I see only darkness, the infinity of the void. I can hear things, dark and twisted things. They whisper to each other and to the void. And to me. I remember nothing, not how got here or why. I don't even know where here is. My own name was lost to me. The darkness enveloped my sight. I could only listen to the whispers of the night.
"What is it brothers?"
"Why is it here?
"How did it get here?"
"Should we kill it?"
"Yes! Lets eats it!"
"No! No! Wait! I think it can hear us!"
"No, that's impossible, who knows of this place? Who would come here willingly? Who would look at us?"
"I hungry, I wants to take a bite!"
"I said no, now be quiet!"
"But I just wants a nibble. Just his limbs, I swear."
"I SAID NO!"
"Bah! You don't control me, you not father, you not master! I eats it whole, I will!"
I sensed movement behind me. I heard more sounds like wind moving through trees or a wolf howling far away in the distance, rushing towards me. I braced myself for an impact, though it never came, instead I heard three screams in unison cry out and it made me laugh.
Their cries were harsh enough to make my ears bleed and yet I laughed. I know that it is twisted, but here are at least three monsters that could kill me and never feel remorse for what they have done and they are in pain. They have taken pleasure from the chaos they create and the countless innocent victims they've tortured to cure their boredom. They are receiving what they have been forcing on others for millions of years and it feels right. They have never felt the fear of mortality until now.
"Brothers! What is this sorcery?"
"Father! Help us!"
No help came from them, only a soft, deep laughter that reminded me of thunder. It was just me and them. Me against them. If I don't do something soon, I just know something terrible will happen to me, to everyone, to the world.
I could have walked away, just walked away and never turn back. I could leave these monsters to the fate they deserve and let the world die with them. The idea of that came to me more than once, but in all instances I could not bring myself to do such a selfish and destructible act.
I could kill them while I have the chance and rid the world of their taint. I could rid the world of these creatures and save everyone else in the process, but by killing them in this weakened state would be un-honorable and the idea sickens me that I would be no different then them.
That left me with only one option left, to save them. I hated the idea of sparing these foul beasts from their fates yet I could never just do nothing. I will not let them die in suffering. Fate may be cruel and just, but even so I will not let them embrace death in such pain. I must save them even if it would cost me my own life!
I had no hope of finding them by sight in that lightless place so I had to find them by following the screams of the dammed. I grudge through an aimless path for what seemed like eons, every step a year sucked from my life, every breath laid more weight on my shoulders. By the time I came upon the stalkers, I was nearly dead, a mere husk of what I was. I fell upon the trio as I tripped over one, falling down among them. I wanted to stay down there forever. I didn't want to get back up. I felt old and useless; my life melted away from me in an instant and all I wanted to do was rest. But I knew that if I stayed there and allow sleep to envelope me that I would be lost forever. One fate worse than death is an unfulfilled life. So I tried to fight and get to my knees.
As I tried to push myself back onto my feet, my arms felt brittle and my legs wobbled uncontrollably. Pain reared through my joints as if someone had jammed them through with ice sickles. I was forced to a stop, frozen on my hands and knees. My eyes were locked forward, staring empty into the abyss and my heart dropped. My body seized with cold, shaking me as to throw my head off. I felt like I fell through a black hole, surrounded by darkness and hatred. It was if something had broken my soul and threw the pieces in a bottomless well. I felt…hopeless.
I lost everything in that moment, my self awareness, my little memories, even the fact I was in terrible pain and surrounded by sin. I have no idea as to how long I was there for, but it seemed like I was there my entire life. It was my world. It was forever quiet, then I saw it, the light of a thousands suns. I could see myself on the other side, down on my hands and knees, the look of contorted pain on my face. A shimmer went through the light and reflected the image of what I am now, an empty shell of my former self in blissful ignorance of the rest of the world.
The message was clear; I could stay in the darkness forever, forever safe, forever enslaved by my own doing and not feeling anything. Or I could return to myself and live my life and experience the world. It would be painful, but it would also be worth while in the long run. Nothing good comes easy in life.
