A deep rumble echoed down the alleyway.
“Is it over? Is the ‘quake quiet?”
“I don’t know.”
He turned in the direction of the sound, peering beyond the little girl’s tear-stained face.
Across the rubble, in the midst of the gray sky and gray bricks, an ivory glow was growing in intensity. He grabbed her hand, uncertain of whether to flee or follow such a mystery.
“I think it is. I think it is finished,” Petra whispered with excitement.
Joining her optimism could lead to a beautiful truth or another door to death. But the glow was different. It resembled what he imagined if the wall was destroyed, the entrance to a world apart from this colorless prison.
Rumors had been rampant in recent weeks, spoken as the violence escalated. A man was said to be proclaiming the possibility of peace, about the possibility of leaving the laws of old for life beyond the wall. Riots against him ensued, officials clinging to the traditions that had always dictated the realm. In the dark corners of their homes the people secretly treasured his speeches. The boy was among them.
After all, it had been decades since there was talk of the wall falling. To some it was a legend, to others a prophecy. Despite the potential beauty behind the wall, those eager to see it down knew it would take sacrifice. Would this man lead the way? That was the hope three days ago, when he was still alive.
Petra took a step, then another, slowly tip-toeing her way along the debris. She turned around when their connected arms went taut.
Her small body was tinged with light, the glow already in the streets ahead. He had met her only minutes before the ground rippled and threw them to the floor. She was another child of the streets, the lowest of the low, her clothes tattered and darkened with ash. And yet, while a stranger, her faith compelled him to follow.
The two made their way between the cramped tenements, their eyes squinting against the glow. Many were doing the same, cautiously walking in the forward direction, while others rushed back toward the darkness.
His eyes anxiously searched for signs of the wall, the cold black marble. Usually it towered above the highest roof, its edifice touching the clouds.
The heavens were clear. A soft blue filled what once was a continual overcast. He looked down to seek his sneakers crunching upon black, not gray, soot. Was the wall beneath him? His pulse jumped. Glancing at Petra, he saw the glow now fully envelop her eyes.
Their legs kicked into a run. Fading away were the gray neighborhoods. The bondage of his slavery was becoming void, the pain of his guilt losing its power.
Upon a distant hill was a startling, far-reaching palace. Its white columns were countless, stones being placed one after another in constant construction. People were streaming into its doors, eager to add to the assembly.
“I knew it!” Petra squealed beside him.
“That he would be the one to save us, to destroy the wall!”
“The Prince of Peace.”
He matched her gaze, earnestly searching for their hero.
At the corner of the palace, there was a man. A man whose magnificence was pouring out the powerful glow. It was the man who had suffered and died three days ago, now very much alive.
He was welcoming them home.
“19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” Ephesians 2:19-21