I became interested in the idea of abstraction and the other world long before my encounter with the mythical item which this is based on. Interests in H. P. Lovecraft, various games and movies set in similar environments and the idea of a cold, hostile universe only helped to concrete the idea of abstraction into a foundation of curiosity. However, it was the introduction of Cuil Theory which made that foundation grow into a tower. Cuil Theory was a video posted on the Internet which I had found one day while browsing. The theory itself was made as a humorous jab at a dead and dying search engine which was notorious for its inaccurate search function. However, the idea that the theory encompassed seemed too real for me to ignore. Long had signs pointed towards the insignificance of our own reality, and more so, the existence of something beyond our own reality and this burning curiosity soon enveloped my life more than I would care to admit.
I had become very well enthralled in school, studying music had become my passion and I had taken most of my time within the halls of my university’s Music Building, practicing and studying, trying to become an excellent musician, while still retaining enough time to be social. Every day, I would gladly head to school to engross myself in music, studying theory like it were candy for my mind until I would become engorged and ill on it, practicing until my hands would injure, bruise and blister. This is what I had dedicated my life to, and it seemed like reality had melted into this pulsating beast which was music. I grew enamored with it day and night. If it were not for this, I would have investigated the invisible realms long before I had, and very likely my inevitable disappearance would have been much less shocking to the world around me. However, it was not until an unforeseen social stigma had been leveled against me that my passion for the unseen could be fulfilled.
I had been alienated from my peers, and my days became difficult as the judgment from my sins were cast against me. At first I opted to become a hermit in my music, and soon withdrew to lonely practice rooms at all hours of the day, and would quietly return home. My friends became worried as I once again withdrew from their reality into my own, yet not as worried as I retained my passion for my studies. Many assumed that I had just become quite busy with music. However, each night I would come home, sit on my laptop and peruse the Internet for signs of that extraordinary world which began to scratch at the back in my mind.
The first rules I had found were that humans in one way or another were designed to feel abstraction; the prose and recordings of others trying to strengthen this sense were insight into what I had hoped would be a window into abstraction. Through meditation and the right instinct, others had been able to feel their way into the other side. However, this proved to be a dead end in most cases. Ultimately, it was as if I walked deaf, dumb and blind through a foreign land, and it would never be able to sate my curiosity enough to relieve the black addiction to the unknown which soon began to occupy my time. I soon found that many were truly inept at their sensory of the other world, and that even those I had considered masters of the art were as skilled as toddlers when it came to that perception. It was at this time I began to investigate other methods for detecting the other world. Rumors and speculation abounded about a set of mythical items which would allow untold perception of abstraction.
The stigma against me increased day by day. Soon it became apparent that I was not accepted in any manner of social interaction other than what was required for my schoolwork. I became more and more withdrawn from the rest of my little world, and more and more involved in my quest to discover the other world. To me, it rang hope as my old world collapsed into melancholia. I had felt as if I was slowly dying and only through abstraction would I be reborn an angel. Each night, I would spend hours scouring the only resource available to me, the Internet, for more hints about the rumored artifacts, and on many days those hours led to nothing but bitter disappointment. I was invigorated by this pain, my soul crying for the realization of freedom. My mad endeavor consumed my sleeping hours, and insomnia crept like a kudzu vine, strangling the remaining life out of my eyes and leaving me bitter and hopeless at my little world. My release was the items, the artifacts. They eluded me.
I found myself one day, after a blackened haze, sitting in my garage where I had most felt the strange sense of abstraction pulsating in the recesses of my mind. A distant echo rang through my ears. It had been two days since my last memory and in those two days there was nothing. I had no idea how long I was in that garage, how I ended up there, nor what interactions had occurred. My knuckles were bloody, and the punching bag which I had typically used for exercise was laying on the ground, lifted from the ropes which still hung from the rafters like some organic blight reaching for the floor. I could see the stained and dried blood caked onto the punching bag. There was glass on the floor and in my feet and hair. I sat for twenty minutes unweaving shards of glass from in my hair, like tiny crystalline flowers infesting my head. Tiny crystalline flowers lay in front of me dyed crimson in beautiful, dry caked tones. I sat in my garage. Void awaited me with open arms.
As if rising from a deep dive as slow as a feather falls to the dirt, I floated into consciousness. My environment was warmer this time, my pillow caked with tears and saliva, my feet and knuckles still bloody from my requiem in the garage. My room was impeccably clean, bizarre from the usual disheveled state which it had adopted as if skin, each item laying in perfect alignment with the adjacent one and the adjacent one. I felt tired and stressed, as if returning from a long journey. In the chaos of order, my eyes drew close to the one detail which rang out of the standing soldiers in my room. My wallet lay in the center of the room, softly sitting on the carpet. The green debit card which linked to my checking account sat on top, and between the wallet and myself lay my laptop, the screen open towards me. I creaked up and moved to examine my computer and, finding the battery completely drained, desperately scrambled to retrieve my charger.
