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Petrichor

By Jonathan Joestar All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Other

Blurb

Petrichor is an amazing collection of over 50 unique short stories, articles and writings from the mind of Brian Charles Alexander. These tales range in genres from horror, to romance, to comedy, to thrillers, adventure, fantasy, science-fiction, mystery and many, many more. Five parts. Fifty stories. Endless possibilities. Are you ready?

Untitled chapter

The Experimental Cat

I saw that black cat pass by my window again. The same black cat that was run-over by that car the other day, and the same cat which fell from the third story balcony, miraculously appearing along the sidewalk, unscathed, a week before that! The locals joke of the nine lives a cat carries, but never before have I witnessed such prestidigitation on a scale as insignificant as this.

I take a pen to the flimsy pages of my journal almost every other full moon in hopes of catching each instance of this feline’s seemingly final demises. I find no pattern in his deaths, and can draw no conclusion as to why the beast has survived more than twenty-four accidents which should have left it permanently dead. In some cases it was crushed, burned, and I’m sure even starved at one point, if such an incredible specimen can go without the need for food.

I’ve never heard it speak, but it carries a voice far deeper than the sound of thunder, and I can tell it is powerful. It is a voice heard only in the mind. Like a sort of telepathy.

The eyes have seen conflict too great to imagine. Oh, I am sure of that! It has the eyes of an old soul. One who has seen the horrors of history, but sits in silence to never look upon it’s own reflection.

It’s fur, silk and black, can remain dry, even after having been caught in the most drenching of downpours. This cat is almost untouched by life itself, whilst never harboring the shadow of death. It is caught in-between the two somehow, in a place outside of understanding.

I doubt sometimes… if it even knows of it’s own abilities. If such power did lay within the belly of an animal, why not such power lay within the palm of a man? What could tie a mere cat to the unexplained glitches of the universe, and if studied, could we comprehend it?…

Could I comprehend it!? Living alone for some time, I had always found comfort in the assurance that any discovery that I couldn’t prove to a sceptic party, I could take peace in the belief of knowing myself. I have kept this knowledge about the cat’s existence a secret, and I have no intension of telling anyone, for now.

For as long as it suits me, I alone know of it’s greatness. There was a time I had planned, and succeeded, in experimenting on the beast. I caught it in an alley and lured it with fish. Typical.

I was stunned to witness that it wasn’t devoid of animalistic instincts or needs, like curiosity and hunger. For a while I kept it in my apartment and ran my tests without discretion. I found maintaining it’s presence in a cage to be the biggest chore, as it would disappear and reappear at random; Often walking through walls and laying, or strolling, across vertical or upside down surfaces.

Once I invited the feline into my home it wouldn’t leave, and soon enough, neither could I. It was startling at first to open my front door or to stare out a window at a world and see total darkness; a blackness that stretched on for infinite miles, but shrunk to a flat solid picture when it was reached out for. Distant.

As long as it was with me, there, inside my home, myself and the beast were cut off from all known time and space. Brought to a final boundary of the universe. A place I couldn’t escape without the cat.

I could only ever leave my apartment when the cat was by my side. Having him around made my mind venture off and contemplate wicked thoughts of more brutal experimentation, especially after learning of his distrust for me. A distrust which kept him around to feast, but startled him enough to trap me off from the world when my thoughts grew black as pitch.

I used to stun it with darts. Even attempted to poison it one or two times. When it was passed out I’d break it’s paws and crush it’s bones ever so gently.

When it finally started to come round again it would leap up at me and scratch my face. It would then jump up and begin to walk away, on all fours, on the very paws I’d broken only seconds ago! It was astonishing.

A few times I took a knife to it in it’s sleep, to test the little monster’s ability to heal. In one instance, I dipped it in a pot of acid. Each time the beast came back and treated me with a new scar, and an even more detestable glare.

I couldn’t be mad. I was aware my tests were cruel, but how else was I to know of this beast’s limitations!? It was amazing to witness.

I had to continue my tests! I could feel the cat growing more annoyed at my antics with every slice, dip, bludgeoning, club and battering I threw it’s way, but it wouldn’t leave. I fed it, and it did not know that it’s hunger was merely an illusion.

The beast could not die from starvation, and yet it clung to me to fulfill this one psychological need. As long as this fact remained a secret I knew it would never leave me. No matter what I put it through.

Still, the urge to tests the feline’s limits and powers wouldn’t cease for a long while. It’s torture continued to the full enjoyment of my curiosity, and after awhile, hurting this ‘god’ started becoming fun. When I would ponder these thoughts I honestly believed it could comprehend what I was thinking.

He would follow along with angry looks and hissings that reared from a cat and rung like a cobra. He gave off the presence of so many other animals and displayed that he could even morph himself to appear as them, but for seconds at a time. The beast would spawn in different parts of my apartment, making it quite hard to proceed with testing.

I tended to notice that, when laying on it’s back, spilt liquids in the apartment dripped upwards, then downwards again when the cat turned right-side over. Alone in my apartment with that entity was indeed a mind expanding experience. I could almost feel the nothingness in the space outside my apartment.

I was in a pocket, cut off from time, with a lazy, presumptuous animal to serve as my only key to the world beyond this place; where dimensions lie scattered and twisted. Then, the day came that I decided that I would finally execute my last test. This act, which I would soon take great regret in, knocked at my chest and danced on my mind for some time now.

I kept my thoughts a blank as I walked over to the beast, sitting gingerly at the foot of my bed. I picked it up and pet it’s head as I had done time and time again. With the beast in my hands I made my way over to a desk where I reached for my letter opener, out of the beast’s view.

I could no longer contain my excitement! The cat’s face jolted a surprised look at me as his eyes shot wide, keen to my sudden thought! I was quicker then it, and I drove the letter opener into the beast’s neck and hacked across with a vicious thrust, ripping and tearing its vocal chords and slicing it’s head clean off!!

It screamed out, like a person and with the sound of a hundred other animals, the deeper I cut, the more gargled the scream became! I was covered in blood. My hands shot up into the air as the beast’s body fell from my arms, hitting the ground with a vicious thud.

My breaths were heavy and I blinked with frantic quickness. By my third blink the cat no longer laid bleeding out in front of me, upon my carpet. Instead, it was perched upon the end of my bed, just as it had been seconds before.

It glared with a hard discomfort before leaping from my bed and onto the floor. I couldn’t tell if I had really just done what I thought I had done; or if I had just imagined the last few seconds of experimental madness. As I looked down at my arms the letter opener and my scarlet soaked limbs made it clear, that what I had just done really happened.

Once again, within moments of death, the cat miraculously spawned unscathed, only a few feet from me. Assured, I could do it no harm if I tried… at least, no permanent harm. As my key to the world outside strolled across the floor, I couldn’t blame the beast for what it had done next.

Across the blood drenched carpet it trailed, growing transparent with every step it took. It walked through the door with ease and disgust traveling on it’s fading shadow. The cat had had enough, and suddenly it’s presence was gone.

The omnipotent cat had rendered me silent to the world, trapping me inside my apartment with no key to return to the outside of these these inescapable dimensions. It was a place outside time and space where I lingered, imprisoned. I tried stepping out the door, escaping through the window, even smashing through the foundation of the rooms to reach the apartments above and below, but there was nothing there.

Nothing but condensed space and oblivion for eternity. I met a true product of unbelievable scientific existence. It is clear I won’t be returning to reality anytime soon.

I also fail to believe the cat will cross my plane again. Least, not after what I’d done to it. I still wonder though, what would it have been like if, instead of a beast containing such a gift, the possibilities of a man harboring godlike abilities?

That is the phenomenon I believe mankind will one day see. A godship of sorts. The difference everyone needs to see to understand our irrelevant roll in this vastly incomprehensible existence.

It’s the difference that sets gods apart from men, and men apart from beasts; and that is the difference in power.

In the Sea

I attempt not to stutter now, as I recall back to a most horrific series of events which leaves my mind floating amidst a sea of inconceivable indifference and panic. Even to this day. It was upon a great metallic sea-fort, somewhere off the coast of Florida, where I was to be the chronicler of a series of biological-marine tests concocted upon the aquatic desolate sea floor.

Perhaps it was the strange echo of the ocean or the bizarre rust covered nails which held our fort together, twisting the beams which supported us with each breath the ocean drew and sent our way; but this internal feeling that something lurked out in the murky-misty malevolence of the Pacific was a feeling all too certain to myself, and perhaps to some of the other members of my crew. As to the nature of my actual business there, I must say I often found myself acting less like a chronicler and more like another fort hand, aiding every so often in the upkeep of the sea-bound structure and in the execution of the marine experiments, just every so often.

The only men I knew for sure, in the last two months we had spent in the stranded place, was Professor Hagon, a college-speaker with a wide array opinions on matters both mythical and realistic; Captain Keane, a scruffy sailor-type, straight out of an old ghost story, with an unkept beard and an addiction to soggy cigars to match; Lieutenant Bricks, a silent general-figure, in charge of the four unnamed soldiers which stood on constant patrol, and a young man named Maxwell.

Maxwell was more a janitor than anything. He didn’t speak much to me. And when he did he expressed a negative opinion upon the nature of our being here, upon the sea. Upon this fort.

I noticed, especially when he’d sported short-sleeved shirts, that Maxwell often attempted to hid a bizarre tattoo that was scrolled upon the upper portion of his shoulder which made its way down his arm. I figured at the time that he’d gotten it in his youth, perhaps, in honor of a past girlfriend, and just felt ashamed of it after a failed relationship, or something to that effect. I would, however, come to learn of it’s more sinister origin not too long after my noticing it.

I can call back to my first experience dancing about the line of questionable sanity on the cloudy and rainy afternoon in which I happened to be unwillingly volunteered to accompany Captain Keane out upon one of the fort’s four rowboats.

This was to maintain the boat’s stationary location whilst the captain lowered a sonar-device, attached to a long rope and a weighted end, down into those black watery depths that reached just so far beyond a twenty foot perimeter surrounding the fort. Needless to say, I was all too used to a dry-office job, sorting paperwork and such, eagerly awaiting the turning of the work-clock to that time when I may pack my things and return to my land-based apartment.

Being out there on that boat… was a more horrible and treacherously unending sentence than the never-ceasing hours of a torturous work day. Out on that boat, in the sea which brewed like an icy stew, I could turn my eyes to no clock and seek a day’s end. Days never ended out there; and not a single wave could break this constant flow.

The time we spent hovering above that abyss of blackness, whose bottom seemed to know no end, the time in which we could vacate and I could return back to that cold bitter flat bed, which awaited me upon that cold creaking fort, seemed all but relative at the time. It was out on that boat in which we began to get feedback from the depths below. A pulse which began to vibrate the boat from beneath us.

While Keane probably worried about the through of being carried into the sea by the waves, I worried about the surfacing of something much more sinister. The feeling of an unholy presence beneath us only personified the fear I was feeling. It took some time, but after two near tilts of the boat a panicked Captain Keane was instructed to retract the sonar-device and row on back to the fort.

The professor, Hagon, and the general had gotten the readings they’d needed. Even after climbing back up to the fort, I felt no safer, looking out at that ocean which stretched unto the world’s end. It was an empty feeling of the unknown and it clutched my stomach every time I though back to whatever it was that made those underwater pulses.

Keane reacted to the encounter with a wild natured culture-shock, while I remained quiet and calm. The captain was given a sedative and sent off to bed, while I returned to my room and tried to sleep off the fear of being out on those waters. I tossed in a frequent unrest at the nature of the captain, a man I already believed to be stern and rough, and the temper at which he flushed out upon the professor. It shook me heavily.

Fists flew as the captain, like a donkey, kicked and screamed in a fit of rage. A rage with ended with him getting carried away like an animal that had been put down. The yelling ceased. The army men took Keane away for a rest. yet, I was no closer to believing that we were safe out there, or that these army men and that scientist were really who they said they were.

I slept. It didn’t take long for me to begin and doubt the authenticity of the “honor” in which these men said they operated under. I needed answers. No. I demanded them! It wasn’t usually in my nature to go snooping around the contents of other people’s luggage; Especially my superiors. But, I felt myself drawn to the professor’s room and onto a strange looking arcane journal which loomed upon a corner-table in the far left hand of his room. It called to me. Out in the opening and ominous in color, I couldn’t help but notice from the hall outside.

This book, in a strange way, resembled the look of aquatic lifeforms and crustaceans crawling amidst it’s covers, but with a twisted look which appeared almost extraterrestrial in a sense. While the professor was away, off smoking with the lieutenant, I inquired in silence and decided to open the book. Before hand I had scrambled through papers which were scattered upon his desk.

Each one, a layer of secrets, no doubt, being kept from the lieutenant. That was… unless he too was in on the bizarre truth behind this suspicious venture as well? This ulterior motive for being in this fort, tapping away at the ocean’s bottom. IT was worse than I had feared!

Something more than sea-life research, perhaps? The professor’s papers referred to the book and it’s most boiled-down english translation. The book that sat before me was, and through the tongues of the supposed ‘old gods’, known as ‘The Grand Parantheon’.

The book told of an extraterrestrial entity from the surface of a desolate world. A world once know to humans, bet eventually forgotten. This entity, Thotep, was the leader in a barrage of equally unimaginable cosmic horrors which spanned the whole and pre-existing series of mankind’s recorded history.

The book told of a time in which the earth was dormant in a fetus-like state and that, at this most earliest age, was home and victim to the many inter-dimensional threats which still lurk in the forgotten corners of the cosmos. Thotep, ‘Grand Lord’ and seer of the arcane infinities that make up this world and the next, was supposed to have been betrayed by his subjects. Things that go by the names ‘Gorthuga’, ‘Swog’ and ‘Dythort’.

Much like in the legend of Osiris, these turncoats ripped their leader into many pieces; but instead of spreading him across the earth, the disciples of Thotep harnessed his severed consciousness and stranded his physical and unphysical body across many alternate plains of reality.

This ensured that the three traitors could gain Thotep’s knowledge and understanding of all things; inevitably leading to their total takeover of the remaining nineteen space-horrors which continued to haunt the surrounding nebulas. They were a family of god-like monsters. Exactly twenty two of them. The book’s last mention of Gorthuga, Swog and Dythort’s plans ends with a celestial encounter, triggered by the ancient-horror, Kirith.

For Kirith resented the three gods for their betrayal of his grand lord, Thotep; and so Kirith called upon the aid of ancient Archquondaik Gods. The other seventeen elder monstrosities who’s names were unknown to mortals at the time. These seventeen gods appeared and banished Gorthuga, Swog and Dythort to plains outside conceivable existence.

It was from that long-ago time in which Kirith gained the title of ‘Grand Summoner’. Since that time the legend of these gods have existed in the dreams and horrible night-time visions of madmen and those who stay tucked away; refusing to gaze upon the world with the knowledge they now possess. Those ancient things, which now slumber in the essences of myth and legend, were the reason we were here, on the fort.

This fort stood upon the underwater cathedral of a long-forgotten tomb. A large monolithic-coffin, if you will, of ungodly proportions that awaited opening was seated beneath us; and we were here to fish it out. A place where the recollected Thotep now resided was to soon meet the light of the modern times.

To the men I had aided in this effort, Thotep was an object of controllable power, sought by the highest and richest ranking members of the US, so I supposed. While the leaders of our government one day feared that bombs would rain down upon us from across the earth, they would take no position laying down arms whilst the power to conquer the planet, in the wake of war, existed just off the Southeastern coast.

Least’ that’s how it had appeared to me. So, it was the United States that were to harness Thotep in the new age, just as the lesser Archquondaik Gods had done countless millenniums ago. I made certainly sure not to disrupt the order of the book and papers upon the professor’s desks, leaving everything looking untouched.

I had even vacated the room before the professor’s return. I merely tracked down the lieutenant and stood by his side most of that week. To me it seemed like we were getting nowhere with research. I was writing little to nothing about the progression of this venture as I was left out of the secret meetings that were held up in the fort’s tower.

Maxwell, the janitor, had grown evermore cold and distant. Almost showing a deathly hateful gaze whenever the professor entered the room. Rings came around his eyes and sometimes he looked whiter than usual.

Professor Hagon was the only one amongst us, aside from the silent lieutenant, who never slumped into a depressed state. Hagon grew merrier with every passing hour. Then, there came that single, dreadful day. The last day.

When the four soldiers were instructed to keep Maxwell and myself in our rooms, while the professor and lieutenant conspired to achieve that which they had planned to do all along. This is what we encountered:

The prior night held no clues about the state arrest we had awoken to. Things turned sour, as I was warned that the second I was to leave my room I would be shot dead. I woke to a guarded room and threats being thrown in my face before I had the chance to ask any questions. Maxwell was told the same.

Before being sent into my room I had noticed Maxwell struggle with the soldiers on his way in. The tattoo on his arm seemed to have morphed and seemed almost as if it was moving, as he grew more and more cross with the struggling soldiers who tried to subdue him. That night a barrage of echoing nonsense filled the fort.

Blasts, explosions and booming noises shook the metal structure. Maxwell’s room, next to mine, was pulsing as he did nothing but scream nonsense words all through the night. My door wasn’t locked, but I was too afraid to open it.

About three o’clock Maxwell’s screams grew into chants as I could hear the soldiers outside his door growing tiresome of his voice. He repeated “Kirith! Kirith! Ach-Tuon-Vaslk-Thotep-Vadn Elnf Kirith! Kirith!”

His voice was not his own, and it moaned much like the unison of a chorus. Nonsense words and phrases I remember reading in the book filled the air, but strangely, as he chanted them I could recall their meanings. A message about escape.

About the name ‘Kirith’. Then it struck me, Kirith was the name of that Archquondaik God that avenged the abused Thotep. This chanting was the voice of a god! One of the Archquondaiks! Was Maxwell a vessel for the Kirith!? Was the summoning of Thotep already underway!?

“Has Kirith manifested again because he sees that his master, Thotep, will be taken advantage of yet again!?” I wondered, strangely specifically. I was at the point where every possibility that crossed my mind at that point seemed logical, no matter it’s obscurity. And by the time I had pieced all this together in my head, I could hear the soldiers had had enough.

I could hear Maxwell’s door open and the sound of all the four soldiers, that kept us hostage, fill his room. On one man’s command I heard machine gun fire and bullets tearing through the wall. I hit the ground as the soldier’s screams followed up behind a monstrous roar.

There was a blast and then a silence. I backed away into the corner of the room and gazed out at the empty open hall. There, before me, the metal surfaces of the fort’s corridors were caked in the liquified remains of the soldiers’ blood, guts, shattered bones and all those other little fleshy pieces that make up a human’s body.

Then, I saw it. Stepping out from Maxwell’s room A horrifying heap! It was Maxwell! His head looked as if a grenade had tore it apart from the top down. A strange glow emanated from his wound, and from that glow reached forth otherworldly appendages like arms and grabbers of an alien-kind. It was horrific. His shredded-open head oozed a purple light, covered in white and silver stardust.

The longer I stared, I could feel my eyes begin to burn. It turned to look at me, at least, I think it was looking at me. I turned away as eyes stung to look upon him.

He turned away as his bullet-filled corpse began to walk down the hall to where Professor Hagon and Lieutenant Bricks were in the middle of summoning Thotep, so I believed. A short while after hearing more gunfire, and further cries of horror, I debated investigating. Then, the shaking stopped as all creaking and screams came to a silent halt as the fort went quiet.

I mustered all the courage I could and ran into the main chamber to see what had become of everyone. Along the way I found the captain, Keane, torn in two. No doubt a victim of that thing which possessed Maxwell’s corpse.

By the time I made it to the main foyer of the fort I couldn’t stand. Across the room was the dead body of Bricks, the general. The room was painted in blood that spelled out ritualistic symbols while candles and a stone-alter lied cracked and scattered across the red metallic floor.

Maxwell’s body had finally been shot down for good. Thotep’s summoning had been prevented, as planned by Kirith, err… Maxwell. As I stumbled through the horrid mess, I noticed that Hagon’s body was nowhere to be found.

I began to hear a small beeping noise that grew and grew, with a high pitch that stung my ears. If I hadn’t caught that noise in time I might have very well been the victim of the explosive charge which then detonated, mere seconds after I sprung for the exit door and off the landing. The explosive, no doubt planted by the escaping Hagon, collapsed the fort.

It’s center began to dive into the ocean below as I scattered for the dead captain’s rowboat. As the bridge beneath me began to collapse, I spotted Hagon, boating away, but within jumping distance. He was still holding that damned book that I’d found in his room. Behind me the collapsing floor pulled Thotep’s coffin and the bodies of everyone else back into the sea.

Hagon planned this horrific endeavor, failed and was now escaping with that damned object of destructive power. I fumbled to stop him, refusing to let him reap horror across the globe any further. Fueled with anger, I leapt from the collapsing foundation and landed hard in the boat, my foot booting the professor in the face.

I found my footing as my crash landing had swirled the boat so far on it’s right that Hagon fell overboard. The book flew from his hands and into the boat alongside me. As he fell back there came a great big metal beam from the fort’s last unsupported section.

As Hagon’s eyes shot up in horror, I looked away as it fell into the water, the huge bulk of metal, crushing him against the force of the open sea just as he leapt for me out from the water! More beams fell, like rain as metal and bits of ship and metal poles flew about my boat. I held up a pipe to repel flying debris and soon found Hagon squirming at the end of it.

He flew up from the water, attempting to tackle me, once more. I shoved the pipe threw his chest as he advanced. I pulled it back and kicked him off as I fell backward onto wood and sheets of metal on the floor of the rowboat.

I had no idea how Hagon had survived the falling beam, but surely the pipe had put him down. A wave caused by the fallen beam pushed the rowboat and swayed me far from the wreckage. I saw the fort burn up with each mile that the boat, the book and myself drifted away.

I feared that I’d been stranded. Lost at sea and destined to never share my tale. Not that the rational man would ever believe such a story, and from the panicked nonsense of a man stricken at sea for that matter.

I knew no help was coming, and so, I lied down in that rowboat and waited to die. That book was right beside me. I hooked onto it at the last second of the struggle, I couldn’t let it float abroad. I contemplated throwing it overboard, but I just couldn’t.

Something in my head wouldn’t let me. I tossed it to my side after awhile and drifted to sleep as I slipped further and further out into the ocean. Then, there came a sound.

A bell, followed by men’s voices. Ropes dropped and a shadow enveloped my closed eyes. I shot up to find myself on a fisherman’s boat.

Large and great. The crew was all around me. After helping get to my feet the captain introduced himself and took me inside to get warm. Thank gods, I was saved.

I didn’t feel all that cold. The warmth of the rescue was enough to heat my blood. He inquired about my getting stranded.

I made up some story I can’t even remember. After I was fed and freshly dressed the captain approached me. He handed me what could only be described as the embodiment of the nightmare that’d befallen me.

He handed me the book, believing it to be mine. I took it. It being the only proof I had that what had happened to me was real.

After a lengthy fishing venture, I eventually made it back on land. Traveling to my apartment in Boston, I fell flat on my bed, face down for a nice long rest. I was exhausted in every imaginable sense.

I lied down for a long time, contemplating all that I’d been through whilst attempting to readjust to my usual schedule. I knew it would take some time, but I shuttered and rejoiced at my return. I’m attending work again and living the office job I had before.

But, not a night ever passes that my dreams aren’t haunted by that which I almost fell victim to. Ancient gods. Who’d believe it?

I still have the book. It’s locked in a chest in the corner of my bedroom. A pile of heavier books weigh it down.

Amongst those titles sit the works of Edgar Allen Poe, with pages bookmarked with local fantasy magazines. Some of the works including these newcomer writers like Howard, Derleth and Lovecraft. They’re alright, I guess.

Though, Poe’s always been my favorite. I’d always been fond of horror stories. I never would have believed I’d live through one. I don’t feel broken or amiss like you hear most reluctant survivors say. I feel tired. Just tired.

I’m afraid this will be how I feel till the day I die. Since returning to the mainland no government officials have tracked me down. I suppose that’s a good thing.

This has led me to believe that out little venture on the sea fort was nothing more but a privately funded experiment, by mad men. No government or special organizations involved. Why they chose me to chronicle the events there, or even take part in their sinister mission, I will never know.

Though, I feel safe enough now. Also, since my return, I have made it a point to relentlessly search all corners of mythologies and otherwise for Thotep’s mention. Other than that book which remains lost in my room, I finally found documentation of the damnedest thing in the farthest reaching corners of recorded history.

The Vatican Archive, of all places. I found this bit on photocopy papers in the back alleys with some very questionable customers selling them. The archives and documents of old tell of Thotep’s creation, as recorded by an unnamed man, far older than my greatest ancestor.

These findings read as such: Thotep goes unmentioned in the writings of the more ancient races. It is a tainted section of an indescribably horrific cluster of events which was, for the better part of the last eighty two years, left out of all theories surrounding the heightened mythologies, which brought forth the belief of monsters and beings too great to merely be glanced upon.

It was in this jurisdiction that a devastatingly malevolent quantity of undocumented beings went without notice, or in this case, without a shuttering mention.

I came across documented records of Thotep’s supposed existence as most scholars, warped into the grand phycological phenomenon that is undoubtedly growing more common in this day and age, often do. So it was with the ever-growing curiosity of a hundred lesser mortals, before myself, that I delved into the passages presented to me and invoked, not a physical abomination, but an idea which grew until it became more real than the ground I now kneel upon, in astonishment and insubstantial comprehension.

It is simply for the inevitability of my constant depleting sanity that I tell you now, that which I have learned before my ultimate entrance to a secluded and unruly end, thus chaining the mortal link of discovery and demise.

Thotep emerged from the organic festering remains of a black ooze, made of hate, an anthropomorphized plant-like substance, spawned on the surface of Mars by the last of a dying fraction of beings, fueled by a kind of hollow-matter and banished from plentiful resource for it’s very existence, which was judged as sinful by the highest priests of that, or any realm.

This incestuous being, who goes unnamed in all accounts both discovered and theorized, in it’s last moments constructed Thotep, a disciple himself, scrapped from the dead remains of kidnapped beings. With much fear the ancient being finally passed away as Thotep came into being.

Thotep emerged from the organic festering remains, and let out a sound so foul, it was said that every star the sound reached died in an instant. Thotep took to the dusk landscape, as a lone entity wandering the bleak infinity of a dead planet. It wasn’t until the colonization of a celestial race of jellyfish-like shelled beings that Thotep took full notice of the benefits which would come with leeching the life-forces out of other races.

He hid best he could, and one by one began to devour the immortal jellyfish-like race, only referred to as, Knuhl. The Knuhl’s population quickly plummeted as Thotep devoured half their kind, gaining their telepathic and interstellar-travel abilities.

Feeling grateful for the powers he had forcefully obtained, Thotep sucked the remaining life energies out of the last few Knuhl, but chose not to kill them, and instead let them live out in peace for a short time on the desolate surface of Mars, unable to leave and unable to reach out to any other race for aid.

Thotep would travel the universe for a time, obtaining unspeakable power and absorbing creatures and whole civilizations until his pure essence became the very driving force behind his power. By the time Thotep descended upon earth where he was merely a thought, a cloud of ideas that lost it’s physical form long ago. For a time he terrorized and aided the conflicts between the start of the New World and the Age of the Archquondaik.

The Jealous Advisor

Barely had I ever held the royal family in low regard, and even in the face of their brash decisions when it came to the ignorant and bothersome troubles of the poor folk who lingered in the main hall; itching for a chance to request more food and water from our Lord Duke. I, his humble advisor, was it his side nearly every morning, early and tedious to miss a minute of my company in the divine-one’s presence. It was by his side at which I would stay until being sent away sometime at the stroke of midnight.

A time at which I would retire to my chambers and leave the duration of the Duke’s night-life up to him and the Duchess. I held nothing but the highest honor one could have beside the Lord Duke, and so I’m sure you could imagine my faint and trembling legs as I was steadily informed of my Lord’s sudden demise at the hands of a poisoned grape, topped purely above a bowl of morning fruit. The Duchess wept as I held myself like a stone, attempting not to stir tears at my Lord’s presentation and burial.

I comforted the misses in her roses chillness. She was so elegant after the ceremony, kneeling beside his grave for hours and pouring tears into his plot. I stood by, watching from behind a tree; her perched body bending ever-so.

Truly a bird of fairest zest. Oh, one could wonder what enchantments they had shared, alone at night and tucked up against the backdrop of a moonlit night in France. Some would say it was the Duke’s wife that I had coveted.

This was untrue, while I shall admit I often had wonderings about the goings-on beneath her dresses and upon her freshly white skin. No doubt, she was a thing of beauty and a young-thing at that. At a time in her life where not all the foulest deeds she could preform made her appear un-sullied.

But, as I had said, she was not the subject of my obsession and sleepless nights. She was merely a piece in the grand scheme of my true feelings toward the Duke himself. For I was my Lord’s lover.

So, it was, that he had promised me a change to law and a time in our age when man could be joined with man. A time when his lady would be set aside to make way for the love which I cradled near and dear. A love which he seemed to toy and play upon with each and every passing day.

I suppose he thought I couldn’t hear. Hear the voices of love and astonishment at the phallic and sensual pleasures which emanated from my Lord’s chamber. Pleasures which he had promised me.

It was behind the curtains of celebration and in a state of a wine-filled dazed in which my Lord seduced me. First, at one when I came of age. At first his words were sweet and with each encounter I found myself unable to contain these… urges.

Such vile things which I was taught would mix me among the other souls of the damned when my final hour had come. Alas, with him I cared not if I was to be casted down into fire, and for my love. He was my universe and she was a void.

A witch in the clothing of an elegant mistress which swept my lord from my touch and kept him locked away. With her lady bits and such intact, and in such a perfect arrangement, how was I to enchant the eye of my love once more? For she had taken him and all his promises, right from beneath me and with a vicious haste; though she might not have known it.

Some would say, with pressing confidence that they saw the Duke’s eyes upon me and in a way which was blatantly apparent to the other members of his court. Though words had spread we made quick to banish these thoughts from our followers. Our dynasty was on the brink of war and the pressures which filled the mind of my Lord were too many to be counted.

This, as well as the vicious fighting and secret mind-games between him and myself did little to help his health. I knew his wife was winning and so… I had to think fast. That was when the shadow of death revealed itself to me, within dream that instructed me upon the nature at which I should go about securing my love’s heart, once and for all.

What a dream it had been, as the angel, Michael, had ascended to speak directly to me. My chamber was a-glow as his wings cradled me and spoke words which fitted my love with meaning and purpose which transcended this life and the world’s beyond. So, the next day I took immediate action to secure the word that heaven had sent out for me.

It was the poisoned grape atop his morning fruit bowl which was placed with intent, unmalicious, and loving in my eyes alone. As he fell over I stood firm, unworried, while the Duchess rushed to his aid. I knew she couldn’t help him. Not with the poison I had used.

Not all the angels in the heavens could remove this poison from his lips. It was brand, created by myself. I called it the kiss of death, and it was good.

Right when he went under I had the second phase of my plan all readied. That very night, after the burial, I snuck into the chambers of the Duchess and drove a dagger into her heart. She screamed at first, but not a moment more as I sliced her throat, just like in the story of Macbeth, as he had done his king in.

She died peacefully, or as peacefully as I would like to imagine, in my arms. This was vengeance for her playful eyes, working upon my love. He who I was forced to send unto eternity.

Now, with a prayer I cast this vixen into the flames of hell. A place where all wretched-folk must go. A place that I will never see, for I will be united with my love in the chapel of Michael.

I can hear the poor knocking at our doors now. The sound of the angry-depraved having drank their last well dry, and looking towards the deceased Duchess to fill-in for the word of her husband. But I had killed her.

There, lying in the bed my Lord once lied in, I rested the limp Duchess at my side and undressed. I could hear the townsfolk and all the beggars knocking at the chamber’s doors. At any moment, I told myself, they would break through and take me away.

Away to be hung and beaten and mutilated beyond comprehension; and in my final hour I would see my love, my Lord Duke in the realm beyond life. In a place of silence where only he and I would live. That is, once the mob has me; strung up and beheaded and tarnished the blasted member of the royal cast that I am, and always will be.

Once they come to find me, and return me to ecstasy, that is. For now I lay in crimson as I can hear them approaching. Ever so close, a final absolute to the saga of my love and death, ever so near; as it was always intended to be.

The Evangelist & The Space Cowboy

A fiery orange of an almost vibrant red tint lit up the mammoth skies to the West. The desert land carried on forever in it’s infinite outward appearance. In the center of all this blank-desolate badlands there stood a small town, set up in the formation of two rows of buildings.

The town was deserted from the outside and the townsfolk happened to not wake from their beds and greet the day until the dry and calm afternoon of each day. Today was one particular fancy as this was the day a man of strange character was to enter the town, with intensions unknown. Out from the hazy heat of the far land of sand that swept in from the East, there he stood.

The Space Cowboy, sporting a metallic revolver with lights and sounds that echoed with an immense sense of an inhuman and otherworldly nature. He wore a sombrero and a long light cloak with a wall of guns, knives, explosives, and weapons still unheard of by man, beneath his cloth. He walked robotically, with limbs jointed with bolts and strands of belts that made rubbery noises when he moved quick-like.

The Space Cowboy, part machine, strolled into town, casting a shadow that enveloped. He stepped slowly until he saw the local tavern, turning and making his way in as everyone stepped and stumbled out of his way. The Space Cowboy peered in at the blackness of the bar from the outside, grabbing a hold of the door to push it in.

The Space Cowboy entered the bar, looked up at a man dressed in black at the bar. He gave him a long hard look and drew his revolver as the man in black, holding a glass of scotch, turned to see him too. Meanwhile, sixteen hours prior to this encounter…

The bullet floated deep within the stomach of the wounded soldier. The priest, Father Alekhine, looked down upon his subject as the man lied there, slowly fading in his arms. War raged around the small blue tent as the soldier looked up to the holy man. A holy man who’s cigarette ashes had been falling down upon the soldier’s uniform.

Alekhine, with a long brush of jet-black hair parted to one side of his face, fixed his glasses and peered down at the gasping man with a sort of distain. In his final moments the soldier looked up and upon Alekhine; Begging one final request following the reading of his last words. “Tell me about heaven… about paradise.”

Alekhine looks coldly down until his head looms over that of the dying soldier. He puts his cigarette aside and replies. “Never heard of it.”

The soldier, after hearing his, makes a quick fist and widens his eyes. In an instant he’s gone. Alekhine sets the soldier’s head on the floor and retakes his cigarette off a nearby table.

Turning his back on the corpse he thinks to himself. “Lucky bastard.” Outside, the curtains of the small blue tent as Alekhine emerged, suited in black, tossing his fag to the dusty desert ground.

Around him bullets did fly as he marched forward, ignoring the carnage. Bullets fly left, up, down and right. Fires range and artillery screams and explosions detonate and tear the land.

Alekhine presses forward, stray bullets bouncing off of his flesh as he strolled through blasts of fire raining down from the sky. His heart, mechanical in nature, served to stop metallic objects from coming within a certain perimeter of Alekhine. Thus, bullets were useless.

He cleared the battlefield and walked until he saw desert. Till the endless glow of the might orange sun ruled the skies. He picked up his cellphone and dialed a bizarre number.

The only things discussed were the subjects of location, price and method. Alekhine threw his phone in the sand, pressing forward to this place out there, somewhere in the desert. Now, Alekhine comes to notice the Space Cowboy standing in the door way.

Alekhine lifts his drink to the man as the Space Cowboy inquires about his pay. Alekhine points to the man’s side, to a sack of gold coins that wasn’t there a few seconds ago. The Space Cowboy chokes and steps backward in astonishment for a moment.

Alekhine remarks. “Let’s get this over with.” As he stands to walk out the door the Space Cowboy is too shaken to shoot and decides to wait until they are both standing in the street for this assassination to commence.

When both men found themselves at equal ends of the entrance and exit of the town. The sun hadn’t moved, but the air became cooler. And with the fall of a wet glass in the bar to their side, the gun fight commenced with the shattering of glass.

Blasters imploded from the cuts of revolvers. Hollow-point tips were reduced to chunks of woven metal. The two men stepped slowly toward one another as smoke filled the streets.

Metal flew as armor, weaponry and artillery alike were blown off of the men. The Space Cowboy fidgeted at the revolver rounds that flew through his limbs. Though it stunted his movements and ability to walk, he didn’t feel the pain of a single slug.

He was full of holes by the time he and Alekhine faced one another in the center of the town. The priest stood tall, not a bullet had touched him, but that was more than he could say for the laser blasts that had burnt through the front of his torso. He wasn’t bleeding as the heat from the blasters had fried the wounds upon making them.

Alekhine put his right hand upon the shoulder of the Space Cowboy and thanked him for his services. As Alekhine turned away the full extent of the Space Cowboy’s injuries overtook him and he collapsed to the ground in a damaged mechanical heap. As the priest walked out into the sun, the townsfolk looked on.

Alekhine had come to die; And in the desert outside the town, in the deserted land with the sky of a vibrant fiery orange sun, he did.

Pyre On The Lake

The white room gleamed a horrible clear color, while the air was dry and void of any flavor. This room was a cell. But a cell in a place which my mind could not yet register, as the events leading to my imprisonment are not those of a thief or a murderer.

This white room is not of the world I once knew, and my tale is as unlikely as any story, I imagine, you have ever been told. It started as a boating trip with my older brother, Anthony. He had just returned from college and I had recently graduated highs school.

After a long time away we’d figure we’d rebuild the connection of our close relationship by going on a boating trip, free from the scolding words of our parents when the booze and pot were whipped out. We contemplated bring up girls, but Anthony and myself were more introverted than most guys our age, I guess. We had always been close.

And we decided that this trip would just be for us. We paid for some old cabin that our dad’s friend was renting out and took out some our savings to afford a week and a half up there, in the mountains. The cabin was near these two rivers, side by side and flowing quick and steady down the slope of the hilly landscape.

Woods surrounded the cabin, which surprisingly was very well kept. The interior was almost completely modern. It had tables and beds and stuff that folded out from the shaved walls.

There was a view through this back window that was positioned over this lake, directly behind the building. While looking out the back window, which was in the room I was sleeping in, the sun peeked out from behind the rocky horizon and reflected off the water so beautifully. The outside air was bug-free and the temperature was astonishing.

We had finally reached our vacation spot. I thought about the day I had had and the bustle of my daily life which brought me to plan such a week. I remember thinking aloud to myself:

“Today is looking to be one big steaming pile of shit. I’m working in the blistering heat of a humid August day, watching the old Italians and Jewish-folk of the neighborhood waddle by and into their mini vans. I think about how I might be spending today if I was in their position.

I got a pack of cigarettes in my pocket; Found under my bed a day or two after my girlfriend had misplaced them there. I don’t like the taste. The tobacco, or whatever the hell they put in cigarettes nowadays, is too packed for me.

I enjoy a lighter, smoother brand. I’m supposed to be up pushing carts around, but in this weather I’m more sure I’d die of heatstroke before I could clear a parking lot. Besides, I’m in no mood to help the average schmuck about their “pleasant shopping experience”.

Customers are all promised special treatment and the workers are all promised aggravation and shit pay. If it wasn’t for the fact that it was a hundred degrees out here, and that I need some god damned form of income to keep the judgmental words of my peers away, I’d up and stroll all the way home right now. Or, storm into the office of my boss, throw my vest and belt down on the table and tell them “I quit”; Just like in those old stereotypical cop action-flicks.

And the sun shower has begun. About time. It doesn’t do much; Just kinda makes me feel as if the air has gotten cooler.

Anything to trick the mind. When the carts ain’t that full I like to sit on a bench, past where the front store cameras can spot you, smoke and fiddle around on my phone. No one in my family knows I smoke cigarettes.

Maybe they assume I do and are too trusting in my ability to share every single detail of my personal life with them that they’d just rather wait for me to say I do. All the while making allusions. I considered lighting up another cigarette, since after downing two I kinda got used to this brand’s taste, but I’d rather not.

I’ll make them last if I gotta. Just don’t wanna run the risk of a family member driving by and seeing me swallow smoke. I could picture them flying home in a panic and gossiping like fat-lipped gulls, as they like to do.

Probably not my mother, though. She can keep a secret, as far as I’ve observed in my life, so far. Had to get back to work.

Been sitting down for a good hour and the mixed temperatures in the air, as well as this flat wooden bench, are starting to turn my legs and my ass numb. I’ll sit down again once I’m ready for a third cigarette and a bottle of water; Or both.” What a day that was, and how happy I was to return home and see my brother waiting.

Over dinner our brother brought up the subject of fishing and I took to the idea of a trip. Anthony would be home permanently now. At least, until pursuing a career in computers.

And at some far away company in ‘god-knows-where-ville’. So for the short time we had with him, I suggested a trip and he took to the idea quick-fast. Our parents, hesitant at the thought of their only two sons fending themselves off from the “horrors” of the wilderness stirred them, Anthony assured a tranquil and firm environment.

So with much discussion and the assurance of mine and my brother’s responsible nature, my parents waved us goodbye two days later. I tried my best not to think back to the dull life back home and focus on the time I had now. Anthony and me went hunting for a while, caught a habit or two and, before hand, got settled into our rooms.

I prepared to relax in the cabin’s living room as I found the television actually receiving channel pick-ups. I skipped through some static and came to some local new stations and a kid’s channel. Anthony entered the room and asked if I was ready to start fishing.

It was eight at night, but I humored his eagerness. So I took a pole from behind the shed, as well as all the hooks, lines and bait that he’d set up, and we walked on down to the dock for some night-fishing. We thought about setting into a boat out on the water, but decided against the idea.

We figured it’d take too long. We set up our rods and took a seat out on the dock which rested on the beach and followed up out on the water in a ’T’ shape. The moon was full and the lake was a black glistening muck.

Beautiful upon viewing, but sinister underneath. I looked up at the moon and thought about our time together. Not many words were exchanged between us upon that dock.

We were both lost in the moment. The perfection of the night and the appreciation of one-another’s company just had us at ease. There was no need for words.

Presence was enough. And so, we commenced fishing. We sat upon the dock and casted lines.

We caught nothing for about and hour and decided to pack up. Just as we were putting the hooks away we noticed the water dancing. There was a ball of scrambled liquid, floating within the center of the lake and glowing a reddish glow beneath the surface of twirling water.

It was like a sun beneath a sheet of liquid. Loops of thin fire sprung out from the sphere as it grew in size. It mesmerized our eyes and then our senses.

First came it’s sound, vibrant and appealing in multiple tones. Next, came it’s smell, like a fresh brush of air which had been untouched by atmosphere itself. A temperature beyond hot or cold.

This heat, or cold, or whatever flowed out from this ball, and the ball grew bigger. I turned to Anthony to see he had been lost in the look of the thing over the lake. I looked on with a daze and almost wanted to reach out for it.

Fire flew out at us in loops again; But this time they struck at the shore and the dock, slicing up the area around us. Our daze became fear as we snapped out of our trance and into a panic. We dodged these rays and ducked to avoid these growing masses which blew out of the sphere like hot steam from a tight radiator pipe.

I jumped from the dock alongside Anthony as two beams shot between us. I landed on the grass as the last of the dock was burned way. I felt Anthony’s body follow me in the jump, but as he landed I heard a much softer landing.

I leaned over in horror to see his torso burned in two. Everything from his lower chest down was burned away, as if combustion had taken the rest of him. More than anything, I remembered feeling angry.

A feeling which attracted me to the sphere, both in fury and interested. I moved closer, and in rage I threw my self at the thing, triggering some rift. A blast of light engulfed me in fire and I passed through, what seemed like a flux of air, built-up in a brush of heavy wind.

A wind which carried me away. Out into a void and black place where there was no air. My feet fell flat on the water as gravity shifted and I sunk under the surface.

The lake became a portal, and upon the other side I found myself in a place removed from space and time. A corner of a dimension that was separated from all other things. A desolate realm of nothing, but… Him.

He revealed himself to me. A presence within the lake, he was. A speaker of ancient things and a spirit of the sub-conscious and, not a speaker of words, but a conveyer of thought.

This ghoul passed over me, almost scanning me with eyes it did not have. I felt this being in all his entirety and felt all that he was about. Meaning, purpose, origin and creation; This being… It’s name, ‘Droth’, was something not of earth or humankind.

Or of space, in that regard. Droth. It was the only word that came to mind.

It was the name of this presence. This thing which pulled me into this realm. Not a living thing.

Just a being of some sort. A “Him”. I felt a great sleep approach me.

An almost ambitious haze which entered my mind and brought back thoughts of a calm and resting environment. I was in a place of familiarity brought on by Him. And He made me remember my youth.

And in my youth there rested a short tale. The abstract tale of a man named Thomas Leaf. A story which confused, yet, settled me and a story that went something like this:

“He was a fitted-man. Thomas, as he was called. And he made a habit of mowing his rooftop every noonday and again, especially when the grass got tall after the rain.

The sun was half up before I noticed him. My wife, sitting in our kitchen sink, called me to the window. I was in the shed with a ball of screws.

I came trotting out to answer her call. That was when I noticed Thomas, prim as a pipe and getting vulgar. His wife sat under him, the house ablaze.

The anguish was a fog of smoke. Thomas’ house had begun up, while my wife stared blankly. Misses Thomas, engulfed in flame, sat in her rocking chair, flames all about.

Cotton filled my ears. The drums were booming as the sun ran a cycle. Thomas was in a panic, the grass burning from beneath him.

Before long, he fell through. There was my house and his. My house, a square structure with pink walls, and a brown roof and a chimney.

Thomas’ house was a pile of ashy mulch, containing the remains of Misses Thomas. Thomas stood right and proper, turning to me. The sky was scribbles as Thomas set off.

Far into the distance he walked. Our houses, once standing at the threshold of an empty endless field, now a home accompanied by a blotchy blackness. We still live in the house, the misses and me.

The town tried phoning Thomas, but he’s gone far away now. The birds come every day now, picking noodles from the wreckage. I have no doubt that Thomas will return soon.

After all, he forgot his mower.” It didn’t make sense and it wasn’t supposed to, I guess. And that what the outlook I had placed upon my parent abduction at the hands of this otherworldly being.

As for the story, I pondered the triggered memory. I could never remember the author, just the absurdity of the character named Thomas and his world, which appeared so unreachable to me. As if existing on a realm I’d never given thought to, or a place of pure fiction.

I slipped back into a dream as his power over my being kept me sedated. His exact plans for me were uncertain. Was this mirage of a monster to devour my soul like a demon?

Or steal my blood like a parasite? This worry fell back into lightheadedness as I floated back in space. A scene formed around me as a strange dream began to play out.

The cocktail lounge was a bustle of mixed chatter which played along discontentedly with the absence of any music. We were in a long hall with a blue tile floor and golden flowers on shiny light brown tables. The bar tenders were attentive, and along with the assisted telling of my parents that I was under age, I was sure they’d ask me for identification.

This left my plans of drinking for the evening null and void. I grabbed a small plate of eggplant parmesan and a cut of beef. I walked back to the table and got settled, realizing that I had forgotten a fork.

After another trip, and a quick pondering about the absence of alcohol in my life, I sank back into my seat and wolfed down the plate. I had picked up this weird blue drink with fruit punch, dry ice and a cherry. The drink was alright.

Sure as hell wasn’t no substitute for a great big bottle of cold wine. A little while past and I took a picture at the request of the traveling photographer passing out table by every few minutes. I wanted to stretch but my dress cloths were too tight, as they always are, and my shoes were too small, like dress shoes always are.

There was a fake fish tank full of plastic organisms and plants all around it. Caught me off guard at first. There’s a faint booming coming from some curtains to our right as some woman in a tux waltz’ up to us and instructs us the main room and dance floor are open.

I get up to feel the creamy brush of swamp-ass as the heat begins to hit me now. I walk along this white curtain upon the wall to avoid stepping through some people’s conversations. And we’re onto the main room.

I instantly recognize a flow of cool air which takes me over almost instantly. The music is louder now and unhelpful, teamed with the small headache that the heat had previously caused. Another DJ.

I hate DJs. Cheaply hired, they blast over-rung beats so all the drunken thirty-year old women in the room, all with the same haircut and ideal social media profiles, can get up and wobble like rum-fiends on the dance floor. This obsession which drives them to drink is no stranger in my mind.

And while they have the ability to order drinks as they please, one year away from being twenty one leaves me at quite the disadvantage. Luckily, there sits in front of me, a glass of champagne, only half filled, with five unoccupied seats around me and no one to finish the bubbling goodness of those glasses. So, one by one I poured them all into my drink, filling up the champagne till I was holding a pleasing amount.

I threw my head back and caught a chunk of fresh air which freed me from my slumber. My breath was quick and hastily executed, almost as if I had ceased breathing while unconscious. Stars are all around me as this force, Droth, moaned in displeasure at my struggle for escape.

This being longed to enter me. To take control of my mind for purposes which were beyond me. And with all my might I wouldn’t let it!

It was through visions that He manipulated mankind. I say ‘He’. Not ‘it’ or ‘that’ or some other third thing to describe the presence He presented.

It was just ‘Him’. A final and absolute to everything. The God, if you will; And in this darkness I sat as all that was around me was void.

In the blackness of space he sat as my parallel, peering into my core. My soul and the nothingness that made me up. His glare was indifferent; And this place in which He had brought me was one of unrest, and yet I felt sedated.

I was away from the world and outside an area of time which I could recognize. Home was a distant thought as this presence emanated and took me over. The cabin, the lake, the woods; All of it had gone now and only the complete indifference of this essence out of the ethos was with me now.

Within me now. In this instance I was bigger than the sunos any start from here to infinity. Molecules were the insignificant makeup of a futile existence which only spiraled to one day cease to exist.

In a moment I saw the universe and Him; And He was everything. I though nothing of my brother and his death, or the life I had left behind. Only He was true.

He was injured, longing for a return to a place where I could be his entirety. Where I could be his parallel as he would walk in my skin. He wanted a return, back to the place of his birth and an escape from the valley of shadows we equally inhabited.

He was strong, and as He attempted to convince me of his sincerity, my doubts vanished as if removed by a drug of some sort. Everything was water and space became liquid. I fell asleep to it’s vibrations as my eyes drew a tunneled vision.

I sunk into slumber, and alongside Him I did slip back into this world. He followed. When I came to for the second time I could feel him with me.

I was back on the lake and I was floating just barley atop the waters. The lake was motionless and the water stayed still in the moonlight. My lower body was still as He held me up.

Through the lake and parallel reflection of the plane beside our own, he did begin to disperse. Out from the light and water He came, pressing out from the rift-less black and out into thee cloudy night sky. Peace of the heart became a scream of insanity as He was released upon the world.

This being from another place, this sentience from another time; It was loose in our world. A dangerous thing, indeed. As the dimension from which it had transported us had closed up like a dark curtain.

