I wake and open my eyes.
It is dark, but that is to be expected.
There is nobody around.
That isn’t expected.
No children. No progeny. No kin. Nobody.
It doesn’t feel right. Something is wrong.
I walk to the entrance and look out across the barren landscape.
I can still see the villages and the fields full of crops, but I know they are gone. The thin soil could not bare the weight of the plows for too long. This was no longer Home and people had to purposefully travel to see me.
I sniff the air.
Although what I see seems unchanged for time out of mind, I know everything has changed. The world is different. The times are different.
But this time shall pass too, as they all have. Perhaps much sooner than any of the people would believe. That’s they way it always is, of course. The seeds of their destruction were planted long ago and nobody can see them growing until it is too late. They will soon be gone. Like the others.
A family is walking up. They are not my family. They are not my people. They are strange. They live across the ocean and just want to ogle my place.
I turn and go back in, go back to sleep. I will wake later. Perhaps the world will be better.
And yet, there may be something here.
I pause and watch the people approach.
“Mom! Dad! There’s a ghost! I saw it.”
The boy ran towards them from the tomb’s entrance.
“No Tim, there are no ghosts,” Will said.
Janet just smiled.
That kid had a huge imagination. When they were planning the trip, he saw a picture in the guidebook and yelled, “Fiona’s bedroom!”
“No, honey, that’s a chamber tomb. Like dead bodies,” she had said with a mock shiver.
“No. It’s where Princess Fiona slept in Shrek. Remember?”
Janet did remember and chuckled at the animators’ little joke of having the princess in a tomb. A little different than the Princess and the Pea! But the chamber tomb of the guidebook made their itinerary.
Janet watched as Will, holding Tim’s hand, walked around the tomb, talking to the child in whispered tones. Perhaps he now really understood that it really was a tomb.
Janet walked into the tomb. Just past the entrance she turned to look out. The entrance framed the landscape, putting a boundary on the boundless land.
A chill ran up her spine. A presence.
Janet took a few more steps in. It grew dark quicker than she expected. For a second there was a panic, but then calm. She tried to remember what the guidebook had said, but couldn’t fit the words to the place. She let the words go and just turned into herself and looked for what was within.
She didn’t know how much time had passed. A minute? An hour? It didn’t matter, she felt refreshed.
Feeling like an idiot, she said a little prayer of thanks to the presence that she had felt.
She went back to the entrance. This time the frame of the tomb had the opposite effect. Instead of putting a boundary on the landscape, it opened it into infinity. It was as if the Universe lay in embryo form within the little chamber and so from this vantage, she could see how it had birthed into the Infinite.
That didn’t make sense. On a cosmic scale the tomb was brand new. And yet…
“Hey honey…” Tim and Will were standing by the car. Will was waving.
She waved back, took on last look within and walked down to the car to rejoin the Universe and continue their Journey.
I smile. Perhaps my people are still around, at least in spirit. I will sleep more comfortably. I pull it back to me, bring it within and sleep. For how long? I don’t know.