I looked backed to the only world I've ever known in my brief existence and thought to myself, "Is this what death is like? Is this hell?" then I made my decision.
I woke up with a scream of a thousands banshees, eventually vomiting with globs of blood splattered in. I looked up and saw the three vile cretins I endured through eternity for to save and I hated them for it. None of them know what I did, nor will they ever know or care to know. They will never know that I had ever existed and I just went to hell and back to save them.
I could have cursed their souls to damnation till I ran out of words to say but I stopped myself. It was not their fault that I chose to save them. They didn't cast me into the abyss. I shall not fall to their level, I am better than that, I will not let anger control my life.
I looked down at my hands and saw a warm orange glow rise from the bone. It was very faint, but it shined out light like a beacon of hope to a long lost sailor. I could hear a resounding rumble rising all around. It reminded me of the laughter from earlier, only angry, outraged.
I tried to lift my self from my knees, but it was like trying to lift a mountain. I could feel my muscle scream out to the strain. I felt sweat bead from my eyes and touch the corners of my mouth. It tasted of iron. I touched my fingers to my lips and saw a scarlet splatter drip from the tips until my eyes burned and blurred. I know what this is, yet I could not find the name for it.
"I will not give to pain." I said to myself and to the void. I couldn't be sure, but I thought the screams of the fallen quieted down slightly and the orange glow burn hotter. "My misery is nothing compared to the lives that could have, have been, and can be." I heard the roar of thunder again, louder and stronger than before. The weight on my back grew heavier yet I pushed past up enough to get a leg underneath me.
The glow emanating from my body grew brighter and I could see the creatures. One was a grotesque shapeless mass, faintly and barely distinguishable as human. It was skinny, bare to the bone. I could see the skin fold behind the ribs and the outlines of the organs. The eyes bulged out of the sunken sockets and yet it was fat. There, sitting in its pitiful stomach lay a bulge the size of new born infant, in fact, I think I could see the outline of the skull. Its lips were splattered with scarlet splotches and its finger tips were stained red. Its greed was its downfall.
Screaming behind it was its brother, a rotten corpse living though death. In some spots I could see right through it, interrupted only by the odd parasite living within. On the outside the skin was riddled with sores, blisters, pus sacks, and scars. I could tell that at one time that this was a great man, brought below the earth by disease and betrayal. It was proud and boastful, eager to prove itself to the world. It proved that he had too much pride and it became the end of him. Its throat cut in its sleep. I could see the slash mark, a second mouth gaping up at me.
Then the third was the worse. It was clearly a man, but also a woman, and neither. It was pale and nude as the others had scraps hiding themselves. It was of lean futures, chiseled and sharp. Its looks could be described as perfect, if there was such a thing as perfection. It looked up at me, its chalk white teeth shining in my face and its charcoal black hair moved from its shockingly crystal blue eyes.
Then I saw its horror, quite possibly the worse of the three. In the dark of its eyes I perceived the shadows of things no one should see in the light, all the way where I stood, I could see it all. I saw how this thing would smile at you, love you, save your life if it had to, only to save its self. None of the feelings of love, empathy, compassion, or anything remotely similar lived there, only the will to kill. Its one true desire, the only thing that provides this creature with pleasure is the pain of others. It would marry you, tell you they would be there forever, and then strike you down when the time was right. It would taunt you when you lying in a pool of your own blood while holding the only thing that could save your life and throw it just out of reach and watch you die as you hopelessly grasp out for it.
It was a coward, only looking out for its self. If you had saved its life a thousands times over, it still will never hesitate to throw you under the bus, even if it is for only a few more seconds of life. This represents everything wrong within the human race, the worse we can offer, deserving of nothing better than the fate that it has delivered upon countless victims.
I looked around me, staring at the reward of the pain and misery, all of man in his worst image. I surprised myself, instead of hating these sins, I pitied them. When I realized that, their screams doubled in strength.
