I awoke breathing heavily and soaking wet with chills. The heat from my body was expelled in one gasping breath. This darkness unknown to me embraced me in its black scabbard. Forgotten here for all to stumble upon was I. The blood tracked into the darkness of the cavern serenely reflected the gloom held within my eyes–filled with the apprehension of a dying, lonely man. He was on his death bed in a corner of a dark, secluded room within a house atop a forlorn hill, on a dead planet in the center of an empty universe. Which was what I was, only realizing from the scent of putrid algae, the disdainful shriek of bats, and craggy floor, that I lay entombed inside a massive damp cavern. A cavern, no doubt, made for persons such as me.
My body was awkwardly limp and stagnant, fulfilling the dread stored within my mind–pandemonium has set forth while I saunter amidst bones of sad and impotent carcasses. The sad chapter in this woeful tale was my imminent demise and ensuing addition within the ranks of the dead.
The time tied-up within my pocket diminished into a crestfallen unimportance once the sound of limber, foreboding footsteps on the cavernous floor entrenched itself into my dourness. The breath of the unknown entity encased my senses into submission as it unveiled itself from darkness and into my somber reality. Groping about me the walls of limestone and earth, I realized my fate. My fate held more distress and consternation than a hundred-thousand deaths combined of disembowelments, decapitations, and dismemberments after a ritualistic torture of submerging my still writhing corpse within an acid bath of fire.
This was determined within a stone’s throw of time as I awaited the unthing’s inevitable strike on my person when suddenly…all went silent. Somehow sensing the defeat and weariness of me, the creature proceeded to depart away, laughing and cackling its macabre language of inequities while licking its lips in recognition of the ensuing aftermath of my remains. Could this be a surreal metaphoric dream or an abhorrent, undying nightmare? Regardless of the plane of existence I now saunter, my cadaver would be its own for the undertaking. For now, back to the shadows it reigned, to watch me suffer.
I stayed immobile for some time, leery of the creature’s pitiless eyes amongst me, before rising and then sauntering into the depths of the unknown cavern…all the while wishing for serenity. As I begun to tread lightly into vast nothingness, a slow thick dripping lay before me. Then the pain of a broken memory flowed through in existence, soaking through my shirt and splashing in front of me: my own heart bled. The cascading blood sent chasms of pain in tears through my impulses.
I began to lay down the final note in my requiem, so the beast may have its way and feast upon my jagged heart, for this heart was through. My only other place beyond this life reeked of the maelstrom of Hell, for Heaven would have no place for someone of my caliber.
Suddenly (as if on cue from an omniscient savior), out of the darkness, a microscopic splinter of white light shot down from the Heavens and into my blood-shot, soot-filled eyes. This light would, unlike many, drive that of the normal, insane beyond recognition. To see a light so archaic and beautiful, would follow in ranks as that of seeing the face of God.
Everything coalesced together in a matter of seconds. Tears fell with the sadness of a dour finale. That small fragment of life gave away directions to the now drying pools of blood, which in turn directed my hapless self to a new life. The pain had begun to cease, like a dying ember surrounded by dead ashes in a hearth. All became transparent. With this thin shred of bright and gloriously dignified hope, I began to saunter towards my foretold reality. T’was the end of this sanguineous journey…or so I thought…
A maniacal uproar (as powerful as the one that sank Atlantis in one breath) reflected off the jagged, limestone walls and into my quintessence—making the sticky, sultry hole in my heart hemorrhage once again. The thrashing footsteps of before reinstated themselves; only faster and kicking up limestone dust with fervor. I began to retreat, limping slowly as the pain in my head was almost as blatant as that of my heart. The shred of hope grew dim and jaded. The flashing of the tides was among me, like a thousand thieves descending upon a foreboded lost treasure.
I stopped retreating and closed my eyes, hoping to be here again, even if the microscopic sun was to never again shine upon the evils of this world, when all at once the eerie silence of this malevolent cave became tranquil. With this I opened my eyes, staggering time so that I might delay the viewing of my untimely death. There lay before me, within the dim halo of the northern protruding light, the bestial, carnivorous creature stood amidst bones of the past fallen loveless victims. It turned to face me, the one and only misfortune to stand in the way of its carnivorous desires.
