Look: A Lovecraftian Horror Short

Look: A Lovecraftian Horror Short

By Robert J. S. T. McCartney

 

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Picture by VViktor

 

My voice is silenced. My breath is still. I cannot look to my left. I see something…maybe even someone… there… lurking. They’re shrouded in mystery. How they came into my chambers, I do not know. By morning’s light, I pray them gone, and this nothing more than a nightmare.


I am afraid.

It remains. Curiosity piques me. However, I dare not look left. It could be many of a thing—things. An entity, born not of this world, but from the void of the cosmos. Darkness covers it wholly, save for strange fluctuations of what may be its eyes. Still, I am to remain here. Someone will surely come for me.


I am… frightened.

One of the clergymen came to me, but I sent them away. The mysterious stranger—they…it…tells me things. Things that do not make sense; they cannot, they remark absurdities. I close my eyes and nod my head in acknowledgment. Hoping to appease it—that by chance they may go away. Please, let this nightmare end!

Still, it lingers. Still, it stares into the very being of my soul. It’s eyes—black eyes (I think it to be; of my peripheral vision. No, no, I dare not look) fixated on mine.

I see movement. From the darkness. Fluid, graceful. Ah, so majestic. No, no, I mustn’t…I mustn’t look!

It speaks to me. It’s…indescribable—the words. They’re profound, and nothing of this world. “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”

Terror grips me now, and I am frozen. May the light from the morning come and save me from this plight!


I am contemplative.

A day or so has passed and so have the whisperings. Truth be told, I am saddened by the departure of such a mysterious visitor. I never saw them. Still, there is something, there, that lingers in that place where they once stood. I cannot quite put my finger on what.


I am contempt.

They’ve returned! While I was reading some scriptures at my desk, they appeared beside me.  They speak to me now. Their voice is as if a choir of angels was playing a heavenly symphony. Ah, and so beautiful are the words. They promise of an everlasting place and that I have been chosen. Me! Me… A proud man. One of the people. They claim they know me well, and that I have caught their eye. That my spiritual works have warranted their guise and I am to be justly rewarded! Thus, they have visited me and personally offered at His feet.


I am…heartfelt.

My heart is full, and I swell with the belief of His will that has at last chosen me to be His herald. Those once strange words and mutterings that were—so hard—to understand are now fluent and so precise, and second nature; only to eating and sleeping. Still, I dare not look, for I might sully their sight and perhaps disgust them with my mortal shell.


I am dedicated!

The return is nigh! He is coming! He has awakened! Ah, at last everyone will finally see with their own eyes the majesty that is His! The blessed will finally revel and be brought to His house. Such splendor! I cannot wait to share this with the congregation!

I must look…I must!


I am…not quite myself…these days.

My eyes are dark and grow darker. My skin has become gray and rough. T’is the start of His blessing I am informed.

We are all that remain… He and I. The congregation—nay, the village was…not so quick to welcome and accept Him. Rest assured, they paid for their blasphemy with blood. He has been most pleased with my continued service. As such, He has vowed to bless me fully.

These new voices that have come to me tell me that what I did was wrong. That I ate children’s brains, hearts, and strung their intestines around like some misshapen scarf. Pah! Nonsense, I say! The elders and fellows of the clergy tried to intervene, but once I showed them they worshipped a false god—once I showed them His image and He brought down His gaze, they were quick to please. He significantly enjoyed driving them to the path of righteousness; to cleanse them of their sins you see. It was such a spectacular sight. Their flesh and blood will nourish us well for some time.

I have looked and seen the end; humanity was made to serve—to serve Him.

Today, I am to be fully converted by Him.


I…am…terror.

[The rest of the text is illegible and cannot be deciphered]

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A Side Project [End of the World WIP]

So, with everything that’s going on (or rather has been going on) lately in the news. I got to thinking…I really need to crack down on my historical (fantasy) fiction novel. Why is “fantasy” in there? I’ll get to it in a moment, but first…

A few years back I had a dream. One where we started to have a social decline. Where people started doing more cyber-bullying and extreme trolling than ever before. The young adults and children started to die from “peer-pressure” or suicide pacts; were encouraged to kill themselves and such perverse acts. Some were groomed…to rape, take up arms and join some of the newest militias (old and new) and be ready for the coming war.

We had a president… one whom we couldn’t quite make heads or tails of, but I do remember Obama exiting the White House, and then things started going south. I only remember that the new president was boisterous, very loud, demanding, but also doing a lot of double-speak.

Next, there was an uprise of ISIS and other terrorist groups. They actually all united together, believe it or not…proposing to one another that in their Fear War, they would divide up the spoils of war…and how they would go along doing it. The extremists of the Right and Left also became loud. Very loud. There were riots at protests, a lot of people were hurt, and then there came again the matter of the Police’s lives being at risk. Civil uprise began. Nazism rose up once again. The KKK was assimilated by the Neo-Nazi’s and together. It was the beginning of our second Civil War.