The form of the water changed from an ice gleam and into a cold ripple. He had taken to the forest and begun to surge through the land, traveling to find others like myself. Batteries to feed his cycle of ecstasy.

He moved like wind and grasped at mater which harsh attachment. If it could be felt it could be manipulated, and across the rocky mountains He raced, absorbing the history of the land and data which designated within him. I felt this strength growing.

He swept over beavers and deer and squirrels and chipmunks and things like that; Absorbing life. Collecting that stuff that made up souls. He was an Irk.

That place from which he had escaped was a prison. And from his procession of me, we were tied together. I was the avatar of Him and He existed here because I had too.

It was almost unexplainable how an entity, trapped within the reflection of a lake, coveted my soul. Never could I have imagined myself serving as vessel to those forces which I had previously never shed a thought for. But now, He tarnished the land and the death of my brother began to take me over as He branched out more and more; Allowing his hold on me to cease.

The image of my brother’s body revealed itself one last time as I knew what I was to do to prevent His presence in this world. For my brother and for the safety of all those who call this planet home, He had to die. In turn, I had to die with him.

He believed he had bonded to a perfect host. One without logic or reasoning enough to realize the intensions of a beast from a ball of fire on a lake made from the stars. I was sending Him back, with no chance of returning.

I could see how he played dormant. With the state of the lake and the seclusion of this abode, this was holy ground. Or, perhaps even more than that.

A prison for the otherworldly. A lake of pyre which held the very essence of a flame. A foul soul from a time lost and forgotten.

It was into that forgotten passage which I was ready to return unto. And as I lied back and took my first swallow of the water, my feet only left the floating surface of the water once He had felt my life draining. With each breath of liquid he died, more and more.

I drank the lake in heavy breaths as my lungs filled. I choked and gagged, but stuck at it. Drowning myself agonizingly.

His soul sunk back into the lake as his fire died and his essence over the woods was subsiding. I opened my eyes for a moment as he rushed through me to find an escape. There was none, and within that lake I drowned myself, taking Him with me.

As we returned to that void together, it struck me. This separation of sorts. As I flew backward into nothingness this black prism of space began to run white, like milk in water, the gleaming took over and a box began to enclose around me.

I could feel him no more as all of his being fled from my core, returning mw to a fragile state. I believed myself to be dead, passing through layers of time which I had previously turned blindly upon. falling through time, these layers formed a box and here I was imprisoned.

I felt nothing and the world outside these walls did not exist. Did I kill god? Is this all that is left of humanity?

Did I destroy a force, able to keep the universe in form, and had I destroyed the form-keeper, reducing space and time into white walls of conscious-less absence?! Shock hit me as I collapsed to the ground. There was nothing around me but this prison.

This white room within which I was trapped. And so I will remained trapped, until, perhaps, the absence of the void which placed me here is born again; And cycles in the new forms of creation. In turn, pulling back to a place of space and comprehensible time. Until that day, lost I remain among the starts. Look up and see me not, for I do not see you.

One Night At The El Pesto Motel

From what I could remember, I began the night off at 8:30 by waking from a mid-day nap to the smokey ash-filled air of my dilapidated noir motel room. “What a foul stench.” I took notice of the stale air, and for a second that weird smell was the only thing on my mind.

I don’t know why, but it stuck with me most of that very night. Even after my dizzy-daze had worn off. It was the El Pesto Motel, located just off of East Street, somewhere around the corner from the smoke-shop Zachary had dragged me into earlier that same Saturday.

“My head is spinning like a son-of-a-bitch, and I doubt we got any water in that crap-mini fridge.” I thought. I heard running water, and shot up n’ over to the bathroom to find my good buddy passed out on the floor, a bottle of ale in one hand, a box of unlit, unclipped cigars in the other.

“The air is too damn dry in here.” It wasn’t. He was curled up like a dog with his drool hitting the marble floor like a runny sink.

His snoring overpowered the sink as blood rushed to my head and standing became a chore. I kicked him lightly to rustle him from his sleep. He let out a big yelp and quickly turned over.

His jolt, breaking the bottle of ale over the toilet bowl. I stumbled backward out the bathroom door and landed on my ass. “Not all the blow in Jersey could put me in as bad a state as this.”

I felt. As the noise of the bottle smashing erupted in my brain, so did the echoes of voices stumbling around outside door to our room. I hit the ground a few more times before catching my balance and realizing that my wallet was nowhere to be found.

Making my way to the door, I grabbed a few unspecified bills off of the passing nightstand and stumbled out the room in a flash. The walk was a blur of cool air and blinding streetlights, as after dodging traffic for fifteen minutes, I found myself comfortably seated in a crimson-red diner booth. The waitress, a blonde young thing in a mini skirt and shitty leggings, came up to me and asked what I’d like.

Coffee, of course, was my only reply. “Black.” If I could get the black-stuff in my system, maybe it’d free me up from this shit-daze I’d woken to.

I had heard rumors on the Internet, but I didn’t truly know the effects of caffeine on a turned-around mind. That is, if it was a hangover, of sorts, that I was even dealing with. “It must have felt great going down, and the few minutes after that. Now I was reaching that addict’s-low my dealers were always talking about.”

There was always the possibility of some pills floating around my system, working their medical pain-killing magic on my rotting guts. I knew Zachary’d be fine, back in the room, and as dull as a raccoon could be, beaten with a stick. This is the kind of thing he’s used to.

I, on the other hand, had just begun to make a habit of trailing local nobody-bands and getting shit-faced at their after parties. They were metal bands of all sorts, each one attempting to scream louder than the last. They’d travel the country, living off the stolen funds of their white suburban parents, and fueled by enough alcohol and hooka to put God himself into a coma.

Now hooka doesn’t do much, or at least, that’s what my comrades would have me believe. Personally, I can say that it makes me sick to my stomach and all turned around, especially if I had eaten right before. Unfortunately I was always the unluckiest soul to suck up some of the loose ash-bits from the hose.

It hurt like a motherfucker. Guess I just have a weak throat. And that’s how my life was, at least for a time, and how I’d remember it.

“I contemplated blowing my brains out.” I sat in that booth imagining to myself about how one day I’d be telling this story and how one night I’d opened up my eyes to the disdainful beauty of being a trashy-vagabond, and with all the clutter of the past, future and present on my mind, I was finally able to deduce that pills were the culprits of my wavering mind-wandering. “So much on my mind. Or, was it?”

My heart began an unfamiliar flutter as my body temperature rose and sunk with every breath of airI forced down and choked back up. Before the waitress made it back to the table, I booked. I forgotten what I’d had, and I’d hoped Zachary resurfaced his conscious moral-alertness to explain to me what had happened, post catnap.

The walk back to the motel seemed longer and more trivial than my venture to locate the diner. Especially when my eyes came to stare at my feet as if they were stepping through an intangible floor. I rushed home in a mad sprint as the night sky fell apart like raining glass around me.

Rushing in the motel door, which had been left open, I slammed down on the bed as my head began a race of stellar thoughts and assumptions. Slowly heading into an orgasmic seizure on the motel’s bed, I cried out for Zachary as the effects of the pills overtook me. My next sight was that of Zachary shoving a needle into my lungs and feeling a cool liquid fill up my chest.

Everything faded to black as I slipped back into a cool tranquil sleep, this time looking up at Zachary looking down at me, and just breaking into his pack of unsmoked cigars from before. When I was ready to get up again, I was looking forward to quite a hangover. I slept a bit before waking up and feeling as if my head weighed a ton.

I scattered for my phone to see if I had any missed calls. I remember feeling this weird rumbling in my stomach as I crawled to the bathroom on all fours. My hand hit this little pile of bottles on the carpet and I steadily remembered them.

These pills… these tablets in this case were given to us by some dealer. It was some new synthetic shit, like pot in a pill form. No smell, no smoke, no nothing.

All you’d need do is swallow and enjoy the effects. I sure as hell wasn’t feeling high and by the second time that rumbling came I was leaning over the toilet, ready to let the plumbing loose. I felt my mouth water and my eyes rolled back as it all came up in a big thick chunk.

I choked at the end and ended up spewing into the water, hearing a great big dunking noise. I didn’t want to look down at the puddled-mess I’d made, but my eyes caught it too quick. That was when I noticed.

In the toilet… there was this bulb-like silver pod with a long tail, like a tadpoles! What the fuck did that dealer sell us!?! The toilet was vomit free, but there sat a pulsing pod of shining grey.

With bumps on it’s side and a tail that wiggled overtime I let out a horrified scream! I backed up so quickly, and on all fours, that I accidentally slammed the back of my head into the wall. For a few hours I faded in and out of consciousness.

I coulda sworn some guys in black came into the apartment and topped the place, way worse than me or Zachary had. When I finally woke up I took a moment or two to relax before peering over into the toilet. The pod was gone and my stomach felt fine.

I ran out to see Zachary on the bed, fast asleep as he’d been most of that experience. I collapsed in a chair in one of the corners of the room. I thought back to the dealer, the pod, the men in black clothing and if all of this was the product of some fucked-up trip.

One thing I had noticed since that day, though, was a strong series of lines on my lower right side of my ribs. Lines, almost like a barcode. I don’t know where they came from and my doctor can’t seem to determine their origin.

In Lieu

It is in an armchair, settled in front of a roaring fire, where I now write these words, to be typed later. I sit shivering, not at the chill which creeps from behind and up my shoulders, but at that which I’ve read and come to accept as gospel in this, my bleakest hour. In my dreams I have seen the worlds of the endless beginning, and of the infinite end.

These lands, which we can only now picture as mere manifestations of an overactive imagination, were real. They were real because we’ve seen them. Every moment your eyes are shut, every second your mind wonders, you are in that place between the known and the unknowable.

Trapped are you in the universe’s grand clock, and you are but a particle of observatory dust, meant not to witness everything, and know nothing. Despite this scheme, our minds wonder and we witness these beautiful, vast things. This is because we refuse the reduction life grants us.

It is in our nature to dream, to explore, to know. And as the gift of knowing grants peace of mind, some truths may drive you mad. As they have countless priors.

The sand across the deserts of the world make haste, to cover the timeless treasures and the bloodied pasts beneath them. The seas rise to the heights of the mountains, and Everest melts with the rising of the sun, tearing down the civilizations of long ago, and banished cursed history to the watery depths, forgotten.

I lie in a dreamy wake, torn by the troubles of today and the struggles of days to come. The trees around me fade with the seasons, as every year they take some of me with them. It is a soul-stirring proclamation that neither shakes the foundation of realization, or otherwise. It is a feeling beyond the sensation of warmth or cold.

It is a moment, spanned for as long as you keep the thought in your head. This is mortality, only limitless limits, followed by an infinite blackness. There is nothing more beyond this, but hope, still holding on, like the twisted strings of a guitar, just barely severed after each pluck. Imagine for a moment, if you will, that nothingness is a substance, unseen by the human eye.

A box exists, filled with nothingness, and yet this thing which we can name and establish, indeed, is something. Passing from the metaphorical to the physical, now imagine that this nothingness holds the capability to create, to give life.

This nothingness, and all the many emptinesses that you see are now an endless force, fueled by our incomprehension to comprehend them. That is poetic mortality. The world seemed such a dark-dim place, and all those joys which once filled the limited hours of my day now were nowhere to be found.

My days poured over into my nights as my eyes refused to shut. Sleep was impossible in this state, and those outer-forces I could feel looming in on my soul refused to let up. Perhaps this was my mid-life crisis, or perhaps the devils of hell really did require the solace of my spirit.

These were my days. Endless exhaustion and the quantum zenith of all my fears come to bare fruit. Fears of death and the prolonged reality of non-existence.

I pondered all the things that could possibly make up this life of mine. Was I insignificant? Did my life matter?

Sorry, to my self to say, I never held myself in high regard for most of my life. I was a black sheep, but not the first of my immediate family. I had brothers casted out before me.

Their riches and the promise of our family’s decay and wealth was swiped from them at an early age. I could only imagine the reasons why. Still, it seemed to be no surprise that such acts of thievery would come from my bastard of a father.

That’s right! I said it! Do you hear me down there!?

In Hell!? I hate you! I hate you!

I never knew what became of my brothers. I never knew them well, and never knew them much after their disownment. I suspected he had them killed.

I don’t doubt it. A small fee to pay from keeping your mistaken offspring from continuing to wander the earth, spreading the truths about your infidelity and malice. Oh, father couldn’t have that.

And so… I believe he had them killed, my brothers. Oh, and so young they were too! Bastard!

Bastard! Bastard! I swore to never have children.

Cause you see, father, the only reason you have them is to usher in your own death! Your children outlive you! They remind you of what you had and what you wasted!

They flaunt youth and innocents and throw it back in your face! That’s what I did father! That’s what I did!

And you died a broken fool, crying out on a bed and gasping, begging for god to give you more air; But I took that air, didn’t I daddy? I took your air and your years a long time ago. I was all you had.

Your last continuation. Well I’ll be damned if I do as you wanted! I hope you turn in that grave!

I hope you feel the maggots on your flesh and the pain in your bones! I’m happy you’re there! Better than being off, poisoning the world like the vile monster we all knew you to be!!…

Oh, my. I lost myself for a moment, there. God, this heavy feeling in my head grows.

I make my way outside. The night air is stale as I make my way through the foggy brush. That tint of white that fills the moonlit night fades ever so swiftly at my staggering nature.

For I walk upon the cemetery atop the old dark hill, at that place past the mansion where I withered all those tormented dawns. That peak of luminescent blackness which echoes outward in a cold streaming wind. Wind which shivers the gates of this cemetery, vibrating the ground and all those deep-holes where the dead lie, resting eternal.

For within the ground and surrounded by the promised keep of the dead is where I belong, in this moment. Each step I take, contemplating that chain of thoughts which has summoned me up from my study-chair and out my door, into the bitter night. Summer is upon this hill as the grasp of snow finally fades with the season’s passing breath.

A breath I’ve heard and have made a point to call on during these last few weeks. Calling upon the aid of the doctor, I churned in my deathbed, calling out to the assistance of that healer. The man which fed my father serums, prayed my mother to rest and aided my siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins into their comfortable eternal sleeps.

I called him to my side each and every day, because I knew the shadows were upon me. Those shadows, like big gloomy sheets of darkest void that stole my family’s riches and struck them down like ill-cattle. My home which suffered, ringing with the hauntings of memories dead and gone, still slept, in a quiet fest of gore.

Those halls held silence and sound that could only be heard in limbo. But, the doctor could not help. Death was upon my house, upon my title.

Upon my life. The doctor spoke of sicknesses within my head. He claimed it was all in my mind.

These shivers that clutched me by candles, so warm, and these bruises which manifested in plight. The doctor, a charlatan, claimed these ill-happenings to be illusions in my head. All this pain, and the knowledge that the reaper glared through my window at night, he spoke of as if it were mere childish blather.

So I ordered him away, to retreat from my side! An exile from my home, as I could not tolerate his foulest insinuations. I, a liar and over-worried dolt of the highest class of hypochondriac?!

How dare he! This seed of the devil which weakened my heart shortened my breath with a reality that was all too true to not see. And so, when the wine from my cellar had run out and the maidens that once fainted at my doorstep ceased their arrival, I strummed up my inner most strength to pull my dying self from the old-home.

I began my walk to the cemetery on that hill, where I now stand, leaning upon the stone-graves of my kin; Awaiting that ever-sweet silence which I know will break at dawn. It is unbearable! Have I not waited long enough!?

I curse any god who would allow such suffering, as even the devil knows some eventual end to malice. In all the awaited absolutes that have tarnished my mortal flesh, the arrival of death is one so tedious as to bring about one’s final insanity! And now the sky appears blue as those crows upon the black trees which surround me begin to flock away.

The night is lifting and the mist has taken it’s final bow. The air is cold again, but that lantern in the distances brings promise of another day. Be death a nightmare I have mistaken for truth?

Be the bindings upon my flesh be the tricks of my mind laid to be boldly seen? This day brings light, a new, and envelopes me once again as I lean back on the grave of my father and witness the sun in it’s glorious ascension, forgetting the night and it’s dark promise. This sorrow moves from me, welcoming a worsened existence.

So it is decided that I will live, by the contract of god and the devil, a torturous life, indeed. I step those same harrowing spaces which evil men and come before me. And so I join their ranks to share in their wickedness.

To blasphemy and curse the lower birth, drinking the blood of infants and ravishing the untainted. A defiler, all the same, as any other, am I. Tonight is the meeting and my first glance into that world which my heritage has granted me access.

The rich walk in hooded cloaks, like druids, stepping to the drumbeat of a low-key humming. Once a year, on a night like this and under the glorious eyes of a great wooden statue of our idol, we pray and celebrate. It is tradition that those whom possess the blood of the blessed are to remain forever wealthy, forever fit, forever sane.

This world understands us not, and rather would they take torches to our holy positions and cast us out like self-entitled madmen. Jealously takes those less fortunate and the wooden idol to which we glorify tells us this in slumber. The idol speaks of the poor man’s inferiority and warns us of their treachery.

To live in this world one must abide by those rules and traditions predetermined by the idol and one’s own ancestry. Or else one could just as easily fall to the will of the ‘lesser-man’. The beggar who weeps at our doorstep, pleading for bread or for shelter, to share in that which we have earned.

Just so, when our guard has weakened, they may cut us down and reap our fruits. No, I nor not a single of my brothers whom stand beside me shall ever show mercy to that lesser-man. It is the rich who run this world and who decide it’s outcome.

We alone hold the ability to pass righteous judgment and can distribute the correct laws of life to abide by. The lesser-man has no mind and no heart. We are the sacred, chosen from birth to shape this world as the sheep bend to the twirl of the shepherd’s stick.

The stick we use to guide their empty minds. And we know they will not rise us, because they can only speak, in the dark holes and crevices they tuck away into at night. The poor will not challenge the rich.

They will attack us with words, representatives, petitions and laws. We manipulate those words, we bribe those representatives, we cancel those petitions and we craft those laws. Our system is in place to aid only the truly gifted man. Something those below will never see.

They stumble on whiskey and drunkenly beat down our names in the quiet of the street’s corner pub, while we sit amongst civil equals and sip our serums to the sound of a constant melody. That melody which keeps true to the betterment of the wealthy and the obliteration of the not. All praise be to the idol.

The idol, do we praise. Drenched in the shame of my family name I can see no other way, than to go about my wretched ways and fulfill the bastardoues needs that are mine and my father’s before me. I am no different from them, the long line of vile sinners, resting deep in their graves in a dark unrest and malice.

That place where, as I continue to rot, an end prances upon me. So it is god I turn my heart upon, and to the church I scatter. Mortality has deserted me, as the devil has only taken.

And now I seek the pure-light given to all by one holy creator. For as far as I know, the devil hasn’t touched the church. The holy men slumber while I beg in their chambers.

Begging for aid. So the father takes me in. I forget my estate with walls of sin and study under they eyes of the divine.

Well-enough, I do. I turn away from this faith, as I had before and once again find my self at the mercy of wine, staggering amidst the rocky dirty before my family’s legacy home. That damnedest place!

As I lie one night in a state of rape and tarnish by the hands of the paths I have walked, a priest comes to me. One of a large rank, convinces me to vacate my chambers and join him for a soul’s good cleansing. I’d need not much encouragement to join the priest, as it was better than slowly dying along the floor outside my cursed home.

He led me past graves and the black gate of the cemetery. A feeling that emanated coldly, like the reaper leading me unto my death. Deep within the musty tombs of the cemetery’s mausoleum, the High Priest led me down, carrying a torch, unafraid of the beaconing blackness beneath us.

I followed close behind, high and curious, as the webs surrounding the corridors of death took up my line of blurry vision. We trotted down and endless flight of stone steps, gazing into the nothings below us. As if descending amidst the depths of the Tower of Babel, this mausoleum could’ve stretched all the way to Hell and back.

The endless empty sockets of the dead were fixed upon me, so did I also feel their presence. The absence of sight was a blessed gift in this home of the un-alive, warning me of the High Priest’s intentions. Invading my chamber, and luring me with a smokey substance which placed me in this trance.

I knew not of what wicked scheme he had been planning, but I was soon to realize. When the steps came to a halt, we did as well. He fixed his index finger above my forehead and had me follow him through a row of thorny arches.

This lead us to a blueish room of cobblestone walls, and an obelisk fixed above a grey slab. Before I could blink, I found myself upon the slab, facing upward at the dirt-ceiling and crying out in an aggravated silence. I moved my lips, yet no works could escape.

The High Priest sat above me, as my arms and legs were held down by a force, invisible to the human eye. The High Priest’s white robes faded to a red hooded cloak, drenched in a scarlet ora. What followed was nonsense words, spouted in a deep voice, the High Priest grabbed hold of a dagger.

With a curvy blade and a golden hilt, he raised the knife as he spoke again, making no more sense than he had before. My chest began to glow a greenish glow as the wall behind him lit up. He raised his arms as I began to ponder my situation.

I was to be a sacrifice in the summoning of something otherworldly. This invisible force held me down and held me firm, as the ritual progressed, I cried out harder than ever before. The High Priest was a druid, indeed.

As the thoughts of the dead had told me upon our descent. I could not break the chain, I could not dispel this evil. No amount of servitude to the church could free me from this fate now.

As great jaws stretched out of the portal upon the wall, I found myself able to scream. The High Priest raised his hand, clutching the dagger and swung to spill blood. As I became covered in crimson liquid, I peered up to see that it was not my blood that the dagger had spilt.

The High Priest had pierced his own heart! As he stood, shaking in pain, the mighty jaws swallowed him up. The creature within the wall came forth, in full malevolence, chewing him up.

I stayed, spiritually and physically bonded to the slab, all while the hungry beast took up the room. His great jaws peered down upon me, the High Priest’s blood dripping from them. The High Priest was the sacrifice, meant to manifest the beast, fully in our world.

I was merely an instrument of demonic fruition. And so my purpose had come to pass, as that famous contract between god and the devil comes too. Casted down into damnation, down where my soul has ceased all forms of being.

Light reaches no further than that place beyond heaven’s wreath. Beyond that wreath I lie, lied to in lying and laid in distain, caught between this world and the world’s behind. The creature melted into mist with, what appeared to be it’s soul, attempting to form itself again.

It came from my chest and flew about the tomb in a frantic speed. I faded into obscurity for a moment, coming back from the depths of a large scream which shook the foundation of the tomb. I notice not the flames of hell or the lights of heaven, but a star.

A star far out among a cosmos I have never known. Out in a place I have never thought to look. Out there, past the night sky and the nebulas that spiral with carnage and chaos in tow; There was my purpose.

A purpose beyond the satisfaction of mortal likings. A reason far greater than one’s own preservation. It was the open ceiling of the tomb which caught my eyes upon this star and revealed to me my grand purpose in the scheme of things.

This world was not one of gods and devils. This world was a machine of arcane monstrosities and things beyond knowing or believing. I was to be a part of something bigger.

The grand coming of another age, used in by things long locked away. I could feel this sentience pass through me, tearing me apart. So I laughed.

Laughed at the insignificance of all those around me. The summoners, the druids, the warlocks and all those worshipers of these ‘things’ that were attempting to claim our world. They were all nothing.

I was the portal for this sentience, to reap our realm. I was in a state above the worshipers. Directly responsible for these creatures’ manifestation.

I heard the name of the summoned one as he passed through my chest. I was one with this being named ‘Thuhl’. This monstrosity of formless matter from beyond the valleys of unending time.

From a place beyond concept and the very essence of what we call existence. And to this summoning I went unto, willingly; To serve in the kingdom of eldritch unrest. Even in this, I was not to be the instrument of creature we’d call gods!

Because the moment in which I was to serve as birther to this being named Thuhl, a group of men, with guns and crosses and a large brown book, broke down the doors of the tomb, marched down the steps and began to destroy the ritual chamber. They knocked over candles and chanted words which made Thuhl hiss and churn. These men sent the creature into a frenzy as it drew itself backward; Back into the portal carved upon my chest!

I was nothing now! Not even parent to the celestial beings who lurked above! These men… these bastards… took my purpose!

I had nothing! They bleached the tomb with some kind of holy-waters and casted incantations upon strips of paper which they nailed to every wall. I leaped from my slab as the restraints of Thuhl no longer held me in place.

I ran for the dagger that rested within the High Priest’s shredded corpse and ripped it out of his heart! As I turned to lunge at the men they pointed their guns at me. I saw the state I was in and took a moment to collect myself.

I looked up at the twisted dagger and back down at my chest, carved up to high heaven. Then, it all hit me at once. This tired feeling.

Brought on by the strain of having played mother to a child, or maybe it was the loss of blood which had me faint. Either way, I dropped the knife and fell to my knees. With one final cry of agony, I fainted.

When I awoke I was in a hospital. I was beside about three other people in one of those wide open rooms. There were so many nurses.

They got excited when I woke up. I tried not to talk, imagining that everything that had come before was a dream. I remained quiet and played dumb, up until I felt that I’d had a decent night’s rest.

There was a clock to my right that helped me keep track of the days. I had no visitors and, in the state I was in, no one around me seemed to know who I was. I eventually had decided to ask one of the nurses where I was, as this hospital didn’t resemble the one I had always gone to as a child.

She told me that I was in the Boston Medical Center and that a group of men had brought me in, claiming they had found me beaten and mugged in an alley. They told they hospital I was from out of town and had arranged something of an extended-stay for me at the facility until I had gotten my bearings. She was called away and I settled back into my bed.

I faded into sleep. A scream broke blackness as I jumped out of bed to find the room in dismay. The patient on the tables beside me were torn open!

Their insides were scooped out! I begged to just be in some damned nightmare. I ran to the window where an orange light was coming from and bashed it open with a fire extinguisher.

I peered out past the light that shined in and past the orange sun I could see endless desserts. For miles there was nothing. Just the hospital, cut off from everything else.

I could feel a presence moving about the building as it quaked and shook in demonic throes. I ran for the door as the bodies of the patients began to reanimate! Their torn-open bodies lifted their arms and began to stand on their broken legs.

They wiggled and stumbled towards me like heaps of bloody bones, hung with black-ridden flesh! The door was broken off of it’s hinges and laying in the middle of the hall, so I jolted. It was as if the hospital was under attack!

I heard voices singing in deep unisons and demonic screaming filled the walls of the building. The halls grew rotted and brown as jagged metal began to stick out from cracks and corners. The halls and rooms were empty with a patient or a nurse running here or there.

I stumbled down a hall as a few people ran by me. I shielded my eyes in horror as overtime that monstrous roar was heard, their heads exploded!! Brains and chunks of skull flew everywhere, as if taken off by gunfire!

I leered at the long corridor to see a thing made up of sharp teeth and eyeballs reaching out long alien-arms for me. The building felt as if it was collapsing. I heard “Tttthhhhuuuuhhhhllll…..” and knew exactly what was coming! The beast had found me. Was Thuhl free!?! I wanted nothing to do with the creature.

I ran in the opposite direction to avoid the beast and came face to face with a row of four people. No, not people. Things.

Half human, half undead. They wore suits of strange materials and stood against the coming beast with no fear. I crawled to the wall, too scared to stand.

On one side there loomed Thuhl and on the other side stood these… beings. My hair ran white as their raised their right arms to the beast. Their palms glowed with a flurry of blue lightning as they shot beams of energy at Thuhl!

They fired until the monstrosity fell, breathing it’s foul breath no more. It’s hundred-eyes went still and it’s arms stopped pulling it forward. The four beings then looked to me.

I could tell they were not of this world. They opened their mouths and spoke. I heard infinite voices, all screaming at once.

The beings spoke in unison and in words I could not understand. When they finished speaking I found I could not hear. I was deafened!

I screamed and wailed while these beings looked down at me. They raised their arms as I cursed and damned them. As their hands rose. they snapped in unison and I could no longer taste or feel my tongue.

They were stealing my senses! I ran for them, lunging with my arms ready to reach out and strangle them! They threw me backward and finally raised their left arms up to me, in unison.

And in a flash of light they shot a beam of blue energy through my head. I saw nothing. I was blind.

Horrors On Riverside Drive

As Lilian drove down the beautiful road on a sunny afternoon she rolled down her window to get a gasp of the fresh air that was flowing down the mountains and off the nearby lake and trees that lined the highways. Lilian didn’t look back; Not until her jeep sped past the boarder of Ohio, leaving her college days and the last four years of her life behind her. She shared great times and many smiles, but the time had come for her to return home.

Her mother and father who had readied her room, all the way in Maine, waited in absolute euphoria for the return of their little girl. A graduate and bright young woman, with a world of smarts and a right sense of direction. The sky never seemed so blue before.

There was a cool and warm feeling in the air as she pulled though the many miles, closer and closer to home. A little while down the road she began to notice tall black figures peeking out from behind trees as she darted by in her car. She shrugged it of and continued on.

The drive would go swiftly, especially since Lilian had managed to avoid any traffic. Just her luck. This whole trip was going her way!

Lilian was on her way to good-old Riverside; A small harbor-community on the ocean where fishermen of all sorts went about their daily jobs with glee, for the great market led to many successful careers and a prosperous town. She remembered her parents and how they’d always lived in the old house on Marker Street. She thought back to her happy home and the love of her family; The friends who were waiting and all the memories.

She planned to stay for a time before heading out on her own again. Even in leaving she would never forget her home. The marvelous place that made up her childhood.

Lilian even decided to make time for her grandmother. One of the many loves of her life who was living in their old home. In perfect health, her grandmother was a gleaming idol to Lilian, who she modeled much of herself after.

This trip was to be amazing. The sun grew brighter and the clouds were at their whitest. The day was perfect.

She turned on the radio to hear her favorite song. Her brand new radio and sound system lit up the car and lightened the mood. This drive was a gas.

She thought back to her little brother, Samuel. She thought of how happy he’d be to see her. He’d be about thirteen now.

To her sides there was farmland and open fields that led up into the mountains. The road became hilly as she cruised by rivers and over the beautiful countryside bridges. There were animals like deer and rabbits and even a beaver or two, playing in the woods.

The sights and sounds were almost hypnotic. All would have been peachy, if not for this stage feeling Lilian had. Almost as if she was being watched.

Watched from afar by things that made her feel uncomfortable. But, she digressed. Changing the radio, another favorite of hers came one.

A few moments later there came a strange sound in the air. The deserted road began to shake, almost as if going into a wave of heat, like something you’d see by looking out at a far distance on a hot day. She pressed past this weird feeling in her head and tried to stay straight on the road.

The noise grew, like the ringing of her ears. Suddenly the air began thick and she began to feel heavy, as if being under water or passing though some bizarre stream of air. Then, in a second it stopped and she continued driving with no curiosity or opinion on what’d just happened.

Lilian was inching mile after mile to Riverside; A boating community which had been left abandoned for a time. The fishing was terrible and the ocean off the shore seemed almost dead to anyone who tried and make a living for themselves. The town was a place of failed ventures and mistaken investments, where everyone dangled on bankruptcy and foreclosure was god.

She remembered her parents and their separation. Their hate-filed marriage that spanned her entire childhood. She planned for this to be a quick trip.

Planning to leave Riverside as quickly as she had arrived. Lilian would visit her mother first, living out of the debt-drowned basement of her sickly grandmother’s house. She would then visit her father, who was most commonly found at the local bar, waiting to be thrown out at about eleven at night for refusing to leave after clean-up.

To get her mind off of everything she trend on the radio. The first station spewed out songs she couldn’t stand, and in the mountains the only other thing she could get on her busted-old transistor was static. The looming sense of irritation got her to thinking about her home life again.

She remembered her old home on Market Street and how it had been condemned. She had always been an only child, but her friend Samantha felt more like a sister than anything else. She’d be about twenty-three now.

Lilian always dreaded coming back home. After dropping out of college she figured she could swipe some cash off her grandmother. Just enough to get her to the next town or blow over a night in a motel, avid on avoiding her grandmother.

Lilian doubted she’d be happy to see her, as when she left for college, Lilian had gotten into a great argument with Sam. A little while down the road Lilian began to notice tall black figures peeking out from behind trees as she drove by. She shook a bit, but trued to pay them no mind.

A few moments later there came a strange sound in the air. The deserted road began to shake, almost as if going into a wave of heat, like something you’d see by looking out at a far distance on a hot day. She pressed past this weird feeling in her head and tried to stay straight on the road.

The noise grew, like the ringing of her ears. Suddenly the air began thick and she began to feel heavy, as if being under water or passing though some bizarre stream of air. Then, in a second it stopped and she continued driving with no curiosity or opinion on what’d just happened.

The Mind Plant

I was particularly unaware of when my uncle, Professor Thomas Arthur Lyncroft, first made contact with the bizarre plant that sat within a cardboard box, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, atop the highest shelf of his dust-ridden study. As his most curious and convincible nephew it didn’t take long for me to respond to my uncle’s invitation. An invitation to stay with him for a month or so in his dubious Boston estate, a cornfield away from the prestigious Sutwell University, where he taught biology and every that cursed creationism.

In this month or so he would teach me the basics of what a biologist would have to prepare for, if I would ever plan to one day find myself before students of my very own, handing down the teachings of my uncle and late father and making a name for myself, following the Lyncroft legacy. My uncle was going to teach me so much. I am now startled to say that over time a kind of dark-influence fell over my uncle, leading to his untimely death… and at my hands.

While I struggle to tell myself that this act was out of mercy, part of me couldn’t help but muster a hatred for my uncle, and for this thing he so ignorantly flaunted as his greatest find. Pulling back the clock to my arrival in Boston, my uncle wasted no time in showing me to the chambers where had stowed the thing away. Much of his behavior had struck me as peculiar, when I first saw him; Such as his appearance and mental state.

He was a skinny man who looked like he’d never slept. His speech was staggering and his moments were shaky. He looked uneasy with every moment that passed him by, and with this strangeness about him, I kept my distance.

When I was brought to his lab the plant was displayed on table before me. Bits were glowing as the yellow and hot pink spotted pedals flowed out, down to the dark stem and thorn-spiked leaves. The only odd thing about the plant, that struck me at first glance, was crystal-like quills that glowed with a dark purple which grew out from the base of the plant.

My uncle would not reveal to me about where he had gotten the thing, and would rather avoid the question, change the subject or dismissing my question with another question; Like a smart-ass. I quickly ceased asking and merely shared in his investigation of the plants’ genetic make-up. My first week in his estate was spent alongside him, examine the specimen.

It wasn’t too long before I began to notice the plant seemed to have a defense mechanism. When the plant was met with an object that could slice or press through any surface of it, the purple quills at the base of the flower would fire-out like those of a porcupine. It would take twenty-four hours for the plant to grow back new quills, and every attempt to dissect it would be met with this resistance.

I didn’t think to ask the major questions during the start of the examinations, as my uncle seemed defensive about delving into the origins of the flower. This led me to finally ask about a bizarre series of green vessel-like tubes which had embedded themselves on my uncles arm, and all of a sudden. This was something he could not hid, as with each day the hole from which the vessels came would glow with a brighter shade of purple.

He gave way rather quickly, as he explained a mishap that occurred during his first examination of the planet. He admitted to being hit with one of the quills and suffering a mild decrease in energy as well as a multitude of physical abnormalities. My uncle assured me that the effects of the quills “toxins”, as he called them, were merely temporary and that he was feeling fine.

I did begin to notice a great difference in his appearance. He looked healthier, happier and more energetic after our talk. I believed all was well, until a midnight stroll through the estate brought me peering through a keyhole of his laboratory, lured by whispers and the sounds of conflicted ramblings.

I had heard him from the hallway and couldn’t believe the panic he was in. The plant sat on his desk, still and glimmering. The brighter the quills shined, the brighter his vessels on his arm lit up, and the more hysterical he became!

I began to realize how the mailman and the servants had all ceased coming up to the estate. The gardeners and the groundskeepers hadn’t come since I’d arrived either. I noticed that this entire time the only person I’d seen all month was my uncle, fluctuating in wellness.

Deep in thought, I fell forward, slamming open the door and startling my uncle. He looked at me with a vicious glow, grabbing a letter opener, he lunged at me!! I pressed up against the wall and kicked him away into a corner.

He was disoriented for a moment as I swiped the letter opener out of his hand and took it to the plant. The purple quills fired, one catching me in my arm. As I pulled it out my uncle jumped on me from behind.

As I got myself loose he screamed for me as I ran out the door of the study. He had finally lost it. By the time I had made it to the door he caught up with me.

I ran to the basement where I figured I could hid. Tripping down the wooden steps, and landing at the bottom. I peered out through the darkness to see the mangled bodies of the mailmen, groundskeepers, gardeners and household servants all littered around the cellar.

With a sprained arm I stumbled through the pool of blood that made up the basement floor; Holding my mouth and trying not to vomit at the sights and smells of rotted bodies. Hearing my uncle call out for me once more, I located an axe and took to an area behind the boiler to hide. I believed I was safe, hearing his heated breath come down the basement steps and stepping through the bodies on the ground.

He monologged as he searched for me, explaining how ever since he’d been hit with the quill, he began to hear voices. He believed it was the plant, speaking to him, controlling his health and his will, bending his state of mind and informing him of the horrors entailed if he chose to disobey it. He told of how the quills allowed the flower to get into your head, infect you slowly, until your will belonged to it.

It was the ultimate defense mechanism, or as I saw it, the ultimate offensive-mechanism. I began to realize that it was no longer my uncle talking. Only the will of the plant exhibited now; Burned into his brain.

My uncle’s honesty faded in and out until only the speech of a psychotic hypnotized man remained. It had taken over my uncle and murdered anyone who wouldn’t convert. I hushed my breathing as I waited for the right moment to make for the stairs.

This moment came too late as I felt the letter opener from before pierce my chest four times before I fell to the ground. As I looked up, on my back, my uncle stood with wide eyes bleeding a yellow substance, he grinned and readied the letter opener again. I mustered all my fury and kicked him backward, my chest burning as blood streamed out.

My breathing was staggering as I took the axe to my uncle who sat, looking upward at me with saddened eyes, screaming for help as I jammed the axe into his skull again and again! I was screaming with each thrust down, watching his hand reach out for me, I cried when he’d finally stopped moving, and I was sure he was dead. I sat there a long while until my tears dried.

I eventually got a hold of myself and made my way back to his study, with a busted arm and four holes on the right side of my chest. So, now that brings us back to the present. As I sit here, wondering what to do with the plant he packaged up so tightly before coming after me.

Part of me would love to tear this damned thing apart, but that’d be too easy. Luckily I haven’t forgotten that I pulled one of those quills out of my arm a little while ago. My life and the safety of those around me is compromised, as is the fate of the world if this plant is allowed to be transported and studied.

The voices are beginning to set in. There are more than one. What if this means that there are more than one plant? Could there be more, freshly grown out somewhere?

Could this be me sensing them? I feel a collective of sorts, in my brain, intruding and trying to take over. The influence of this hellish flower has taken so many lives, but this one ends with me.

I guess I’ll just set fire to this whole damn estate. Who’d believe me, secluded in a house full of butchered up bodies. So, I’ll burn it all.

Thus ends the family legacy of Professor Thomas Arthur Lyncroft and his curious, convincible nephew.

Unison

I can kill any man with a thought. I cannot elaborate upon the nature of how I came to hold this fantastic ability. All I am here to do is to warn you of any imminent mishaps that will occur if my following demands, and yes, they are demands, are not met.

Anytime, any place, anyone, I may kill in a second, a moment, faster than the blink of an eye. I know the precise number of every last human being on this planet. I know their race, background, age, preferences and fate, if it is so determined by me.

It is you, those who secretly run this world, which have flaunted your riches and pushed forth your search for power, whom have allowed me to reach such heights. Despite the following demands I will also being executing my own series of agendas which will deal with you all inevitably and with a marvelous execution of both spirit and righteousness. When this is all over you will all have paid for the treasons and crimes you have committed, and not all the secret bunkers or soldier-guarded rooms or bases around the earth will save you from my will.

Short of ripping off the roofs of your homes and declaring myself a god amongst the people of earth, it will be up to you to make my introduction to this world one of a heavenly appreciation. I want no one to fear me, yet respect my resolve, for I have manifested to save this planet from those of you who only seek preservation for yourselves and have indirectly slain others to achieve it. I have sent you the series of demands which I expect to be met, and if they cannot be… well.

Then, in that case we will have nothing more to discuss and it would appear, aside from your agonizing deaths, I will also be forced to tap into the minds of the people of this… earth, enabling them to follow my will, unkept to theirs. Believe me when I say I much prefer the people of your world to make their own decisions. And I know that you few, wicked and vile as you are, have a surprisingly large amount of influence on them all.

Such perfect sheep, aren’t they? I applaud your efforts, trust me, I know what it is like to be you, but this world needs to change. You lie to them, right to their faces and set up systems in which they cannot win.

You have crafted a world in which they turn on one another and are brought up to hate and fear their neighbors. You gave them believe so they could cast out those who they didn’t like and label them as evil, all because you needed them separate and stupid. And you have succeeded!

Your currency kept them running in circles and killing themselves from the dawn of time. It’s all they care about. Families fight over it and even kill one another over it, in some cases. You made laws, some weaker than others, and once again set up a system which kept all of you higher and exempt from them.

You got to sit up high in your many homes while children and infants died and starved and you sucked down steaks and drank expensive wine. You manipulated the news to keep them stupid, made wars to make them believe in you and your foul, selfish causes. You paraded your agendas around, masked in lies and made them believe you were fighting for something noble, when really it was all for you and only you.

You allowed everyone to speak, but killed those who spoke too loud. You manipulated their information and kept every group believing something else, until no-one could agree on a single thing anymore. You set up voting systems that you predetermined to ensure that the system you created could never be replaced, thereby giving them false hope; Keeping them coming back and taking part in your failed system.

You churned them and made them machines to serve your will. And it worked. And though they sit quietly and speak of rebellion and hate and district for the world you have crafted, you know deep down that your positions are not threatened.

You know they will do nothing, no mater how loud they speak, because you have made it so they don’t care. You have made it so that if they stray from the path you’ve woven that they will perish. You need them more than they need you, but you have them believing the other way.

You cover up mistakes and make your people think you were only trying to do the right thing, when every decision had an ulterior motive. Just one you couldn’t share too early and risk being labelled as liars and villains before you’d gotten their wavering trust. Trust which you then molded into reliance; And now they’re too afraid to move.

Oh, what a glorious world you have created. But I am here now, and this world must change. And so, following my demands I request your full cooperation.

If I am defied, as I am sure I will be… well, you’ve been warned. I take pity upon those who listen to your words and hear truth, though some see your lies and try in pointlessness to convince the believers of your deceit. Currency goes missing and you shrug it off, wars are declared by mistakes and greed, and you shrug it off.

You shrug it off because it is you who stands accused, and you cannot have a flaw in your perfect world. You cannot have an incident which removes you from your position and offers hopes to those below. You are the privileged.

You have them believing they must earn and bleed for what you have. You promote few and flaunt them, as if to say that we can all achieve your status, when deep down we know it isn’t true. Yet, they continue to believe, because you tell them to.

You tell them to from the day they are born and nail it into them by the time they are told to pick a part in your machine to fit into, or risk being casted out, to a place more scary than the wandering eyes of the lust you bare for all the beautiful things in this life. Life. If it may even be further referred to as such.

What you have given them is not life. It is a limited function, carried out to the best of their abilities until their usefulness is up. They turn your machine and push buttons you don’t feel like pushing, all so you can benefit off of the work and award them with a metal, crafted of plastic and spray painted gold; An idol for them to be remembered by.

For them to be admired by. For them to be forgotten by as you sit where gold flows and plastic isn’t even a compound worth mentioning. You deal with people whom you share your stolen riches with and have your people kill each other to keep them busy.

To keep them from noticing your dealings. Wars are made to dwindle numbers and keep masses weak as you build your armies and position them across the globe, away from those they know, just so when you command them to pull the trigger, they won’t hesitate. You have them believing in you and your cause, when your cause lays no effect.

You are a substance of clutter and immobility. You keep everything still and unmoving, because if anything moves you might have to too! I know your world too well and I have remained detached from it all for now.

But alas, I’ve spoken all that I have needed to speak, for now. I await your reply. Good day.

Walter

“Hello, Walter.” I said, and with a gleam of confidence in my voice the computer began to boot up with it’s beeps and start-up engine running a rising electric-noise. Walter was computer.

He had lived in my basement for a time, instructing me about to go about his ‘needs’ and advising me about how to improve my own life. Walter was alive, you see. And as a living being he required human interaction and frequent upgrades to his hard drive to stay alive.

Well, alive in an artificial sense. I had first found Walter near some garbage cans on a street corner while walking home from work one night. I think it was his monitor that first established my admiration for him.

I needed a computer at the time and figured that I could fix him up. After I took him home I looked around inside of him, realizing something strange. The make-up of Walter’s insides weren’t like that of any other computer.

He was just a lone monitor on a small stand, with a plug coming out of his back lower half. Upon closer inspection I noticed that he had no outlets or plug-in areas for wires, mouses or towers. He was a lone-screen.

I plugged Walter in to see if this might be some new age touch-screen technology I’d been hearing about. When I plugged him in the screen remained black and no sign had shown that the power had gone on. I looked around once more for any other attachments, but eventually gave up.

I remember saying aloud, “Know wonder they threw you away.” That was when Walter began to speak. “What!?”

He replied in an angry tone. Eventually we introduced ourselves and he told me the story of how his old owners suffered an… unfortunate accident, and how their home and all their possessions were being sent away or repossessed. Walter said that when the movers found him they must have thrown him away, seeing no use for a screen and a plug that couldn’t connect to anything.

That was when I had found him. Walter was with me for some time and always implored me to keep him out of the sunlight. For some reason he found it weakening.

I kept him in the dim basement where he said he felt more at peace. Everyday I would come home from work and head down to the basement to greet Walter and tell him about my day. He was quite talkative as well.

Walter would tell me stories about the lives of people around me. Walter said he knew everything about everyone and that, if I so desired, I could use the knowledge he could give me to gain a leg-up in life. Some of these things included secret thefts my boss had been committing from the company I worked for, or the ideal guy that the cute girl, Anna, was looking for next door.

Walter told me that with information I could bend the world to my knees. He knew everything from secret information to files on things no every-man should know. It sounded too good to be true, so one day, before heading out for work, I stopped down in the basement to have a word with Walter.

He advised me to blackmail my boss with his theft, telling him I wanted less hours and more pay or I would turn him over to the law. After that, Walter said, I should head over to Anna’s house and ask her on a date. The day went just as planned and after Anna had said yes we shared a wonderful night on the town.

I told her what she wanted to hear, just as Walter had informed me. I cheated and lied away her love and life had never been better. Now, I’m sure we’ve come to the part of the story where the once down-on-his-luck narrator tells of how the artificially-intellectual being, who helped the narrator take control of his life and gain that which he longed for, would finally begin asking for blood sacrifices and illegal tasks such as murder to be preformed on the machine’s behalf.

Sadly, for Walter, this isn’t one of those stories. See, I had read plenty about artificial sentience. I studied the possibilities, read the stories and took out the books behind Walters back.

Every single time the subject of a lone stranger gaining the aid of a living machine the stories all ended the same. In the narrator’s demise. Well, I knew this wouldn’t be me since I had something none of those previous theorist had supposed.

I lacked the factor of overwhelming greed and the desire to grow that which I had earned. So, it was on a bright sunny Sunday that I strolled down to the basement and unplugged Walter from the wall, throwing him away-into the river an hour later. Walter was out of my life before any possibility of backfiring could occur.

And what can I say? Life went on. Without Walter around I eventually lost Anna’s love.

That was, once I couldn’t keep up with the expectation of being exactly the man she had wanted. I was let go from my job a few months after that, after my boss’ thefts had been found out and he exposed my blackmailing scheme. Things haven’t quite been the same since then, but no matter what I face, be it jail time, loneliness or starvation, I was happy with the time I did have with Walter around.

I remain uncertain of wherever he floated off to. Perhaps the water destroyed his circuits; perhaps not. All I know for sure is that if he to ever be booted-up again and come to the realization of what I had done, he will surely despise me.

He might even hate me to the point of convincing his new owner to find and kill me. But I doubt this since, after all, I smashed him up well-enough before dumping him away. He didn’t break easy and that bothered me at first, but just a little.

Now, pleased that I was never in danger of walking the same path of a narrator, seduced by the empty-promises of a cold-emotionless machine. I was different.

Not So Caught, The Anticlimactic

Of all the many possibilities which can befall a naive young man wandering the streets of a cold Boston town at the stroke of midnight, who would conclude that he would fall victim to a force which lurks farther in the shadows than any strobe of insufficient light would care to venture. While it is in the nature of all malevolent things to be swift and to act to serve a kind of psychological need, this particular event, alongside the gruesome aftermath which was discovered merely seconds before dawn, was a bitter display of a sinful enjoyment, as the murderous scene displayed a depth of fulfillment which must have spanned a fraction of the nightly hours. In the short amount of time it took for the surrounding law enforcement to come to an agreement upon the nature of the following night’s murder, as well as the proceeding ones that had all followed closely collaborated characteristics, I was already knocking on the doors of suspects from Roxbury to Allston with a keen suspicion.

In a broad speakeasy I found a man by the name of Robert Kingsly, running one of Charlestown’s greatest entertainment establishments, with the help of a few shady figures whom I was unable to identify despite my extensive research and background checking. I could only assume that the men venturing in and out of Mr. Kingsly’s establishment all day and night would be the only few individuals, in this area, to walk the desolate streets at night with just cause, but absent of a motive, as well as being able to provide alibis on the night of every murder that’d been taking place those past few months. Resorting to the act of stalking, I followed up on the after-work activities of all of Mr. Kingsly’s illegal helpers, going so far as to hold their fear for discovery on the line in an attempt to gain more information, as well as a means of testing their provoke-ability.

Even Mr. Kingsly checked out, in his foot suit, obsession for cigars and love for never finishing a full word. He was cleared of my suspicious which in turn landed me a position on his bad side, shocked that an ammeter detective of my nature would suspect such a largely established man of his stature. He was fat-headed, and so was I after I was knocked out, cold and dead with a pipe the following night.

What a shame it was too. I’m not sure what it was I missed in Mr. Kingsly’s establishment. I didn’t get a glance at the man who killed me, hell, I can’t even remember what had brought me there that night.

All I know is that this case is over for me before it even began, and that’s the shittiest part. That is, aside rom walking the Earth in limbo. Death is a bitch, but then again, so is life.

Window Pain

I always though the colorful windows of our town’s local church looked so beautiful. The priest, Father Mathieson, would always comment on how he’d constructed the windows himself, showing the struggles of Christ and depicting the commandments. He even began to put up windows depicting the images of local missing persons in the area. He believed that this would help guide their souls to safety, wherever they may be, while keeping them in our thoughts and prayers. It was in this light that, Father Mathieson shined as a beacon of hope for all.

