Not a single soul to be seen, he was truly alone here in this god forsaken catacomb. He came to a sudden halt in a sort of room, though open and vast beyond four walls. There were clear pools filling this place, and upon inspection of his reflection, he saw nothing of what he hoped or expected to see. Clearly transparent, yet visibly cloudy, almost murky. He was large yet couldn’t have weighed an ounce. Tall, yet near microscopic. The seemed to be no rules in this place; no constants.

A deep sense of separation weighed on him, almost unbearably so. Not only separated from all he knew, the life he once had, family but separation from his very self. In this afterlife, or whatever this was, so much was left behind and in now moving forward, all identity was wiped clean. His name, prior beliefs, his morality, age… none of it was there for debate. None of it was there to help him backtrack or to move forward. This truly must be a purgatory, for he had never known such limbo.

And then, in what could only be described as lightning entering a raw, exposed nerve, fragmented memories played through behind his eyelids with full-on surround sound. Visions of a little boy, maybe three years of age, storming around in a field, wearing a silver cape and wielding a makeshift wooden sword. He was ferocious. He swung that weapon mercilessly and slashed at the open air with a tenacity beyond his age. The invisible enemies he fought were surely no match. The vision shifted to the same boy sitting in his mother’s lap, as she read aloud a tale of good versus evil. He was enthralled. He smiled big and closed his eyes, letting his own illustrations flow over his mom’s words. As she read of a great battle, with his eyelids still shut he made faces of war; cringes and pursed lips, as he imagined fighting along with his hero. Then there he was in front of the door to their home, opening it to see a beautiful little girl in the doorway. They ran around the house, fighting imaginary creatures and hiding together in closets or crawl spaces. Her long blond hair and her delighted shrieks of laughter echoed. He felt a flooding of joy as these visions played out before him. The connection was strong. It was a moment that should never end.

Another jolt of hot electricity shot through him. This time, he saw a young man filling a giant canvas with… he had to focus hard to see what had been expressed. It looked like a menacing demon of old taunting a beautiful, monstrous angel, glowing in white gold and exposing his razor sharp sword, probably poised to slice his unbridled enemy in two. The demon had a fire in his dark eyes he had never witnessed before, and the sneer of a victor, yet he knew better. To tangle with an angel meant no victory. This he knew and would not accept otherwise.

The painting made his heart race. A perfect stew of nerves, fear and curiosity overtook him. And in that moment, great wings undulated in his very face and his eyes closed, only to re-open and realize where he actually was. Trapped in this catacomb, and alone.

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