Across the seas, terrorism spread like wildfire. “It is under control,” they said; the authorities trying to sway our faith—keeping it with them, instead of being afraid of what was coming. War. North Korea was a threat, sure. They eventually attempted to attack the US, but it was a distraction. Secretly, it was a live war game, prescribed and written as dispensed on both sides to keep the eyes of the world on us, while the black flags of terror were sweeping across the world. It was no longer a war over seas. It came here. It had come. The keyboard warriors that had shouted so, loud and proud that they would “end those sons of bitches.” They were left cowering over their status updates on Twitter and Facebook.

What happened next was sad…it’s true… The Pope was assassinated by the “United Terrorist Group” as a show of might. A new one was quickly elected and then… there was a heavenly sent messenger.

“A new crusade must begin. While we have respected those who would practice anything Christian or Catholic…it is time to strike out the heart of evil. The Muslim extremists must be slain,” the new Pope declared.

Yes, a new crusade. Granted, it wasn’t against the Pagans or all those non-Christian or non-Catholic…but it was a crusade against Muslims—particularly the group(s) we hear and see nowadays in the news.

The Nazis rose and fought against the Anifa group. The other movements and groups were pulled to a side. The military was deployed and Marshal Law was declared. A lot of people died. The second Civil War would eventually end…but at a bloody cost.

The economy crashed—hard. It would be the worst Depression we had ever seen the likes of. Climate Change picked up exponentially. Though, there was a lot of “yes” and “no” on that debate…so the matter was never settled within the scientific community.

Then North Korea mysteriously blew up. A stage act to bring China, Russia, Iran, and a few other countries to go to war with the USA. North Korea was “free” but it was quickly being circled by the countries who wanted to install a new government body. A treaty would be established…but at the cost of millions of lives.

While this had gone on for some time, there were new laws and reforms that were signed into law. Many of which were never voted on publicly. This was all done during the “North Korean Escapades,” and this…this led us to our second Revolutionary War and continuation of the Civil War (it had not ended yet, officially).

It then a proceeds to a clash of ordinary citizens with Neo-Nazis, with government officials/soldiers/etc. Meanwhile, the terrorist groups were laughing at us…but also suffering serious losses themselves. Eventually, they were driven to the brink of extinction…but alas, you can never kill an idea.

Now, here comes in the fantasy bit. Around the precipice of the action, we encountered many strange phenomena occurring here on Earth. Ice completely melting, frequent quakes and strange weather. Climate Change was to blame, but then on the day of the massive quake where we lost most of California, there emerged a giant brown dragon that was adorned with golden spiked tips. In the sea, there was a giant green bipedal beast with red eyes, the head of a Tyrannosaurus, and massive forearms. I know, it sounds kinda like Godzilla, right? Then, from the Arctic regions, a white giant squid. The Middle East had an army of piranha like beings that flew. Think, bats or birds but could strip a body down to the bone in seconds. Finally, there was a flying pterodactyl being with brilliant shimmering feathers from somewhere in South America.

TL;DR version: Pretty much the world goes to shit and a lot of crazy shit went on. It’s a historical (fantasy) fiction novel after all… But some parts that are going on today are pretty questionable. Far-fetched, yes, but let’s hope we can be reasonable with each other, regardless, in our days.

And so, that was me sharing with you all, and idea…and basic outline that I did from a dream/nightmare a few years back. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Friday night to finish enjoying. 😉

Take care and until next time,

RJM

 

Disclaimer: If I hadn’t made it clear…this was all in a dream. Thus, fiction. So, NSA and such… I’m not plotting or anything. I’m just a writer writing about a dream that I had. Go home.

The Synthetic Prophecy

The Synthetic Prophecy

by Robert J. S. T. McCartney

 

 

“Many years ago, I was blessed with a vision. Whether it was by an almighty being of the cosmos, my creator or whatever the sort was beyond me. It was a vision I discarded as being nothing more than just a mere dream. I was five or six…so I never took it as being a prophecy…or an event to come to pass. Most science fiction, dystopian, or post-apocalyptic stories have something similar. I chopped it up to being nothing more than an influence by something I had once seen on the television.

Then it came to pass…

One afternoon, I was traveling with my mother. We were running errands; the basic kind, you know. We had ventured to the local grocery store. As we had exited the vehicle and neared entering the establishment, the sirens began to sing…

People shrugged it off as another test of the Emergency Broadcast System. Then, inside the store, all the TV’s, all the monitors, all the cell phones, everything cried and warned with the coming end. An attack was made. The target? Our location along the West Coast.

People ran. Panicked. Cried.

I looked up and saw them in the bright azure sky streaking towards us like rebel burning diamonds against the daylight. I felt my stomach sink. My hands had begun to sweat in my mother’s grasp.

