Archive for the ‘dark vs. light’ Category

I think it will all be okay

Look how our atmosphere 

Is made. Molecules change

The direction of light and make

A symphony of color 

Each and Every night 

Oh, beauty! Oh, our universe!

Look how it dances free

Free from worry and pain

And yet, if our sun was tilted

By just one micrometer 

Chaos would end our plight

It doesn’t worry – why should we? 

Look how the blue wavelengths 

Scatter, replaced by red. 

Everything, held in balance

By some unknown, unseen force

Maker of dark and light 

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Full of decadence

Can we ever see past it?

Nihilistic world

…………………………………

Screens and media

Our hearts are so digitized

No more face to face 
…………………………………
Contemplate the evil earth

Death, end, no rebirth

Salvation: can it occur?

………………………………….

Children are taken captive

Women being raped

The elite turn a blind eye 

…………………………………..

Is there any cause for hope?

I do believe so.

We must all work together 
…………………………………..
Loving, laughing, cradling a heart

Running, crying, straight for a brand new start

I awoke, not in a bed or on a table as I had before I began my quest, but on the jungle floor. The foliage was quickly replaced by tan cobblestones that pained my already weary body as the rhinocydonts dragged me in the net. I attempted slicing through it, and succeeded in making an opening large enough for my arm to reach through it, only to receive another intense shock.
A rhinocydont walking alongside the two that were dragging me held a cylinder in his clawed hand that must have been the catalyst for sending the electric pain into my body whenever he wished. He glanced at my screaming form for a moment, then grunted in satisfaction.
“Let me go,” I shouted. “I’ll kill every single one of you! Face me like men, you cowards!”
“We are not men, armored one.”
I was stunned to see that they could speak my language, what with them also being from a different world and all, but then I remembered Alpha telling me that he had conversed several times with their leader, Dienok.
“Dienok,” I panted. “Let me see Dienok! I am a friend of Alpha’s.”
All three dragon warriors chuckled.
“And you think that will help you,” said the one holding the cylinder. “Alpha is no friend of our race, no matter how hard he tries to be. We only stand by each other, not with anyone of your weak race. Yes, we trade with the small ones for wine, but – “
“Oh shutup Trikor,” interrupted one of those who were dragging me.
“This creature is only here for entertainment. Not conversation, you half wit.”
I asked what he meant by ‘entertainment’. Their only reply was to send another searing pain of electricity accompanied by their satisfied laughter.
Monsters. I thought to myself. Sadistic, merciless monsters.
I was dragged through what seemed to be a courtyard. Stone effigies of dragons were scattered throughout. The biggest construction was an immense wall in the center with a beautifully detailed mural etched upon it. It showed two rhinocydonts, a male and a female, standing under a tree. I could distinguish their sexes, for unlike the ones dragging me and the few I saw bustling their way around the courtyard, these two in the mural were naked. The female was shorter and had breasts, which disgusted me. Coiled on the tree was a colorful serpent. It had a piece of fruit in its mouth that resembled an apple. I didn’t know why at the time, but the image seemed oddly familiar.
I didn’t see much of Dragonopolis on that day, but as my captors dragged me through a dark tunnel, I could hear what sounded like hundreds of rhinocydont voices cheering.
As two doors of thick stone opened, I was thrown into a chamber of utter darkness. The doors closed with a heavy thud that echoed in the walls of the room as well as in the walls of my mind. Then, I heard a metallic, hissing sound that was followed by a strikingly bright green light coming from a shimmering golden pyramid on the floor. As Alpha had informed me previously, this race truly did possess an extremely advanced technology.
The electric net suddenly vanished into thin air, making my vision much clearer. Also, the greenish light seemed to have enhanced the features of the three dragon warriors. Each one had shorts on that resembled the ones Alpha wore.
Belts carrying complicated looking devices and weapons were around the waists of each. Their bodies were a grayish green that had patterns of spots resembling those of a leopard. These ones were apparently males, for their muscular chests were bare. Each one of them carried eccentric looking guns in their right hands. The claws on the hands were even bigger and more fearsome looking than the claws of Snapper. All of their features made them look completely identical, save for their heads, which did however all seem to share the same basic plan and shape. But each skull had a uniquely shaped frill at the top of the head with sharp horns of different number and position. The mouths were like the beak of a bird. Their eyes were black, as black as death.
“Quit gawking at us, scum,” yelled the one called Trikor before punching me in the face. I was too dazed to stop them from wrapping a chain around my waist that came from the pyramid.
A system of sliding mechanical plates twisted apart on the floor near me. Strange, yet also delicious looking vegetables rose from the center on a large plate. The rhinocydonts then left the room.
Because of distrust and suspicion, I almost didn’t eat the food set before me, but no matter how hard I tried to resist, the aroma completely overwhelmed me. I just had to regain my strength so I could find a way out of here. For Happiness. Alpha. Emanuel. Steer…
Recalling the heroic horns of my best friend, I sprang into action. I tried everything. My sword would not cut through the chain, my punches would not crack the walls, and the pyramid was indestructible. The chain I was bound to possessed a good deal of slack. I pulled on it and rolled it into a ball, with a considerable length continuing to drag out of the pyramid.
What could have been the purpose for this? A chain that would allow me to pull out lengths of it long enough for me to question what it was chaining me from?
After what seemed hours of testing its length and pacing around the room, I gave up. Leaning against the wall opposite the doors of my prison I was led through, I discovered the reason for the chain’s length.
I fell backward as the wall I leaned against opened without warning, bringing blinding sunlight into the chamber. Upon looking up, I saw something that I just could not believe.
Rhinocydonts. Hundreds of them. My dungeon chamber was apparently right in the midst of a massive arena. All I could see was a writhing mass of reptilian flesh in every direction. The balconies reached to an even greater height than the immense trees of the jungle. Every single rhinocydont was standing and cheering, apparently awaiting a spectacle. They did not have to wait long. The ‘entertainment’ was about to begin.
Directly in front of me by about a hundred feet, a wall under the balcony slid up to reveal a dark chamber that looked the same as my own. Within the darkness, the figure of a man began to advance slowly into the arena. It was strange for me to see him, for up until that moment I had only met one man, Alpha(if he even was human). He had no distinguishing physical characteristics aside from a sword and a shield. His waist was bound by a chain in the same way mine was. We eyed each other curiously for a few moments and then cautiously began to approach each other. The chains would have prevented our meeting even if he had succeeded in taking three full steps out of the chamber, but, as it was, something else hindered him. And killed him.
Being still partially inside my own cell, I was as oblivious as he was to the winged monstrosity that charged him from his right. Claws and teeth literally shredded the poor man to bits before he could even scream.
This creature was a devil out of hell, and yet strangely beautiful at the same time. Though shaped like a bird, it only possessed feathers on its wings and tail. Silver, metallic looking talons were attached to its fingers and toes. One claw on each foot was much larger than the rest, and this specialized claw was obviously the beast’s preferred method of killing. One of its feet was bound by a chain, which kept it from flying too high and escaping. Two horns protruded from the back of its head, and from the mouth that foamed with its victim’s blood came a high pitched shriek that sent immense pain to my head.
The crowds of rhinocydonts were going absolutely wild for their vicious dragon pet. I knew that I was its next combatant, and quite possibly its next meal; that is, if the creature even devoured the things it killed. The remains of the hapless man were still on the ground, and not one bit of his flesh was swallowed by the dragon. It seemed to simply just enjoy its art of disemboweling victims with its claws. But it was still just an animal, not really a monster. No, these snarling, vicious rhinocydont masters of his were the real monsters. Because of the sickening way in which they used this arena to entertain themselves, I immediately began to despise them just as much as I despised the Omega drones.
Just as the dragon set his gaze on me, I felt another one of the rhinocydonts’ cruel jabs of electricity. Spinning around, I saw two of the warriors facing me from my now dimly lit cell. They were carrying long metal sticks that produced electric shocks whenever they prodded me.
After the electric current surged into my body for the third time, my fear and anger transformed into adrenaline. Despite the fact that I was chained, I was still able to jump high enough to land on one of the guards, slit his throat, and stab the other one in the face. I had hoped to anger the audience by killing one of their own, but they only cheered louder. No matter who it was that died, the monsters would be entertained. They seemed to thrive on the shedding of blood.
My disgust of them was completely forgotten when a second winged killer charged me from my right. Its claws slashed against my sword, and the battle began.
He was slashing me much more frequently than I was him, causing me to curse the fact that I must have left my shield back in the Jungle. A normal man would have perished quickly, but, thankfully for me, my armor was resilient.
The dragon spread its wings and flew around in circles as high as its chain would permit. This behavior only lasted a few seconds, but it was just enough time for me to see what was happening with the other dragon.
