The Book of Joseph

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: The Horror House


A young man finds himself in a very unfamiliar place, akin to a newborn. He follows the path set before him, but the sins we shed have a path that they must follow as well.

Submitted: June 03, 2018

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Submitted: June 03, 2018

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There was nothing. An endless abyss of forever that reached deepest within the heart. It sat betwixt the known and something beyond, not truly existing yet acting as the path to be traversed by all. There was seclusion and cold, for it was the road. It was devoid of self.

Then there was sound, a never-ending crackling like that of a warm fire that sat in the recesses of his mind. He opened his eyes for what seemed like the first time to see that he lay upon a blanket of chestnut colored sand. His eyes were drawn to his hand as he tentatively clutched the soft earth and watched it trickle between his fingers back down to where it belonged. A few moments went by until he willed himself to his hands and knees, taking in his surroundings with confusion as his eyes adjusted to the lighting, or lack thereof.

It was dark, and nothing showed itself in the empty grey sky above. The dim atmosphere gave a stone throw of grey vision before the world blurred, making the variously dark jagged rocks that protruded from the sand take on the form of shadows that watched silently from the darkness. He stood and brushed the stray sand off his clothing, which he found was only a simplistic ragged tan tunic.

He was alone. No understanding of where he was or why he was here came to him. His mind was an empty shell waiting to be filled in this place that was so foreign, yet he did not know what it was that was so foreign about it. He did know that the gloom brought him the inescapable feeling of dread.

He whispered, “Hello?”

His only reply was the noise that rested inside his head.

He turned to look for a sign of anything that could help him understand, when a glimmer caught his eye. Far off in the distance a small white light shone through the grey haze. From what he could see it was not touching the ground but instead floating aloft high above the disoriented horizon. The word “Star” came to him from the nothing inside his skull and although it could not perfectly describe what he saw, it felt right.

He began to stumble forward in an attempt to walk, much like a child taking their first steps. There was no sense of time here, no way for one to know how long they had walked, for that was all one could do in a place like this.

The sound within continued, acting as his companion in the dark of the unknown. He could not escape it, could not will it away or actively silence it for it was on a medium that he could not control. He walked on through the fields of rock that grew as thick as forests, his sight set on the Star that lay far off in the distance. Its white glow brought him a feeling of hope and purpose that somehow beckoned him to come closer.

He stopped when he heard faint footfalls in the sand. It was something he did not recognize, so he waited to find out what this new sound was. A few seconds passed until a silhouette appeared at the end of his vision.

It was running.

The entity came a few feet closer as it weaved through the rocks, near enough now for him to make out what it was. Running towards him was a girl, brown hair flowing behind and a gaze that was transfixed upon him with wild eyes. Streams of tears fell down her cheeks and soiled the colorless tunic she wore, much like the one he himself had. He could see she was frightened.

“Help!” she yelled in desperation.

Help. He remembered the word faintly. Did this mean she was in danger? If so, what could he do? He did not know what she needed or how to help someone here, a place he himself had not long ago spawned from. He took a step closer.

A second silhouette appeared, running at a greater speed in a hunched form. It dwarfed the girl in size and although it appeared the same shape, it was all too much slimmer than the girl. It sprinted after her and into view. It was human, yet at the same time anything but. The body was completely exposed with grey skin that clung tightly to the bones beneath its surface. The belly was a bulbous ball, which instantly sparked the word “pregnant” in his empty head. Patches of its essence appeared to simply float away leaving empty holes amongst its body revealing nothing but pitch black deep within. Hanging from its chest was a metal chain, no more than two feet in length. Weaving its way through the links of the chain were purplish veins that rooted themselves into the creature’s skin. In the place of a nose were two thin slits that flared rapidly. The eye sockets were empty like the sky.

He did not know what to do at first, until a long-forgotten feeling peaked inside of his body.

Fear.

He dove to the nearest rock large enough to hide behind and attempted to silence himself. His breathing began to increase in pace and sweat dotted his forehead. He heard a screech that pierced his ears and deafened all other sound. Tears welled in his eyes as he heard the girl screaming between sobs of anguish. He fought himself to look around the rock to see what was happening.

