Friday, August 23, 2013
He woke up, to the peculiar sounds of the night. The first thought that gripped him was, how did I reach here? The next thought was as to where, here is? It was a forest. That was in plain sight. And sound to those not yet awoken. The thickset of the trees revealed nothing but for the light of the full moon. There were no clouds. That was strange. He could bet there had been in the morning. There were no stars either. Just the rugged old moon and the darkest sky. The hunted, here would characteristically cry for help. A hunter of course would seek a weapon of some sort. He being neither chose neither but listened intently. For the twigs cracking as someone passed by. Or the birds weeping for having been interrupted in their slumber. Maybe even a fire cackling nearby with his friends around it, which would explain everything. For the stream of water gushing through on its merry way. But there was none. Just the serene of the night and the clatter of the night time bugs. Instinct told him he should head north. But why? And where exactly was north? Was it behind the thorny bush? Or behind that dilapidated tree on one side? Or was it behind him, beyond the darkness? Darkness. What is the darkness meant for? Oh for sleeping his merry mind told him. Or was it more? The time for the demons to neigh and sway? The time for the undead to celebrate? Light, we need our light to survive. But what about those who don’t need the night? God is but fair and just. Everyone has their share. And so they do. Nevertheless, now in the moment, should he walk or run for it may save him from whatever was lurking in the dark? Or should he rub two stones and mark a fire? But then wouldn’t he be an easy target to find? They say the animals are afraid of the fire. But in the hollow crevice called the night, is it the animals we are to fear? He could of course climb a tree but what good would that serve? As he found himself adept to the role of a victim he felt the familiar sensation of fear touch him again. It had been too long. He had forgotten, that fear existed. But exist it did. As he felt his heartbeat pacing, he laughed. A high pitched laugh of happiness. He was human after all. He stopped and once again the silence engulfed him wrapping itself in a sheath around him like oil on a statue. It was then he heard it. Hooves. Horses. A whole set of them, coming from a distance. So he wasn’t alone. Not for long. It was coming from his right. And as he watched, the hooves grew stronger and stronger, the earth shaking beneath him with the pleasure of ecstasy as if touched inappropriately. It could have been the shiver of fear, but who was he to judge. Then the wind picked up, rustling its way through the forest creating way for the chariot. The chariot in itself was the grimmest sight ever seen. Weeds dangling from its chassis, rust speculating on the frames as if it had just left the ocean and blood smearing its every corner. The wheels were made of wood, like the body but they too seemed to be on the verge of death. Wood. Does wood too die? It is but alive…it was the chariot of death maybe. But it was empty. And the horses, there were no horses. Just the reigns held uptight as if something invisible was strangling it. He watched it stop in front of him. Where the chariot boy should have been sitting, there was no one. Or maybe there was. But he couldn’t see anything. Just the reigns. Like the horses, the driver too was a frame of nothingness. The door of the chariot opened and a voice was heard.
Oh hello there. Are you lost?
Not sure about me, but your horses sure are.
So you can see them.
I see rope. And I see wood. The rest is a flicker.
Come on in then lad.
You continue. I believe I can find my way.
Oh can you now?
Maybe not. But I would rather not be on the same route as you.
You speak too much of what you know nothing of.
I know enough to know that I admire your offer, but I would let it pass.
There was a grunt and then there was silence. He turned to walk away but as he did, a flicker passed him and stood right in front of him. As he watched it took form. First the black robe disarming itself around a body he couldn’t see then the long slender fingers on his shoulder and finally the eyes. But they were no ordinary eyes. They were balls of red fire. By now, he should have been afraid. And to an extent he was. But what was it, to be feared? Death? But he would admire death. What he would have given to be dead. But the burden of responsibility thrust on him kept him alive. He looked into the red eyes and the face appeared. Like the chariot, it too was grim. The nose was long and elegant though some would call it grotesque. The lips were black with the wrinkles of a hundred year old lady. The cheek bones were very well defined. It must have been a handsome face in its prime. But now, it was a mask. The mask of death he prayed. Let this be his end he prayed. The eyes shred into him and he could feel his heart stopping. Cardiac arrest? Was that how he would die? Oh splendid. He wouldn’t feel a thing. It would be over soon. And at that thought he grinned cheaply.
You aren’t afraid of me?
I am afraid that if you stay in your physical being for too long, I would shred you to pieces and it would be a life lost.
But I am not alive at all.
So you have felt death?
Aah yes, it was a pleasure.
So I believe you would enjoy it for a second time.
Some things have no seconds.
How would you know? You haven’t tried.
Neither have you.
I want to.
Then it shall be granted.
I would though, would like to see you try.
Oh killing you would be fun. But not as much as keeping you. Turn around, I want to show you something.
He listened, just because he wanted to know what new threat the robe could muster.
What met his eyes now, was horrifying. He could now see the horses. Just that, they weren’t horses.
Your kind. They are my loyal servants, and they shall live forever.
The steeds were staring at him. He looked from one to the other inhaling their sorrow, tapping their fear. These weren’t his loyal followers. These were just the trophies of fear. His personal collection.
That is what you told them?
You can join them or of course we can have special space for you in the back.
His gaze fell from his fellow species to the chariot to what was behind it. To say the sight would keep one awake nights, would not suffice. Being dragged behind the chariot were bodies. Skeletons of the dead. Of the claimed. Some not even complete. Some half burnt. Some in pristine condition except that they were missing a head.
He could feel the messengers hands on his shoulders claiming him. Somewhere inside, anger dwelled in him. The anger of a million souls burning. He wasn’t afraid. He had nothing to fear. He was angry. He somersaulted into the air above the robe and behind him converting. As the robed being watched he howled the werewolf howl into the night. The howl of a war cry. And it was louder, than anything else the immortal would ever witness.
I see. So you intend to fight till the end? Fine, you shall be made example of. Now is just not the time. And with that he was in his chariot and off.
He woke up in bed again. Master was sitting beside him. Jade was rubbing some cool liquid on his feet. Tiny was standing at the door. His master broke the silence. Thank god you are awake. We have lost too many Adam. We have lost too many.