Strength and courage it took for my person to peer into the irises of the beast that wanted to minister my death—a horrible and lonely death of tumultuous ruin. Doused in shadow and green arcane algae, the creature stood at least ten feet tall. It was covered in coarse gray and black hair and its mandibles were long and rust-colored—the color of an ancient esoteric blood, collected through many ages of bleak havoc. Its face held the evilness only Lucifer himself would deem loving (and even that would be saying too much). The face of the beast was of mysteriously jig-sawed pieces. The nose could have been from a warthog of ancient times. Its septum seemed to have a rusty ring pierced right through its cartilage. It gave a resemblance of a door knocker, sibylline and heavy with history; left to rust and deteriorate high above, attached to a house within the clouds, untouched and unkempt for eternities combined. It had no ears, for if it did they could not be visible, for the thing had a long straggly shoulder-length mane of different qabalistic animals married. Its red eyes peered straight through me, as if to contemplate which ventricle it would want to swallow first. Its teeth were sharp and the same rust-color as its mandibles, nose flaring up a storm of death, a tornado of souls bellowing out to scream their requiems.
As sure as I was of my future within this beast’s grasp, I clamored myself (using my tongue while I still kept it attached within my person) all that my heart would let me. My own elegy was ready and willing to console the already perished souls, whose bones littered the cave, yearning for a sound other than the beast’s own unhallowed uttering.
“With what universal laws of man and/or beast do you possess to hold the formidable position of the grim reaper of those who have defiled love? Have you not once loved a woman beast of your own likeness? Someone who held you amongst the high clouds and decadent stars of the Parliament who have since been banished from the light of day and forsaken beyond insane powers. I know.”
At this instance, the beast seemed to stop breathing, unsure of what he might have heard. I myself was more than a bit confounded at the words I had just spoken. Hoping that the beast did not interpret my confusion, I continued, leery that the beast’s profane breathing had stopped all together.
“This woman beast I speak of, did she not hold you in a place more venerable and meaningful than the gates of the hallowed heavens? The love shared amongst you both could never be measured, like bags of sand thrown into the air and then ruptured. The time in the city of Dis when she proposed to flee with you amongst stars and starlight fog, away from that world was your time in a distant world. The Parliament could not hold you apart for it was your time. The child she bore was meant to entwine you more than the many connected bodies of water spread amongst this world and yours.”
Beguiled by my verbal assault on the beast, I began to feel something of a metamorphosis within my person. Although not physically visible, the feeling was significant and commuted itself within my chest. I had a brief vision of a red divine-like ether escaping from my body, through my fingertips, as I floated above a red sea. Although somewhat eerie and by no means a vision containing elements of hope and renewal, the feeling within my true self claimed calmness. A warmth not far off from the womb of all the mothers of the world enshrouded me in that crimson vision.
The beast still did not breath, which worried me, as I did not know his exact location within the darkness. Nevertheless, my tongue continued to be possessed by some knowledgeable being of unknown origins.
“I know you’ve never felt as lifeless when time began to run out, like the overflowing walls within the city of Atlantis (your doing, as it is written in the dark history books of the beyond). She died for you…as well as the life of your child. Both were lost and done so by the Parliament. Hell’s Parliament. The loss of cherished souls brought you down to your knees. It tore the dreams from your own quintessence and crippled you to a state of catastrophic proportions. Your heart bled and led you to a doom never tread by anyone, demon and angel alike. Until it lead you here; amongst a dead world.
“This is your level of black despondency. Beyond the Cocytus lies your darkened city meant for the moros. I know…you were banished beyond the corridor of Lucifer by ones of great powers. Lucifer his self knows not of your existence, for if he should ever gaze upon your sorrow-filled face, he would surely die. I know…how your love died, with your child intact.”
The beast finally seemed to acknowledge my unforeseen knowledge of him and his brethren with a demonic gasp for air of sorts; almost similar to the beginning stages of a person suffering through a traumatic mental breakdown. With this motion carried out by the beast, I realized that he had not moved from the general direction he was in earlier, yet seemed extremely closer. I could almost feel the reverberation of his black heart piercing the aura that surrounded me.
“I know how they ran the chariot through a forest of broken glass and jagged spikes laced with flesh-eradicating poisons, with woman and child in tow, being dragged for eons of miles in every direction. I know how they crucified and mutilated your brethren amongst crowds of followers who each held stones and hatchets, bows and arrows. This was a midnight lynching of a child and woman wrongfully considered treacherous to their kind. I know! There was nothing you could do, for they had you within the gauntlet. They beat and raped your family, and made you watch. I know!! Yes I know who you are and I know that they slowly decapitated your brethren with blunt, rusted machetes! I know that they made you consume every last bit of flesh and bone of your child and woman! I know! I know!!!”