A voice chanted, “Initiate Evacuation Protocol: Disembark. Repeat. Disembark.”

One by one, then dozens, thousands, millions…people dropped to the ground. I, myself watched as my body dropped to the ground. I looked over and saw my mother’s body drop limply upon the ground. Everyone flew up into the sky, a blue-white streak against the azure grain. We watched as the missiles struck the ground, the buildings, and reduced everything to a fiery crater. War had come. We were the first to be hit, and we certainly wouldn’t be the last.

We spiraled through the cosmos; flying by stars, buzzing by planets…Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, so far away from the sun, watching the Earth become a mere speck. Until then, we arrived. A new home. A new hope. Here.

We all awoke to our new mechanical bodies, synthesized humans. Robots. The Singularity may have saved us…or rather given us a way to escape death. However, back on Earth, many were trapped. Left to endure the war that took place. It is only a matter of time until it follows us here.”

The now young man appearing synthetic human opened his eyes and stood up before the crowd around him. “Surely, we could try to outrun our demise…or we can embrace a destiny where we fight back, survive. When they come—and they will, we will be waiting. We will return. We will reclaim our home planet. They will call us ‘alien’ but eventually, they will see…” He reached down and took up a foreign weapon. “We are more human than they are. We will save those left behind.”

Poem: The Division

The Division

by Robert J. S. T. McCartney

Divided we are and united we fall,
Here we stand behind this wall.
Not one of brick and mortar,
But one of mud, slinging slurs, hate, and more.

Today is the day, now more than ever,
That we should stand shoulder to shoulder and raise our fist against the order.
For they will lie, cheat us, and steal,
Like they always have; anything to make a deal.

“Divide and conquer,” that was the motto,
To keep us oppressed, apart, broken, “lead” to follow.
For so long they have succeeded,
To keep us down, battered and beaten.

Now is the time, for us to rise up,
That we will no longer be silent and told to shut up.
Corruption, hate, fear and lies; hold no place, not in my heart,
It’s time to end it before it starts.
Where color, sex, and orientation; it matters not,
It’s important to erase our mistake, our disgusting blot.

United we shall be,
With them at our feet.


This was originally published on A.B.Normal Publishing’s site.

Expectations

What are your expectations? It doesn’t matter if it’s in business, life, a career, sex, your spouse (or significant other/mate), food, eating out, a new video game, your president, your government, etc.

Where did you set the bar? High? Low? Somewhere in the middle? Do you set certain expectations high in your list that only you know about?

With people nowadays, you can see something like:

“10/10. Would bang again.”— Internet Troll

“Drove like a snail in rush hour traffic. Wouldn’t recommend. 1 star.”— Anon Uber App User.

or maybe something like:

“They looked great but was horrible in the sack. Also found out now I have The Clap.” — Anon, Booty Call App User

I mean, we have a president that uses Twitter to influence others; ratings can go up or tank at a single whim.

This leads to the next point: Reviews—they’re similar you know. In fact, they’re mostly just the faux mask that covers “expectations.” You are reviewing your expectations and addressing those expectations of an establishment, book, place, person, etc.

Some folks nowadays can’t function very well out in the world without the strong opinion of “the elite.” You know the folks that are on Yelp that say “Elite ’15, 16, 17,” and so on? Or “highest reviewer” accredited to their username via Google+.

No, I am not one of those folks.

There are tons of horrible people, sure. However, there are a lot of good people in the world too. We’re humans. It is expected. You can sort and sift through reviews and you get a glance—a glimmer of what type/kind of person someone is. Not only by their history of visits, purchase history, and the sort but by how you are being told how they interacted with whoever they are reviewing [this also constitutes an establishment, customer service, etc.].

“I had a bad experience here. They threatened my fish.” — Anon

“Food was horrible. I wouldn’t even consider bringing it home and giving it to my dog.” — Anon couple; I actually overheard this one.

There are millions of reviews out there. Those who feel the need to make a point. Those who must feel the need to feel needed. Those that seek others satisfaction.

Ah, the Digital Age.

The Internet is a wonderful, yet, scary place to be on. You have an insurmountable wealth of knowledge and tools. Yet we spend hundreds to thousands of hours watching cat videos. Fragging people [Nothing wrong with that, game on! And yes, that is me being bias.]. Stealing other peoples’ identity. Hacking elections. Ousting pedophiles that have horrible images on their computer drives. I can keep going.

Technology has changed us—humanity. The human race. Technology knows no racial bias (except maybe console versus PC; Sony vs. Microsoft, .etc but that’s reaching at best.). It knows what we have programmed it to be. What we want it to be. What advances we want. Cures. Curse. Death. Damage. What can we do to inflict unto others? The good intermingled with the bad and vice versa.

You may ask, “What the hell does that have to do with expectations? Why did you bring up reviews? Who the hell threatens a fish?”

