It’s not big as Keeps go, four stories high, twenty foot square but it is solid. Dull grey granite blocks with narrow windows sparsely scattered round the walls let in feeble rays of light. The door solid oak and heavily barred, within is safety.
I spend my time drifting between the rooms, up and down the stairs browsing through the stacks of books and scrolls scattered in dusty corners, sometimes excited at a new discovery or comforted by something old and familiar and at other times just lie on the bed and try to think of nothing. Always I return to the window and look out and wonder.
Outside sunlight glows golden almost too bright to bare, it touches everything making all bright and vivid, the grass lush golden green, the trees full of blossom, butterfly dancing in the breeze, birds in full song, deer skip between the trees. The world is full of life and I look on wishing to be part of it.
Why not? what is stopping me? I daren’t, this keep is my safety, without it I am defenceless, I will be overwhelmed, destroyed.
Where is my Aslan, my golden mane lion, when he is with me I am indomitable, he is my courage, strength and wisdom, nothing can harm him and with him by my side I can boldly stride out, go where I wish, explore the distant mountains and wander to the furthest sea’s, face anything. But he is gone, I’ve lost him. I imagine him sleeping in a quiet glade, resting, perhaps I have worn him out.
I wait in hope, someone will come! But why would they? Why with so much life and beauty why would anyone be interested in a small grey keep stuck in the middle of nowhere.
I wait in despair. Time slips by.
I am drifting, half dreaming, half fantasying, not knowing if I am asleep or awake, thoughts just popping in and out of my head of their own accord. Bang! Bang! Bang! I startle into consciousness, what was that? I wait tense and alert, time inches forward. Bang, Bang “hello anyone there?”. The door, there’s some at the door! I jump up and edge to the window and look to see who’s there. A guy standing with his back to the door, as I watch he turns round and looks up, I jump back, my heart skipping a beat, did he see me? What should I do? I press my back against the wall. Bang, Bang, Bang, “Hello!” I skirt the window and creep down the stair’s stopping halfway, indecision ripping me apart. I feel unkempt, and I colour at the thought of the cluttered state in which I live, can I let someone in? I wait tense, unable to step forward not wanting to step back, waiting for something to happen. Silence, then the faint sound of footsteps on gravel, fading away. I slump on the stairs and the tension fades to be replaced by guilt, the guilt of failure, the guilt of cowardeces. After a while I gather myself and head back up the stairs and bury myself in a random book, making myself forget the pain. Recovering from the disappointment and guilt, Killing time.
Time moves on, I know there will be no rescue from without, for I will not answer the call, I cannot let anyone in. so I wait.
And one day as I am busying myself with my books and journals, I not so much hear as feel a mighty roar, a roar the shakes the foundations of the keep, dust and mortar falls from the walls and ceiling, books fall from shelves, I rush to the window and there he is, strong and proud, his main glistening in the sun he looks up and roars again, the keep groans, I rush for the stairs joy in my heart, tumbling down the stairs I lung for the door and heave the bar free and haul open the door. He stands facing me, a look in his eye says I’m ready, are you? I run toward him, and he leaps up, hanging his paws over my shoulders, I gladly take his weight as I hug him fiercely, buried in his mane, feeling his strength, his deep strong breath and the steady powerful beating of his heart. I step back and he drops to the ground. Turning he looks to me as if the say, come on then! And walks down the path. I join him, placing an arm over his shoulder as we head away, abandoning the keep. I laugh as I watch startled deer run at the sight of him and I know this is his domain, here he is King.
I know there will be times when I will lose him, he will need to rest and recuperate and I will retreat to my keep but I know he will always return, each time with more strength and more wisdom.