In The Face Of Madness

In The Face Of Madness

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?

No.

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.

I waited.

“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?”

“Huh?”

“You want to become a god?” the first voice boomed.

“Yes.”

“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?”

“Yes.”

“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*



68 thoughts on “In The Face Of Madness” by Raymond (@raymond)

  1. ‘In the face of madness’ indeed. What else would describe this piece as mad?

    Let me gather myself first – before commenting further and better.

    But first; allow me ask: is this an intro to something more? Are you continuing this?

    Because honestly after two reads, I’m a bit confused. Maybe it’s just me.

    In spite that – you are a literary genius. Your descriptions are amazing.

    Well done.

    1. @Seun-Odukoya, hehehe. That’s what reading Lovecraft will do to U…At least, to me.

      To be honest, when I started this story, I had no idea what I was doing; I just wrote it nevertheless.
      Think of it as a tale of Insanity (which it is); about a guy who gets what he’s been looking for, in the worst possible way…

      I tagged it as Flash; seems it didn’t agree with that. Longer? Well, U just never know about these things, do U? Hehehe

      Thanks bro.

      1. I agree with you @raymond. HP Lovecraft is the sickest of all sick dudes I know. Dayum.

        I read ‘The Story of Pan’ and I felt something come loose. Still is that way I guess.

        My favs of his are anything that has to do with the Chutlu Mythology…

        Wrote a piece on that years ago…it was too close to what he would write (I thought) so I scrapped it.

        Nice one again!

        1. @Seun-Odukoya, I’d love to see the story.
          Thanks once again bro.

  2. *swallows hard and takes in a looooong breath after a loooooong pause*

    I swear, I saw life through a new perspective as I read this.

    No word to qualify my special comment.

    1. @babyada, HAHAHAHAHA! Talk na!
      Thanks for reading all the same.

  3. I gaze down on nothingness
    which is the measure of all human intelligence
    they don’t know it yet
    not until they stand where I’m standing…

    Highly imaginative Ray, and philosophical. You’re indeed mad but an intelligent one.
    This is genius.

    1. @francis, hehehe. Thanks bro.

  4. Epic! Please, develop this further because only an inspired initiate could have glimpsed such an ethereal knowledge to concoct something this ghoulish using the power of words.

    1. @myself…o_O! English please! Hehehe…
      Thanks bro. Develop? Heh. If the story agrees.

  5. Triple Respect!!!

    If I read any disparaging or foolish editing on this …I will take that persons heart.

    1. @kaycee…Musketeer, U honour me too much. Triple thanks bro.

  6. @Raymond, good to read another story from you.

    This was one of those stories I like to describe as ‘brilliant incomprehensibility’. I mean, it made sense, and it didn’t make sense. Please don’t ask me to elaborate. :)

    I liked the scenes you evoked; like something out of a horror video game.

    You should definitely consider making this a prologue for a longer story.

    Well done.

    1. @TolaO, my mind to Ur lips: “Brilliant Incomprehensibility”. As for making it the prologue to something else, thanks for that idea.

      Thanks a lot.

  7. I dont know how else I want to say what @TolaO has said for me. The only thing I’ll add is that this should be expanded. It looks like a complete story…but you can make this a classic…I did not intend to read it in full but I did…Awesome, really.

    NB: I was not watching out for any typo or error, was lost in the texts.

    1. @xikay, thanks a lot bro.

  8. Correct me if I am wrong, U developed this from the piece you did for that Flash competition right?.

    To the story….I felt twas a chapter of revelations turned upside down and made dark….Nice one..It leaves my brain muddled though….Well done…$ß.

    1. @sibbylwgyte, so U read that entry? Nice…
      No, it wasn’t developed from it. I just found parallels in this story and that, and decided to use that one as interludes in this one. Revelations? Hmm. Brain muddled? Good, hehehe…

      Thanks for reading.

  9. @raymond, I’m liking the way this is leading.. your god as the only protagonist so to speak in this lucid saga of yours.

    Lovecraft is genius and insane all in one and your god wannabe’s quest here may actually reveal the simplest of theories man refuse to accept…
    LIFE/DEATH one and the same.
    As your inspiration, you may actually begin a cult following here in NS if you continue to churn out stuff like this; blows the imagination!

    I like very much…

    1. @dottaraphaels, hehehe. Thanks.

      As for Life/Death being the same, no mind wetin I write here; they are not the same. Life is Life, and Death is a transition.

      1. Death is a transition to what? Is it not to another Life in ‘Hell’ or ‘Heaven’? so its the same. Life is Death and Death is Life!

        1. @xikay, all join my brother. :D

          1. all join…me like!

  10. @raymond what more can I add that hasn’t already been said? Nothing!

    This is brilliance at its best. You do have a powerful imagination.

    My exact thoughts and belief is that life is death and death is life…

    Well done.

    1. @atumercy, Thanks a lot. But again, Life is Life oh, and Death na Death, abeg.
      Thanks for reading.

