IN THE FACE OF MADNESS
Let it be known that on the 2nd of April 2012, the day after April Fools’ Day, for all intents and purposes, I died. I left this plane of existence, not in a blaze of gunfire, neither did I leave via a stab from a knife, or from an accident, or from strangulation. No. I’d considered these courses of action before; even drowning, but I’d found them too…mundane? Fickle? Well, they’d been used countless times before, and I am not like others. No. Jumping off a building was the worst way to go, in my opinion. Why would I want to turn myself into a broken mess when I can cross over with my god-likeness intact?
On the day that I died, I went out in a blaze of dark fire. I had just finished breakfast, and I’d also done the dishes. I remember feeling a bit grumpy, though the cause of my grumpiness, I fail to remember; in any case, that is irrelevant now. I was on my way to the bedroom when the world turned on its head and Reality spat in my face. The wind suddenly took up residence in my head, blowing out my consciousness like a candle, and my eyes were opened inwards. The world blazed red and hot, then white, and then all was dark and Reality swallowed me into the belly of nevermore.
This is what I saw:
-I saw black nothingness; a void thick and syrupy, and yet weightless at the same time. This was the place where stars came to rest and planets were born. How I know this, I know not. I just know that this place was before Time began, before the stars gave their first, tentative light and creation was conceived. This was Eternity.
-Within this void/non-void, I realized I was not alone. I saw a creature, maybe ten or fifty feet in front of me; in this place, my senses had become muddled and held no meaning. This creature had the tail of a snake, the body of a lion, the limbs of a monkey, the head of a rat, the horns of a cow and the teeth of a shark. It sat on its haunches, crocodile’s skin draped across its shoulders, with an impossibly long elephant’s tusk as a walking stick.
-I realized that we were both encased within a ring of dark fire, raging silently, menacingly. I cannot describe the nature or colour of the flames, but I know that looking into them was like looking into the essence of Eternity; a gateway to secrets untold and a place older than Eternity. It was hot without giving off heat, and lit up the place without giving out light.
Oh ye gods, why am I here?
I was standing before the snake/lion/monkey/rat/cow/shark. How I’d gotten there, I know not. I could have touched it if I’d raised my hand to do so, but I didn’t dare. I didn’t think the creature would have liked that. Its eyes gazed upon me as it waited, a patient, malevolent master gazing upon his brightest pupil.
“What brings you before me?” it asked me, its voice a cold whisper that boomed in my ears and in my soul.
“I am a god,” I replied.
The creature scoffed. “All men are gods. What do you want?”
“Knowledge,” I replied. “Knowledge and power.”
The creature’s whiskers twitched, and it smiled, revealing its teeth.
“Who are you?” I asked it.
“I am Nyetikara, Keeper of the Flames of Eternity. I am Seer and Advocate. I am the Keeper of Knowledge and Bearer of the Light of Justice.”
“That’s a lot of responsibility,” I said.
The creature’s smile grew wider. “What do you want?”
“What lies beyond death?” I asked.
Nyetikara stared at me for a while. “Beyond death,” it said, “there is nothing but more death and madness.” It raised its left hand, palm up, closed it into a fist, and opened it again like a performer. Balls of light danced on its fingertips. “Those who seek knowledge of death must stand before the Council of the Seven.” It touched my forehead with its fingertips, the light flooded my being, and I was blown away.
Cast your hopes into the abyss, all ye who enter this Great Hall of Consequence, and look neither for Light nor Darkness, for here there is nothing but the Great In-between; Citadel of the gods.
I stood on a ground of stone in a hall so big, I could not see its ceilings or sides. Just a circle of stone, surrounded by massive pillars of smooth, round marble. At different intervals on the pillars, hung huge, flaming torches, all the way to the indiscernible top. I turned around, trying to count the pillars; I stopped when I got to ten without being halfway though. Besides, how was I to know that I’d not gone round already?
Eternity can be confusing.