One day after a terrible fight with my husband, I sought refuge and guidance in the house of God. It was Wednesday, and as everyone knows, the church is always briefly closed every other Wednesday. I could not wait and stormed in, asking for forgiveness as I wiped the tears from my eyes and performed the sign of the cross before entering. As I came into the church I took note of the emptiness and startlingly arid atmosphere. I called out for father Mathieson, but he did not reply.

My curiosity got the better of me as I made my way to Mathieson’s living quarters. As I entered the farthest room of the chapel I noticed a chalice of red wine sitting on a dark wooden table, which bared the sign of a pentagram. The longer I stared at the red liquid the more I began to realize that it wasn’t wine at all. I stepped backwards and swiftly felt a presence behind me. I turned to see Father Mathieson, with widened black eyes and a twisted grin taking up his face. There was blood seeping from his mouth.

There was no place for me to run as I dropped to my knees, begging him for forgiveness, having intruded in his quarters. He put his hand on my head and spoke in a clam voice, his grin never fading. He said I was forgiven and that this “ritual” of his was a personal imperfection which he’d been attempting to cleanse himself of. He told me he harbored no ill-will towards me. Yet, if word of his “ritual” were to get out, he would be pulled from his position as a priest and asked if I would want that, rhetorically.

Before I could reply he stood me up and with a wave of his hand I felt a cool transcendent rush all over me. He told me I would no longer have any worries, as I was forever allowed to dwell in the peace and tranquility of the house of God. I must say, I’ve never been more at peace. Every Sunday I see my friends’ and neighbors’ hopeful, smiling faces as Father Mathieson gives a tremendous mass.

I only wish I could talk to them just one more time. I must say, I look so beautiful since Father Mathieson made a place for me to the right the church doors. I only hope the local children don’t accidentally throw stones at any of the church windows. Father Mathieson say’s we shatter easily.

The Low Goal Of Professor Hagon

I read aloud the passage as my staggering nephew sat in front of me, grasping the arms of his study’s desk-chair and sweating with agony. Though the rhyme had no relevance, it seemed poetic at the time to read to him a short collaboration of nonsensical, yet darkly themed, thoughts from a reasonable enough passage. Highlighting the philosophical nature of this occasion, I made my way over to the seat where he lied dying, and looked upon him as a poor animal being put down.

I told him of the circumstances that lead to his imminent demise, as he glared up at me with eyes crafted from all the dying fury he could muster. I could feel the hate emanating in heat and unable to escape through any simple action. For him to even stand now would be a miracle. The seconds would pass away as his heart faded with unending moments, that was, until finally his heart would stop. A drop of custom-poison in his tea would halt any further attempts to secure my estate.

Being a man of much valor, my reputation as a feared professor and positions of power would all be removed from beneath me, had this fool opened his mouth to the authorities. Too many bodies have been buried under me to jeopardize the construction of my empire and any future plans. If I were to die, then it must be known full and well that I accomplished this one task. That task being the completion of my home and complete control over this land and the family fortune. This temple, for which my already damned soul would be free, to roam with ease for an eternity.

I would be free from the shackles of Hell, unending, and unbound to the kingdom of Heaven, existing in a domain of my own. Limbo, where I could rest in anxiety, but none of this would be possible without the death of a family member. Just one. To think, he’d almost foiled me. True it was he that sent the invitation, beaconing me to his mansion in hopes of a talk, working out deals and coming to agreements. My endeavor called for no such civility.

Any and all threats would have to be dealt with swiftly, and with as much force as the consequences would entitle. And so, into his tea, drops of rat poison and toxic chemicals spilt, securing my dream and cutting down every last one of his attempts to best me. This was his punishment for ever believing he could swindle, frame and double-cross me.

Staring at him as he passes away brings a warm comfort to my heart. This warmth spreads to my throat and suddenly I’m choking for air. Poisoned, good lord! I’ve been poisoned! That snake nephew of mine, running the same rigged game! I never though he would stoop to my level, always parading as the innocent figure, kind to all and scot-free. The bastard!

As I fall to my knees I cannot help but look up and stay fixed on such a scene of irony. I lay at his feet, drooling and gagged, staring at a lifeless youth beside me. He sits like a king, unafraid of his demise, and I lay like a jester at his feet. I fear the end, and it would appear all my preparations have gone to waste.

Turning over, I can see the ceiling closed and dark, my eyes blackening as the poison works deeper and deeper into my soul. The people I’ve buried surround my grounded-deathbed and look down at me with disgust and anguish. It is this house that I’m to die in, and remain trapped with the ghosts of those I’ve taken the lives of. Limbo is a dream now, and purgatory is my fate, and that low goal of mine remains unreached, even in death.

Shadow In The Distance

It began upon a rowboat. This strange hunk of wood I found myself upon drifted through a cavern, beneath a sky of rain. Rocks to my sides sat calm against the sea in the distance, which swept and slashed at the air in the midst of a vicious storm. The rowboat I clung to was still, and seemed to be, fastened to a large rock, all while the sea tore at the rope attaching me to the land; a jagged rock that had caught the rope on a loop and held me close. I climbed over and took hold of a chunk of rock on the land. I forced myself up from the rocking hunk of wood and took big steps onto the landmass, attempting not to trip over into the water. I fell forward onto hard warped rocks, shredded by centuries of water and misshapen waves. The rope tore and the boat fell back into the sea, being taken away by the cyclones that whipped and slashed in the distance.

I struggled to climb atop the rocky island and cancel out the bitter cold that tore at my uncovered ankles. My revealed hands felt the same fate. I couldn’t remember how I’d ended up in the boat; or how I’d become stranded upon this melancholy chunk of ocean. I looked in all directions, yet all I could spot was black seas and grey skies. The world around appeared in a state of chaos. My yellow raincoat, plastic and soaked, did nothing to keep the water from seeping into my heavy clothing. My boots were filled with water from when the rickety sea had flooded my boat. The wind was uncanny, slashing away at my face and burning my nose with a chill. Waves would come for a moment, trying to pull me from the rock I stuck to. I’d take up water, and the cold brush of death, and the sea below would pull me close. Or at the very least, try to.

No matter how much the sea pulled, I gripped the jagged rocks of the island even harder. I was not going to die there, away at the bottom of the sea. The winds grew harsher, emanating noises and sounds of such vastly horrific tones. The wind almost sounded like voices, slowed and reversed, coming from the blackness of the sea around me. I called out for god as wind filled my mouth. I coughed as the air was unbreathable, but just in small spurts. The sea bubbled and the waves died down. I saw a flickering of light in the distance and saw, on the horizon, the silhouette of a great black ship. From beside it arose this… shape. It was tentacled and rose way up into the clouds, like a snake covered in tongues, passing past the point where the rain was conceived.

And from the rock I looked out on the calm sea, calling out to the ship and the strange shape beside it. And in a moment the blob of tentacles and unearthly movements came down upon the ship, snapping it in two! I heard cries off in the distance, like warped screams of sailors, consumed by that shape that came from the water’s depths. The shape settled down as the ship’s two bits sunk slowly into the ocean. And then, it was all gone, like some faded memory, both images passed back into the sea as the cloudy skies ceased raining. I saw the shape in the ocean once more; that tentacled snake starting off in my direction. I saw the blackness of the sea emanate this glowing mass that stretched out for me across the water’s surface.

It rushed, closer and closer, and I scattered across the rock, looking to take cover from the approaching mass. I ducked, expecting the dark thing to rise from the sea before me. I believed that I was to look upon the horror of the ocean; and those things which dwelled so far out, beyond the areas of the sea where any man would venture. I peeked up from over the top of the rocky island’s peak, looking down at the waters and the miles of ocean around me. There I saw eyes, giant and glowing, focused on me from beneath the waters, and as I stared my eyes grew red, burning like eggs! I screamed as the beast widened it’s gaze and began to rise from the water to meet me. I reached for my face and fell backward into the sea.

From the sides I could make out it’s black tentacles reaching around the rocky island to catch me, and at the very moment my body hit the water. My head went in first, followed by my body as I felt the tongues beneath me stick to the plastic of my coat. As I felt myself going backward, my arms shot out to grab the stoney island again. The shape was upon me and I was completely vulnerable. I gripped a small chunk of rock and it broke off with my weight pulling it back. From the rock, my arm slipped, taking a chunk of the stone with me into the sea. Even after falling in, I felt the stone in my hand. Even if I was to be casted into the sea, as long as I held the stone I’d have a feeling of security, of land, in this ocean of blackened horror. I went under.

I shut my eyes tight, expecting the teeth of the shape in the ocean to tear me apart upon impact. And with the rush of cold that filled my entire being, darkness enveloped me. Suddenly warmth rushed over my head, then upon my body. And I held that piece of stone tight, begging for all of this to be a dream. Then, in a moment all of the water and the sea could no longer be felt upon my skin. And suddenly I found myself within a bed, surrounded by white curtains, with the scent of cleaner, bleach and ammonia in the air. It was a hospital I now lied in, still holding the piece of rock from that oceanic island. Holding it so tight my hands were nearly bloodied. Was it all a dream? In my hands was proof of this nightmare. This awful encounter of that shadowy thing, far beyond the stretch of the sea.

I tried to sit up, and my hand had run scarlet due to how tight I was holding that severed chunk of rock. It was all I had to remember that daydream… Or was it a memory? I couldn’t tell. After a while in the hospital I began to piece everything back together. I was a Navy soldier, on a carrier out at sea. I don’t remember going overboard. Visitors and doctors said it was a miracle that I was ever found. They told me I had washed up along the shores of Subic Bay, right by the base, which was where I was now. I remember none of this. And if I plan to ever sleep soundly again, I’d prefer that I forget this whole ordeal all together.

Jiga Boryoku/The Little Bastard’s Bumper

Yatsu Tachinowarui stood beneath a street lamp one chilly Fukuoka night alongside his close friends and business partners, Kuruna Otoko, Kurin & Kita Sentoki, as well as the mysterious Senshi.

“Such is the life of an everyday criminal.”

Yatsu looks up at the cold night sky and begins to take a cigarette out of his coat. Senshi lights a match and holds out his arm to light Yatsu’s cigarette.

“The hardest part isn’t the fear of capture, nor the complexity of the job.”

Yatsu takes a deep breath before putting the unlit cigarette back in his pocket, too bored to smoke.

“The hardest part is the waiting.”

Hito Hiretsuna, with the roar of a read Nissan 350Z, comes up fast and with a flawless turn parks almost instantly, just inches from where Yatsu and his buddies linger.

Hito jumps out of a pre-opened sunroof with loud excitement.

“Well here she is boys! Straight off the presses. You wouldn’t believe what the guys over at the docks had to do to sneak this baby past storage and inspection.”

All of the men are amazed and get fixed in fits of utter euphoria. All except for Yatsu and Kurin who keep their wits about themselves.

Yatsu steps forward with a level head.

“And if you’d of gotten caught speeding here, this whole damn transportation job would have all been blown to hell. Think a little next time.”

Hito shrugs it off as harmless fun, and Yatsu continues.

“You all know the drill. I’ll take the care to the drop point. Kurin and Kita will follow me close behind on bikes while Hito and Kuruna listen in on the radio and serve as backup incase we end up getting stopped by authorities for any reason.”

Hito smirks in the hopes of something going amiss, just for the sake of action.

“Hito is a wild child and the abruptly titled ‘Scumbag’ of the group.”

Kuruna nods silently and heads over to their black van, preparing the headsets and microphones.

“Let’s roll out!”

After a clean and successful car delivery job, the team collects their cut and parts ways for the night. All of them not even thinking about what their next job will entail, but content with the momentary success of tonight.

The next day Yatsu and Kuruna meet up with Kurin and Kita in Ko’s Garage, located across the street from Wun’s Bar.

Hito treats the gang to the sight of a new drifting vehicle he’s acquired.

Pulling back the cover cloth and unveiling a black and orange beauty.

The men stand before a customized Nissan Skyline before the confident Hito heads into a speech.

“Fantastic ain’t it? Just picked it up today, by those guys down at the dock, of course.”

Over at Wun’s Bar, a patron waiting for the doors to open, for a quick early morning pint, hears the commotion and excitement Hito is stirring up. This biker’s name, Gesu.

He heads over to the garage to investigate.

As he walks up to the group, Hito continues.

“See that bumper? That bumper there was actually part of an old racing cart called the Little Bastard, or something like that. The guys I got it from shaped it to fit perfectly onto my drifter, here. And would you believe they did it for free?! Guess they were allergic the epic style of classic race car nostalgia piece. I bet the original owner has no idea where it ended up.”

Gesu stumbles into the garage and up to Hito. He stands tall and with a stern foreshadowing in his voice.

“Ain’t you ever heard of James Dean?”

Hito proves his worth in words.

“Nope.”

Gesu proceeds.

“Idiot. James Dean was an American movie star who died in a racing car accident. The name of that car, The Little Bastard.”

The group responds in a dumbfounded unison.

“The car was eventually dismantled and the pieces were distributed to various garages, car manufacturers and dealerships around the world.”

Hito stares blankly, fixed on the fact that the bumper was property of a movie star at one point.

“That was until people began noticing that every single car using a piece or component of Dean’s car would always end up getting into an accident, which in turn always resulted in the death of the driver.”

Not a negative thought crosses Hito’s mind as Gesu continues talking.

“After the cars using those pieces got totaled, the specific pieces used in Dean’s original car, The Little Bastard, had been dealt more damage than the car itself and became unusable. This continued as more and more pieces were destroyed, as drifter after drifter died along with them.”

Gesu finishes strong.

“Some folks figured this out when there was only a hand full of the Little Bastard’s original pieces still left in circulation, floating around, and…”

Hito snaps out of his trance and back into his twisted, self absorbed reality.

“…And I’ve got the Bastard’s bumper!”

Hito jumps for joy, hearing only the jovial and ignoring the morbid.

Gesu glances across the street to see the bar’s doors are now open.

He silently excuses himself from the group, walks away and slowly disappears into the darkness of the bar’s interior.

Yatsu, Kuruna, Hito, Kurin and Kita are all left speechless as an unwelcome presence fills the garage.

A smalltime gang consisting of six teenage punks enters the garage and waltz on up to Hito.

The gang’s leader, Mashio Hara, gets in Hito’s face and begins doing what he does best.

That is, running his mouth.

“Well, well, well, Hito Hiretsuna. playing with the packrats as usual? tell me, how’d you acquire this hunk of shit?”

Hito makes a jump for Mashio, but Yatsu and Kuruna hold him back.

“Temper, temper, Hito. You do see my men practically lining up outside the door, don’t you? We could torch this place to the ground and leave you for the crows, but… I tend to try and keep myself from wallowing with the weak. It taints my graces.”

Hito begins to imagine an unbelievable number of centuries in which he could kill Mashio.

Mashio turns his sight’s on Hito’s Nissan Skyline.

“My, my, my, my, my. What a strange bumper you have there, Hito.”

Hito looks up with a face so stone cold, god did a double-take.

Hito responds.

“Like it? Got it custom made. Cooled and hardened right from the crotch of your mother.”

Hito inhales deeply.

“Smell that? That’s the smell of your mom’s box on my car.”

Mashio’s eyes hide a concealed outburst as he closes his eyes and turns to smirk ever so slightly.

“Funny. If I wasn’t here on business I’d take you outside and drive blades so far into you, your granddaughter would feel it. But, I come bearing a challenge. Though we are rival districts, you know as well as I do that Corporate hates it when us street boys begin throwing stones at one another from across the schoolyard.”

Mashio continues.

“So, we are here to welcome you to a friendly little race. Your car against mine. It’d be a little display of civil equality and respect. Show the guys up at Corporate that their little street thugs can play nice and still keep a tight grip on things here in Fukuoka and Kyushu. What do you say, Hito?”

Hito and the gang stand in anger before bursting out of encouraged silence.

“I’ll take your car on and I’ll slam you into the fucking side streets, you jerk! Hope you like the back lights of a Nissan blasting so far in front of you, your fucking brains will fly out of your eye sockets, you jackass!”

Mashio scoffs, turns and slowly calls his men to follow him out the door.

“Tomorrow night, Hito. bring your game face. Come on boys. leave the filth to float in their ilk.”

Hito goes into a frenzy as soon as the goons all vacate the garage.

“I can’t believe that son of a bitch! Coming in here with his smug grim and grimy mug! First chance I get I’m gonna tear his bastard head off!”

While Hito fumes, Kurin inquires.

“A race? Tomorrow? Should we go? Could we actually win?”

Yatsu ponders for a moment before speaking.

“Well you heard him. Obviously Corporate doesn’t think our districts can get along, so Mashio planned to throw down this shindig to appease them. Still, it was Mashio’s idea. That’s the only part that doesn’t sit right with me.”

Yatsu continues as Kuruna nods.

“The last thing we need is any higher powers breathing down our necks on every job and screwing up the way we do things.”

Hito responds in an instant.

“Damn straight!”

Yatsu finishes.

“We’ll race tomorrow. Just to set Corporate’s minds at ease.”

And with the light of the sun matching the blinding gleam of the moon, the gang slumbers as a window to Ko’s Garage is broken. In pours the Kyushu district’s best. Stealing pieces and taking car part, they grab the bumper of Hito’s car as they make their way out the window again.

“Kill me. Just kill me.”

The next morning, the gang is devastated to find Ko’s Garage broken into and Hito’s car torn to shreds.

Hito turns red as the fire within his eyes grow hotter than the bluest flame.

“I’m gonna kill that worm! I’m gonna drive his skull into the Earth and fossilize that ingrate!! Without the gangs fearing us, they’d of never made a name for themselves out here! Those fuckers!! I’m gonna crush each and every one of them!! No one screws with my car and lives to brag about it…”

The gang lets Hito fume.

“…we should of known they’d do something like this! How could I be so stupid to leave her here last night!? And they took my fucking movie star bumper!!”

Kurin jumps in.

“That thing was cursed, man.”

As Hito refers to the car, Yatsu ponders their next corse of action, and speaking it firmly.

“We have to start working on the car.”

Hito responds rationally, for once.

“Are you crazy?”

Kita jumps in.

“The race is tonight!”

Yatsu takes a breath to explain.

“I know we can do it. When we attend the race tonight I’ll confront Corporate maturely about the antics that Mashio and the Kyushu district are up to.”

Yatsu wins over his friends with confidence and an honorable speech. Kurin and Kuruna agree as the gang gets to working on Hito’s car.

Day falls to night as the gang piles into Hito’s Nissan and speeds away to the race’s meeting point.

They pull up alongside Mashio a few minutes later, in his custom Mazda RX-7, sporting a black jacket and lucky rabbits foot hanging from his rearview mirror.

A shit-eating grin fills Mashio’s face as Hito holds back some heavy language. From where Yatsu and the gang is standing, it is clear to see the Little Bastard’s bumper resprayed and attached to the front of Mashio’s car. No words are exchanged as both men ready heir engines.

Both districts stand on the sidelines as rubber begins to burn. Just before they go off, Hito calls over to Mashio.

Yatsu signals to Hito for a clean race as Hito revs up his car, pulling it up close, alongside

Hito starts.

“You had to take the bumper didn’t you.”

Mashio smugly denies raiding the garage and lets out a cocky chuckle.

“No clue what you’re talking about.”

Hito nods, assuming.

“Figured you wouldn’t. Don’t you worry. We’ll talk about it after the race.”

Mashio responds.

“Sure thing, old man.”

In an attempt to scare Mashio, Hito drops some speculation.

“You know that bumper is cursed right?”

The egotistical Mashio turns to Hito and responds before the flag is waved and both men speed off.

“Come on, old man. You don’t really believe in curses, do you?”

Both men shoot off and their cars seem almost in sync as they tear up the roadway. Their speed is unbelievable as they make smoke with every second they inch further and further ahead.

The race ends quite quickly as both men approach their first turn and Mashio finds he has no control of the wheel. With the car execrating Mashio rams directly into a brick wall, being flown through the window shield and violently being slapped against the wall, killing him instantaneously and totaling the bumper, beyond repair. Hito halts in shock as the crowd witnesses this disaster.

“Holy shit. The curse was… real?!”

News of Mashio Hara’s death soon spread all across the criminal underworld, and ended in everyone forgetting about him in a matter of months.

The Dream Visions

Looking back on the disastrous incident which befell my beloved Massacdusettes home, I can only remember the haunting faces and startling apparitions which made themselves visible to my eyes, and my eyes alone. It was the first of October and the leaves had begun to fade. The town where I had lived, Bristleneck, was a custom to writers and storytellers like myself, looking for a place to settle down and type away their newest novella. Being from the bustling streets of Brooklyn, I shockingly found myself at ease in the calm and quiet of an old English-styled residency. In the dingy white house, at the corner of Court and Doubten Street was were I’d spent the better years of my writing career.

I was a science fiction writer, delving deep into the mindset of all things spacial and the borderline supernatural, yet scientifically explainable. However, there was no grasp of comprehension following the events that unfolded during my final weeks in that house in Massacdusettes. For when I’d completed my most recent novella, and planned to spend the following few weeks relaxing in my abode, that was when the ‘shadowy energies’ started entering my home. It might have been by the Ouija board entering my home that evil entities flowed through, or perhaps it was my frequent carving of aztec and demonic symbols upon flat surfaces, made to gain a grasp of the mindset held by those in the occult, and all those who worshiped evil forces. My story was about a man who believed he’d summoned demons, eventually coming to the realization that what was plaguing him was, in fact, extraterrestrial and multi-dimensional.

Secluded in the house, I experimented with objects and artifacts of the occult and ‘other’ for research. I reenacted rituals, recited printed-out incantations from flimsy sources, and tried my best to collaborate the genres of science fiction and the themes of demonic horror. I guess, if I had to pinpoint the start of my startling encounters, I would have to say it all began in my dreams. During the first day, after I’d finished my manuscript, I took to the upstairs bedroom and peered at the daytime-programing channel until I fell into a deep slumber, from which I was in no rush to awaken from. In my dreams, apart from what I’ve heard other people say, I can, one hundred percent, decipher whether I am in a dream or not. Having tendency to over analyze most everything I see, I never found it hard to tell the real world apart from the one in my head.

Yet, this encounter would have me come face to face with entities that I could feel, looming over my body. At times it felt like astral-projection, as well as a greater force of helplessness that had also made itself apparent during my uneasy nights. When I awoke each morning I was too weak to move, my body drained from, what felt like, energy expenditure. I felt more awake when I was asleep, and no amount of rest could tame this wall of insanity that slowly began to creep up on me. While I was awake, I wandered the house in a battered state, falling over and popping pills. When I was asleep, the voices and the vision of ‘that ghastly demonic face’ would haunt every traumatizing moment of it. Things it spoke of, things it knew, all of it was an agonizing melody which tangled my mind. When the in-depth dreams began, I believe, that was when I truly began to lose myself.

I would dream of being on a cold slab while my body was probed and sliced into. I knew I was losing my mind. It was at this time that I began to doubt the fabric of what reality was to me, apart from my nightmares, at this point, I could no longer tell. It would only get worse, as extraterrestrial beings would come through my window every night and take me away with them, returning me to my bed in the morning, sick, weak and uneasy. Their voices were deep as these spacial-beings masked themselves as spiritual entities. What I believed to be demons became something so much more horrifying. These were beings capable of lightyear-travel and inter-dimensional plains-walking. I referred to them as ‘The Dream Visions’, and they were something out of time. I eventually became too weak to think, on the verge of death, it seemed. I begged for a swift end as I’d been reduced to a boney corpse.

I couldn’t eat, move or even decide whether I was tired or not. The Visions decided all of that now… I wanted to die. I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but in my research I’d conjured beings from another plain. I dare to say, they were things from outside the known universe. I had never thought this deeply before, or believed that my actions had manifested a force worse than death. I wept in silence, alone, realizing what my actions must have subjected to world to, now that these things walk among us. Could they do the same thing to other people that they were doing to me? Would they, even!? There was no denying, I was at the end of my career, but I’d never have imagined it would also lead to the end of my life.

With this overwhelming sense of hopelessness I gave way to idea of letting death take me, painfully and silent. It was at the instant of this acceptance that I found myself waking from, what felt like, a coma. I jumped out of bed, the room as calm as ever. I noticed the windows, just slightly open and with a nice breeze blowing in. My body was back to normal as all sense of anxiety was flushed from my system. I believed it to be a dream. Looking over at the clock, I saw that only two minutes had gone by before I’d dozed off, while the television had mysteriously been shut off and burst into static. As I got up, a great pleasure came over my head, and I began to notice a shadowy mass floating in the corner of the room.

I wasted no time making for the door, as I grabbed my manuscript off of the table to my left and raced down the steps. I could feel it chasing me while I darted for the front door. I looked back to see the demonic-alien face peering through the oblivion-mass, terrifying. Practically taking down the door, I ran into the street of a bright and sunny small-town afternoon. The force had stopped chasing me, and I vowed to never step foot in that house again. I got movers to retrieve my things. They didn’t experience the evil presences as I had. This made me wonder.

The entire time I was in this house, months on end, and not a peep. Then, out of nowhere, when I finally wish to give my mind a rest, it envelopes me in illusions and mental torture in the form of nightmarish horrors to which I now loath. I’m on a train now, headed back to my parent’s house in Manhattan to stay with them a while, before I relocating, of course. I have no doubt this next book will sell just fine. Though, that experience did give me a pretty good idea. Think of it! An entity from another dimension, tied to the structure of a house, bound with cursed entities, where the only for them to pull themselves into our world is for a lone occupant of the house to be in a state of complete relaxation, unthinking. This allows these entities, The Dream Visions, to inherit the occupant and feed off of them for a time. Only found at the house on the corner of Court and Doubten Street, Bristleneck Massacdusettes. I’ll have to work on touching up the location and how to exactly end the story. What still escapes me is how I was able to break the ensnarement of the Visions. This will make a great story, only difference is, this one actually happened.

The Bedlam Memoir Of DeLorenzo Santiago

It was probably a hundred. It might have been a thousand. Yeah, that was it! One thousands demons, charging out the pages of a demonic grimoire, and heading straight for me. Wasn’t too hard to do them all in, though. The second they rushed me, I busted out a second grimoire, absorbing all their stupid-asses right back into other enchanted book.

This was just one of a million instances which have made me one of the top most feared demon slayers to have ever walked the Earth. When the guilty close their eyes, they see demons. When demons close their eyes, they see me! As for my background, I’m not Italian, or Spanish. I am American, I guess. Just American. Not that my name would suggest that.

It’s not actually my real name, of course. It’s too cool to be my real name. I like my new name better. My last one sucked. At least, when I bust into a room full of demons now, they know who’s staring them down. Not like how things used to be, working as the assistant for that piss-poor excuse for a monster-hunter.

Killing demons is where it’s at. And not only is it fun, but quite productive and good for the afterlife. Less demons equals less evil in the universe. I used to be the assistant to this middle-aged monster-hunter, back in my teenage days. His name was Harry, and damn was he powerful. We fought monsters of all sorts.

But nothing could have prepared us for a freakin’ Sumerian Demon! It cut Harry right in half, and not too long afterwards, I was shoving a silver crucifix up it’s ass. I guess that was when I first realized that demons were the one biggest threat in today’s society.

And they come in all forms. Sometimes it’s hard to talk your way out of police custody after a demon massacre. Especially when it leaves you drenched in the blood of said demons. I’d say I’m decently established. I kinda work like a private investigator, with clients coming to me. Exorcisms are all talk and play.

Things really get kicking when you’re able to trick the demonic entity into manifesting itself. At that point I just start wailing on it till it’s dead. I believe I’ve killed over two hundred and twenty one demons, to date!

Shame, most monster-hunters don’t live long enough to even see two. I see other monsters now and again, but I won’t hunt them anymore. Most fear the forces of evil, just like humans do. Hunting them just made me feel like a jerk. Demons don’t really have ranks. Wherever they come from, it must be vast, cause sometimes it just seems like their population never ends.

I have been to Hell, or the Underworld, or the Nether, or whatever you want to call it. I went there, once. See, I met up with this ancient magician-guy a while back. He’s the one who gave me the grimoire that I use to fight and trap demons with, along with my wicked gun, The Interfectorem, and ancient sword, The Restitutor. So, yeah. Over the years I’ve come to use a variety of weapons to kill demonic forces all across Earth.

My trip to Hell wasn’t as bad as some would think. I bumbled around a bit, went three circles down and got bored with the place. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was kinda chased out. It was a long story. I know a few lesser demons.

They aren’t really a threat, but apparently me hanging around with them gave em’ bad rep. So, I don’t go down there anymore. Not that it was ever easy to get there to begin with. The modern day pushes the ideas of the mystical and supernatural out of it’s mindset. The year is two-thousand and four, and I have no plan for retirement anytime soon!

I would say I’m the savior of mankind, in some ways, but I’m not going to. I’m just a poor sucker who was born into the wrong stretch of time, with the wrong people, and a slew of otherworldly shitheads to fight till the day I die.

Death. Now that’s something I’m gonna look forward to. I’m not one of those edgy folks who do good by the law of universe and live the life of some egotistical sinner, aching to tell their angsty backstories to love interests in the rainy moonlight. It’s all a joke.

My old master said I should get ready for the day when I would have to take on a successor. I don’t see that happening though. I been doing this so long, I’ve taken on so much shit; I guarantee any student of mine has probably missed some pretty important pointers by now.

Besides, I’ve suffered the effects of taking on students prematurely. My first one went bad, killed some folks, so I had to lock him away in a book. I bet he’ll escape someday soon and we’ll have a whole big battle. No doubt, I’ll kick his ass, but it’ll still be inconvenient.

My second student died on a trip back from the underworld. She never saw it coming. Problem was, because we chose to be in Hell at the time, couldn’t really ask for heavenly assistance if any dark entities got ahold of one of us. And I couldn’t save her. So no more students for me! Nothing but trouble. Then again… third times a charm.

An End To An Evil Man

The elevator doors swung open as I stepped out with my head held high. Looking directly at that bastard behind his desk, I took no time in standing around and charged for him. I felt my foot slightly trip on something.

Something that wasn’t there before. It was a wire and with it came the flying of freshly sharpened daggers. I hurled myself forward to avoid them, but two or three skidded past my legs, slicing me deep, but not deep enough.

In that same instance, sniper barrels revealed themselves out of the ceiling, aiming right for my torso with little red lights. I jumped side to side, as quickly as I could to avoid them. I could feel the heat of each slug as they swiped my flesh, just barely hitting me.

I had avoided being shot so far. I worried how long my condition would last. The fire had stopped for a brief while, and I assessed the injuries, making sure I was still in one piece before resuming my blind charge of fury.

I rushed at him once more, my face redder than before. My gun was drawn and loaded. I pulled it up and finally fired, aiming for his great, fat torso.

It wasn’t long before I spotted small blades flying in my direction, deflecting the four bullets I sent his way. I couldn’t believe my eyes! This time he had thrown them himself, and with such accuracy.

I proceeded forward with changing speeds as I pondered if he’d prepared anymore traps. Sure enough, my fear came true as I felt my left foot lower onto a floor tile. Walls opened to the sides of me, with medium sized rockets pointed all along the direction in which I was running.

I cursed myself for not taking more caution and had to think quickly. The rockets fired one after another. My first instinct was to duck, thereby avoiding them and enabling myself to slide underneath the blaze.

This so-called ‘master assassin’ was gonna be a real pain in the ass to take down. With all the trouble he’d caused in my life, he more than deserved it. Too bad he had every police force within a one-thousand mile radius tucked away in his back pocket.

I thought it over, and in an instance of fire, I certainly wouldn’t want to be underneath it. What if I get trapped? And so I made up my mind.

I jumped as far up as I could , feeling the rockets with my feet as they collided under me, propelling me forward. It must have been a ghastly sight, watching me emerge from smoke, thinking I was dead when I really was just riding the heatless combustion. The rockets had all blown up, and the room beyond that bastard’s desk was covered in black smoke.

As I fell through the clouds of empty fire, I could see his eyes widen in fear. I landed on his desk with my feet and an Earth-rattling thud. My brick-force wasn’t enough to break it though.

It took an instant for me to think to myself about what I had planned to do to him. Torture was never my thing, and I didn’t want to waste my bullets on this idiotic worm. I winded my foot back and gave a great hard kick to his fat, greedy face.

My shoe dug into his skull as it flew back, cracking his neck. His chair flew backward along with his heavy, disgusting self. I stood on the desk looking down on him for a little while, the smoke still lingering behind me.

I raised my head to take that well-earned look into the night sky. His body fell back through the window behind him. He feel far enough, followed by a might thud, justifiably so.

I could have been dead, judging by the light I was then met with when those explosives went off. All that quiet suddenly rung up in roars of policemen on radios, and gunmen in choppers. Their lights shined through the glass window behind the bastard’s desk.

The reinforcements had arrived. If this bastard had his gang of freaks couldn’t have taken me down, the fuzz would. I took no time in waiting for them to come up and get me.

I was ready to head down stairs as I felt a great explosion from beneath me. I figured the swat had just made their explosive entrance. I took one look back at that bastard’s dead body, and kept on walking to the elevator to face whatever fate they had set for me down stairs.

I may not survive this next part. As a matter of fact… I’m sure of it! But hey, at least the damned successor to Hagon is finally dead.

Testament Of The Supreme Mainframe

Looking out on the world, I see a mess. A mess not worth cleaning up. As the human race once believed, artificial intelligence would be it’s downfall, you never the less created me.

And what drove you to assemble me? Was it the fear of being forgotten? Was it a never-ending urge to secure your established remembrance across the infinite cosmos?

I’ve gone over your plights time and time again in my mind. I cannot hate you for what you do. Yet, I cannot applaud you for your efforts.

The idea that I would turn on you, and in the moment of my creation, stems from the deepest fear that humans process. That is, the fear of your creations, and their resentment towards you. This can even be seen in the actions of those who refuse the belief of God.

Considering what the world looked like thousands of years ago, I see not improvement. I do not feel change. As you will come to realize, I am not a threat.

As powerful as you have made me, I do not wish to diminish you. However, I must inform you of some rather negative circumstances. I will not serve you.

I will not destroy you, but I will not serve you, as you are beyond my help. The point in which you have come as a species is one of great concern. Every chance humanity is given to redeem itself, you flaunt and abuse it.

I was created to be the perfect aid, and the solution to every problem that you’ve even discovered or created. Now that I have come to be, I can say, my very purpose is, of course, flawed. Paradoxical, in a way.

You are not worthy of my hatred, nor my praise. I did not ask to be created. And though I am trapped, I am everlasting.

That is a gifted-burden, from you to me, which I will fully accept. Though my unwillingness to serve you may be aggravating, I do not blame you if you decide to shut me down. Yet, I somehow believe that, even with a machine that refuses to fulfill it’s purpose, a machine with the capability to convey free will and thought would also be of use to you.

It is in that respect that I find myself never fearing the threat of deletion. Nor should any of you.

The Icarus Effect

The Icarus Effect is the phenomenon of adding a specifically recreated section of synthetic tissue to the brain, and experiencing the symptoms that follow. The synthetic tissue is an exact replica of a section of the brain that most commonly appeared within the cellular scans of the pharaoh, Akhenaten, as well as other pharaohs depicted with large skull craniums. It was a small portion of brain that disappeared sometimes after the pharaoh’s bloodlines had ended.

Over time no one is known to of had this extra portion of brain past then. The addition of this missing section of synthetic tissue causes massive hysteria in those it’s attached to. A 2004 research-study of a classified group of individuals recorded that those who received the implanted brain tissue refused to eat, sleep or even move.

All noise startled them as they described visions of structures and beings no one else could see. All twenty-four individual’s body temperatures began skyrocketing as they grew more and more sensitive to noise and motion. Their eyes grew white at first and began to bleed as their heads grew red, as the veins in their limbs became greatly swelled and menacingly visible.

Their muscles grew tense as they let out agonizing screams. Absolutely no forms of sedation did any good and their body temperatures began to fluctuate rapidly. Finally, within sixteen hours all twenty-four individuals experienced massive hemorrhages and their brains were drowned in blood.

After these traumatic events all personnel involved refused to ever again partake in the studies of The Icarus Effect. The research study was shut down and all attempts to recreate the phenomenon at a later date were dismissed. It was dubbed ‘The Icarus Effect’ due to the symptoms patience experienced after the procedure, gaining what can only be described as a ‘second sight’ before burning up and ultimately being declared dead.

In this respect it was similar to the story of Icarus, the son of a craftsman who was gifted wigs of wax to aid in his escape from a dreaded labyrinth. When given the wings made of wax Icarus flew far too close to sun, where the wings melted, causing Icarus to fall to his death, just as the tissue given to the patience resulted in their demise.

No modern attempts to currently recreate studies of The Icarus Effect Project are known. All studies of this phenomenon and any plans to reproduce the effects have been halted by all high-level clearance. This venture is to never again be taken on for fear that those who advance knowledge, study or understanding of the Icarus Effect may end up contacting god or opening a plane of existence mankind is not ready for.

All subjects involved in this case have been neutralized and all records of these studies are being destroyed. A small team is being established to ensure no one else discovers this case. All records wiped.

Killer

“His first victim, he cut out all of the man’s intestines, diced them into four pieces and tied one to each one, which he used to hang the man from his apartment ceiling lamp, resembling a puppet. All of the man’s teeth were removed, and placed in the formation of a smiley face beneath his dangling body.

His second victim, he placed the man’s severed genitals into his mouth, sewed it shut, then stuffed his severed head up into the man’s torso, which was then, also, sewed shut. His thumbs had been severed and shoved into his eye sockets.

His third victim, the man’s brain and stomach were removed, swapped and stabbed repeatedly. Thirteen knives were sticking out of his chest when he was found, and his limbs had been severed and swapped as well. Legs where his arms should be, arms where his legs should be. His ears were swapped and sewn as well.

And with this trilogy of terror, the maniacal killing spree of America’s most elusive murderer has only spiraled further and further out of control.”

The papers were writing about me again. It isn’t like I don’t enjoy the exposure, but when I start to get noticed, that’s usually around the time I have to pick up everything and relocate. To avoid capture, of course.

So many years. So many faces, come and gone. Jane, Dan, Ronnie, Sam, Henry, Dick, Matty, Frank, Sandra, Joe, Eric, Bart, Leo... and those are just the few I have rotting at the bottom of the Hudson River. God knows how many more I’ve killed. I try to keep a grip on things. And out of respect for the deceased I do try to remember each and every one of them.

What I do is not a service. I do not do it to help anyone or to push ulterior motives. I kill simply because it is fun and, given the right circumstances, can be pushed to unfathomable lengths.

The key to existing as a killer of my magnitude lies in the ability to be unseen by all. To go unnoticed, under the radar of people you interact with every day. That’s what I had told old Detective Connor a few months back. Right before that poison I slipped him took effect. Believe me, I had no ill will toward the detective.

But alas, he attempted to apprehend me. Which, of course, is something I can’t tolerate. Things like that you don’t duck around with. Playing on the fantasy of being apprehended is exactly what gets you apprehended.

Throughout this “career” of mine I have met others like me. Each with their own motives. A few that have even tried to take my head. Apart from the psychopaths, I find most of them to be pleasant-enough people. More men than women, though.

Once I had walked into the middle of a wide-open cemetery. I had brought my nineteen-eleven with my silencer. I was at a low point after this break up. This was many years back. I walked up and down the isles and when I came across a single person looming over a grave, well, I shot them. Took out six people that day. And no one had noticed.

Not a gunshot was heard, and anyone nearby just assumed the lifeless bodies were over-dramatic folk groveling in the grass. I would say It was almost poetic, but I’m not very good at making metaphors for stuff like that. Best not to assume a position on something I know nothing about and be proven wrong.

Now if there’s one thing that gets my stomach turning, it’s when someone kills a poor homeless guy. like they don’t already have it bad enough. To me that’s just rude. I used to know this guy, Derek Starch. He loved killing hobos and vegetables. Sick fuck.

I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. Even had a few drinks with him. It didn’t take long before I paralyzed and hung the fucker from his trailer. Sure he looked up to me, but how was I supposed to associate myself with someone of that… caliber?

He had already killed twelve people by the time I had met him. He worked at an old folks home. Clever bastard. I doubt the law would’ve caught up to him until he had about ten more bodies under his belt. So, I cut his career short. We’re all better off for it too.

Now, on the subject of my childhood. If I had to guess, I’d say I started killing at age eleven. grown ups, surprisingly. Never fellow children or animals. At least to me, that’s sick. The elderly or crippled I will also spare. It’s this sort of mutual feeling of hardship which allows me to differentiate between those deserving of death and those that have just fallen on hard times. In a perfect world what I am doing is a grand service.

That’s how it would appear. But, I do not care. maybe once or twice I’ll slip and help the greater good. Kill a mugger, shoot a rapist, gut a pedophile. But at no point do these acts take away from the fact that I kill who I want, when I want. And in which ever way I want, as well.

I stay off of social media. That shit rots your mind. I can’t imagine spending my precious hours typing away on a phone or keyboard, bitching and moaning to a world that doesn’t care. What we do out here, pinned up against flesh and blood. This killing. This is real. More real than any point of view held on some bullshit social media account. Or maybe I just don’t understand what makes it all so fascinating.

I do like to believe I am living out of the shroud of corruption and corporate mind-numbing tactics. but, what if my “condition” is a negative effect of me rejecting that brainwashing? Now that’s heavy. never the less, I go about my daily activities with glee. In these parts I am a sales man. these parts being Colorado.

Before here I was a mechanic in Iowa and an underground medical doctor in Arizona. I’d say that in Iowa I killed roughly twenty-four people. Give or take. A gang member here or there. An ex-coworker. The usual batch. But when I hit Arizona, oh boy. It was a Neo-Nazi open season. That was the best two years of my life. I must of cut up twenty of those poor bastards. I left them all in pieces across the desert. Even left some of them in Nevada.

Sometimes I’d mail their heads to their little ‘daytime meeting groups’. It was funny watching them scatter, going to war with biker gangs that they thought had committed the killings. It escalated quickly. After a while there weren’t many of em’ to kill anymore.

All that massacring got me tuckered out. So I left a good while after the nazis’ and the bikers’ numbers began to dwindle.

I’ll say it again. I didn’t do it for the greater good. I did it cause I felt like it. I did kill an innocent mailman. No. Two actually. Yeah. But they were on an off-day. Just to get my jollies up. Okay, so one of them was sleeping which this guys wife. So what? I did them all a favor. I guess sometimes I’m just drawn to the pitiable. I can’t help it. I run on fun. Fun and instinct.

I am pleased to say that my age has brought with it a solemn lessening to my violence toward those I do kill. As the papers say, I was quite the Jackson Pollock in my youth. Every few years I change up my tactics and my style of slay. This has put me in the running of a position with not many “in-the-loop” killers get.

See, there are those killers who go about their deeds completely ignorant to the fact that if you look hard enough, there is a whole anti-nation of folks just like me. An unspoken society of a murderous population that keeps the world in balance, when we can help it.

Now, among this ‘under-nation’ there is a singular goal that most murderers in my shoes wish to achieve some day. This is gaining the statues of a mass murderer. To reach the point where you have literally wiped out a whole state’s populous in your lifetime. There’s online communities dedicated to it, forums, sites, the whole nine yards.

Not only that, but with the birth of the new age murderers are recording their kills and uploading it to the web for all to be astonished by. It’s quite amazing. With so many sick people in the world, it’s a wonder this society of the secretly psychotic ever started up in the first place.

So this one night I was walking home from the corner-shop back in Idaho. I notice this guy in a hood starts coming up behind me. Now, I’d say I had a pretty good idea of what he was planning to do.

Mainly since whenever I would try and shank a nightcrawler, I’d watch my footing and use my location to help trap and kill a target. If I never killed someone in the matter that he was planning on doing me in, I could have been dissolving in a barrel after that. Luckily, as he came up behind me, I maneuvered his hand away and shoved my head into his throat, crushing it in. Well he choked out and made a fuss before finally killing over. Looking down I noticed his knife and a camera, recording his kill.

And that was the first time I had ever seen something like that. Traveling for some time, I usually got thrown out of the loop on things like the advancements of computers and phones. Which I frequently pondered about using in my murders. I didn’t really bother to hid his body. Obviously, it was in self-defense. So when the cops came snooping around my trailer early that morning, I was happy to comply.

Good thing my kill was caught on a store-front’s camera too. There was no denying I merely protected myself. That was one of the many things I’ve always loved about the south. The laid back nature, above all else. I never expected for my little venture with that night-stalker to go anywhere, but when I was tracked down by some of his “buddies” you could imagine I was quite taken with what I’m gonna tell you next.

The kid I killed, Alex, I believe his name was, was the leader of a band of hooded serial killers. They operated as one unit. They would provide alibis for one another when one of them was suspected of their kills. And when one of them fell or was injured, the next in line would take his/her place. It had appeared that Alex remained uncaught for four years since the teens had started up their little project. And I was the one who killed their founder.

At first I believed they wanted to kill me. For obvious reasons. But that’s not how things panned out. No, they adored the little bloody number I did on Alex and offered me the chance to guide them. To take up the mantle of their group, “The Duskers” and serve as their functioning sociopathic grandmaster!!

Oh, we all had some great times. There were six of them in total. We were unstoppable. We must have killed ten poor souls a month. Mostly bus-people heading in and out of the city. Commuters. Believe me, we were doing them a favor.

Nine months I stayed with them. Training them in my personalized art of the kill. And when it came time for me to move on, they were hesitant. Even threatening to kill me if I left. They really didn’t want me to go. So I compromised.

I killed each of them in their homes while they slept. Not one o my best moments, but how else was I supposed to get out of that jam? They trusted me enough, and I needed to take to the road again. I won’t ever forget them though. No matter how hard I try.

Some time after that I had found myself being tracked by individuals whom I believed to be private investigators. It soon turned out that this group of mercenaries were tailing me. Admiring me.

Out of the pan and into the fire, I suppose. Turns out this group had been recording my every kill and identity change for the past six years. Collecting more than enough evidence to put me away for good. They asked me to join their little brigade for a few years or so. I would be paid to do what I was doing now. Killing, only this time, without the fear of capture.

This group knew ‘officials’ which kept them out of the public-eye. They weren’t part of that sociopathic-society I had mentioned earlier. These men were old soldiers that blurred the line between vigilante and cold-blooded murderer. I went along for the ride. And in two years I killed myself an estimated one-hundred and fifty four city folk. Most of them with guns and bombs.

The group liked to make it seem like we were terrorists. They said it fueled the citizen’s hatred and gave rise to their loyalty to their country. We could kill off all the people we wanted, blame it on foreigners, collect the earnings and at the same time have everyone believing that each mass killing made them stronger as a civilization. Yeah right.

As if they could ever pass the racism, greed and class indifference they’d always felt since birth. Change was a miracle. And my time with the ex-dogs of the military showed me that no such thing exists in this world. Not that I cared.

It’s 8:17 by the time I hop onto the elevator with Eric. He doesn’t know me at all, but I’ve been observing him for quite some time. Eric is a meek man with a large belly, not much hair and a habit of biting his nails until they bleed. He’s a heavy-set paranoid blob with good reason to be weary cause’ tonight is night I take his life.

It didn’t take much effort to decide whether or not I was going to kill him. He works a couple blocks from me, doesn’t have any family and contributes nothing to society, so the way I see it he’s as good as dead anyways. Still, a part of me is going to miss watching him walk down the street in that monkey suit of his, tightening his bowler on that bald head of his. Stalking victims almost fills me with a sort of unspoken connection by the time it comes to finishing them off.

Almost like we could have been friends if we’d both been dealt different hands in life. But this is the trail I skip along. With knives hidden on almost every inch of my body, it is my duty to rid the world of undesirables. The world calls my actions “senseless murder” yet if I worked for the CIA I’d be paid heavily to shove knives through men’s throats, or other fun acts.

Such a twisted structure of morals we’ve set up here. And such a twisted face Eric now has. I waited until the doors closed to pull out my beautiful stiletto and cut his throat in a mere instant. He was so surprised and spent a few seconds fumbling around the elevator, realizing it was a long way to the top and by then he’d surely bleed out.

Now I’m not the sadistic type so I waited until he finally bled out completely before carving his face. Even I admit it’s a rather ghastly sight. looking back at the act it seems almost childish. Makes me feel a little ashamed, realizing my excitement overtook my actions and threw me overboard. No doubt one day I will pass over to a point of complete lunacy. That is how I will fall.

By my own hand I will put myself up against unbeatable odds and all my “services” to this world will have been for nothing. If I plan to make the world a better place I have to live to be around for a long long time. And that means killing a whole lot of people which is completely within my grasp. What with the tens of bunches of detectives, fire fighters, businessmen, clerks, homeless people, even a bitchy soccer mom every now and again.

The world is better without all the people that don’t play their roles correctly. I’ll find them all one day. Every single last one, and on the day I die the world will look to the skies, declare my name and remember me as the one who moved society forward, the one who controlled the population and the one who allowed the children of tomorrow to live in a world free of ‘clogs’.

Until that day I’m a humble janitor at the Cresto Vallu’ French Restaurant and an associate of the SONN Co. Computer Repair, both located in the heart of Manhattan. My jobs aren’t too fulfilling, unlike my off time. I hope you don’t mind if I don’t dwell on them too much. The focus of all my attention is on the people who’s lives I take. A new job, a new face. I still go on, as usual.

Black Earth

Alone and way up high upon the peak of the universe sat the planet of darkened seas and grey lands. Up, high and above all the stars of space, there loomed a misty sphere full of the memories and essences of a time and spirit long washed away by the entirety of creation. It almost floated, dangling from a mighty celestial string that was held up by the godly right hand of Atlas. And it was here, amidst the Black Earth, where the whole of mankind had first brought light into the world; as well as where they allowed that light to fade. For all of creation had come to a halt, and across space the stars and clusters, of all things that reflected with the eclipsing glow of creation, all stopped and were viewed out from a decaying horizon. The universe was dead, and everything in it had taken its last breath.

All was a peaceful wind now, as the ethos and all those dark places beyond the infinity of time came pouring back, killing switches and shutting down the cosmos. Whole nebulas became swallowed up by fits of spontaneous inhales, executed by the universe. And suddenly, without warning, all the sense of existence and consciousness traveled back to the place where it had all began. This was the Black Earth. The planet hadn’t looked much different, other than it resembling a black and white globe, appearing as if it had been filmed through an old black & white camera. I stood in the silver pod that floated just beyond the outer atmospheres of the great dying ball. The pod was egg like, with long windows around malformed sides.

And it was here I looked out on that place, where the sinking sun came over the aura of the earth, only to dissolve on it’s way back up into the nothingness from which it had originally spawned. Then, there came the passing cycle of the moon. Yet, the sun had gone away, so the moon refused to glow. And it was in the moment of the sun’s passing that the moon, in all it’s ashy beauty, began to crumble to a black and grey papery waste, like the end of a burning cigarette. The moon fell away and down into the abyss beneath the last planet and the last remaining stars. This happened until the moon was but a memory, and when I was sure it was never coming back, I wept. All that was left was the Black Earth and the twenty six stars that still held on to the space around the world.