I had awoken from an empty slumber to only be surround by my own self-created mystery, and clawed for the answers which sat within the darkened screen. The hard drive whirred to life with the depression of a button, and the computer slowly restarted. I noticed through the grey screen the faint outline of the browser, opened to a shopping website. My purchase had been complete, and expedited delivery guaranteed my package to arrive by the end of today.
The computer finished loading and I was able to see the item in full detail. It was, for all intents and purposes, a pair of antique, circular lens glasses. The frame was made of what appeared to be brass with the slight mar of patina creating unique character to its appearances. The glasses came with an ivory case, a delicately carved memento mori triptych depicting three figures, all in similar stance. The figure was standing akimbo, with their right arm lifted to their head as if adjusting glasses, and their left arm was sitting on the hip. In the first frame of the triptych, the figure had the appearance of a child, in the second, the appearance of a fully grown and voluptuous woman, and in the final frame, the figure was a corpse, with rotting flesh clinging to its bones. I had paid a large sum of money for this item, and likely, would be unable to make rent in the winter months because of this, but I was not concerned with that at all. These glasses were coming today. Wrapped with bubble wrap, covered with cardboard. Sitting in the ivory triptych case, the inside lined with velvet. The left lens was cracked, but the description on the website said this would not be an issue for those who “were using it for its intended purpose”. I had been given my new eyes. I had been given perception of the other world.
It was several hours before the package finally arrived. I had waited in my room, staring at my television which sat in darkness staring back at me, when the doorbell arrived. I hadn’t exited my house for some time, and thus the sun blinded me when I opened the door. The delivery man was at first shocked by my wild and untamed appearance, and timidly asked if I were the recipient of the package. I replied groggily with my affirmation, took his clipboard and signed the release for the package. He stared at me for a second before, with the same apprehension as before, asking if I were okay. I did not benefit him with a reply, instead closing the door and turning towards my room. My heart began racing and my vision dimmed as adrenaline filled my veins. The entire world became spaghettified, and each step echoed through my head with thunderous cacophony. The few seconds it took for me to walk to my room, open my door, position myself on my bed and open the box stretched into infinity. I was to finally realize what I had put so much passion, so many hours, and a sizable sum of money into. Abstraction, the other world, whatever it was, was readily available to me. Flinging thoughts of doubt could not concrete themselves in my mind. There was no error in my purchase, I had not acquired a scam. This was the only option left to me, and I was going to take it.
I sat on my bed, once again facing my television, but my eyes were squarely locked on the unopened parcel. I calmly cut through the tape with my fingernail, and opened the box. The wrapping was removed next, and I was left with, in a dark purple velvet bag, the case and glasses. I carefully removed the velvet bag from the glasses and pulled out the case. The pictures did not do it justice. The ivory had a bizarre iridescence, the triptych seemingly changing form as I tilted it from side to side. The details in the triptych were similarly impressive; it seemed as if the woman carved into the ivory was real and breathing. Her breasts sat with a certain gravity, and on her face was a strangest emotion. She did not looked scared nor sad nor angry but something in between. There was an intensity in her eyes that scarred an image into my memory. I was going to open the case but had realized that something was not right. I turned to look inside the box and found that there had been a letter in the box as well, on yellowing parchment. On it, in long form English calligraphy, written with ashen ink, was a message:
Congratulations. Your long journey is over and you have, I assume, within your hands, a delicate occult artifact of great renown. It matters not to me how you acquired this, but it is imperative that my message is read to you before you attempt to use the item. Inside the purple velvet bag is the ivory case, and within the ivory case is the brass glasses. I would advise you not put them on, but we both know at this point that that action is unavoidable. I am the creator of those glasses, and they once rested upon my nose and allowed me to read the texts and ledgers which assisted me in their creation. It is imperative that my message is understood by you before you attempt to use the item. Once the glasses are on, I would not recommend removing them unless you are in a place that you know is safe. Your bedroom. Your bathroom. A friend’s bedroom. Somewhere private. Somewhere you know is real. It is imperative that my message is lived by you before you attempt to use the item. What you will see is the cracks within the walls, the noise between the music. You will know reality in its most primal form and in this you will not find solace. In this is only pain, only fear. I sit now, somewhere between the lines, and prepare myself. I am not in reality anymore. I am lost. I am trapped. I plan on removing my glasses after I have written this message. They will one way or another end up within our realm once again. I will never return home, but they will.
