#Writephoto: Inside the Great Temple

This morning the Oracle gave me a poem based on my rewriting. Looking at Sue’s photo for this week’s Thursday Writephoto prompt, I see that this is also from the story. Here is a section from the end of Book Two.



Gula held Halki’s hand as they hurried towards the red glow, listening to the roaring of hundreds of frantic voices and the screaming of women. Her face darkened­—she thought she heard the cries of children too. She glanced at Halki and saw the same expression of suppressed anger and disgust. Suddenly she was filled with pride in her old man, with his strong chin, his big nose, his receding hairline, and a heart full of compassion.

Something was changing in Providence. She felt it and saw it in the faces of the enders who had also refused their destiny. Something terrible was happening, but it signalled a break in the deadly rhythm, the dull monotony. The air was filled with electricity, as if a storm were breaking within the Hemisphere. The bridge between the past and the present was broken, and the future seemed suddenly possible.

Halki sensed Gula’s eyes on him and his expression softened. He had felt the change too and realised he was grinning. He didn’t care about anything any more, except the future. He wanted a future, and he wanted to share it with Gula.

An astonished cry rang out. Halki looked over his shoulder—the medic must have had a look in the waiting room. He had burst into the corridor and was shouting for the guards. Almost instantly, his voice was drowned by the pounding of heavy-booted feet. Halki was filled with dismay. He hadn’t expected the Black Boys to be alerted so soon.

“Run,” he shouted, grabbing Gula’s arm.

“No, wait.” Vidarr stopped him, counting the running shapes rapidly. “We can take ’em. The corridor’s narrow—they can only come at us two at a time.”

The men hesitated, clenched their fists and nodded. The women stood back against the wall but made no attempt to run. They had all begun to dream of a future, and they could not envisage it without their husbands.

Shouting their excited war cries the Black Boys were upon them, but strangely their batons were held low, not raised to strike.

“Get outta the way!” they yelled, and without slowing their pace shouldered past the stupefied men to disappear into the red glow round the last corner.

Gula put her hand on Halki’s arm. “Things are changing,” she said, and set off in the wake of the Black Boys.

When they rounded the corner they looked down on the glittering altars and fluted columns of the Great Temple bathed in red light. The air was dry, crackling with heat and noise and vibrating with the running steps of the Black Boys. They hurried down a staircase leading to one of the lateral chapels, hesitating to set out across the echoing marble immensity. The Black Boys were pouring out through the half-open temple doors in a howling mob, eager to get to grips with whatever was outside.

The world was changing. She was the proof. Gula looked at the faces of the enders gathered about her and recognised the light in their faces, knowing the same light was shining in hers. Whatever happened next, nothing could take this moment away from them. They had defied the destiny imposed by the law and they had not died. They hesitated at the foot of the staircase, listening to the roar of a great crowd in the Square. Things were changing and they had no idea how. They hesitated, not wishing to break the spell of the moment of complete freedom, unwilling to tread the marble pavement and perhaps discover slavery and death at the far side.

Gula looked into Halki’s eyes as if for the last time, to take the memory of them wherever she was going. Then she flung her arms about his neck and reached up for his lips. Nothing would ever erase that moment, that kiss that might have to replace a lifetime of tenderness. They made that one kiss count for a thousand, and when they parted, they were ready. Hand in hand, they walked across the cold marble towards the din and however much future the changing times had in store for them.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

39 thoughts on “#Writephoto: Inside the Great Temple”

      1. You are so right, Jane! I compare religions with cleaning powder. One has another smell like the other, another has a bigger package, and at least some are only copies. ***lol*** Michael

      2. I find it very hard to understand how modern, intelligent people can seriously believe in ‘God’. They wouldn’t allow so many plot holes in a film or a novel but when it comes to an archaic concept dreamed up by a nomadic tribe living in the Sinai desert three and a half thousand years ago they suspend all critical judgement. That they should argue about the different variations makes no sense at all. If people want to be monotheist, they should be Jews and stop pretending the other religions are anything but ersatz Judaism. Since Judaism isn’t a proselytising religion, it would make the world a much more peaceful place 🙂

      3. You are so right, Jane! I also believe in God. 😉
        But the christian religions do not teach believing in God, the only teach believing in themselves, to get the money and influence into the politics. This time it seems we see it very clearly, here in Europe. What a shame acting against the Islam, and using the Judaism for this fight. The german (also the austrian) priests are paid by state. There is no need form them helping people or to pray. My last mass i visited was 15 years ago, no i prefer going to theatre or cinema, honoring the work of real artists, not of catholic priests acting like theatre pupils. ;_)

      4. Why people can’t believe in a god or supreme being of some kind without having to toe the official line of a ‘big’ religion I don’t know. Can’t people have spirituality without having some old man telling them how to do it?

      5. I agree, Jane! Maybe people in Europe, much more in Germany are socialized in this. They need “mother church” and a papa too. 🙂
        In real i think it s based on Europe’s history. The increasing aristocrats need someone or something make the people believe they are untouchable. The so called “Theory of two swords” (one for the church leader, the Pope, another for the reign) – if i remember right created by Pope Gelasius I. – was the beginning to make people crazy. We need a second Napeolon Bonaparte or we get the so called “neofeudalism”. ;-(

      6. Bonaparte was responsible for the Concordat in 1801. It wasn’t abolished until 1905. I think we all pay far too much attention to what religious leaders have to say. They stick their noses into politics claiming they have the prerogative on moral decisions. Morality and religion do NOT go hand in hand. We still haven’t learned to tell them to mind their own business.

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