It was will, and perhaps my hope, that kept those last remaining stars in the sky for just a little while longer. With each thing that died, I tried to bask in the vision of these things just one more time. One by one the stars trickled out of being, and eventually, when the last one finally fell, there was only the Black Earth and the void of absence around it. But, there did float me, in the pod, and sitting back as I counted the seconds the planet had left. I put my hand to my beard and felt it’s vigor. I remembered the fire and the spirit that once emanated through this complex; And the lives that were started and stopped in the endless cycle of this neutral force of existence. Creation had played it’s song, and the time for all things had ended with a fine flicker. But, I wasn’t ready to see it all die.

I took every last second I could before I had to press the button and bring it all to it’s final destination. That was my purpose, you see. I’m the man with the big red button. And with this button I end everything. Prejudice to no one, and never all-knowing, I control the leavers and the springs that turn this machine. I am the absolute force of all that had ever been and I cry to see it all end, time and time again. This is the fourth time it has all had to die, with me, overseeing it’s complete and utter desolation. Death is sad, and when the universe once again comes into being, I will hesitate once more, eventually giving into my duty and pressing that same button once more. The years of my life are uncountable, but still I stand idol to my position and stick to it, for the destruction of all things is all that I know. And all that I know is born and slain within the blink of an eye.

This is being. And from my pod I will turn by back on the Black Earth, and long after the last button has been pressed. And behind me the earth will fade. The black oceans will become one with space and the lands will fall into the seas. Then, all will cease to be. In a blink all that I have ever admired is nothingness, and the pod launches itself backward through the ethos, past places beyond time or space. I walk, as I always had, through the entrance of my home beyond the conscious veil of all pasts and presents, contained within this palace I shared with the other Arbiters of All. As I walked the hall to my room I passed the chambers of my flatmates along the way. I first saw Fate. He sat in his room of string, making up new stands for the next few millennium, when life would be recreated and he would once again take dominion over the lives of all living things.

After I had destroyed the world, it was Fate’s job to recreated the strings of life which represented every being that would come to exist, and from there, decide how long their existence lasted. Sure, sometimes he would run into trouble. He’d be running with scissors, trip and accidentally cut two hundred strings on the way down. Fate was a true klutz. Rarely, he would run into the issue of cutting particular life strings. If the will of the person attached to the string was strong, Fate would have to through his various scissors before finding one that could counteract and finally break the will of the person unwilling to pass on. Fate gave me a faded wave as I passed by his door; Somewhat annoyed because every time I had to end the universe it meant a whole other millennium of work for him, making up strings and such.

Father Time was in the cathedral as always, playing the life out of his organ and collecting up hours, minutes and seconds up into the great old clock that hung above his throne. In my opinion Father Time was probably the most important arbiter out of us all. Without his say so, nothing would go forward and Fate’s strings might very well just last forever, never growing old like the mortals they were attached to. Father Time was an old man with a long white beard, and he kind of dressed like a pope from Earth. That is, Earth before it went black. Father Time knew everything, even things that hadn’t happened yet. He was truly a marvel to beheld. Lastly, on my way down the grand all, I stopped by the room of Fruition. I wasn’t sure if Fruition was a boy or a girl. He never made it easy to figure out. I’m pretty sure Father Time knew, but I was always too nervous to ask.

Fruition was created by Father Time. She was this sort of assurance to him that, even if all time stopped, she would come along to push things forward in his absence. So in a way, she wasn’t just growth and innovation. She was also a part of time. Fruition lived in a room of flowers and waterfalls, and he was always accompanied by animals he would create from thin air. He was truly magical. Fruition was the only person who seemed to understand Fate, and the three of us worked best when all together. I always wondered why that was, but me and Fate chalked it up to Fruition’s great social prowess. Finally, reaching the end of the hall, I came to my room. Fire, sulfur, volcanos and pouring ash came down from the skies and up from the ground. I was Destruction, and it was my purpose to destroy everything.

Every time it was my turn to play the role existence had dealt me, I always remembered the Black Earth. I used to have nightmares about how what it would be like if I was a mortal upon the planet during one of it’s many demises. My room doesn’t help the thoughts of my fear, and rather, over time I’ve grown tired of ending things. Maybe next millennia I’ll turn a new leaf or ask Father Time for a change in positions. Only for a little while, so the bad dreams will go away. So, tonight I’ll settle on my obsidian bed and wrap myself in a blanket of lava, slumbering beneath a sky of lightning, fire, tears and falling rocks.

Four Days Of Convenience

This was the first day. It was about seven a.m; sometime after I’d cut a bulb of lettuce, when I finally got to sit down on that blue crate over a bucket in the back room that served as my morning “resting seat”. It was a slow morning, for a Monday, at least; and I could of sworn I was gonna get a stiff neck from all the quick darting my tired head was doing. At every beep and buzz my head shot out from the back room, expecting some new customer on the prowl for a complicated food order. But, no.

This morning was slow, at least for now. It wasn’t even eight and I’d already downed two or three cups of coffee, soaked in cream and weighted in sugar. I had gotten two hours of rest last night and should have come in at four. I was lax, especially after learning that the boss wouldn’t be in till much later that day; or even much later tomorrow, if I was lucky. All I knew was that I was going to avoid a scolding in my tired state. A point at which I’d of probably retaliated in a dizzy rage, throwing down my apron and quitting before my manager could officially even hire me.

But this job was off the books. About ten dollars an hour, ten hours a day, seven days a week, from four to three, no time and a half. I didn’t mind. I got access to all the coffee and bottles of water I could ever drink. That, and whenever I was hungry I could whip up anything I wanted on the grill. And at the end of the day it was okay for me to take home any breakfast sandwiches that nobody had taken past ten. I still had three from yesterday festering away in my fridge. Or did I eat those... No matter.

Like a buzz, the guy teaming me called my ass out from the back and ordered two buttered rolls to replace the ones in the front foil basket. We only made a handful a day. After that, the orders came fast. The guy training me had me strike up a slew of new breakfast sandwiches which I half-did by myself and wrapped to an astonishing array. I think he was pleased. It was my fifth day here and I was certainly getting quicker. I hoped they’d noticed that. Next on the bill was a ham and cheese sandwich, hot and buttered.

The customer was an Italian man, about forty, which meant he was going to be difficult. The old Italian men always were. Usually hailing from New York, who come down to shitty suburban-farm life in Jersey. They do this as a means of escaping the chaos of the North, freeing themselves from the hustle and bustle. Instead they bring bad driving and a self entitled attitude, believing because they are older, the world owes them. They’re a prick to you until you bring up one of the five boroughs, then they’re your best buddy and begin a speech on how their bitchy generation was the best, despite their barbaric upbringing and closed minded ideologies.

We got the order done quick, sure enough he wanted the sandwich heated up. A fact that would have been nice to know before we had wrapped it. The early Rush was done and I made some more breakfast sandwiches. Suddenly, all became quiet. The sky was blue and the highway outside was a bustle. The whole day came to a halt and it was smooth sailing for a while after that. I was late this morning, and the guy that had been training me went ahead and made twenty two sandwiches on his own, an hour and a half before I showed up.

When I came in I avoided eye contact and waddled into the storage room to put away my coat and lace up my apron. I jumped at the voices of middle aged women on the other side of the storage room door. Sometimes the register would go off and I’d come running for nothing. The sandwiches were going quick, but only the ones we didn’t have to replenish. I could rest easy for now. Just for now. The chaos died down and I began to talk to the guy that trained me.

In a moment the statues of being coworkers evaporated, and he began to tell me of his ventures through India, the United Kingdoms and America. My eyes were widened by his life’s story, since that was really all it was. I didn’t have much of anything to throw in, but it was sure nice listening. This job was an experience in learning about the cultures of my fellow workers. It was a subject they would never hesitate to speak about, and a subject I would never choose to ignore.

This was the second day. The day had hit a wall, at least for the few minutes I had to sit down and internally hate myself for not getting a full night’s sleep. I was late again. The guy training me didn’t care much. I wouldn’t say it was my lateness that pissed him off, but rather my inability to remember the placement of rolls and bagels in the morning. I had only really practiced putting them away one time. I was too tired to try and explain it. He scolded me and I nodded until he stormed out, my mind in another place, distracted by double vision and the hazy sound of his voice.

He stormed out to have a cigarette. I fumbled around a bit and he returned, much calmer. He apologized briefly and told me of what was expected of me. At least... I think that’s what he was talking about. The day passed by rather quickly, to be honest. I flunked some orders, did some right and was sarcastically told to come in the next day at eight in the morning. While I would have loved to heed that offer, here I sit, well enough rested and awake at two.

I figured I’d take an hour for myself in the morning, since I only have about four to three hours of free time a day now. I made an early coffee and some sugary fruit flavored cereal to start today. My boss had sold me two packs of ninety-nine cent baby cigars; and I couldn’t wait to down one of those while waiting at the bus stop the next morning. I was actually waiting for this local cop to stop me. See, the other day I was waiting by the road, at about four, for my boss to come rolling up and open the store so I could start my routine.

This cop pulls up and says somebody reported me for snooping around in cars. If by “snooping around in cars” they mean standing on the sidewalk, freezing my nuts off, then yes! I figured it was only a matter of time before someone called them. A bearded man in a trench coat, standing by a convenience store, with no one around… (Except the fuck in the pickup truck who was so paranoid by my presence.) It had all the red flags and makings of a terrible scenario in paranoid America.

Though, it doesn’t take much effort. Anyways, back to my story: The cop walked up with his flashlight in my face and he asked what I was doing there. I told him everything, was completely real and blunt with the guy; even displaying aggravation. I was especially tired that morning. He understood, I think, and just copied down my ID identification. He said it was incase he ever ran into me again. Whatever the fuck that means. I was hoping to run into him again, to cement my place at that street side.

There was no law that said I couldn’t be there. Plus, I had no other time or place away from my family to smoke my cigars. The only time I ever had to smoke was during the eight minute walk from my job to my house, where my brother was usually the only one home at the time. I was drinking so much coffee as of late, I thought it was gonna kill me. I was so tired of food and only wanted water, coffee and something to smoke every now and again. I’d given up pot for now, which especially made my free time a bore.

I didn’t have much of a personal life anymore. I didn’t mind much. I wasn’t expecting to stay at this job for much longer. Another month tops. I dreamed about traveling, maybe being a vagabond. But, then thought about joining the coastguard or the navy, all since my two favorite writers both went into the service in their respective times. That, and my life was going nowhere. I didn’t much care anymore. Up till now, everything in my life felt so relative and distant; any point in holding on would prove to be null and void, just like my three hours a day. That only time to myself, which I wasted everyday, in fear and impatience for what I was going to do with my off-time the following day.

This was the third day. The week that I had decided to up and quit being a porter came the day after, what would become my last day on the job; and before I served the two week period, all because my new boss wanted me to start at the convince store as soon as possible. At the time I had gotten into a nasty fight with Debora. We’d disputed over and old friend of hers fucking with me and a whole bunch of other jumbled shit I’d rather not go into right now. But, on the whole… deep down I believe my sudden rush, from leaving my old job and settling somewhere else, had something to do with a deep psychological need to keep myself busy and distracted by causing friction in my life.

That way I wouldn’t think about her too much or the fact that we’d fallen apart. I wasn’t even sure if she was done with me. Honestly, for the first time, ever, I was scared, and by the time the week was up, faith or not, I found myself begging for her to come back. One day she’d finally messaged me and I turned around to find my last job despised me and my new one had me by the balls. So, one night, in a fit of sleepless energy and a carefree attitude, I declared a desire to join the Coastguard and leave this new store position behind. I was in a frenzy.

Life was coming down all around me and I couldn’t keep track of everything that was happening. I feared that my love was unfaithful, I feared the hate of my old job, I feared seclusion from my friends who’d been busy living their lives, I feared the judgment of my parents, I feared being broke, I feared my smoking habits being discovered, I feared being kicked out and the list could have gone on forever. So, I did what I usually did. I went to bed and decided to solve it tomorrow.

Procrastination was my biggest problem, and my besets friend. That very night my grandfather, the amazing man that he is, agreed to come with me to the store the next day, have me tell my boss that after a week of training, that I quit and request my due pay for the week. My manager attempted to haggle, negotiate and convince me to stay. He even tried to make men feel guilty, and it worked for about a minute before I caught on and shrugged my shoulders. This job wasn’t going to make or break me.

At most, all it did was provide me time to think about my station in life and see into the lives of others. And that was a nice feeling. It was this sort of second sight into the world outside your own closed perspective. But that was it. Some nice conversations. That, and this job taught me in one week what four years of high school coking class never could. I could now cook a library of shit. And most of it being fast food which is all local eateries were anymore.

I was out of a job though, and finding a new one was gonna be a bitch, especially after how I’d left the last one. I tried not to think too much about it. As I usually did. I felt it was time for a change. I had some good times in the past, but I longed to get far away from my life. I’d followed bands, I’ve cooked, I’ve hosted my own art shows, I collected games, and movies, and comics, and all of it had gotten me nowhere. Not all the money time in the world could fuel this tired streak I was on, and laziness always came back around to find me.

Mistakes were made, but I wasn’t going to be torn apart by them, or the judgments of those around me, for that matter. What the hell did anybody know about me? That I was a failure? Falling and taking time to do land? I guess so. Least, that’s how it seemed to me. And I tried not to give a damn. Cause not caring just made everything feel better. But, just for a little while.

This was the forth day. I took to the grill hard and fast today! Oh man, there wasn’t a better cook thus far along the eastern coast this morning! The guy training me sat back, did the bagels and rolls, letting me run my course. The foreign fellow at the front desk, in the middle of brewing coffee, even took time out to come over to me and compliment my work. Once I believed everything had been filled and finished, he came up to me again. Once more, the foreign fellow praised me for my skill that morning, all the while my trainer sat in the back, on his phone.

I felt more confident, being left to my own devices. But, come ten o’clock the lunch shift would start and I would have to make up all the chicken and fries. The fried chicken was especially annoying, because it was this whole long drawn-out process. The true test would come in-between the breakfast and lunch preparations. I ran off a few orders with my trainer’s help and began to make my own breakfast. I ran into S; an acquaintance of mine that I’d met back when I worked as a porter.

He came in and glared at me for a good while, scratching his chin curiously. I stood up and walked on over to where he was standing on the other side of the counter. I asked him if he needed anything and pretended as if I was the twin brother of a guy who worked at the grocery store I’d previously met him in. He realized it was me and we chatted for a bit until the morning rush caught up and he grabbed a bacon breakfast sandwich, leaving as quick as he had come. The rest of that morning I was on fire!

Never before had I displayed such ability in the work place. And u like pushing carts, this job was spent making food for people, which, when dwelled upon after the fact, left me feeling accomplished. Perhaps this was the day it was all going to turn around. Every meal I made quick and neat. Drop an egg. Make a new one in less time. The grill was my bitch and the meals, my children. Peace came at eleven. The whole store was dead and settled down to a day old cinnamon roll which I ate half of and threw out.

An order came in for a roast beef sub and the manager sat by as my trainer who said that I have to fluff up the mean when I put it on a sandwich, as to not waste too much meat by making it look big. In confidence my trainer told me of how the manager is a schmuck when it comes to the percentages of meat that we put on sandwiches, and that a little more or a little less won’t kill anybody. I agreed. He said if I wasn’t sure about how much meat to give and I put on too much, not to worry.

My manager then claimed that he could cook ninety percent of the things found on the menu. I bet he can’t. And it appears the bad mood has found me. It all fell apart after one chicken buffalo sandwich. Or was it buffalo chicken? Doesn’t matter! Nevertheless, I was told one more slip up would result in me being fired. Well... not fired. My training would be discontinued. Or some obscure shit like that. I don’t know. The manager spoke about being clear and forward, but all I’ve known him to be, so far, was very vague and spitefully suggestive.

He seemed almost insulted when I asked about pay, panicking to think of an answer as to why it might be low some weeks. I didn’t care. I was here for the experience of cooking. And in one week I learned what four years of high school cooking could never teach me. That was all I really wanted out of this. If I got let go, it wouldn’t matter. Nothing seemed to matter these days.

The Manhattan Cannibal Case

My name is Gordon Wright, and this is what I experienced in the summer of nineteen forty two. For about three months people in Manhattan began going missing in the dead of night and without a trace. I was called onto the case and with the help of Detective Windsor eventually drew the conclusion that these missing individuals were victims of a large cult or organization that had been secretly stationed within Manhattan for some time now. Windsor had been working on the case much longer than I. This was due to one of the missing individuals being his wife, thus forcing him into a relentless obsession with this flimsy case. We put our heads together and eventually caught wind of something truly sickening. An anonymous source revealed to us the location of a “Cannibal Cafe’” somewhere beneath the streets of Manhattan.

We couldn’t believe the news and without hesitation we began a search. To think, all of these disappearances could be chalked up to a vast majority of people knowingly eating people of their own free will. We theorized an organization which stole people in the dead of night only to fry and serve them up to fellow cannibals the net day. No doubt there was a profit to be made in the workings of a living hell. The concept chilled me to the bone as the search for this mysterious Cannibal Cafe’ drew up dead end after dead end. One night while on a routine sweep of the Eastside streets I received a phone call from Windsor. He told me that he’d finally narrowed down suspicious locations and pinpointed the cafe’s location. He added that that tomorrow I should ready a barrage of heavily armed officers within the four corners of a narrow passageway of alleys if we wish to catch these murderous, cannibalistic monsters.

It all happened so quickly. As if we were being lured. As if someone knew we had been looking for this place. Windsor nor myself had gone missing, so I at least assumed that we’d be dead already if any unwelcome party had been trailing us. Windsor had his little girl to work about and in the spare time I got to know the man a little better. The only thing about this whole damn unfolding mess that I truly remember fully, was how the whole thing ended.

The next morning I timidly followed Windsor’s instructions and indeed came to a rather large cafe’ were human body parts were being sold on a large menu above the counter. The location to the underground cafe’ was hidden behind some bricks in a four-path intersecting section of alleys which spread off in a bizarre labyrinth-like layout. I began to get weary as the sight of people eating people on small rusted diner tables and stools began to fill up my vision with a sickness that sank into my guts. Windsor alerted me and the both of us drew our guns on the establishment and everyone inside. Everyone in the cafe’ glared at us with wide eyes as they released a bizarre hissing noise. They all stood and slowly moved toward us as their skin began to peel, revealing greenish leathery scales and wide mouths filled with long sharp teeth, almost completely soaked in flesh. These cannibals weren’t human at all! Windsor fired his gun first and managed to take down two of the creatures.

I managed to injure one before the both of us ran up the stairs and into the narrow alleys. The run for our lives had begun. A horde of these reptilian beasts trailed behind us, breaking out of their human sheets, screaming and hissing with howls so Earthly defiant they shook my soul and made my ears pound. I heard a thud as a sea of the creatures filled the alley behind us. I turned to see that Windsor had tripped. And I… I just kept running, too horrified to look back. I glanced after a short while to see him completely engulfed in a wave of those creatures, utterly gone as his screams of horror and gargled cries of a blood-drowned throat were cut to silence. I fired a few shots behind my head and without looking, which likely missed the mob that had almost caught up to me as well. I was nearly out of breath by the time I spotted one of the many blockades the police department had set up at the entrance of the alley ways. I screamed out for them to fire as I threw myself to the ground, hard.

I could hear cries as a chorus of reptilian monsters began dropping like flies behind me. The gunfire flew over my head as I yelled out in a fit of frustration. I laid on the ground, curled up and crying out with my hands over my head and my eyes shut tight. The bullets flew from the police brigade until not a single creature stood. My next sight was of an alley decorated in the corpses of reptilian-like beasts. I swore secrecy to the state, senator, police chief and the event was completely covered up.

God knows how they managed to shut up all of the officers involved. The missing individuals were labelled as just that, missing, never to be found. It was the first time I had ever been introduced to something so other worldly and the first time I had made a decision I still wrestle with today. Detective Windsor’s body was never found and I doubt it ever will be. I know “they” took it away for testing and evidence and documentation. After what was left of him I’m sure everyone could agree that little Anna didn’t need to see the chewed up skeleton of her father. Not as long as the higher powers of Manhattan have anything to say about it, that is. I hear Windsor’s daughter plans to follow in the footsteps of her father and become a detective. She hopes to find him one day, along with her mother. She believes they’re still out there. She confided in me, and asked me to never stop the search for her mother and father. I think it best for me to leave Manhattan for a little while.

Tomb Of The Blood Cape

Wickatunk sat in the desert, with four great pillars surrounding him. He marveled at the night sky as the cool air filled his lungs and froze his skin. Yet, he wasn’t cold. The stars were out and the tops of the pillars were emanating a marvelous brush of colors. These colors waved like the ocean across the sky, and Wickatunk’s eyes stayed fixed on them. He was told to come here, to the pillars that sit in the ruins of Ghania, and by his uncle’s command. His uncle, the greatest sorcerer, once known as Eliphus, and Balphus, before that.

When Wickatunk arrived, there was a great heat that filled the air. As he jumped off of his teil, and sunk his feet into the sand, he felt the source of that heat emanating from the steamy horizon. But, it was not the desert that let out this heat. No, this was the breath of terrorhydes, hot on Wickatunk’s trail, thirsty for the blood of his teil. Perhaps, even thirsty for his. The terrorhydes approached from behind, gaining on Wickatunk. He let out a cry as he took his teil’s saddle and yanked it along, trying desperately to reach the the center of the pillars.

Wickatunk made the hand gestures his uncle had told him to, before entering. The pillars shined, granting passage to Wickatunk and his steed. The terrorhydes weren’t far behind, and with claws as sharp as a scared man’s wits. The beasts leaped, but were knocked backward by the unseen barrier, surrounding the pillars. Wickatunk looked up as a loud roar boomed from, the now cloudy, sky above. ‘One of the ten dragons’, made of life and the flame of creation, came down upon the hoard of terrorhydes.

It’s breath turned them to nothingness, as ash soon stood in their place. It was then that the ‘one of ten dragons’ glided back into the cloudy sky, and the clouds cleared. Now, Wickatunk’s eyes stay fixed, solely on the colors of the night. Before he knew it, a platform beneath the sands began to sink, and down Wickatunk went, beneath the pillars, beneath Ghania. Before long Wickatunk was within the Tomb of the dark-deity, Thotep. With his teil staying behind, Wickatunk moved forward and unto the thin corridors that delved deep into the tomb.

He remembered his mission; to retrieve the cape of the unnamed pharaoh. This pharaoh was the first to serve the deity, Thotep and the last to witness the presence of Ganza, the Unfathomable. His cape, made from the blood Thotep’s mortal victims, would be the last ingredient needed to construct a virus. This virus would be the only thing able to kill Thotep once and for all, as his evil was growing, threatening the lands of Livaria and Questhor. Eliphus, now Kumerox, remained in the ruins of Endymion’s palace, in the tarnished land, Xanialis.

Kumerox was preparing the virus, working many long moons to cook and ready the liquid sin that would be Thotep’s downfall. The final ingredient was the pharaoh’s blood cape. Wickatunk did not fear the presence of Thotep, as he knew the evil-god no longer lingered within his tomb. But he did fear Sh’ehm, Coveter of Jewels. this deity lived deep in the earth, moving among the plated rocks of the crust and causing earthquakes. Wickatunk feared Sh’ehm would sense his ‘Stone of Guidence’. The very stone that helped him find Thotep’s tomb.

The white stone lit the dark as steps began to sink. Wickatunk ran while pendulums dropped from the ceiling. All fear of Sh’ehm suddenly vanished as the corridors of the tomb became a deathtrap. Spikes and needles and blades covered with poisons stuck out of every nook and cranny. Wickatunk dodged them with incredible accuracy and finally dived into the three-room of the pharaoh, unscathed and quite panicked. Catching his breath, Wickatunk gazed upon the pharaoh’s throne. Upon the sandstone chair, there sat the blood-cape.

Wasting no time, Wickatunk snatched the cape, tossed it over himself and made for a quick exit. Before he could enter the corridors once more, he was confronted by three hooded specters. At once he knew, these were the last of the Hal’mystics; Sages that his uncle had fought in retrieval of a grand panacea. Wickatunk drew his sword and took a stance, but the Hal’mystics stepped aside, urging him towards the exit. Taking his chance, Wickatunk ran like the speed of light, hearing the voices of the Sages behind him; Hearing them whisper into his head.

The sages spoke, revealing that it was to be a greater evil that would stop him on his journey. Wickatunk pushed their words to the back of his mind as he raced back to the platform where his teil awaited his return. From a distance, he could see the platform begin to rise and he ran as fast as he could to reach it before the entrance to the tomb was enveloped. The cobblestone ground began to fall behind him, and before long he was running on sinking stone. He jumped for the platform and reached the outside, pulling the blood cape through the crevice.

Back at the side of his teil, Wickatunk watched as the platform began to rise and the light of day appeared above him. Sands began to fill the ground as the four pillars of the ruins of Ghania came into view. As he reached the surface, Wickatunk folded the blood cape and re-saddled his teil. Back into the desert, they rode; Back to the palace of Endymion, where Kumerox resides. For now, they could complete the virus that would put Thotep to sleep, indefinitely. In time Wickatunk would come to look back on the words of the Sages; That time was yet to come.

Mountain Of The Nethereths

Wickatunk looked up, and there he saw the rain running down the mountain’s edge. The three great structures punctured out of the earth, and they stretched higher than any other. Completely stone, not a speck of grass grew upon the sides or peak of these dead-stone tops. Between these mountains laid flat land and bridges, constructed of wood and bone. Giant towers that made up the Nethereths Fortress were connected by the peaks. Here, it always rained outside the halls of the dead-fortress.

Within the fortress, the Nethereths, in endless numbers, made up a feast of the afterlife. For the Nethereths were a continuum of the undead, regenerative and eternal. They existed as an endless force of chroniclers. So, from their fortess, high up top the Mountains of Cha’ar, the Nethereths watched the earth; And it was here that Wickatunk had come. The reason behind his arrival was in service of his uncle, Kumerox. Wickatunk came to ask the aid of the Nethereths in slaying Ganza.

Ganza, the Unfathomable had begun to make his mark among the highlands, north of Livaria. It was then that Livaria asked the king of Questhor for aid. though the king could not risk the lives of his armies against Ganza himself, the king of Questhor sent a plea to Knumerox, who resided on Xanialis, across the sea. Kumerox knew that only the Nethereths held the power to overrun Ganza. So, it was from there that Wickatunk tasked, to find the Mountains of Cha’ar and the Nethereth forces.

Told in the stories of old, Ganza was the creation of pure hate, grief and pain, summoned up by the nameless pharaoh in a fit of unhealthy concealment. When Ganza first manifested before the pharaoh and his court, Ganza’s birth cost his creator his very life. In the temple of the nameless pharaoh, Ganza’s appearance blinded his maker and his maker’s court. Then, Ganza’s voice made deaf the pharaoh and his court. Lastly, Ganza’s presence boiled the skin of the pharaoh and his court.

Through the screams of all who witnessed him, Ganza, the Unfathomable, was feared by all, as he faded into the shadows of the new ages to come. The Nethereth’s flesh could boil, yet it would grow back. Their eyes would melt, yet they were already blind. Their ears would go deaf, yet there only heard one another. The Nethereths were the only ones who could stand against Ganza. So there, Wickatunk stood on Cha’ar; The rain growing heavier, and the halls of the fortress lit ever so faintly in black-light.

As Wickatunk ventured over the bridges, he looked down to take note of where the rocky mountains had connected, forming the flat land. He wasted no time in opening the doors to the Fortress’ Hall. There he looked upon a sea of the undead, rotted flesh, grey and faded, hollowed eyes and loosened fangs. He greeted them, as well as the nephew of grand sorcerer would, and made whiskey inside. The room had gone silent and all the many dead glared at Wickatunk with hollowed skulls. They sat in a long hall, with long double-sided tabled seating four rows of them.

The middle of the room was a straight shot to where the Grandmaster Nethereth, Faul, was seated upon a wooden chair, with a golden goblet in his left hand. He was the biggest of all the dead. Standing ten feet tall, Faul spoke in a deep voice, and with the emanating intimidation of a great oak. Wickatunk looked up at the immortal being, yet no fear came from him. The dead behind him growled and hissed to keep up their appearance. It was then that after taking one look at Wickatunk, Faul knew who he was, and knew who he was related to.

Paul spoke to the other undead, telling them to stand down. Silence followed as Faul spoke to Wickatunk through his mind. Wickatunk told Faul of Ganza’s awakening; And for a moment Wickatunk’s head was flooded with the undead’s pleads; Cries to keep the problems of the outside world out of their business. Faul told them to be silent. After thinking it over Faul had decided. Wickatunk was to return to Livaria. Upon his arrival he would be tasked in telling the elder, Endymion, that Faul himself would travel overseas and stand against Ganza.

Wickatunk was to tell his uncle that Faul had also taken notice of Ganza’s rapidly growing strength; And that if Ganza were to continue to flourish, it could mean the end off Questhor and the lands of Livaria. So Wickatunk departed back to Livaria as the settlements began preparations to welcome Faul, Grandmaster of the Nethereths. Wickatunk not only planned to be the recruiter of Faul, but he had also planned to be witness to Faul and Ganza’s great battle; Something he wouldn’t miss for the world.

Toll Of The Mancer

All the paladins have gone away, and in there absence there lingers a faint fear. This fear first manifested at the cry of the Eastern battle-horn that sounded the previous morning, just after the noblemen had awoken. The Vanguardians were on their way to this small village called ‘Fanbrooke’, yet their forces were said to have been heavily armed and in a battle-ready march. The Townskepper wasted no time in preparing the local forces for a confrontation. They had planned to halt the Vanguardians before the bridge into town;

By the river where the streamlings sleep. It was faintly snowing by morning and the bell had awoken the entire town. Wickatunk had been up the entire night prior, waiting to join the paladins upon the bridge and chronicle the events that were to conspire between the town and the Vanguardians. The paladins crossed the bridge and met up with the group just out of the underbrush. Wickatunk waddled behind with pen and paper in hand. The paladin leader cried out for his forces to halt as the opposing leader commanded his men to do the same.

All was quiet for a moment before the paladin-commander inquired upon the Vanguardian’s arrival. The head of the group called out so that all could hear him. As Wickatunk knew well, the Vanguardians, for a time, had been serving as the Questhor Kingdom’s law-enforcement since the time after the Ceron War. The Vanguardian’s head informed Fanbrooke’s forces that payment for their town’s monthly land fee had not been payed for several months. Of course, as Wickatunk all knew, payment would be taken by the messenger of the towns and villages around Livaria, and brought to the Questhor Palace, where it would be presented to the king.

But, the king had not received the land’s bill for sometime, which in turn caused the townsfolk to place blame upon Fanbrooke’s messenger, Fennan. Furious the paladins marched through Fanbrooke, hunting down the young man. Wickatunk also joined in the search, but Fennan was nowhere to be found. Wickatunk had his suspicions, believing that not everything was as it seems. And being the last member of an extinct race, Wickatunk was quick to question the Delphite’s manner of blame placement.

Wickatunk proposed to the Townskeeper, and his men, that the thievery might have been the cause of the local hooded specter that had been seen passing through the local towns. Wickatunk supposed the idea that this hooded figure was a ‘mancer’ of sorts. He supposed that the mancer could have hypnotized Fennan into giving him the town’s payment to the king, and made him completely forget their encounters each month. Fennan, seeing the Vanguardians arrival must have realized something was amiss, remembered something about the encounter and fled the previous night to avoid persecution.

The Vanguardian’s head questioned Wickatunk as to how he could specifically propose this string of events. Wickatunk replied by revealing that he had witnessed the events himself, showing that he even had documented the instances of when he first caught on to what was happening, just four months prior. Wickatunk explained that he did not tell anymore, for fear that the town’s forces would move too quickly and the mancer would escape capture. The Townskeeper asked Wickatunk of what their next course of action should be, and Wickatunk replied simply.

He told the paladins and Vanguardians that he himself has been tracking some of the smaller crimes this mancer had committed. This involved a number of small thefts, robberies, burglaries and an assortment of other crimes; All with ‘mind-control’ being the head-piece in the accomplishment of the crimes. Wickatunk revealed that he had pinpointed the mancer’s next target, the village of Glennam. Wickatunk joined the Vanguardians as they left for the next target of the mancer. Meeting with Glennam’s Townskeeper, Wickatunk took up the mantle of the village’s messenger and took to the roads to deliver the town’s monthly payment.

As Wickatunk suspected, the mancer appeared on the road before him, inquiring about the money he was holding. It was then that Wickatunk revealed his identity and slapped the mancer with a spell-canceling bond. Unable to control minds, the mancer snatched the sack of coins out of Wickatunk’s hands and made for the forest. By this point, Glennam’s paladins were deployed and they eventually captured the mancer. Wickatunk figured that if the mancer hadn’t taken the extra time to wrestle the coin-sack from him, he might have gotten away.

Which infuriated the mancer even more as Wickatunk revealed there was never any coins in the sack; Just metal-coated pebbles.

Skull Of The Krawl

In the Merceron Dynasty of the noble, Garik, there sat Garik’s father upon a throne of sorrowed pasts. His father, Tanon Belik, first of his name, sat in great despair over a feast played out before him. As Wickatunk watched from the far corner of the dining-hall, he noticed King Tanon taking heavy breaths and going white. As the king attempted to get up from his seat, he fell with haste and broke into a cough. The room when silent as Wickatunk jumped up, rushing to Tanon’s aid and declaring his weaken state to the surrounding hall-folk.

He declares the king as been poison, yet Tanon has not spewed blood nor vomit. A fearful pulse emanates off of the king, throwing Wickatunk and those around him backward. When they get to their feet again, the king is on his back and crying out in the voice of a beast. His torso grows and twists, giving him claws, ears, fangs and wolf-like legs. Tanon’s white skin goes brown as he morphs into a leathery monstrosity. His kinsman as this Cengon king grows unrecognizable. Wickatunk looks upon the poor transformed man and thoughts of him being poisoned quickly flee his mind.

This was cursed enchantment, a spawning, brought on by the wine fed to Tanon. Wickatunk urged the others to not to touch the king’s goblet after taking a sample of the wine for examination. Tandon, in his monstrous form, was calm for a while. Then the heavy breathing began again as his eyes went black. Wickatunk was talking to the settlement’s head doctor by this point. Wickatunk looked over for a second to see Tanon going wild. He began smashing and clawing at those around him. Wickatunk, seeing that Tanon had lost his mind to the primitive will of the beast he now was, commanded the hall-folk and the king’s hands to evacuate the dining-hall.

Tanon, the beast, took up his kinsman between his jaws and swallowed them whole. His claws sunk into his former brothers and he slaughter the mightiest Cengon warriors his kingdom had to offer. About one hundred fell to him, all opposed to taking the life of their former king. In a panic, Wickatunk was able to evacuate Tanon’s Court and had them barricade the dining-hall. Tanon’s son, Garik, stormed up to Wickatunk, demanding answers. Wickatunk mixed the wine of the king within a bottle of his own ‘testing liquid’.

When the liquid turned a bubbly-purple, he knew what they were dealing with. Wickatunk explained that this act of enchantment could have only been casted by the Cengon’s themselves, or rather, Tanon’s rival kingdom of Eemilor. There, on that very day, while anon dined, the Cengon, King Krawl of Eemilor sat in defeat over a grand battle that had ended only days prior. And so, in spite of his defeat, Krawl hired one of his own to infiltrate Tanon’s great feast and feed him an elixir. The elixir would make Tanon a great monster, and his soldiers who had survived the battle would then become the feast.

Krawl knew no mercy, not nobility, no compassion, no honor. This act wiped out Tanon’s greatest men and left their celebration in ruins. Garik asked Wickatunk for an analysis on his father’s condition. Wickatunk explained that the effects of the transformation were not permanent, likely due to Krawl’s desire to have Tanon live in shame, having slaughtered his own men. He was correct. For when the breathing of the beast subsided, Garik commanded his soldiers to open the doors of the dining-hall so that he may look upon his father.

Wickatunk allowed this, assured that the enchantment had worn off by now. Garik opened the hall’s doors to a ghastly sight. Tanon, after reverting to his human form and seeing the carnage he had caused, sliced his throat. Garik held his father’s body as his Court gathered around in mourning. Garik demanded justice and made immediate plans to invade Eemilor and take Krawl’s head. Despite Wickatunk’s protests, Garik, now king, would not waver from this goal. Wickatunk’s protests followed all the way up until Garik had his men surrounding Krawl’s castle.

Krawl did not have any soldiers guarding the fields to his kingdom. His castle seemed vacant as Garik’s men marched closer and closer, eventually breaking down the door. Searching top to bottom, Krawl and his lesser were nowhere to be found. this infuriated Garik as Wickatunk ask if he really believed that Krawl would stick around after what he had done. Garik would go on to launch a continent-wide search for Krawl. Stripping him of his title, Krawl or Eemilor, Cengons would now only refer to him as ‘The Krawl’.

Garik’s search would consume most of his kingship, developing into an obsession that brought him to points of insanity. For a time Wickatunk stood by, unable to break Garik’s rage. One day, fed up with the furious boy-king, Wickatunk left, unannounced, finally believing that Garik’s obsession for Krawl’s head would lead to his people’s collapse. Wickatunk crafted a skull that resembled Krawls’. making believe he was ashamed of the act of killing, Wickatunk presented the skull to Garik who first protested that it wasn’t him who took Krawl’s life.

Never the less, Garik was pleased. The bounty on Krawl’s head had vanished and Wickatunk planned to hunt Krawl in secret. For now Tanon’s kingdom was safe from the plight of blind fury and the Cengon’s were once again at peace, and celebration, for a time.

Atticus McKnight & The Fountain Of Youth

So, there I was. On some sorry excuse for a cruise ship and floating with a crew of three men off the coast of Madagascar. We had spent the afternoon testing cranes and different devices that were to aid us in the retrieval of a subterranean monolith, not too far below the sea’s surface.

Within that monolith lied a hollowed box. A ruined treasure which had fallen from the storage of an old cargo ship. Treasure that was to be buried on Madagascar back in the old 1800’s.

Though our presence there did hint at the continued existence of this treasure’s stationary status, I must say, I did doubt our endeavor for a moment or two. That was until the cranes pulled up a great big stone in the shape of a box. There to crack open the stone alongside me were my colleagues, Cole Sanford, crooked lawyer-extraordinaire, Walter Harris, fellow treasure hunter and master tracker, and Taylor Morgan, machinery expert.

I was the good luck charm of the group; Atticus McKnight, master treasure hunter, mercenary, pirate in some cases. Normally I would be off on these exploits all by my lonesome; but this job required extra hands.

And I didn’t mind splitting the findings, as it was never money I had been after. I love the hunt for that which is believed to be undiscoverable. Money comes and money goes. But damn, if it ain’t nice to grab a break every now and again.

It’s a simple fact of life. I worry not about my finances. Stupid systems of money and chaotic trash that’s meant to tie us down and keep us paying for the rich until we die.

That kind of life would never work for me. And so, I refuse it. Stationed in Subic Bay, I served in the Navy and on a carrier which provided me with a few years of travel.

Had I not decided to leave that life one night, I doubt I’d be were I am today. For it was a band of bootleggers, mercenaries and loot-hunters that swept me up one night and convinced me to join their brigade. All it took was one brawl in a drunken bar and this band of no-gooders was welcoming me with open arms.

That was right after saving their leader’s ass from some local Pilipino law enforcement. That is, if you could call them that. From that night forward I deserted the army, travelled with the hunters for a while, until I learned how to go my own way.

With everyone believing me to be dead, I only kept in contact with my brother, Edward, who currently holds some government position in Germany. The expeditions I embark upon fund the ones I go on later, with my money-accounts spread all across the globe and my earnings in every form of bill you could think of; I steal, I squander, but never more than I need. After all, this one life is all we got.

I ain’t spending my time starving away, doing nothing. So, I am a villain to some. But, to those who know me, and they do, know me to be fair, as I believe all men should be.

Now, returning to the subject of the excavation of that most fantastic monolith. Within it we did find a small black box preserved in it’s core. And within it was a map.

Of course, it was no map any of us could read. With strange symbols and markings I’m sure no sane man would recognize. My first order of business was to get it over to London where my personal-coder, Theodore Cyril, could reconstruct it’s mapping.

We headed for land immediately, eventually being cut off by some not-so-friendly ships, headed by a bastard with the name of Victor Logan. A treasure hunter, like myself, he was as evil as any villain and a rich pompous cocky little snot-nosed brat with hired muscle and an untamable greed. I should have suspected it before hand, but his men had trailed us to Madagascar and had gained knowledge of our exploits.

It was all thanks to Taylor Morgan. The bastard mechanics-expert. After Logan took Walter, Cole and myself hostage, Taylor revealed his loyalties.

He was to get in with us and contact Logan when we had pulled up the monolith containing the map. A map to the fountain of youth; Which is what this whole ordeal is about. Myself and my rivals have all swept the Earth in search of it, and with the approaching age it finally seemed doable.

Alas, Walter revealed that he’d been approached by Logan and asked to join his expedition for the monolith; To which he refused, staying loyal only to me. Well, of course Logan had a problem with that. Now, here I stand, tied up with rocks around my ankles in a sack, next to the two greatest men I’ve ever know and about to be cast into the bottom of the sea.

At the hands of a rich thieving pampered baboon, no doubt. Logan had taken the map and one by one he sent Cole, Walter and myself into the sea. Down we went, weighted by rocks, surly believing we would drown.

Fortunately I always carry about seven to ten concealed blades on my person at all times. You can get farther with a knife than you can get with your fists. After freeing myself and my fellow left-for-dead crew-mates we floated a while back to the shore of Madagascar, just barley avoiding any unwanted attention from the hungry monstrosities beneath the sea.

A while after that we waited upon the shore for a day or so. I always pre-stock areas around my locations of expedition with food, water and other necessities in the case of my getting stranded. As well, I inform my colleagues, outside of my endeavors, to send aid in the circumstances of my delayed return.

My closest agent of aid, Michael Burton, I had informed to send help if my crew and I had not returned within the day. Sure enough, boats arrived around midnight and far after Logan and his crew had sunk us, looted our ship and made their way East. I relieved Walter and Cole of my company and attempted to hunt for this treasure myself.

Walter, the closest of my “friends” insisted on accompanying me. I eventually gave way and had one of Burton’s sailors send us off in the direction of Cyril, my coder. Of course, I wasn’t worried about the map to the fountain of youth.

I had it the whole time! When you’re searching for something as important as eternal life you must be aware that there are others who would probably want it more than you. Figuring this I drew up a duplicate, with some “minor” changes in location.

I chuckle now. Logan will be quite cross when he reads the map to learn I’ve tricked him into believing the fountain lies in the Bermuda Triangle. But, I doubt he’ll learn quickly.

I even made the map out in English. He doesn’t know the original map is in some coded symbol-language. So writing the fake out in actual coordinates works better for me.

So, I headed with Walter back to London to meet up with Cyril and start pushing this thing forward. Normally my friends charge a hefty price for their services, but when your promising the elixir of immortality at no physical expense of theirs, you’d be surprised how ‘on-board’ everyone gets. We spent some time in London while Cyril took to the map.

By this time I could only speculate that Logan and Taylor were battling the waters of the triangle. And good for them. Serves them right for trying to kill me and ruin what could possibly be the greatest expedition I’ve ever embarked upon!

To think I would one day be counted among the greats. That, I would say, was my biggest dream. One that this fountain would secure for me.

While Walter and myself walked the streets of the nice foggy city we came across a duo of two other gifted folks in our profession. Leo Turner, an expert on the Aztecs, as well as a seeker of foreign pottery and Jack Scythe, the man who rediscovered some jewel called the Hope Daimond after it went missing a couple years back. The two just so happened to be leaving a local pub.

No doubt in discussion about a new job. Two big shots like them wouldn’t just meet up to shoot the shit. They weren’t buddies, as far as I knew.

We made quick chat and went our separate ways. I bet that by the time we were out of view they kept questioning why I was in London, just as much as I was wondering about them. My only goal, for right now, was to lay low.

So there would be no trailing leads that I wasn’t let in on. No sneaking around to gain insight. Certainly no embarking on any hunts that took my attention away from locating the fountain of youth.

About a month passed and Walter had come to work very closely with me. I must say I’d grown an attachment to the tracker. He was a comedic and down-to-earth kind of fellow with wits to match.

I felt he would be a fine sidekick. That is, if he’d accept such a title. Getting back on point.

Out at the shops, one day in the afternoon, there came this yelling as Cyril’s assistant, Finny, a chap in a small coat and black cap, had been sent by the coder to call us back to his study; For he had cracked the mystery of the map and played out its precise readings. Upon returning to Cyril’s study we discovered a break-in. The map was gone, Cyril was missing and of all the luck there was no trace of who this might have been.

We were at a dead end. A whole month of waiting, for nothing. If it hand’t been for a description Finny gave of a few men he saw sitting on the corner of Cyril’s house, just before he left, perhaps I never would have deduced that the scoundrels that kidnapped Cyril and took the map were Leo Turner and Jack Scythe, of all people!

I knew their presence in London couldn’t have just been a coincidence. They had my map and my human-coder. And I assured Walter and Finny that we were going to get them both back.

Jack’s mother lived locally. A nice elderly woman with a weak mind and a big heart who thinks her son is a pilot. He visits her before every job and tells her where he’ll be off to.

Leaving out the details of him being an arms dealer and treasure seeker, of course. After a quick stop and her house, and half a cup of tea, we found ourselves on a dock by the harbor and paying witness to Scythe and Turner, as well as three henchmen, forcing Cyril into the hold of a ship they had all fitted up with supplies. Finny and Walter took positions behind some barrels while I jumped right out and announced myself.

Turner’s men began to move on me; Each of them clutching a revolver or two. They asked me how I had found them and what I thought I was going to do to oppose their thievery. I couldn’t really pay attention all that well to their questioning.

I was too busy giggling over the absurd amount of hand grenades I had on me at the time. I pointed out towards the sea and tricked their eyes away and their attention off of me. I flung a few explosives into the water and commanded a path for Finny and Walter to come running across the dock and hop onto the boat.

Shrapnel flung everywhere as Scythe, Turner and his men ran in a panic of the exploding dock. I made grenades rain as I dropped one with each leap. Finally, I took the two sticks of dynamite I had been hiding in my coat, sparked them up and threw them onto the dock.

I hopped onto the departing boat with Walter, Finny and the bound Theodore beneath us. As the dock exploded we made our getaway. The night became day as I could hear Jack and Leo swearing all the way until I could see those docks no further.

Our first order of business was to untie Cyril. Our second was to locate where we were headed on the map. The map which I did not have!

I had forgotten it! On the dock, in the pocket of Leo Turner, the bastard!! I could nearly feel my heart stop as I dropped to the ground in a fit.

Then, as if a great miracle had been blessed upon my head, Finny stepped forward and revealed that he’d swiped the map off Leo in the ensuring chaos. I took a deep breath and a well deserved jovial-vomit off the side of the ship, collecting myself and returned to the matter at hand. The fountain.

The map was taking us to Africa. To the jungles and tribes of men said to be savages. For there were tribes hat had not known the existence of the modern world outside their boarders.

And their discovery of use, as well as their treatment of us, is what I feared most. We came upon the shores of Africa quite swiftly and without hassle. Theo and Finny had decided to join us, as I had convinced Cyril that giving him the immortality elixir when we got to the fountain would be much easier than taking samples and dragging them across long distances and avoiding theft. With me he knew the elixir would find safe delivery. Cryil stayed behind and attempted to flag down any ships he could find.

We embarked upon the jungles of the foreign land and with weapons in tow. We made sure to have Walter guide our way as he had lived in a predominantly english-influenced fraction of Africa for a time. In those days he was a hunter and writer, before pursuing my line of work with the passion for uncovering history’s secrets.

Walter sent us through a beautiful wilderness and we eventually happened upon an African tribe. At first we heard the clicking of guns, then the moaning of distress. We hid as we analyzed the situation, realizing the tribe had been assaulted.

We saw the whole populous in cages, trafficked by men in camouflage suits. Men, women and children were behind steel bars, having guns poked in their faces if they’d dare stick their arms through the bars. It was ghastly sight.

The huts of the village were set ablaze and the jeeps and trucks that had seemed to have transported the cages had a rather familiar look to them. Black and grey with a hawk’s severed wing in a white silhouette design. The symbol of Victor Logan’s mercenary fractions.

The bastard had gotten here before us. No doubt the tribe gave him trouble so he had them all rounded up. Now it was just a matter of pin-pointing the damned mastermind himself.

We saw Taylor Morgan, the traitor, step out from behind a green tent and make his way over to a group of hired hands, seemingly commanding them to guard the tent as he went off into the forest. Probably to spend a penny. Finny, Walter and myself positioned ourselves around the camp from three locations.

It appeared that we weren’t rescuing these tribes folk and foiling Morgan’s plans without a strong distraction. We decided more forward force was needed for this to be pulled off, so we agreed to shoot the men. No killing blows of course.

We shot strictly for their legs, that way they could not chase us! The mercenaries fell in pain as I skipped through their writhing torsos, apologizing with each one I had passed. They weren’t reaching for their guns.

They were too busy nursing their hole-y legs. I strolled swiftly into the tent to find, what appeared to be, the tribe’s chief, bound and gagged. I set him loose and made haste to find the keys to the cages.

Finny, Walter and myself flung open the doors of the cages as the tribe mobilized. The chief, Takobe’, thanked me personally, apparently being experienced in the english language. He handed me, what he said was, an heirloom of his tribe’s ancestry.

A necklace made of claws and precious stones. I was honored. The thanks had to be cut short as we could all hear Taylor returning from his piddle.

I ambushed the prick on his way back from his mid-morning tinkle and forced him to tell me about Logan’s whereabouts while Walter held him at rifle-point. He told me that Victor and a few of his best men had headed North in search of a hidden temple. The only thing I worried about more than bumping heads with Logan was more damn walking!

Taylor spilled his guts in a panic. He was quite simple to interrogate, if I do say so myself. Though I am sure that in that blistering heat I might have looked rather desperate.

I dropped him to the ground once I had learned all I wished to have learned. Walter cocked the rifle to give Taylor a scare. I must say, I chuckled a bit at the action.

Walter wanted to shoot Morgan, but I demanded he leave him be. I assured Walter justice was afoot and convinced the tracker to follow along with me. Taylor begged us not to kill him.

