Illumination is, you will find, as complicated as any story I write. I first envisioned it after reading Young Goodman Brown, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This will be a three part story, so pace yourself. I won't stretch it out too long, so try to enjoy the story. Trust me, it's worth staying with it to the end.
In the darkness, somewhere around the beginning, two roads diverged in the woods. Originally, the path was made straight, but the darkness caused the way to become obscure. The journeyman stood at the edge of the light, pondering how he had missed the path. He did not know how, but he knew that he had to find his way again, or he would be doomed to wander the darkness, aimlessly searching for the way. He could not find the clues he needed, for the darkness was overwhelming, like a cloak that could not be removed, confining him from the light. He had no staff with which to prod the darkness, so he found himself searching on his knees, his hands stretched out in front of him, groping, searching. Finding nothing recognizable he leaned against a tree, waiting for the light to come to him.
“What’s this, a lost stranger?” A voice jolted him from his sleep. He looked and vaguely saw a man standing before him; this one held a staff.
His reply was humble and polite. “I have lost my way, I cannot continue in my journey until I discover what happened to my path.” He waited while the stranger seemed to accept his plight.
“Come with me, my friend, for I have walked this path many times before. In fact, I have stood in the same place you are now, looking for the way.” He paused and stroked his bearded face, then spoke without seeming to move his mouth. “I have walked this path so many times that I am the path. I am so familiar with every part of the path, down to the very pebbles lining its edge, that I can traverse it blindfolded.”
The journeyman spoke. “I am waiting for light before continuing on my way, for I am lost, and wish not to be lost even more than I am now.”
The stranger nodded with approval. “It is a wise thing you have said, but come with me, for the light is growing stronger even as I have arrived.”
The journeyman surveyed his surroundings; indeed the light was growing brighter. A new day was dawning. He arose from his tree and followed the stranger, who had not waited for him before continuing. After matching his stride he spoke softly, not wanting to violate the quiet still air. “My name is Adam, I believe that I am the first to journey this way.”
“I am called Caminero. I have journeyed this way on many occasions, you are not the first.”
“But I have seen no sign of others, where are they? Those that have gone before, I mean.”
“There are many things you do not know.”
“But where are they?” His question was not impolite, but he regretted the tone it imposed.
Caminero shuffled in his step, but never slowed pace. Adam found it difficult to maintain this speed in the darkness. When Caminero showed no intention to answer the question, Adam repeated himself.
“You ask many questions, Adam.”
“I have many questions in my mind that I wish to be answered. For instance, who are you?”
“I am only here to help you find your way in the dark, it is my job. I establish justice for those that are lost; I guide them to the path.”
“Of whom do you speak?”
“Of those who are lost. Every man’s life will lead him along this path. Only their steps are different, but the end of the path is crucial. Therefore, you must be sure to be on the right path at the end.”
“Who made this path? The one that we are on is now seems well traveled; some one must have gone before us. How do you know this is the right path?”
“When you are in the light, you can plainly see the path that is before you. When you are in the darkness, you can’t see clearly to follow the path.”
“Tell me, Caminero, why do you talk in riddles?”
Caminero laughed with genuine humor. “Do I speak in riddles, or do you hear in them? Perhaps my speech is regular and you hear backwards. On this path there are many things that seem right, but are not.”
“Tell me more about this path.”
“There are two paths, this one and the other. There is a path that seems right to everyone, but the end of that road is...” His voice trailed off.
“The end of the road is what?”
Caminero sighed. “Death.”
Adam considered that. Caminero was genuinely distressed by his own words. “What does that mean?”
“Every person that has gone before you has walked along this very path. There is a time in each life when there is only one path. Shortly after the beginning the paths grow separate, but many people do not realize that there are two paths. Few of those who realize they are one the wrong path will find their way back to the right one.”
“How do they find the right passageway?”
“They must be guided by me. I alone know the path that must be taken, for this road will lead to death.”
“What does that mean, ‘this road will led to death?’”
Caminero continued without appearing to grow weary of the questions. “As I have said before, there is a path that leads to death, for there are many pitfalls on this road. The end of this path is a dead end. However, at the end, there is not time to turn around, for the darkness pays its laborers with death. Many dangers await you ahead, many opportunities to fail.”
“But how can I know that you truly know the way?”
Caminero laughed again. “I have told you that I alone know the way. I established this path, and the other, long before you started walking.”
“Where are we going now?”
“I am leading you into the light, it is not far ahead.”
“What happens when we get to the light?”
“Let us get there, first. Many don’t make it that far.”
“And if I do?”
“Then I will give you water, for surely you will be thirsty by then.”
Adam stopped walking. “Sir, if you have water, I pray that you will give it to me now, for I am about to perish from thirst.”
“You must wait until you are in the light, for you cannot see to drink in the dark.”
Adam walked in silence for a time. He found the road difficult to follow without stumbling. Yet, Caminero walked with ease and never snagged a toe, moving like a lion on the hunt. Adam noticed that Caminero seemed to have more light around him than did he. In fact, the light seemed to follow Caminero, while avoiding Adam.
Suddenly, the woods thinned and they stood in a large meadow. The path they were on was plainly seen and continued over the rise. Adam noticed that the light intensified as they emerged from the forest. He could see much clearer now.
“How far is the right path?”
“Every step takes us closer. Stay close to me and you will see it soon.”
“What happens when we get there? How will I know the way?”
“I will stay with you to the end; I will guide you until you reach your destination. Be patient, the path is just ahead. You must trust me, for I alone know the way. We must not stop, for there are many dangers ahead.”
“Sir, you have proven your worth to me, I will devote my life you as long as I have the means. After all, you brought me from the darkness.”
To Be Continued...