Admiring gold filigree and rich reds, my eyes sweep upward towards the sky.
Muffled voices soak the air around me.
I sit in the Dome of the Rock.
How did I get here?
“You want to know something?”
A familiar voice over my right shoulder startles me.
Turning around, I see her million-dollar smile and catch that twinkle in her eye always preceding a boundary-pushing statement.
Eyes slowly drifting upwards to catch the sunlight, she continues, “It amazes me how beautiful our buildings are…how fervent our devotion – our pursuit of rightness and truth…strong foundations.”
Pausing, she fixes her gaze on my face.
“Yet all too often we forget the spark upon which our foundations rest.”
I am shocked to hear these words emanating from her mouth.
“We are distracted by petty battles, ideology, denomination.”
Kneeling beside me, her long-gone smell fills my nostrils. She puts her hand on my shoulder and pronounces, “Seek the spark.”
Quickly, she stands and turns – a faint shimmer materializing across the room.
“Do you want to see something?” she calls to me.
There’s no way I can turn her down.
By now, the shimmer had expanded, filling much of my vision with an indigo light. Before I could catch my breath, she grabs my hand and we step through the veil.
Immediately transported to another place, a tunnel extends before me as far as I can see, bending over the horizon. The walls of the tunnel breathe, slowly sweeping around in an endless circle.
I take a few steps, cold metal clinking beneath my boots.
At first glance, it seems paintings are embedded in the revolving walls of this place. Paintings of exotic, mundane, chilling, harsh, verdant terrains.
I look more closely and they undulate with intentional motion.
They must be recordings.
I am wrong again.
She spins around as I look down at my feet.
Below me, a yawning hole extends into infinity – a spiral galaxy slowly spreads across my field of view.
I gasp and jerk my head up towards hers.
Gaining realization, I grab an ice-cold handrail and try to speak as a powerful vertigo engulfs me. Struggling mightily to hold the space steady, I reach towards her.
She grabs my face with her left hand and snaps quickly with her right.
“Look at me! Look at me! Stay focused. You can do this. I have something I want to show you!”
Her voice fades as a familiar sensation of falling pulls me away from her – away from this place.
I violently start awake.
It was a dream.
Continue to: Part II