Sanctuary Portal

Kim at dVerse has this weeks “Prosery” challenge of a 144 word-story using a certain line from Yeats’ “The Song of Wandering Aengus” (in italics below). I won’t claim to having done it or the wonderful Whelan painting here justice, but what fun trying! Thanks, Kim. ❤ Check out Mr. Linky for more “proseries.”

Michael Whelan, “Sanctuary” (oil on canvas, 2019)


“A red-ribboned heart he had given me to wear,” the dying woman breathed. “But I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head.

The priest nodded wisely. The nun did so likewise.

Outside a young girl stopped to hear all that was said.  

“Now I’m unsettled. I miss him so. I lost one world to gain another, both now fading fast.”

A voice came from the portal, a voice that sounded far off.  “It’s not too late, my darling. I’ve been waiting this aeon’s passing. There’s more that lies ahead.”

She sat up, her heart failing. She threw open her arms while passing across the threshold’s steps.

The last they saw was a sunlit orb floating into the light.

The priest nodded wisely. The nun did so likewise.

The girl outside the window felt a fire inside her head.  

36 thoughts on “Sanctuary Portal”

  1. Oh my God! I have to know everything here; this is so mystic and sort of science fiction-y. I just love it so much, that ending though with how it calls back to the prompt lines, that was brilliant. The culmination was shocking–if I haven’t said it before, I will say it now: You are one hell of a writer!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The priest nodded wisely. The nun did so likewise.
    Somehow for me, the repetition of these words adds a circular finality to this story. Death is not the end….it is the continuation some would say.
    I like this very much. I read it a second time and now I’m contemplating and reflecting on the meaning gained here.

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    1. So glad the story spoke to you in such a meaningful way. What more could I ask? Death is not the end but one likes to think that it is the end of regrets. Thank you, Lillian.


  3. #1 I love the word portal because it feels like a connector between two places. #2 I love the priest and nun and the listener repeated at the end. #3 I like what transpires between the portal and the repeated characters. #4 I love the idea of a golden orb traveling through the portal and I also love the fire being transmitted to another before the passing.

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  4. Like the mysticism in this. Death as a threshold to something other. I too like the repetition of “The priest nodded wisely. The nun did so likewise.” And the following lines with the girl that ties it all together.

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  5. I love the mixture of mystical, religious and science fiction in your piece, Dora, and the idea of finding sanctuary in a portal. Was Whelan’s painting a portal into the story or did the story come first? It’s such a poignant story, too, especially the ‘sunlit orb floating into the light’, although I want to know what happens to the young girl outside the window, now the fire in the head has been passed on to her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m curious about the girl too. 😊I was looking for a starting point to the story and Whelan’s paintings came to mind, nothing specific, until I saw this one! But your Yeats quote compelled for me the mystical quality, no surprise there. A great prompt to work with, Kim, thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. David,
      They seemed to have an unsurprised attitude or even detachment that I thought worth stressing, especially in contrast to the young girl and certainly the dying woman.

      I’m so glad you liked it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dwight. I was imagining an end-of-life moment of regret and sadness, all evaporating in the light of eternity. So glad you liked it.


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