Eyes of an Angel

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: House of Ghosts
He scoffed at his colleagues' preposterous claim. If only he knew then what he knows now...

Submitted: April 02, 2017

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Submitted: April 02, 2017

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Little more than theories and speculation hint at what lay beyond our visible universe, and I thank the stars every night for it.  The awareness of my own existence means nothing to me anymore.  I have seen too much in the way of maddening sights to not recall in my nightmares the vistas of expanded nothingness beyond what most sane men could tolerate.  While I believe myself no greater a mind than my peers, let alone more tenacious, I have somehow survived the inconceivable horrors my colleagues could not.  Poor William - Fredrick too.  Had I been there with them in that black, unforgiving cosmos, perhaps my fate would be the same.  That would certainly be a mercy - I think - knowing what I know now.

It was a humid evening in June of '56 when I arrived at the home of my colleague and fellow graduate of Princeton, Professor William J. Surewright.  He delivered me a letter the week prior, detailed to the urgency of my attendance at his home in Lakechester.  He, as well as his cousin, Fredrick Surewright, spent the last half decade experimenting with apparatuses and formulas I could scarcely understand.  That said, I was initially excited to receive said invitation.  My anticipation, however, was cut down when I read the parchment's first sentence - the likes akin to a low-brow joke that bordered childish humor.

"Angels are real!"

The notion was humorous when I considered from whose hands such an urgent parcel had been orchestrated.  Originally convinced the opening statement mere comedy, I came to find no such closure as I read further.  On and on he wrote in reference to complex formulas of vast geometry, all of which connected in a thesis of how he discovered reality from the myth many major religions shared.  I, myself, would always dismiss such psychobabble, expecting the same of my choice peers; yet there he wrote - prattling on like an excited child.

The emphasis he placed on his findings, given a more sensible topic, I would have merrily indulged without question.  However, he was a friend, and an invitation was an invitation.  Had the bloke truly gone off the deep end, I figured I may as well amuse him before granting him a short stay at the asylum of which I had been promoted to lead physician.

William's manor, luxurious to the eyes of poorer men, kept itself in a modest, forested lakeside away from cities and paved roads.  I almost envied the chap for calling such seclusion his own, though I admit I would miss the bustle and sound of people if permitted long enough.  I sent a letter ahead in response, and so expected a warm welcome upon my arrival.  Sane or otherwise, it was always a grand time to reminisce with old colleagues.  The only welcome to greet me, however, was that of utter silence and human vacancy.

Confused, I cautiously stepped out from my vehicle.  His abode was not as I remembered last, save for its shape and foundation.  I recalled it always well-kept and aloof with the grace of aven song, a forest sanctuary to be the envy of any woodland flora or fauna.  Upon this visit I witnessed a large structure riddled in vine trappings and corroded stone.  It still stood as it always had, though hung with an overwhelmed atmosphere of empty rot.

I remember wondering where I had come, for surely this was not the home of well-to-do graduates of Princeton.  There was no mistaking their cars, however, parked to the side and covered in the same invasive vegetation that overtook the manor.  In the hopes of being mistaken, I approached the door, ill at ease.  Perhaps it had been too long for memory to remember the correct address, I thought.  After a knock the door creaked open and I found myself staring into a crooked mockery of the professor's home.

Cobwebs and dust had made themselves common, enough for me to blanket my nose and mouth with the tail of my coat.  My senses swelled at a palpable stench that hung from every room I journeyed.  The smell was that of burned flesh and decay, and whereas a more sensible man would have hasted away I could not help but grow concerned for my fellows.  

The windows of every room were boarded up from the inside with rusted nails and planks.  Shoe prints in the dust lay cluttered and crazed across the floor like a mad dance.  The walls groaned with a sudden gale from outside.  I searched the entire first floor and even braved the basement, yet discovered no sign of them.  Strange as it was, the basement was less disturbed than the rest of the house.  I was left with the last possibilities of their presence being on the second or third floor.

For a moment I could only stare up at the first flight.  I must have been in their vacant home a scarce twenty minutes in search since my entry, the only noises having echoed from my own footsteps and those pained walls.  There seemed to be nothing else there, but still I felt something loom above me in that instance - mindful, watchful, and immense.

I could not see or hear what manner of oddity had caused my skin to crawl.  The sensation could only be done justice as primal terror - the animistic instinct to flee that I was so sure, until then, mankind had shed from its cloth of necessary understanding.  I pondered what may have befallen poor William and Fredrick and so mustered the courage to ascend, despite what traumas may lurk floors above my head.  Looking back, I know now I was nothing but a curious fool.

The stairs groaned with every step, as though forbidding I continue in guttural, wordless mutters.  When I arrived on the second floor, the sight caught me unawares - all the furniture was gone.  The rooms were barred, same as the windows downstairs.  Worse yet was the black, oily letters of unknown alphabet and author that smeared on every plank.  Whatever their warnings, these were rooms I was not meant to enter and a man's courage can only ask for so much.

The walls of scribbled wood kept me detoured from investigation, which left the next flight of stairs my only option if I were to find my lost compatriots.  This floor was quieter than the previous, devoid of even the winds that howled outside.  I did not question it long; for I figured enough time had been wasted in pondering.

The final flight ascended to a single, closed door, which led to what I knew was the observatory.  The cousins showed me its wondrous interior, once upon a visit many years prior.  I remembered the walls of books that encompassed the circular chamber like they themselves were the surface, the ceiling keeping hold to wire ornaments of constellations both familiar and alien to me.  They were proud of their home within a home, for they spoke often of their countless hours of study within that sanctuary.  Hopefully, nothing of its beauty had changed.

