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After an unusually hot summer, fall drifted in with a blast of cold air that would cause an Eskimo to shiver. Snow began falling days ago, and I, in my parka and snow boots headed out into the forest.

It wasn’t that I hated work, or even mildly disliked it. I would rather be inside when the temperature dropped this low. Cutting down trees has always been my job. Ever since I was a child of ten, I would help my father in the forest. It was decent money and respectable work. As a child with no formal education, I relied on back breaking labor to get through the days in the remote North Dakota forest.

On this particular day, I would carry on with my usual routine. After about a one mile hike, I made it to the section of trees I was to start working on. Ever faithful, I found my first victim of the day and started hacking away at the base of the trunk. The first whack made a soft thud and sent a shiver through me as the axe recoiled in my hands. As I started hitting the tree harder, I heard the unmistakable sound of a tree branch shattering under the weight of the snow and ice. Very quickly I backed away from the tree, tripping over a stump, as the tree branch made its quick journey to the ground.

I pulled myself up and dusted the snow off of my face. As I surveyed the surrounding area, I noticed something was different. It seemed as if a bright light had lit up the entire forest floor. Had one tree branch cleared enough space for that much sun to come down? I looked up, only to find that I could only see small specs of sunlight through the treetops. No gaping hole existed from where the limb had broken off. This was a most peculiar thing to me, and I explored around the area to see what could be causing this intrusive light.

I made my way about 50 feet north, whereupon, the most brilliant light I had ever seen was gleaming. The light was so intense that my eyes had trouble adjusting to what was causing it. After a few seconds went by, I was able to discern a narrow structure before me. It appeared to have been molded of gold, sturdy, and tall. It was an alluring sight, as I wandered up to it. About five feet away, the gate suddenly swung open. I paused, and watched intently, not knowing what to expect.

A few minutes went by, and I cautiously made my way through this magnificent structure. My body warmed, and I had to remove my parka to keep from sweating. There was no sunlight, but the place I was in was bright. It was warm. The snow fell anyway. It shown like diamonds as the light cascaded off of each flake. I was no longer on a forest floor, there was a pathway beneath my feet. I stood, gaping mouth, as I realized the path was made of gold. I looked up the sky was the most perfect azure blue I have ever seen. I was dizzy with emotion, I began to weep. Slowly, I made my way down the path, I heard voices. I froze, intently listening for what I was hearing. One voice was female, the other I did not know. The female voice was growing closer and my heart started racing. The lady appeared out of a grove of trees, staring directly at me.

Her eyes were as blue as the sky; her hair flowed in an almost magical dance around her shoulders. Her delicate features cast her as an angel in this lonely place I had wandered. I watched her intently as she moved towards me, not sure who she was, or what she wanted. She moved closer to me and placed a hand on my cheek, smiling gently. I began to tremble at her presence and became weak. She leaned in and whispered in my ear.

My head was throbbing, and I was lying in the snow again. My eyes opened and I was slightly disoriented. I realized that the tree branch had knocked me unconscious and led me to such a peculiar dream.

I lay there for a few minutes and gather my thoughts before attempting to get up. As I stood, my head swam and my knees nearly buckled. However, after a few minutes had gone by, I had regained my strength and was able to continue on with my work. My dream haunted me the rest of the afternoon and as I walked home from the forest. I couldn’t understand the meaning, but the angelic woman had whispered something important to me, and for the life of me, I couldn’t recall what it was.

Upon arriving at my home, I eased into the bathroom and doctored my wound. I slipped out of my damp clothes and into a warm bath. I eased down in the water to my neck and heard her voice.

“Go home and await my coming.”

Had I been to heaven? Had I met an angel? When would she be coming? How long would it be? I would never find the answers to these questions, but every night, I dream of that golden, narrow gate, and the possibilities that lay beyond.


The following comments are for "The Narrow Gate"
by PeterWebb

I almost like it
upon writing this, I almost felt good about it except that the ending just kinda fell apart on me. Not sure what happened, just lost my train of thought. I'm trying to rework the ending to come to a complete and final conclusion but I am having a tough time with it. Any feedback on the story would be greatly appreciated!


( Posted by: PeterWebb [Member] On: September 14, 2006 )

First Person may be problem
It was a nice little story. You might try re-writing the story using third person. I don't want to suggest what happens in this story, but I think you may have been limited because telling it as first person only allows you to know what is happening to you (the woodcutter). In third person you may be able to include motivation and perspective coming from others in the story.

This may also add dialogue between characters which could provide some additional insight into what is going on and where it will ultimately lead.

Thanks for the read and keep at it.


( Posted by: Jeff [Member] On: September 18, 2006 )

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