THERE WAS AN AWFUL RAINBOW ONCE IN HEAVEN
Sibelius sprinkled on my head. I was sitting under a grate, slumped so far down a stone wall that my shoulders almost touched the ground. Moonlight drifted through the grate in the form of sliced white rays. I looked up at the light and listened to the music.
Father emerged from the darkness at the other end of a tunnel. He walked up to my spot under the grate and patiently waited for me to speak. The orchestra continued to play over our heads.
"You know what this is?" I asked, pointing upwards.
Father listened briefly, then said, "Yes. It's the 'Song of Praise.' From the Swanwhite Suite."
"This is where the prince is brought back to life through the power of love." I looked at Father. "Do you think he would have appreciated being brought back into this world?"
Father seated himself at my side. "How do you feel, my son?" he asked.
"You know...I wish you had the Bond right now, because I'm not sure if I can explain it."
"Are you angry with Alexandra?"
"Why should I be? She protected the Tunnels. And kept me from being a lackey for Bradbury. And made sure Crown didn't get revenge for his humiliation."
"But at a price you didn't want her to pay."
I pulled myself up the wall and wrapped my arms around my legs. "Maybe I should have taken Bradbury's deal."
Father shook his head. "I wouldn't have accepted that. And eventually you wouldn't have accepted it."
"But it would have kept the Tunnels safe."
"No. The sword would have remained over our heads. If they could have controlled one of us, then how long before the Tower would have demanded control of everyone in the Tunnels?"
I sighed. "I wish I hadn't told you and Grandfather about the Tower."
"It was the only thing you could do. The Tower no longer cares about our knowledge or lack of it. There's no point in hiding anything from us now."
"Except that I've broken your illusion of peace."
Father smiled. "If we were suffering from an illusion, then I'm glad it's over. We shall now create a real peace."
"We will find a way. For the moment, the Tunnels and the Tower are at a truce. We have time to plan."
"So you don't think our troubles are over."
"No. Neither do you." He paused, then said, "I hope you don't mind, but I told your story to Diana."
"She's back with us. She has to know what we know." I let out a sudden chuckle.
"What is it?" Father asked.
"In so many ways this is actually a happy ending. You and Diana are back together. And here we are in this spot, listening to a concert."
"Yes, it has been a while since we sat here together. I hope the music doesn't put you to sleep."
"I wish it could." I pressed my face against my knees. "You know...maybe it wasn't such a high price for her to pay. Maybe she is truly her father's daughter after all."
Father considered my words, then said, "What the Tower offers is tempting. Imagine being in a place where you know that the world can never hurt you. For someone like Alexandra with her..." Father passed his hand across his chin. "...face...and her insight into the sins of the world...it may seem like the only place where she can live."
"So she would kill to stay there."
Father was silent for many seconds. Then he said, "I only know what you have seen. She might have had more than one reason to kill Crown. But her main reasons were to save your soul and to protect your home. I can't fault her for that. Nor should I be quick to judge others with bloody hands."
I quickly looked at Father and placed a hand on his shoulder. "No, Father. You can't think that..."
"When you killed, you did it to protect the innocent."
"A murder is still a murder, Jacob. Once you cross that line for whatever reason, you are changed forever. And when the taste of blood is in your mouth..."
"You held back your darkness. You didn't become a beast."
"No. I failed. It was your mother who held back my darkness. Her faith saved me." He touched my hand. "Have faith in Alexandra. Remember her voice. Remember the wounded soul hiding in her dark room. Remember what she feels for you and what you feel for her."
I looked down at the ground and said, "I'm not sure I have a faith that strong."
"I do. When you and Alexandra meet again, you'll see that her love is stronger than her fear and her hate."
"Will she see the same thing in me?"
"I see it right now, Jacob."
I let my thoughts briefly drift on the notes of violins. Then I said --
"Tell me about my mother."
Father took a breath, then said, "Once upon a time there was a woman who was strong and beautiful and kind. One night she was attacked by evil men who wounded her. She lived through the help of a man. Only he wasn't a man. He was a beast who lived under a great city..."
I didn't get to hear the whole story. I broke down sobbing in the middle of it. Father held me as I wept on his shoulder.
The orchestra concluded the piece. The audience Above applauded. If you were there in that audience, did you know that underneath the ground a father was comforting his son? It's unlikely you did know, but I want to believe that you sensed it; that you felt there was a world just within reach where outcasts and strangers could find a home; that the world of your dreams wasn't such an impossible fantasy.
Come here anytime you wish. In fact you might be here already. You see, the world is all the same.
Didn't you know that?
I would like to thank Becky Bain for editing the story and Jacalyn Newman for archiving it.
I referenced quite a bit of music for this story. This is a questionable practice in written fiction, but I do it anyway. Since music played a big role in the original series, I have some justification for it here. I even re-arranged the music into a 'High Tower soundtrack.' You may listen and see if the music inspires you as it inspired me.
"People of the Dark" performed by Belisha
Schubert's "Einsamkeit" performed by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
"The Shelter of Your Eyes" performed by Don Williams
"I'll Go Crazy" performed by James Brown
Bach's "Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut" peformed by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
"The Spicy McHaggis Gig" performed by Dropkick Murphys
"Hell to Pay" performed by Psychocharger
Hildegard's "Columba aspexit" performed by Gothic Voices
"Heaven's Raining Bullets" performed The Empire Hideous
Sibelius' "Hymn of Praise" performed by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra