What I Am

“And they that were born to darkness were shunned by the light, not for their sins but so as to be the salvation of the lost” – Gospels of Limbo

 

The stench of charred flesh carried on the wind across the lake. The glow of the growing flames reflected off the water and into the plume of smoke slowly filling the air with it’s acrid haze. A dozen homes burned in the wake of what had become an all to common occurrence. I hadn’t been able to save everyone.

I watched distantly as emergency responders rushed in vain to save the people they believed still trapped in the burning buildings. There were no survivors left, but a small part of me applauded their determination. At least now the flames and smoke and falling structures would be the only threat.

Not the monsters that had been there an hour ago.

Flashes of the past thousand fights flitted through my minds eye in the space of a heart beat and it left me reeling. Can’t look back. Can’t ever look back.

I shook my head and tried to think ahead. Tried to think on the next step. But all I could hear were that girls words. “You were born damned for the sake of others salvation”.

The demons that had burnt those homes, killed those people, had been after that girl. They had destroyed so many lives to get to her. I’d say it was a miracle I survived, but after today I hardly believe anything is left to chance. That just made everything worse.

Again, a never ending parade of horror and torture played through my head and the weight of everything took me to my knees. Everything. Everything I had endured. Everything I had done and seen and suffered. All of it was predestined. My fate. I was created to walk through the deepest pits of hell, all so other people could find peace. Peace I would never get to know.

I tried to stop the thoughts, to force myself to breathe, to focus on my heartbeat. But my heart was racing. Not just with fear or desperation. But with anger.

I had never been a good man. But I had tried. Despite everything I had be subjected to I had fought to do what was right, what was good. Often at great loss to myself. I tried with everything I had to be positive and thankful for what I had in my life. I fought to shake off the constant pain in my body, mind and soul. To smile. To be pleasant, no matter what nightmares played in my head. I forgave the crimes against me and moved on. I refused to stand by while others were made victims. It hadn’t been enough.

So I fought harder. I put myself between the worst things mankind has faced. War, disease, famine, monsters, hell….I put myself between the people who damned themselves and the hell they had bought. I carried these souls, forsaken by God himself, from the most remote corners of the deepest dark. And after they were allowed to walk back into the light whole and happy, my sacrifices forgotten, I continued to carry the scars of those battles. Those souls….they couldn’t bare to stand the sight of what I had to be to save them.

And still, I fought on.

“Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster”. I laughed when an angel quoted Nietzsche. I couldn’t laugh when I realized that’s why the angels wouldn’t save these people. And why I could…

I always tried to believe that I was more than what the world saw. But the truth is, without the input of other people, we aren’t really more than the jaded perceptions of a biased mind trying pathetically to view itself.

The world saw me as a monster. So, a monster I became. A monster I would be.

I pushed myself back to my feet, took one more look at the fires and turned away. The flickering shadows cast by the remains of other peoples lives fled before me. The demons wouldn’t stand before me anymore. I had no past left to cast shadows on my future.

I hope they remember me this way. A monster. I hope they remember me this way when they see me walking through the towering flames of their hell, standing against an army of their nightmares. I hope this is how they remember me.

Because this is what they made me. A monster, to fight the monsters.

Beloved Pieces (Fictional Rambling)

This isn’t what I expected.

I figured that a real mental break would be accompanied by fear and pain and hysteria. That’s how it always looks in the movies, right? People pushed to the very limits of their ability to endure stress or pain and then a SNAP and they go psycho.

And don’t get me wrong, I have had my fair share of stress and pain. And some of it took me to the edge of what I had endured before. But the result here was rather anti-climatic so far.

Let me back up a bit so you understand. I hear things. Things that aren’t there. Voices in my head that don’t belong to anything but the fears and unresolved trauma that is me. I also hear the spirits of magic. The distinction is a fun one to make most days. But I think I have done a decent job before today.

Oh but today…today was not a good day. It’s not like anything went wrong really. Compared to recent days, this was bliss. My whole life didn’t fall apart around me, no one tried to kill me, I didn’t watch the people I love die or walk away. It was just a day. But damn if it wasn’t a bad one.

The noise in my head was worse than normal. But even that wasn’t as bad as I had been seeing. A little music, a little booze. It was fine.

Then…this.

I always dreamed about being something great. Most people do. But it’s always been central to who I am. A requirement for a life well lived. The voices set that back. I mean, who is going to believe, less look up to, a schizophrenic. But I had it under wraps and I thought I could control them. Guess not.

Then a few words of what should have been good news. A couple of things I already knew resurfacing. One minute of splitting pain….then nothing.

I sit here trying to analyze nothing. It’s not boredom or vacancy. It isn’t apathy. It’s more like transcendence.

I’ve always been a bit conceited. Like, nearly a sociopath. For those of you who don’t live like that, it’s kind of like sitting on a self-established pedestal and looking down at children. You know you are better but you don’t point it out lest the children maul you to death to prove you wrong.

Ok, so maybe my vision of children is a bit skewed, but they do that. Swear to god.

That feeling of superiority is always there, even when I am horribly depressed (which apparently is weird for borderline sociopaths). But this new feeling goes beyond that. I still felt above the trivialities of other people’s problems. But it’s like I didn’t have to be connected to my own either. Like everything was just a puzzle or board game and I could control the pieces.

Somewhere in the back of my mind that seemed to be a bad sign for my mental health, but the part of my mind that had spent two and a half decades watching for ways to fix everything was overwhelmingly happy at getting to rest for a minute so I really didn’t care.

And as I looked down at the various parts of my life I had let fall apart or stagnate, I realized how foolish I had been. All these people who I protected when they didn’t deserve it. All the time I wasted on friends and family and social standing. I could have earned respect by being better. But I had tried to be their equal.

How dare I, a practical god, demean myself to that level. They didn’t deserve my attempts to raise them up. They were beneath me. They were less.

Suddenly I was laughing maniacally in my living room again, the weight of the world settling back into the grooves it has left on my shoulders.

What was that? Was it heaven or hell. While I was there it was bliss. Perfection and the ultimate high. But being back, it had to have been hell. Right?

Perspective is a funny thing. I’m sitting here arguing with my-selves over whether I want to go to hell again or not. One more thing to analyze in my constant battle to stay self aware.

But it can wait. The voices scream as the magic calls. I have beloved chess pieces to save and polish. One more move in one more game. I sure hope I won that move.