The thing had picked the girl up, holding her in its hands at arm’s length and examining her. She cried and writhed, attempting to escape the creatures grasp. It looked around quickly, seemingly to make sure nothing else could steal its prize from it, then pulled her close to its chest like a mother holding a child. With deft speed, it darted off into the darkness, leaping on rocks and traversing them with great skill, until the cries of the girl could no longer be heard.

He fell to the ground in a fetal position, softly crying and not knowing what he had just witnessed. Minutes passed by before movement came to him. He was weak and couldn’t stand, so he began crawling through the sand as much from nausea as from fear of standing and catching sight of another one of the creatures. Slowly he dragged himself towards the light, the only thing that felt right about this place.

Time passed and he went on, picking his way through the maze of rocks that stood in his way on his path to the light. He crawled for what felt like an eternity in this place with no time. He took a short break, although he did not necessarily feel tired. Leaning his back against a rock, he stared toward the Star and attempted to understand what its significance was. His mind was still nearly empty, save for a few of the recollections he had made thus far.

He looked to the ground a few yards ahead. His heart stopped and he sat completely still, not daring to breathe. His body tensed and fear took hold of him once again. One of the creatures was resting on its side with its back to him. Time that was not apparent hung in the air and froze him, his gaze locked upon the horror. Neither he nor the creature made a move for a long moment. Averting his eyes, the tears began to well up once again. He did not wish to be taken away like the girl before, alone in its embrace.

He looked back and noticed that it still had not moved. The creature was between him and the light, so he slowly laid on his stomach once more and agonizingly began to crawl. His trembling fingers dug in to the sand. Every labored breath was his death, and he knew it so well. He picked his way left around the creature in a wide arc. The sand began to pile in front of him as he pushed his body closer and closer to the ground, trying to slip away beneath the surface.

 Finally, he reached one of the rocks and rolled behind it. He closed his eyes, trying to stop the flow of tears that rained down his face. Slowly he peered around the corner, now able to see the creatures front. It looked similar to the other creature he saw, but this one was significantly different in the fact that its stomach had erupted. Lifelessly staring at him from within was a tiny fetus. It was connected inside of its prison by a chain much like the one on the creature’s chest.

He turned away from the display and fought consciousness for a few moments, eventually slipping into unconsciousness. He was back in the nothing that spanned his mind. Eternity passed by gently as everything was still, lackadaisically floating among itself.

He woke where he had passed out. Nothing had changed and there was no way to tell how long he had been in this spot. He took a breath and began to drag himself through the sand once again. The light was his savior in this dark place, a shimmering hope that burned him to his core. His only goal was to reach it and bask in its warmth.

It was then that he heard the movement. It was fast and came from behind him. He flipped over to his back to see three of the large hunched creatures running his way. He froze for a moment as they approached. A screech pierced his ears above the crackle and it drove him to action. He jumped to his feet and ran towards the light. It was still distant but he had no choice now. Tears welled up in his eyes as he heard the multiple screeches from behind as they gained on him.

Hands grasped his back and lifted him off the ground. He was violently turned around to peer into the face of one of them. The empty sockets showed the inside of the head, seemingly empty like his own mind. The nostrils flared wildly yet the creatures face showed no emotion, showed no hint of motive or feeling. Half of the creature’s head was gone as if burnt away, small pieces floating to the heavens like the rest of the patches on the body. The texture of the skin was rough and he could feel only the bone beneath as he grabbed at the arms in an attempt to escape. However, his yelling and squirming did not deter the thing. One of the other two suddenly tried to snatch him out of the first’s hands. They pulled at him and he felt like he would be torn in half. The one holding him released a hand and hit the other across the head, which then caused the other to grab hold and violently rip at the first’s head.

He was dropped as the two attempted to tear the other to shreds. He spun on the ground and began to run but was hastily picked up by the third. It looked at the battle between the other two then pulled him close and began to sprint through the forest of rock. He yelled until his lungs gave out. Cried until no tears were left. Writhed, punched, and bit until his energy left his body.

Finally, they stopped. He was turned and saw the chain swaying back and forth on the creature’s chest, felt the pulse emanating from within its belly. He suddenly felt weightless. An orb of white light left his body, and he turned to see his body being held by the creature. They were frozen in that moment and a dark orb released from the creature to meet him between the two husks. They were one. They meshed and rejected the other, yet made a whole.

