The Pilgrimage

The young man traced the last of the pattern on the alley wall with chalk as the old man watched. “Are you sure you want to do this? No one from this world has taken the path to the Chapel Perilous and returned since the time of Merlin.”

“Well, there’s a first time for everything.”

There was a rumbling noise, like the turning of enormous gears. A flash of light came from behind the pattern. When the light faded the part of the wall that had been marked off creaked open. On the other side there was a forest.

“Remember,” said the old man, “you can take nothing but the clothes you wear.” The young man reluctantly handed over his cell phone, wallet and keys, then stepped through the doorway.

The hum of insects in the forest drowned out the noise of the city behind him. It was a clear and moonless night. Now he knew what the pattern of dots he’d drawn on the doorway was supposed to be—the stars of an alien sky. As he walked down the path into the dark forest he heard the door slam shut behind him.

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