The weary eyed man roamed aimlessly in the darkness, hoping for the charity of one passer by, as unknown to him as he to them. The only way to mark his progress, the unwelcoming face of steel doors looking out at him as an object of scorn, set against blood red siding which signaled for him his mortality at its end, as a lamb upon the door post, and the provincial need to enter the mocking doors and find his resting place within.
Mockingly, the sound of the macabre carnival would wound its way through the labyrinth of his dreams. Men proudly holding their validation of honor mightily above the heads of all to see, making Beowulf’s war cry as they descended back into the fray, hoping to once again prove themselves in sport and chivalry.
This labyrinth, however, wasn’t just a dream. It was the terrible reality of the pilgrim seeking salvation at the door of any, only to be rebuffed. Where was Baucus and Philemon to provide him his due hospitality? Where was the innkeeper now? And the noise, which directed all towards it as upon the opening of the seals of Redemption! From what infernal choir did it issue? What is its song so I may join in the chorus?
At once he saw it, his macabre carnival. The boy stared in holy terror through the shorn cloth that had exposed the celestial delights therein. Then he heard it. Where the general chaos of mismatched spheres had been unremarkable as he made his decent towards the tower looming ahead as Purgatory above Dis, here was a true aesthetic delight.
At its gate stood a guard, worn from 4 years of revelry, cold and unforgiving. The man saw that no play of words or enticements could open this door whose handle he was destined to grasp since he orientated himself in this place. Only by speaking the true words of friendship could he ever enter. So he looked at ancient wisdom written on the door for all those who would enter, and spoke clearly the name, “Justin.”
The door had been open, and it could not be shut. The walls that encompassed this grave fortress were too tall to climb. There was no escape.