Two more guards had appeared out of nowhere. They were holding onto the dragon’s chain, letting it drag them as it flew towards my current opponent and I. To anybody unfamiliar with the rhinocydonts, the reading of their facial expressions would prove to be impossible. I, however, had come to know them so intimately on this day that I could instantly tell that they were smiling. Smiling with bloodlust. But their smiles faded away quickly as their dragon spun around and pounced on them both. I saw enough rhinocydont blood to make me the one who was smiling.
My grin, however, disappeared even quicker than theirs did, for my dragon had clenched his jaws onto my arm while I was distracted. I attempted to thrust my blade into his side, but was blocked by the reptile’s clawed hand. These attempts at attack and subsequent blocks continued long enough for the other dragon to reach us. Both of the guards who had attempted to lead him to me were on the ground in pieces. I hardly need to mention the crowd’s reaction to this. If they had paid money to witness a legendary brawl, then that money was well spent.
A dragon on my arm and an unchained one flying towards me were all I could afford to worry about. In the next moment, my sword and I both learned that we were not fast enough for an unchained dragon. Its snarling, ferocious form leapt on me and sliced my armor with its foot claws. Taken to the ground, I was released from the jaws of my first combatant. This angered him deeply. Amidst the sparks of claw against armor, the dragon pounced upon the one who had stolen his victim. I rolled away, watching with a sick fascination as the beasts fought each other to the death.
But it was very obvious which one had the advantage. After brawling for a while, The one without the chain flew above the enraged bound dragon and seemed to taunt it. Despite being animals, these beings were obviously intelligent. I almost came close to believing that the taunting one was laughing as the other one was hindered from reaching its new enemy by its chain.
I almost felt sorry for the chained dragon as I pulled its taut chain towards me and sliced open its belly, which resulted in bloody intestines falling on my face. Yes, I really did almost feel sorry for it.
The dragon still living quickly abandoned me and flew towards the crowd of rhinocydonts. I believe it was more out of its hatred for them than out of any fear it could have had of me. No wonder all the peaceful dragons left Dragonopolis ages ago.
One of the audience members was picked up by the dragon’s feet. He was decimated very quickly in midair by the predator’s claws.
What happened next gave me more anger and disgust than I have felt in my life. Not only was the crowd nearest to the victim cheering, but they were also laughing. How could a person laugh at their own brother dying? Why were these creatures so corrupt?
My immediate thought was to leap onto the balcony and slaughter as many rhinocydonts as I could, but before I could act, white hot lights of every color imaginable pierced the flying dragon’s abdomen. I shifted my eyes to the ground and saw three dragon ‘people’ aiming their sinister guns at the flying one. They did not stop shooting until its deceased body collided with the earth.
I raced towards them. As far as I was concerned, they and every other member of their race deserved to die. Forcing random warriors to fight impossible battles. Laughing as their own brethren were slaughtered. Raising simple animals that belonged in the wild to become killing machines that mirrored the hearts of their masters…
All three sadistic warriors pulled out whips from their belts. These whips, like most of the rhinocydonts’ technology, produced electric energy, but to a degree that shocked me more painfully than ever before as they coiled around my body like evil serpents. I pondered for a moment why they would not just simply kill me, but that thought was checked when I discovered that at least one of them did desire my death.
A blast from his laser gun exploded against my shoulder. My sword shoulder. The three of them slowly advanced towards my screaming self. My pain, though very strong, was not as powerful as the single word that echoed within my head. Death. Death. Death
“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”
I had never before, or since, heard a voice so loud. It came from a new rhinocydont that had jumped down into the arena from one of the balconies. He wore a long, shining robe of scarlet that reflected the sunlight so much that it hurt my eyes.
“You fools! You damned, idiotic, pathetic fools! Hell itself would be a paradise compared to the wrath you have stirred within me!”
The newcomer mercilessly assaulted the guard who had shot me. The speed, precision, and sheer force of his blows shocked me more than all of the rhinocydont electricity combined could have. Even the crowd became silent.
The victim, though granted the grace to even still exist was beaten to a bloody, silent pulp. I began to fear this robed rhinocydont much more than I had feared his dragon pets.
“You listen,” he shouted in dominance, not just to the guards, but to the audience as well. “This one is different. Do you understand me? In my thousand years of life, I have never, EVER seen such skill as to match this one. He is our captive, our entertainment. Our new and only entertainment for eons to come. I command you all to respect him. He shall never be unfairly touched by weapons that can kill. I desire watching him fight for centuries. What say you?”
The crowd’s roar of excitement and approval was loud enough to drown out my hopeless, defeated, and utterly heartbroken sobs. I hadn’t even cried that loudly when Steer was murdered. It agonized me beyond measure to know that I would forever remain nothing but a tool for entertainment. A pet, forced to endure the tortures of battle for all eternity, just like their dragon pets.
No one paid heed to my emotions, save for the robed speaker.
“Do not fret. Do not cry.” He lifted my chin at an attempt to encourage me. If my helmet was off, I would have spat in his hideous face. “I have given your life a purpose. Meaning. Your abilities shall be used and displayed for all of my kind, from the most fearsome warrior to the smallest of hatchlings. Do not dwell on dreams of a lost and lonely maiden. Yes, yes, Alpha has told me who you are and what you are trying to do. Would it please you to know that he came to me yesterday literally begging for assistance? My army sent him running like the true coward he really is.”
I wanted to cut off his head, but was impeded by a guard stepping on my sword. The robed rhinocydont, who I now realized to be their leader, Dienok, laughed softly.
“You will find that Alpha and I are more alike than I admit to him. Just like your training with him, you shall not rest between battles. We have another one for you. Don’t get me wrong, warrior. I do respect you. But I do think you should pray for a quick death from your next opponent, so that you won’t have to fight against his brothers for the rest of your fantastic life.”
He left my presence, and the guards dragging their beaten comrade followed him, the electric whips uncoiling from my body and receding back to their holders. I followed their movements for as long as I could before the ground began to shake.
Sliding plates like the ones in my chamber, though much more massive, were grinding and sliding apart to reveal something much larger than a meal of vegetables.
On a platform that was like the plate carrying food in my cell, only huge, stood a dragon at least twenty feet tall. Its build was similar to its predecessors, but much, much bigger and more heavily muscled. It did not possess special foot claws, horns, or wings. The arms were embarrassingly tiny compared to the rest of its body. I would have laughed at this had it not been for the creature’s enormous skull with massive jaws, serrated teeth, and eyes that burned to the soul of anyone unfortunate enough to gaze at them. It also had another alarming trait, at least to me. Feathers, which looked more like spikes or quills, christened the back of its head and neck like the crown of a king.
As it roared and shook the earth with its colossal footsteps, I realized that the painful laser gun wound in my shoulder was going to severely impair the use of my sword. As if this wasn’t enough, the giant did something that made me wish I was fighting ten of the smaller ones at one time instead of him. Fire erupted from its hellish mouth, a burst of flame so massive that it made the fire of Vengeance look like a spark in comparison.
The massive jaws lowered and sent the flames in my direction. I scrambled up to my feet and ran as fast as my weakened legs would permit. But no matter how fast I could have ran even at my full capacity, it would have been all but impossible to avoid the speed of the monster’s deadly breath. My shell was charred to black from just one lick of the flames. It is difficult to describe the feeling, for not too many people have smelt their own flesh being cooked and then lived to tell the tale. My armor protected my human flesh for the most part, but it could still feel the immense pain from the fire. Having armor that can feel the sensation of pain is not an enjoyable thing.
I leapt into the air as my back was turned to the monstrosity and landed atop his colossal head as he continued to race forward. The flame stopped abruptly and was replaced by a deafening roar of frustration. It was all I could do to hang onto that ugly dragon head, latching onto it like a parasite with my arm and my legs. The pain I felt from the burn was still nothing compared to the searing pain left from the laser gun in my sword shoulder. Thus, my attempts at stabbing the beast between his eyes resulted only in small cuts that further enraged him. His skull was too thick for me to deliver the killing stroke, so I had to think of something else. I had to think quickly though, for I knew that the beast would get me off of him very soon.
He did so the very next moment by violently shaking his head back and forth. My limbs lost their grip and I plummeted earthward. The dragon opened his jaws wide and lunged towards me, ready to swallow me up forever. The pain of my weakened sword arm was unimaginable, but so completely worth it as I shoved the blade into the roof of his mouth and out the top of his scaly head. The death was so instantaneous that he didn’t even make a sound. As his massive body collapsed to the ground in front of me, I pulled my sword out of his brain and saw the beginnings of flame spark from within his throat. Though dead, the beast apparently still had one more shot of flame left.
A powerful force that felt like more dragon flesh tackled me to the ground from my left. Looking up, I saw the face of Dienok, which was unreadable, with the flames of the dead dragon dancing behind him and burning off his robe. Consciousness fled from me in the next instant.