Well, we expect a lot. So much from businesses, people, schools, etc. Our family. Some men expect women to put out on the first date. We expect food to be hot (or cold) and served at our preference. We expect to be put first, high up on a pedestal. Some people expect their religion is right and is superior to another person’s. We expect the loser to go home crying. . .with a participation trophy. We expect too much—as a society, a whole. It’s a path that can—and will—lead us to our downfall. We cater too much, while not giving a damn about consequences. Enter your “keyboard warriors,” cyber bullies, trolls, etc.

Great expectations.

We are not a community that is so transparent. Well, we are. . .when it comes to greed. But that’s another lengthy discussion, though. We’re not a close-knit community that really backs each other up, helps one another without expecting something in return, gratification, or simple enough—money.

Technology has sped up our dehumanization and desensitization. When we are able to truly modify our bodies as cyborgs and/or androids, will a person even care about anyone else? Would we still exist as being. . .human?

That “eternal salvation” of uploading your memories and consciousness to the Internet (Transcendence on crack), while say, a meteor that will destroy mankind indefinitely here on Earth, but elsewhere in the galaxy or universe, we are beamed via satellite signal to space and wake up in new sleek android models. It was just a few seconds in delay to us, but in actuality, it was a hell of a long time.

I digress. Simply put, times have changed. The radical evolution of societal influence and lack of actual human interaction, the lessening of empathy, lack of sympathy, morals tossed out the window, common sense that is now rare, and so on.

We often like to say that we are the superior race, especially, when it comes to man versus beast. However, are we really that much better? Cool—poseable thumbs, a large neocortex, “alleged capabilities of complex problem solving, and operating weapons of mass destruction.” Sure, I guess we are. I suppose I would say that sardonically, because I know even after we are all gone, Nature will go on without us. It has for millions of years and will.

Sure, I guess we are. I suppose I would say that sardonically because I know even after we are all gone, nature will go on without us. It has for millions of years and will continue to.

You can consider this, I suppose a young person rambling on. Perhaps. But would you disagree? That there are a lot of issues that are presented here that are of importance and relevant, that are just tossed aside like everyday refuse? Swept under the rug. Dismissed and barred from public discussion because it’s a “no-no” and would make someone else upset and they might break out the whips and chains [Not the good kind either.].

Suicide, depression, anxiety, PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder], bullying, all of these and more are getting quite out of hand. As a sufferer of one of these many. . .side effects. . .I’ve made it my way of life to explore them, help others, learn other peoples’ stories and experiences, and even just listen. We all bleed the same. We all break. When, how, and why, though will come in to question.

So, you will see posts about suicide. Depression. Anxiety. PTSD. Other mental health issues and such. Writing is my therapy. It’s my way of sharing with others. Though it may be fiction in some ways, you do not have to feel silenced, judged, oppressed. With how news, media, and press are getting gagged, misinformation everywhere, etc. What’s next? Writers of fiction and non-fiction are hunted? We’ll see, right?

While I hope to entertain people, make it my career, provide expectations, get reviewed—I do it for myself. Do you want to know who my most cynical critic and ball-breaking is? It’s me. Granted, I am changing that way to not giving a damn completely, it’s still a process. I want to write just for the pure enjoyment I get out of doing it; being a god amongst men and women, creating worlds, life. In the very same manner—becoming death, chaos, a destroyer of worlds and relationships.

I could go on and on. . .though I would like to know: what are your expectations in life right now?

I will end with one of my favorite quote from the movie Legend with Tim Curry and Tom Cruise.

“The dreams of youth are the regrets of maturity. Dreams are my speciality. Through dreams, I influence mankind.” — The Lord of Darkness; Tim Curry

I wish you all well. Be safe and take care. The world is a mess. . .but it is a beautiful mess under all those bandages.

RJM

 

P. S. While I reintroduce some works, I invite you to check out a free ebook on the Kindle store: Abnormal Side Effects. If it’s not free for your region, then I invite you to a free copy here.

Feel free to talk with me, too. I don’t bite. Too hard.

My Suicide

"Watching a blank screen" Photo by Kenneth Lu. Kenneth Lu has no affiliation with me or A.B.Normal Publishing Media Group, nor do they support my work and/or practices.

Photo by Kenneth Lu. Kenneth Lu has no affiliation with me or A.B.Normal Publishing Media Group, nor do they support my work and/or practices.

Screams of horror and terror filled the darkened room. So many faces were contorted, twisted into obscene ways, questioning the origin of such inspiration.

“Hey, I’ll be right back.” The man leaned over and whispered into the ear of his skittish love.

“Aw, but it’s getting to the good part. You’ll miss it.” She whispered back while she cautiously munched on another handful of popcorn.

The man sighed and muttered, “I know.”

The man got up from his seat and made his way down the aisle and left the theater room.