His name was Joseph, and the Sin was Nolan. Forty years they clashed, always in a constant battle of morality. They watched from birth a boy by the name of Cayde. In the early years Joseph’s voice was heard the most, but there came times when Nolan’s screams and blood lust could not be ignored. So it went, a battle that could not be seen by the naked eye but burned deep within Cayde’s mind. As the years passed Nolan’s voice grew louder and behind a curtain of release was a burning hatred that would consume them all. It was the deceit of Nolan that brought their demise, Joseph’s voice masked by anger and blame. Cayde gave in to Nolan and killed, Joseph was unable to stop the massacre so he wept for Cayde, and Nolan laughed at the victory he had won over Joseph. Alone the three sat when it was finished, Joseph’s voice finally being heard by Cayde. Overcome with guilt Cayde could not believe what he had done. One last time Nolan’s voice tempted Cayde to kill.

Then there was nothing.

Eternity passed once more, a familiar feeling in a place that did not allow the luxury of thought. The place betwixt held him in its grasp once more, caressing him like a child. We all pass through, but we do not truly understand until our second passing. This place that holds nothing within yet feels like you are finally coming home, that brings hope within its endless abyss.

Joseph awoke with a gasp. His cheek rested upon the soft sand once again, the faint crackle in his mind reclaiming its home after all these years. Pain surged in his chest as he flipped over on to his back. He moved his hand to feel the source of the pain.

Metal.

With much difficulty, he peered up at his chest to see a chain protruding from it, purple veins coiling through it like the vines on a trellis. He sat up and looked to the end of the chain where it lay in the sand. The chain was broken and next to it lay its other half. He followed it with his eyes until it reached a familiar sight, a dead creature laying on its side, stomach blown open. Only this time there was no child to be seen inside.

He started when he noticed a familiar form held within the grasp of the creature. Sand flew about as Joseph jumped towards the thing on his hands and knees. Sitting in the creature’s grey hands was Cayde as he was when last Joseph saw him. Yet now he was still and stared blankly at the sky.

Joseph held him in his arms as sorrow took him. Cayde had been the only thing he had ever loved since the moment he awoke. He looked to the sky and moaned for the loss of his meaning for the past forty years.

“Nolan!” he roared in desperation as he held Cayde’s limp body close to his chest.

He looked down to Cayde until a shimmer caught the corner of his eye. He looked up to see the Star much closer than it had ever been before. He brushed Cayde’s long blonde hair to the side and gently laid him down and began to walk again towards hope. He no longer cared for the creatures and although the chain at his chest weighed him down, he pushed on more determined than he had ever been in his existence.

Time that could not be seen passed. The Star slowly grew in size and descended towards the horizon as Joseph trekked on. It wasn’t long before he heard them, saw them swarming out of eyeshot in the grey haze appearing as giant shadows. He walked on and paid them no mind. They kept their distance but followed still, dozens of them at his back. However, none dared to step in his path to the light.

The Star finally touched the ground becoming a dome of light in the darkness. He walked closer until his vision and its pure light disintegrated the grey haze that surrounded him. It was like a rotunda of bright electric energy that surged to a zenith, only to be released in a soft stream of light that poured upwards.

 Joseph stopped and turned to look at the host of stooped forms that gathered behind him. They moved amongst themselves like a swarm of insects, crawling over the rocks that dotted the sand. All of them looked as if they wished to take him, yet their demeanor showed that they were hesitant to do so. He muzzled his fear as his stared upon the mob. Then they made their move.

As one, the creatures lust for light drove them after Joseph. He turned and sprinted for the dome, feeling them at his back. He jumped headlong in to the domes embrace as they tore at his clothing, attempting to steal his light and complete themselves. But it was too late, for he was gone.

Memories poured in to him, not only his own but every strand from the beginning of time and on. He was all yet he was none. He was not the first and surely not the last in this place of light that spanned on forever. His predecessors gazed upon him and welcomed him with soft smiles. It is the end of a beginning, and the beginning of the end. There is unity and warmth, for it was the destination. There was everything.


© Copyright 2018 AAknow77. All rights reserved.

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