Don’t forget to read Chapter One as well, but start here if you want!

From the lush, colorful, moist treetops of the jungle, the flock of grotesque fairies fluttered their wings in unison against the afternoon breeze. As drops of saliva and blood rained down from their bodies, two eagles soared up and ahead of them. The fairies cackled with mischief and flew rapidly in circles around the avians. The birds squawked in confusion as the fairy generated cyclone forced them down to the earth. The fairies howled in amusement and flew out of sight. “Stupid birds! Stupid birds! Hehehe!” They were having fun on this day.

Surprisingly, after my duel with the Snapper zombie and in spite of my confusion over Alpha leaving, I felt good as well. Steer had led me to a creek surrounded by horsetails and buzzing dragonflies after we had walked for an entire night. We bathed in it, becoming absolutely rejuvenated by its magical qualities. According to Steer, it was called the pool of Amoris. The witch who wrote my prophecy composed it on the bank of this very creek, seconds before an Omega drone pierced her heart with a scimitar. As she took her last breath, she fell into the water and became one with it, forever transferring her magical essence into every single molecule.

Sunlight beamed down upon us and caused my wet armor to glisten. That was the only time I can now remember seeing it as beautiful. Throughout most of my journey, I had perceived it as an ugly curse separating me from Happiness and from the rest of the world, despite the fact that it served as my nearly impenetrable protection. This one instance of joy with myself, as well as my ever increasing hope for Happiness, invigorated me. The journey had at last begun.

We walked, talked, and smoked for hours after we had left the creek. We were both taking advantage of these moments we had together, for, as Alpha had said, I had to complete most of the journey on my own. Already missing Alpha, I dreaded the parting that Steer and I would have to eventually face.

“Steer,” I began as I put his pipe back into the cloth sack atop his back, “Why must we go our separate ways? And when? I don’t believe I can finish this without you.”

“I’m sorry, my warrior-friend. It is necessary. For one thing, your shell possesses enchantments that work against the deep, magical traps that Omega has laid out for you within the Jungle. I, on the other hand, do not possess these gifts of yours. Remember the clearing where I got lost? Eventually, the jungle will simply not permit me to go on after a certain point. Only you and the gargoyles in the service of Omega are invulnerable to the hindering curses within the foliage. It is most unfortunate that the gargoyles are not on our side, for they impede the Jungle’s magic even for those who travel with them.”

I frowned in bitter disappointment. “When will that certain point arrive, friend?”

“I know not. I am truly sorry, my brother.”

Joy disappeared, and I wouldn’t experience much of it for quite a while. No longer wishing to carry on with this painful subject, I asked Steer about the undead, and now most fully dead Kappa.

“How did Alpha do that? What was the black magic?”

“You see, Warrior, Alpha knows every single word etched onto the walls – or that were etched onto the walls – of the training field. He came across a spell that could bring the dead back to life, though not fully. Only the evil will within a being could be resurrected by the Omega spell. It also required the sacrifice of blood from two creatures that were not evil – yours and Alpha’s.”

“But how did Alpha get my blood?”