He stepped out of the room, and turned back, watching the door slowly close; muffling the screams in the hallway. The air seemed to swirl and prance with the scent of freshly popped corn, and other various foods offered at the concession stand. The neon lights that decked the lobby and paraded attractions in big letters, ‘COMING SOON!’

The young man grunted, turning his attention to the matter at hand—his full bladder. He made his way to the restroom, with the original intent of quickly returning to the screening. Having finished, the man went over to the sink and washed his hands. After drying them off, he pressed his palms on the countertop and gazed hard into the mirror at his reflection.

The man was tall, slender and relatively built. He already had slight wrinkles and scars, which showed his experience in life’s early challenges. He dampened his fingers with some more water to part his dark blonde hair. The lighting in the bathroom brought justice to the hue of white of the man. Oblivious to the sun that rained down its typical ‘friend or foe’ alignment. He adjusted his glasses, and then his wedding ring—smiling. He became lost in his thoughts, reminiscing about the year coming to pass. He was married to the most beautiful women he had ever come to know, and the new little addition they both welcomed.

Then his smile slowly fell to a frown as he thought of his pressing matters that loomed above. His need to find a new job, and the need to relocate their homestead. The persistent doubt of himself. He sighed. His eyes dropped to the floor, then rose back to the mirror. He could feel the anger that slept, which, so far was undisturbed for the day. He wondered when it would awaken and what it would bring with it. He stood up straight and rolled his shoulders and head. He started to walk to the door, ready to leave his humble rest stop.

As he reached for the handle, he felt a particular rush of energy. The rush disturbed him so much that he tried to open the door in a panic. However, a force unbeknownst to him kept him barred and captive in the restroom. It became ironic, to him, that a bathroom could become a room of a such a face, and a spiteful thrash; quite the contrary to what it was meant for. For several moments, he struggled with the door: kicking, punching, pushing, yelling for help, whatever method he felt could make the door open. He took his phone out to see if he could call for help, but it was of no use—no service. Typical.

He felt the rage begin to swell and boil to the surface. He faced the mirror and in a fit, he struck a mighty blow against it—shattering it. The red haze took over—anger was awake now—the emotion he tried too long to suppress was now lashing out on his insides, his arms, his chest…his wrists. He had succumbed to his rage. During this fit, he grabbed the door handle and flung the door open.

He became mystified by what now laid beyond the door. He gazed out into his newfound environment, his sight playing him for a fool. All that he could see was absolute darkness and could feel the frigid air pass through him. The slight illumination from the restroom stopped only a few feet from where the door was. He peered around for anything that offered familiarity before he came into the bathroom. He took a few more steps from his sanctuary [and prison] he had become accustomed to. He kept looking back at the restroom as he pressed onward into the swarming darkness. The invisible arms of the darkness embraced the man, and pulled him closer away from the restroom, farther from the light. Slowly the light became swallowed up wholly in the black hole. Here he saw nothing, only pure darkness that blinded him, and hindered his movement. He collapsed in fear and desperation—waiting, wondering, angry.

The man had begun to press onward, to reach whatever destiny awaited him. What more punishment, judgment or salvation was there in store? The more he questioned if this was a dream or some prank, the more real it seemed it was. He would notice ripples and waves of darkness. As strange as it was he thought, he only wanted to reach the end and reunited with his love. His gut instinct made him press on, hard, and fast, while his mind told him to proceed cautiously. As he slowly wandered in the darkness, he began to hear whispers—low tone voices—from down the hall.

“Hello,” he shouted out into the abysmal darkness…there was no reply.

Since his discovery, he had begun to rush further into the darkness. Occasionally, he checked behind him for anything that lurked. The more he seemed to plunge into, the more the whispers grew. He wasn’t able to understand what the voices muttered, of who…or what about him. He only focused on if there was perhaps, maybe, someone around, and that they would know what the hell was going on, and where he was.

After swimming, as it seemed, through the darkness, he fished his way to the end. He came upon a great door that beneath its bottom emanated a soft white glow. He could see a figure’s shadow, passing left to right. He reached out to push the door, only to feel a burning sensation. He retracted his hand and looked at it in the darkness. The warmth of his blood fueled him to try kicking instead.

After several attacks, the door finally gave in. The darkness lifted to the spectacle of several candles around the interior room. A pale light from above showered on a single figure in the center of the chamber. The sight was strange to him since there were no surrounding windows, but this lone person.

He looked down at his hand, noting marks that ran along his wrist, and few marks on his hand. He considered it a fictitious wound, deployed to deceive those who would enter. He looked back at the long dark corridor from which he came from and looked at what he had left behind. The frigid air poured in, causing the candle’s flame to dance in the makeshift twilight.

The young man closed the door, a single whisper escaped to his ears—madness. He turned around, and faced the enlightened figure, noting that his gaze was jumping from each corner of the room to the next. The figure’s head turned in fashionable means, but to what, and to whom. . .the young man did not know. As he took steps towards the figure, the young man noticed several empty pews—dust inches thick, bibles scattered about, and books of hymns stacked in a strict manner, skeletons only remained.

