The Castle

July 31, 2008
By Christina Chao, East Brunswick, NJ

No one believed that the abandoned castle was a crossroads; a crossroads between Heaven and Hell. The gothic castle had spacious tunnels and hallways which intricately outlined tiny gardens, specifically one with a flowing fountain in the center of its tangled vines and poison apple red roses. In the light, the roses were vibrant and fiery, basking in the sunlight’s kisses, only to be drained deathly pale white in the darkness later. Majestic trees hovered over the pale marble floors which gently warmed up and faintly glowed with mystery. No one had ever entered the forbidden garden, and if someone did, no one could ever leave alive. Light was the only visitor.

The onyx ironclad gate was sealed shut, baring its ferocious teeth which outlined the premises that seemed to snarl at outsiders. The cold heavy pinnacles were warning the surrounding world about dangerous secrets, warning mortals to protect their souls from being eternally lost in the keep out. Those gates, outlining the perimeter of the luscious gardens and the gargantuan marble monster, served as a barrier between the truth and lies of the human soul. The human soul can never survive on its own.

It was a time in between dawn and dusk, a time that held the castle frozen in silence’s grasp. There was no movement or sound. There was only pleasure in silence which suffocated the castle’s aura, suffocating all hopes and absorbing the malice of the world. All was still. All was rigid and imprisoned. The lush, bountiful gardens which kept growing in the daylight became tangled hopelessness, weeds clinging onto each other for life and protection from the darkness. The darkness was alive, and ready to attack.

The beady eyes on the glossy stained glass windows flickered as the sun faded deep into the Earth, reenergizing in the fiery depths of Hell. There was a faint shrill of the wind that infiltrated into the massive ashen marble castle, showing no mercy to the dimly lit candle lights slowly burning out individually by the wind’s serpentine hissing. The candle chandeliers slowly deceased by the rhythm of the wind, the rhythm of a heartbeat. There was no mercy in this enclave, only fears and lost memories and souls which molded into the walls of the giant monstrosity. Outlining the entryways, demeaning arches hung over the heavy wooden doors like draperies, doors with circular cobalt padlocks that thudded heavily when touched, echoing for eternity. Thump, thump, thump. The spirits were awakened.

In daylight, the shadow of the hanging cross of Christ gracefully fell onto the backdrop of the dome. But time has no patience. The creaking and clacking of the chains which held the cross became still. The ravishing darkness hungrily consumed all the shadows and the glossy tears of Christ suddenly turned to murky liquid that trickled down with sadness. The procession had begun. The expansive entryway was soon filled with spirits, lost souls who had never found peace, who could only mourn. With chains on their bony wrists, their faces were empty with only pitch black holes and slits. They gnashed their teeth vigorously on their way to the altar, moonlight shimmering in through the tinted glass windows, illuminating empty immortal shadows. Wailing and shrieking like sharp fingernails on a clean chalkboard, they created reverberations throughout the temple, the mosque of death, and prayed for eternal life.

They each took a bite out of their poisonous red apples and proceeded to the throne to be sacrificed. They entered and screamed, moaning and groaning for mercy which could never be bestowed. They were whipped, lashed, beaten and punished for their sin. Each of them had a story. And each story had a shameful, lustful temptation which had brought them to the border of Hell’s fiery wrath.

The spirits were all stuffed into a room, a room where tombstones and glass cases surrounded them. Souls were trapped inside, never to be released. The golden raven, the candle manufactured from Egypt’s finest gold became alive in the streaming moonlight and screeched over the spirits. He glided and soared over to the colossal fireplace where two wooden seats stood. He landed on each of them, transforming them into two mirror sized portals, two empty black holes that whirl in torrents of fury and excitement. In front of Christ’s cross, one man and one woman statue twitched and became alive as the portal guardians. The woman had vines straddling her body, pulsating with hatred against her scraggly wrinkled skin that was once pure porcelain. Her eyes used to sparkle an ocean blue, but her fiery lust had consumed her innocence and her eyes were now as pitch black as the portals. Her hair blew out like spider’s legs and her heart was poisonous as spiders’ venom. Her tongue was a snake, hissing with the wind. The man, also a ghostly figure, carried around iron chains all around his body for eternity. His veins were sandwiched between icy metal chains that made him suffer with weight and he was completely circumcised, never to lust but rather bear guilt for eternity. The couple had no hands because they had sinned. They had no senses, but could only feel the guilt and punishment that they had deserved for their sins. They live forever as lost souls, castrated from anything good and beautiful, only to remain hideous inside and out. They are poisoned by sunlight and are banned from the luscious gardens that surround their prison. When mourning comes, they stiffened as statues, never to be revealed.

As the sun peeked out from under the blanket of water, the white roses became fueled with cherry redness in the sunlight. The fountain once filled with blood, became filled with cerulean water as morning arrived. Sun spots twinkled mystically in the soft air as the castle became encased with more statues frozen in place, more tapestries that told stories, more stained glass panels which revealed stories lost, souls lost compressed into a monstrosity that is a mirage to the world. And right beside the entrance to the cross and dome, two beings, one man and woman guarded the tombs, frozen in silence and enslaved forever in sin.

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