A Door is opening in the middle of the temple. Faith, prayers, the concentrated beliefs of many in the entities which should be here came together in a concentrated force. This force pushed at reality, causing ripples within it, until it split. This split is turning into a Door.
Not everyone can see it. Not everyone will be able to open it. If you wish hard enough, if your desire is truly strong, you can enter it. You’ll be able to step through the Door into the place between realities, where everybody dreams. You’ll be in the realm which which I call the Shadow Forest.
This is the proper way to open a Door, according to Aunt Duessa. An Ashelocke uses the faith of the credulous, the hope of those too weak to make their own dreams come true. They step over these fools as they walk between worlds, carving out bits of unreality for themselves. From dreams, an Ashelocke can shape her own web of nightmares, luring unwary food to come to her.
This is the way many Ashelockes and arachnocrats have chosen, but it doesn’t feel quite right for me. Such Doors are built on faith, a wish for something greater than themselves to manifest and grant their wishes. Not a desire to be great enough to make your wishes come true yourself.
I’ll need a different Door. One I’ve created myself through art. Shaping such a portal will be going against my aunt’s wishes. She regards my painting and sculpture with utter scorn. I’ll be going against Gabrielle’s wishes, too. She completely lacks any ambition other than to collect the lost bits and bobs left by those careless enough to drop them. ‘Brie is trying to put all of those pieces back together again. The last thing ‘Brie wants is to open another Door to the Shadow Forest, luring more souls to fracture themselves in the realm beyond.
If only Christopher was at my side! He would have understood, well, he wouldn’t have approved. At all. He’d support me, though, regardless of his fear and doubt.
Perhaps if I stretched out my hand, reached through this Door, I’d be able to touch him. Christopher and I were never about temples, though. We were the questers through a secret garden of roses and thorns, whispering our hopless dreams to each other.
I turned my back on the Door in the temple. Let Aunt Duessa gloat over what a masterpiece she’s wrought, even though she did little enough to create it. I’ll go back to Omphalos. I’ll walk in the garden beyond the gate, among the flowers. Perhaps Christopher’s shadow will come to me, if I wish for it with all my heart.
After all, dreams and wishes can create and open Doors.