“You are the Black Emperor! For I know this….and I know your name…You do have a name. Don’t you Odium. You were led here by the juices of your own blackened heart to dispatch all defilers of love for eternity…those foolish enough to break the bond known as love and die alone with apathy meet you beyond the last gate. I know who you are, Odium. I know, because I am here to replace you.”
The last of my words trickled off my breath with declining fervor–anticipation glowing in the dark. Then a vision of cataclysmic power sent spasms through my unsuspecting irises.
The crimson was back again, this time painting the sky with apocalyptic illusions. Halos and dreams fell from the black/red ethereal sky, on fire and in droves, landing in the dark red frothy sea to float unattended and disregarded. And there I was yet again, floating aimlessly amidst it all. The red ether continued to pour from my fingertips filling the red sea and drowning the halos and dreams struggling to exist amidst the catastrophe.
With the pouring of my soul into this darkened void, a flock of ravens appeared from a falling dream. With nowhere to perch, they continued downward, intertwining and weaving themselves between the falling debris before gliding through one of the many imminent dreams continuing downward towards the sea. With somewhat of a magical zeal, the dream unfolded in mid-demise and halted itself just before plunging into the darkened depths of death and the unknown. What unfolded was immensely profound yet thoroughly provocative.
The ravens entered the silhouetted dream and traveled through an aphotic fog as thick as the darkness surrounding the beast and myself. With grace and elegance, the ravens piloted themselves through the heavy fog, breaking through the barrier and into cerulean skies, guiding themselves above a deep green ravine and towards a perch overlooking an even more azure ocean. As the flock slowed their travel, a rustic sarcophagus became more distinct near the edge of the cliff that overlooked the ocean. Once near enough, the ravens hovered over the sarcophagus and set down atop the massive monument. Etched in the stone burial chamber, an epitaph glowed, giving way to a revelation and a salvaged dream:
“Duos animus una, sub caeli crastinus.”
(“Two souls together, beneath the skies of tomorrow.”)
The red sky that I lay beneath began to recede, leaving a yellowish hue in its wake. Somehow the unfolded dream began to break and dismantle the illusion, carving away the deathly red hues. But as quickly as the crimson auras of the sky began to dissipate, Odium let out a furious roar and charged yours truly in a mad sprint of hunger and insanity. The illusion/delusion was broken and back into the deprecated cavern I now emerged.
Accepting the end, I stood my ground and awaited the dispatch of my person that would send me to my grave. It was finally upon this disheveled patron of Verrine, the demon of impatience. The sound of many silent whispering voices surveying my thoughts redeemed my sadness. One final breath before it is all over. Goodbye to the real world…hello to the real world…
Silence filled the cavern after the echoing bestial roar dissipated. I was still here and it seemed unfathomable. As if the dreamland floor my soul escapades about closes around me to veil the pain, blocking and concealing all negative aspects to produce a miasma of salvation, purple starlight-shadows, and a shoal of black orchids—withering petals dancing about me in a joyous event.
With all of my thoughts careening over this unmerciful reality, the heavy hand of the beast, which was beforehand meant to impale me with decadent pleasure, came down before me on the limestone gravel not 1/16ths of an inch from my person. The distance was unbearable for all I could make out was the hand and extending arm (the light from above making this possible)—the rest of the beast shrouded in darkness. The darkness it undertook was glowing with hatred. With one long rust-colored talon, it formed in the dust a single arrow that pointed to the right of my person.
With that, its hand released itself back into the darkness it was incarcerated within. Its red eyes appeared, although less ghastly and more empathetic; smaller and smaller they became. Into the depths it went, leaving my ragged self free from calamity.
With new found directions, I fled with haste and limped into the unannounced darkness for as long as a mile. As I grew more weary and grief-stricken with every decaying, dilapidated step, I became hyper-aware that my clothes began to disappear. My shirt was the first to go, the smear of blood entrenching down my chest while blood ran upwards from both hands (how strange the physics of this cave react), followed by my trousers and eventual undergarments. I was impervious to the matter, for redemption was imminently close!
