Secrets of the Fallen Necropolis
Rolling from the Wilderness of Vision
to the Mediterranean Sea, waves of fog
engulf noctilucent clouds
in the pitch-black darkness
of yet another moonless autumn night.
Thieves and vagabonds gather in the valley
in search of treasures left by kings of antiquity.
Some find gold in the fabled necropolis;
others discover silver, sapphires,
and indecipherable scroll fragments
among the flurries of falling leaves.
Most adventurers find themselves pyrited:
that there’s no way out
once they’ve passed the ruins
of the civilization’s greatest known temple.
Only one man has ever entered and left this place alive.
The scattered shells of scarab beetles
glimmer a brass and ruby path
to the heart of the temple,
where it is said the treasure lies.
Those who have turned away from their thirst for wealth
claim a man-eater prowls that labyrinth of limestone
for hearts blacker than its own,
blacker than the black-blood roses
found here and here alone.
It is also said greedy ghosts haunt
the gnarls of nettles and strangler figs
that continue to parasitize the musty skeletons
of the long-dead, once-mighty oak trees
that still divide the edifice into distinct sections.
Many of the hallways reek of decay,
their walls covered in mildew
and the floors wet with blackened soil
composed of rat guano and rotten leaves, except
for the one
that leads to the heart of the ruins;
it’s the one that ruins your heart.
All who walk through the Black-and-Gold Scarab Door,
are bound to their desires and the necropolis
and charged with treason against them.
They that enter this room never return as they are,
even if they do, and may be,
it is written on the wall in Aramaic.
It is said that guests are greeted with miasma
when the predator gazes from afar.
Its obsidian, opalescent eyes are soul-piercing halos
that relentlessly sift through the toxic haze
until your breath turns against you
and you subconsciously-but-willfully
exchange the treasures of your heart
for the treasures of the temple.
“Your riches have become your poverty!
the monster exclaimed to the man in the beginning,
the only one who escaped with his freedom.
“Or, at least, that is what I should have said.
Leave now – I cannot touch even the hairs on your head
because you sought the only treasure that is white as snow.
I cannot give you what you seek,
for reasons that you by now should already know.”
He then disappeared into the shadows;
the free man ran
through the sunlit autumn leaves
out of the necropolis as quickly as he could.
He stumbled on a cornerstone,
then righted himself.
He was able to read the plaque
that revealed the identity
of the mysterious place.
“This is no sacred necropolis.
There is no temple to be found.
This is the Great Library of Alexandria,
one of the Seven Wonders of the World,
believed to have been
burned to the ground
more than two thousand years ago!”
“Thank God!” the man addressed a group of people in Jerusalem this morning, “It is better to have true faith in Him than to possess all the knowledge in the world!”
The truth is absolute: it is only black or white. However, one must trust the truth in order to believe it. That is where true faith comes in: it is faith in the truth. You trust the truth and believe it is true. But there is only one person who is always true, faithful, trustworthy, and worth believing – Jesus Christ, God Himself.”
The crowd mourned the preacher’s closing remarks. They booed him. Many called him a lunatic. Some threw stones and yelled blasphemy (or muttered it to themselves). Most simply left him and walked back to complacency.
“Good riddance,” they proclaimed as they did so.
“May God bless you”, he replied as he waved goodbye to everyone.
The remnant was enthralled by his teaching. They shouted, “Good riddance to Alexandria. Hallelujah!”
He smiled and told us the following, “Show them grace, just as you have been shown grace by the Father in Heaven.”
As he walked away from us, we realized that he was right.
From that point forward, we chose to do the following.