  11. Great work, good imagery and the dialogue works well.

    I’d suggest, though, that the story relies a bit on certain forgone conclusions. The text does not work hard enough to earn the reader’s suspension of disbelief. Instead, it says ‘take my word for it’.

    A few rewrites ought to catch that tho’.

    Well done!

    1. @tadethompson for real. Did you actually mean this?! SMH!

      1. It’s my opinion. If you don’t agree with it, be specific. Either way, I don’t care that you’re shaking your head.

    2. @tadethompson, Yes Sir. Thanks Boss.

  12. If this isn’t poetic prose, what would it be called? With a kind of discipline poetry would apply to word usage in description, the details as described couldn’t be better.

    This piece took me to different lands, some familiar and some unfamiliar; one of them, long visited, Naija Stories! Very powerful piece @Raymond.

    If you want to be a god, kill one! Who’s to say that life isn’t death, and death, life? Goes on and on, so is my admiration of this piece!

    1. @4ran6, Boss, U honour me… Thanks bro.

  13. @raymond: and to think I call myself insane? Well, I’m much more saner than this.

    The piece reads like the scariest part of the book of revelation.

    1. good work – things rightly put in perspective. all hail the king of prose.

      1. @mikeeffa, me, King of Prose? Ha! That title will break my back oh!
        Thanks bro.

    2. @tosynosha, hehehe… I know I am insane. Hehehe…
      Thanks bro.
      Revelation? Hmm…

  14. Do you know why i feel you? You remind me of someone close to my heart and all the time, i face this type of strangeness that is yet so beautiful. what i just read is a beautiful piece. reading it again. applause. and life on earth can lead to death in the afterlife; also, death from here can give birth to life eternal. i dey feel u

    1. @moskeda, I am honoured by Ur words… Thanks a lot.

  15. Well done Raymond . . .One day you shall write a full length Thriller. Stephen King will have the need to endorse it. Well done.

    1. @azafi…I hope so too.. Thanks a lot.

  16. Mad! This changed my breathing pattern; scared me a bit and left me awed.
    Philosophical indeed and fathomless in a satisfying manner.
    Dunno what to say cos this has got my thoughts hugger-mugger.
    You’ve got quite an admirable imagination.
    @raymond.

  17. You left me speechless after reading thru this. God!!! You’re brilliant @Raymond. Keep doing this. God bless.

  18. Damn! DANG!!! Narative fiction? Any which way….lol Nice piece.

  19. In other words? I need a tour guide o!

    1. @jonnysnow, tour guide? For a journey thru my head?

  20. @raymond, the storydidn’t work 4 me. Well done all the same. It took a lot of brain work. Well done.

    1. @raymond, i’ve stopped being marvelled by your brilliance. You have become to me like Messi, classical magic is what I expect every time the short thing gets on the pitch.
      Now to the story.
      This will make a whole lot of sense if it actually strives to tell a much longer, engaging story. I could see it has the elements of flash fiction, save for the lenght, but Ray, this is more than this. This story might bring you honour no writer from this part of the world has earned. You are one of a kind, guy, please, stretch yourself, explore Him, achieve your highest potentials. I tell you, you might never be fulfilled if you don’t do all the aforementioned. There are writers and there are writers; some tell stories, others create stories. The Master is he who brilliantly tells a story he has created. Baba Ray, i wont call you a Master yet, I dont want you to lose it; but, with all sense of respect, awe, and selfless concession to brilliant ability, Raymond Elenwoke, you WILL definitely become a Master. That’s not a prayer; guy, it is your destiny.

      As always bro,

      Banky

      1. @banky….to say I am floored and humbled by Ur comment will be a massive Understatement. I actually wrote this as Flash Fiction…since everybody is calling for story development, I’ll try my best… Thanks a lot bro… It’s cos of people like U with such expectations that I push myself…but make una no kill me oh! Hehehe…

        Thanks a lot bro…

        As always,
        Ray.

    2. @fiyinsiku, thanks all the same.

  21. Hmmm…interesting.

    With Your kind of imagination …I’m not surprised that it led you to write a story that would set your readers on the brink of madness….

    lol…this is definitely narrative art for art sake!

    1. @Afronuts, my brother, hehehe…no be small madness oh! And yes, I actually set out to try something new in the Narrative part of writing…

  22. Very nice. I began feeling it towards the latter part. Well done to your imaginative mind.

  23. Wonderful wonderful wonderful. This is what I call Pure HORROR. @Raymond, u 2 much joor. I really enjoyed it.

  24. Phantasm….my sort of thing. Love it.

  25. some people have started again oh…Stephen King and Company. :)

    1. @kiah, hehehe… Yes oh! Thank U.

  26. fyn story. Very kul. Keep it up you will get your result.

  27. You’re allowing your imagination to ride. Two thumbs up!

    1. @howyoudey, thanks a lot bro…

  28. guy, u hv a very brilliant mind..polished one too.
    Dis piece is sense outta nonsense…kudos for confusing,scaring….etc..me

    1. @sylvia, lol, am I just seeing this? Thank U.

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