February 3, 2012 (Night)
Charcoal gray, the old fortress stands alone, a perfect square of stone rising
from the barren landscape. No plant cracks the hard dirt that surrounds the
structure. Nothing living can be seen or heard. The air is still. No light breaks
through the clouds. It is neither day nor night.
Suddenly, someone is here with me, a presence familiar yet strange, perhaps
friendly, but clearly dangerous. This person lingers on the border of shadow
and light, compels me to go into one of the square stone turrets placed on
each corner of the unadorned fortress walls.
I stand on the ground floor of one of the windowless turrets. In the center,
a narrow staircase encased by light spirals steeply into the shadows. The stairs
and walls are etched with spider webs.
“Go,” the faceless man demands.
Slowly, I ascend the steps. I worry that the man will attack me from behind,
try to shove me over the handrail. I can no longer see the ground below,
just the beam of light surrounding the stairwell that blurs and gradually fades
into the darkness above and below.
I ﬁ nally reach the top. The staircase leads to a dead end, where thick and
impenetrable concrete forbids access to where I want to go above, onto ram-
parts set against a moonless sky. Blocked, I turn to go back down.