Beyond the Golden City: A romantic fantasy

               Once upon a time in a dream an angel of exquisite beauty led me up to a mountain top in the middle of a vast glistening ocean. She smelled of roses after a gentle rain and her skin was soft as the clouds guarding the entrance to heaven. Her voice reminded me of a harp echoing in the wind, her lips spoke secrets to my heart in a language I’ve never heard before, but which my soul understood at once. I took her hand and when we touched, the sky rolled back like a scroll and revealed an ancient palace.

This angel looked at me with a love I’ve never known and when she turned her head, black strands of dark hair wisped across her face, covering hazel eyes and olive skin. Her mouth turned upwards and she nodded her head towards the metropolis. I hesitated, but obeyed this angelic creature from another world, another time. I dared not look down for fear of falling into the rolling waves below.

“Where shall we go and what are we doing here?” I asked not knowing what was happening.

“We go to the High Place, beyond the Golden City. Are you ready to accept this challenge or shall I leave you? ” The beautiful creature echoed.

“You would lead me no more?”

But she spoke not. Sadness entered my soul as she pulled her hand away and began to move backwards.

“Please, please, leave me not precious one. How will I descend from this place if you go away from me?”

The wind took the dark hair away from her face, and the smile faded as she put her porcelain hands across her brow. The angel bent low and mourned with melancholy and shook until a set of wings emerged from the back of her long, flowing dress made of silk and everything immortal. One was white as snow and brilliant to my eyes, yet the other appeared to be damaged and hung tenderly by her side.

“Why are you crying sweet one? Have I made you distressed?” I asked in a loving tone as I watched the wind carry stars to and fro across the galaxy. When I turned, the apparition of a woman was sitting on a large rock with her arms across her knees.

“My home is in the city beyond, but I cannot go there. I was caught in battle many years ago and left with one good wing and am unable to fly into it, so I wander the outskirts. You cannot enter my city by foot. You must ascend upwards and have the inner strength to do so.” She cried.

I put my hands in my pockets and looked down at my feet.

“Well, what good am I to you if I cannot help you return to the place of your birth? What can I do? A mere mortal in the presence of an angel such as you, because alas, I have only one viable wing myself. How am I able to take you where you were called to be?”

I stood amid the drifting sand on that mountain top and watched her with tender compassion, wishing with all of my might to help this lost being.

“Young lady, I myself wander around the earth, I am a man unfit for this beautiful place. A man incapable of entering such a city without the company of one who’s been there, I am afraid I may be banished if I dare enter it alone. What is this city you speak of? What is beyond the City of Gold?”

She stood silently and when her hazel eyes looked into the clouds, I knew she had seen something which was lost to me. I looked upon her with silence, not knowing if I would be struck dead if I were to ask anything further. We sat in silence for a time before she spoke again. When she did so, it was prophetic.

“Beyond the sight of man there is another place, one of hope and peace, it is a great city. Greater than the one you see now. This Golden City is a mirage, set for destruction and consumed with its own lust, eaten by its own pride. Don’t be deceived by its walls of gold and gleaming towers because it is a terrible place full of horrible beings and many go into it not knowing what’s in store for them.

“But my city, the one I will take you to, is lined with trees and every imaginable creature resides there. Rubies glitter in the sunrays, sapphire and onyx and emeralds lie before your feet as you walk its streets. It is peaceful and kind and only the bravest find it. Look upon this doomed city before your eyes.”

The angel leaned forward with lightening speed and pointed north. A terrible war had come upon the Golden City.

“How did this happen? It was peaceful not five minutes ago!”

“What you have seen here today are many years in one short time. In the blink of an eye, I show you what is to become of this place. But beyond, that is where you and I will go, once I exact my revenge on the wicked creatures who robbed me of flight.”

“Again, how shall I help you?” I asked in bewilderment.

“I have watched and studied you. I know your faults and your weaknesses, yet I have seen the inner most parts of your heart and know the strength which resides in you. You have been kicked and beaten by your own doubts and have let your world get the best of you. But lo, I have seen the beauty of your wings and where you will go and how far you will fly. I can no longer fly by myself. We will help each other. Because where I am, this is where you are meant to be.”

After she spoke these words, she lifted her hand and in one quick stroke ripped the shirt off my back, revealing the nakedness of my body and the brokenness of my wings.

“Take hold of me now.” She ordered.

When she grabbed my hand in hers, electricity shot through every fiber in my being and all the hairs on my body stood. The useless wings on my back began to feel alive. Her eyes radiated a deep, unearthly green and the smile returned to her face.

“You see, in order to go where you must, you have to go through many obstacles. I fear we may not make it through the Golden City alive. But if we help each other, you may just see the High Place for yourself.”

“I am willing to go and fight for you. I will stand tall and help you return, even if my own life is lost while we travel.” I replied.

As fighting raged overhead and the cosmos vibrated in chaos, I grabbed hold of her waist and drew her closely in and looked deep into her eyes.

“You dare take hold of me?”  The angel questioned without a trace of anger.

“If I were to die before tasting your lips, I would die less than a man.”

Wherever courage originates and however someone obtains it, I found the wellspring and kissed this angel in my dream. The air crackled as her tongue met mine and life returned to her shattered wing.

After pushing me back with one finger she looked into the sky and held her breath.

“It is time.”

3 responses to “Beyond the Golden City: A romantic fantasy

  • moonstonemaiden

    I enjoyed this piece very much, it was quite thought-provoking and kept me guessing. Your imagery was lovely as well. I was slightly confused when the man professed to have a wing himself when I assumed he was merely human; was this because it was a dream and therefore mercurial? Was he something other than human or did I misunderstand? And only because you said to leave constructive criticism (on your home page) I would say that some of your dialogue sounds rather stiff and forced. I know you’re probably trying to establish a somber, more serious and intense tone, but I would suggest making it a bit more natural 😀 But other than that, it was very intriguing!

    • Papparaci

      Dear Moonstone, first I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my story. I appreciate the compliments and the constructive criticism! Well, as I’m sure you are aware, dreams have a way of shifting reality. He started out a man, but realized he had wings himself and this wasn’t realized until she forced him to look inward. I was a bit surprised because I really enjoyed writing the dialogue and I thought it fit nicely, but alas, it has been some time since writing fiction. Thanks again for reading!

      • moonstonemaiden

        You’re very welcome and I enjoyed reading it! Thank you for the quick explanation, I thought the wing was probably due to it being a dream. And I just want to reinforce that my constructive criticism was meant with all due respect of course. The dialogue was lovely in most places, it was just in certain spots that it caught my attention, such as the “I will stand tall” bit, I don’t know many men who would say this, it’s more of a descriptive thing, like ‘he stood tall at her side’ or something. But again, this is just my own opinion; if it’s true to your style and your voice that’s all that should matter!

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