“While you slept, he drew some from your wounds. But with your blood, strength was drawn as well, for you were the one to fight the Kappa. All that there remained to do was to attach the chain of resurrection to the monster turtle’s shell.”

I wondered for the first time if Alpha ever actually slept.

As the sun began to set, we came across a tree with a gigantic hollow within it and rested. Steer snored loudly, which probably would have kept me awake even if my mind wasn’t so full. Thoughts of Alpha, Emanuel, Snapper, and my beloved, beautiful Happiness raced through my mind continually.

Eventually, after hours of thinking, I actually did begin to desire sleep so that Happiness might visit me in my dreams. But my anxiety, as well as Steer’s snoring, kept sleep far away from me no matter how hard I tried. It is absolutely dreadful to lay awake for a full night doing absolutely nothing at all. I would have explored, but the honest fact of the matter is that I was afraid. Feeling shame, confusion, and deep depression, I almost wished that I could be blotted out of existence like acne on the face of God.

When the morning arrived, we headed East. Steer said that we would change direction often so as to avoid the known Omega drone camps, as well as Dragonopolis, the city of the Rhinocydonts. I was relieved, for I was still too frightened and uneasy to want to fight. Thankfully, I could lie to Steer and act like I was ready for any challenge. He could not read minds like Alpha could.

“Why avoid them,” I asked. “We must fight them and show them that there is a new sheriff in town.”

“And what exactly,” replied Steer, “Does that mean?”

I laughed, remembering that Steer and I came from two different worlds.

“You know, Steer…I’m not even sure myself. I just know that it means I am the one to bring about justice, order, and restoration.”

“It sounds like a silly word, friend. Let’s just stick with, ‘Warrior’. Here, let’s stop for a moment and smoke.”

I reached into his pack and felt something else besides the pipe and tobacco. As I pulled out the contents, I discovered two sacks tied together. One of them contained hay for steer, and the other one contained horsemeat for myself. After lighting the pipe and putting it to his lips, I opened up the bag of horsemeat and devoured it ravenously. With all the excitement and confusion, I had completely forgotten to try eating the day before. It felt wonderful to consume the meat without vomiting it up. Strength and joy were mine once again, but only momentarily. Steer was looking at his hay, but not eating it.

“Are you not hungry, Steer?”

“You remember the deal, friend. For every day that you do not eat, I shall abstain from doing so for two days. Or did we decide on three? I can’t remember.”

I began to feel guilt that almost crippled me.

“Steer! It’s alright! You need to eat! I’m sorry that I forgot to yesterday, but let’s just forget about it, ok?”

“No, Warrior. I am a cow of my word.”

I continued to protest and threw down my meat in frustration.

“Steer, if you don’t eat that hay, then not only will I not eat, but I will not help you smoke.”

“As you wish. But you will only be increasing my days without food. I am not backing down from this.”

There was nothing I could do. He smoked and I ate in silence, making sure that I didn’t eat too much so as to conserve the food for rations.

After a few more hours of walking, Steer possessed a concerned look on his face.

“Steer? Are you ok?”

He exhaled a deep sigh. “Well, we are drawing near to Dragonopolis. We could avoid it in a few miles by walking towards the North, but I feel like something dreadful is about to happen.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well…the jungle’s Omega magic feels very strong towards the North. Meaning I may not be able to go with you much farther. Reach into my bag and pull out the piece of parchment.”

I did as he said, unrolled it, and gasped. It was a map of the jungle; but not just any map. The landscapes looked real, almost three-dimensional. Letters forming the names of places quivered as I held the map up to the light. Even the trees were shaking, as if being blown by the wind.

“Amazing,” I said. “Is this like the hologram?”

“A bit,” said Steer, his smile returning. “You know, it makes me happy seeing you be so enthusiastic about this world. I can tell, even with your helmet on.”

Beneath that helmet, a smile formed on my face.

“What are we going to do Steer? When will Alpha meet us?”

“You mean, when will he meet you. I am unsure. He only told me that he had to run an errand that might restore some peace.”

“Peace between whom?”

“Now, that is the question. I haven’t the faintest idea. The Rhinocydonts are a doubtful answer, for they have never listened before. Perhaps the drones who have not completely turned yet…” He stopped speaking and seemed to be wrestling with his thoughts. I believe he was thinking of his former angel friend, who was now one of the demon slaves. A single tear slid down his face. I rushed forward and embraced him. Instead of again consoling him by saying I would never turn to the dark side, I poured my heart and soul out to him.  I blubbered about my fears and uncertainties, and I begged him to never leave me.

“I’m sorry,” he cried, “But I cannot stay with you for the entire journey. If only – “

A fearful, bloodcurdling scream tore us from our embrace.  It sounded like someone being attacked. I somehow recognized the voice of the screamer, but at that moment I could not place.

As I raised my sword and shield, prepared for anything, Steer and rushed towards the direction of the disturbance. It could have been a trap, but we didn’t care. Somebody needed our help, and we were the only ones who could give it.

A few yards away, an ugly grey beast with a massive yet delicate looking wingspan was pinning a frog prince against a tree. Its hind legs held it in place while its forelimbs slashed deep gashes into the wailing frog’s bright green skin.

“Please! Please stop! Y- y –y – ou have goodness in your heart. I – I can s – s…”

Emanuel’s pleading was replaced by a shriek of pain, worse than all of the others combined.  We sprang into action, Steer ready to trample the monster to death, and me ready to cut him into little pieces with my sword.

The creature turned towards us and let out a screech of fright. Releasing our friend, it flew over our heads, probably thinking we would rush to Emanuel before pursuing him. He was correct, but the stupid creature flew too close to my sword. I slashed at him as he flew past, screaming in pain.

“After him, Steer, “ I cried without turning around. “I will help Emanuel.”

As I held my wounded friend with my sword-less arm, I could hear Steer racing hard towards the monster and shouting out obscenities at him. As his hoofbeats faded away with the distance, I cursed myself for only having one arm to steady Emanuel with. My sword was far too sharp to be of any use.

“W – w – warrior,” He whimpered, using every ounce of effort to speak fluently. “You arrived just in the nick of time.”

“Yes,” I answered in relief. “We will make you better.” But upon examining his wounds, I began to doubt that we could really save him.

“No,” he began, “But you arrived just in time for my purpose to be availed. H – here…NO! I shall not die as a weak stutterer!”

His voice now sounded stronger and more robust than ever before, but the light was fading from his eyes. I tried desperately to encourage him and hide my sobs of grief.

“Y..y..you will be okay. Steer w…will come back. He will know w..w…what to do.”

Emanuel smiled.

“Once again, now you are the one who is stuttering. Take this.”

He handed me a shimmering blue cube that was larger than his webbed hand.

“Do not doubt yourself, Mister…Ah. I do wish you had a name. You will save Happiness, my friend. I believe in you.”

Emanuel breathed his last and closed his eyes. The smile still remained on his kind face. My friend was dead, and I wanted to completely annihilate the murderer.