I took my first step upon the linear staircase, at which the muscles in my legs involuntarily tensed themselves stiff.  Hands on the rail and one foot on the stairs, and already my body compelled me to venture no more.  I strained against myself as I begged my limbs to move.  It was no use.  That same previous fear from before had taken possession of me.  Were I not conscious of it, my instincts would surely propel me from that place and all curiosity or courage be damned.

The click of locks and turn of a knob turned my attention away from my struggle as the door at the pinnacle inched ajar.  I could feel myself smile with relief and my tendons relax slightly.  Surely it was William and Fredrick, so I called to them and mentioned how humorous it was to give me such a fright.  I laughed at their poor hostmanship, though no one answered from the other side.  Instead I was greeted by further silence and the uncaring gaze of eyes.

The eyes peaked from the dark beyond the door's portal.  The pupils were slit amidst lidless orbs of rusted gold, side by side vertically instead of where they should be.  They leered through my own eyes and into my core.  They clawed themselves in and throughout, casting aside any sane thought of running in favor to crippling fear.

An immeasurable chill shot up my spine and barraged my brain.  My hands shook until the railing itself quivered with them.  My legs quaked, unable to decide between fight or flight as those eyes relinquished all reason and choice from me.  They were seeking something in me - something they could not find without tearing my mind apart.

The images of William and Fredrick surfaced in my thoughts.  Their cheerful smiles and excited banters melted to horrid distortions of blood and wailing.  They agonized and crawled before me, though in that moment I knew not whether they truly did so or through some depraved vision of demonic design.  Only when I blinked did the feverish nightmare fall away from me to find the eyes with inhuman angles dim away as though a fading light.

The door swung open with nothing but a harrowing void beyond its frame.  It beckoned me with an impossible force of gravity that lifted me and spirited my body into its gaping maw.  I found myself in witness to an endless expanse of space without any semblance of reason or physics.

Countless stars waxed and waned without recognizable shape or motion.  Entirely black planets rolled around, through, and into each other in displays of cosmic destruction.  Some assimilated others into their mass while others perished into scattered debris.  In those instances of planecide my heart wrenched at the cry of trillions of voices brought to silence.

I know not how long I lingered in that shapeless, senseless cosmos.  I recall enough time having passed that the eventual boredom of it all drove me unquestionably mad.  I screamed, laughed, panicked, and shouted at nothing for incalculable ages.  I had no need for food, drink, sleep, or air, and so in many instances I grew disillusioned enough to think myself a god.  I was left there for so long that, over time, I grew bored of madness as well.

Bored of things both sane and crazed, I lingered there a while longer.  The planets endlessly continued to roll, devour, and crumble as I pondered of any meaning behind the monotonous, mindless universe before me.  Eventually I was visited by the eyes from that time of so long ago.  This time, it came with a form more visible than before.

Its vertical eyes peered from betwixt a twin pair of bony, crested plates.  Its neck of skinless, black sinew descended into a rib cage that kept trapped a barely visible, nuclear vortex of violent shadow.  From the back and sides of its torso protruded nineteen other oily limbs of exposed muscle tissue, all of which ended in bony fins triangular and massive.  They flapped and extended without rhythm to create strange winds of all and no direction.  The chaotic gale from its wings emitted a cacophony of noise that strung together to form speech I am sure could only be understood by a madman - whom, by then, I certainly was.  

It spoke to me of things the human race had forgotten and others they could scarce remember the entirety of.  It imparted knowledge of space beyond even the far stars of where we conversed - a place without place in the universe.  The things there were of unknowable shape or mass, hungering for entire stretches of universe to consume.  They do not seek mankind, for we are far too minuscule for them to notice, let alone sate their appetite.

The angel of bone, sinew, and shadow spoke much more to me in details I can no longer recall.  I firmly believe the human mind would find them too preposterous, blasphemous, or insane to conceive or retain, for such knowledge came from a creature far more alien.  After a time I wondered why it trusted me with such terrible and wondrous information, of things that are and things that should not be.  To this thought it replied only with contempt.  To it, we humans - or what we barely know ourselves to be - are young, primitive, and vastly unimportant.

It was then I understood its reason for communicating with me.  After floating across this meaningless eternity for so long, it too was mad with boredom.  It had met two creatures like me before, and in time grew annoyed of their pointless questions.  I asked what became of them, to which it replied with recollections of acts only truly inhuman apathy would allow.

The news afflicted me again with the instinctual fear I thought I forgot - the same dread that overcame me in that empty manor countless eons ago.  It must have seen my terror, for its words howled away from comprehensible language and turned on me with its sharp wings.  Before it could rend my form asunder, I found myself back in the home of William and Fredrick Surewright.  I was naked and trembling, my memory stripped of details to most of what the angel shared.  Everything else was as I had left it, including the manor's decrepit state.

I made haste to the nearest police station I could find on foot.  I left my car behind after discovering I no longer knew how to operate it.  Even as I write this detailed report for these unwitting officers, I realize not remembering a great many things I know I should.  They made a call to a nearby asylum, and I do not blame them in the least for it.  A short time from now they will bind me, lock me away, and sedate me for the remainder of my days.  All the better, I suppose.  I care not that I was the head physician of that same sanitarium - only that the shots and pills may help me forget the one thing my entire being craves beyond reason to have never met:

The eyes of an angel in that cruel, ageless dark...


© Copyright 2018 M. A. Yacone. All rights reserved.

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