It happened in a dream—or what I thought to be a dream, which truly, felt as real as any other thing.
I awoke in a place far from concrete, lights, and city traffic. It was a place of dark, countryside fields and black forests sprawled over rolling hills, laden with the scent of pine. It was actually the carriage that jostled me to my senses. I had no idea how I had gotten there, but in the distance, a castle loomed and I knew it would be my destination. I watched with parted lips, in awe, as the tall castle doors grew larger.
Once my ride had come to a stop, I stepped out of the cab and noticed I was clothed in a magnificent dress. I turned to thank my driver but found only writhing shadows and an eerie light in place of a man. The darkness that made this ambiguous creature seemed to study me, at least for a moment I believed so. It then shut the carriage doors and departed without a word.
I was left before the doors of the castle in heels and a flowing dress that sparkled like captive stars. There was no secret knowledge in my mind about why I had come. But what I did know, was that I had been invited. Someone or something had called me to this place outside of reality.
With surety, I stood before the doors and they opened for me with no command. A bright light flooded the dark of the night and I squinted as I peered into glittering halls of marble and gold. This place was warm and I could hear soft music and laughter. Unlike the outside it was welcoming but deep in my heart I could sense the contrast was a ruse, for no glamorous thing could truly lay in the outskirts of this unearthly gloom. The darkness around me held a heavy weight, a sinister gaze that watched me.
I went inside unhindered, my dress flowing around me. I found myself amongst a party of people, all dressed in formal ball wear. They filled the grand hall, masks on their faces, and it was only then that I thought to check my own. I too wore some sort of half mask, fit for the masquerade we were all invited to attend. In the midst of the hall were couples dancing. I could see their smiles but never their eyes for beneath their masks was only darkness. Some part of me knew then that they were not the same as me, but more closely related to the thing in the carriage.
Suddenly feeling out of place, I took my stand just to the side, keeping in sight the beautiful footwork of the people who danced. I was suddenly reminded of all the moments I was never invited to a party and those where I was, but sat to the side on my own, watching as everyone enjoyed their time. I was not meant to be here. I was an outcast, a stain among their perfection. It always was and would always be so. I should not have been invited.
This is when I saw him. He was absolutely beautiful; more stunning than the marbled floors and gold pillars or the strange, dark-eyed people that danced gracefully. He had blonde hair, so pale it seemed as white alabaster. His eyes were blue, piercing and bright as if they glowed by the light of the moon.
When he smiled, it lit up my heart and I knew that he was the one that had called me here. This man wore no mask. He looked at me with such knowing, as if he could tell every person beneath their mask with but a gaze. I had no doubt that he knew my intentions and every thought that ran through my mind.
This beautiful man came to me and I found myself smiling, unable to look away from such a beautiful being. He held out his hand and without hesitation, I took it and felt its warmth.
He led me to the dance floor and as if I had always known it, I began to dance with him like all the others; an endless, fluid movement that took us across the floor. A true joy and happiness filled me like no other. I knew it was not natural and what I saw around me could not be the truth; I could still feel the darkness pressing in from outside the castle. There was something sinister, a quiet, unspoken evil in that place. But as I looked into his bright eyes, I felt I was safe from any harm and put my concerns to the back of my mind.
What darkness could harm me here in these bright halls? And what was evil but our own relative moral disposition?
The man looked at me as though he knew all answers but not a word fell from his lips as we danced. Soon, the music that seemed to drift from thin air had paused and our dance ended. I was left mesmerized and breathless; my heart raced and my face flushed in a way that I could only say was the beginnings of some infatuation. I looked at him, not wanting him to take another’s hand, and asked.
“Who are you?”
His smile never waned and his knowing eyes not once looked bemused. The man answered me.
“You know exactly who I am.”
The deep silk of his voice made my bones ache. I knew instantly who he was. His name screamed within my heart and mind but from my lips it came only as a whisper.
By now, everyone had stopped dancing and they watched us with deep, abyssal eyes. I knew now as well, that they were part of this world and appeared to me as Human. Lucifer nodded his head. He was king here, in this domain, which I could only name as Hell, for it was where he, the prince of darkness, resided.
“Is this place evil?” I asked him.
“Only should you find it to be,” he answered.
“Is what I see a ruse?”
“I am the light bearer and where I walk, it shall be glitter and gold.”
I had no more questions because I could feel all the answers come to me as if him and I were linked mind-to-mind. I knew this to be of his power.
The prince gestured and I looked to see a balcony. He led me to it; the doors led outside. The night was as dark as ever and the only view we had was of tall pine trees, black against the sky, like watchful giants.
“Why am I here?” I asked, though I knew the answer.
“Because I have called you,” he said.
Yes, I was chosen. Though the answer did not come to me whether it be for a righteous or nefarious purpose.
“Will you bear my mark, child of the Morningstar?”
Then I felt a shift in the air, a certain pressure that told me Fate was changing. My lips were dry and my heart raced. I wanted to ask if I had a choice, but I did, for he was the Father of free will and choice.
“Will you let the darkness in?”
My body felt heavy with his words.
And he smiled again and held out his hand.
I found myself smiling back and took hold of it.
As I did, I woke from that place, just like a dream. And in my bed, I clenched my fist and felt a smile come over me, for my palm was burning and the smell of pine yet lingered.