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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: House of Ghosts
Everyone has their own Dieschuld.

Submitted: April 09, 2017

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Submitted: April 09, 2017



The sky hangs in red monochrome, casting its light on pearl white sand.  Aside from random image from my memories, it remains unchanged as the desert stretches endlessly.  I've been here before - many times, in fact.  I'm here again, remembering when I last shuffled across its expanse. It was so cold and empty, like a lucid dream of hollow nightmare.  I know he'll find me again.  He always finds me here.  After all, this is where I always leave him when I finally manage to depart.  Such a terrible thing to do, and yet he is more terrible still.

The sands shift around me and a faint ringing echoes from my chest.  I barely make out the all-too-familiar cackle, hoarse from being quiet for so long.  I suppose he never has anyone to talk to when I'm gone, trapped in the lonely silence of this place.  I take a deep breath to embrace yet another encounter.

His hiss ripples black dust across the sand, "Hello, child-thing...  We meet again."

The sand before me turns to shadowy vapor, coalescing into shape - a silhouette of barely-human likeness.  His arms are long and massive, with claws and teeth like wide needles.  The lower half of his body descends into streams of black smoke, seeping into the sand beneath him as it corrupts the once-pearly grains to his likeness.  At the end of his waking, a single left eye, bright and azure, blinks open.  He stares through me with it as his maw forms a long smile.

"Nice eye," I reply.

I distinguish a chuckle of both amusement and bitterness from his throat.  I had taken his right eye in our most recent encounter, of which I may never forget.  It was quite the skirmish which seemed, at first, to be as it always used to be.  I'd find myself here, he'd find me, then he'd beat me into submission and leave me more broken with each battle.  That time, however, was not like the others.  That time, after years of his torment, I won.  Even then I knew we would meet again.

"Still the fool-thing, we see!" he roared in abrupt laughter. "Has it returned to visit ol' Dieschuld?"

His eye quints in a knowing leer.

"No, of course it hasn't...  But the child-thing can never be without Dieschuld!"

I grind my teeth at his words.  He's right.  For as long as I've lived, I could never run from him for long.  His voice could follow me to every corner of existence if he wished - and he always would.

"So what brings the child-thing this time?  Heartbreak?  Anger?  Guilt?  Share your pathetic wounds and pains, that we may carve slowly!"

"I have no reason to be here..."

"Ah!  The child-thing may not, but ol' Dieschuld does!"

The once-red sky twisted into vision a recent scene: of me at a table, alone and in tears.  Food is on my plate, but I can't not bring myself to eat it.  My friends are no where to be seen - a detail that causes chills to crawl across my back.  The image disperses and he continues, gleefully mocking me.

"Awh! So sad, so sad!  Poor, lonely sad-thing!  Where have the friend-things gone, we wonder?  Oh, no, wait, of course we don't!  We know, because we know the child-thing!"

I can't move.  The pain of that memory is too heavy.  I yearn terribly to create pleasant ones to look back on.  Instead, I'm all alone and left with only this one painful memory.  Even with a single glimpse I'm instantly frozen in empty space.  What have I done to deserve this isolation?  Why am I so lonely?  His shadows grip my arms and legs tighter with every ache in my heart and his words relentlessly rip asunder my desire to fight back.

"Yessss," he hisses, "Lonely, forgotten, hopeless, dull-thing.  Who could ever love something so miserable, so hideous, so strange?  That's why friend-things were smart-things and left.  No smart-thing wants a broken-thing!"
He takes me by the neck and lifts me to his face.  I still can't move.  What's the point?  I believe every word he spews, even though I know they're lies.  With every utterance I feel my will slipping away.  Could this be the end?  It doesn't matter.  There's no one to miss me anyway.

Drool salivates from his sharp maw, into which I see a deeper darkness than what he is made of.  A void - chanting sweet promises of nothingness as an end to the pain that cripples my entire being.  It seems so appealing.

"Is it ready, we wonder?  Is it finally ripe?  Yes, it is, it is!  We waited child-thing’s whole, worthless life for this.  At long last... Dieschuld eats the child-thing!"

There's a circular pressure against my forehead and a clicking of metal just beyond it.  As his jaw opens wide I stare blankly down his throat and into the abyss where release awaits me.  It's not what I want, but surely it can't be worse than this.

He stops.  His grip tenses and the vaporous muscles of his arm contract.  There is confusion in his one eye, darting back and forth as he seeks a resistance neither of us can see.  There is a phone ringing in the distance.


The pressure on my forehead lifts as a familiar voice speaks into my ear.  They greet me fondly, and it's like I see their smile without being there.  They ask me how I've been, wishing they could spend time with me even though they live so far away.  They remind me I'm loved and missed, and to call others who've been asking about me to let them know how I'm doing.  The longer they speak the warmer I feel.  After a moment, he releases me from his grip - not because he wants to, but because his claws and tendrils won't stop shaking.

"No...  No... What is thissss?" he muttered.

The sky flashes again, this time with a multitude of memories I thought forgotten.  Times of cheer and sorrow, good and bad, but never alone.  I isolated for so long I forgot that distance never meant I was alone.  They were always there, even if not in person.  They would be with me if they could and would never forget me.  I meant too much to them, and they to me.  This is what I had forgotten, but in this darkest moment remember - I am loved.
My body becomes light and slowly drifts upward.  Little by little I fade back into the world of where I belong, the world of my loved ones.  It's where I'm meant to be, made to be - not in the cold desert with him.

"No!  No!  No!  It is OURS to consume!  Dieschuld owns the child-thing!  Drunk-thing, wicked-thing, ugly-thing, thief-thing, sad-thing! OUR-thing!"

I depart and, with a proud smile, reply, "Not after last time, remember?"

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

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