I implore you to reconsider your choice, and rid yourself of these dreadful items.
Sir Isaac Broderick III, Lord in Wight, Last Count of Broderickshire
The name struck me as fake, and although I believed that “Isaac” was indeed a man of great renown, the titles seemed contrived and the places false. I folded the parchment and delicately placed in back within the box, and turned my attention once again to the ivory case. I studied the triptych more, and noticed more details within its opalescent imagery. The woman had on one of her cheeks, a tear drop. In the background were fields of wheat, orchards full of fruit, and all the signs of successful agriculture. At her feet were grapes and pomegranates, as well as a fawn staring up towards the woman. The entire scene was framed with trees on both sides, the top with fractal branches, the bottom with similar roots. The detail in the trunks of the trees quickly faded before transitioning to one of the other frames of the triptych. At the bottom lay the words “Persephone of Abundance”. I did not know if “Isaac” was the carver of the case as well as creator of the glasses, however, the amount of workmanship placed into the ivory suggested that a man of equal ambition and obsession had created it. I once again tilted the case from side to side, feeling the weight of it in my hand and watching as the ivory shimmered uncharacteristically in the ambient light of my room.
My attention drew away from the center triptych and focused to the one to the left. The image was framed with the image of fracturing rock, which crumbled into small piles of rock at the bottom of the triptych. In this triptych was the image of a young, sexless child in the nude. The ribs on the child were easily visible, and its eyes were sunken. I looked at the title of it and found it to be called “Iapetus of Mortality”. The child’s face was edged in a smirk; however its eyes had a similar quality to “Persephone” and I was unable to find any definitive emotion in the face of the child. I glanced at it in depth, expecting for one emotion to rise as the strongest; however, much like the iridescence of the ivory, it seemed that emotion simply swirled, changing from glance to glance. In the foreground were creeping vines, which wrapped around the ankles of the child, and in the background, was a dark forest full of pine trees. At the top, you could see the bottom-most branches leaning down, with pines in extraordinary detail. Feeling satisfied that I had examined this frame in detail, I drew my attention to the third and final triptych. In it was the rotting figure, in the same position as the other too. The texture of the flesh seemed to breathe and I could even see what seemed to be viscous fluid leaking from the necrotic flesh that clung to the bones. It was labeled, in the same text as the other two, yet with more impact and power than they, the title “Ananke of Fate”. I, just as I did to the other two, turned my eyes first to the face of this creature, examining its visage carefully. Flesh covered half of the face irregularly. On the creature’s right side was bare bones, and the socket of the eye laid empty and dark. The other eye had lids clinging to it, yet it too was filled with only darkness. Compared to the ambiguous emotion of the other two figures, this creature had a grim smile between the skull and face, as if the cruel fate it had endured had taught it something. It looked as if it were sinisterly smiling towards me. I cannot tell whether the artist had intended for the creature to be male or female; to me it almost looked inhuman with the way the muscle clung to the bone. It was standing in the middle of a street, with tall buildings lining both sides, fading into a darkness which had no sheen. I could see cracks in the sidewalk, lamp posts regularly standing vigil, yet dark, and here this creature stood in this empty, dark city, as if it were home. I gawked in horror as this image burned itself into my eyes. It disgusted me, like a dead animal, bloated and festering, covered in fleas, yet there was a sense of humanity, a sense of familiarity in this image. It was as if I were seeing my brother, my mother, my father, my best friend in that street. Myself mirrored in the darkness. I placed the case down and wept.
With tears still wet on my cheeks, I had decided that there was no recourse and it was time that I wore the glasses, and explored Abstraction. The idea of it had gone from a general concept to a concrete, singular object. I was not going west. I was going to something specific. Abstraction was, ironically enough, not abstract, but there. It would be like walking down the hall to the kitchen, opening the door to the garage, and then some. I felt as if I were leaving for some grand trip, not sitting to meditate, not just thinking in my room. I was going home. I picked up the glassed off my bed, and held the frame between my thumb and index finger, gently feeling the light weight of the frames bounce gently in my hand. The metal was cold to the touch, and although with music I had touched brass before, and felt it go from cold to warm from the heat of my body in seconds, it seemed as if my heat was not warming it, but it were cooling my body heat. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and angled the glasses to be placed on my face. My heart pounded and I exhaled audibly, inhaling harshly immediately afterwards as if oxygen were in short supply in my room. I could feel my hands shake, and my breathing became staggered. I had once been stalked by a mountain lion in my youth; there was a certain primal fear that something greater than you was watching with sinister intent, where your body acts automatically to preserve your life and you desperately cling to conscious action, lying to yourself screaming “No, I am human, I control my body, my body does not control me.” Yet, I heard, in a small whisper in the very back of my mind, echoing from the cardboard box where the glasses belong, in the image of my best friend who I had wronged so severely one word with absolute clarity: “Stop.”
