, and my legs collapsed beneath me. I pulled them up beside me until I was coiled tightly in a ball and lost in a cloud of dust kicked up by the celebrations around me. I knew that it was the day of the end, a day of horror and pain and suffering, and a night of much worse.
I know my desires are wrong.
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