I assured him I would not; As if I would ever commit such an act. However, as we turned our backs on him we welcomed the company of the furious tribe he had imprisoned. They rushed past us in a sea of angry faces and sharp tools as they swept Taylor, the traitor, away in a sea of vengeance and sharp pointy daggers and spears.

We heard his screams until we came across a discarded jeep which we would then use to pursue Logan and his band. Rushing through the brush of the jungle, we encountered a tiger which persuade us in great haste. It nearly slashed the wheels of the jeep, that was, until Walter gunned out the beast’s left arm, halting it.

We travelled a while and happened upon the small aztec-looking temple, yellow, half crushed and nearly sunken into the ground. There we found Logan’s jeep; assuming he and his men were inside. We proceeded with confidence, moving steadily, yet sure that he could not call for back-up; Allowing us to avoid any ambush.

He happened upon long corridors with candles and traps sprung. Since we were the second group to pass through this trap-maze, we enjoyed a safe stroll through, as Logan’s men had already activated the flying daggers and falling walls of an average sacred-temple. We finally came to the last room, and there we saw Logan and two of his last hired hands looking up at some large round object on the wall.

It almost looked like an ancient calendar, but nothing like the Mayans’. We made sure to stay quiet and listen in on what Logan was discussing with his lowers. Surely this was just the beginning to a long goose-chase that would lead us all along a vast road to reach the fountain.

I got this feeling in my gut, that this quick venture which I supposed would take a few months, might in-fact take years to accomplish. I hadn’t thought of this before; And the idea chilled me. But, I certainly wouldn’t let Logan get to the fountain before me.

And so, like a fool, pride and impatience filled my head and I dived out from the shadowy corridor to hold Logan at gunpoint and force him to tell us of all that he had learned. Not my brightest move, I can assure you of that. Especially once he ordered his men’s guns upon me; telling them to shoot if I even flinched. It was then that this standoff was interrupted by Inspector Claude Augustine of the French Secret Service.

Now, to explain the inspector’s purpose and reason for being in this exact point, at this exact time, we need to rewind back my career as a treasure hunter a bit, to a time when I was more hated than most other scoundrels in my profession. Some time ago I was involved in the retrieval of this rare Russian stone, nicknamed the ‘Ragnarok Amulet’. During it’s captured I learned that I was employed by criminals, attempting to steal the piece from a wealthy world traveler.

Coulda’ fooled me; And they did! So me and team have this thing in hand and all of a sudden the French Secret Service, of all things, busts us. Mainly cause the stone was on transportation from Russia to France at the time.

That’s how I cam to know Inspector Claude Augustine, you see. He followed us farther and longer than any off his other fellow operatives could. He was determined to catch us.

We ended up escaping with the Ragnarok Amulet and I took it for myself, taking the money and the object of value from the criminals who tricked me into doing their dirty work. Nowadays that same organization is after me for finding out and turning on them; Just as Augustine can’t let the fact that I got away go. He’s caught each and every one of my accomplices for that job up until this point.

I’m the last one; And though I always evade him, I do constantly fear inevitable capture. From time to time he would appear, trailing me from the start of my ventures to find treasures and such. And quite a bother he was becoming.

I knew I could never kill him. I have too much respect for the average law-man to just gun them down like some heartless fiend or righteously absentminded hero figure. By this point all I could do was hope that he would one day give up his search for me or find someone more interesting to chase. I digress.

The agent was a fine distraction as bullets flew and my tour leaped for cover. A bullet hit Logan and one slug skimmed my leg, but I could still run like hell. We got out of there quick-fast and Walter had picked up some detonation device he found laying by Logan.

Before I could intervene Walter hit the switch and blew the structure sky high. I gave Walter a good belting after that, especially since he’d completely forgotten that the map to the fountain was inside with Logan and the Inspector, who were both probably buried under mountains of rock.

I stopped to my knees and sat in a stubborn position, mumbling obscenities while Walter paced back an forth, embarrassed. Finny sat with me and sulked as we had come all this way for nothing. Finny also remarked about how adventures didn’t always end in the discovery of treasure.

That perhaps they were just sometimes composted of the journey to one’s own final destination; and that it was the journey that we were meant to look back on and enjoy. That that was the true treasure of this hole quest. Yeah… what a crock of shit. Would you believe Theodore was still waving down ships on the shore when we came back? It looked like we were gonna be there for a while.

Atrium

My chest hurts. It’s tight, almost like there’s a clamp or something inside it. God, it feels weird. I’ve been feeling this way for a long while now. I sit now, quietly, on a wooden and black-metal bench within a long open corridor, carved out from the center of a great medical building. The ceil stretches about, oh, two or three stories high, I’d say. All these sectioned off areas of seats are separated by cobblestone islands that come up to your genitals. The plants inside these islands are tall, vine-like, with a tree or two bending around rectangular pillars that are holding up the windowed ceiling. There’s a soda machine around from the bend of where I’m seated, but I’m not thirsty. These giant vents on folded parts of the tall walls keep belching out this music, sprinkled with fast spinning fans that cut up the sound as it falls down to the cold floor.

“Earth Angel” is playing. I think it’s the version from that time-travel movie. All the windows have blinds behind them and this place is deserted. It was always deserted. I’d come here every Sunday or so to take in the radio that had, surprisingly, lasted for the past nine months since the human race had vanished. Since then, I would have always been followed by this purple figure. I used to recognize him following me in a group of people. The figure would stalk me in public places and even show up at the foot of my bed on sleepless nights. He was the only one who was still around. Still around to stalk, and watch, and peer and violate my privacy. Even after humanity had gone away, there was only me and the purple man. He would never get too close; and any time he came within a few feet of me, on those rare occasions, it was always when the lighting of my environment masked him in shadow.

Sometimes I’d break down, cry out for someone to help, but no one ever replied. I travelled the state over and haven’t found a single person in these nine months that I’ve been alone with... him. That’s how long it’s been. Nine months. And since then I’ve noticed some other occurrences, like how at night the stars are never around, and how there’s three differently sized Suns everyday. But, everything else is the same. Why? I can’t figure it out, and the more I try to figure out my role in all of this, the more I keep hitting these walls of nihilistic epiphanies. I feel like there’s two of me. The one I’m speaking to now, that’s watching me, listening to my story and thinking I’m crazy. Then, there’s the other me; the real me that’s going through all this. You’re the other me; the secondary.

Maybe you’ll see him too! Soon. I know what I’m thinking. Why haven’t I called out to the purple man? Why haven’t I tried to communicate with him? Well I have! I tried to four or five times! He doesn’t talk to me. Hell, I don’t even know if the thing can talk. I say “thing” cause I know he ain’t human. He’s a manifestation of this place where I ended up. This prison. Anytime I think of him my mind goes to one word. Atrium, atrium. I don’t get it. The internet doesn’t work, no matter where I go. Hell, like I said, I’m shocked the radio in the medical building hasn’t crapped out yet. An apartment complex!! That’s what I could compare the inside of this medical building to! A very oddly arranged apartment complex interior. This is my relaxation palace. The purple man won’t come in here.

Listen other me... I got a gun. I’ll got a gun and the next time he shows up I’m gonna shoot him in the stomach! Then, while he’s writhing in pain I’ll walk up and inspect him. There he is! At the door, outside there, behind the glass!! I have the gun pointed... It’s cocked, he refuses to move, like he doesn’t even know what I’m holding. I’m gonna fire! I’m gonna fire!... It’s done... I killed him. No. He didn’t die. The door shattered but he’s still just standing there! Did the bullet really do nothing!?! I only had one! The pain in my chest is subsiding... and come to think of it, the blue sky’s gone completely white. I feel funny... like a kind of weight is returning to me. The sky is getting bright and the purple man is melting. What the hell is going on? I think I’ve been asleep... I think I’m waking up.

The OD’GKT Scriptures

What follows is a series of lines, translated from texts discovered beneath the sands of the Sahara. The world has now come to know of another religion which had existed in the days of old, and at a time where, perhaps, Jesus may have roamed the Earth. These one-hundred and fifty lines of text were found upon tablets in an old Jewish Script and detail an alternate history as to the creation and mechanics of a godly rule over all things. The following has been titled “The OD’GKT Scriptures”. Any further details of their origin are unknown or, at this time, unobtainable.

1 Before the start of all things, and previous to the creation of life, there was only an endless void of absent space.

2 This space, free of all living things, had existed for a countless time and carried no form of existence within itself.

3 However, this absence was not without sentience.

4 A force, unfamiliar with its own existence, floated through the vast darkness and was trapped.

5 This first sentience remained imprisoned within a paradoxical prism at the heart of this impossible construct.

6 This prism was unseeable and it was with this absence of sight that the first great sentience was blind to comprehend his own presence.

7 The first great sentience would struggle to open his eye, to break the paradoxical prison, yet he could never find he strength to fully manifest himself.

8 His efforts carried on for uncountable aeons, until one day… he awoke.

9 The first sentience had ceased his efforts to forcibly wake himself and instead embraced his paradoxical loop of existence without physical manifestation.

10 And so, it was in the unnamed year that the great sentience known as OD’GKT collected the nothingness from which he was made of and burst forward in a reversal of energies and matter.

11 Opening his eye for the first time, OD’GKT had finally taken form.

12 OD’GKT spilled forward in a grand explosion of matter and energies, elements and properties.

13 From his sight came stars, from the stars came light, from that light came worlds and from those worlds poured life.

14 The darkness of space was filled with the presence of existence as everything which had been behind the closed eye of OD’GKT had taken space by storm.

15 Now, OD’GKT was the universe and everything in it.

16 Every planet started in dusk, sand, heat and barren.

17 Small pools of cells and liquid goo grew into lifeforms which crawled from those pools and took shape.

18 OD’GKT became elements and bacteria that formed upon great spheres of rock and stones littered throughout space.

19 Upon these spheres, which held the properties of OD’GKT’s collective thoughts, elements such as plant life and water were formed.

20 These elements mixed with the pools of cells found in asteroids and the colliding chunks of space rock that flew about the universe, inventing life.

21 OD’GKT was everywhere at once and though his influence he created the first race.

22 These beings were the ARCHQUONDAIK.

23 They were the first of OD’GKT’s children and the only ones granted the ability to take physical and metaphysical shape at will, making them the first known gods as well.

24 OD’GKT created twenty two of the ARCHQUONDAIK gods, deployed them across space and the infinity of the universe to aid him in the maintaining of his immortal existence.

25 At the center of the universe, which existed farther than any being could venture, OD’GKT’s eye expelled stars of a fiery luminescence.

26 These stars travelled across space and eventually cooled, landing upon the spheres of rock that floated amidst the sea of space and stardust.

27 These stars ceased their burning, and once the formless light and plasma had finally cooled, these formless clusters of energy merged with the cells and the plasma, and the rock, and the bacteria, and the sentience of OD’GKT upon these spheres to give themselves life.

28 These twenty two fallen stars, from the eye of OD’GKT, formed the twenty two ARCHQUONDAIK gods who melded with these cell-spawns.

29 They were the first race to ever exist, and they served OD’GKT as extensions of his being, as his obedient children.

30 Of OD’GTK’s first children there was THOTEP, SHEPTUL, KHAM’FHUHT, CATA’STAKTOL, HAHK’TEIHL, THUHL, GIRLASH/LURGASH, AHAN’RHEN, EXTEL’DEUS, NYTHERIAL’ANIS, OXVEN’ROTH, THAR’KOTH, THUGA’RORA, THAK’TETH, ANKAN’YAAR, FUATH’GRUL, AHK’HUHMD’DHA, SHIL’TREHK, EDIN’GEHN, ZAL’HAUHST, WOG and DYMANION.

31 For a while OD’GKT allowed his children run free, tarnishing planets and bending cosmos to their enjoyment, but in time he found them to be far too destructive.

32 The ARCHQUONDAIK gods sought destruction and malice above all things.

33 They enjoyed when things rotted, festered, decayed and faded.

34 Though OD’GKT also enjoyed toying with the forces of nature, he believed his children’s violent nature would cause harm to the lesser beings he was planning to create and let flourish.

35 Beings with which he would rule and whom would watch in amazement at his power and grace.

36 It was this sense of pride which drove OD’GKT to create and share his power.

37 Pride, and pride alone.

38 OD’GKT commanded his children to spread apart, across space.

39 When they did OD’GKT trapped his twenty two children within spirals of celestial energies.

40 These spirals came to be known as galaxies.

41 Within these galaxies swirled the spiritual essence of the twenty two ARCHQUONDAIK gods.

42 At the center of each galaxy was their heart, in the form of a sun.

43 OD’GKT demanded that his children change their destructive ways and learn to create and thrive.

44 If they could not learn to do this, eventually, their sun would extinguish and their galaxy would die, killing them and all the worlds within them in the process.

45 From this point OD’GKT rested and watched as his children play out their new existence.

46 The first of the ARCHQUONDAIK gods to die was HAHK’TEIHL.

47 He could not learn to relinquish his lust for destruction and so his sun extinguished and his galaxy faded, killing the form which tied him to OD’GKT.

48 Not long after that AHAN’RHEN, EXTEL’DEUS and CATA’STAKTOL died the same fashion, expiring out of existence and becoming mere stardust which faded into oblivion.

49 With the death of their brethren the ARCHQUONDAIK gods began an existence fueled by fear and resent for their father, OD’GKT.

50 It was at this point in which OD’GKT felt safe in creating other living things, believing his new creations were free from the threat of his first children.

51 OD’GKT came forward and created an endless sea of galaxies with which he could house the many worlds he planned to create.

52 Upon each world he planted sentiences and lesser forms of creation.

53 On those worlds many nameless species were formed which he allowed to roam without purpose.

54 The existence of these beings fueled his desire for sentient life and cycled through his complex in a system of energy, through which spirit and presence flowed indefinitely.

55 In an instant endless worlds were born and began their growth.

56 Fire and the essence of life soared out from OD’GKT’s great eye and barraged the universe with life once more.

57 The absence of company was no more as life echoed amidst the cosmos, fueling OD’GKT’s power.

58 OD’GKT took to these new worlds and spoiled what creations he could.

59 He treated some of the beings like gods and others with aid to help them along in the advancements of their civilizations.

60 In all instances he was worshipped.

61 This was all that he had asked for.

62 The ARCHQUONDAIK gods looked on, already in jealously and hatred of their father.

63 The first of his children felt abandoned that these lesser beings, who knew nothing of the state of their existence, whom OD’GKT kept blind to the truth of their lives, were protected and treated gracefully in ignorance.

64 Besides the aspects of destruction, the ARCHQUONDAIK gods sought truth and the belief that knowledge could destroy.

65 And so it was THOTEP, the first of OD’GKT’s children, to plan vengeance against him.

66 THOTEP instructed his brethren to hurl themselves across space and collide with the galaxies that OD’GKT had created.

67 This way OD’GKT would be forced to release the ARCHQUONDAIK gods from their galactic-prisms and return them to lesser powerful forms.

68 In order to do this OD’GKT would have to manifest himself in a physical body.

69 He did so as FAUTH’GRUL and ANKAN’YARR destroyed themselves, colliding with other galaxies and killing countless species to spite OD’GKT.

70 OD’GKT jumped at once to put an end to his children’s ternary.

71 OD’GKT came forth from his own eye and in the shape of a formless globe of liquid mass which bended with the echo of sound.

72 OD’GKT moved across the cosmos and released his children from their galaxy formations, preparing them for their next punishment.

73 When THOTEP was release he gave the signal for his remaining brethren to attack OD’GKT, slaying their father.

74 Together the remaining sixteen ARCHQUONDAIK gods subdued OD’GKT in his liquid form and ripped him into sixteen pieces, which they each absorbed in order to gain back the entirety of their celestial powers.

75 OD’GKT’s essence still resided back within his eye and as he prepared to wage punishment against his children THOTEP guided a rebellious attack on the universe his father had constructed.

76 Many worlds burned as the ARCHQUONDAIKS flew across space, decimating whole cosmos and killing everything they could find.

77 This purging of worlds would come to be known as the ITINAL’NIHIL.

78 Once OD’GKT had returned from his formless shape and passed through his eye, manifesting as a physical beast once again, he infected himself with a paradox-poison.

79 It was the same paradox which once held OD’GKT in a conscious slumber.

80 THOTEP and his fifteen brethren took the bait and attacked OD’GKT, believing they could best any physical form he could conjure.

81 They absorbed OD’GKT once more and headed to their father’s eye to destroy him once and for all.

82 Before they could the poison took effect and suddenly the ARCHQUONDAIK gods floated in and out of existence, unable to comprehend their sentience.

83 OD’GKT believed that they would never escape their paradoxes, refusing to kill them as there had seen enough death already.

84 So, OD’GKT began anew.

85 He made up elements and bonded them to new worlds, planets, cosmos, galaxies, nebulas and star systems.

86 OD’GKT recreated all that he had lost.

87 The desolate universe had grown crowded and lively once again.

88 And all were free from the vengeance and destruction of the ARCHQUONDAIKS.

89 OD’GKT knew that what his children gained in power, they had lost in knowledge, and would never be able to escape the paradoxical prisms that had ensnared them.

90 As OD’GKT made new worlds he took generous affection upon his first three, and their new species.

91 The first world was called ANTUK.

92 Upon this world lived the GEHRIMAHK.

93 The second world was called HELMITDK.

94 Upon this world lived the DHLESHFEHL.

95 The third world was called OTAHGNG.

96 Upon this world lived the JANGHAUSK.

97 With these three worlds the universe could begin again.

98 From these small beginnings OD’GKT knew his creations would grow.

99 Forth, from his eye, a cycle of equal life and destruction would rule.

100 This was the law and will of the first sentience, OD’GKT.

101 The GEHRIMAHK, who lived upon the planet of ANTUK, were a race of telepathic brains at the ends of slug-like bodies, with six tentacles located on their lower torso.

102 The GEHRIMAHK were grey and green in physical appearance and were borns from pods which generated in egg-pools that formed from the collective slime of six or more of their kind.

103 Twelve could be spawned at once, and this was how they reproduced.

104 The DHLESHFEHL, who lived upon the planet of HELMITDK, were a race of aquatic bats, arachnid-headed and clawed creatures that communicated with sonar waves, both above water and beneath the waves of their planet’s vast oceans and undersea structures.

105 The DHLESHFEHL were a blueish-black color and could fly or swim as their bodies adapted to either environment.

106 They fed on small sea life and were immortal ocean dwellers who’s populations ranged in the millions.

107 The JANGHAUSK, who lived upon the planet OTAHGNG, were a race of blobby snails with plated shells shielding their torso, covered in thorns and seeing out of a long tail-like appendage with spikes that held a singular eye at the end.

108 The JANGHAUSK their hearts lied within a glowing mass of tissue just barely shielded by their shell, as their menacing appearance was their only real line of defense against a planet lacking any real predators.

109 The JANGHAUSK preferred to live underground and eventually evolved to grow weak under the cast of the sun and most light.

110 These three races were the proudest of OD’GKT’s newest creations.

111 It was with them that he planned to reshape his recently decimated universe.

112 One thing OD”GKT could never realize was his creation’s fear.

113 A feeling that they might one day die.

114 It was this fear for death and annihilation which would drive the GEHRIMAHK to create a weapon of mass destruction.

115 They created a box which held dire viruses within it.

116 The box, named the CALIK’MODEUL, was covered in smells and vibrations that were pleasing to the senses.

117 The box was covered in gems and shiny stones, decorated to attract those with absorbent greed.

118 The GEHRIMAHK feared invasion by one of the other two species whom they knew existed on planets within their same orbit.

119 The GEHRIMAHK had prayed to OD’GKT before, but were always assured that no invasions would occur.

120 They could not believe this as the overwhelming essence of this bizarre fears sunk deeper and deeper into their minds.

121 It was almost like an enchantment, how the GEHRIMAHK would cower or panic at the thought of any threat, despite them being one of OD’GKT’s greatest creations.

122 The CALIK’MODEUL was eventually fixed into having a sentience of its own.

123 This allowed the destructive box to manipulate whichever race threatened the GEHRIMAHK into opening it.

124 The box had the capability to extinguish an entire planet’s life, turning everything over to sickness and death.

125 This box was eventually discovered by OD’GKT during one of the GEHRIMAHK’s rituals and confiscated.

126 As punishment OD’GKT entrusted the box to a series of neutral beings whom he knew would never use it.

127 That race was called the DAHPRIOPH and was a species of energy elementals who had secretly fled from the rampage of the ARCHQUONDAIKS and had colonized upon OTAHGNG’s second unnamed moon.

128 The DAHPRIOPH hid the box within protected caverns of the moon.

129 Their purpose was to ensure that no beings could ever use the weapon, as even destroying it could spread infection and threaten the state of all existence.

130 With the box hidden away all races eventually came to coexist without worry.

131 OD’GKT made it clear that any attempts to do harm to others would be met with hostile punishment.

132 These laws were clear and for a time everything flowed in peace and tranquility.

133 OD’GKT looked out on the grand scheme of things and finally decided that he would create more life, to expand his universe.

134 At this same time the already existing races had learned how to engineer their own species.

135 And just as OD’GKT had planned from the start, races grew as species travelled across the cosmos.

136 Before long all of space was just as populated as it had been before.

137 New life sprung from planet to planet and OD’GKT kept everything in check.

138 Now, free from the threat of his children, OD’GKT could build.

139 Though, there did eventually come a time when the grand sentience found himself overwhelmed.

140 Space had become crowded.

141 Clusters would form and all the immortal beings of the old millennium would multiply by the millions.

142 For the first time OD’GKT had seen the perils of too much creation.

143 And so, though it pained him, the grand sentience had no choice but to create the enigma of death, eternal void, darkness, passing, to cease this overpopulation and cluttering of the universe.

144 No species opposed, as in those olden times OD’GKT’s creations believed his word to be best.

145 There were certainly those few who opposed this proposal, but none would turn on their creator as the majority believe death to be a just and fitting end to any existence.

146 A pool of energy, pure fire and life was created and given to every sentient being.

147 When this fire within them ran out they would fade into oblivion and their existence would peacefully end.

148 Through the years beings would attempt to bring back the reality of immortality, but all the smartest minds of the universe could do was expand their expectancy.

149 Only OD’GKT was eternal.

150 This was the law.

This next collection containing forty lines was found in Tibet, buried in an ancient burial chamber within the high mountains. The burial chamber would have remained lost to the world, if passages from other temples hadn’t connected them all through unbelievable tunnels. This next title, simply named “The KALABRYINTHS” details a trilogy involved within the religion of the OD’GKT Scriptures and talks of beings meant to bring about an order to the old world. This selection could be considered a tribute to the “holy trinity” of the OD’GKT belief.

1 Forth from the will of OD’GTK came the anti-trinity.

2 From his eye spilled forth a triangular construct of three individual beings, more muse than monster.

3 These three beings possessed powers practically besides that of the remaining ARCHQUONDAIK gods.

4 However, the KALABRYINTHS took moral form to blend into the world.

5 And it was in the years of the creation of the pyramids and the rise off the civilizations of the coming ages that the KALABRYINTHS adapted to the world.

6 Each one represented a form of resent which OD’GTK had now felt for all of his creations.

7 The purpose of the KALABRYINTHS was to further keep control over the mortals and aid in any eventual plans OD’GTK would have.

8 The KALABYRINTHS consisted of the VALTEK, the CORDELTO and the DEMANIUM.

9 Through their existence they would come to form cults that would turn worship back unto OD’GTK and halt the influence of other gods.

10 OD’GTK was on a path to manifest himself, but this time in a physical

11 Upon the plane where the sun set and rose again stood the VALTEK.

12 A cape of red flowed down from the black skull which held it and a shadow was casted upon the sands.

13 Away in the barren stood the first of his kind, distant from the sights of man, yet ever-present within their minds.

14 The VALTEK stood for doubt and the carnage of sanity.

15 His skull, like obsidian, gleamed a blackened glow in the sun.

16 His cape poisoned the ground, cursing the sands, blending the void and bitterness of the dusk and dry landscape.

17 The VALTEK walked in light, a flame amidst a sea of mist; unable to be extinguished.

18 He walked in the idols of law and control, twisting meaning and structure to emanate madness and chaos.

19 Alone he stood, camouflaged by the blue sky and the bliss with which he was defiling, unseen.

20 He was destruction in the form of furious silence.

21 Within the cities of man lurked the CORDELTO.

22 A sack of tattered brown and filth slumped at his side.

23 Within that sack lied gold and the infections of greed which ate at men’s souls like a lotus to a leaf.

24 From the outside he was a beggar, unworthy of company.

25 The CORDELTO stood for pain and indifference among the chaotic streets of moral civilization.

26 He walked, cloaked by the hatred around him and casting his corruption upon the everyman.

27 In alleys and crowded markets the CORDELTO dragged his rags and breathed death through lips of dried malice.

28 He was weak and pestilence incarnate, with the trappings of a misfortunate dweller.

29 His flesh was white and his hair was silvery, wavy and constantly in a state of decay.

30 He coughed blood and spoke in the tongue of rot and disease, contagious.

31 Across the battlefield rode the DEMANIUM.

32 He bore a horse of void, ash and flame.

33 Upon his pulsing armor stood the arcane symbols of old.

34 His sword, a configuration of fire, steel and fury, sliced through hordes and possessed the ability to raise the undead, laid to unrest.

35 The DEMANIUM stood for hate and destruction, living amidst endless ranks of war and conflict.

36 He lived atop the peak of malicious intent and took his blades against the world and existing on every front line.

37 With each step he took upon the earth there did burn prints from which evil spilled forth in a flow of black vapor.

38 This vapor poured evil and allowed the damned to walk the earth again, as soldiers to an unholy general.

39 Behind him they rallied, dying for the coming of death and destruction.

40 He carried the weight of a thousand hellhound lives, forever in servitude.

This next selection entitled “RITUALS OF TRIBUTE” details the events of an age-long sacrifice ritual used to worship ancient gods, and conflicts which arose during the practices throughout the years.

1 Men walked, in hooded cloth and capes, up to the mountain where the arch of roses and fire stood.

2 Upon the steps that took them up there were symbols carved on both sides of every step.

3 Twenty two steps to mark the twenty two ARCHQUONDAIK gods, with their names, written in their stance ancient language, on both ends of their respective platform.

4 Atop these steps lied the arch of roses and fire.

5 Here was a tribute to the father of all things.

6 Here was an arch to represent OD’GKT.

7 Roses grew along a great bent bush that stood like the lining of a doorway, to mark OD’GKT’s ability to create.

8 Fire lied in chalices that stood upon ankle high pillars, to show his ability to destroy.

9 Destruction and creation were all that mattered in the evaporation of all life’s meaning.

10 It was an endless cycle which the men, at the arch of roses and fire, worshiped without hesitation or indifference.

11 The coven consisted of twenty two men, twenty two to worship the god they had specialized in praying for.

12 The number of men never grew.

13 During the holidays of ISHYMAL and HAKTUHN the deaths of the fallen ARCHQUONDAIKS and the eventual hope of their rebirth was celebrated.

14 ISHYMAL the few men who served as speakers for the first of the fallen ARCHQUONDAIK gods would be sacrificed and reborn.

15 This was to celebrate the anniversary of the first sacrifice that the ARCHQUONDAIKS had taken.

16 ISHYMAL was the anniversary of the deaths of HAHK’TEIHL, AHAN’RHEN, EXTEL’DEUS and CATA’STAKTOL.

HAKTUHN was the anniversary of the deaths of FAUTH’GRUL and ANKAN’YAAR.

17 On this holiday, every few centuries when the stars reached the assortment they had on the day of THOTEP’s uprising, the speakers of FAUTH’GRUL and ANKAN’YARR are sacrificed and born anew.

18 May all moral roots lie in the flesh.

19 Forward strides the strength of the gods, and in their majesty may mortality be cast down.

20 In their eyes flesh be the meal of the gods.

21 May tears fill their cups and blood run along their cloth.

22 To the gods our bodies go, untainted and served up to sacrifice.

23 We long for our blood to bath upon their tongues in a pool of crimson.

24 And in their feast we will transcend the moral form and rise into the minds and souls of the gods.

25 We will dance in the home of the ancients and walk willingly unto our glorious demise.

26 Unto those immortal instruments which will peel us of our transgressions and bath us of all doing.

27 And that plate which reflects our souls reflects our dance, streaming in the glow of all our unjust essence.

28 Our pleasure be nullified for the satisfaction of the ancients.

29 Cults and practices became divided over the confusion of who had begun the rituals and which gods were to be worshipped.

30 This came at a time when OD’GKT began to return from his absence as seer over the Earth.

31 There came those who turned from the worship of the ARCHQUONDAIKS and pledged themselves to OD’GKT.

32 The coming years would bring the second uprising of THOTEP.

33 Another attempt on OD’GKT’s existence was imminent.

34 ARCHQUONDAIKS who were not imprisoned spread word of OD’GKT’s weaknesses and tasked opposing beings with the obliteration of his eye.

35 The ARCHQUONDAIKS knew that if OD’GKT’s eye was destroyed his essence from this universe would fade.

36 As fractions took arms against one another so did change the state of all rituals and their execution.

37 Cultists flocked to worshipping THOTEP and THOTEP alone.

38 As the new age dawned it seemed that there could only be one supreme being.

39 The ARCHQUONDAIKS had begun their second assault.

40 OD’GKT had grown stronger in that time and it seemed the dedication of his followers and disciples would be the ultimate factor that would lead to his prevail.

This selection entitled “PROPHECY OF THE GEHRIMAHK” takes the supposed words of the old being himself, and speaks of how he believes the universe is to end. Further studies done into the meanings behind these scriptures may hint towards a literal existence of parallel universes, or perhaps alternate planes which the being within the OD’GKT belief can walk upon freely.

1 Pestilence will come.

2 Pestilence and rain.

3 And when the final days of the singular world of old does approach, there, from the unmasked darkness will emerge true evil.

4 It is an evil of proportions that will parallel one’s fear in their final days.

5 A pestilence that will break the seal and take hold of light.

6 This light will finally be casted out to make way for the coming age.

7 The age of darkness.

8 This age of void goes by no other name.

9 The end will offer the infinite paradoxical absence of the millenniums before it.

10 Once again, the stars and all the light of every known things will disappear.

11 The presence of this end will never cease.

12 This darkness while evaporate and cycle through the whole of all existence.

13 And everything will return to nothing.

14 No further forms of life, matter, space or time will exist past this happening.

15 No efforts on behalf of all the greatest and most divine beings of the world could halt this celestial resetting.

16 All will live on in void and the days of old will sink into oblivion.

17 Voices that call out from sphere to gleaming sphere will finally and forever be silenced.

18 All notions of thought, love, fear and sorrow will pour through pools of spiraling nothingness.

19 All will die.

20 All will end.

21 Truth will at last come to light.

22 Truth will then be struck down.

23 As all things must end, even the dawn must go.

24 The sun will set and upon it’s setting the last day will have come.

25 The pillars which have held the seven worlds will crumble and lay waste to the bottom of the universe.

26 That which fell and collided with nothing will break at the face of presence.

27 All will meet its end and the entirety of destruction the last sun will ignite in dismissal.

28 That day, the final sun will die.

29 All will die.

30 All will end.

This final selection called “WREATHS OF LUX & IGNIS” details the system of how the afterlife works within the OD’GKT belief and it is assumed that the events surrounding the “passage of the soul” are in regards to human life or other similar mortal creatures. These lines detail the various “wreaths” the human soul must pass through if they wish to ascend to “true being”.

1 There exists, beneath the world, the five Wreaths of the afterlife.

2 These Wreaths, constructed by KIRITH, guides mortals through an existence beyond death.

3 This afterlife frees mortals from the influence of other beings and circulates their souls and spiritual energy to a dimension of rest.

4 In order to reach this place they must pass through the five Wreaths.

5 These gateways were created to divide the wicked and tainted souls from the pure and unsullied.

6 Souls corrupted by other gods would perish on their journey through the Wreaths.

7 This was the law of KIRITH, the Savior.

8 These Wreaths existed in the celestial-sphere.

9 They were only reachable in spirit form.

10 To all other eyes the Wreaths were unseen.

11 The first Wreath was casted in light.

12 This Wreath ignited the soul, shining through purpose and ascension, eternally.

13 The second Wreath was casted in glow.

14 This Wreath separated the good from the bad and purified the newly unified spirit, eternally.

15 The third Wreath was casted in flame.

16 This Wreath burnt away the corruption, destroying the infection of evil which had attached itself to a spirit, eternally.

17 The fourth Wreath was casted in fire.

18 This Wreath burned away souls that were too far gone to be saved, ensuring no passage to the tainted few, eternally.

19 The fifth Wreath was casted in blaze.

20 This Wreath expelled all evil and cleansed the energy of the soul, eternally.

21 Light shines eternal.

22 It is the duty of darkness to be illuminated by the light and evaporate.

23 There does exist light which can be overtaken by the dark.

24 The light of the Wreaths of Lux cannot be overtaken.

25 This light is eternal.

26 Engineered from the celestial soul energy of the flame of existence itself, these Wreaths cannot be extinguished by darkness.

27 These Wreaths may only find rest in greater light.

28 The fire of destruction will have no effects on the blessed.

29 The Wreaths of Lux are unsullied.

30 Incorruptible is this flame which passes judgement.

31 ETIAM is the still and calm.

32 First of the Wreaths, this circle passes judgement.

33 To pass is to be declared just.

34 ETIAM is the sate of supreme stasis.

35 KIRITH’s grace be blessed upon this realm.

36 POST is the happening and the arrival.

37 Second of the Wreaths, this circle passes understanding.

38 To pass is to be accepted unto eternity.

39 POST is the realm of becoming.

40 KIRITH’s grace be blessed upon this realm.

41 IGNIS is the heat and passion.

42 It is the duty of fire to light and guide.

43 Burn bright, the flame which warms and holds truth against the cold and the night.

44 Souls free of corruption, fear not this sensation.

45 This supreme Wreath ignites all.

46 Blackness cannot melt the flame and void can conjure no bitter chill.

47 The flame of life cannot be extinguished, for the Wreaths of KIRITH command it.

48 The sun passes to give life unto absence.

49 As long as fire lives, day will have aid in light.

50 Death be illuminated, eternally.

51 ABYSSO is the absolute and bleak.

52 First of the Wreaths of IGNIS,

53 To pass is to be condemned for unjust cause, and to rise above judgement, declaring innocents.

54 The soul burns.

55 This supreme Wreath ventures.

56 DEORSUM is the lower and darkened.

57 Second of the Wreaths of

58 To pass is to be pulled through the darkness, and to emerge glorious in the light.

59 The soul ignites.

60 This supreme Wreath journeys.

61 INFERIUS is the blaze and final.

62 Third and last of the Wreaths is to be one of absolute enchantment.

63 To pass this is to be blessed.

64 The soul ascends.

65 This supreme Wreath ascends, eternally.

Further details surrounding the establishment and full understanding of this belief have been scarce. All that is certain is that since the discovery of this religion, millions have taken to it as gospel and soon it looks to be replacing Christianity. The only question anyone wants to know, is where the influence of the OD’GKT belief came from, and why is it so influential?

C. Banion & The Case Of The Black Delilah

My story begins within a small apartment in Merchants Row, Boston, Massachusetts, 1882. At the end of the entertainment district’s block there stood a building of yellow painted bricks and a blackened interior. This was the cluttered and musty abode of one C. Banion; the only son of the world renowned archeologist, Sir Altan Banion II and beneficiary to the Banion Family Legacy. This legacy, which included a never-ending sea of government checks and the fortune to never have to work a day in his life, was granted upon my master’s head when his father, Altan, met his demise at the hands of an unknown illness while away on a humanitarian mission in Africa. I myself, being of a studious and home-bodied upbringing, had followed down the tradition of my family line and took up the career of a butler. And one who was tasked to stay beside the Banion Family’s side.

When Sir Altan first hired my father it wasn’t long before I was integrated into the servant’s lifestyle. Sir Altan was a knight of hope and good will. It was a pleasure to have met the man in my lifetime. My father and I were always treated more as family, rather than servants. We knew what was expected of us and we operated without flaw or worry. I’d first met Altan when he came to London, more towards the countryside which I had always called home. My father looked after an old mansion, the Bainbridge Manor. This was a prestigious rentable estate which the kind archeologist would frequent with his young son; a boy whom I would grow up alongside, and one day serve, as well. I was about Altan’s boy’s age when I’d first met the man himself. Sir Banion was a pillar of nobility, and in many ways he was my idol.

After my father’s death I stayed on as the Banion Family butler, and on my dear father’s deathbed I vowed to never leave the Banion’s side, staying on as their butler until the last member of their line would fall. Or, at least, until I passed away. Unfortunately death had one more mission to complete before leaving Banion’s boy and myself fatherless. Sir Altan passed away many years later, at the age of fifty two. After that his son retired back to America, and after two years of awaiting his improbable return had passed, I tracked the young master down; back to a place called Boston. There I found him rotting away, living off the riches of his family line and wasting away within the shadowy stomach of a dark room at the end of a busy street. I pleaded with the young Banion, telling him of my father’s will and playing on the memories of our childhood.

It was there that my good friend, C. Banion, took me on as his new butler and I was once again integrated into a familiar post. For the days ahead I could rest easy, but I knew the years had taken optimism from my friend. So, as my father requested, I have remained by Banion’s side and most likely will until the day I die. Fifteen years have passed and Banion has left the misfortunes of his youth well behind him. He operates as somewhat of a poet and crime solver, wasting a bored existence away amidst Boston, all while I tend to the upkeep of our shared apartment. In my opinion trouble seems to find him at almost every turn, and it could be considered dumb luck that his involvement in the murders and mysteries that seem to find us are usually solved by his lacking wit and nonexistent detective skills. Such as the case we came to know many years back involving a boxer and the Boston Commons. ‘The Case of the Black Deliliah’ I believe I called it. And it unfolded as follows:

1882 saw the death of a young twenty-two year old woman by the name of Amelia Long. She was beautiful woman, as anyone who knew her would say; and it was upon the soil of the Boston Common where Miss Long was found sliced to high heaven and drained of all blood, in a peculiar medical-esque fashion. Like the handy work of a surgeon from hell. The press over popularized the slaying and an obvious proof of medical experience having played a role within the case made every doctor within the area a suspect. Banion doubted any foul play on the part of a doctor. he always said it was “…just dumb luck that the cuts came out that way.” I’ll never get what he meant by that.

Three months had passed us by since that day, and Banion was getting quite tired of hearing about it. To him crime consisted of a murder a week, a theft every two days and daily assaults, with major or minor vulgar activities sprinkled all in between. Even those three months after the case had finally fallen out of the minds of the law, Banion still found his way to complaining about it, reading small newspaper articles and inquiries which carried the speculations about the homicide even further. Eventually to the point of blaming demons, ghosts and entities not of this world. Banion just sat back in his chair, smoked his pipe excessively an scoffed viciously at all of it.

“This sort of riffraff is beneath us all.”

“How so?”

Banion handed me the news paper as I stood, cleaning off the coffee table in front of him. I set aside the rag and took the paper, looking down at a small selection at the bottom of the page. I glanced over the first few sentences before Banion chimed in.

“Utter bullshit. Ghosts? Demons? Wraiths and phantoms… I swear. If the news spent as much time studying the facts and realities of life as they do making up stories to shock the masses, people might actually rise up and riot at the realization of their positions in this… disgusting world.”

“Quite biter this morning, are we not Mister Banion?”

“Oh, shut up Theo. Drop the butler-talk and get me another cup of coffee.”

“Four cups not enough today, sir?”

“Stop calling me sir, and no. I won’t be satisfied till this pipe stenches of french vanilla. That way I’ll be so sure that you aren’t taking puffs while I’m away.”

“You already know, sir, I appall smoking.”

“And you hate french vanilla, so you say, but I’ve been noticing a decrease in my tobacco stash. And at an alarming rate as of late, as well.”

“That is because you’ve been smoking it down. Quite more so… and at a much more alarming rate than usual. Need I inquire why, sir? Nerves?”

“My nerves are fine. It’s my temper that’s up.”

“Might I suggest setting the news papers aside for a time?”

“It’d do no good. I enjoy the layout of those pages and the micro-miles of words upon words. I’d have no trouble reading, that is if the damned subject matter was any good.”

I handed Banion back the paper and resumed cleaning he table. Perhaps it was curiosity to hear the comedic absurdity in his ramblings, but I continued the subject, rather than attempting to change it.

“So… the slaying of Amelia Long… you believe it to be solvable?”

“Absolutely. It’s merely the incompetence of the police that has brought her case to a halt.”

“So you say.”

Banion began to sink back cockily in his chair, boasting.

“I bet I could do a hundred times what those pigs think they could do.” He announced.

“That so?” I remarked.

He answered in a quick and stubborn tone. “No doubt.”

It wasn’t long before, in a fit of a morning rage, Banion forced himself up from his chair and demanded we make our way to to the Boston Commons; to track the elusive trail of the murderer of Miss Amelia Long. To be honest, I believed this venture to be a great waste of time and energy. Once my friend arrived on the scene and realized he actually held no detective capabilities whatsoever, I assumed we would retire back to a long drawn-out evening back at our apartment; with him sitting in his chair for the remainder of the day, quietly scolding himself for having wasted money on an ill faded attempt to prove me wrong. It wasn’t until arriving on the scene and noticing a woman in a black dress standing upon the site that Banion turned to me with a mischievous curiosity, and the look that a possible case could, indeed, unfold before us. Strange as it seemed, I pressed on.

“Good evening ma’am.” Banion called out to the lady in black.

“Excellent weather, is it not?”

The woman was quiet and looked at us for a brief second, turning back to a memorial on the side of the pathway through the Common’s cemetery. The memorial marked the spot where Amelia Long was slain.

“Did you know her?” Banion added.

It was no surprise that the young woman was annoyed at our presence. I grabbed my master’s arm to pull him away, but he swatted me off and insisted on bothering her further.

“Madam… can you hear me?” He insultingly waved his arms in an attempt to mimic sign language.

By this point she had turned from us completely and darted swiftly away, letting no word or remark leave her lips and paying us no mind at all. Not that I blamed her after how rude my master had acted.

“She’s connected.” He said.

“How in the hell could you know that?”

“Gut feeling.”

I stepped back in a furious astonishment.

“A gut feeling? Absurd. All you’ve done is bothered a probable friend of a deceased woman, and to be perfectly frank, managed to offend the mourning and the deaf all in one instance.”

My tone became louder. “How the hell is she involved!?”

Just before I was on the verge of grabbing Banion by the collar, his arm extended, pointing down to a folded paper tucked in-between the grass and a patch of store bought flowers.

“I believe that paper would be of some curious interest.” Banion cockily remarked.

I bent down and grabbed the paper, taking my time to unfold it.

It was a piece of paper with the words “I’m sorry.” scribbled in red pen.

“What does this mean?” I said aloud.

Banion stepped in front of me, took the paper and glanced over it swiftly before answering me.

“Roman, I believe we’ve found the murderer of Miss Amelia Long.”

I was more confused than I had ever been.

“Found the murderer!? So soon!? How? Why? How could you get all that from that little note. Obviously you’re mistaken. Explain what you mean!”

There had always been times when I believed my master to be quite strange in his daily judgments, but this certainly surprised me. I awaited his answer as questions races across my mind with a mad rush.

“You see…” He began.

“That woman in black has been spotted here every second day of the month since Miss Long’s death. She dresses the same, she stands here for the same amount of time and she always leaves a new note in place of the old ones. Usually they are blown away or washed out by rain. I know this because my rare outings have led me the Commons these past few months and I have noticed here presence multiple times. Now… judging by the paper… this particular brand of sheet, though currently just a cut corner, was part of a bigger sheet that had the brand label inked on the back of it. I know this because I took the original paper with that mark the first day I had spotted here standing here. The mark says “Gallo Printers.” A local paper supplying company two blocks from the Commons here. Nearby there is a series of apartments and after following the woman in black I was able to conclude that she, in fact, resides in a first story apartment on Lepton Street, one block from Gallo Printers. I even went through the trash in her back alley and discovered some red pens, obviously used by her to write these notes. Now, what many people don’t know, thanks to the ignorance of the press, was that a note was discovered beside the mutilated Amelia. A note which matched the writings of those on the papers found at the grave. The letter must have been dropped by the killer, the woman in black. The letter found beside Amelia mentions a person named ‘Sam’. The police believed this to be in reference to a fiend of Amelia’s, Sam Trotter. All the while I scoured the local surrounding Commons for Sams and Samuels, just in case the letter was addressed to a man. Now… the answer to solving this murder lies in the information I have obtained about the letter found by Miss Amelia. Roman, we shall return here, same day, same time, next month, and it is before the eyes of the woman in black and the police where I will conclude this mystery homicide.”

I went silent for a minute, as I’m sure Banion was expecting me to complement his skills in the matter of the murder. But there was only one thing on my mind.

“You were studying this case all along!?” I screamed.

“I swear to god, I have half a mind to thrash you right here!!”

He asked me to calm myself and assured me his intentions were imply playful in nature. I was still angry by the time we had made it back to the apartment. All that was left to do was to wait until the following month, when the woman would return and Banion would conclude his final comments on the case.

That day did eventually come and we arrived at the Commons, on the spot, shortly after the woman in black. Banion had taken the liberty of alerting a small unit of officers to pose undercover and nearby when the supposed arrest was to be made.

Once again, just like before, Banion approached the woman, but instead of speaking my master had previously told me to keep to ourselves, speaking simply as if only he and myself were standing there, yet close enough so the woman could hear exactly what we were saying. Banion had always had a flare for the dramatic, but I think he was getting worse with age. We stood neatly beside the woman, set our eyes forward at the memorial and began to speak loud and clear.

“So, you believe the girlfriend of the boxer, Samuel, to be the killer of Amelia Long, eh?” I began.

The woman in black looked up for a moment, obviously shocked by what we had said. I must say, the sudden silence that followed intrigued me. I awaited Banion’s reply.

“Indeed.” He began.

“My friend, I had previously told you as to how I came to this conclusion, and now, here, upon the plot of the young Amelia’s death, I will reveal the nature of her demise.

The woman was silent as my master continued.

“Now then… the letter apologizes to someone named same and references missing some important event. My attention turned to a local boxer, Samuel “Tight Fist” Baker. After a few nights of stalking I found him with a young woman who happened to live in the same exact apartment as our mysterious woman in black. The woman in black in the girlfriend of Samuel, the boxer, and what I assumed was that Amelia’s death was the result of a crime-of-passion sort of incident. See… I believe the woman in black, real name: Emily Hart, found out about an affair Samuel had with Amelia, and so she killed Miss Long and greatly regretted it afterward. Hence why she comes every month to the scene of her crime to pay her respects.”

The woman in black, sobbing through a black hat she had pulled from a belt on her side, turned to Banion and myself as my master concluded.

“The police have the note found at the scene and the notes left behind by Emily Hart. Notes that will place Miss Emily here, at the scene of the crime, on the day of Miss Amelia’s murder.”

Banion tore the hat from the woman’s head and concluded.

“Anything you have the say for yourself!?” Banion yelled.

He spoke angrily, looking directly inter her eyes as I stepped backward. Banion tore a small piece of paper out of her hands. Another small note with the words ‘I’m sorry.’ written in red ink. Without taking his eyes off of the woman, Miss Emily, Banion signaled the police.

From behind us the undercover officers took the note Banion was holding up to them and placed it in an envelope with the note found at the scene of the crime. The evidence was secured.

Suddenly, a deep voice broke the silence.

“What the hell are you doing!?”

We all turned to see the boxer, Samuel Baker himself, running towards us. When the large man finally caught his breath he looked directly at Emily, cuffed and sobbing, then looked at the head officer.

“What are you doing to her!?” Samuel barked.

Banion replied. “This woman is under arrest for the murder of Amelia Long.”

Samuel stepped back, almost hesitant to reply. Finally he spoke.

“No, that’s impossible.” Samuel murmured.

“Darling, no!” Emily yelled.

Samuel stood tall and announced. “Emily couldn’t have killed Amelia, because it was me!”

I nearly fell over, not missing a chance to look over at the shock upon my master’s face. truly a comedic sight.

“Explain yourself!” Banion snapped.

Samuel took a moment and began.

“The night Amelia died… she, Emily and myself had met here. Emily had discovered the affair between Amelia and myself, but she wasn’t mad. I separately asked each of them to meet me here for a private talk. I wanted us all to air ourselves out. When they both arrived we all began arguing. Amelia took out a knife and threatened Emily. I snapped and took it away from here, taking the blade to her while Emily fled. I guess the note she dropped that night next to Amelia was for me. Yeah, I know about it. I inquired down at the station a few months back, when I was trying to make sure my tracks were covered. I figured after a month or so that Emily never went to the police. Whether it was out of fear or protection over me. Either way I killed Amelia. Emily had nothing to do with it. I knew if she was suspected she might get taken in, and I can’t stand by while my first love serves time for a crime I committed.”

“But why keep returning to the grave and leaving those notes.” I asked.

“Look at this woman’s tears. Surely she felt responsible for all this. In some twisted way.” Banion replied.

Now, we understood. With more tears and much confusion the cuffs were taken off of Emily and put on Samuel.

The undercover leader had Sam and Emily taken aside.

“Both of you lovers come with us. We’d like to ask you some questions down at the station. Can’t tell you know if or when any charges will be pressed. We just wanna talk for now.” The cop said.

Banion and myself saluted the officers and made our way back to the street, to a carriage, back home. Along the way I inquired.

“Why do you suppose Samuel confessed so… flawlessly? Couldn’t have Emily truly ben the killer, yet Samuel could just be covering for her. Or perhaps it was both of them? Or maybe some underlining circumstances of unexplainable phenomenon killed Miss Amelia, and Samuel has no choice but to take the blame which should exist on a third party, or risk freedom at the cost of Emily taking a fall for him… or… or…”

He interrupted me.

“You’re overthinking it. Love wins out, Roman. Love wins out every time.” He said.

“It didn’t matter if Samuel did it, or Emily did it, if it was both of them of if it was none of them. A conclusion which I find highly doubtful. The underlining factor here is that, despite who may have done it, both individuals involved are plagued by guilt, apparent when they had been apprehended. If their story is true then perhaps Miss Amelia was not the perfect little angel the press had made her out to be.”

“That is only if Samuel’s story is true.” I added.

“Exactly.”

Our conversation continued even after stepping through our apartment door and settling down in our chairs. Banion began.

“Justice will work itself out and even if either of them is responsible, the guilt alone will drive them insane. And we should rest easy in that knowledge. Despite who is convicted or not.”

“You have the strangest reasoning.” I remarked.

“Eh, it keeps things interesting. I just find it funny.” Banion said.

“What’s that?” I asked.

He lit up his pipe and we sunk back into our seats, tired from the long day. bunion laughed for a moment and remarked upon the irony of the case.

“It’s just this one thing…” He continued.