With swift and sudden action I brought my hands towards my face, the glasses dragging behind them despite their feather quality. I felt the arms brush across my temple and it felt as if I were being dropped into ice water from a great height. There was this pressure pushing against me, and I forced air into my lungs as I continued placing the glasses so gently on my face. As the turmoil and torrent rushed into me, filling the tiny cracks in my mind, a coldness enveloped my body, until finally the bridge of the glasses rested upon my nose. How such light glasses could feel so heavy on my face! I could not open my eyes, my trembling breath cowardly drawing away from my body, my hands digging into my legs as a child clings to their mother when terrified of the dark shadows in their bedroom. I pried my hands from my leg, and ran my hands along my body, almost expecting to find a hole in my chest, or that my leg had turned into something wrong. I calmed down as rationality told me things like how my legs shouldn’t change, all I’m doing is changing my vision, it isn’t like I’ve traveled at all, I am still in my bedroom, things just look differently. How can you even know, you haven’t even opened your eyes yet? I swallowed the saliva pooling in my mouth and opened my eyes delicately.
I was awake. I felt that feeling you get when you wake up in the middle of the night, hours before you need to wake up and everything is silent and dark and foreign. I expected to see some difference, but the changes horrified me. There were no cracks in the lenses anymore. There was no clothes, no trash in my room. Everything looked so hostile, so cold. It had finally dawned on me how uncomfortable it was to still be still on my bed, I turned and looked, seeing this disgusting, festering rusted mess. It looked like something which had never seen or heard of a bed was trying to create it without knowing the point of a bed. I jumped up, and looked around, slowly becoming overcome with the world around me. I desperately tried to slow my breathing and calm down as every single muscle in my body shrieked at me to flee this unholy land. After all I had done to arrive at this point, only my consciousness wanted to remain. That echoed word, stop, became cacophony within my head. Where I had been so slow and delicate before, now I was hasty and messy and terrified.
I wanted to scream, but I felt that it would only attract more things which lay in the darkness. The darkness which swirled and moved around me. The darkness which brushed against my leg, and whispered in my ear. The darkness flowing in my blood and pouring from my nose. The darkness which exasperated the bareness of the walls, the emptiness of the warmth I had filled my room with. This is not my room. My eyes darted across, and I struggled to maintain any semblance of self-control. My breathing had slowed from hyperventilation to nervous shuddering, and I froze my eyes as quickly as I could, only to have them focus on my closet, which always remained open. I had always wondered why closets were the source of children’s nightmares, even though the child understood that the closet was only so big and nothing that could eat you could fit in a tiny little closet, and I stared into the abyss which waited behind my closet door and understood every child’s scream, every nightmare and terror which kept the children awake, shaking in their beds, clinging to their sheets, crying for safety. As rationality reestablished order against primal fear, I remembered the warning of “Isaac” trapped within the walls, and although the same black curiosity which propelled me in my mad quest to this point told me to walk into the darkness, I opted instead to explore the rest of my house. I placed my trembling, locked legs, one in front of the other, and awkwardly limped towards the door. My hand clasped around the knob, and I willed it to turn.
The darkness still seethed around me, so solid and tangible I can smell it and it smells like all those times I regret. That time I burned my friend with my lighter, not on purpose, I was just messing around and I happened to touch her. That time I tried to talk to that girl I like and I tried to hold a conversation and realized she hated me. Those times I was angry with my father or did things to make my father angry with me. The pills, the alcohol, vomit and blood and crying and tears. Shame. I lift my eyes from my feet and see across from me the closet doors are covered with flesh. Living flesh. I place my hand to it and it trembles and tenses and it is warm and moist with sweat and I retract my hand instinctively as all these realizations hit me. I back away, my feet not stepping on the carpet which covers the floor in my house but cold concrete covered with rust and dirt and whatever else it is that makes it feel as if it is simultaneously grainy and rough yet balmy, sticky, living. Everything feels living. I feel like I am a bacteria walking through the veins of this organism, an intruder in the body of God. I walk towards the bedroom of one of my roommates but see the door slowly breathing, and I instead start to walk towards the bathroom but realize that I do not want to look in the mirror right now, and instead walk away from both towards the kitchen and the other bedroom, and as I pass it I see it is breathing too and the flesh in it is dripping with sweat, and the air that pushes through it is warm and moist and I can feel the spit in it and all I can think about is how I should have put on shoes before putting on these damned glasses but I have to keep moving.