As if on cue, Steer came into view, dragging the disgusting beast by the neck with his jaws.

“Poor frog,” chuckled the monster in spite of his pain. “If only his body was not so frail….”

My sword was pressed lightly against his chest within an instant. Lightly, because I wanted to cause as slow and painful a death as possible. The creature howled in pain, apologized, and begged my forgiveness. It almost sounded genuine.

Steer’s mouth released him, but then one of his hooves pinned him to the ground.

“It’s a good thing your weak wings will not allow you to fly high, gargoyle!” Steer seemed even angrier than I was. He had known Emanuel for centuries.

“Please,” begged the gargoyle. “Don’t kill me! I can help you! I swear! I swear by the power of Omega…”

Steer’s other front hoof kicked the gargoyle in the jaw.

“Shutup, you worm,” shouted Steer. “How dare you? Only Alpha and the creatures on the side of Happiness possess grace.”

At the mention of my beloved, the gargoyle’s face became grave and truly remorseful. He looked at me and once again began to plead.

“I love her too! She is our mother…our love! Its not my fault! Notmyfaultnotmyfaultnotmyfaultnotmyfaultnotmyfault!!!!” He continued spewing those three words. Steer and I did not stop him for a while, shocked by the apparently genuine guilt he possessed.

Eventually, Steer kicked him again and asked him how he thought he could help us. The horror’s eyes locked onto me as if he didn’t want to look at Steer. I stared back at him and noted his features. I called it a ‘horror’, for that is what the beast truly was. It looked like a reptilian bat with charcoal gray skin that reminded me a bit of the fairies. His teeth reminded me of the ‘annoyance’ as well. Above the jaws were two murky black eyes that looked like blackened glass, and above those eyes were two long, sharp horns that gave the gargoyle the impression of a demonic unicorn.

“If you wish to save Happiness,” he wheezed, continuing to stare me down, “You cannot do it without my aid. I can make you immune to the traps of the jungle.”

“That’s what you think,” bellowed Steer. “Ugly, stupid creature. My warrior friend’s suit shall protect him even better than your pathetic Omega charms can.”

The gargoyle sniggered.

“Ah, yes. But can they protect you?”

Steer’s open mouthed silence was his answer.

“You murdered our friend,” I said. “Why should you want you to help us? How do we know this isn’t some sort of trap?”

Without the slightest hesitation, the gargoyle answered.

“I love Happiness. I love her so much that I have never even tasted the plants.”

I could swear that the beast knew of my weakness. But even if he did, he couldn’t have known that I had already conquered it.

“Your bovine friend,” the gargoyle continued, “Should be with you for the whole journey to help you. Is that not your desire? And this is no trap. I want her rescued.”

I drove my blade a bit further into his skin. “Then, why did you kill Emanuel?”

“He wouldn’t let me see her,” he said between his squeals of pain. “I tried to be reasonable, but he just wouldn’t let me!”

“What are you talking about?” I asked, my curiosity completely piqued.

“The cube in your hand,” he answered. “Please let me see her!”

I inspected the object and pressed a button that was on the bottom of it. A tiny opening on the top let out a bright light that began to materialize into a miniature version of my beautiful maiden. It was a hologram. My eyes widened and my jaw dropped inside of my helmet. She – well, the hologram anyway – was looking at me and smiling. Then, to my immense pleasure, I heard her musical and infallible voice.

“My love. My rescuer. My King. Emanuel has taken a great risk in carrying my message. He is the only one in the jungle with the gift to hear it. Plus, magic can always be useful, of course,”

She laughed, sending chills of excitement down my spine.

“You have a task,” she continued, “That would break the spirits of just about anyone. But it shall not break you. I know you are different. You are the one. Once again, as I have said before in your vision, well done, my love. You have gotten far already…but, I am sorry to say that it is as proportional to the whole journey as a foot is to a mile. Omega is furious. Especially the beast he dwells the most within. The minotaur. My ‘guard’…..”

I could tell that she was sad and disgusted. But then her face brightened again.

“But you are my true protector. I must warn you – he is strong. Take all the help you can get. Remember that if somebody says they love me, they mean it. Even if it is a love distorted by evil. The purpose of this message is to give you hope. Remember what I have said. And think of the dragon monsters…the rhinocydonts. I’m not sure why, but I feel that they are a force you must reckon with in some way or another. Give Emanuel, Steer, and Alpha, my deepest gratitude. But my gratitude towards all of them does not come close to my gratitude towards you. Save me, hero. The only hope for me Is you.”

With those last few words, the hologram disappeared. Then the blue cube shrank and shrank until it became nothing at all. Exactly as I was doing, Steer stood awestruck and spellbound by her beauty, even though she was of a different species.

“Its been so long,” he said, “That I had forgotten what she looked like.”

“You must save her, warrior,” screamed the gargoyle. “You must save her and you must let me help. All three of us can save her!”

I looked up at Steer, pondered the options for a moment, and gave the winged monster my answer.

“You shall come with us. You – “

“But he will lead us into a trap!”

“No, Steer. Even if he wanted to, we shall not let him. Besides, I don’t think that he does want to. He loves Happiness. And if he can keep you with me for the whole journey, then all of the Omega, all of the Rhinocydonts, and all of the other beasts of this jungle will have no chance of stopping the two of us.”

I looked back at the gargoyle, who was now grinning with excitement. “I know that you want her rescued. Swear by her name.”

“I swear, friend! I swear on the name and honor of Happiness! Thank you! Thank you for sparing me and accepting my aid, my wondrous friend!”

I punched him in the face with all of my strength. It felt wonderful to have a working arm again. As the gargoyle hissed in pain and confusion. Steer grinned in satisfaction.

“Do not call me ‘friend’,” I snarled. “I have only had three friends. Because of you, however, I only have two. You are nothing but a murderer, and you are only still alive so that we can use you.”

“I’m sorry! I only wanted to see her! Sorrysorrysorrysorrysorrysorry!”

“Quit your wailing worm. You’ll have to somehow prove yourself worthy of forgiveness. Emanuel risked everything in facing the jungle on his own to deliver me hope. He died for me. We shall now resume the journey, but only after I – “

Turning around, I looked down at the deceased frog prince. Tears of grief flowed from my eyes like rivers. I could not leave my friend’s body out in the open where scavengers could find it and desecrate his memory.

“Take the gargoyle a good distance away from me,” I said to Steer, who was also sobbing. “I shall bury our brother.”

Steer bit the gargoyle by the foot and began to drag him away, but not before I turned to face them and sliced off one of the murderer’s wings. He shrieked in agony as Steer’s face brightened in satisfaction.

“If you hadn’t killed Emanuel, I would have just bound your arms and mouth. So let that be a lesson to you. Remember your place, One Wing.”

As steer dragged him away, I used my blade and my powerful left arm to bury my comrade. I only paused once for a second when a tree swayed its limbs in an odd fashion. As I continued to dig, I wrote it off to a mere trick of the light.

