The warmth and the light awed the girls. Why was it so hard for me to get in the other time, and easy now? Makio wondered.
Lakisha must have been on much the same train of thought. She bent closer to Makio and whispered into her ear.
“I have seen thousands of black-armored soldiers trying to scale the heights but they were always thrust back, and yet we got through easily.”
Makio nodded. She felt drawn to the center of a huge auditorium where the warmth and light were most intense.A quietness seemed to simmer over the multitude, yet at the same time she heard the faintest sound of music. She recognized it as a melody called Joy. Those closest to the center all seemed to be holding hands, and the warm flowed from one to the next like an
unbroken chain, or river.
They drew back towards the edge of the crowd and pressed against the wall. It was cool to the touch.
Lakisha looked heartsick. “We don’t belong here.”
Makio nodded. “I guess we better be going.”
Both were reluctant to leave. Someone’s garment brushed against them in passing, leaving a fleeting warmth. Lakisha had almost reached out to touch it, but her hand drew back at the last moment.
Someone else smiled at them. They didn't respond, but turned towards the exit. She hurried after them. “You are welcome to stay.”
Stay? Why the emphasis? Does she mean forever?
Days, weeks, months and even years went by. The girls got married and moved far away from the foot of the mountain. From time to time they would look up and see through tear dimmed eyes the Castle shining like a beacon far in the distance.
It wasn’t easy, but she did. She is now one of the happiest, most radiant residents in the castle. She tirelessly wanders throughout the countryside searching for others who are feeling as cold and cheerless as she once had. One of them is Lakisha, who had grown hard and bitter, but is hesitantly drawing closer.