The young man tread cautiously towards the figure. He knew where he was, how, though, he did not know. He felt the priest could answer his questions.

As the young man slowly drew the distance to a closure, he observed the well of light that bathed the priest, to him it seemed that there was no source. He followed the blind eyes of the time warped face that was peppered with liver spots and freckles and its bright white beard. His eyeglasses idle on the tip of his nose. Adorning this old figure, was a great fashionable bishop crown bearing the holy cross. It seemed that only time affected this man and room. His attire, however, was untouched by any means. The blaze of light that swarmed him, and projected only but a few feet from which he stood. His speech was weak, incoherent—mumbling.

The young man stood close to the father, watching as the he turned his head to the spectral audience that had sat still—and was in oblivion. He found a place at the front to sit down, and the man took a seat. The sermon came to a halt.

In the silence, the man was overcome by a sudden chill. He could feel the eyes of the past, present, and future upon him.

The priest then uttered words he was not expecting. “It seems we have a visitor in our service. Rise, my child, come forth and tell me what troubles your young soul.”

The young stranger silently rose, looking about at all the long-forgotten faces, before approaching the father.

He knelt down before the priest. “Excuse me, Father, for my intrusion. I am lost…and I do not know how I came upon your clergy. I ask you…can you, please help me find my way home?”

The old man’s face—much like the light that enshrouded him—beamed. He smiled, and said to the young man, placing a hand upon his shoulder, “My dear boy, you are home. Let go your feelings of dark. Sever your pain. Give up your anger…and let it all go.”

The young man became startled as he could feel a stirring deep within himself. All the pain, anger, hatred, loss, and love he had experienced so far in his life. Vivid memories flashed on his mind’s camera before him—the feelings associated came and went. All that was ill ridden, and chained him down, now left his body and coagulated into a pool.

The priest began to continue with his sermon.

The young man watched as the pool began to boil over, and take shape into a figure before him. Slowly, the figure finished its delicate touches of detail, down to the very cells. He peered at himself, just as if it were a mirror. He stood up and gazed upon the negative manifestation of himself.

The priest then spoke his last words, “Lest, we are all forgiven for our actions.”

The old priest’s voice began to drown out as the light dimmed with the resurgence of darkness. The young man was not afraid, nor was he scared, or he was angry. As the moment passed, he thought of what he valued most—his wife, family, and friends—all that he took for granted in life.

He pushed the mirror image away and watched it slowly fall and shatter to pieces. Screams, horrendous sounds, and pain flooded the room.

As the priest continued with his sermon, he slowly faded with the light—becoming one, whereas then, a new light focused on the redeemed man. He smiled as he gazed up into the warm light that bathed him. Then uncertainty hit him when the light fully engulfed him, blinding his sight and consciousness.

He heard a soft whisper, “Not yet.”

He awoke several moments later, to a face he was well accustomed to, and to those that he knew well, all surrounding him. He glanced down at his hand where an IV line had been implemented, and where cuts were made—bound with bandages. The lights from above overwhelmed him, as those around him drew closer. He knew he was indeed ‘home’, and that he would make the best of the hand he was dealt.

Robert J. S. T. McCartney
A.B.Normal Publishing and Media Group

The End’s Messenger

"Fire Place Angel" Photo by Scott Robinson. Scott Robinson has no affiliation with me or A.B.Normal Publishing Media Group, nor do they support my work and/or practices.

Photo by Scott Robinson. Scott Robinson has no affiliation with me or A.B.Normal Publishing Media Group, nor do they support my work and/or practices.

To say, “It was a dark and stormy night,” like how so many stories had begun, would be considered an understatement. This particular night was truly a testament of nature’s wrath…and beauty. The inked sky was full of irregular crackling javelins of light that blazed across the darkened heavens. In its wake was an absolute drenching rain that could soak down to the marrow of man. The winds—rabid and vicious—roared and clawed at all that would dare stand in its path. Thunder bellowed its horn of war, resonating as it rolled throughout the mortal world. Yes, my friend, this, this was truly the storm of the century.

In my ignorance, I shrugged it off as a typical phenomenon. I walked away from the large picture window, to retire to the rosewood leather chair by the fireplace (having been satisfied with my gaze out into the bewildering twilight). I lit the cigar I had retrieved earlier, happenstance upon the weather’s dastardly interruption. I crossed my legs; the silk pajamas lightly ruffled in the elegance and comfort. Here, I sat alone in the dim study. The flicker of the flames bathed the room in a soft orange intravenously with a yellow contrast. The crimson walls were now richer in their hue, as the flames’ light made the shadows dance upon the walls. Warmth radiated from the resurging power of the fire in the study. I observed the flames that danced the most tribal of nature while others feasted upon the wood’s carcass. The room flooded with the constant contest of fire and wind, it all overwhelmed my ears.