 

 

“Speed up, filth!”

After walking a few miles North, Steer was getting sick of our prisoner who was lagging behind on all fours. Steer had released his grip on the gargoyle’s foot, saying that we had no reason to drag something that had no chance of escape, but I believe the true reason is that the captive’s rotten looking gray flesh tasted vile.

“Forgive me, cow,” said the murderer turned servant. “But its just a tad bit difficult to walk when you have an excruciatingly painful stub where your wing used to be.”

“Wow,” laughed Steer, “You can use big words? Perhaps you aren’t as dumb as you look.”

“Shutup, cow. If you were not a friend of the hero’s, I would bite your head off and pierce your abdomen with my horns. Its too bad that you don’t have horns of your own to defend yourself with.”

Because I had been counting, I knew that this was the seventh time that Steer, out of anger, had kicked the gargoyle’s repulsive face. This kick was the hardest, for Steer had told me before on occasion that he greatly envied anything that possessed even a small horn.

“We aren’t just born with them,” shot Steer with a hateful glance. “Us noble bovines have to earn them. We aren’t just born with them like your spoiled and undeserving species.”

“Whatever you say, Mister Udder.”

I lost my patience, and not just with the gargoyle.

“You two are behaving just like children. Just ignore him, Steer.”

“How can I when he cannot keep his putrid mouth shut? Let’s just bind him like you suggested earlier. Or, maybe we could remove another wing.”

The gargoyle hissed in anger.

“As for you, gargoyle – “ I said before he cut me off.

“I do have a name, warrior. It is Edshu. Please, do not bind Edshu! And please let me keep my wing so that Happiness will only have to regenerate one after we save her.”

“Listen here, Edshu. Happiness wouldn’t waste her breath on you. Your ‘love’ as you call it is corrupt. Anyway, why are you so angry with Steer? I was the one who cut off your wing.”

“Because you will rescue her! Because you are powerful! Because you are merciful! Because you are my friend!”

“He is not your friend,” retorted Steer. “But you are right about his mercy. Most people would completely slaughter you and string you up like horsemeat. ‘Most people’ includes myself.”

“I’m not afraid of you, Udders!”

I was getting sick of this.

“Edshu,” I exclaimed fiercely enough to make him jump.”If you utter one more word, I will slice you just enough for you to be paralyzed but remain alive so that we may use your magical defense.”

Edshu became silent, as did my companion and I.

As Steer and I inhaled puffs from his dragon pipe, we continued our trek. Eventually, the silence became nerve wracking.

I began to feel extremely paranoid, imagining every sound that could be heard throughout the jungle to be a Drone or a Kappa. I was like this for hours, once even drawing my sword for battle as a small bird rustled a bush and flew off into the sunset. Edshu chuckled at my fright, and was punished by Steer with another fearsome kick. I actually scolded Steer for this, knowing that on any other occasion the both of us would have laughed it off.

“But he is a murderer. And a traitor to his very own brotherhood of evil. He is also a coward,” He turned to the sulking gargoyle, who had used whatever strength he had left to keep the pace so that he couldn’t receive nearly as many fearsome kicks.

“Remember, gargoyle, that when we came upon you assaulting our friend, you flew as high up as your weak wings could carry you to attempt escape. At least the warrior raises his sword and braces himself when he senses danger. Doesn’t fly away like you, One Wing.”

Edshu must have felt about his wings in just the same way that Steer’s kind felt about their horns. In the blink of an eye, the gargoyle pounced on Steer and gave him a nasty bite before being kicked into the air, this time by four hooves. My sword was to the beast’s throat at the instant he collided with the ground.

“If you do something like that again,” I began as calmly as possible, “Your new name will be ‘No Wing’. Understand?”

Edshu’s snarling face turned into a face of fearful contrition. I knew that I shouldn’t have believed his shame to be genuine, but I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for Emanuel’s murderer anytime he made a face like that.

“I’m so sorry,” wailed Edshu. “Please forgive me! Both of you! I just became so angry because the bovine is right.”

Tears literally jetted from his eyes. They didn’t just stream and flow like mine even at my worst moments.

“I am a coward. Traitor. M…m…murderer. Omega….the drones…the Minotaur….they all lied to me! You are what Happiness needs. I only want to help you! Then I wont be so worthless!”

He was either an extreme hater of himself or a very convincing con artist.

Steer, getting up and dripping blood from the attack, could tell what I was thinking.

“Why,” he began, “Are you even considering his fate? You believe this charade? He is a part of the Omega. He killed Emanuel!”

I remembered the words of Happiness about those who loved her despite their corruption.

“He wants us to save her, Steer. Can’t you tell? Yes, he is a pathetic murderer, but Alpha said that even Snapper could have changed. But I do not fee; as much sympathy for him as you think. I only want him with us so that you will be able to travel with me. He would be dead already if he was of no use to us.”

I wasn’t so sure of my words, because my heart was actually breaking for Edshu. He must have been blinded and changed in the same way as I had been with the plants. But I conquered them, so why shouldn’t this gargoyle be able to conquer his own sins?

“He stays alive, Steer.”

“Oh, thank you,” cried the relieved Edshu. “Thank you so much, warrior!  After you rescue Happiness, I shall forever bow down to you as your slave.”

Then he jumped up and embraced me. I almost even embraced him in return, but then I remembered Emanuel’s pain and I hurled the sickening lump of gargoyle flesh away from me.

“Don’t ever touch me. Ever.

We once again resumed our quest, Steer cursing, Emanuel humming in delight, and me silenced by deep contemplation. When darkness arrived, Steer came to a halt.

“What is it,” I asked.

“Well…what happened the first time that you and I walked into a moonlit clearing?”

We had indeed come to the edge of a clearing, and Steer had once again forgotten the way.

“Get me the map,” he said.

I reached for it, unrolled it, and gasped once again. Not a gasp at the beautiful, animated scenery of the parchment, but a gasp at nothing. The scroll was blank.

I showed it to Steer. His face became graver than ever.

“Curse them! Curse the Omega! All of them! The drones, the bad kappas, the energy possessing the Minotaur, the – “

He shot a sudden glance at Edshu.

“You! I thought you could make it to where spells wouldn’t affect me. What trickery is this?”

“No trickery. You know that my kind make all who are with us immune to the Jungle. But apparently, the Jungle is far more powerful than any of us had thought. My magic has protected you from its spells…at least the important ones. You know that I am correct. If the noble warrior had not spared me, you would have been hindered by the Omega glass that springs from the earth to stop all who can be affected by the magic.”

For some reason, Edshu’s tone of voice disturbed me. It sounded hollow, cold, and emotionless.

“Perhaps,” he continued, “The spells haven’t really affected you at all. Only your map. Maybe you are just becoming forgetful.”

“Shutup. What shall we do, warrior?”

Before I could answer, Edshu resumed speaking.