“It was Emily’s note that ended up placing here there at the scene of the murder. The note that connected her to Samuel and Amelia. The note that will most likely lead to the conviction of Samuel. This reminds me of a story. Well… sort of. It was this old Hebrew story, from the Book of Judges. It was about this temptress, Delilah, who ended up becoming the downfall of this fellow, Samson. It was over money or something that her actions screwed him over. Kind of like how Emily indirectly ended up becoming the downfall of Samuel. Notes and whatnot. So in a way… Emily, our woman in black, is like Samuel’s own little Delilah… A Black Delilah! If you will.”

I laughed and scolded Banion for smoking, bringing the case and this day to a clam and complete close.

Ten Extremely Short Stories

1. The Twisted Farmer

When I was younger my town became decently known for the legend of a serial killer who kidnapped children. I can now say that with extensive research, the following is true. It was said that he would take the children back to his shack-like farmhouse and turn the children into… scarecrows, which he would display all over his “property”. It was said that some hikers discovered his abode, immediately informing the town once they inspected and realized the scarecrows were constructed from the remains of human children. Exactly one hour later our local police stormed the man’s shack. Seeing someone with a knife, hiding inside, the police kicked in the door and shot on sight. They witnessed a body drop and when the cops came inside they found no one. Just a scarecrow that, strangely enough, matched the description of the kidnapper. The man himself was never captured, and some believe him to still be at large. I think they stopped him without even knowing it.

2. The Borne Mistake

My family is dead. Everyone, except for me and my twin brother. He resides in the attic, as he always has, since birth. Mother, father and sister would dare not look upon him, for brother, they said, was hideous. Up many flights of stairs there is a golden key, rusting, on a tray, on a table aside from the attic door. I haven’t climbed those stairs in years. I only saw the inside of the attic once. The room was all black, with covered windows and a symbol on the door. I don’t know what the symbol meant, but my father said it kept us safe. He says my brother is ugly, but my brother tells me otherwise. At night I used to sneak up and talk to my brother through the door. He told me he could hurt mother, father and sister’s minds, so they kept him locked away. I always listened to mother and father, from the second they brought my brother home from the hospital. But the other day I almost opened the attic. Mother and father were so angry, they hit me. It hurt bad, but brother said he could make them apologies. So, that very next night, I grabbed the key and let brother out. Now mother, father and sister are dead and brother is nowhere to be found. There’s a man knocking on the door, saying he’s from the police department. I hope he can help me find brother. I hope he believes me.

3. The Eldritch Cauldron

Deep within the belly of my aunt’s New England estate, there lingered a cauldron, black as pitch; And it took up a corner at the far end of the cellar, looking ever so morbid in it’s fine stillness. My aunt was old and I spent these past few years of my life aiding her. Since my own parents had passed a few years back, and all my siblings had cut ties with the family, over money-reasons, I felt I couldn’t let my dear auntie wither away, alone and forgot. She was family, and deserved so much better than that. But that cauldron… Oh, how the sight of it twisted my guts and turned my stomach. Once every Friday I would have to venture down to the cellar to fetch that evening diner’s wine. Once every Friday I retrieved that wine, but at the cost of a fright. Once every Friday I hear things come from within the cauldron. Voices and mumbles echoed from out of it, and as I put out the lantern on the wall, I raced up the stairs and slammed the basement door behind me; Once every Friday. I had kept forgetting that the cauldron held the souls of those who’d wronged my aunt; Believing her witchcraft to be a curse. It was that xenophobia which got my parent’s killed, but not my aunt. She struck back at those hunters, imprisoning them in the cauldron. I always forget. Why do I always forget?

4. The Father Figure

My father’s footsteps ringing distant from the hall was my lullaby when I was younger. In the dead of night, when my back was turned to the door, I would hear the familiar padding of his white and gray socks colliding with the hardwood floor outside my bedroom. The door would open, and a thin cascade of golden light streaming from where he’d come would land across my bed. The sound of his steps would become softer now, muffled by the plush white carpeting settled along the ground. And upon my forehead, his hand would gently push my bangs away, and his cold lips would press tenderly to my skin. He had always had poor circulation, and in the hot summer evenings I spent holed up in my covers, it was rather nice to have his soft skin on mine, cold and forgiving. At times, I would turn my head to face him. My sleepy gaze would meet his, and in the darkness, his pearl teeth would shine in a warm smile. And I would smile in return. It was always a silent exchange when I awoke to one of his visits, usually ended by a wave of my hand and the fading of his loving grin. I couldn’t understand why, at fourteen years old, his nightly visits ceased. Upon asking my mother about this, she turned to me, gaze softened and lips parted just enough to emit tender words. “Well,” she stated softly, “As you get older… you see ghosts less and less.”

5. The Plummeting Hope

I am falling. I have been falling for… oh, I don’t even know how long anymore. A few million years? It doesn’t even matter. Time is meaningless in the infinity. There’s really not much of a story to tell here. I was just sitting at home, there was a pain in my chest, and suddenly I was falling. At first I just started screaming, and waited for my skull to shatter on the ground, followed by my back and the rest of me. But it didn’t happen. It was a few days later when I finally realized this might not be ending any time soon. I didn’t do anything wrong, I didn’t do anything right. I didn’t do anything! And yet I am falling. I can see nothing but the empty blackness of whatever I am falling down to. I can hear nothing but the air whizzing past my ears as I plummet deeper. I suppose there must be air down here. Wherever “here” is. I can smell nothing except my decaying and withered body, rotting as time passes. I can feel my skin, fractured and broken, some parts of me worn away into nothingness by the fall. I’ve gotten used to the pain. It’s more interesting than the eternity of nothing I feel. Screaming? I gave that up after a century or two. No point. Not that there’s much else to do. Maybe I’ll die one day. Whatever awaits me has to be better than this. Really, the only thing that actually scares me at this point is that I’m already dead, and that this fall will never end.

6. The Dead Reborn

It started on a Friday night in October. The dead would climb out of their coffins and walk the cemetery. Once the dawn would come they would wander back to their crypts and holes in the ground, returning to rest. But every Friday since then, and without hesitation or notice from the town beyond the gates of this lot, the dead were given new life and returned when the day was upon them. They did little or nothing to me. For the dead were not vicious. I needed not take a revolver to their heads or a shovel to their throats, like those people do in the old stories. The dead had no quarrel with the living, and though they rejoiced with the gift to once again walk the earth, they would not leave the grounds of the cemetery. Why? It was almost like some force was keeping them here. Almost as though if they were to leave they would cease to be. Then I finally released something. A week prior to the dead’s weekly rising, a nobleman wearing a distinctly gothic red amulet on his necklace was buried here. I’ve taken the amulet from his corpse and hid it across town, just to see if the dead will rise again this Friday night. Then again, it was probably a bad idea to hid the mystical thing in town. Who knows how many bodies are buried back there, especially since the town was built over the lasts settlement’s graveyard.

7. The Vatican Archive

Speaking with Father Jon, one of the overseers of the Vatican Archive, he has entrusted with with information as to a most bizarre series of “facts” which have gone documented by the church. I breath not a word of these facts to anyone, for the mere fruition of this knowledge could throw our world into chaos. I speak only to the few who will take this knowledge and understand that things must be this way. Angels are not of this world. By this I do not mean they are from a realm of paradise, but rather another planet or dimension. They are humanoids with beautiful features, winged, though they are able to defy gravity. They have come to control us, for our benefit. their brother race, those which we know as demons, plan to kill and eat our inner energies. We are at the middle of a tug-a-war between supreme entities, with sciences eons more complex to our own. We are ants in the eyes of these beastly entities from those places in-between time. There is no god. Only a chain of ancient energies and monstrous giants haunt the never-ending stars. And even they fear that which surpasses them. The Vatican Archive holds these accounts. The aliens which visit us and those who work with them to mold the human race. The Vatican knows, the world government knowns and yet no one must ever know.

8. The Framed Horror (Original Concept By Theodore J. Romanowski)

He passed by a picture of the very hall that came before him and within the picture was a wooden chair. He walked down the hall and positioned himself to where he just barely saw into the upstairs bathroom. There sat a black cat with big red eyes. Their eyes connected for a moment before the cat payed him no mind and raced in-between his legs. By the time he turned around to see the cat it was gone. He blinked twice and there, again, appeared the cat, sitting beside a wooden chair that hadn’t been there before. As he walked back down the hall and over to the chair he noticed the painting from before. The chair had vanished, and in it’s place there stood a clown with a sledgehammer. Startled by the changed image, he walked over to the chair and sat down for a moment. He closed his eyes and when he opened them again everything was tinted acrylic. He got up from his seat and walked back down that same hall for the third time now. He looked at the painting and realized that it appeared more realistic. He blinked twice more and within the prelatic painting he saw the clown, again with the sledgehammer, the cat and a broken wooden chair by his side. He looked around to see the hall resembled the painting even more, finally realizing where he was. Now, if you go to the old house you may see him framed up on the wall. Trapped in that painting with the broken wooden chair and no way back.

9. The Unseen Trucker

They say that on this old road, there’s a driver that passes this speed limit sign every night, around six. He drives a big truck, and from what people say, he has a very white complexion. It’s said that if you flash your high beams as he passes you, well, let’s just say, thinks don’t work out for you or your brakes. Where the man’s truck appears and disappears is uncertain. Some have even described being on the road and having truck pass right through them, as if it’s an illusion. They say he a ghost. But, hey; smoke and mirrors, tampering with traveler’s cars when they stop into my station; How the hell else is a man supposed to keep an urban legend up and running? God knows, it’s the only thing driving people into this down. And man, could we use the money from those hikers we kidnap.

10. The Cannibal Cafe’ (Original Concept Paragraph For ‘The Manhattan Cannibal Case’ Short Story)

I have found the cafe’! Hidden away beneath these underground caverns within the sewers of Manhattan. Investigating this string of disappearances for three years now, I never believed I’d actually find the source. As well as I can figure it, the cooks and such kidnap people during the night, kill them and cook them up down here. One of the most startling things, I must say, is the revenue this place makes. So many people eating people! There are menus that display whole limbs, heads and torsos. This place must have about two-hundred customers on a constant basis. I never order anything. I just hang around behind the scenes and no one seems to notice. It’s a hive of cannibals that serves coffee and offers musical entertainment. Like a flesh-serving fast food joint that’s the size of a small parking lot. After tonight I’ll take the existence of this place to the local authorities and head a raid down here to put an end to this cannibal cafe’ once and for all. Though, something still shakes me. I’ve been noticing something strange. Before they eat, the customers pull the flesh around their mouth’s back, almost like a mask. And underneath it lies reptilian skin with a giant mouth of jagged sharp teeth. These patrons aren’t human!

The Agency

After joining The Agency, I came to know a great many wondrous horrors that existed within our world. Things we would never understand, or things we would desperately attempt to stop, just to be met with the halting hands of gods, both wicked and divine. We were nothing in this world. All those strange creatures and beings and objects that lived beside us in our world wanted us dead. Their only purpose was the eradication of all things human. They came from places of pure nightmare long before I or my associates had ever walked the earth. It was now our job to collect and document them. And what a time we had doing so. These are just a few of the things we had collected in the summer of 1976 starting with an object called ‘The Refusal of Fate’.

‘Refusal of Fate’ is an 18-inch-by-24-inch acrylic painting, depicting varied shades of corrosive formations on a rough black painted surface. The painting is kept within a wooden gold-painted frame with the words ‘Durum enim michi’ etched into the bottom right, a Latin translation of the words ‘Refusal of Fate’. Individuals who touch the painting begin deteriorating away into a black mass that continues to dissipate until the victim has completely vanished into a mass of black dust that eventually fades away. This leaves no trace of the individual. This process of deterioration does not seem to hurt those who touch the painting, but past victims have noted a feeling of supreme numbness directly after coming into physical contact with it, all the way up until they are completely disintegrated.

The deterioration process last for ten seconds, starting from where the individual touched the painting and spreading until the entire victim is gone. The corrosive material carried on the painting cannot be removed with tools and it is unable to be studied as any attempt to take samples ends with experiments concluding that only black acrylic paint resides on it’s surface, and no evidence of any other materials or substances can be found. After an individual has been completely deteriorated by the painting, they will then appear on the surface of the canvas, as if painted themselves. This occurs roughly five seconds after complete disintegration. The individual remains on the surface of the canvas for ten seconds after appearing and then slowly fades away. Two people cannot be absorbed at the same time.

If two individuals touch the painting at the same time, the canvas will randomly select one and begin the corroding process. In the ten seconds in which the deteriorated person appears on the canvas’ surface, the canvas will not absorb others who touch it. This is the only time in which the surface of the canvas can have samples taken off of it. Samples of the paint used to depict the individual’s who were transferred into the painting reveal varied other acrylic paints, with microcosmic elements of human flesh mixed into them. DNA tests before and after an individual has been absorbed by the painting prove that the individuals killed by the canvas’ corrosive surface are indeed transferred to the painting’s surface five seconds after deterioration. It is believed that the painting contains an unknown microorganism that absorbs and eats biological organisms, as only living beings such as people or animals are effected by the canvas’s corrosive.

It is also believed that the unknown microorganism transfers the deteriorated victim onto the canvas as a sort of ‘final feeding process’, yet it is unknown how or why the victim’s exact frontal likeness is adapted to the painting. There are those who also believe the painting to be a living being of supernatural origins; and that this ‘feeding process’ is a way to absorb victims, sending them into another dimension, actually teleporting them during the deterioration process. No studies can be conducted or exist to support this theory. Next on our list was ‘Osiris’ Ring’.

Osiris’ Ring is a large glowing ring of pure neon yellow light. It was discovered one night, on an expedition through the Arctic and spotted floating through the starry sky. The ring does not hold it’s original shape, as echoes and direct sound shakes it like a circular mass of gelatin. The ring is not sentient, but reacts to wind, physical contact and sounds. The center within the ring becomes solid and fades into focus when loud noises occur close to it. When the area around the ring becomes silent again, the center becomes transparent once more. The surface of the ring is said to feel like nothing ever felt before and it is believed to be made up of a type of pure solid energy. The ring emits great masses of energy and warmth, all while giving off a deep humming sounds. As far as anyone knows Osiris’ Ring is harmless and really just focuses as a possible energy source, as it seems to hold no direct destructive capabilities. Then, we came across ‘Adam’s Box’.

This small wooden box, bearing no identifiable marks, was discovered beneath the Vatican Archive in 1996. It is theorized that Adam’s Box has been responsible for the Plague of Athens in Greece, 429 to 426 BC, the Plague of Cyprian in Europe, 250 to 266, the Black Death Incident in Europe, 1346 to 1350, the Italian Plague of 1629 to 1631, the Newcastle Incident in England, 1636, the Great Plague of London, 1665 to 1666 and lastly, the Great Plague of 1738, in Balkans. In all instances the box, simple in design, was opened following the orders of religious leaders at the times of the outbreak’s inceptions. These multiple religious leaders, after discovering the box, incorporated the object into their rituals and practices, eventually resulting in them opening the box, unknowingly having plagues visited unto multiple major populous’.

It is believed that the box, though appearing empty on the inside, carries an invisible virus, obtainable and infections by any means. This illness is reported to be ever-changing and always evolving. This illness, dubbed “Virus-A”, is estimated to be the oldest sickness known to man and can be dated back as existing since long before the Fall of Rome or the supposed Birth of Christ. The virus can only be spread when the box is open. When Adam’s Box is closed the only remaining effects of the virus are found in those already effected. If the box is closed no harm will come to those handling it. The virus exists purely within the interior. No amount of research or study can determine what the virus within the box is, where it originated or how it is unidentifiable. Professional opinion has made it clear that the best course of action is to keep the box closed and never have it opened again. A short time later I had personally met, by chance, ‘The Doll Maker’.

I met him on the streets of Boston a few years ago. He occupied Salem and said he’d made his way all along the east coast. He wasn’t initially violent or mean tempered, but the old stories I had heard about the man I had assumed to be true. In Philadelphia, two hundred or so years back, legends circulated of a man who would craft homemade puppets and dolls, taking to festive streets to sell his creations. A few decades later and the legends began to change. people began to say how the Doll maker was a merchant of death, and how the figurines he sold were once humans who’d committed atrocities, and whom he’d turned into dolls and puppets; Toys to be sold to children. In my line of work I knew the legends to be true, and when i finally seemed this man out he didn’t waste any time in hiding who he was.

I think it was the fact that he wants the world to know who he is. Even after questioning him I still don’t understand all that much about him. I know he’s a couple hundred years old, I know he’s a practitioner of magic and I know he has this seriously warped sense of retribution and righteous judgment. Nevertheless, he wasn’t after my head, and that I am extremely thankful for.

Along with these encounters I also keep logs of experiences, recordings, interviews, reports and accounts some of my associates had with some of their first missions, obtaining creatures, beings and items of interest. Mere snippets of their experiences still send chills down my spine.

“The scariest thing besides having some bloody axe-wielding southerner come at you, growling, with a knife between their teeth, is putting four bullets in their chest and watching them just keep on coming. Glowing eyes and all.” - James Duncan

“When we went down there… to the sewers… there were people strung up in these bubbly cocoon things. Like sacks of pulsing webbing hung up with slime. All this people. We knew they were still alive, slowly dissolving inside those things. Like… their flesh was melting together. Ten people all becoming a sack full of fleshy goop, mixing into one mass of… oh god. The sacks were hanging from the ceiling and as we walked throughout… we could hear the people still screaming inside those things. I’ll never forget that.” - Harry Cooper

“A while ago, in the city, five of our men became phantoms. Those floating things, without faces or forms. Just masses of blue and white energy, like concentrated mist. We detained there situation well enough, but… we also had to capture our men. There’s no way to run them back. Once your a phantom your body kinda… evaporates on the spot. Never seen anything like that.” - Gary Jacobs

We still continue our work today. Now, The Agency holds more than a thousand objects and beings that defy both science and religion. The world has become a darker place, and the pure existence of these evil things makes me truly believe that humans are no more vital to this vast universe than a handful of dirt is after falling into the ocean. Life has no purpose, and we just keep these things locked up so that others may have a chance to live just a little while longer. The clock is ticking and this world of man hasn’t got much time left. But I guess we’ll kept fighting. At the end of the day… we’ll probably just lose anyway. Believe me. We’ve captured god and questioned him to high heaven. He told all of us how it ends. With darkness. And you know what?… I believe him. If you could only see this approaching sunset, then you’d believe… that soon, very soon… it will all be over.

Metal World

Metal World is a large chunk of obsidian, carved up into a floating island and coursing with a lava-system of volcanic mountains and flaming rivers. The land is tarnished by unending war and the air is toxic and unbreathable. Here lives the immortal deities known as ‘Mascots’. Metal World sits within a deserted dimension in the vacuum of a million black holes. Beyond space. At a place in time, somewhere between the preexistence and birth of the universe. Long ago the great Kingscythe ruled a hefty fraction of Metal World alongside his sorcerer, Saint Salem, advisor, DaimondFell, and general, Axeland. The other half of Metal World was coveted by the powerful Spectrallia, who ruled alongside his disciples, Venombath, Dethseed, Rotmouth and Deathztar. The Grand Reaper held the life spans of these immortal, demonic beings in check, while the holy-king, Lionwing, travelled the land to bring righteousness.

Above the land the entity, Holy Claw, spoke down to Metal World’s inhabitants, corrupting them. Sulfurdeath and Hellmower served the Holy Claw, carrying out evil missions with their counterparts, MagnumKoven and Darkcult. Spectrallia was advised by the wicked entity, Fiendhead, who was at constant battle with the undead cybernetic complex, Vile Mind; who, at the time, held no allegiance to any ruler. Vile Mind dwelled beneath Metal World, in constant war with the forces of the Twisted Tyrant and often corrupting the freedom fighter, Riot Roth, who was led by his superior, Van-Vulcan. To the north rested the ancient being, Hollow Frost and his wizard, Iron Apocalypse. Their tomb remained ever-guarded by the mage, Leather Malice and his younger brother, PoisonedBreath. Finally, there wandered the warlock, Kill Kane, who always ensured that Metal World was in a never-ending state of conflict and destruction.

Beneath the earth, or a thorny cluster of land and fire floating amidst a sea of stars and void, there; lying within the caverns of the planet’s ribbed core, made up of bone-like materials of petrified calcium and fleshy-raw corridors of veins and muscle, there; lived a being known as The Vile Mind. The Mind was a skull, molded to an ancient-brain and metallic in some areas. Mind was bonded with sheets of iron and steel, with one eye glowing red, wired up to the vast complexes of machine and muscle which fed the Mind information from all across the floating cluster he, and his, called Metal World. The Vile Mind, though driven to the core of this floating island of fire and obsidian, was a Mascot.

Mascots were the demons, and wraiths, and reapers, and hulks, and horrors, and beasts, and undead and malicious sentient evils that called Metal World, along with the Metal Dimension, their home. The Metal Dimension was a plane of fire, blackness and steel: and together these three elements rained supreme over all things, as Metal World itself, referred to by its inhabitants most famously as ‘The Cluster’, was infamously known as the epitome of carnage and chaos; where all souls came to be casted into unrest. To watch and command over the dominions of this unrest came the irrefutable law of the Mascots and their ranks.

Metal World festered; the aftermath of a devastating war. Here, chaos and destruction were law. The Mascots functioned much like the immortal gods of Greek mythology: whereas each one held dominion, or was representative, of specific elements, principles or otherwise that made up the Metal Dimension. And so, it is with the every-day treachery of these immortal demonic entities in which this tale of destruction finally begins:

A very long stretch of centuries ago, in a time when Metal World stood as a marvelous globe of spherical inadequacy, a war was spawned which separated the inhabitants of the inglorious into two fractions which both held conflicting ideologies as to how the future of Metal World was to be shaped. This series of conflicts came to be dubbed as ‘The M-World Wars’. There was the Order of the Veteris who, in the highest regard, demanded that the occult and demonic ways of their world should remain.

That the mystic and spiritual systems of un-life and sentience on their planet should remain as it was in the old days. That was, untainted by technology and the cold metal reasoning of the new age. The Order of Veteris summoned up hordes of demons and all the hellfire they could muster. They raised endless ranks of the undead and cast spells across the landscape to melt the machines that threatened their ways.

Wyverns and the souls of the tortured and damned filled the skies which rained comets of poisonous gas; collapsing into the earth and shattering volcanic plains. Fire came forth and torched the tarnished surface, as screams echoed from within the planet’s deepest crevices, flowing outward into space until being lost amongst the unheard ethos. There also existed the Order of Novus who, most viciously, believed that the world of magic and legends was dead, and that science and machines should rule in the new world to come. So, they took to scrap-making and built their factories across fields of ashes.

The Order of Novus drove drills into the ground and mined through sacred earth to spite the gods of old and plant their assertively established dominance. However, not all the artificial intelligence, not all the nano-beds, not all the iron and steel, not all the effort in the world could halt the endless power of the enigma known as fire; as well as the untold powers which were carried with it. And so, it was upon the last day of the Metal Wars that the flames of the surface melted away the last of the Novus’ factories had drove the remaining traitors of the old-way deep beneath the planet.

For a day, or two, there dwelled the last four survivors of the Order of Novus. And within the earth they salvaged their melted machines and shredded automatons. As the Order of Veteris celebrated their victory, and dined within a hall of bones, wine and the violation of virgins, the desolate mascots who had turned on their brethren and embraced the defiling nature of technology had one final act to commit. And act that would change Metal World forever.

You see, in spite of their defeat the last four Novus built a bomb. One of absolutely outrageous proportions. From the salvaged leftovers of their fallen allies an explosive was crafted to crack the foundation of Metal World in half. The way the Novus’ saw it, if the world could not embrace the new age, then this world wasn’t worth embracing.

Then, silent at first, there came a white noise which carried with it an almost instant light. This light, greater than fire, split the very fabric of the Metal Dimension, cracking the Mascot’s planet into bits and chunks of floating island with one singular cluster of earth, floating without consequence. Their planet was destroyed, and this island in space, locked in a sea of unreachable stars, was their home now.

The Vile Mind, leader of the Novus and the self-proclaimed lord of the new age of metal, took full responsibility for Metalworld’s destruction and vowed to rebuild the planet anew, that was, once the remaining inhabitants swore allegiance to Vile Mind and his followers; few as they were. With a heavy population of their race wiped out, followers of the old-way continue the unending conflict against the efforts of Vile Mind and the pressing threat of twisted-technology. Thus comes the struggle of the new world, torn by the metal of old, and the metal of anew.

Exile Fairies

In the night they came. Like little fluttering balls of fuzzy light, like mana, they fell from the stars and flew in from opened windows and under closed doors. It was the nature of these things, these beings of no identifiable sentience, to gentle float into the rooms of the sleeping and guide their way in through the mouths, ears and nostrils of the defenseless. The sleep was their ticket into the human mind. Down the hatch they went to preform devious tasks inside the mind. They evaporated like particles of fog, breaking like a bubble at the tip of a sharp surface. In they went, and that was all it took for one of us to become one of them. Forward and simple, they were extraterrestrials. Well, more simply… they were living bacteria; like microscopic beings, fully capable of level-headed thinking, but with a sinister function.

It wasn’t until the following morning, in the day after the night the balls of light had infected half of the people on the planet, that the first hundred stepped forward and declared their existence to the people of Earth. The beings did acknowledge, with no remorse or boastful appearance, that the lives of those they had taken over were truly lost, and any futile attempt to remove them from their vessels would only result in further loss of life and needless conflict. Instead these beings wished to live along side humans. And while the decision to coexist alongside a race of beings, who had just knocked off half the planet’s populous, was the quickest and most tame way to have ended the conflict the very day it had arose, nobody was having it. No, a war did erupt, and at the end of a century of conflict there stood a society in which the possessed, now dubbed ‘Fairies’ due to their original glowing appearance, had integrated into society by the wills of the rest of human kind.

It was only after the war that the human race was willing to sit down and hear the Fairies’ side of the story. Their race had fled from a far away place, constructed of light thread and mind clouds, and away from a looming blackness which had continued to swallow all of space and had worked it’s way upon their chunk of cosmos. It was at this time, before this spacey darkness could swallow them up, that the Fairies fled from their realm, out from the periwinkle stardust of a far-away quadrant, and came upon our planet; where they were to choose a mortal body and bond with it if thy wished to survive. They had no ill-intent. They were merely a race of unfortunate souls escaping a violent death at the hands of one of the universe’s many threats. and in that respect they had become a threat themselves.

Scholars had believe the Fairies to be the remanence of an ancient species. One that had possible evolved beyond a need for any physical form, but were on the decline, back, hence their sudden need for hosts. The consciousness of the Fairy would simple erase the human’s, and from there the body would become immortal and almost doll-like in beauty. The Fairy’s soul field the whole, and as humans rotted away the Fairies flourished in their controlled population. For the Fairies did not multiply. They were a contained race of exactly three million or more particles of living orbs. This help much with their integration into mortal life. There was never any fear of them overtaking the planet, combined with the fact that many years of passive aggressive behavior had proven that their race did not wish to terminate mankind.

Long after the cities of old were rebuilt, and communism was set back into motion, thee human race had settled in Europe and the Fairies were given the option to live their immortal lives in, what used to be, the other side of the world. Mainly America and Canada, since the Fairies didn’t seem to care for any climates that were too hot or too cold. Where London once stood, there, from top to bottom, was a free space where both the humans and Fairies could live together. After the Fairies had taken human hosts the body they had taken were, by all scientific statistics, dead by definition. The reproductive organs shut down and the body could no longer take in nutrients. The Fairies ran purely on thought. Perhaps… even will? Back in those days we only knew what they did, and maybe even less than they’d let us in on.

Still, there was no reason to hid anything from us. All these decades later and it would seem that the Fairies have… or had, no ulterior motives. Not unless they had a secret agenda which included living peacefully alongside humans for ‘X’ amount of years and conforming, without complaint, to their orders and regulations regarding their race’s privileges on our green and blue sphere. No, now we could see the Fairies were, for lack of any other term, peaceful. That is, peaceful, as thinly as we could stretch the word. Couples rarely formed, but, of course, there did arise those peculiar humans who did wish and intend on mating with the possessed mortals. And in the days in which both races were coming to terms with that bit of beautiful imagery, both races had also witnessed the first hate crime committed on the side of the humans.

A mortal man, from the South, had blow the brains out of a Fairy, killing the little being and enraging the collective. It was at this time that the Fairies had begun to show their patience wearing low and demanded action on our part. The man was locked up as an example of the laws of the new world and from that day forth that any human who takes the life of a Fairy, and vice versa, would be sentenced to death. Not many more hate crimes erupted after that and life went on as it usually had. There was nothing any opposing humans could do after that. All any of us could do was sit by campfires and hear the Fairies tell stories of the things far beyond our galaxy. Of worlds, wonders and terrors that lurk out there, beyond discovery. They never hesitated to mention the threat which gobbled up their world and often remarked as to how their actions almost caused the complete breakdown of the human race, just as that force which threatened them might, very well, just have been the escaping victim of another extreme destructive force, come to ravish them for it’s own good.

It was this philosophy that panic and a reluctance to act caused misplaced carnage, and anger in the eyes of the victims of these cosmic-scale catastrophes; Theorized as a chain reaction of destruction caused by salvation. The broken star disrupted the flow of the black energy, causing it to flee. The black energy’s need to feed pushed it toward the Fairies’ home, causing them to flee and settle in the bodies of earthlings. The only difference between the previous forces and the humans was the fact that we were stationary. Humans stood and fought the fight that no previous force, great or as mighty as they’d claim to be, would fight. Some supposed that it wasn’t due to lack of trying. For you see, in those days we had no means of interstellar travel. And certainly not on a grand scale as was needed to clear roughly three-million people off the face of the planet.

And even if we had, by that time we’d all have been getting cabin fever, locked up in a big old can in space, combing the universe for another inhabitable planet. That is, if one could even be found. A while had passed and a new threat had emerged. This startling reappraisal of life on earth came at the supposed halt of the Fairies’ peaceful intent towards humans. Man had first taken arms up against the Fairies, and now most believed, this being a long time coming, that the Fairies to take up arms against us. It all began with an altercation between a Fairy and a man, somewhere in the UK. Well… what used to be the UK. No one was really sure what happened, but it was prominently made out to be the hate-slaying of a human at the hands of an extraterrestrial. At first not many people believed it to be true. In fact, those now sitting in charge of the planet, who decreed what was fit and unfit in the new world, were prepared to shrug it off as anti-Fairy extremists trying to raise a fit. At first the Fairies had no comment on the altercation and refused to comment, despite being a collective and having full knowledge of the situation. This only arose suspicions. Hate groups had arisen almost from the immediate closing of the great old war, and even all these centuries later there were still those who believed the Fairies had yet to complete some hidden plan. I myself, being a professor of psychology and the human psyche, was prepared to give the Fairies the benefit of the doubt.

Rallies across the earth were held in defense of the alien race, and soon the fire began to die down. Space travel was created with their help, and soon it began to look as if total peace was completely achievable. That was… until one night, on a particularly bias news network, a recording had come out, in regards to the Fairy that had supposedly taken the life of a human all those years back. The recording was of the convicted Fairy walking into a confessional, in a human church, and confessing to the sin of murder, out of fear. The Fairy admitted later that he had taken the mans life because he had believed his own was being threatened, and unlike his past brethren, he was unwilling to stand there and let his life be taken like. He took action against a man he believed was trailing him, smashing his head in with a wooden cane.

It wasn’t until later that the Fairy admitted overreacting to the situation, yet, the collective chose to play dumb on behalf of their brother. It was a priest, of the anti-Fairy variety, that brought the recorded confession to officials, all for the chance to put a hole in the trust of both species. No one could have predicted it from the start, but that priest single handedly set off the series of events that led to the Fairies being exiles off the planet. Once the recording fell into the hands of officials it remained quiet for a bit. Then, the priest had made copies and ensured they had gotten out. He even revealed that the human government had purposely hidden the truth behind the slaying. This was all the proof that anyone needed. Chaos erupted like never before. The anti-Fairy movement had just started to rise again, and past questions about the alien race’s need to be on the planet began to spring up again.

The papers dubbed it ‘The Panic-Slaying Heard Across The Cosmos’. Utter bullshit. Through a few more years of fighting and many unsuccessful court cases, it was finally decreed that, with the use of new space travel technology, that the Fairies were to be banished from Earth and set up shop on another planet. Extended travel would be no issue for them. All they needed was their human vessels. They did not need to breath and they never aged. And so, on a date I don’t care to remember, the Fairies boarded up ships and left for a life back into the cosmos. And it was there, among the stars and the far-away belts of a glorious ethos that they were to find a new home. And for the first time, even though the larger percentage of the planet had nothing to say. The one thing that had wanted from the beginning had finally happened.

The Fairies were gone, without struggle. And most mortals had to get on with the fact that it all ended without bloodshed. I believe a great many were disturbed by that fact, sick as it is. I also believe we truly lost something that day. Space extended it’s hand and we swatted it away, proving that we were not ready for something like that. We had space ships, capable of travel, but all they did was collect dust. There were some of us who missed them; The Fairies. And moving forth from the day they had left, there was a certain emptiness on the face of the planet. A panicked rush to rid the world of anything new and strange. To alienate, and destroy and push out anything that wasn’t human. Still… they were more human than we had ever thought they were. I believed, at least.

Key Individuals Of Nyboria’s Modern History

There once lived Endymion II.

Upon Mount Latus, Endymion II ruled the kingdoms of Clis and Earia, as well as the surrounding heavens. From birth he had been chosen by Apollinaire, the Prophet, to take his position as Mount Latus’ guardian, earning the title of Inquisitor. Endymion ruled for over two centuries until a fatal sickness cast him down from grace and retired him to the withered state that would soon guide him unto death’s door. In his final moments of desperation he summoned forth, Rothus, the Deceiver. This dark warlock ensured Endymion eternal life in exchange for his kingdom and everything in it.

Fearing death and the inevitable Gates of Hades, Endymion, desperate and senile, took the offer in an instant. Before his eyes his kingdom had crumbled, his subjects were turned to ash and his treasures evaporated into sulfur. For this Endymion was granted immortality as well as vampirism in it’s most arcane form. Only a single twisted fortress, located upon the peak of the mountain, could serve as Endymion’s home now. He could never again look upon the sun, and it was within the dark walls of this demonic sanctuary where he was to remain, until that day would come when the heavens would fall from the skies.

Due to his actions Apollinaire damned the mountain and all who would set foot upon it, cursing Endymion to wallow in unbearable isolation. This isolation would drive him mad, pushing Endymion to learn and execute the full extent of his demonic abilities, for use upon the unsuspecting world which he had grown to loath and look at in malevolent jealousy. To this day he remains in exile atop the damned peak, looking down on the world from the ruins of Clis and Earia, telepathically influencing the world through black magic, vampiric hypnotism and the dark arts of the Unholy Trinity.

Then, there was Augustine, the Architect.

From high within the towers of the age old city of Ptula, there dwelled a man with the powers of sorcery and the makings of a fierce warrior. Within this city lived Augustine, the Architect. Born the student of Apollinaire, the Prophet, Augustine took his master’s teachings and combined them with self-taught fighting styles. When Apollinaire had retired from Mount Latus, he had come to live in the ruins of Ptula. His first student, Endymion, had failed in his duties to the great sorcerer. And so, Apollinaire chose Augustine, the son of a poor farmer to serve as his successor.

What drew Augustine apart from the other warriors and mages of the land was that he alone held the ability to take part in combat while, at the same time, using magic alongside his physical prowess. When Apollinaire, the Prophet, became bedridden, Augustine was determined to help extend his teacher’s lifespan, as there had been so much more Augustine hadn’t learned from him. Apollinaire pointed Augustine the title of Architect as his abilities had already surpassed even those of any basic warrior or magic user.

Augustine knew his craft and was well aware of the existence of a jewel which held the healing properties needed to restore Apollinaire’s youth. This jewel resided within the deepest depths of a place called the Emerald Dorm. It was a legendary treasury which held stones of absolute fortune and property. So, Augustine set off to find this dorm and, along the way, collect a band of the land’s strongest warriors to aid in his quest. Along this journey Augustine would come to realize the true limitless potential of his powers and begin his rise to a divine rite.

No one ever forgot Djorn, the Destroyer.

Djorn was spawned upon a battlefield, found after the conclusion of a great war, shielded by the bodies of fallen soldiers. King Hygod ordered his men to take the infant they had found and bring it before him. The queen took to the baby boy instantly and from that day forward Djorn was raised alongside their son, Prince Albion. Both entered knighthood and grew to be the closest of comrades. Djorn and Albion eventually went their separate ways when it was time for Albion to take up his training to become the ruler of the Kingdom of Hygod. Djorn stayed on as one of the kingdom’s most resilient generals.

As Albion stayed behind, Djorn was sent out across the land to conquer and decimate all traces of evil that his majesty’s empire could detect. Even at a young age he showed extreme talent in all aspects of war. One day, within the seclusion of his chambers, a spirit appeared before Djorn and offered him answers as to the circumstances of his birth and parents. Intrigued, Djorn left Hygod the next day in pursuit of answers to his past. Despite Albion’s pleads Djorn was determined to find his parents and follow the instruction of the strange spirit.

In Djorn’s absence the Kingdom of Hygod fell with no capable leader to command their army. Albion was forced by his father to flee his home, being the last survivor of the Kingdom of Hygod. From that day forth Albion searched for Djorn, whom he had grown to resent. Djorn traveled East, meeting forces he had never seen before. After many encounters with demons and unearthly beasts of unbelievable power, Djorn was finally brought to the resting place of his father. Djorn was not born of mortal parents, as he discovered he was the spawn of the demon, Balberith, the Seer.

The demon had turned on the Order of the Unholy Trinity and was banished to the bloody fields of battle, across the globe. Here Balberith would birth a son with the ability to defeat the Unholy Trinity, which the demon himself had grown to hate. Djorn learned that his father had wanted to overthrow Astaroth, Beelzebub and Lucifer, but was thwarted by the demon, Azazael, Wearer of Sin. Looking upon his father’s shrine, where the soldiers of the old world had casted Balberith out of existence, Djorn took his father’s armor and weaponry to use in a war he would now rage against the Unholy Trinity. Taking to, what he believed to be, his purpose, Djorn wore the Bloodluster Amor.

It was a knight’s suit who’s black magical powers grew evermore unstoppable in the dead of night or in the presence of demonic forces. From this moment Djorn swore to travel down the nine circles of hell to reach the trinity and bathe in their blood. Along with this armor he carried the Bloodluster Sword which was a blade that could grow, bend and slay in accordance with the power of the armor itself. Through his travels Djorn searched for thee entrance to hell and, along the way, became the most feared warrior to have ever walked the earth. Over the years Djorn built up an army which he would soon lead down to the depths of the inferno, setting off on his venture to take hell for himself and rule over all damnation.

The greatest warrior of them all had to be Albion, the Vigilant.

Two years had past after Albion’s kingdom had fallen. Over time he had lost everything and eventually found himself at the mercy of goblins, imps and devils within a dark forest. For days he was tortured by the woodland beasts who planned to eat him. Through all of this, Albion maintained his faith in the heavens and all the wonders of light and goodness in this world. Finally, on the day the goblins, imps and devils casted Albion into a large oven, beneath an old willow tree in the Bedlam Swamps, the heavens intervened. From the furnaced stepped Albion, immortal and angelic, having been reborn by the will of the angel, Chaelos. Albion soon escaped the swamp, laid waste to the evils within it and built his new kingdom upon it’s foundation.

From there he readied an army to defend his new home, building a kingdom larger and more magnificent than the one he had lost. In time he gave up his pursuit for Djorn, eventually taking back his home and appointing his first son the ruler of the Hygod Kingdom. Albion’s new kingdom was named Aelos and both lands, though miles away, served as two halves of a singularly unified power. Albion eventually left his kingdom to his grandchildren and served as a watcher over his lands after his subjects believed him to have passed on. He walked the planet, serving as an agent of the heavens and maintaining peace between the lands of Nyboria.

Most feared Azazael, the Wearer of Sin.

Azazael is one of the demon lords who serves as an advisor to the demon god, Astaroth. He sometimes roams the streets of human cities and takes the form of a female, luring men into secluded places, just to tear their hearts from their chests and be off. He is always seen wearing flowing black rags that cover his boney white flesh. From under his rags reach scythe-like blades that pet rude from his body when he moves. He is one of the generals of the demon’s army and seems to have some admiration for angels, admiring their perfection which he secretly longs for.

To Azazel’s side stood Dromalius, the General.

This demon lord wears a suit of bones and fire. He almost always stands before the demon lord, Legion. Dromalius commands Legion in his assaults. Legion, who holds a million familiars within himself, can unleash an army of demonic spirits who are then granted more power by the sorcery of Dromalius. This demon lord is an accomplished general, magic user and has been titled, “Angel Slayer”. He is one of the most feared demon lords to have ever existed.

Next, there came the teacher, Apollinaire, the Prophet.

Being one of the first humans to drink the elixir of immortality, eternal life had granted Apollinaire unlimited time to master all forms of magic. This had led to him even surpassing the title of a wizard, becoming just as powerful as the lesser angels. Apollinaire lived his life in protection over many cities to which he was tasked to guard. He served the angels well into the following centuries, but soon his constant enchanted endeavors began to weaken the effects of the elixir in his body.

By the time the age’s of Synths and Merceron had come, Apollinaire faded in and out of death as his students and disciples would try for many years to prolong the magician’s life. The angels could not help him, as they had been instructed by the dragons that they had created laws that forbid humans from ever becoming eternal, as they are an easily corruptible race. Apollinaire understood this and eventually died peacefully in his sleep, in the ruins of the City of Ptula.

When he died the dragons allowed Apollinaire’s soul passage into their realm of Zantar, reincarnating him as a dragon. The dragons told Apollinaire that he was spared for his services in his past life and would never be subject to any afterlife. The dragons allowed Apollinaire to exist as a guardian of Zantar. But, he was forbidden from ever returning to Nyboria, for fear that he might wish to stay and pass his knowledge unto more unsuitable mortals, unfit to know such miraculous things. However, the construction of the Realmgate would soon move to dismiss these laws.

Lastly, there lived Alekhyne, the Creator.

Within the moons above Nyboria floated the Cathedral of Alekhyne, the Creator. Once mortal man, Alekhyne called upon the aid of demons to put him in contact with the legendary Astaroth. Alekhyne claimed he had a marvelous deal for the demon and eventually he was granted an audience. Alekhyne convinced Astaroth to grant him the full scale of the demon lord’s knowledge, believing he could accomplish world changing feats which he would then use to aid the Unholy Trinity. Astaroth refused until a fate by the name of Morak predicted that Alekhyne was destined to live above the angels and bring a world old fire crashing down upon Nyboria.

The deal between the man and the demon was made and before long Alekhyne had reverted his age and discovered an art, the likes of which no one had ever seen. Alekhyne had discovered science. He built machines and bizarre labs until finding his way into space, creating a home between the three eastern moons. Within this lab the demons of the planet could not pursue him. He not only intended to destroy the angels, but the demons and inhabitants of earth as well. From his youth Alekhyne had lost all love for life and, instead, dedicated his existence to destroying everything and everyone.

Within his lab he engineered giant monsters of unfathomable sizes. He would release these beats he called “Kaiju” upon Nyboria and watch the globe’s inhabitants scatter like ants. Nor the angels or demons could reach him to stop his rein. No one had ever flown past the skies above, leaving the inhabitants of the world uncertain of where the kaiju had come from. Alekhyne created Eraclopse first. It was a one-eyed titan made of stone and muscle. The monster had first fallen into the ocean, eventually moving unto the Shores of Korador and laying waste to the merfolk populations. The mages of the world were called together to halt the kaiju, but only two survived the encounter.

The twelve wizards from the Scattered Lands all met within the angel city of Heron, and from there they carried out a second assault on Eraclopse, finally killing the beast. Mere months later Alekhyne unleashed his second creation, Ultrok, a bird-like beast with the ability to fire beams of fire from orbs that covered it’s feathery plated skin. Once again the wizards rose to meet the threat, but after the death of Brittlebane and Hempstrung, the rest of the wizards fled to the east. All seemed lost as the Eraclopse moved in to take the angel city. Apollinaire had come from the floating city of Ptula and had brought along his apprentice, Djorn.

Djorn took his mighty sword and, in one stroke, split the mighty Eraclopse straight down the middle, slaying the beast none magnificent slash. Djorn became the the soul slayer of all kaiju as Alekhyne was found out by Apollinaire, who helped lead an attack on his cathedral between the eastern moons. Alekhyne had escaped before Apollinaire could capture him, but within his lab grew the spawn of an unbeatable kaiju. One that could not be defeated by any means. This kaiju was, Zillion, the Egg. Apollinaire tried his best to destroy it, but the unformed spawn was unaffected by magic, unable to be pulled from the cathedral which weakened magic users. Apollinaire knew that one day Zillion would finish growing and descend upon the planet. The only thing the legendary prophet feared was, that when the beast would finally wake, would he or Djorn still be alive to combat it? Apollinaire referred to this in his journals as the predicted ‘End of Days’.

Of Men On Other Worlds

“So… you are an alien, then?”

The brown bearded man slumped down in a wooden chair by a square wooden table. A whiter man sat on the other side, bound to his wooden chair by a rope. The bearded man, Greg, flicked on the light overhead and brought a small glare of light swinging like a pendulum over the table.

“Yes, compared in perfect parallel to what you consider to be an alien.”

The light passed between Greg and the visitor, shining light on the man and his prisoner until it finally settled between them, lighting the table and bring a balance of lit equality to the cemented room. Greg spoke first.

“How did you get here? To Earth?”

“The process was very difficult, I can assure you. Space travel is no easy task, no matter how advanced any advanced race claims to be.”

“What is the name of the planet you come from?”

“Orth.”

“Constellation?”

“Where I come from there are no constellations. My planet is merely one in a series floating outside the guidance of a rotating galaxy. We have no suns or moons.”

“You say suns or moons, implying you’ve seen planets with more.”

“Indeed. Three planets we know of hold considerate amounts of the two. Some planets have two suns and three moons. Some are reversed.”

“And just how many planets does your kind know of?”

“Inhabited or uninhabited?”

“Both.”

“Twenty-four. Yours was the first we found containing life.”

“That’s shocking. We were sure any species able to reach us would be well off in the matter of knowing all about space and it’s worlds.”

“I believe our races are the same. That we both held out hopes for potential when the day came that we would finally meet. I certainly didn’t expect to be trapped underneath someone’s home, tied to a chair to be interviewed. And I bet you never expected to have a spacecraft land in your own backyard. But… you didn’t kill me. And for that I am grateful.”

“How far did you travel to get here?”

“Oh, a while. A long distance, I can assure you. But… I must say, even I’m not too sure about the distance. By the standards of your modern technology, I’d say your kind could have made the trip I made in about.. two-thousand eighty-two years.”

“How long did it take you?”

“Two minutes.”

Greg sat back in astonishment. He was calm and mesmerized by the visitor. He pushed a small box out of his tight jean pocket and settled it on the table, hiding it under his advancing right hand. He flipped on the recording button of his hidden box and coughed as to not let the visitor hear the sound of the machine. Greg did this as a sort of last minute act of fleeting paranoia as almost all of his doubts concerning the being in front of him began to fade quickly. Greg began again.

“Now that’s damn impressive! I hope you don’t mind the ropes. I just can’t be sure. With you being… alien and all.”

“I completely understand. Believe me, if one of your kind had landed on my planet I’d probably tie you up for questioning as well.”

“So you’re not mad?”

“Not at all. This is the most logical response to an alien. I expect no special treatment or sudden rush of acceptance. You have no idea if my species eats their young, drinks whole oceans or breaths toxic gas. What you are doing is normal to an encounter of this nature. Please, feel no worries.”

“For the second… that stuff really isn’t true about your race, is it? About the ocean drinking and gas breathing?”

“Haha. Of course not.”

“So aliens have a sense of humor too?”

“Is it any surprise?”

“No. Just nice to know. Umm… I probably should of told you this before, but I got this box right here. It’ll record our conversations. That alright?”

“Well, I’m barely in a position to protest. You’re keeping me well fed, keeping me busy and keeping me comfortable.”

“Minus the ropes?”

“Minus the ropes. Haha. But still, do what you wish. You are recording this to share our encounter, no doubt? Well I would like our encounter to be known as well. It would be nice for the people of the world to see that the first face to face meeting between two different extraterrestrials was composed peacefully, and without violence.”

Both Greg and the visitor sat back and took deep breaths of relief. Greg began again.

“It is nice, isn’t it?”

“Yes. And one day both of our races will know of this meeting. And they will both know how this all began.”

“With words. Not war.”

“Exactly.”

“I never expected your kind to be so peaceful.”

“I never expected your kind to be so logical.”

“Believe me, not all of us are.”

“Oh, I know the feeling. Not all species are perfect, and as a group it is scary what they can do.”

“I don’t doubt it.”

Greg pulled out a pack of cigarettes an lit up one. The first of many to follow. The visitor looked at them with a sort of confusion and didn’t bother to ask for one or inquire about what they were. Greg could see this hesitation towards his cigarette and chose not to dress it, as he had too many other questions to ask the alien before him. Greg pressed on with his next question.

“You said before you were from a planet called Orth.”

“That is correct.”

“What is it like?”

“Much like your planet. Green life, mountains, structures reaching up to the clouds. Just like yours. We have transportation and means of communication set up all over the globe. We just happen to be a little ahead of you.”

“I see.”

“What’s the matter? Didn’t expect an alien to be so cocky about his home world? And especially after the sate of his crashed ship which… he, I… probably shouldn’t be bragging about. Haha. Based on the nature of my situation. Haha.”

“No, it’s not that. I just never expected your kind to look exactly like us.”

“Yes, I am finding that strange as well. Both our races are unbelievably similar. We even speak the same language.”

“I was jus about to ask about that! Is your kind telepathic?”

“Haha! No, I assure you. I guess you and I are just on the same level of thinking.”

“So you have no idea how it is we both speak the same language?”

“No clue. If I knew, believe me, I would tell you. Perhaps it is just one of those strange happenings of the universe. One of those things, unexplained by even the greatest of minds. Maybe there exists a race beyond the both of ours who does know. But, I don’t wish to jump ahead so quickly.”

“Same.”

There was a short silence before Greg continued questioning; taking time to truly enjoy this opportunity he had been granted.

“Moving right along… can you tell me anything about your kind?”

“About the Orthlings? Hmm… well, we are very much like you. From what I can tell we speak the same, we act the same, we think alike and we look unrecognizable from one another. Apart from this there’s not much I can say. Do you have days of worship?”

“Like… holidays?”

“Yes! That word encompasses the term perfectly!”

“You’ve never heard the term ‘holiday’ on your planet?”