I forced myself up further and shouted to the darkness. "I shall never falter to greed or corruption or to the madness you throw in my path. I shall not allow your cold grip to drag me into despair." Another roar of anger shook the small room. I could see it now as the red-orange glow grew brighter.
I took a step towards the starved thing and it was like someone drove a rusty, bent nails into my foot but I endured. The next step was the same, only more intense. Two steps later I was close enough to help the first thing up. My touch seemed to burn the beast as steam rose up from my grasp. I got it to its feet just barely. It grabbed my shoulders and lunged in with its bloody, gaping teeth but I was able to hold him off.
"No, you are better than to resort to such drastic measures. You will survive. You will not eat me, you will not starve today."
"I so hungry, flesh, warm bloody flesh, you are, just one nibble, please, I will die without meat. Please, have mercy!"
"I do." It smiled and went in to bite me. I pushed it off. "Mercy comes in many ways, you are still savable and I hope that you will live and make a life for yourself." It whimpered and cried, hiding its head in its knees. I wanted to hold it, comfort, and tell it that everything would be all right. But I didn't, I knew it not to be true.
It reminded me of myself of when I was young, an orphan on the street, living day by day on scraps, sleeping in foster homes. It was a nightmare. I had hoped every day to be adopted from that rubble, whisked away to lived in leisurely with my new parents. They never came. I understood then as to what the only thing I could do to save this feral thing.
I bent down to its head level. When it met my eyes, I saw that they were bloodshot from crying. I wrapped an arm around it. "Be quit now, let's go look for your parents, heh? I'm sure there worried sick looking for you." I stood up and offered it my hand. It looked at it for a moment and grabbed it. I helped the young creature to its feet and watched in amazement as it changed before my eyes. The child burned with fire to ash and stood before again.
Instead of the starving beast stood a happy child, and looking faintly familiar somehow. "Thanks, mister. I would like to play some more but it's getting late now, I have to go to my mum and dad now, bye." It thanked me and ran off, laughing all the way.
"Holly shit! What the hell just happen!" I spurted. The ceiling shook with more anger, this time I could faintly hear words but they were mangled and unknowable. The glow from my body grew stronger, now a distinguishable light, showing off the room. I saw the outline of a cold fireplace and a broken TV and what I thought was a sofa.
I walked to the second body only to be rushed in by shadows with daggers and knifes. I stared them down and shouted, "Be gone, shades, before I cast you into the oblivion of your master!" All but one hesitated as it rushed in on me. I raised my hands towards the darkness and watched as it shattered against my will. The others learned fast and scattered back into their corners of hell.
Kneeling down, I rested the skull of the second victim on my knees. Its looks of agony gained a taint of hatred as I helped it. It screams got less pained and more anger. It struggled to lift its arm up and reach out to push me away. Such a creature would want no help, strong headed and blinded by pride, to accept help would be to accept failure.
"Your pride brought you here; your cocky attitude was your real death. People you had once considered friends and family left you for dead. They did not care for you, why should they, you had thought yourself their better and they proved you wrong in a terrible way." The wretched thing scowled, showing me his few rotted teeth and his putrid tongue. Then he cried and tried to cover his face from my gaze. I held them back and he wept fiercer. "Your pride was your down fall. Let me help you. It is the only thing that can save you now." It shock in rage and thrashed his limbs around, beating his head on my lap. Then he cried some more.
"I don't know how, I don't know." He whimpered
"Shush, now. It's easy, just trust me."
"I don't know how, I don't think…"
"Hush, be calm, listen to my voice. Relax. Trust me."
It gazed up to my face. "I know you, from long ago. You helped me once before; I'll do it again, I'll trust you." It whispered through a cracked throat. I helped this man to his feet, supporting half his weight as I held him up. We stood there as I caught my breath. It turned to me and spoke, "The future will be rough for the both of us, and very, very, painful." He said with a smile and exploded in flame, just like the small boy.