As I fixated further upon the flames, I could hear the howls of the wind and the roar of the fire become as fluent as any spoken word. Where then the flames soon took on a form: a face, a slender, and curvaceous body slowly. Here…before me now was there ever such beauty and grace! I remained seated, paralyzed…speechless. Whether it was fear or curiosity that struck my fancy, the enchantress with an elegant face flickered, as it withheld its splendor.

A soft enticing whisper echoed in my mind beckoning me nearer. “Servant of life and flesh, heed the call. War is upon the world! The end of days is to come to pass!”

The pure marbled yellow-orange-white glossed with intent—such fixated—she stared deep into my eyes, like a lioness’s gaze upon her prey. My eyes swelled with disbelief; I was dumbstruck. I turned my gaze away, having become lost in thoughts that raced, where I was led into the depths of my mind—I scrambled and sought the doors for answers, all of which were empty.

I turned to face the fatal attraction. I knelt close to the siren, and she revealed visions that flooded my mind of what would soon come to pass. The whisper, now disembodied, echoed once more.

“Man’s life is to come to an end. True retribution is at hand. The time. . .is nigh. It is the time that all mortals fear of—the end. However, all is not lost, for the world will be reborn. Fire shall cleanse the impurities. The scarring that evil has left upon the face of the earth shall be purified. The pure shall be soothed and reconciled, from which they shed from. The judgment on high has been passed. The cogs of the new future have begun to turn. To advise the ushering of the forthcoming age: selection, devotion, and truth, must endure. For on the first day—fire—purges the impure. Upon the second day, lightning will clash, tempering, and reshaping. On the third, the wind—strengthens and seals. On the final day, water shall cleanse and further purify. A new day will then emerge, marking the era of a true beginning. It is on this day. The chosen are relinquished of slumber and returned. Where then upon the next, those that committed such aggravated acts against the name of life will sprout and also begin anew.”

These events were told, bold and genuine. The wind rang soft and pure in my ears. As I stood erect before the unknown enchanting messenger, enthralled, blinded, I nodded in acknowledgment of my task.

Slowly the life-giving inferno soothes its rage and dies. The once sultry temptress now turned to ash before me. The soft glowing embers wriggle, writhe, and squirm, before erupting wildly into a hint of a new spark of life.

A smile crossed my face while a tear fell. I retired to my chair to finish my cigar while the blaze around me consumes the world, and I. I am soon greeted and embraced by a long lost love. My eyes close as I am relinquished of all wrong.

Lightning continues to play its concerto while fire and the wind elegantly waltz while the rain riddled the somber ash with its pure tears—the embers laying dormant.

The end had come…just as it was foretold…by the tempest temptress messenger.

Robert J. S. T. McCartney
A.B.Normal Publishing and Media Group

In Death We Trust

"Cemetery Love" Photo by Markus Biehal. Markus Biehal has no affiliation with me or A.B.Normal Publishing Media Group, nor do they support my work and/or practices.

Photo by Markus Biehal. Markus Biehal has no affiliation with me or A.B.Normal Publishing Media Group, nor do they support my work and/or practices.

You can have all the likes, all the hearts, all the smiley faces, and all the “friends” in the world. You will still die alone.

You can have all the riches, live in the biggest house, and drive the fanciest car in the world. You will still die alone.

You could have all the knowledge, know the tricks of any trade, and have all the time. . .in this world. You will still die alone.

You could have done the best things in life, and yet, still, you will die alone.

Though you may die alone, you may hope to have your friends and family surround you, unfortunately, they may not be able to. It is important to know that they might not be able to. It’s not selfish (on either account) for it is life. Unpredictable.

Nothing we say or do may be forgotten, and there is nothing we can do about death. It happens, just as naturally as we breathe, eat, or sleep.

Like everything else you will come to experience in life, nothing, is ever easy. But perhaps those actions, those moments that defined your life, they will help cope with that loss, or when it comes time for your own.

Keep your faith, if you want to.
For it is in death that we are all equal and free.

Robert J. S. T. McCartney
A.B.Normal Publishing and Media Group

Ashes

"Used to be a cabin here" photo by jitze. jitze has no affiliation with me or A.B.Normal Publishing Media Group, nor do they support my work and/or practices.

Photo by jitze. jitze has no affiliation with me or A.B.Normal Publishing Media Group, nor do they support my work and/or practices.

As I was ripped from my slumber, with my thoughts plaguing my sad, old mind, I wandered outside from the cabin and sat down in my cherry wood rocking chair. Here I sat, contemplating matters—those of old, one’s long past, but still stung the soul. . .deep, leaving me to weep hysterically. Through the blur of tears and night mist, I stared up at the stars that twinkled and winked back at my being. A gust of frigid cold wind from the north rushed and cut through me on the wooden porch, transpiring the thoughts to lead to even more drastic measures.

