Brutalist Stories #104 — Behind the Veil
“I’m scared,” the child says, looking up at me with swollen eyes, full of tears.
“We all are, Viktor” I look down at him, hold his hand a little tighter, trying to force out a smile, my eyes welling also.
He turns his head away from me and towards the door and its light. White clouds of steam emanating from his mouth with the regularity of slow breaths, highlighted by the white light of the door.
It’s cold, and we have been waiting for a long time. We have travelled far, and the concrete room we’ve been held in has offered no comfort for the time we’ve had to spend in it.
“What if they’re not there,” Viktor says in a little voice.
“They will be there,” I tell him and move my hand from his, pulling my arm over his shoulder. He’s just over waist height to me. I’ve watched him grow and become this small yet competent human being. He’s come so far, he understands so much. How he has managed to pull what he has from the world that we know now, I doubt I will ever understand. Though, somehow he does, understand. He finds meaning in-between the lines, in the corners and at the edges, he has to, there’s so little else left now.
“What do you think they will teach us?” he says, holding an arm out as to try and hold onto the light coming from the door.
“Everything we could ever need to know,” I say.
“How did they come to know so much?” he says and lowers his arm and puts his mittened hand to his side.
“That is their privilege,” I say, trying to avoid letting him know that I do not know if they will be there, what they will be able to teach us if they are able to show us anything at all.
It is a world I have chased all my life, and since I picked up the boy, nearly all his too. More of an idea than a world, something beyond the veil. If you have found the idea of the place, if you have come to believe that it exists, there is then no going back, the chase is eternal until you are able to find that place, and with it, find peace. It’s to find out not only the truth of the world but the truth of yourself.
“I know it’s real,” Viktor says. “I’ve seen it in my dreams, it’s why I trust you,” he looks back up at me, those eyes still swollen with tears. “And now you’ve brought me here, and we will finally get to see them, to feel them, to understand, to know, it all.”
You can’t destroy an idea, that’s the trouble with them, and once you have been greeted by death in your dreams and have passed deep into another world and are infected with that idea that there is something beyond plain sight, there is no turning away from it.
“I can feel it,” I say. “Let’s try now.”
We step towards the door, towards understanding, towards that idea that has infected us both. All I can hope is that there is the cure for this idea behind that veil, anything else is unthinkable.