Scarlet Hall

By: Jaden Gragg

Hearing the phantom calls of the organ,
And the soft murmur of the church choir,
Awakened from sleep with a feeling she couldn’t describe,
She got out of bed and followed it outside.
A careful mist lay over her small town, a light shield of protection.
On the rusted train tracks she walked,
Each new step brought no new thoughts to her head.
Under the glow of the moon and through the trickle of morning, she journeyed slowly,
In a trance, past the rubble of bricks, past her old home.
The trance held her carefully, a thin web withholding thoughts.
She knew not consciously of where she was headed, but memories tumbled
uncomfortably in her mind and she stopped walking when the abandoned church
sprawled ahead of her.

Hearing the old double doors creak open slowly, as if revealing a crematorium,
was a comforting sound. Her trance held all worries and thoughts away, and she floated
from outside into the church, breathing the moldy air with satisfaction.
She wandered in through the hall, cradling pictures of past ministers and married couples,
all smiling wide under their film of dust, as if they knew she was here,
with them in their scarlet hall. More doors opened, and she found herself treading the
worn carpet leading into the great sanctuary. Though dusted with filth, it still held her
breath with awe. The windows depicted tortured demons and glowing angels in stained
glass, and morning light, faint and delicate, came through the eyes of the martyrs, as if
afraid to enter the room of the church.

Up the steps, leading up to the altar she floated,
Soft notes, a piano, a harp, filled the air around her.
Daintily fluttering, the intricate strains of music lasted only seconds,
but brought up more memories. Silence seemed heavy, but lasted only
seconds as the notes came again, this time slightly louder,
as if another instrument had joined in but no voices, only the melodious laugh of playing.
Silence again, then music, deftly gaining speed and sound. Closing her eyes and swaying along
with the sweet music, it played in her ears and whispered for her to crawl into the altar,
the warm scarlet red altar. The music curled around her head and squeezed her eyes
shut and she obeyed it and the music took control as she climbed into the large
box. The next time she heard the music that had mysteriously come, it was
no longer fine and sensitive, but was played overwhelmingly loud and accompanied
with screeches. Metallic screams took control of her head, banging the knowledge
of who she was. She winced as she heard the magnificent stained glass murals
breaking into a million pieces and doors slamming open and closed. As the
altar slammed shut and thus locked her in, her muffled screaming matched the
fast, cruel pace of the music that had taken her sanity, and she knew nothing was impossible.