Month: March 2019

The Hunt

Alvaro German Vilela/Shutterstock.com

This post was originally published through Patreon on March 13, 2018.

“What have you gotten me into?” I peered into the starry moonlit sky, unleashed a feral, wordless curse, and ran.

The ground rose up to meet my feet in quick, pounding strides, while their cries—anguished, twisted, inhuman—rang out into the night.

I was surrounded, with nowhere left to run. But I ran anyway, because fear knows no bounds. It penetrates the thickest walls, flies to the highest tower tops, always expecting you to chase after it. But it was impossible to outrun them—I knew that from the start—and soon enough, they were springing up around me, ghostly wraiths, thin and vaporous.

“I didn’t ask for this!”

Despair, thick and cloying. I was a hare caught in a cruel and senseless trap. The Hunt had claimed me for its own, and now my part in the performance was almost over.

“Come to us,” their voices whispered. “Meet us in the dark.”

The creatures merged into a spectral tempest of billowing moonlit smoke and enveloped me. I could feel them writhe against my skin like a million tiny needles, and I opened my mouth to scream.

Enter your email address and click "Submit" to subscribe and receive The Sign.

Trapped Between Worlds

Nixx Photography/Shutterstock.com

This post was originally published through Patreon on March 20, 2018.

It was too much too fast. Another world strobed in and out of view, and Kevin clapped his hands over his ears and closed his eyes.

“Stop.”

For a moment, the flow of otherworldly sensations surged. Then slowly, reluctantly, they petered out, until after a span of minutes or hours—Kevin couldn’t say—light from the world outside greeted his pupils once again.

He let in a lungful of air. Let it out.

In.

Out.

The world, along with the park bench on which Kevin sat, came back into focus.

The sun, warm against his skin, provided some comfort. It made the Earth feel a little more tangible, a little more real. That was a rare feeling now, and he treasured it, held it close like a newborn child.

For the thousandth time, Kevin questioned his sanity. He’d once had a schizophrenic uncle who went off his medication, and he could remember the man sitting in a secluded corner of his grandmother’s house, laughing and whispering at people who weren’t there.

But wasn’t the definition of insanity the inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy? If Kevin was crazy, why did he feel the need to ask himself if he was sane?

A child shouted in the distance as if punctuating the thought, and he turned to see a little girl in the playground tear through the air on a swing.

Kevin remembered when he himself had been a child. Ages ago, it seemed now, a whole other life. The fantasies had taken him hostage then, too. But it hadn’t occurred to him until he was much older that something might be wrong.

Like a ghost, he’d slip back and forth between two worlds, an effortless transition that always seemed so innocent, so normal, so natural. Mom and Dad would send him outside to play, and he would hydroplane across the stars, sliding through an alternate reality that seemed custom built for him.

He was just using his imagination, he assumed, like every other boy and girl his age. Then he turned into a teenager, and things took a turn for the worst.

He would hang out at school, chatting with friends, or trying to talk to the pretty girl who sat across from him in Math, and all of a sudden the visions would return, as lucid and as real as his life at school. Then, when he finally came back to himself, he’d be wandering the halls like a zombie, or sitting on a toilet in one of the bathroom stalls, or even walking home, with no recollection of the intervening hours.

He never talked to anyone about his sudden lapses. For him, they were something to be ashamed of. He was afraid, and so, one by one, he withdrew from his family and his friends, while inside, he quietly went mad.

Incursions of that other world into his own increased, until it was happening all the time, until he could no longer tell up from down or left from right.

Now he was twenty-seven and still lived at home, with no prospects for college or work.

I’m lost, he thought. Lost in the space between two worlds. It was a terrible kind of half-life that he hated bitterly.

Light. It tugged at Kevin’s eyes once more. This light wasn’t from the sun but from someplace elsewhere, a luminescence that was different in both quality and intensity. Blue sky and clouds one moment gave way to star-studded black the next.

“No,” Kevin whispered. It was happening again. “Stop.”

But it didn’t stop. In the end, it never stopped.

The world flickered, and Kevin, whimpering, closed his eyes and waited to be taken again.

Enter your email address and click "Submit" to subscribe and receive The Sign.

Remembering

andreiuc88/Shutterstock.com

This post was originally published through Patreon on March 27, 2018.

The sun beats down upon my neck, but I do not feel its warmth. The light is wan, sickly, and I hug myself against the cold. The Earth—or the Old World, as it has come to be called by my people—is a graveyard. Ancient rotten buildings line deserted streets like headstones.

And yet, this is where we all began, where we all sprang up from a soil that was once fertile and rich. We are descendants of a celestial seed sown by our forebearers when the Old World was little more than stardust, and we honor our old home with reverence.

Of course, we moved on long ago. We didn’t want to; the Old World had been good to us. But we had no choice. Earth had given all it could, and as the sun dimmed and the oceans cooled and the plants withered and died, we opened the Book of Creation, placed our hands upon its shriveled pages, and let its magic sweep us away to someplace new.

Our world is once more a place of blue skies and clouds, of brightness, fertility, and life. But each of us must return to the Old World at least once, not just to connect with our distant past, but to divine the secrets of our far-off future.

I take one last look at the lifeless sky and shake my head. Nothing left to see here, only monuments by and for the dead. I open the Book of Creation. A warm light envelops me, and after I whisper the sacred words of our ancestors, the Old World once more gives way to the new.

Enter your email address and click "Submit" to subscribe and receive The Sign.