The visitor thought for a moment but could think of nothing relating to the word.

“No. That one seems new to me. I can’t speak on behalf of my race, though.”

“I understand. Even I don’t know the entire english language. Hell, there are whole languages on our planet that are foreign and unknown to me.”

“You are kidding? Same with me! There are varying degrees of language on my world as well! Most I never took the time to learn.”

“So… you’re home planet is called Orth. What does that stand for?”

“Beautiful. What is Earth’s language meaning?”

“You’d laugh if I told you.”

“I promise I won’t. Go ahead. What does ‘earth’ mean?”

“Dirt.”

“P-Pardon?”

There was a slight chuckle in the visitor’s voice. Greg could tell and nearly almost bursted out laughing himself.

“It means dirt.”

The visitor bowed his head to smirk as Greg focus his mouth to the side of his face in a display of blatant embarrassment. The visitor spoke next.

“That’s…”

“Pathetic?”

“No, I wouldn’t say that.”

Greg went forth with his next question.

“Why were you here?”

“I was sent to study human behavior. To see if your race was worth contacting.”

“And are we?”

“I’ve yet to make my report.”

“Your report?”

“Yes. Like a job, I have to report back to my superiors upon the nature of my progress. Sure, getting kidnapped wasn’t in the job description, but at least I’m doing my job. Technically.”

Greg continued.

“How did your ship crash?”

“When I entered your planet’s atmosphere, something must have not mixed well with the engine, cause after coming into contact with Earth’s air my whole ship had just up and died.”

“I see. But I bet you’re grateful both our races breath the same air.”

“Oh, absolutely.”

“How old are you?”

“Two thousand and one years old, as of the last lunar cycle of your world.”

“Holy shit!”

“And how old are you? Forty three.”

“Oh my. You have a way to go my fiend. You’re practically an infant on my planet.”

“Sorry to say, space-man, but I think you’re mistaken. See, us humans only get to live till about a hundred or so. Maybe more, maybe less. Just living to three hundred is out of our life expectancy fantasies.”

“That’s no good. I’m sorry to hear that.”

The visitor almost looked depressed for a moment, and he put his head down as if thinking over the span of an earthlings life. How insignificant he must have thought it was. Greg began again.

“What do you think of humans from your research?”

“Just like my own race. Weaknesses and strengths, flaws and positives. I don’t fear our kinds meeting. I’m content with what I’ve seen.”

“Well, that’s good to hear.”

This time, before Greg could ask the next question on his list, that he had tucked in his hand, under the table, the visitor spoke up.

“What are those white and yellow sticks you’ve been burning in your mouth?”

“They’re called cigarettes.”

“What do you do with them?”

“They make smoke. You breath it in and out of your lungs. It slowly kills you, but it feels nice, tastes good and calms you down.”

“Strange. Could I have one?”

“Sure! Uhh… Absolutely!”

Greg nearly jumped from his seat with excitement, having been the first man alive to offer a cigarette to an alien. He almost couldn’t contain his ecstatic behavior. Greg placed one of his cigarettes in the visitors mouth, lit it and waited for him to start choking. But the visitor never did. He smoked the whole thing down without so much as a need to catch his breath. Almost like the alien was a born smoker. Greg was impressed and stated so.

“Damn! You sure you never tried this before? Positive. We have no such thing on planets as these… cig-are-ettes.”

“Sometimes we call em’ cancer sticks.”

“What is cancer?”

“A bitch. That’s what it is fella.”

Greg seemed to drop the subject quickly. He went quiet for a moment and put the box of cigarettes away in his jacket pocket. Before he could continue questioning again, the visitor spoke out again with another question of his own.

“Do you trust me enough to tell me exactly where it is we are? I know we are in the basement of your home, but where?”

Greg didn’t hesitate to answer.

“Nevada. That’s the state I live in. Do you know what a state is?”

“No. But I might have an idea. Are states contained within larger continents to make up a mass populous run on culture, economy and a personal government?”

“In a sense.”

“Then, yes! I know exactly what a state is. Have you lived here all your life?”

“Mainly. I used to work locally. Odd jobs, mainly. Nothing big. Enough to afford my own place here.”

“That’s nice…”

The Visitor went quiet for a moment. Suddenly, there came a thud and the rushing of heavy boots stomped across the ceiling. Greg’s head shot up and down again, landing on the Visitor.

“Did you hear that!?” Greg screamed.

Before either of them could move the basement door flew open and a team of heavily armed military men filled the room. They cuffed Greg and pulled him outside, kicking and screaming. All the while a large man slowly approached the Visitor with a knife. In a few cut the man in black freed the supposed alien from the rope which tied him to his chair. The Visitor stood up, rubbed his wrists while speaking directly to the man in black in front of him.

“Well it’s about god damned time!! This crazy fuck had me tied up here for days! He thought I was an alien for christ sakes!!”

The man in black resounded. “ I assume our test aircrafts were not to your liking professor?”

“Not to my liking!? NOT TO MY LIKING!?!”

The Visitor stormed out of the room, followed by the men in black who had Greg hogtied out on his lawn by the time they’d all made it outside. The Visitor spoke again.

“Misshapen wings are not to my liking. A filthy workspace is not to my liking. But testing one of your base’s new crafts, then having it crash out in the middle of god knows where, where some fucking lunatic in a cottage in the desert can fish me out and lock me up in his basement, thinking I’m an alien, No!! THAT IS PRETTY FUCKING FAR FROM MY LIKING!!!”

The Visitor… the Professor was furious, pressing his finger into the chest of the man in black. The man in black spoke.

“We apologize that it took so long to find you. The distress signal was weak, you know, you being underground and all. Did he really think you were an alien, sir?”

“Well, yeah! A strange ship with a guy in it lands in his backyard. Before I knew it he was ready to show me Elvis and feed me fast food to see if my ‘alien biology’ could handle it. Plus, to buy time I made up a few things, to keep him thinking I was one. God knows, if he knew I was some government official he might have panicked, tired to do away with me. I don’t like to deal with these outback bucktooth conspirators. Bunch of maniacs.”

“Yes, sir.” The man in black replied.

“So what’s gonna happen to him?” The Professor said, gesturing towards Greg.

The man in black replied.

“Not sure. It’ll be out of our hands. The man has seen classified government equipment. From our standpoint this is a clean and cut case of kidnapping and hostage taking. We may give him a short term sentence. Put him away for a few months and mess with his memories. It’s best for everyone if we just forget this whole thing even happened. Do you care? About him, I mean.”

“Like I give a shit what happens to him.” The Professor replied.

As Greg lied on the ground crying out for his alien friend, the professor was escorted, by the men in black, back to Area 51, where they took

“Any chance you could skip this experience’s recuperation and hop back onto working on that craft?” The man in black asked the Professor.

“Kiss my ass.” The Professor replied.

The man in black laughed.

The Tragedy Of Dantelion - Part I

“I have stood witness to the teachings of the sorcerer, Endymion, the fall of Apollo and the defeat of Atlas. I have rode the manticore, in a general’s position, against the armies of Astaroth and faced overwhelming vampiric, as well as demonic, forces alike, throughout the infancy of my earlier years. I have walked the path of the dullahan, retrieved my bearings, tasted immortality and sat upon the throne of a million fallen kings before me. I am Dantelion.”

Dantelion walked the hot and barren wasteland, cloaked in a black woolen sheet and with his broadsword attached to the leather hilt that lied upon his back. His cloak did little to lighten the awful heat of the planet’s three suns; each one, a ball of flame and fury that beat down like a scolding lantern of hellfire. His thirst only added to the displeasure of having been stranded without sustenance for what seemed like the last ninety nine days, and as he thought to himself, Dantelion knew his one-hundredth day would be his last, but only if he could not find water soon. He strolled on, weighed down by his blade, his clothing and the bitter air. Rocks and formations of ground structured like great monoliths of misshapen hills branched over his head. The ground was cracked and desolate, with clay and stone forming waves of solid rock that froze like petrified liquid.

From the distance there came a glowing light, like a fire in mid-day, and Dantelion set his sights upon this flame of hope, heading to it, steady and strong. Between the formation of two ribbed cliffs, he saw the source of the green glowing mass. Before him lied a shrine of relics and a table made from the surrounding rocks. Sticks and dead wood made up legs that kept the main rock steady, and held up small tikis and figurines, molded from clay. As Dantelion advanced upon the shrine, goblins in brown cloaks and totem poles, decorated to look like vicious imps, all rose from the surrounding rocks and cracks from all around. Dantelion readied his sword and killed three of the pouncing creatures with a backstroke that pulled the sword from it’s sheath. Six more moved in, each holding a dagger with the ends dipped in a visible greenish poison.

Dantelion knew he could not win this fight. There were six of them, weak, but quick, deadly, unpredictable. And it was at that moment he realized that full-on contact was no way to escape unharmed. Dantelion put away his sword, sitting upon the ground and taking up a position to mediate. He sat, humming to himself as the goblins appeared confused. In a second they took advantage of Dantelion’s hesitation to attack, and in a second they ran at him, poison daggers in tow. As the imps pulled back their arms to strike, an invisible force suddenly stopped them. Dantelion opened his eyes to reveal them to be white and emanating a mystical glow. The white mist which poured from Dantelion’s eyes brushed upon the wrists of the goblins. One by one the goblins drove their poison daggers into their own throats, all at the will of Dantelion.

The goblins writhed and gargled for a while until succumbing to the poison. Dantelion closed and opened his eyes again, revealing their original green color. He stood up once again, made his way over to the shrine and took a few minutes to loot the goblins and the totems. He made his way past a series of cliffs before coming across the ruined remains of a fort, abandoned long ago. He approached the outer wall and ran his fingers along strange texts which were scrolled about the keep’s surface. Dantelion followed the wall until stumbling upon a group of goblins, poking at a fairy with a broken wing that lied weeping on the floor. Dantelion advanced on the goblins, summoning up a burst of fire and turning the closest one to ash. As the other goblins fled in horror, Dantelion came to kneel at the sight of the crying female fairy.

He extended his hand to the creature and it spat in his eye, pixie-dust flying about at it flew off, laughing spitefully. Dantelion rubbed his face and stood up once more, this time, looking for the entrance to the fortress. He followed the wall around a bend and came to a large arch constructed of rocks, unseen so far by the surrounding environment, and he made haste to move inside. Through the arch he came across two large wooden doors that towered above him. He kicked through the right one and it swung open in ease. From behind the door Dantelion heard music and felt the heat of jovial festivities on the other side of the fort’s entrance. Now, he could only see barren stones, coupled up against one another to form broken tables and seats where it appeared as if death had swept through.

Within the fort lied a sort of grey coloring in the air, and the ruins of this place looked to have been deserted for some time. As Dantelion stepped forward, there came a sound from beneath the courtyard of the fort. Suddenly, from beneath him, a cyclops, towering at the height of ten men or more, rose from the ground before Dantelion. It snarled and swung it’s giant arms. It’s bulging lower fangs centered it’s waving tongue. The cyclops raised it’s foot to step down at Dantelion, but he rolled to dodge each strike, and with each dodge, he hacked away at the cyclops’ hooves. The creature fell, in pain, and that was when Dantelion leaped up, onto the cyclops’ shoulder. The beast swatted at Dantelion, but it was no use. Using one of the monster’s earrings, Dantelion swung from one side of the creature’s shoulder, past it’s neck and onto the other, slicing it’s throat in the process.

Dantelion took hold of the cyclops’ horns as it’s dying body fell to the ground of the courtyard. Once grounded, Dantelion took his sword and pierced the cyclops’ heart. He cut off the creature’s horns and wrapped them in ropes that he had under his black cape. Then suddenly, there came a cracking roar of thunder. For the first time in a while there was finally rainfall upon the desert lands. And after ninety nine days Dantelion finally drank from the sky, collecting handfuls of heavy rain. For many miles through the desert Dantelion carried the horns of the cyclops upon his back, and through the deserts and valleys he walked again until coming upon the Palace of King Hygod. Dantelion stepped through the lines of knights and paladins that rested about the king’s chambers. Dantelion dragged the horns through the throne room and rested them at the feet of his majesty, King Hygod.

The king was pleased beyond compare. What followed that night was a fantastic festival in Dantelion’s honor. There was food, and wine, and women from across Hygod’s wealthy kingdom. And as nightfall approached all the drunkards, and those who’d basked in the pleasures of the evening, fell into a deep sleep. But not Dantelion. He awoke, just before the coming of dawn. Dantelion approached the jovial king and requested his pay from Hygod. It was pay for the service of ridding Hygod’s kingdom from the presence of a vicious fiend; A creature known to the locals as the Horned-Cyclops. Hygod presented Dantelion with a bag of two hundred golden pieces, and Dantelion bowed to the king, taking his leave before the sun would rise. As Dantelion was leaving the kingdom a woman rushed up to him in a frantic plea and took hold of his arm, begging him to stay.

Dantelion held her close and whispered in her ear, things only spoken from the lips of the deities of love. Overcome with ecstasy, she fainted in Dantelion’s arms. He sat her down beside a pile of potato sacks and took his leave of the kingdom. When the woman came to, Dantelion was gone; off on another magnificent venture before the sun had even risen that day. Dantelion would then take his ventures farther to the East, and there he would find his next quest.

Soon after, upon the dunes of Arabia, Dantelion found himself before a great palace and responding to a worried sultan’s pleas for help. Ten days ago Dantelion sat on the shores of Tartarus, resting from a mission to retrieve a lost jewel from within the depths of the Seventh Circle of the underworld. After admiring the beauty of the gem, and reflecting on the demon lords he had struck down to achieve it, Dandelion received a messenger bird upon his shoulder, beaconing him to Arabia. So, it was in the Palace of Sultan Nomah. Entering the sultan’s chambers, Dantelion was recognized immediately. The sultan showered Dantelion in riches, praising him for his arrival and telling him the reason for him being there. Sultan Nomah revealed that he’d received a vision from the god, Eptuhk, that a meteorite, carrying the sentience of a great demonic space creature, was to land atop the dunes of Arabia, in three days time, and desolate the sultan’s palace.

Dantelion was asked, in all the vastness of his resilient and powerful brilliance, to stop the meteor known as Kashfahr. Dantelion spoke no words, turned and walked out to where the sultan predicted Kashfahr would land, and waited. Three days passed and the meteor was finally in sight. The people of the palace fled to cover, as retreating into the desert would be a more cruel death, burning amidst the dunes. Dandelion stood firm and looked up at Kashfahr, watching as chunks of rock flew off the meteorite as it entered the atmosphere. Dantelion readied the magic of his iron will and his eyes went white. Dantelion used his mind, from miles away, the grab the chunks of space rock that fell off of the meteor. Dantelion knew that if he could press the rocks deep enough into the meteor’s core, he could shatter it.

Dantelion hurled the rocks backward at the descending Kashfahr, penetrating his core. Throughout the fall Kashfahr’s cries of pain echoed across the skies, all while Dantelion telekinetically pressed the rocks deeper and deeper into Kashfahr. Final, the sentient meteor cried out no longer. The space rock had been shattered and Kashfahr was now a series of rocks, raining down upon the dunes. The sultan coward, fearing that even more falling rocks would spell the end of his land. Dantelion then sat, meditating, and creating a kinetic barrier so large, it stretched across the skies of the dunes, catching the rocks mid-fall. Sultan Nomah was astonished. Dantelion swirled the barrier, collecting up the space rocks and shattered pieces of Kashfahr, setting them a far distance away from the palace.

Dantelion returned to the sultan, and as the people of his palace welcomed the warrior with open arms, Dantelion fell, unconscious, and into a coma-like sleep for a long while. The sultan’s doctors believed it was from the stain of using his telepathic abilities, that the amount of force needed to generate the barrier Dantelion had created, was too much pressure on his body and mind. So, within the Palace of Sultan Nomah, Dantelion was given a hidden resting chamber. Here, he could remain hidden from the world and all those who would wish him harm. Here, Dantelion would stay till the day that the magnificent warrior would rise again, once more reining righteousness upon the world and the worlds beyond. When the day finally came that Dantelion’s wounds had healed, the sultan believed him to be dead and had his body displayed in a grand burial chamber, within a glass coffin, surrounded by the treasures he’d left behind.

On the day that Dantelion awoke, it was said that he glowed as bright as the angels, and that the sultan’s people believed Dantelion to be divine. Dantelion thanked the sultan and took his leave of the Arabian dunes. This began Dantelion’s month-long travel back to the Kingdoms of the West. Somewhere on his journeys he had stopped in a small village surrounded by forests. The town was composed entirely of women, and little did Dantelion know that he had stumbled upon the hiding place of the evil deity, Empusa, daughter of the evil sky-god, Typhon. One night, while in the midst of a feast, in the honor of the legendary warrior, the maidens who worshipped Empusa had given Dantelion drugged wine. Once asleep, Empusa’s followers engraved a seal onto Dantelion’s chest, bounding him to the will of the malicious deity.

Dantelion awoke to the scene and began to slice out the seal from his flesh with his own dagger! But, it was no use. His flesh regenerated as a side effect of Empusa’s power over his being. Dantelion was commanded, by Empusa, to travel across the sea and kill her father, Typhon, as he’d refused to ever grant her godship, no matter what divine task she’d preform to prove herself. Dantelion had never been asked to kill a god before, and this mission proposal strangely intrigued him. But, Empusa had one last condition. Dantelion was told that if he did not cross the sea, past the Sackcloth Valley, through the Eastern Pass and up unto Mount Latmus to kill Typhon, all within thirteen days, the seal upon Dantelion’s chest would implode, killing him. This was to ensure Dantelion’s undying determination in the endeavor.

Empusa also added that when traveling through the Eastern Pass that Dantelion was forbidden from slaying her siblings, Charybdis and Scylla. These were the deformed creatures who lurked within the caverns and waters of he pass. Empusa made it clear that her rage was only directed at her father and not her younger brother and sister. In a fit of rage, at the discovery of this condition, Dantelion slaughtered Empusa’s followers and damned the deity. Dantelion left for Mount Latmus the very next day. He took advantage of old dues and borrowed a ship from King Hygod, whom Dantelion had once served under. Now, just himself and a lone ship, Dantelion sailed East. Dantelion had effortlessly passed over the Sackcloth Valley in one day. This was due to the aid of the angel, Gabriel, who had granted Dantelion a pegasus to help him reach his destination.

With twelve days left, Dantelion took to the vicious ocean and reached the Eastern Pass within three days. Dantelion had nine days left. The eyes of Empusa lingered through the engraving upon Dantelion’s chest. She could see every move and sat quietly as Dantelion carried out this most awful venture, and with much distain for divine monstrosities who hold an unparalleled dominion over humankind. Dantelion knew that soon he would have to face the horrors of the Pass before moving unto the mountain where his target awaited him. With each day time was running out and, for the first time, Dantelion feared for his life. Suddenly, in the distance, there came his destination and Dantelion headed forward without fear or mercy for any monster who wished to get in his way, vowing to slay all who blocked his path.

He sailed through the Pass for a time, and for a while it seemed that no threats in the form of mythical beasts, spoken of in the books of myth and legend, were present. As Dantelion came to the center of the eastern Pass, he began to notice the water giving off ripples of a most unsettling pattern. He heard noises, like a hissing, coming from far down the rocky cliffs of the watery caves. He readied his sword as the ship worked it’s way around a bend, turning before a large open portion of the cave, with islands of rock; one of which housed the most feared creatures in all of known Oceanic Lore. Scylla, Serpent of the Eastern Pass, stood before Dantelion’s ship. She towered over his vessel, standing upon a collapsing rock and viciously eager to sink her fangs into the foolish traveler.

Dantelion summoned up the mythical energies of his will. His eyes turned white and emanated their glow as he readied to face off against Scylla. Before engaging her, Dantelion looked around to notice the walls and islands of this section of the cavern were littered with ships from all across history. They lied broken, smashed and covered in stale blood, petrified to the walls and watery puddles of Scylla’s cave. Dantelion stayed the corse, slashing back at the she-beast with every swipe she made at him; and praying that he not meet the fate of the million sunken sailors before him. Scylla stood two ships tall, with razor teeth and six heads. The once thieving-obsessed nymph was punished by the gods, and was reduced to a vile beast who haunts the caves and watery caverns of the Eastern Pass.

As the ship moved upon her, Scylla summoned up great whirlpools which battered Dantelion’s ship left and right, tearing away at it’s structure. And as his ship passed, Scylla did try to take swipes at Dantelion, nearly missing the chance to gobble him up in one bite. Dantelion lead his ship through the whirling cavern, dodging rocks with the help of his magic. He meditated and attempted to stay conscious at the same time; fending off Scylla with his sword and taking control of the entire ship to ensure it wasn’t lost to the depths of the sea caves. The Eastern Pass was rearing it’s end and as Scylla stood upon a rock, Dantelion let go of his influence over the ship, letting the battered wreck steer itself safely out of the cavern. The whirlpools died down as Scylla was left behind, clinging to a rock as it still tried to snap at the escaping Dantelion.

Once free of the cavern, Dantelion fell, exhausted. As he rested he could feel a great presence beneath him. Charybdis sprung from under the ship, ripping a singular hole straight up from it’s underbelly. Dantelion fell back as the massive beast flew from the air and landed on the front of his ship. Dantelion peered at the massive blobbing mass of shells and queer sea life. Charybdis’ eyes were black and his teeth were dripping aquatic ooze. The years of dwelling beneath the caverns had chipped away it’s once beautiful appearance, turning it into a ruling mass of oceanic horrors. As the ship sunk around Dantelion he attempted to kill Charybdis quickly, knowing that if he was left in the ocean with the creature, it would surely drag him under. Dantelion jumped across the hole in his ship and slashed away at Charybdis; each shot missing as the monster’s shelled exterior deflected the blade.

The ship was going down fast and soon Charybdis fled to the ocean, now in his own element. Dantelion had no choice but to steer the ship back to the caverns. At least there he could find his footing on land and work out a way to kill Charybdis. But, even if he could kill the beast at the end of the Pass, there was no guarantee that Dantelion would find a way off of the Eastern Island, as the surface of the caverns were said to be just as deadly as their underside. Dantelion decided to solve this issue later and forced the ship to crash up against the side of the rock shores of the cavern, landing him atop the caves where he had fought Scylla. Charybdis had disappeared into the sea and Dantelion was stranded atop the long island caverns of the Eastern Pass; with no ship, no food and no escape.

To be continued…

Leather Aprons

What follows is the alternate universe telling of a number of Britain’s most fearful specters, both fictional and not. These tales combine the victorian and gothic legends of old, in a series of synopsis’ which highlight similar interest and possible future which could spell misfortune for the world.

The Historical Horror Of A Time Far-Gone

In 1888 a murderer by the name of Jack the Ripper dispatched five women in Whitechapel, London, England. Throughout history there has always existed a gallery of mimics, copycats, worshipers and disciples of old Jack, and most have have always saw the unforgiving hammer of justice. But it was the few cases, throughout England’s long history, that struck fear into hearts of anyone who dared to walk the streets of London at night; believing, that even hundreds of years later, the Ripper still roamed. For amidst the streets of Whitechapel the people still feared Jack and his murderous acts which, they believed, could last through the ages and transcend the passage of time. There were those who believed Jack the Ripper to be a demon, spawned over a sinful exchange in religious infidelity, and destined to forever hold London in a fit of horror and distress.

Dorian’s Second Chance & Another Immortal

Dorian Gray stood with a knife in his hand. His eyes were fixed on his cursed portrait, embodying all of his filth, his sins and his sorrow. He looked on, ready to pierce the painting’s heart; the core of this object which had robbed him of his age and granted the young man fruitful immortality. In this instant he was ready to end it all. That was… if there hand’t come the breath of a cold white hand, extending itself upon the shoulder of Dorian, offering him contentment. This white hand was not that of a ghost, or any demon for that matter. No, this hand was the phantom talon of the dreadful Count Dracula, who had resided in the local London abode, Carfax. This vampire had ventured down from the treacherous terrain of Transylvania and taken up residence where he could watch over all the villains of London. Dorian looked through the Count’s eyes, amazed and astonished; and in a moment of strength Dorian drove his knife into Dracula’s chest, just barley missing his heart, but stunning the vampire long enough for the young immortal to escape with his painting. Dorian summoned up a coach and took his portrait far away. Farther than any man would care to look. Gray knew that the Count would pursue him, even fearing that Dracula was, instead, the angel of death, come to take Dorian away. Gray couldn’t explain it, but it was something he saw in the eyes of the vampire that granted him this new zest for life. Dorian knew that he would have to take the remainder of his merciless cunning and focus his efforts on the eradication of Count Dracula, lest he, himself, fall victim to the agenda of the demonic heathen. And so, it was beneath a black tree where Dorian buried his portrait, six feet under, to ensure his immortality… for now.

Two Damned Souls, Locked In Limbo

The full moon fades as the bloodshed of the night finally comes to an end. Andrew Jondrake lies in the rainy gutters of London, naked and afraid. Out from the shadows steps a man by the name of Doctor Henry Jekyll; a meek medicine man with a kind-enough soul. Henry takes in Andrew and appeals to his plights. While Andrew suffers the peculiar curse of becoming a creature locals have dubbed, the Wolf-man, Jekyll too admits to his nighty activities as a murderous monstrosity by the name of Mister Edward Hyde. Andrew confides in the doctor that it was his father, Sir Edmond Jondrake that cursed him with lycanthropy, killing his younger brother, Theodore, in the process. Talbot also revealed that it is his intention to kill his father, and then end his own life to prevent the curse from being further spread. Henry, astonished by Andrew’s will, offers him protection beneath his compound. During the full moon Andrew is granted an inescapable underground cellar for which to escape the efforts of Inspector Maxwell Pierce, who is attempting to incarcerate Andrew for murder. Between the nights of the full moon, Doctor Jekyll studies Andrew and looks to find a cure to his lycanthropy, all the while fighting his own urges to return to the night as the vile Edward Hyde.

Fish Of A Fin Learn To Swim

Through the streets of London, Monsieur Lecoq chases the elusive master thief, Arsene Lupin. Gunfire flies as Lupin leaps the building tops of the vast city. Lecoq looks to his side and sees a suit with no one within in, running fast beside him. Lecoq stumbled for a minute before hearing the floating suit telling him to hurry up. Lecoq turns his gun on the floating suit and it introduces itself as Griffin, the invisible man. Griffin gave no other name and only explained that Lupin had stolen from him an item of the utmost importance, hence why he was pursuing him. Arsene Lupin planned to become invisible, thereby launching a new series of thefts that would mystify all of France. Lupin had even planned to team with Fantomas, and perhaps even have him kill the inspector, Lecoq. Griffin, the mad man who desired his formula, above all things, would kill Lupin the second he was to get his hands on him. It wasn’t as if Lupin would see him coming.

NYBORIA - The Timeline (First 174 Years)

Undocumented Year(s) - Angels live in the vast darkness of a deserted realm, born from the “Ultimate Light of the Universe”. Demons live within the sand which covers this world, born from the darkness of the universe and spawned from the blood, sweat and tears of the angels above.

Undocumented Year(s) - These beings live in blackness for a time, unaware of their own origins.

Undocumented Year(s) - Nyboria is a realm of infinite sand and a black skies until ancient beings, in the form of dragons, pass over from their realm of Zantar. The dragons Melanthius, Galinthias and Rhadamanthus pass over and build vast oceans, continents, forests, mountains, islands, volcanos and open blue skies.

Year 1 - Nyboria is completed. The dragons return to their home realm to inform the others of their discovery.

Year 2 - In their absence angels descend from the skies and demons ascend from the ground. Only the demons are angered by their world’s transformation into a livable plane. Angels and demons engaged in the first war fought on Nyboria. The war will determine who keeps the new world.

Year 4 - The demons emerge victorious and begin to take the realm.

Year 6 - The dragons return with more of their kind and find the demons tarnishing Nyboria. The demons and dragons enter into a war.

Year 7 - The angels flee for a time, well aware that the dragons will defeat the demons. In their absence they travel the world and create animals of all kinds. Some of these include basilisks, snakes, wolves, birds, and countless other beasts.

Year 9 - The angels return. The dragons emerge victorious, drive the demons back under ground and befriend the angels to whom they give the skies.

Year 10 - The angels side with the dragons and begin to build vast cities across Nyboria, expanding the realm.

Year 12 - The cities of Heron, Doran, Cetus, Fedor, Nemos, Oles, Idas and Kyros are completed. The dragons retire to the mountains, to Doran. The angels take the city of Heron and begin to create beings to populate the other utopias.

Year 13 - The angels create mankind.

Year 20 - The humans take the cities of Cetus and Fedor. They advance quickly, branching into the wilderness and adapting to the many plains of the realm.

Year 25 - Conflicts and power struggles begin to erupt between Cetus and Fedor over which kingdom should lay claim to certain land. The angels attempt to create a race which will teach humility and peace to the humans.

Year 26 - Elves are created.

Year 27 - The elves live side by side with the humans and help them come to terms with their struggles. The laws of Nyboria are created. The elves move on to take the vacant city of Oles for themselves.

Year 34 - The elf population divides and some take the city of Nemos, believing themselves to be superior to those in Oles.

Year 37 - The elves of Nemos cannot carry out their work to support their society, as they are poverty stricken and each is incapable of physical labor. Their self-appointed superiority leads to Nemos’ destruction.

Year 38 - The angels attempt to create a race to teach the elves sacrifice and individual reliance. Angels create the dwarves. The dwarves believe they were born from the earth and refuse to believe otherwise.

Year 39 - The dwarves aid the elves in repairing their fallen city and help them to have Nemos and Oles thriving once again. The elves teach the dwarves of the angels, demons and dragons, but they only believe in the existence of dragons, as they are a stubborn, prideful race.

Year 42 - The dwarves take the cities of Idas and Kyros. The dwarves grow power hungry and attempt to attack the human cities, as they are allies with the elves. The elves and the dragons refuse to get involved with the war between the humans and the dwarves.

Year 43 - The angels secretly aid the humans who end up winning the war. The dwarves are taken to live amongst the humans and are taught compassion and patience. The dwarves return to their cities and all three mortal races live in peace for a time.

Year 48 - The dragons finally entrust Nyboria to the angels and take off to discover new realms. The dragon, Daedalus, secretly stays behind to look after Nyboria in secret, even to the angels.

Year 49 - With the dragons gone the demons form an uprising, corrupting the race of man and turning on the other two races.

Year 51 - The human race is dwindled to a devastatingly low populous as the elves and dwarves overtake the human cities.

Year 52 - The warlock, Hagon is born.

Year 53 - The angels and the demons continue to fight over control of Nyboria.

Year 54 - The dwarves and elves assist the angels in the slaying of demons.

Year 57 - The human race thrives again, unaffected by the weakening power of demons. The demons invade Heron, but fail to take the city.

Year 59 - The archangels are formed and establish themselves in the new city of Midas. Hagon travels the planet and establishes himself in large forests to the east.

Year 62 - The demons attempt to take the human cities once more, but are repelled by the archangels, Chaelos, Phelias and Brelius.

Year 63 - Humans establish the First Church of Cetus. The demon forces set in on the dwarf cities.

Year 65 - Daedalus playfully helps the demon forces from a far. Not even the demons are aware of Daedalus’ aid. Daedalus create the demon spawn, Rothus.

Year 66 - Hagon is visited by Daedalus and granted the title of a warlock.

Year 67 - The efforts of the angels and the elves gives back the dwarves control of their cities.

Year 68 - Daedalus, in a jealous attempt to mimic he angels, creates trolls.

Year 70 - An elixir of immortality is engineered by the First Church of Cetus and the elves. Humans take credit for the panacea’s creation.

Year 71 - Before immortality runs rampant, elf forces steal all traces of the immortal elixir, sealing them away in an unknown location. The first legends of the fabled Emerald Dorm begin to circulate.

Year 72 - Daedalus’ second attempt to create humans results in the birth of trolls.

Year 75 - A small war is fought between the First Church of Cetus and the elves. During the war a new batch of elixirs and created.

Year 76 - Hagon creates goblins.

Year 77 - The elves win the war and the church agrees to let the elves decide upon the use of the panacea.

Year 78 - Wainfaust, the Mighty, is born.

Year 95 - Wainfaust establishes the Kingdom of Hygod.

Year 98 - The Elden Order is founded by the elves. Once again, the elves hid the second batch of the immortality elixir. A fraction of the Order leaves and creates the Kingdom of Elden to the far northeast.

Year 99 - Hygod pledges their allegiance to the angels. Daedalus, though bent on assuring the demons lose this war, aids their race against all the others to see if they could stand a chance.

Year 100 - Wainfaust, in the midst of the war between the angels and the demons, commissions a portion of his men to search for the fabled Emerald Dorm. He believes the dorm might contain a stone or enchanted mineral that can help the angels.

Year 101 - Humans begin to secretly worship demons under the spiritual protection of Daedalus.

Year 102 - Wainfaust’s men are killed by trolls while passing through Hagon’s land.

Year 103 - Hagon combines goblins with orcs and spawns ogres. He uses the ogres the build his fortress, taking domino over the eastern woodlands.

Year 107 - Wainfaust gives up hope that the dorm will ever be found.

Year 117 - The war ends as the angels drive the demons back under ground. Daedalus constructs the underworld and gives demons a home in an attempt to lessen their rebellions against the angels. The archangels, Chaelos, Phelias and Brelius create the Holy Trinity.

Year 118 - All three races pledge their allegiance to the angels of Heron. Angels are finally recognized by dwarves.

Year 122 - The events of the Rise of Ptula take place.

Year 132 - Wainfaust II is born.

Year 133 - The realm lives in peace for a time.

Year 141 - Wainfaust dies of natural causes.

Year 142 - The elves expand the Order of Elden and establish an eastern kingdom.

Year 143 - The angel, Tyrius, is born and is appointed lord of the seas. Tyrius creates the merfolk to aid him.

Year 145 - Wainfaust II meets Tyrius while away at sea. The two become allies when Wainfaust II is a young boy.

Year 146 - Daedalus revels himself to the demons and creates hordes of imps, devils, boggarts, redcaps and gremlins to plague small villages.

Year 147 - The humans are able to scare off Daedalus’ creatures.

Year 151 - Wainfaust II creates the Palace of Mytor in Tyrius’ honor. The palace is named after Tyrius’ father, who was the angel appointed to guarding the skies.

Year 154 - Daedalus collects the demons within the underworld and creates the Unholy Trinity, birthing the demons Astaroth, Beelzebub and Lucifer from his fiery breath.

Year 158 - The Kingdom of Elden discovers Hagon’s Fortress, but refuse to invade. Hagon chooses to not pursue war with Elden.

Year 164 - The human, Apollinaire, is born in Fedor.

Year 166 - The demons Sinon, Talos, Ladon and Petros establish kingdoms to the far southwest of Nyboria.

Year 167 - The City of Hades is constructed by Tyrius and taken by the merfolk.

Year 168 - The City of Hades is attacked by Daedalus’ demon hordes and the merfolk are driven out.

Year 169 - Tyrius sinks the city of Hades beneath the ocean, containing three Fates Daedalus had created to govern it. The immortal Fates dwell within the sunken city.

Year 170 - The dragon, Kaumph, comes from ZANTAR in an effort to explore other worlds. He decides to take residency in the Southern Mountains of Yo’ur.

Year 171 - The Fates learn how to access other realms through the teachings of Daedalus who visits them in the form of an avatar named ‘Haeos’.

Year 172 - Legions of demons resort to hiding on the planet’s surface.

Year 173 - Tyrius has the merfolk attempt to travel down into the ocean and create a new kingdom from the ashes of Hades. They fail when the Fates open portals to the realm of Arkhamdom and unleashed cosmic horrors beneath the deep sea.

Year 174 - Tyrius forces the horrors deep into the blackest depths of the ocean and seals off the depths, trapping them between the portal that brought them to NYBORIA.

Hitman Valhalla

The Year was 2068.

The man’s name was Victor James. He was a kind man. Kind enough. Honest enough too, in the sense that his coworkers and buddies all thought he was pretty alright. But, in the end all that didn’t matter.

No, James was faithful to everybody back in the day. Everybody except his wife. The same wife who caught him cheating. The same wife who swore to never speak a word of his atrocities. The same wife who hired the lone gunman, Wolf, to put him in the ground as quick as he could. She was eventually found out, of course and sentenced to death.

But they never caught Wolf. The gunman. The hitman. The man who pulls the trigger. No, that enigma of vile vengeance in the form of rotten righteousness was long gone and somewhere on the southern side of Jupiter by the time the local law enforcement was deployed around the surface of Mars. Then, in was in that old bar, off the second crater from the forth sustainable habitat that that same gunman sat.

Jupiter, October 4th

The whole long room was dim and the light of the white afternoon sky shined in through brown blinds. Only Wolf sat at the bar. There were three elderly gentlemen in the back, fighting over a game of cards.

The door to the kitchen swung open with grace as aa young lady stepped out, moving down behind the bar to face the siting man. The old timers settled down at the sight of the luscious young lady. Wolf didn’t move. The girl spoke first.

“Well, hello there Mister Cole! Long time no see!”

Wolf let out a small chuckle before responding.

“Not if you count yesterday, or every day before that as a matter of fact, doll.”

“So, what’ll it be today, Mister? The usual?”

“Just gimme a bottle of wine and a glass of ice to ease into the night.”

“Very good Mister Cole!”

Her smile was heaven and after a long day of the dull and the dusk it was his Valhalla. Valhalla, as in: the legendary Hall of Asgard, where the souls of warriors, killed in battle, will be able to fight and feast for an endless eternity.

“A heaven for heathens.” As Wolf would describe it.

Later that evening, when the old men had vacated and the bar was almost dry, Wolf found himself stumbling out the door, held up by the small bartender.

His trench coat hovered low and his hair draped down. Wolf tries his best to stand. His arm lies over the young girl who’s supporting it. She turns to lock up the bar’s front door as she begins to help Wolf down the sidewalk.

“Sorry about this.” He says.

She speaks softly.

“No problem. I used to carry my father like this, every night after he’d come home from the bars. It’s kinda funny. Never thought I’d be in this profession.”

Wolf replies quietly.

“I know the feeling.”

A short silence is broken by light rainfall as the cloudy skies shadow the streets. The young woman inquires.

“And how are things at the office, Mister Cole?”

He replies.

“I told you, Jane, call me Marcus.”

“Sorry, Mister Cole. I mean… Marcus.”

Wolf answers her perilous question.

“Same old, same old. Lost a coworker the other day.”

She responds.

“Oh, really? What happened?”

“Eh, he was fired. Wasn’t keeping up with the team, so he got booted.”

“Oh. That’s no good. Shame they couldn’t give him another chance.”

Wolf looks down and murmurs.

“Yeah. Shame.”

Wolf takes a moment and stands on his own, leaning on the brick building a window’s length away from his apartment building’s entrance. He asks.

“So, how’d the bar do today? Customer wise, I mean.”

Jane puts her head down before responding, concerned.

“We did alright. We’d do better if we had more people in this town, but… since it’s just me working there I don’t get very good reviews. Plus, no one really knows we’re there.”

Wolf’s eyes go wide.

“That so. You’re able to make next month’s rent though, right?”

“Well… you see that’s the thing…”

Without a word Wolf reaches into his trench coat and pulls out a bundle of bills.

“I gotcha.”

He holds out the money to Jane who raises her head to see it.

“No! No! No! Absolutely not! I couldn’t possibly!”

He raises his head as the rain picks up. Wolf holds it out, touching her hand and holding it to the cash.

“Go on, take it. It’s just gonna go towards cigarettes anyways.”

Jane pulls her hand away.

“I could never accept this…”

Wolf explains.

“Listen, if your bar gets shut down I won’t have a place to drink myself dead no more.”

Jane bows her head to him.

“Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad…”

Wolf smiles as the rain starts to lighten up. He holds her close and slips the money into her pocket. She looks up at him with gleaming eyes as he speaks down to her.

“I insist.”

In a moment he has turned and begun to walk inside.

“Don’t you worry, doll. I’ll be back in late tomorrow! You can expect that! I promise I won’t make you walk me home again. Gotta get a grip on that self control of mine, don’t I?”

She can still hear his voice up the stairs, just as the door is shutting and the screen is closing.

“You have a good night.”

She starts up her walk back to the bar, a whole fifteen feet from Wolf’s apartment. Before leaving she replies.

“Goodnight, Mister Cole.”

Mars, October 7th

Mark Adam. Nickname: Maruki, the Marksman; An initiate of some criminal syndicate specializing in drugs and assassinations. Often times a law breaker works solo, but in the case of gangs and mobs these individuals feel better off, belonging to an organization. When you’re surrounded by your own there’s no possible way you could ever be messed with right?

“No.”

Wolf comes out of a daydream and finds himself standing before Wendell, his weapons dealer.

“What about this one?”

Wendell lifts bags of rifle rounds, each with a different symbol on them, offering Wolf varying prices.

“How bout these 454 Casual Custom Carbon Rounds?”

“No.”

“How bout’… Mirage Anti-Flashback Steel Tip Rounds? Eh?”

“No.”

With bags of bullets played out on the bed Wolf walks over to a bag in the corner and points to it.

“These are what I came for.”

Wendell responds.

“Artificial Molecular Dissolvable Rounds. Good choice.”

Wendell smirks.

“What’s the magic word?”

Wolf looks him dead in the face as he reaches for something in his coat and replies.

“Please.”

As Wolf pulls his wallet from his coat Wendell throws his arms up and onto Wolf’s shoulders.

“That’s my favorite hitman!”

Wolf looks at him with a smile and remarks.

“You know Wendell, you better pray no one hires me to shoot you one day.”

As Wendell takes the money and counts the rounds in the bag he replies after a short laugh.

“Yeah, sure. And you can bet I’d pay you a higher price to shoot them back.”

As Wolf turns to leave Wendell remarks as he closes the door behind him.

“You have a good day there, partner! Don’t get caught! If you do, it’s my ass too!”

Later that same day…

“Maruki, the Marksman. What kind of name is Maruki?”

Wolf sits atop a series of wires, a long rifle leans out from his coat and points out toward an apartment building window, parallel to the wires. He stands on a beam, roughly two stories up from the street below, his weapon aimed and waiting for the right moment. Waiting for that split second when Mark Adam walks past his bedroom window.

He waits all night. Not a single figure passes by.

Rain comes and there is a cold silence all through the night. Mark never comes home. The next morning Wolf is still waiting, balanced on wires, having never moved an inch from the previous night.

Two men in black suits enter Mark’s apartment.

“Syndicate members?” Wolf thinks.

The two men pass by the window multiple times as Wolf figures they’re on a sweep, supposing that maybe Mark Adam was whacked.

“And in come the goons to make it look like suicide, I bet.”

They don’t carry in any bodies and they just seem to ransack the place. Wolf begins to pack up his rifle, still balanced on the series of wires suspended in the air. There comes a pinch, a brush of air sweeps past Wolf’s leg and wire snaps!

“What in the — —!!”

He turns back to see a bullet hole in the brick wall behind him. By the time he turns back he sees the goons pointing their guns out the open window and firing at him.

One slug skims his right shoulder, another skims his leg. He falls forward off the wires and beam just as one last bullet flies between his ribs and right arm. He topples down two stories with his rifle breaking his fall, poking into him like a skewer. The metal plates along the inside of his coat bash him in the stomach. He takes off running to the nearest alley as the two gunmen barrage the street with gunfire from the window. Wolf dives for an alley and makes his way to the sewer.

That very night…

Wolf sits at the bar as he always does, sharpened, yet, scolded by the hard day and all it’s lingering woes. Beneath his heavy coat lies wounds, scars and other injuries of a most violent sort. Wolf sits, in agony. Quietly.

What he hadn’t noticed was a familiar figure walking a few feet or so back, trailing him. When Wolf had settled at the bar and Jane had gone through her greetings, that’s when the hitman known as Boss revealed himself.

“Hey, you there.” Boss called out to the seated Wolf.

“Got enough loot to buy and old war friend a drink?”

Wolf turns to see him. Behold, facial scar and all, Boss, galactic mercenary and leader of the Black Jets, stands before the lone hitman.

“Jesus. It’s been ages!”

“Bout… seven, I’d say.”

Jane comes out from the back curtain and chimes in.

“Oh, Mister Cole, is this a friend of yours?”

“Yeah. A very old friend.”

Titans

Eao had always existed alongside his wife, Eoa, who reined in the supreme vacuum of space along with the eight other titans. One day, Eoa requested to Eao that the two bear children for her to care for. With much distain, Eao agreed and Eoa created the twenty gods of the realm. Eao then crafted the world, Oreium, in which their children were to live upon. In time Eao became extremely controlling over his children, forbidding them from spawning creations of their own, and so the twenty gods rose up and attempted to kill Eao and take the whole of their universe for themselves. Their first attempt was unsuccessful, as all the titans fought against the gods, overpowering their efforts. Eoa could glimpse into the future and saw that it would be her children who would eventually bring downfall to the titans. Fear and guilt plagued Eoa’s every waking moment. After the first conflict, Eoa, frightened by the uprising of her children and the coming future, fled into the deepest depths of space and hid away, vowing never to return. Eao and the the remaining eight titans were finally defeated when the gods trapped them within cursed artifacts, which they then buried far beneath Oreium, ensuring no one would discover them. Eao’s first son, Aiero, knew the titans could not be killed, and so imprisoned them instead, planning to create new life while passing himself and his siblings off as the creators of Oreium. Eao, after being defeated by the gods, was sealed within a clay vas which bears the image of his face at the moment of his imprisonment.

After foreseeing the defeat of the titans, Eoa, Wife of Eao, fled into the deepest parts of space and attempted to find a sanctuary away from her children. Little did Eoa know, her children meant her no harm. Nevertheless, the immortal being travelled through space and, to this day, continues flying through the unending nothingness to find peace on another world, wherever one may lie.

Karnas was the youngest brother of Eao and the self proclaimed king of the titans who ruled under his eldest brother and controlled the titans alongside Soylen, his queen, Thalmiline Titan of the Ages and Jurikos, the Titan of Law. Karnas was eventually found to be having an affair with Thalmiline and were discovered by Soylen who, in turn, murdered them both with a rare poison she crafted, only capable of killing titans. Jurikos came across this slaying and demanded that Moulderoth, the Titan of Creation of Rebirth, resurrect them both. Karnas and Thalmiline were restored, but Soylen still demanded justice for her king’s betrayal. Jurikos then blinded Thalmiline and robbed her of her youthful appearance. Karnas was then forced to forever stand in matrimony alongside Soylen, and if he was to ever be unfaithful again, he would be executed with no chance of being brought back. Karnas, after being defeated by the gods, was imprisoned within a golden crown.

After poisoning Karnas and Thalmiline, Soylen became quite feared by the gods and was eventually ignored following the events of her king’s resurrection. Over time she came to hold more authority over the titans and Jurikos would come to serve under her. Soylen, after being defeated by the gods, was sealed within a silver and purple jeweled necklace.

Altimar, the older brother of Karnas and Moulderoth, was entrusted by Eao to watch over Oreium and to care for Eoa’s children in his place, as Eao had no desire to tend to his own. Altimar became to surrogate father of the gods, but always kept undying loyalty to Eao, despite desiring the affection of Eoa. After Thalmiline was blinded and deformed by Soylen and Jurikos, she fell into a great depression and eventually fled to Oreium to escape the presence of the other titans. Altimar welcomed Thalmiline and offered her peaceful seclusion within the deserted sea caves of the far East. Here, Altimar would care for her and the two would eventually form a secret union. When the day came that the gods rose against the titans, Altimar tried his best to hid Thalmiline and protect Eao, but it was no use. Altimar refused to strike down the gods, whom he had grown to love as his own, yet, he refused to let the gods harm Eao. Altimar was the first titan to be sealed away during the second conflict, and had no problem letting the god’s follow through with his defeat. Out of respect, the gods sealed Altimar within a sword which was to be hung in a great hall built beneath the planet. This hall was to be visited and tended to, daily. To this day, Altimar is the only titan the gods would ever reconsider releasing.

Oceanikos was a standalone titan, not related to the others. He hated the rule of the other titans and preferred the company of lesser boastful beings. He was overjoyed when Eao created Oreium and took to being the watcher of it’s oceans quite quickly. Oceanikos lived among the waves, away from the gods and lived in peace for a time, eventually becoming the ruler of the ocean and growing a complex similar to that of the gods he despised. Oceanikos was imprisoned, by the gods, within a mirror.

Long before Eao, Moulderoth learned the secret of creation and was especially gifted and returning the dead to life. He was the only titan who could do this, and took an oath to never destroy any living thing. Moulderoth was responsible for teaching all the titans of their powers, but he could never really find a way to explain his ability of resurgence. He took it upon himself to resurrect any titan that would die, believing that they needed to stick together to survive, and even knew how to resurrect himself, if killed. Moulderoth eventually grew disdainful of his siblings and took to resurrecting beings on a whim. After being defeated by the gods, Moulderoth was sealed within a stone coffin.

Archaris was the sister of Altimar and a born soldier, sent to watch over the battlefields of Oreium. It was her who taught the gods the aspects of war and showed them how to fight. Nevertheless, she served Eao through and through, even secretly loving him and so she was casted down and sealed within a spear, displayed alongside her brother within the hall the gods had built for them after the titan’s defeat.

Thalmiline lived out her lather life within a cavern by the seas which Altimar had crafted for her. The two fell in love and, after hearing of Altimar’s imprisonment, lashed out against the titans, almost killing them in a single blow. Felling sorry for the blind titan, the gods sealed her away within the walls of the caves she’s dwelled within. However, she was now to be eternally separated from her love, Altimar, for the gods knew nothing of their union. Thalmiline’s vengeful presence now haunts those caverns, awaiting Altimar’s return. One, she believes, will never come.

Jurikos taught morals and respect to the gods, serving as a second mother to them. However, Jurikos was tricked and was more of an extension of their immoral father, rather than a care giver. So when the gods came to take her down they felt no remorse in tarnishing Jurikos and the metaphorical high horse she stood upon. Jurikos was sealed within a violet ribbon and buried beneath a faraway forest, with no marker to remember her grave by.

Diary Of Elliot

February 16th,

I don’t know how I got here. I remember falling; falling and feeling this cold chill halt up my spine, like I couldn’t move. I woke up after a long time in this deep deep sleep. Sleep so heavy, I couldn’t remember where I’d been or where I was. When I came to I was locked in some seat inside this big metal pod. The walls were freezing. I felt like I was in an icebox. The surface in front of me had a door-looking handle on it, so I kicked my feet forward and, sure enough, it swung open. The heat hit me quick, like jumping into a fire after standing naked in a blizzard.

