The Portal on the Street

Through the portal, Will saw a land of verdant hills that shone like emeralds against the clear blue sky and trickling rivers that flowed through blooming meadows, flush with wildflowers. Some distance behind the Arcadian landscape, he saw a magnificent golden city filled with spires, spirals, fluted towers and domed palaces. He also noticed a jousting contest taking place outside the city. Knights in shining armour clashed with tall lances, as the nobles sitting on the pavilions raised their wine glasses and cheered.

It was a land with everything he had always wanted, ever since he was a kid. A land with gallant knights, wise wizards, power-hungry nobles, fierce soldiers, horrible dragons, graceful elves and sturdy dwarfs. A land where he could lead quests for treasures and sacred artifacts, where he could command armies in fierce campaigns, where he could scheme with the nobles to topple kings from their thrones, where he could simply escape the doldrums of his passionless life.

He stepped back from the portal and looked around. There was no one on the street except for him and the portal as if it was meant only for his eyes. He looked into the portal again. It would be a simple thing to enter the portal and see where fate would take him. He imagined walking to the jousting contest and entering the lists as a mystery knight. He would then go on to defeat all the other knights and win the laurels while the nobles on the pavilions, would be left scratching their heads trying to figure out who this new person was, and how they could weave him into their complex web of schemes and plans. It was paradise!

Yet, Will hesitated. What if the portal closes after he steps in? He'd be stuck there permanently. And what about his family and friends? They'd get worried and would try to find him everywhere and fail. He could go home and tell them about the portal but he had a feeling that the portal wouldn’t stay by the time he’d return. He had to make the decision on the spot. Either step in to escape his miserable life and try to forget those who loved him, or walk away from the portal, living forever with the knowledge that he had turned down a chance to get away and enjoy the life he had always wanted.

He thought about the life he had lived until now. A life where he could never pursue his interests. Where he was forced to do things he had no passion for. A life that sucked his happiness and created a void in him.

No, he decided. He would never be able to live with the regret of turning this chance down. He was the master of his own fate and the creator of his own happiness. He would not let any circumstances force him to do something he didn't want to do.

He took a deep breath and stepped into the portal.

A flash of light brighter than the sun.

The street was empty.

Author: Sai Srujan Reddy

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