“I know the way to the Sphinx. We will run into men though, but that would be better than running into the dragon people.”

“What about drones,” I asked. “Where are their camps?”

“There are none. They keep far away from the Rhinocydonts, many miles away in fact.”

What were these rhinocydonts? To have a power so great that even Omega’s armies fear them?

“Very well then,” I said. “Lead the way, Edshu.”

Emotion returned to his face. He literally skipped to the left with a giddy smile upon his face.

“Once again, warrior, thank you! Thank you for giving me a purpose.”

I began to follow him, but then I noticed that Steer was reluctant.

“Come on, buddy,” I said. “Everything will be just fine. We can avoid Dragonopolis and the drones. And just look how happy he is to be of use.”

My friend sighed.

“Alright. But I’m not taking my eyes off of him, not even for a second. I still do not trust him.”

We began to follow Edshu – or at least we tried to follow him. With Steer’s reluctance to go forward, the gargoyle must have gone on without us, for he was nowhere in sight. I called out his name many times, but to no avail. Edshu had vanished.

“I told you – “

Steer’s voice was cut short by a wall of glass that shot out of the ground in front of him. I barely saw it shimmer in the moonlight, but I could easily tell that it was the same Omega glass that had separated me from Happiness in my dream, for Steer had collided with it, and I could see his face pressing upon it in vain. I cursed myself, finally seeing that Steer had been right about Edshu all along. The double timing traitor’s magic protected my friend from Omega’s cruel powers no more.

“Steer! I’m sorry! You were right! After I find a way around this glass to get to you, I will make him wish he had never been born. The trickster!”

My brother’s face was panic stricken. I knew the exact reason at that very moment, for his mouth was moving in speech, but no sound came from it. The evil glass blocked his words, which meant that he must not have been able to hear me either.

“Hold on,” I cried, even though I knew that he was deaf to my voice. “I’ll find a way around it!”

I ran hundreds of feet to the left and then to the right. It was useless. Omega had finally separated us.

“Noooooo!”

I continued to wail in desperation, despising myself for not seeing what Steer had seen all along. Edshu had this planned the entire time. Even if he truly did want my Happiness saved, he still clung to the empty promises of Omega. Edshu travelled with us no longer, which could only mean that the separation from Steer that I dreaded had finally happened. I was wailing in emotional agony, knowing that this was the fault of no one but myself. Steer needed me, and I needed him.

As I continued to bawl and hit myself because of my own stupidity, Steer did something that broke my heart. Pressing his right hoof against the glass, he smiled. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t speak to each other. We both understood one another completely. I lifted my hand and pressed on the glass directly opposite his hoof, but then something happened that had me frozen immediately. His loving, brotherly, valiant, understanding eyes were replaced by eyes of fear and pain.

Five arrows were protruding from his back. It had happened so quickly that I didn’t even see them until after they had pierced into pierced his flesh. I hacked against the glass with my sword and then punched it with my hand, but it was all to no avail.

“They promised me, fool!”

The voice was from Edshu.

“They promised that when you were defeated, I would get to live with Happiness and enjoy her forever!”

I wanted so badly to rush at the gargoyle and stick my sword into his mouth, but I would not abandon my fallen friend. Looking back towards the glass, I saw Steer being dragged away by two black, six eyed monstrosities. Omega drones. As I heaved my body against the glass, I saw a sight that gladdened my heart before the glass vanished and I fell to the earth. My wounded friend had broken free of the monsters’ grip and had kicked them with a force that I had never seen nor felt before. Steer was wounded, but he was far from beaten.

After falling to the earth, I lifted my head to see him knock the maces out of his now standing attackers’ hands. My grin lasted but a moment, for Steer had fallen down and was grunting in pain. The drones rearmed themselves quickly and began to close in on him. I raced forward, but was heeded by a sharp pain in my back. Spinning around, I saw another drone staring me down and already stringing another arrow. In one quick motion, I sliced off his arms, legs, and disgustingly foul head.

“Bless the Energy, O my soul!”

The voice belonged to a once hornless bovine. Steer had always been a bull in heart and action, but he now looked the part. Immense, razor sharp horns as long as his body were protruding from his smiling face and were skewering a horde of drones that had snuck into view from behind the trees. I joined in the action, knowing full well that Steer’s joy did not take away the pain of his wounds.

Dodging arrows, maces, scimitars, and axes, I counted eight drones that I had killed. Steer, on the other hand, pierced eight drones at once with his horns on at least three separate occasions. It seemed that victory was near, but then I gasped as an arrow in my shoulder caught me off guard and revealed to me what was upon us.

Legions of black, skeletal, shrieking drones were charging us. They numbered well over a hundred. Steer and I charged them right back, blocking but still receiving many arrows into our skins. Steer was hurt far worse than I was, but he seemed to be stronger and more confident nonetheless.

“Come on, filth! I shall slaughter every last one of you!”

Steer stopped abruptly just as he finished his war cry. A single drone was pushing past all of the rest and speeding towards us with his arms waving in the air. As far as I could see, he had no weapon. He also looked drastically different than the others. The six eye sockets all possessed eye balls, unlike the blackened and burned craters of the rest of his horde. His skin was more white than black, and I could faintly make out tiny, vestigial wings sticking out from behind his shoulders. His face also possessed emotion, something that his troop obviously lacked. They were all still a good distance away from us, but this strange one reached us far sooner than his companions did. I raised my sword for the kill, but, to my surprise, it clashed against one of Steer’s horns instead.

“Steer! What on earth are you doing?”

“After all this time,” said Steer, though apparently not in reply to me. “You have returned, Malchus. Why?”

I realized with a shock that this was none other than Steer’s corrupted angel friend.

“Brother Steer,” replied the drone Malchus, “I only wish to be free of the clutches of Omega and his sickening fiends.”

At this, the other drones halted in unison and let out maniacle roars that I could see were the closest the monsters could come to laughing.

“Save me, Steer,” cried the once beautiful angel. “We are friends…brothers. I – I – “

All that now came from Malchus’ mouth were gurgling attempts at words. His tiny wings fell, his skin darkened, the eyes became empty sockets, and bones began to appear on his outside rather than his inside- an exoskeleton, eerily familiar to my own. What was worse was that the fingers on his left hand merged together and lengthened into a blade much like my own, though much longer and nastier looking. As this last horrific bit of transformation occurred, the drone Malchus set his gaze upon me and smiled, as if to show me that I could become wretched and betray Steer in the same way he had. But if he had already betrayed Steer in the past, it was nothing compared to what he did next.

Before I could even flinch in reaction, his blade pierced into Steer from under his jaws and out between his two shoulders. I screamed so loudly that it shook the earth and caused Malchus and his drone army to stumble backwards.