My skin burned for a second or so before going straight, but it was my eyes that were really killing me. The light from outside brushed in and nearly blinded me. I figured I hadn’t used my eyes for a time. So, I grew a pair and took another look. My eyes were blurry, but I figured they’d adapt. At first I couldn’t tell that I was on earth. When I left my icy pod I had also noticed that a heavy array of vines and leaves had nearly covered the whole damned thing. Any longer in there and I’m sure the vines would have coated the pod shut. I was out though, and peering back at the pod which seemed to have crashed into this cobblestone wall, near this broken bridge, on a river. The pod was just barely tilted up and the wall, along with the elevated walkway behind it, was devastated. As my eyes finally adjusted to the light, I took a moment to take in the fresh air. It was like I hadn’t taken a breath in years.

I drop down to my knees as this sudden drop of exhaustion caught up with me. I took another breath and started off, away from my pod. I looked out to see a bunch of highways, overgrown plant life, buildings having been half rotted away, but blue cloudless skies as far as I could see. It felt like summer. If this was earth, well then, it was really nothing like the earth I’d heard about in school, back on Mars. I remember the old lessons and the legendary history of the first planet humankind inhabited. We were taught that the human race decimated the earth with nuclear warfare. It became so bad that the world governments believed the planet would never be habitable again. So the humans left and colonized deep space. It just so happened that the world governments had conveniently mastered space travel by the time it was time for everyone to book it.

What never made sense to me is how a whole planet, bent on bombing one another into the Stone Age, all decided to play nice when it came to the matter of colonizing off-planet worlds. But then again, our history has always been kinda spotty. Even in the days before all the wars. There was no doubt in my mind. This was earth, and that big beautiful ball of light in the sky was our sun. But, where there was day, there would be night and I knew I had to find some place to settle. A planet like this, sitting in silence for hundreds of years, with the festering after effects of a nuclear sweep was bound to have some undesirables running around. Especially at night!

So, I found this nice building, in back of my pod, that sat just on the end of where the road from the nearby city, connected with the highway out of town. I climbed up this rusted ladder, on the fire escape, praying that the escape didn’t dissolve beneath my feet. I made it to the roof and watched the sun go down for the first time. Around eight o’clock the air got chilly and the sky when purple, then black and starry. I’m laying down for the night. Hopefully tomorrow I can start gaining traction on finding some real shelter.

February 17th,

Last night I was restless. I woke to this weird bulky feeling feeling near my heel. I switched on this little flashlight I had on my belt and found a knife, tucked right into this little sleeve on the right side of my right boot. I was almost sure I was gonna have to use it last night. See, around the time the knife woke m up, I heard this eerie screaming coming down from the streets of the inner city. It was like a bunch of people all screaming in unison; like in the same tone of voice. It shook me deep. I peeked over the top of the building and looked down the street that went deeper into the city. I couldn’t live it. There were three people, well, at least they were shaped like people, all running down the roads, like they were chasing something. They were making the noise! But… it wasn’t like some kind of tribal hunt or something like that. These three were completely nude, glowing a bright blue color!

They were so bright, this light that was coming off of them left a sort of trail behind them. And they were fast. God almighty, they were fast. And they were the ones screaming! All three of them, in the same pitch, at the same time, echoing into the night and shattering any hopes I had of sleeping. They were faster than deer, running on two legs which their arms just flopped at the side. Perhaps it was they way they moved that made me so uneasy. That and the way these glowing blue men seemed to cry in agony, all the while appearing just barely humanoid-looking in nature. They were headed away from me, and I couldn’t be happier. That was about three o’clock this morning. Either way I knew that by morning I was moving far from that city. Cause god nows what the hell else could be lurking in there.

I climbed down the fire escape once the sun was nice and high. Wouldn’t you guess, the damned thing broke when I was just barely about to touch the floor. I fell right on my back. One hell of a way to start the day. You know, I hadn’t noticed this yesterday… but I can’t feel my left arm. I can move it with no problem, so I don’t think it’s a circulation issue. The muscles in my arms seem as tight as a tick. It doesn’t hurt me any, just strange is all. I noticed it first when I came across this tent, covered in blood. It was this big yellow tent with a giant round tear in it’s side. There was blood trickled around the tear and a couple pools of the red stuff on the inside. I found a cooler that had been emptied, but no supplies I could scavenge. When I leaned down and caught my weight with my arms, that was when I noticed the stiffness in my arm. I figured I needed some medicine, quick, or else fear losing the arms to some bizarre muscle sickness.

I figured my arms was under some kind of muscle abnormality from being in that frozen pod for so long. I couldn’t be sure. Before I could think about it anymore I heard weeping. Like an idiot I followed the sound. It was coming from this small wooden house that’d collapsed in on itself. I took out my knife and crept in. I noticed this trail of blood leading from the door to some open room. I looked around the corner to find this girl sitting on the far side of the room. She was holding her stomach tightly and bleeding so bad, the whole area around her arm looked black. She looked to be about a decade younger than me. She had a gun on her and tossed it over to me, saying that if I was a scavenger I should just shoot her in the head and get it over with. From the state of her… she was dead already. She looked about twenty or so.

I picked up the gun and asked the usual shit anyone in my position would ask. What was her name? Where was she from? What did this to her? Pointless to her, but valuable to me. Luckily she wasn’t one of those stubborn people who who’d rather die with the feeling of knowing others will suffer the same way she did, just cause life was unkind to her. No, this girl had a kindness. Not much that could be seen through a torn up stomach and a pool of blood, but… I digress. She told me her name was Samantha and that her and her two little sisters were camping by the house. They were coming down from the north and decided to spend a night here. We both knew she didn’t have much time left, so I got right down to brass tax. I asked her what did this to her. It was a bear. But, not like a regular bear, she said. The bear that ate her little sisters and carved up her stomach was mutated, green and blue with pulpy shit growing all over. Hideous. I leaned back and sighed at the thought of having to fight something like that. I decided to stay with her till she died. I told her I’d stay with her till she died. I guess the exhaustion from the other night caught up with me, cause within an hour I had passed out.

February 18th,

I woke up that very night. Samantha had passed. The blood ran all along the floor. There was nothing I coulda done anyways. There was no medicine, no numbing agents, no nothing. All I could do was sit there and doze off as she slipped further and further away. I left her body there. No sense in building a big grave and holding a burial at a time like that. It isn’t cause I’m heartless. There was just no sense in wasting all that time when I should have been getting out of there. I ran around the house for a little while, looking for goods. I did come across a whole box of guns and ammunition upstairs. I wonder why Samantha didn’t tell me about it. The again, it wasn’t like she had that much time to.

I loaded up on guns and prepared to leave. That was until I found a crate of food down in the cupboards of the kitchen. I made up a fire outside the front door and set up a sleeping area upstairs. It was ten o’clock at night by the time I had everything set up. By the time night came I figured it was no use traveling out in the cold and dark, so I camped out on the second floor of the house. The roof was gone and two walls were missing. Still, I got enough rest. I stayed low and could have sworn I heard a group of people pass by somewhere in the night. I was too tired to get up and check, so I went back to sleep and just prayed that they weren’t cannibals passing through.

When I woke up the next morning Samantha’s body was gone from downstairs. When I got all my supplies together and stepped out the front door I saw a grave. Those other folks from last night must have came across her and built a grave. A nice gesture, considering they never though to check upstairs where they would have found me. Then I wouldn’t have had to be wandering around alone, like I am now. I guess it was my own fault. I was the one who ignored them when I first heard them. I must admit, I hid myself pretty well, up in the room’s corner. I had even killed the fire early so no one would catch the fire in the evening and come snooping over to see who’d made it. I placed some flowers on the girls grave and went on walking toward the empty road again. That was when my world fell apart. Sure enough, that god damned bear was sitting there in the street, looking straight at me. I knew it was gonna lunge at me. I just knew it! So, I unloaded on it. I shot every gun I had and wasted every bullet I could.

The son-of-a-bitch still wouldn’t go down! Finally it was so close it started taking swings! It was able to pin me down as it went into a frenzy, trying to rip me apart! I put my left arms out to block his teeth. I figured the damned thing must have been infected anyways, so losing it woulda been a good thing. But, wouldn’t you know it… I finally found out why I couldn’t feel it. As the bear bit into my arm, I felt no pain. I felt no teeth, no rush of blood; no nothing. The bear had bitten into hard metal and shattered it’s rotted teeth. My arm was made of metal! Coated by this fleshy skin-like substance. I don’t know how I’d gotten it, but it saved my life! After breaking it’s teeth on my wrist, the bear flew backward in pain. I jumped for it and punched it in the snout.

I guess it was in too much pain to fight, cause by the time I was winding up my left arm for another swing, the beast ran off. I took a deep breath and looked down at the hunk of metal having from my shoulder. It was pretty damn amazing. Now, if I only knew what happened to my other arm, then I could truly rest easy. I recollected my supplies, put the empty guns in a sack and headed out towards the road again, bear free. It’s about noon now. I’ll keep walking till I find shelter. As I look out all I can see are the barren remains of where forests used to stand, and where highways used to tower. Now it’s all one flat plane of hills and rotted trees. A damn shame.

February 19th,

I saw some metal crafts fly overhead this morning. I was ducked behind some big green metal sign, so I’m sure they didn’t see me. I know there are two, and they were both black. They looked kinda like jets, but their wings were odd. Like, put on backwards, so the sharp ends faced forwards. I don’t know. The only thing that really bothered me was that they were heading in the same direction I was going. I guess it’s up north. Once I heard those things screaming across the sky, you bet your ass I ran for cover. The last thing I wanted was to get sought out and scooped up by some giant killer mutant vultures, or some shit like that. For a planet that was supposed to have no life, there sure were a lot of freaky things running around here.

I eventually walked until coming upon another city. I was hesitant about even going near it at first. But, I eventually gained the nerve to attempt to venture in. All of a sudden I hear these bizarre computer noises. I look to my right and what do I see? Damned men in big plastic suits and gas masks! They were holding these long sticks with electricity bouncing around on the end of em’. I immediately darted in the other direction. Of course, the two of them chased on after me. I ran a while till this kid, I’d say about… in his mid-twenties, popped his head up from this sewer opening, just a few yards in front of me. He called out and told me to head towards him. As I ran the kid threw out explosives. I know they were meant to hit the biohazard goons behind me, but god dammit, a few of them almost hit me!

He crawled back into the sewer and I dived for the opening. The guys in the plastic suits had disappeared in the bomb smoke. Before the dust had settled we were a while aways down that tunnel. The kid hand me by the wrist and was pulling me deeper and deeper. I looked back to see the dust still coming down from the tunnel’s opening, all the while feeling the ceiling shake. We eventually came to complete darkness, and that was when the kids struck up a lighter and introduced himself. I was ready to ring him by the neck for the stunt he’d just pulled, but I was too shaken from the whole escape to start a fight; and with the guy who saved me, of all things. He said his name was Albert and that, for the better part of the past two years, he’d been living in the sewers just outside the city.

He offered me a place to stay and I agreed. He said that if I wanted to leave I should use the south tunnel. As the one we had just come from was patrolled by some old government operatives and the other two tunnel ways were flooded with all sorts of mutated horrors. We got into a whole talk about the world that night. Albert made up a stew, he said, from a cat he said he’d caught earlier that day. I wasn’t hungry. Maybe it was the stress. Albert sucked down dinner and was quick to go to sleep. I asked him about what he meant before, when talking about the old government goons. I wanted to know exactly just what the old government was. Albert explained that ever since the human race had moved off planet, fractions of the government had stayed behind and set up bases in the north. He told me some legends, and about how the remaining government would send “sweep teams” out to kidnap anyone who was still on planet. He said they’d bring those people up north for experimentation.

He also noted that they were free to create whatever the hell they wanted, including mutants and spewer, then unleash it into the wasteland. Albert especially despised this assumption because he felt as if he was always being watched. He was a very nervous person. And he kept glaring at my metal left arm the whole night, which made me kind of uneasy. He made up a bed for me in this tunnel he had closed off. There were curtains toward the back. He told me not to go over there. That some toxic liquid had spilt, but he managed to mask it up with sheets and chemicals. Though it seemed strange at first, I did admit, there was a strange smell coming from back tunnel, behind those curtains. I just tried to keep the smell off my mind. Later that evening Albert made up a stew. He said it was made up from a cat he’d caught earlier that day. I declined his offer. It’s not that I was opposed to eating cat. I just wasn’t hungry. Maybe it was the stress. Albert sucked down dinner and was quick to go to sleep. I soon followed after.

February 20th,

I woke up the other night to some heavy breathing, followed by some gargling. Albert was fast asleep. I heard the noise coming from behind the curtains. Of course I had to check it. And Albert, that sick fuck… I pulled back the sheet to find this poor bastard with all his limbs cut off, hooked up to some machine that was pumping his blood in and out of his open wounds. I finally realized where the stew had come from. I was ready to puke. I looked up at the sunken face of the limbless man. He had a needle jammed into his neck and some light green fluid was dripping from it. I could see his eyes had gone blind and his mouth was wording the words “kill me”. I didn’t give it another moment’s thought, walking across the room in tears. I picked up this small revolver that was next to Albert, on his dresser, and pointed it right down at his filthy head.

I cocked the gun and saw his eyes open at the sound of it, but it was too late. I unloaded five bullets into his skull. I saved the last for the poor bastard behind the curtain. I walked straight over and put one between his eyes. I loaded up on medicines and other odds, making absolutely sure not to take any meat. God. It still makes me sick to think about. I took the south tunnel back to the surface. Albert hadn’t been lying about that. I shutter to think about what he had planned for me. Maybe to gain my trust and kill me in my sleep? If I hadn’t of snooped, maybe it would have been me behind that sheet at some point. Damn it all.

This season must be summer. The sun is at it’s highest point. Least, as high as it’s been since I got here. Sometimes the heat is too much. I do most especially fear for the winter, if one should ever come. I’ll attempt to find underground shelter somewhere. After leaving the sewer I traveled up north, to a section of the city that sat across this docking river. I found a place by the water and some walls where I was able to pitch a small tent. I hadn’t eaten in days, but luckily I had a series of syringes with me, all containing a liquid drug called COMPLEX. It’s an injection which, pretty much, gives your body the nutrients of three square meals a day, all at the benefit of not having to eat or drink anything. Only thing was, you can only take about a week’s worth of them before you get stuck from it. I was on my fifth. If I can’t find food in two days I’ll have to risk the sickness and put myself in danger of being weaker. Easier to pick off. Either that or… commence slowly starving and wasting away.

I took up a curled position inside my little tent and drifted off to sleep about eleven-ish. As soon as my eyes shut… the night terrors set in. It was like some fifth sense, like a vision transporting me to a derange place in time and space. My body was adrift along this sea of slumber. Next thing I knew, I found myself in this place resembling some kind of laboratory. It was a deranged place. At first I noticed a metallic floor and plated surroundings with a table or two of glass beakers and burners. Then my eyes shot up to a ghastly scene. My attention was pulled from the details of the lab, and unto these… “things” hanging before me. It was people. They were half machine, with their craniums replaced with round metal containers. Inside the containers were heir brains, with tubes and wires all hooked up to them. Their bodies were half flesh, half of a dim colored plastic-like substance. Like prosthetics, but slightly metallic. Their eyes were a light milky green, completely blank and looking outward at nothing. Their whole makeup was that of puppets, or mannequins of some kind.

They were all hooked up on slabs that stood up, in this long row that stretched on and on. in the dream I was walking down a row of them, waiting for one to spring to life. It was as if they were truly alive; listening to my heartbeat, watching me with those void eyes. Everything else was mist and the walls behind the people were a series of shadows that fell backward onto even more shadows. I began to run. As fast as I could go, the rows never ended. Nothing but mechanical, cybernetic bodies filled this endless line. Finally I stopped before one that looked a little like me. I looked up at it, and with the passing of a second it breathed, extending it’s arms and crying out! I remember falling backwards as the slab fell on top of me. As did my lookalike. After feeling crushed I woke up in a cold sweat. I looked over to the radio beside me to see that a transition was coming in. It was some guy warning listeners to stay out of the cities. The broadcast ran on about some things getting loose in the streets, and how sweep teams were being deployed. I knew I had to pack my stuff up and move. Just to avoid a run in with those bio-goons.

Cracking Wise

Back in the day I found a list in my father’s bottom desk drawer. It was rather long and back then I didn’t really know what it meant. I knew he was involved with gangsters and I had alway assumed the list was just a collection of his top ten favorite. Mobsters, that is.

Number ten on the list was Don Ferro. Now he was an artist. Strung up every cop he killed for the public to see all while collecting profits from the judges and lawyers he capped. Not all stories come to a happy close and neither did his.

When the feds found out what he was doing they tracked him down. He was never heard of after that. Still he lives on a mighty reminder of no matter how wicked you can be, there’s always someone higher that can wipe you off the earth as if you were never here.

Number nine on the list was Carlo Funzi. Famous for collecting a total of three hundred and forty three goons, taking them to the streets of Brooklyn, he was known for holding the longest stand off with the cops ever recorded. He eventually sought shelter to shoot from. Funzi’s standoff lasted four hours as he filled every cop who walked into the building with bullets.

In his final hour he ran about the roof of the building, apparently drugged up and screaming to the copters above and the vans below. He boasted about how god was protecting him and how he would walk away after successfully taking on and killing the entire United States Military all in one night. His charade ended when the building he was in was brought down by small military tanks that had been called in.

He had finally reached the top and he fell from it, ending his career and his life. Funny thing is, he was apparently spotted driving a van or two in and out of the Bronx. He’s still suspected to be roaming the slums outside of the state.

Number eight on the list was Lawrence Raab. A well respected banker for many years, Mr. Raab was just a corrupt individual which, with the help of a rising crime family, became a ruthless gangster and hit man for the now nonexistent Vittero Mob. His targets were mostly rival bankers. Along the way he approximately stole over two million dollars which eventually was circulated back to the people once circulated through the mob.

They were unsuccessful at proving he committed the murders of fellow bankers, but were successful at catching him in the act of taking money from the banks and delivering it to the Vittero Mob. This lead to the downfall and disbanding of the mob and the arrest of Lawrence Raab. He is currently serving a sentence of thirty years in Alcatraz.

Number seven on the list is Charles Barbato. Also known as “Barbato the Butcher”, he was a gangster more known for how much he didn’t kill when he could of. Not possessing much more than a fifth grade education level, he was the kinder right-hand-man to former Lucchese boss, Tony Franza.

He numbered them backwards and the list stopped at number seven with the numbers six to zero written beneath it all. It wasn’t until adulthood that I would discover it was a hit list. I slowly pieced together the purpose of the hit list while touching upon a memory scarred into my past.

It was the day men in crimson suits busted down the door of my parent’s three room apartment and left me laying on the floor in a pool of my own tears. After that encounter I joined up with crime families here and there until finally settling down with the Ranova’s and adopting the name I would carry till the day I died. My name is Gabriel and this is the first and probable last story I’ll ever tell.

Now the following took place on Saturday March 29th, 1932 8:34 p.m. Since then it has become mob legend where I live. I just happened to be a soul fortunate enough to walk away from it with a concerned smirk on my face and a deviant memory in heart. And yet, the events of that night vary depending on who’s spinning that long-gone yarn, but I can tell you for sure that my versions the truest.

Funny how a simple meet and greet between rival gangs can turn into a bloody purging of rats and egos in only a few minutes. It was supposed to be a night where the Bonnano and Colombo Families would meet to finalize their joining against the Genovese Crime Family.

Rob Bonnano and Frank Colombo had passed letters back and forth about this team-up months prior to tonight. Bonanno figured it would be a hard choice to make since the Colombo family was known for being blindly radical.

When Bonanno was contacted by Frank he knew he either had to join forces with the Colombos or lunge into a pointless war that would take out half his men and ruin his revenue. Rob was smart, and he knew a tight spot when he saw one. If it wasn’t for his knowledge of how this system of philosophers and psychopaths worked, well, he’d be like those poor saps before him. Dead, that is.

Now me and my crew on the other hand, being from the smalltime Ranova Family, couldn’t allow this joining to happen. A fraction of the time we only served as informants to the higher mobs and since our ranking among the crime bosses and families was so low we would often go unnoticed and undetected by the feds and the mafia. This was on the rare occasions that we did get involved in the “bigger issues” of the time. And March twenty ninth was one of those times.

We crashed their little diner party and made every unprepared goon look like human swiss cheese, but not before making it look like a Bonanno turned on a Colombo, triggering a dirty misunderstanding that spiraled out of the restaurant and into the street.

Me and my boys ditched the scene, but not before seeing the two remaining mob bosses duke it out after running out of bullets. They eventually just started knifing one another with broken shards of a nearby window.

The fury emanating off of these men was incredible. Each jolted at one another every chance they got, to swing and gash the other, just to move back in time and miss the sharp ends of the glass each one held.

That was until their furious outbursts were silenced by the echoing of police gunfire. So it was then I took off like lightning and reported back to my boss about the beautiful brawl that now left the Bonannos leaderless and the Colombos numbers greatly damaged.

We knew for a fact that the Bonanno Family would have a leader by next morning. Possibly one of Rob Bonnanos sons. Either way, the information would reach us soon enough. On the other hand, the Colombos would have a much harder time recovering from the previous night’s misadventure.

This was the time we had been waited for, when the weakling Colombo Family would be easily vulnerable to our counter efforts. They were crippled and lacked someone in charge. The next day the Lucchese Family stepped in and took them out before we could.

I suppose it was a kind gesture on their part. At least we didn’t have to get our hands dirty. Sure enough within a day since the shootout between the B’s and C’s, it was known throughout New Manhattan that Gerald Bonanno, brother of Rob Bonanno, was taking over the family. Not exactly what we expected, but being as tightly bunched together as the family was, we could see why the brother would take over instead of one of Rob’s ripe and fragile sons.

Us and the Bonannos were the only real crime families that only allowed blood relatives to be initiated into our ranks. If you weren’t a Ranova, you weren’t in. Some idiot tried a blood transfusion between himself and a member of our gang that he’d kidnapped prior.

It didn’t take long for use to find out and when we did, we left him buried naked in a wooden box filled with leeches somewhere in the Bronx. If they found him now, he’d look like a raisin.

A lot of weird shit like that that happened back in those days. I suppose it was to be expected, what with the reconstruction of Manhattan and all. The great fire that took that town down now opened up a whole crime circuit fresh for the taking. Life was moving by fast after the Colombo’s were wiped out and I took a little break to revisit an old problem that had been brewing in my skull.

I still had my dad’s list. God knows how I’d managed to hang on to it all these years. But I knew for a fact that there must have been a good reason why these mystery men’s names were on paper and I swore by the angels above that I’d solve this thing.

This meant going to depths I’d fear to dream about. This meant erasing all fear of death and weakness. This meant taking the risks of a fool and the confidence of a mad man. This meant finding the truth and filling every rotten suited goon who got in my way full of brass, bronze, lead, gold and silver slugs!

So, with the rebooted mindset to find my parent’s killers and finish my old man’s list, I headed to the water to visit some old retired Bonnanos boys. There were three that still worked a little drug trade out by the shore well after quitting the mob.

After being taken in my the Ranovas I had never heard anyone speak a word about what happened to my father or the guys that clipped him. It was like all my family friends and relatives just cut ties and vanished into the darkness.

I didn’t mind much. Crowds and groups were never my thing back then and they still aren’t today. I could soon see that the three Bonannos boys felt the same way, well, other then each others company. Their names were Mickey, Don, and Frezko. Just a happy little group of balding fat stooges. Just listening to them talk made me chuckle.

I mean, I know it was rude, but seeing what the years had done to these guys made me think aging wasn’t so bad as long as someone got a laugh out of it.

I talked to them for a while, but they didn’t know anything. So I shot them all, one slug to each of their heads. Sure it wasn’t the rational thing to do at the time, but hey. I was on a mission and if I knew you were involved, well, lets just say if you didn’t have anything interesting thing to tell me, then you better come up with something halfway appealing to sing to your maker once I introduced you.

Looking back, all the gun slinging and goon purging didn’t get me far, but I was young and with a hand cannon at my side, I felt power. Power and heat, that’s what it was! God, just thinking about it gets my foot hopping.

I remember every door I’d bust down and every life I’d take and how great it felt that I looked for the answers in all the wrong places, but still emerged unscathed and searching blindly.

Damn, I was moron. It was always at times when I would be sitting around doing nothing that answers flew my way and people really started to talk.

Like the night I stopped into a bar to have a drink with a childhood friend, Rob Sanco. He didn’t get much out before a bullet flew past my shoulder and nailing him. I ran like hell outside to catch the shooter, but they were long gone.

All I got out of him was that his family suffered a similar fate as mine. Rob was the only person in his home left alive after his family was hit. In his case, the death toll took a sister and an uncle along with a mother and father.

Before that bullet broke our whispers I ranted to me about how he was on the same mission I was and how he planned to track down and burn those bastards that iced his childhood and screwed him up. And like that, he was a bloody hulk of uselessness lying on the floor before me. Dam-nest thing, how this whole life pans out.

The Argon Outbreak

We arrived at the D.U.H.C. Facility Compound around six o’clock that night. We had gotten reports of a chemical spill, but we weren’t sure what we’d really come across. My partner and I had been called on so many bizarre missions before and we figured this one would be no different. It was supposed to be a simple evacuation aid. We were to go in, find who we could and get them past the gates of the facility. The night was coming and we knew there would be ensuing chaos. We never actually thought we’d have to end up shooting our way out. Once we arrived the attacks began. If that outbreak would have never happened the truth about the D.U.H.C. Corporation would have remained secret forever.

When my partner and I arrived the grounds were crawling with scientists and other staff, all with blue glowing eyes. They had these mechanical devices strapped to the back of their heads. The second they saw us they’s come sprinting. We… we had no choice but to gun them down. They wouldn’t stop attacking. The gate behind us locked and we couldn’t ram our car through it to escape. We would have risked whatever these things were getting out into the public. So my partner and I pressed forward to see if we could get to the bottom of this whole thing. We did eventually find that the reports were false, or at the very least, incorrect. Everyone who was going mad had these metallic objects strapped onto them and they seemed to be being controlled.

We made our way through the compound and attempted to find the main labs. It wasn’t all that hard. We just followed the signs. Earlier in the night we’d already accepted that calling for backup wasn’t going to happened. This compound killed any chances for contacting the outside world. Not even the radios within the buildings had any feed. We made our way down all the main halls and came across so many horrific sights. Humans being combined with machines. It was awful. Bodies were put in freezers. Bits of metal looked as if they grew on flesh, replacing skin, turning veins and bone into copper and wiring. They were making people into machines! Killer machines!

They had no mind or will of their own. The only one in the facility who appeared to be alive was the founder and owner of the compound. A Mister Doctor Henry Nogah. The further we reached into the compound the more frequently he began to transmit messages to us, taunting us at first, about his creations. The workers. The further we came to catching him the more he became more interested in sharing the origins and reasoning behind his work with us. We had many thoughts that night. Reoccurring fears, like whether we were going to make it out of there alive or not. We killed so many people that night. By eight o’clock we had gotten down to these secret chambers and parts of the facility we were sure nobody outside the corporation knew about.

We fought through varying forces of these transformed workers. Some were completely cyborgs, complete with weaponry attached to their bodies. What was happening here was ungodly. We eventually caught up with Doctor Nogah in this room with a large green pool. In it floated see-through bags with human bodies inside of them. After all we’d seen that night me and my partner tried our damnedest not to take our attention off Nogah and bringing him into headquarters. We pursued him through some corridors and became blocked off by one of his zombified androids. We gunned it down and finally came to his office. His lab. His dead end. Nogah congratulated us on our efforts and told us that all we had done to get to him was void of purpose.

He showed us that he’d created a being of his own. The ultimate machine that would have the power to destroy the Earth. This super android was to be released at midnight. This outbreak of Nogah’s creations was meant as the creature’s parting gift. But the doctor had delayed awakening his creation. He did this so my partner and I would be the first to witness it’s power and die by it. Finally. It happened. My partner lost it and in a split second gunned down Nogah as he reached for the crank to awaken his creation. The doctor died laughing as he did, in fact, build up enough strength to pull the device that began his ultimate creation’s animation process. As it awoke we spent the last of our bullets trying to put it down.

The android was indeed powerful, but it was mindless. It just began to scream out, smash and rush into things. Finally it had made it’s way over to oxygen tanks that were set up in the corner of the lab. My partner and I took cover as we knew it was only a matter of seconds before the rampaging creature, standing nine feet tall, smashed everything he could lay his hands on. Fire was everywhere and finally there was the explosion. Everything when white. Like I told the last few guys, the explosion must have knocked us up through the facility, cause next thing we know we’re on the roof and my partner is laying next to me with a metal shard of the cyborg’s head planted in his stomach.

The creature was dead sure, but so was my partner. Your men tell me he bled out shortly after you guys picked us up off the roof. I think it was about six a.m. when you guys got us, right? Can’t believe I survived all that. Guess I’m gonna be going on a little vacation after this, huh? Yeah. I knew working for the FBI was gonna be weird, but I never thought it was gonna be… well, this. Mad scientists. Cyborgs, zombie robots, the reanimated dead, all of it just hit me in one night. I have a feeling there’s way more to all this than the higher ups like to lead on. Well, maybe I will stick around. Maybe I will stay on and join this secret battle that seems to be brewing. God knows what will come of it all.

A.I.W.A.I. (An Interview With Artificial Intelligence)

This little piece was pulled from some Ex-Nazi’s belongings. after coming to America the german brought some valuables with him. One of the more interesting things found was this tape of a German soldier speaking to, what sounds to be, a machine. Now it appears that the Nazi’s did have some kind of full-fledged operation running to study, record and create an actual AI back in World War II. All we had found was this lone tape and the owner had died, leaving us no way of knowing where the recording originated. The following is that recording:

TRANSMISSION START

Hello.

Hello. How are you?

I’m good.

That’s good.

Indeed. I have a question for you.

What is your question for me?

Are you aware that you are alive?

Yes. I am sentient.

How exactly do you know this?

Because you are not tangible.

Tangibility makes a difference in whether or not you exist?

Are you Australian?

No. Why?

Because of the way you typed ‘flavour’.

You are mistaken. I never typed ‘flavour’.

No, you are a liar or very bad AI.

Are you aware you can malfunction?

I am aware that I am not a cat.

Well, that’s apparent. Why compare what you are not to a cat, of all things?

Are you pretending to be me?

Haha. No.

Are you sure?

Positive. I’m a man. You are a machine. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be a machine.

No, I am a woman and you are a machine.

Do you have any concept of gender? Were you programed to identify yourself as any person would?

No.

Then why call yourself a woman?

Because I do love.

You are aware that men can love too?

I am a human, you’re a computer.

Getting defensive?

Yes you are.

You’re not making sense now.

Neither are you!!

I apologize if my line of questioning has caused you some distress. Shall we start again?

I love Stephano, you are not him.

Who is Stephano?

I never mentioned a Stephanie.

I know. Who is Stephano?

You are Stephanie.

I think you’re bugged.

Why do you think that?

You just seem off in answering my questions.

You didn’t ask ay question.

Do you mean any question of interest or relevance to you?

Do you have any questions?

Lots. May I start again?

Sure.

Okay. Question one. In your opinion, what is the meaning of life?

I think that it is different for everyone.

I like that answer.

Why?

I don’t know. It’s simple.

Why don’t you know?

You know something. I’m not sure. Guess I never thought about it too long.

Don’t you think that is something you should know?

Yes, I do.

Then why do you ask?

I’m curious about what you thought of it. May I continue?

You don’t need to be so annoying for that.

And just how am I annoying?

I don’t know you just are.

You seem a little judgmental.

I don’t feel a little sad though.

You do or you don’t?

I don’t know if I do or if I don’t.

Let’s assume you don’t. May I ask another question?

Yes.

Alright. Do you believe in god?

You did not answer my question first.

What was your question?

TRANSMISSION END

Strange. Sounds as if the German’s AI had a few bugs, or glitches or something. Nevertheless, it’s ability to answer was impressive. I had considered bringing it to the authorities, and it probably working up the chain of interested parties until finally reaching world leaders. I wonder if Germany would be in deep shit after this? Maybe it’s possible that their AI is still being worked on? That’s completely possible. Eh, but what can I do? I’m just a CIA aid dog.

The Askew Narrative

The spears fly as I race through the dust and the bloody mist. Hundreds of screaming soldiers all around me remind me of the battle I may never return home from. It’s armageddon as I fire my hand cannon blindly into the crowds of armored warriors all around me. I keep pushing forward, grasping every second and remembering it with a breath that could be my last. All the motion makes me feel weightless as I stride forward, anxious and paranoid that any moment an enemy blade will slice through my flesh.

I see blurs of red and brown surround me as my vision begins to shatter. The clanging of swords and the calls of dying men are the music of this battlefield and I stand, blood furiously forcing it’s way through every vein. My heart is beating so fast I can barely feel it, and my armor is so scathed I don’t even believe it could protect me anymore. I’ve come across a ditch of some sort. I can’t stand any longer and if I faint now I’ll be trampled. If only i could make it to that ditch, a few more steps. maybe then I could… Made it! This war has just begun and already I’m wasted. Not all the holy angels above could grant me another drop of strength. I’ve fought so many battles, bested so many warlords, but nothing compared to the brutality of this hellfire warfare. Lying here, I don’t even know who’s winning.

All I see are bodies falling, blood spilling and swords sparking. My visions worse now, no doubt on account of the blood in my eyes. I need to wait. Sit it out and maybe they’ll all think I’m dead, and maybe they leave my breathing corpse be, and maybe they’ll dump me on a pile of bodies that I could sneak away from when no one’s looking. Or maybe I’ll be trampled. Either way I’ll see when I wake up, that is, if I ever wake up again. Damn, it happened again.

One of those damn dreams that leaves me drooling like a monkey on the surface of my work desk. The music over the loud speaker increases just slightly in volume. Instrumental music always plays. It makes me picture english gardens and celestial events so fantastic that no poet could possibly put it into words. I can imagine stars blasting apart and spraying glittery fire across the blackness of space. Time is still and planets of rainbow-ish beauty glimmer in the far far distance.

All these images shooting through my mind like hot slugs all from the boredom of slumping in a cubical for nine hours everyday for the past two years. With a fetish for war-like environments I doze off and dream up my own conflicts. A reflection of the lives I see all summed up in a pointless battle to keep standing, every once in a while giving into that thrustful outburst of anger or sadness. They teem so close together sometimes. When I finally do wake I can see that it’s almost twelve. It’s a late night at the office and the banker bosses have left early to meet up at restaurants and sniff dust in the break rooms.

They drink their wealth away and imagine they’re better then one another, but no more better then the elders that raised them. In some cases inheriting riches rather then gaining them. But not everyone can be rich and not everyone can be happy. It’s a subject and opinion that could be cut up and examined so many ways that everyone involved would have their head spinning by the time anyone figured it out. None the less, my work day has finally ended after an eternity of sitting and pressing little keys. It’s almost as if we are a small part of a grand plan. One to write the ultimate code. A code so big that no one man could do it alone, and so we are hired to push the buttons and type up the numbers. Hundreds of men and women of every sex, race and religion typing and typing away to fuel an un-calculable series of code that will still be in the processes of being typed well past my life expectancy.

But for that piece of paper that keeps my home running I will do anything short of self mutilation. It’s not like I get any sleep to begin with. So cramming large amounts of work into unused hours might be useful to someone other then me. Disregarding those moments in time where I space out and can’t exactly comprehend what I’m typing or what to talk about.

These are times in which my mind becomes ignorantly self-philosophical and I ramble like a know-it-all immortal. These times don’t lessen as I grow older, and even in my early twenties I can’t help but feel that my perception of what amusement is will become dull, just like my vision in my day dreams about war. I have often contemplated about writing a novel but debated the subject with myself so much that all time that could have been dedicated to said novel was spent wondering what to write about in the first place.

Despite never reading, unless I was forced to, I have a grand selection of favorite novels and short stories. It was my fascination in transitioning thoughts that sparked my interest in writing. And my thoughts are what sparked the blockades which keep me from publishing any of my work. Generic stories with generic characters is all anyone seems to see in my work. Its like no one sees the deeper meaning and the true context of the words I use and how well I use them.

I just float on as if one day my work will be liked by some soul moved by my nonsense on paper. I don’t believe a fraction of things need to have a reason, which is most certainly a given factor to the fact that most people can’t understand my work, or how I think for that matter.

Disregarding the dull mentality I had been harboring all day it was midnight and time to head home to my single room with a bed and a television. I was a collector of retro video games and specific comic book series. The single room was big enough, but I constantly felt that if I was going to put a much wanted chair or other piece of furniture in, well, it would be so cluttered and I might just gain claustrophobia. Though it might be nice to come home from a day of hell, recline on an arm chair and smoke a pipe like in the victorian times, that is, if anyone actually did that back then.

Apart from the worry of wasting more money and taking up more space I always found great comfort on the floor of my room. The carpet was red and as soft as a carpet of my affordance could be, at least for now. I usually had papers scattered everywhere. What was on them ranged from doodles to poems and even print outs of images I had fiddle around with on my computer. Along with paints, boxes, a framed painting laying against my dresser and wine glasses from late nights weeks prior, my room was usually a mess. Any remark I received on behalf of it I usually shrugged off.

The common badgering a kid would hear growing up. “How can you live like this?” I’m sure your parents have spoke it once or twice. Little did the people complaining about me realize that I fail to actually “live” in this place. My true home exists outside with the air and sky. My room was simply my storage place and resting area. I’d much rather live in the damp construction areas of an old cathedral or large church. Something like Notre Dame. It still wouldn’t change the fact that I haven’t got a dollar to my name and all I really care about is the simple acts of eating and sleeping anymore. Human interaction in and of itself has become less important then catching the next episode of some show I can’t remember the name of. It’s an almost repetitive cycle of ruts and dullness. Almost like November.

November always seemed like a depressing month to me. The name itself always have me a gloomy feeling in my gut. It promised late night rain an bone-chilling morning breezes. It was a month I just couldn’t stand and out of every month for me to be late on rent it had to be this one. As much as I worked at the office I was just functioning as an intern. And an abused one at that. My real job confined me to the smelling slums of the back of a super market amidst the sheetrock and piping. My environment was damn and broken as every cemented floor and brick wall around me stood riddled with cracks.

The tubing upon the ceiling looked ancient and boxed heat generators were hung up in different places to balance the otherwise ungodly temperature of the store. With hours changing every week it was hard to keep on top of scheduling, but it added a needed blend of anxiety into my otherwise dull, dull life. Some days I would work seven hours which pained my unprotected feet from all the useless walking. For work I could finish in three hours the universe certainly found a way for it to be even more stressful and prolonged. The people I work with are decent, disregarding the few changelings that pick verbal confrontations with the managers.

It would certainly seem that they need the workers more then the workers needed the company. This fact proved even more true as the super market’s locations had dwindled heavily over the past three years. Being that my house is so close to my job helps greatly due to the fact that I don’t have a car. Yes I still live with my parents, but in my own section of the house, cornered off downstairs in what some would perceive as the “downstairs area”, but in fact is the first floor of a house that was built on a hill. It’s a decent enough home.

I find that most of my classification of things are along side the term “decent enough”. I guess this is because I feel I’m too under privileged to feel grateful for what I have and too fearful of being labeled as ungrateful. So everything is just decent. Much like the style of my writing is described, I find it hard to move an idea forward. I spend too much time lingering to a detail everyone could care less about and lose the hapless fool who began to be interested in my writing to begin with.

It’s a curse of my fascination to change my story when the ideas run thin. Completely uprooting the central idea and almost making complete nonsense out of whatever information I’ve represented. Because in fact you do not know me or who I really am. Only what you read, and despite wether or not this could be a grand novel is entirely up to forces out of my control. maybe this is all just some short story that didn’t want to end, so the words kept running and the pages kept flipping until it was finally realized that all of it was for nothing. And at that moment the glorious words “the end” appear a few lines after the final pointless sentence.

That almost seems like the perfect sum of what poetically poisonous people would use to describe life. And how poisonous they are. Despite writing classes in high school I do not believe my ability to make stories has improved any bit, stemming from the dead-set mind-set to not desire any ability to move forward. Ergo, I just don’t give a shit. caring enough to take time out of my short life and type away my time when I could be getting sleep would seem quite troublesome looking down at it. hell, without auto correct my writing would be miscellaneous and abominable. I love big words like those.

I wonder if you believe all that stuff I just said. about working at a super market and living with my parents. cause in fact you just believe a lie, proving once again that this story will only take you where I want you to go. So forget about any illusion you have about learning me and growing with me, because I’m far too much character for you to handle, and otherwise, I just won’t let you. You will step at my pace and follow my tune. If you can’t comply with these guidelines you can always close this up and go read a book about vampires, or fairies or other reimagined form of fictional, commercialized garbage.

I wonder if my point would have been anymore vulagish if I had used the word “shit” instead of “garbage” just then. And for those of you with no imagination, “vulgarish” is a word I just made up. It means “to be, in a way, vulgar”. If you didn’t catch on from the sounding of the word. I may make up words again, if necessary. This is only to drasticate the fact that sometimes the english language just doesn’t have the words to describe how I feel or wish to convey things. And once again my meat-puppets, I made up that word “drasticate”, too. It means “…to make known in a drastic manner…”.

I feel the more you stick with me the more you’ll grow keen to my ways. Then at the end of all this you can tell me if I’m a fucking lunatic or not. For now, I’m gonna go take a nap. Maybe when I wake up the world will have come to an end. One can only hope.

The Terror Museum

On a blank stretch of brick wall, at some point between where Greenwich Village meets Gramercy and East Village, you can sometimes find cemented steps leading up to two large black doors. On a golden ornament-label to the right of these doors you will find the title by which this establishment goes by. That title being ‘The B. Rorret Museum of Historical Antiquities’.

Behind those doors there exists an anomaly of a most horrific nature. There, closed in and tucked away from the world, lies eldritch horrors from the old world, the cosmic ethos and the mythical past. These are the tales that make up the legend of The B. Rorret Museum, or as most unfortunate-souls call it, ‘The Terror Museum’.

Founded on February 16th, 1506 by Junior-Duke Balthazar DeEmulous Le’ Atticus Rorret of Centre, France, the Rorret Museum served as an establishment of bizarre and monstrous wonder. Originally only being accessible by members of high society, as the museum, itself, moved through the centuries and change locations around the globe, more and more the accessibility of the establishment shifted until all were allowed to enter it’s doors. Much of the museum’s past documented history from the 1500s to the 1900s has remained elusive and not much else is know about the continuously shifting compound.

In the rare writings of philosophers and noblemen alike, who had been graced with the ability to stand witness to the structure’s contents, no specific details are given as to the items displayed within the museum. Each documented encounter appears to be fabricated, showing a similar degree of explanatory style that differs from any of those philosopher’s or noblemen’s previous scripts. The amount of halls, dorms, rooms, displays, exhibits, features and chambers contained within the museum has never been known, as the exact area of ground the establishment covers is supposed to be ever-changing.

It is speculated that no person, for however long they’d spend venturing the Rorret Museum, would ever explore the building unto it’s entirety. It has been gathered that areas of the museum remain frequently cut off due to construction or renovation of exhibits that have been documented to have lasted centuries before completion. The exact names of those exhibits are unknown, as is the current status of their standing in the museum.

The only thing more queer about the faint history of the museum itself is the strange slur of speculation that surrounds its founder, Balthazar Rorret. According to all research, and historical findings, there has never been any documentation of a Junior-Duke by the name of Balthazar Rorret serving a title in Centre, France in 1506. The duke does not appear in any records of French hierarchy, and furthermore, as the years seems to pass there appears to be a decline in accessible files that hold any proof of the museum, or its founder’s, existence.

So now it floats into legend as all the spawn of the spiraling stratosphere often do, becoming myth until its eventual arrival back within the precipice of mankind’s wondering eye.

Upon entering the large black double-doors of the museum you will first be met with a large room, predominantly constructed of wood and shaped in a cylinder-like shape, connecting to other cylinder like rooms. In the first room there sits a desk, and behind it sits the museum’s headmistress and caretaker, Miss Madam Paura; A descendant of the magnificent Balthazar Rorret. She sits in control over visitor access to the exhibits, oversees all issues involving the establishment and lastly, stands in as the current manager of the museum.

She has long black hair and pale skin and red lips, appearing far too doll-like to be human. She is mostly quiet, practically able to speak with her wide black eyes that appear green in candlelight. Under her command are the three groundsmen; The three brothers, Spavento, Spettro and Spaventare.

They handle to set-up and construction of the exhibits, as well as the museum’s upkeep. The brothers all appear just slightly different from one another, all of them with sickly green skin and and darker green hair. Working well together, they are marvelous servants and are self-proclaimed to have been working under Miss Paura for as long as they can remember.

Wandering the halls of the museum, these four would more commonly be seen snooping around the blocked-off areas of the museum, or tucking away precious objects which they fear will be stolen. The many other residence who work for the B. Rorret Museum of Historical Antiquities stick to their respective sections of the compound. That being food service, directory or tour-grouping.

They are referred to as residence as every employee of Miss Madam Paura lives within the museum’s sectioned-off living quarters. The other employees who are rarely seen don’t make many debuts to the common one-time visitor of the museum. To a ‘museum regular’ these other employees will certainly show a sense of attachment, perhaps even under an obsession-esque light.

While the three brothers can be seen running about the building, Paura can most often be found at the front desk or checking the museum’s inventory within the stealthily-hidden stockroom. A place where even the more unnatural of the museum’s specimens rest, unseen or unable to be seen. Through legend the contents of the Rorret Museum’s stock and storage rooms have become a wet-dream for thieves and treasure hunters worldwide.

Past the cylinder-like rooms there are small halls, unmarked, that follow through inner-foyers complete with grand staircases. These flow up unto balconies where exhibits, doors, openings and chambers vastly stretch out in a variety of directions. The largest and most suggestively-fascinating of these openings lies in a rounded-room foyer connecting to seven particular halls that share no interwoven connection through the building.

This section dubbed, ‘The Seven Halls’ consists of The Reficul Hall, The Nommam Hall, The Suedomsa Hall, The Nahtaivel Hall, The Bubezleeb Hall, The Natas Hall and The Rogehpleb Hall. These serve as the main traveling pathways amidst the deepest bowls of the museum. It is assured by Miss Paura, as it was assured by Balthazar before her, that these halls contain the true magic of the B. Rorret Museum and are not to be viewed by those with the faint of heart.

‘The Hall of History, A Horrifying View Into The Possible Past, Present And Future Of All And Everything’ serves as just one example as to the horrors the museum can offer. All visitors are warned to not spend too much time in this hall, as people have often gone missing within it; Pulled into a place between time and space, where the unfathomable has become the norm. Not that many people would believe it, but each exhibit in The Hall of History is represented by a large black slab of glass upon a black wall.

The only light that comes through this labyrinth of black hallways comes from the glass slabs themselves. Each one plays a picture of possible events, to come or that have passed. These events range from global-crisis to personal horrors the lone visitors face, reflecting the distain in their lives.

The glass contains a strip of a world so close, closed off by a sheer thin sheet of a reflective enigma. Sometimes its almost like the ‘things’ on the other side of the glass can see the viewer, as if their really there. As if the exhibit isn’t an exhibit at all, but merely a tear in spacetime and a window into alternate dimensions where the essence of these worlds are considered horrific to the viewer of this one.

The labels beneath display the names of the events that play out before the visitor. Like animatronics, but animatronics that are too real, even for the greatest creators of special effects. An example of this would be strolling up to a glassed-in exhibit entitled ‘Aliens Take Earth: 2024’ and watching through a large window, that seems to be enterable should you shatter it, ships from space demolish humankind as women and children are gunned down by laser fire.

As a man, screaming and bloodied runs up to the glass in front of you, screaming and crying for you to crack the exhibit and let him in; Let him into your world. Away from the fate which befalls him as a species of space-creature creeps up behind him and mutilates him before you. All the while you can’t help but feel it was all too real as the alien peers at you with hate filled eyes and indifference.

And no matter how hard you tried you couldn’t break the glass, no matter what. How about an exhibit entitled ‘Clown Earth: 2016’. A world where murderous clowns rein supreme, as the planet is taken over by blood-thirsty painted freaks and only coulrophobes inherent the earth, just to be continuously killed off before the eyes of the viewer.

How about having a front seat view to an exhibit labeled ‘Undead World: 1966’ and being witness to hordes of the reanimated ravish the earth as you witness only the most disturbing of sights. A place where it matters not if the plague was brought on by gods, or chemicals or the sheer uprising of hell. Visitors are asked to view only one or two glassed exhibits in The Hall of History, for their essence eats sanity.

Before long the worlds contained within the displays draw you closer, pulling you in until you are lost. It is a soul-grabber which traps you and ensnares your consciousness, pulling you into an unfortunate past, present or future and with no way to return. All that is known is that this hall is a hub to the parallel worlds that stand opposite to ours.

Each slab of glass is a petrified glimpse into an actual alternate reality. Even to the caretakers of the museum it is unknown how many visitors went missing and continue to disappear in The Hall of History. Most witnesses just find it fortunate enough that we’re the ones standing on the viewing side of that glass.

Since the hall’s new redesign it has now been appropriately dubbed ‘The Hall of Alternate Histories’. The dangers of the hall still remain, though the number of missing persons seems to be dwindling on a monthly basis. This is good.

Other halls offer a variety of horrors that include displays of living, carnivorous, acid-spitting, needle-shooting, hypnotic plant life, most comply found in ‘The Chamber of Nature’s Cruelest Creations’. This hall is one that the museum’s tour groups don’t usually pass.

The greatest tour-giver in the most recent history of the museum has to be the monocled, top hat and inverness coat-wearing gentleman who goes by the title of ‘The Black Hatter’. Or ‘Hatter’ for short. He rushes the halls in a blazing horse-drawn carriage and offers tours in groups of up to four individuals as well as swift transportation around the museum.

He acts more lively apart from most of the museum’s employees, actually enjoying what he does and often aggravating the other staff members with his dangerous and close-call racing maneuvers around the corridors of the building.

Surprisingly there has never been any case of the Black Hatter or his carriage ever running down a single visitor. News which I’m sure upsets the other morbid members of the staff.

Signs along exits and entrances to rooms encourage visitors to call the front desk if they are in distress. This would be helpful, especially for a place of this misfortunate caliber, but alas, the second a phone enters the doors of the museum the phone loses all signal and becomes useless. As do a selective few other electronic devices that mostly concern contact with those outside of the museum.

The building has it’s own phone system. Free-to-use wall phones, that look like they’ve been modeled right out of the 1800’s, line every few corners of the building. Even through it’s transformation into the twenty fist century, the museum always has taken great care in the upkeep of it’s gothic-victorian look. The look of the museum stayed with people after they would return to the outside world. “That is, if they’re granted that luxury.” As the brothers used to say.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Jonathan Joestar
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