Here, as I wondered, where my mind did wander, there did fall a mighty star from the heavens, landing but a few feet from within what could have been my timely. . .untimely demise. I gathered myself and rushed to the fallen spectacle—intrigued, yet scared, excited, yet doubtful. I stared into the crater that smoldered and hissed from the result of miles of a bout between interstellar matter and sky—enveloped with the twilight’s dew, and the curiosity. . .sheer amazement. . .of believing the strange extraterrestrial stone had begun to move on its own!

What manner of trickery is this? I thought to myself, still fixated upon this ashen stone. . .that was now giving life; seemingly stirring in its womb, breaking apart in the earth that surrounded it.

I found myself drawn to this melting stone, having long left the comfort of my seat. It was then, that I as I peered deeper into the smoldering crater did I find a majestic being that, like me, stared back.

A baby, swaddled with ash, born from cosmic furnaces, and confined within the ashen rock. Its eyes closed tight, its hair ablaze, parading and flaring like the surface of the sun. I knelt down before its majesty and gently swept the ashes away, laying my gaze upon the rest of the celestial being. Its skin radiated white, as bright as snow, pure of any impurities and of wrong. My jaw dropped, and eyes widened as I believed this was the finger of God, working. . .testing. . .

I had no children, and was a widower, now old in age and certainly on the last length of whatever life remained in my being. Even so, I went to bring the child from the earth, as the warm sensation like a cozy winter fire overcame me.

“Who are you? Where do you come from?” I found myself asking as I cradled the celestial babe.

The twilight sky began to flicker like a candle—gold, amber and green waltzed across the heavens. For then, a soft, soothing voice came into my mind as I stared on in awe.

You will come to know me in time, dear sir. For now, I only ask of you for a warm bed, and perhaps warm milk. For I am weary and have been without rest.

As I examined the child’s face a strange golden glow overcame his being. His eyes peeked open for just a moment, letting a golden shine escape. I was awestruck, and in that moment, I gathered the babe and granted its wish—preparing a warm bed, and offering him a warm bottle of milk with haste. Upon feeding him, I found a smile grow on his small face, and I must admit, I smiled at the little bundle.

I soon retired to slumber, as my body was drained of all energy due to excitement. However, I would not awaken from my slumber. I found myself on a gray plane, wandering souls of those near and of those I knew whom not of, passed by and floated on in the abyss of space.

Am I dead? Did I pass in my sleep? Several emotions then struck a fatal blow, causing me to fall to my knees. The baby, oh no! I was all alone. . .it will die because of me. . .

As I wept for the innocence that was left behind, a light pierced the gray plane and I felt a familiar presence.

Worry not old friend, for I am fine. I thank you for offering me shelter for when I needed it most, a bed when I was tired, and food for when I was hungry. You’ve shown me a kindness that so many have not. . .and for that, I thank you.

I dried my eyes and shielded them as the light grew near and blinded my sight. I found myself returned to bed, with life’s breath coursing through me.

Was it a dream?

I looked over yonder, to find the bed I arranged for the celestial baby vacant, and undone to no existence, where only a single pure white feather glistened without any help of light. I wandered back outside and sat on the chair. My eyes fell heavy as slumber befell over me again. The oil lamp beside me shattered to a thousand pieces. I returned to the what should have been the gray plane. . .this time it was white. I was met by a young man and an older woman. . .one that only I could ever know.

Beatrice, Michael. . .

Their voices echoed in my stream of conscious, Welcome home.

A familiar, radiant figure stood beside them, with wings made of golden white feathers, that flickered like stars, and gold-red locks that wavered like the surface of the sun, and a face as majestic as any handsome earthen king. “Welcome to my home, friend. I will show to you the same hospitality you had shown to me.”

I wept as my son and wife came to me, embracing them. . .the warmth of a cozy fire. Here, I would tire and seek slumber.

I found myself on the cherry chair, discarded far away from where my cabin burned brilliantly into the night sky, the flames dancing in a tribal fashion, bellowing as they feasted upon the wooden beast. The sun had begun to peek above the horizon, turning night to day.

Next to me, there stood a tall male native, adorned with headdress and feathers, enveloped in a dark cloak and the night. He handed me a brown bear fur blanket, and placed a hand on my shoulder before turning and silently heading into the forest, for he was now guided by the light of dawn. I stood up and watched on as the flames consumed the cabin.

A soft voice muttered to my mind. In due time, friend. . .in due time.

I sat back down in the chair and watched on as the embers smoldered the now ashen remains of my cabin. I smiled as I now knew that one day, I would be reunited and that I needn’t make haste to end what remained of my old life.

Robert J. S. T. McCartney
A.B.Normal Publishing and Media Group
Other Writing