There is an island of doubt only moments away, however, and believe me when I say, the only way to arrive is with your eyes shut. Where common folk obtain their dubiousness remains in the lack of dedication. I do not lie when I say it is moments away, however, the journey may not be suitable for just any feet. Close your eyes and walk through the darkness to greet death. It is only when he accepts you do you wash up on the island of Doubt. However, there is a way to return to the land of the living, but I can see where people would lack faith. You see, or for better wording, cut out your eyeballs and offer one to the sea and another to a pocket. Which pocket? That is indeed an excellent question. But let us digress for I must now caution you of the island’s inhabitants. Are you familiar with the Gorlesh? Surely you must! Perhaps you give him a different name, some call him Devil, God, Stranger, but I assure you, he is your friend- at least, on the island. Follow him and grasp his arms to further your thoughts and imagination. Soon you will feel the truth. There will be many creatures crawling in your ears to cast a seed of doubt, and surely the pink mist, which lingers in the air, will accelerate its growth, but fear not, so long as you see with your ears and hear with your eye sockets will you be safe. I cannot tell you more, for scarce space remains on this letter… *
This was my father’s dying note. He did not leave a will, no gifts, nothing. He left us with the clothes on our backs and on the street with a gambler’s debt. My sister married off and my mother raped on the streets, myself beaten and forced to watch helplessly, I can only hope there is a world where it’s evilness is not veiled by pretty words nor pictures. The pangs of starvation demanded their hunger to be satiated at Hul’s Dine, but I knew better. Hul’s Diner served free bread every morning, which was stale from weeks before and the worms inside gave inspiration for the most devious of hallucinations. I dare not take that risk more than once.
My mother lay in a puddle of her own blood and tears, alone. I could not bring myself to hold her as she cried for I was ashamed. I failed to protect her. The man walked out of our alley with a smile, “See you next time” he cackled towards my mother.
“Why don’t we notify the local authorities?” I asked with the voice of a broken child with lost hope.
“It’s no use! Tell them only to have them do it to me for being so weak in the first place!” she retorted.
I could feel the aggression passively slap my face. I could not stare her in her desolate eyes as I said, “I’ll go beg for food”.
On a usual day she would protest with pride, but this time, her shattered ribs and broken fingers could not. My head sunk to my feet as they slugged towards the street with the most traffic of pedestrians.
“Spare any food?” I asked with one of my eyes to the people and the other to the sides of the wall my back slouched against. A lady gave me a morsel of bread and I ate it almost instantly. In my greed I realized my poor starving mother! I felt guilt coarse through my veins like a black venom and felt a determination to acquire an even better delicacy. I returned my eyes to the dictionary I salvaged from the library of my father’s library before the magistrate stole it. On the inside of the cover it was crudely written in his own blood, “A guide to the Imagination”.
Perhaps, I wondered. As the time drew the dusk unto dawn, I returned to my mother with tired hands and feet to offer a slice of cheese I took from an unattended plate, and a handful of grapes I stole from the vineyard at the local brewery. Scars in between my fingers and across my back were a reminder that one only got caught once before they lose both their hands and feet to thievery. The wounds itched with infection every so often, but not enough to distract me from this world. Nothing was ever enough.
There she was, crying in a corner with her back to against a waste bin. I offered her food and she would not accept. I asked why she would not. She told me. She was to give herself to Lord Vorh. “No! You can’t!” I protested, knowing very well of the brothel of the infamous Lord Vorh.
“What’s the difference, I’d rather at least get food in exchange for being violated instead of my body broken and dirtied because the scum cannot afford the patience to dine a woman!”
I wondered how she became so pathetic. I cried and ran into the streets ashamed to call myself her son. Running away from her cries as my chest heaved and my feet collapsed on the floor, I realized I was lost and confused. I was no longer in the Avenue of Lost Hope. Now I was on the crossroads of Affliction and Agony. Still, it felt better to be away from the dirty alleys and broken street lamps. This was no better, I discovered.
“Hey! You there! You’re a cute little boy aint’cha’? Don’t you agree Peps?” The man dressed in rags spoke with black teeth and motioned for his comrade in misery.
“Yeah, he looks mighty fine with that young skin, lets get a taste shall we?” Yellow cracked teeth exposed a smile as they began to approach my direction. As they neared I realized I was too tired to run. I closed my eyes.
Is this life? Is this all? Am I doomed to repay the sins of these filthy creatures? My eyes shut tightly as I began to cry and with a sudden burst of adrenaline, I ran only for a few moments. A heavy metal slammed against the skull of my head and I fell dead.
How funny to wake up tasting sand at the shore of a beach. My clothes were absent and I stood naked, without scars, and with only a flattened rock next to me. On top of it was a serrated spoon with a note attached, “see sea”. Nostalgia struck my thoughts like a flame ignites a candle. Is this the island of doubt? No. Surely I must be dead and this- Wait! Then this IS the island! I could not believe it- my fathers note had more truth than all the lies he told me as a child. I took off in full sprint across the shore, which stretched beyond infinity.
It seemed no mater how long I ran and walked, I would never leave the same spot. Every time I moved away, the flat rock moved with me. Or perhaps the sands themselves shifted in ways that prevented my departure. Time was absent for there were three suns above the sky, one above me, and two equally distributed on opposing horizons. The sun’s were bleeding and were red, not the common bright light I have associated with my understanding of a sun. The sands themselves were warm with breath and I dug my feet into its hearth to cool my feet only to have a needle prick the sole of my under feet. I winced in pain and found myself unable to remove my position as the needles penetrated through the center of my legs as its violence made its way just below my waist. I wanted to cry and as I did, a flock of moths and maggots fell from the pores of my face. Slapping them off me, I could feel the shells crack against my skin as their flesh gushed liquids of beautiful hue. For an odd reason I felt ecstasy. I stood there and waited for this euphoria to pass. It did not, however, a pair of wings descended from the sky with such a fall I was unable to visualize anything but its hairy claws contort themselves around my throat. It carried me as I dangled limp and euphoric. I could feel the claws sink into my flesh but strangely it felt immensely pleasurable. Deeper, I pleaded. As it did it gave my neck a crack, which allowed me to see blurs of the ground below. A combination of the most vile of human substances invaded my nose: blood, urine, sperm, fecal matter, fear and others my vocabulary was unsuited for. I resolved to read my dictionary further; until I felt the claws release their hold as I fell. “Please kill me” I uttered as I felt the breeze part the hair from my skin which fell like heavy feathers beside me. I was still unable to move, frozen with fear or euphoria, (I could not tell).
Soon I found myself in a chamber of the sweetest tasting gunk. As I drowned I could only think of how delightful its nectar was on buds of my tongue however, my thoughts were interrupted as vines laced with thorns wrapped themselves around my ankles and calves, pulling me into the depths of the bottom! I did not know why I felt these vines were in fact human veins, despite that I could not see past a few mere feet through the shades of green liquid.