All I can hear is darkness and my heart and the breathing of that goddamned bedroom, and my heart is beating so goddamned fast that I can tell that the rationality is going or gone and all that remains is that primal fear that I swore to myself that I would not let rule me. I try to slow my breathing, and focus again on moving forward and really looking into this and knowing what it means but everything is too much and my brain is struggling to keep up with my body which is crying to me to stop just like my friend would cry to me to stop and I can not stop for I am so goddamned close to understanding what I do not even know I want to understand. I walk into the kitchen with loud booming steps and the vile of it all begins to even seem normal. I turn to the sink and it is filled with this black, thick viscera, and I without any moment of hesitation plunge my hand into it and it feels waxy like fat that has dripped from a grill and pooled and cold but still drippy and fluidic. I look at my stove and there is no range, there is only sharp. Not like needles and claws and knives and things but the very concept of sharp and I know just by looking at it that if I were to plunge my hand into that
it would not be a hand for very long. I know where I want to go and my body is racing there even though I know it is not where my body wants to go, and I leave the kitchen before I can open the refrigerator or explore the cabinets. When I was exploring with meditation I had noticed that my garage had a certain tendency to draw fear out of my body and now I know that something else is in there and I need to know what. I rush through the laundry room and do not notice that the washer and dryer are crying and grab the door handle and turn the knob and pry it so goddamned hard I feel like I am tearing a hole in the wall.
I have reached the end of my journey. The garage is where I was to end it, and my little story which I left to you is coming to a close. I apologize for the quickness of the previous passage for I became enthralled with reliving it again and again and again and again and again and again. But the garage is what I was looking for and in it the darkness no longer swirled, seethed, or move at all but just pooled like blood at the lowest point in the battlefield. It just sat and pooled and coalesced and rested, not like fluid but like an organic, breathing thing, fuzzy and warm and it may look like it is friendly but it is nothing but feral and wild and sinister. I breathed in and that smell of shame and regret and pain was gone and it smelled like something sweet like the nectar from one of those Nepenthes plants or like the smell of cheese on a mouse trap, and I looked and I saw that the garage fridge was not there but there was a crack in the wall, this tiny and massive hole big enough for me to fit in but small enough that I don’t think I was supposed to go through it.
I knew that I was going to see something hanging from the rafters where my punching bag is in reality and that something had taken its spot and it had eaten all the hatred and anger in my life and grown fat and it was happy to see me not as vivid emotion but as living breathing flesh even though I had not looked at it yet but it was time that I turned and looked at it so that was exactly what I did and all I saw was this ball of yellowish flesh hanging from fleshy ropes that swayed as if there were wind in the room and it had greenish veins and loose flappy skin as if it were supposed to be much bigger. Rationality returned and I had realized that I had walked into a trap, and my heart was pounding and that voice in my head was no longer screaming stop but run and run and don’t stop just keep running and I was that kid again in the forest being stalked by a monstrous predator which hid in the darkness and that this stationary thing was it. I breathed in deeply and concentrated. The only image in my head was that of my smiling best friend and I wanted to cry because I knew that they will live a happy life without me as my eyes watched the thing slowly turn towards me with its grotesque, abyssal eye which isn’t an eye but a hole and a mouth and its very core. I feel it looking at me and feel its hunger and desire and its wants and needs and before I can tell my feet they are already pushing and moving and my legs are dragging behind them as I tear for that hole in the wall. The sound of its screaming fills every part of my body, mind and soul, a sound like dragging fingernails on the edge of a piano, like drawing a bow across the bar of a marimba, like the laughter of people who do not like you, the sadness of a good friend, the sound of loneliness and pain and that everyone is happy but you and I plunge into the darkness, and out of reality.
I wonder what happened to me in the real world, if my body is still sitting in my bedroom, and I am just asleep and I am never waking up, or if maybe that thing I ran from, that thing whose scream still shrieks in my ears, ringing until I create music out of it, maybe that thing took my body and is now riding around in it, or maybe I just disappeared. I wonder how my friends will react, how many days until they realize that I am gone and I am never coming back. I know so much right now about me and you and you and him and that thing which still hangs from my garage rafters but still is chasing me and could still be in my body. I wonder if “Isaac” ran from the thing or just got too curious or maybe he let the thing catch him. All I know is darkness. All I know is eternity. All I know is that scream.
And in it all, it is me.
Last edited by DaCrum
on Fri Nov 02, 2012 1:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.