The Decision on the Stairwell
By Kay Willis
By Kay Willis
Once I had a dream. I stood on a mountain so high I burnt my finger on a star. When I looked down I could see the whole world. I looked below me to the North. I saw beautiful flowers, plants, and trees. I smelled the sweet perfume of the lilies and roses. As I gazed at the beauty, I began to panic. The colors of the flowers and grass were fading. For a moment the once splendid scene lingered in black and white. Then there was not a trace of a flower. The beauty had vanished.
I looked to the West. The entire animal kingdom stood below me. Exotic birds sang, horses danced, and fish swam in imaginary ponds. The animals acted as though something horrible was to happen soon. I knew also.
Invisible hunters passed through the meadows of wildlife. Guns that could not be seen could be heard everywhere. Every gunshot was a thunderstorm in itself, and with each crack of "lightening", another animal would topple to its death. Helplessly I stood, unable to protect the beautiful creatures from their horrific, heart-breaking fate. Soon silence overcame, and the only memoirs of the massacre were the lifeless animals lying far below me and the terrible drama playing over and over inside my head.
Once again, I cried for things lost.
I turned to the South. I looked down on the human race. I wanted to cry out to them, warn them. But I knew that there was no stopping the force causing these disasters to happen. Reluctantly, I sat on the edge of my mountain and hoped that perhaps the humans might somehow save themselves. The show started. It was excruciating - I was watching mankind crumble. I didn't have to take notes. The things I saw were branded into my memory for eternity. Disease, murder, and drugs were the main causes of our death. We killed ourselves - a third of the deaths were preventable, many intentional, and the rest carelessness despite knowledge of danger. The fall of the humans took longer than that of the plants and wildlife. Hours after it started, everyone was gone but one little girl. With tears in my eyes, I saw the last murder - a suicide. My tears flowed freely. I hated the helplessness that all I could do was cry. The world had ended. I was so alone, on my mountain. No bird sang to comfort me, no hand lay on my shoulder to sympathize with me. It seemed that enough tears wouldn't come to make up for the lost lives.
I turned to the east, my last chance for salvation. I was surprised to see two stairways, one leading up, and the other down. I stared down, and the life and world I'd left lay one hundred steps below me. I looked at the other staircase. What lay at the top was a mystery - it was hazy and white. I realized it could only be heaven. I made a sloppy decision with little thought. I walked toward the stairs leading up and started climbing. I told myself I didn't want to see the human race die out again. I couldn't help looking over the plain wood banister to give one last glance to the world that I deserted. The world was fading quickly. Cautiously I took the step back down to the stairwell. The light was restored to the world. My decision was made. If I went to heaven it would mean that I admitted that life as we know it was over. I could not desert the world, even though it had deserted me. I started down the stairs, deciding that my trauma was a gift. It was very hard to survive, but I could feel that if I worked hard enough, the gift would not have to be given to anyone else. I created a new gift - myself.