The man in the cloak didn’t rush me. He waited as I hesitated.
I looked up at him. “Are you sure it will be safe?”
He nodded. “Yes. It will be safe, child.”
I took another step, and he turned, leading on.
The winding road of before had led to this dark tunnel. It scared me. There was a lot of… dark things out there. Behind me. All around me. Probably waiting for me. And they seemed to all want to hurt me. Control me. Change me.
The man in the cloak had promised me a haven from it all.
I pulled my own torn and threadbare cloak tighter around me. Not that it could really help. The wind blew right through it. And it failed to serve as even the weakest sort of armor and protection when I was attacked.
The man in the cloak had saved me the last time. So now I was walking behind him. Slow step, after slow step. Hesitating every other, just because I was so afraid that this place would be no different. There had been others who promised me a place of rest, and security. But it hadn’t worked out.
The man in the cloak stopped. We had reached a dead end.
“No… No…” I stepped away from him. “You lied.”
“Shhh. No, child. I have not. Just have a little faith in me.”
Faith. Easy word to say. Hard to actually… have.
The man in the cloak ran his hand over the stone wall. Pressed a certain spot. The ground shook as the wall fell away into the ground. A secret passage.
My breath quickened, and I could hear each heartbeat in my ears. What would be on the other side?
The man in the cloak stepped through, and then turned, waved for me to follow.
Eyes down, watching my feet, I carefully stepped over the rock door in the ground, and into the light on the other side of the tunnel.
The man in the cloak reached down and raised my head, and pointed all around.
And in that moment, I was breathless. This place was real.
He knelt down beside me.
“There will be hard times, and good times. Happy times, and times that make you cry. Times you feel like hating it all, but times that make the love just seem to gush out. It won’t be easy. Nothing is easy. But the hardship is worth going through. Welcome to the sanctuary.”