Since I am leaving for the March for Life in DC in a couple of hours, I am going to post an excerpt from one of my short stories. I have written two average-length books and quite a few short stories, but this is by far my favorite. I wrote the description of The Pearl City over the summer and used it for this work of fiction. Enjoy!
Rebecca stood in the open door of a little cottage enjoying the soft breeze of the start of fall on her face. As she stood there taking in the beauty of the autumn mountain, she realized that she had never really known happiness or seen self-fulfillment. She knew that something wonderful was about to happen. Taking a small worn journal and pen, she strode off into the wild mountains.
She was used to long treks and did not grow tired for several hours. In fact, she had reached her destination before she had thought about stopping to rest. Her path took her rather high up the mountainside. She walked over crackling leaves with the beautiful aroma of maple and oak and pine filtering in her nostrils. She finally arrived in a relatively small clearing with a glistening pond in the very center. She sat down at the still moist and dark grass, tossing her shoes and coat to one side. Laying back gently in the shade of the trees, Rebecca watched the skies with half closed eyes.
As evening drew near clouds began to settle on the horizon. Red and blue lights gleamed between the silky layers. Rebecca drifted into wakefulness and watched fervently. Suddenly a great glow arose from the mountains beyond and the clouds began to part. Her heart beat rapidly as a vision of beauty appeared in the sky. In a moment the heavens burst and she could see it: The Pearl City.
As Rebecca watched, the scene from her memories appeared in full. In a moment of purest air, the sun rested on the magnificent city of pearl. Floating in the rays of light were glorious blue angels whose voices were tremors of fluorescent white. Then she could see it clearly… palaces within the city touched with red sun. An almost invisible waterfall poured over the marble movements of the air. Rising magnificently all around the miraculous city were gray mountains of soft clouds. Over all were the heavenly colors of the rainbow coating the entire city with glass.
She stood quietly, her eyes fixed on an angel in the door of the city. The angel opened its arms and a ray of hardened light shone from the angel to her feet. Without moving her gaze, Rebecca walked slowly along the ray to the gates of the city of pearl. When she reached them her eyes were dazzled. She could just see the angel drift aside and motion through the gates. Closing her eyes, she walked into the city. Some outside force caused her eyes to flicker open, and she realized she was not blinded by the light.
The interior of the city had become a flowery forest. As she moved forward the trees bended to both sides and shaded her head with pink flowers. The ground on which she tread was soft and resembled the floor of the clearing. Untiring, she straightened her back and moved forward, as if called. Music began to play in the air. Millions of tiny voices sang a song of joy and peace and love. Further along the path, Rebecca could see a palace which contained the magnificence of all the skies. She passed through the doors which were made of finely engraved gold sheets; a glance told her that they depicted the past, present, and future of human existence.
Inside were halls of cosmic splendor, filled with bowed heads and bended knees. Rebecca saw none of this, her eyes perceived only the dais on which a velvet throne was mounted. Her King sat there, strong and beautiful. Rebecca gazed at His Face. It was a face which captured all the beauty of humanity and divinity, and all the pain of ages. Rebecca’s heart was pierced as she saw tears and utter pain coupled with burning love. She wanted only to run and embrace the face and dry the tears. She walked steadily through the unseen multitudes, intent on approaching the kindly face.
When she was still some distance from the dais, the multitude was visible. She saw the King’s great majesty, and fell to her knees in tears. With fearful guilt she realized at once how small and sinful she was; how dare she consider approaching the King? It was a long while before she could raise her eyes. Her Lord was looking at her, His moist eyes gleaming kindness and His great arms extended. Rebecca rose and faithfully stood before his throne.
Her heart was consumed with love as she peered into the Sacred Wounds. She was no longer afraid. The great warm hands of her Beloved enveloped her own, and her blood warmed within her. She laid her head upon the Sacred Breast, and promised in her heart to live or die with Him forever. She showed Him her hands, and promised their work to Him, as long as He would pierce them. She put her hand on her own heart, and then on His, begging that she could learn to love. No rest, no exhilaration, could equal her feelings as He said: “Today, my child, you will suffer and work as you desire. Tomorrow you shall be with Me.”
With that, the Halls began to fade. Rebecca was alone, walking through the gates. Her soul was light, but her face was flooded with tears and her heart was overcome. All beauty, light, and music flooded into her mind. She realized she had been empty, and now she was filled. She had not known good, but now she realized perfection. She had not understood evil, and now all evil pained her at once. A moment later she had reached the green carpeted clearing and drunk from the crystal pond.
The colors of the sky were as soft as wool and as smooth as mink. As she watched she saw it slowly begin to disappear before her eyes into an abyss of red water. The peaks of the cities began to lose color as they fell behind the horizon. All that was left was the distorted clouds of the sky… like pillars of smoke left by the fire. Still, touches of the softest pink touched and reflected from the white doves’ breasts of the air. Falling lightly through the confines of space, the waterfall had lost its color in a dying bleeding stream of half-hearted gray. The blue clouds brilliantly piled and replicated the picture of the human imagination.
Looking back, to where heaven was disappearing beyond the horizon, she could see a magnificent and inexpressible red light. It is as if the brilliant red light from some great glowing angel was still lingering in its path. The light was coupled with a heart of blood, and the courageous clouds reflected the pain of love. Still clear to the eye was the moist air tainted by the light, thickening into a bouquet of delicate petals. Angels robed in purple, barely touched by the earthly light in their brilliance, processed into the clearness of the red and became one with it in silence.
The peaks of the palaces were outlined only by the receding clouds, and greater clouds hung over all in a hungry but constant pressure. The wonderful deepness of the pure blue air began to dominate the heavens. The rising and falling of air was sifted out in one great peace. The swirling of feathers had ceased. The light of the angel was only a memory. The angels of blue sang their last anthems and disturbed the quiet air only with the beauty of their love-song’s vibrations. The light had gone, the pearl had vanished, and the earth was cool to the touch as Rebecca walked down the mountainside to her home.