And just like the small boy, he fell as a pile of ash and stood again. "I'll see you later then." I said yet I didn't. The man that stood before me was myself. Albeit a bit older and more built. "Its time for me to go, but, uh, thanks, thank you for saving you, err, me? Damn this is confusing. You'll work it out though, so, uh, bye, I guess." And he was gone, just like that.
I had no idea what the hell just happen, I just stood there like an idiot who just found out that his parents conceived him in a porno; that he 'came' to. What I do know what happened was that I got ambushed by more shadows.
One walked up to me, different from the others as he had horns like a goat sprouting out the back of his head. He spoke with the voice of pure sin. "The spirit has chosen his champion well, it seems, though you shall never prevail over my influence." I chuckled a bit, I couldn't help it. It looked at me confusingly. "Do I amuse you?"
"A little, yhea. It's sad really; you don't even realize that I already have." I laughed. I formed my will around my fist, aiming it at the shadow of sin. I got serious fast, breaking up my chuckle. "I banish you, the vanity of my soul, to burn on your throne and die with no life beyond." I released my will in the form of blue fire. It engulfed the demon and his minions, turning them to ash with no rebirth.
"Well, that happened." I said and looked to the third and final creature lying on the ground, screaming in pain. No, it wasn't the ground, it was hardwood floor. The room I stood in got brighter and I could clearly see the walls, painted light blue, the couch, roughly worn yet still inviting, the television sitting across from it, lightly reflecting the room back to its self, and the fireplace now had a small fire, flickering a warm glow to the whole room. I could faintly see a painting hanging above the mantle.
I looked back at the beast lying on the floor. "I think I know what is going to happen next, too." I walked to him, most definitely a him, based on the last two hims. I stopped walking when he was at my feet. I kicked gently, "Get up you piece of shit. I saved your ass two times now, once when we were kids, the last when we were men. Now look at you, a self pitying old man. What did you have to do that cost your life without it being taken. You stole, you murdered, you raped, and you hid from everyone we had ever loved all because you became a cowered. We had a bad start in life, but it was not our fault our parents died in that plane crash and we survived. It was tragic and heart wrenching and terrible. But it happened and there is nothing we could ever do to have stopped that. You let that one day control your life to this very point. I am here to tell you that our life can be so much more than what you are. Let go at your anger at ourselves. Let us move on and live our lives"
I spat at myself, which is weird saying that out loud because it sounds crazy, and slightly gross. "You talk all high in mighty, but you have no idea what we'll go through, you have no idea as to what lays ahead of us. What I did was to survive, nothing more and you will thank me for making the terrible decisions we had to make to do so."
I bent down on my knees to whisper in my ear. "Your wrong"
I looked at me with a look of disgust. "You think so? Well guess what, I am here and we are alive because of me. I am what you will become, accept it, it will allow the transformation come much more easier."
"That's where you are wrong." I stood up. "You see, you gave up on us, you had to face the unfacable so you turned to the darkness. I am telling you that I will not make that same mistake as you. I will fight, even if it means my death, no, our death, and do you know why?"
"Because you are a idyllic fool trusting in someone else to save your sorry ass."
"No, that's not it. It's because I have something worth fighting for, something you never had."
"Oh, yhea, and what could that possibly be? Your family, you have none! You have no one! Not a mother, not a father, not even a cat to keep you company! You have nothing!" I raved at me.
I nodded. "True, that's all true. Well, accept for you saying I have nothing. In fact I have a huge something. That something is morale."
"Fuck that! You have no morals, oh, if only you could know what we did, what I did, you will curse your self for those words!"
"Maybe, but I have hoped that I wont."
"Hope is for idiots."
"Wrong again, you are, yes." I responded like Yoda. What? I like star wars, who doesn't? "You see, I have morals that compel me do the right thing because that is mom and dad would want. They would want us to make a life for ourselves, to raise a family and live and prosper and be happy. I will honor their memory and live the dream that they could only hope for us! You disgust me with your self pity and your selfishness. I will not fall in the darkness, I wont let me, and I will save you, too."