I came upon the splinter of white light yet again as it was aimed diagonally at my upper chest, highlighting the bloody area just below my left clavicle. I followed and came upon a massive rock slide. Naked, barefoot (the darkness took my shoes as well?) and in immense pain, I began the ascent. Climbing, the splinter grew brighter and brighter with every blood strewn step as my feet were ravaged upon the jagged rocks. My trail of blood and sweat was the only sign that someone had made it this far beyond the grasp of the creature left in darkness. Godspeed to my aching soul!
Alas what lay at the top of this mountain of shards but a solid, old, oak door with rusted hinges, bolts and cracks. It was no bigger than a small armoire or cabinet door. A weathered crevice was home to the white, now warm light. The light gave off an aroma, which was soothing warmth. I threw the solid door open with as much veracity as my war torn body could produce. The brightness was hot and blinded me to no end. White and glorious it was as I emerged from the cave, the bête noire to the world that it was and will always remain.
The chirping and singing of birds and the like relieved my senses and coalesced my innate workings into a haphazard heartbeat. My dense emotions corresponded to those of a knight returning from a war long fought and heavily paid with casualties (in my case, time). Through this door of renewal, I emerged soot slung and disheveled. My person was of an image not far from the degenerates and derelicts of the empty box carts and abandoned areas of underpasses.
But oh what glories awaited my presence! Flowers of every species and color surrounded me in a rainbow of delight. Insects buzzed happily within the petals of beauty. Plentiful trees flourished and gave shade and bright red apples, luminous oranges, and sun-kissed lemons as a reward for surviving the horrors below. The door I had emerged from lay on the side of an abundantly green glorious hill. And beyond this hill, many others continued into the vast horizon—mountains of green on three sides. In front of me, past the beauty of the vegetation which the flowers produced, an opaque forest sprawled from horizon to horizon. Rabbits and deer, beavers and the dreaded skunk, appeared out of nowhere to greet and congratulate me upon my return to the land. A beautiful fawn galloped amongst the thickets and overgrown shrubs in a mock victory dance.
A trickling of a small creek suddenly awakened my consciousness and I followed the beautiful noise. The refreshingly clean noise led me to a bed of water about, but not limited to, the size of a modern day bathtub. In the nude I went to cleanse myself of all the self pity, regret, negligence, and so on. Down into the water was a joyous act on its own for it was deeper than it let on.
I continued to sink deeper and deeper into the depths of the water, becoming slightly concerned at the thought of breaking through to the cavern again, but disregarding the notion as the blood from my chest and hands turned the clear water murky with my anemic fluids. I watched the uplifting and removal of these elements in a fascinated trance, unbeknownst that I was clearly defying laws of human nature by not only surviving the horrors below, but by remaining underwater for a long period of time. Yet, I did not panic nor adjust my thought to the past (or present for that matter).
As I resurfaced, I became slightly nauseated. The feeling of a burning, numbness undertook my senses. In all the same, the forest, cavern door, and distant horizons of beautiful rolling green hills begun to fade away into an obscure yellowish white, the same from my terrifying disillusion from down below (…leaving a yellowish hue in its wake…), like that of a fairly worn tile wall. A bloody, crude drawing of an arrow lay rampant and vulgar on the wall to my right (…it formed in the dust a single arrow…). To my slight left, an alarm clock stared back at me with glowing crimson numbers (…its red eyes now appeared…). Diagonally to my left, atop an old oak cabinet, an aroma therapy candle burnt the last of its wick into the silver base (…splinter of white light…). Strangely enough, the ZAO album “Liberate Te Ex Inferis”, which I so notably had on vinyl, was off the needle and skipping an entire chorus of bird-like guitar notes (…chirping and singing of birds…).
All seemed surreal and I languished for more of the self pity I had somehow lost within the depths of that cavern far away. The vision/dream heavily silhouetted my rightful and proper demise. All of the former envisioned fell through a clouded veil of remorse and relief.
As the bathtub I undertook continued to overflow (…a trickling of a small creek…) I took the razor out of my skin (…red ether…) and clamored out into a new world—a divine world of immortal harmony, and the learning of tragedies. Bequeathed are my remains as I am reborn, swimming in open veins, nevermore.
“Illos ista macula Amor moris victum Mors”
(“Those that stain Love will conqueror Death”) – Odium