From that moment onwards, everything was a sickly blur of anger for many minutes. All colors were now grey, an even darker and more evil grey than the vision the plants had given me. All I can remember perceiving was the howling laughter of the drones, my blade clashing with the blade of Malchus, black splashes and jet streams of blood, and Malchus collapsing to the ground, begging my forgiveness. His eyeballs returned to their sockets for a split second and they were gushing out streams of tears that mixed with his blood. One by one, they were all stabbed out with my blade, slowly and methodically. I cannot fully remember what I did to him in his last few moments of life, but to this day, I can still hear his screams echoing within my conscience.

Color returned to my vision as I saw the drones, who were no longer laughing, running away in panic. I began to pursue them, but ceased immediately and turned around so quickly that I felt my spine almost break when I heard the sound of Steer’s voice. He was still alive.

Kneeling over him and caressing his forehead, I prayed the most sincere prayer for healing that I had ever or will ever pray.

“Hello, friend,” said my dying companion. “I am so happy to have guided you on your quest. Forget what Malchus did, and don’t you ever doubt yourself. You will never become like him.”

I was crying so much that I could barely speak.  When words did leave my mouth, I couldn’t believe that they were all I could think of to say at that moment.

“I like your horns, brother. You always had them in your heart.”

He laughed. “ I like them too, my friend. Thank you for giving them to me.”

His eyes were fading and he began to cough out blood. I couldn’t believe that he could still speak.

“Vengeance…no…don’t…ven – “

“Steer! Please! Stay with me! I love you! Don’t leave me all alone! Alpha can save you.”

With a smile, he then uttered his final words. “I love you too, warrior.”

I wanted to lay with his body for eternity. My entire world had been completely shattered. Then my sobbing was replaced by fierce roars that sounded even to me like those of an evil monster. I had remembered the drones.

My pursuit for them was a short one. Vengeance was mine. I will not go into detail about what transpired when I found them, but I will say that it wasn’t even a fight. Every last one of them paid severely. I slaughtered them in such a fashion that when I was finished I could hear many of them still moaning in agony. It had to be that way. They deserved to suffer and perish slowly.

I then realized the folly of my tortures, as well as what Steer had tried to tell me before he died, when a massive tree dropped off its leaves and branches to reveal a gigantic, gray, six eyed monstrosity with hundreds of swaying tentacles. Vengeance had been following me ever since I cut the wing from Edshu.

Too enraged to even notice my fear, I charged towards the monster only to be knocked down by a tentacle. As I began to rise, I felt and saw his massive jaws sink every one of their serrated teeth through my armor and into my flesh. He lifted me into the air and shook me around, his teeth digging inches deeper with every passing second. Then, his jaws opened and I fell to the earth. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t move a muscle. A colossal foot stepped on me as I began to fade out of consciousness.

Then, something happened that jolted me right back into consciousness. My body felt an intense shock of electricity. Vengeance felt it as well, for he shrieked in pain as miniature lightning bolts surged all over his body. He lifted his foot from me and ran away.

I felt another intense jab of electricity and found that I was wrapped in some sort of steel net. Even without the electricity completely immobilizing and eventually knocking me out, I would have been too weak to fight back whatever was attacking me. Actually, at that moment I doubted if I could have fought back against my captors even with my full strength. Their reptilian, humanoid forms with horned heads and muscles that matched those of the Minotaur seemed like they would have been too much for me. I thought one word and said it out loud before I became fully unconscious.

Rhinocydonts…”

This poem will only be on my blog for a couple of months as I intend to send it to a magazine for publication.

Thine eyes were closed, but opened upon
The sight of all things infernal, by which
creation left unfinished and impure,
Impure from a lack of something.
Men made and left without conscience
As if their own hearts lacked semblance of
Good sense, nay morals, nay perception.
Destruction their God, beauty be their bane.
Hordes, the multitude of mankind
Lie in wait for neighbor to slip

Into their traps, snares for innocence.
Yea, these men they be not human and are
Preserving nothing, save victims’ lament,
Lament for losing existence
To the hands of those heartless ones
Illegitimate, led by nothing
But black desire. Of Deception,
Seduction be their device, pain their aim.
Purged, their own lusts shall never be,
So we close our eyes to horror

Mine eyes were closed, but opened upon
The sight of all things eternal, by which
Damnation fled, diminished as it were
By kindness, light, and liquid love
Washing away our blind despair.
As if our own eyes lacked vision of
Good deeds, acts kind with no rejections.
Reduction our goal, lessening the hate.
Lord, take away the victims’ pain
And help us aid with opened eyes

James Mauldin didn’t want to go to sleep.

For 5 days now, he had been on a strict regimen of coffee and diet pills. Hallucinations had begun to bombard him, but he didn’t mind. A shadow here, a whisper there – he knew they weren’t real, so it didn’t matter to him at all.

But the dreams…or whatever they truly were…were very real to James. That’s why he hadn’t slept in 5 days, why his wife had left him, and why he had lost his job.

It had always been the same way. A palpable force of some kind seemed to permeate every molecule in the air right as he began to fall asleep. He would fight it – trying to move, trying to scream – but it never worked. The darkness enveloped him every single time.

He would be transported to a farm house with a white picket fence surrounding it. It was always a starless night, with nothing but a faint and foreboding glow of scarlet emanating from some unknown source and illuminating everything to where it looked like blood.

Invariably, James would grab onto the fence with both hands. Whenever he did this, he would feel pain from every nerve in his hands and pull them to his face. Once his palms turned upward, sunlight would flood the area and replace the red glow. His hands would be bleeding in a thousand places and the white fence would now be rusted barbed wire.

Slowly, a dark cloud would move towards him along the ground. He knew from the start of these recurring dreams that the cloud was there to consume things. Love, his family, his confidence, his sanity. And he knew that someday, during one of these dreams, the inevitable would come – his life would be consumed as well.

Unbeknownst to James, his five sleepless nights had actually been years. His mind could no longer accurately perceive time, or anything else for that matter.

“Don’t let me sleep! Don’t let me sleep!”
The guards sedated him, tightened his straitjacket, and turned off the lights.

 

this was inspired by a childhood dream of mine

Is there anything else out there? This is something I think everyone has asked themselves at one point or another. Angels, demons, extra-terrestrials, forces of the dark and forces of the light.

Are these things real? Or are they simply personifications of the chaos within us? The contradictions, conflicting desires, and moral choices of the human, who Nietzche calls, “the sick animal”.

Or could these external mysteries actually be tangible and in fact relate to the chaos within ourselves? Should we look within before we look without?

For instance, do we have souls? For if we do, then it is obvious that these supposed forces of supernature do in exist as well, though probably in ways or forms that we could never possibly hope to imagine.

Different philosophers of different ages and beliefs, as different as Thomas Aquinas and Friedrich Nietzche, have all agreed on one thing. That the Numinous – even if described in wholly psychological terms – is something that no amount of human thinking can ever figure out.

But if these forces are real, should we fear them?

My answer is a most emphatic NO.

Even setting aside these forces, existence itself makes it obvious that something cannot arise from nothing. In other words, there IS a God, a ground for being. And this force is stronger than all the others.