I looked down on the floor, and saw that it was no ordinary floor. On it were various carvings and markings unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Before I could begin to make sense of them, they all began to glow; a warm, white light that seemed to give off white particles that spread out across the floor. The markings, all interconnected, lit up the stone floor like nothing I’d ever seen before. Here I stood in a carpet of white light. Then, I discerned a path before me; the light was brighter and seemed to pulse in a straight line. I began to walk forward on this path set forth before me. Beyond the pillars, the light accentuated the shadows; they seemed more alive than ever before. What lay beyond the pillars, and if possible, beyond the shadows?
When I had walked for about ten minutes or ten hours, I stopped. No prompt; I just felt it was right. I looked back, and then around me, and it was as though I had not moved an inch.
“Welcome to the Council of the Seven,” a great voice boomed all around me, resonating in the mighty stone chamber, wrapping me in its power. It was above me in the shadows; it was beside me, a whisper in my ears. “What brings you before us?”
I looked ahead and above me, trying to see who had spoken. It was no use; the darkness beyond the pillars was absolute; the light didn’t even cross a certain, distinct line. No use.
“I wish to be reborn into my true form,” I replied.
“And what form is that?” another voice, a female this time, asked.
“A god. I want to gain my true powers as a god.”
“Reborn?” a different voice said this time around, sounding somewhat amused. “Are you dead?”
“Am I not?” I asked.
“Life and death,” a softer, but male voice said “are often misunderstood, human. Who is to say that life isn’t death, and death isn’t life?”
“What do you mean?” I asked, a bit confused now.
“Why do you think you are dead and not alive at this moment,” the third, amused voice asked me. “Why do you think you were alive on Earth.”
“Was I not?”
“Until you understand the purpose of life,” a different, female voice spoke, “you will never understand death.”
“What is the purpose of life then?” I asked.
“I believe the question you must ask,” a fifth voice said, “is what is the purpose of YOUR life?”
“You want to become a god?” the first voice boomed.
“Then kill a god.”
Bring your sacrifice before the altar of benevolence and despair; pour your libations with the blood of the innocents, for it is said that their lives will unlock the gifts which have been foretold.
His blood is warm and oddly comforting; they coat my hands with love. His life, spilled on the floor; a crimson tide. My knees, legs and feet are soaked, and I feel alive. The expression on his face is beatific; a mixture of awe, fear…and love. I breathe in, and his scent fills my lungs, my being. I bend to look into his eyes; to see his soul leaving his body. I might have said that I was dying vicariously, but I am already dead; this is my second life, my new existence. I look up as I see his essence, lighting its way to the other side; dust motes dance in the sunlight, mingling with his essence, his spirit particles. I reach out a bloody hand to it; I want to know what it knows, see what it sees, to know if it sees what I saw. My hand passes through it, but I am not worried. It is ephemeral; I am eternal. I laugh, a deep, throaty sound that resonates in my whole body. I reach into the chest of the body, my arm going in up to the elbows as I reach beneath the ribcage, past soft tissue-must be the lung-and I grasp the still-beating heart. I can feel it still trying to give life to an already dead body. I squeeze, the heart trembles, and I wrench it free of its attachments. My arm comes out, and blood sprays everywhere, some of it hitting my face. I gaze upon this vessel lovingly, and I caress it with my other hand. I feel it pulse one last time in my hand, and then it is still.
“You want to become a god?”
“Then kill a god.”
What better way to completely kill a god?
I raise the heart in my hand, and I bite.
For I will kill you; I will rip out your heart and feel your life run down my hands. For I am Darkness; I am Death.
Knowledge. Power. Wisdom of the ancients. I bask in power unimaginable. I open my arms, my heart, my soul; I open wide, and I receive everything. I leave nothing. I take it all. I am that which you seek to be; perfection. My divinity is sealed; I am a god. Hear ye me, all you mortals, for I will be heard. I am he by whom ye shall measure yourselves and all others, and come short. I am perfection. I am anger, I am hunger.
I am Immortal.
*…If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes into you.~~~ Friedrich Nietzsche*