I looked away from me in self disgust. "Its too late for me now, leave me here, save your self, its what we will be doing for the rest of our lives."
"No. I wont leave any man behind, not even you. Take my hand. Its time for us to go."
He looked up at my stretched out hand and reached out for it but hesitated. "It's all right, all will be forgiven. Trust me. Trust your self." I comforted him. And I grabbed my hand only for it too, to combust in an inferno and turn to ash. And as before I rose up from death to be reborn. What stood before was not the same shadow of a old man but the man him self. The laugh lines only helped defined the kind features of his smile. His blues eyes crystal and young. Broad at the shoulders and heavy with muscle, scarred from battles of old and only disswayed by a gut held back only by the jumpers of his overalls.
"Thank you" I said to myself. "Thank you so much. Even once I was past the brink you pulled be back, you saved me for a third time in our life. Three times to many, I say. I just hope we made our parents proud."
"I'm sure that as long as we are happy, there happy."
"I hope so."
"We know so." Damn, this talking to me stuff truly is confusing. Now with the shades of my past, present, and future saved, my memories flooded my brain, but before I could pick over the details of my life, the old me disappeared.
So he was gone, just like before, and just like before the sin that corrupted him took his place. "You are the only one to have been able to live this long, many died as their first choice. We had never thought that anyone would have made it has far as you. Congratulations, but you have one more barrier to cross. Let us see how well you do." He disappeared in a puff of smoke.
"Humph, well that was easy. I wonder what will happen…" I had turned around to the fire place, now roaring with flames, only to see my parents standing there. "now." They didn't see me; they had their backs to me, looking into the flame. "Mom. Dad. Is that you?" they didn't turn around has if they couldn't hear me. "Mom, dad, its me, it's Alex, I'm your son." They still stared at the fire. I walked up behind them and put my hand on their shoulders. "Can't you hear me? I'm Alex." I turned them around and saw how their faces were twisted in horrific grins like out of something from a terrible Tim Burton stop motion film. "What happen to you two? Who did this?"
They busted out laughing. "Look honey," the thing that looked like my father said, "Its our son, Alex! He found us!"
"Oops!" laughed the creature that looked like my mother. "I hoped he doesn't know we faked the plane crash to get away from his needy, crying ass! Oops, I just said that out loud didn't I?" They both broke out in another wave of chuckles.
"Your not my parents! What are you two?" I screamed at them.
"Alex, don't you speak to your mother that way, she really loves you, you know." He scorned
"That's not my mother, and your not my father!"
"I think he's on to us dear." The thing that pretended to be my mother said.
"I think your right honey, just looked at him, he knows we were never his parents, that we never loved him, that we hated him because he destroyed our lives when he was conceived."
"You things are not my parents, you are not real, you are my doubts, my fears, and my nightmares." I yelled at them
"I don't know son, those things all seem fairly real to me." The monster that pretended to be my father loomed over me.
I stood up to him. "Your right, they are real, but I am the master over myself, I am the master of you, and I, your master, command you both to leave me and never return!" I engulfed both the demons in the fire of my will, leaving nothing but the ashes to float away in the breeze.
I walked to fire and looked upon the portrait on the mantle. I remember it, I remember the room with sky blue wall, and the old coach, and the big T.V. The picture was a of my mom and dad, smiling together, their arms draped on a young me's shoulder. I remember that day. It was the last I ever saw of them.
Something flickered and caught my eye. I looked into the fire and saw that there was nothing fueling it, no wood or gas, nothing. That's when the giant bird with wings of fire shot out like a cannon out of the fireplace. It hovered in front of me, eye to eye. Then it screeched. It screeched louder than all three of me combined. Fire escaped from its feathers and encircled us in a sphere of flame. Through the roar of the inferno and pitch of the bird, I could hear a faint voice in the back of my head. "You, Alex Star, are my champion, you shall do well. Hence forth, I name you the Sol Fox de Galaxy. You shall not disappoint." Then it took a talon the size of my face and tore into my chest.
Then, I hate to admit it, I woke up.