David Madore's WebLog: Gratuitous Literary Fragment #84 (the summons)

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(Monday)

Gratuitous Literary Fragment #84 (the summons)

I stared at the message, then at him who had brought it, uncomprehending. Then the idea dawned upon me: the summons.

It would be inaccurate to say I had ceased to believe this moment would come to pass: rather, I had forgotten the very possibility; much as a man caught in a nightmare is oblivious of reality—and the shock I felt cannot be better described than as awakening, from the darkest dream, if not to real life at least to the memory of real life. An awakening as providential as the arm catching the hero in Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum precisely when he is about to fall to his death.

I was overwhelmed, with joy no doubt, but also, for the first time in years, with fear: for hope was restored in my heart, and fear so often goes with it. But it was a good kind of fear: the sort that makes you feel alive.

—So, are you with us?

—To the death!

There have been occasions when I have used those words without meaning. Now was not one of them.

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