STORIES that stretch your mind
The Best Metaphysical Fiction of the year from Thresholds Quarterly
by Martin Bromirski
Maureen reached the top of the hill and saw the church for the first time. It was at the foot of a mountain and shone with color between the bright healthy green of the earth and the heavenly blue of the sky. It caught the light and sparkled in the sun like a jewel. Ruby red, emerald green, sapphire blue, and the most brilliantly hopeful yellow youve ever seen.
From the top of the hill where Maureen stood, the church was the only structure she could see. There werent any other houses or buildings, there werent any telephone poles or even any roads. The church stood like a stone, not constructed, but set by God Himself.
As Maureen continued down into the valley the church grew closer and larger, yet as the scale changed the building seemed to lose none of its preciousness or intimacy. Maureen felt it was as if she herself were growing smaller, shrinking and tightening focus, to become a facet of the beautiful gem she had seen from the hilltop behind her.
Many others had also come to see the church, most for the first time, but the mood was bittersweet. The beautiful building so many had come so far to see was scheduled for demolition at the end of the day.
The church was made entirely of stained glass and at one time was always filled but now stood abandoned and had been declared unsafe. If you didnt believe that the thick stained glass floors could hold you then they probably wouldnt, they creaked and cracked as visitors tiptoed across them, hesitantly. Many people had been hurt.
Maureen entered through the large open front doors and milled around with all the other people on the first floor, grateful for this last chance to be allowed inside. The colored light was everywhere, it mottled peoples skin, their clothes, on smiling teeth. Even the floor was bright, somehow.
Maureen climbed the wide stairway to the second floor, to a room as large as the first but much less crowded. These people werent mingling as much and stayed close to the wall, cautious. Through the colored floor you could see the top of peoples heads in the crowded room below.
Walking across the open room, across the colored well stocked lake, Maureen had no fear of falling through and decided to go up to the third floor. On the third floor there were just two other people, much older than herself. It was quiet and calm and bright and peaceful and high above the ground and nervous crowd she could see far below. The three of them stayed up there until it was time to go. They were evacuating the building; everybody out!
Maureen was the last to leave the top floor. As the three descended the staircase she took a last look over her shoulder and saw the shimmering figure of a girl, all in yellow, with golden sparkles and pink flower petals in her hair. She was reaching up for something Maureen couldnt see and when she smiled a pink glow appeared on her yellow cheeks. The light in the room grew brighter and brighter and then she was gone.
Martin Bromirski lives in Japan and works as an English teacher. He holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in painting and drawing from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.