The image of the journal slid into her mind and she remembered that one of the scripts read:
“This is the mark of safe passage, the mark of light. Your feet and heart will see comfort and joy while those unmarked shall wander and labor ’til infinite’s end. See this mark and rejoice, for your time has come for peace and prosperity.”
At the end of the book, a simple line had been isolated from the rest of the journal: Fear not, for this is Atlantis. Atlantis. The word repeated over and over in her mind. It ruffled at the edges and jumped out. She could not remember what had happened, why she was seeing this. Where was she?
Her eyes burned and began to water as she stared unblinking at the pages. Her mind was furiously trying to figure out what the words meant. At some point, she remembered thinking that-
The passage meant Atlantis was heaven and hell simultaneously. Of course, it seemed preposterous to her, she had never been a religious-
Serena, my child.
Person. She believed in facts, not made up creations so people could feel that they had morals. It was just too confusing. She couldn’t make out what had happened to her. She knew, she absolutely knew she had been in the mouth of that cave and slipped. Had she died?
Jolted out of her hypnosis, Serena sat upright in a plush bed. Sweat drenched her clothing and her breathing was haggard. She whipped the sleeve of her shirt up. It was still there and more prominent now. She began to cry. She had never burst into tears, always keeping a professional façade. But this time it was different. This time, every barrier of reality, every fact of life that she had known was crumbled like a great stone wall.
A smooth hand brushed at her wet cheeks and she looked up, sorrow wrought upon her face. The man spoke to her, in the same language as he had done before but now she understood:
“Do not cry, my dear. You are safe, at home, in peace. I am the Great Father-”
The text of the journal flashed before her eyes, and she thought of heaven, of God.
“-here to protect those that have earned the Mother’s favor. She watches over all and this sign,” he pressed on her wrist, “means that you will always be safe. You have been true.”
She froze, her mouth drawn in a tight line, “What has happened to me?”