Caelum Sky, Chapter 1
It began like a listless, fevered dream; my soul stretched apart like a canvas worn thin; the gentle ebb and flow of a sputtering heart rocked me slowly in a world devoid of features. Sinews of consciousness barely touched one another, sparking with flashes of life, of reality around me for just a moment before they drifted apart, back to nonexistence. My reality was devoured by something empty, barren and white. Silence in its purest form.
Drifting, aimlessly, the waves began to collect, faster then before. I strained, mind twitching with thought in my dreams, tension becoming greater and greater. More thoughts, more life! A spark, a jolt of energy, a snap of vibrancy much more brilliant than before hit me hard, snapping my mind back to reality, back to the very real world I had detached from. Everything had been white, brighter and brighter, something lovely, peaceful and new as I opened my eyes.
I awoke in the bowels of Hell. Light faded entirely, all pulling waves had stopped, my dream had ended. The edges of this rocky, torturous cavern brimmed with smoky, reddish light; wisps of human souls drifted about like they were unnoticed and unwelcome guests of a dinner party. My own body was nothing but smoke and mirrors to me; an empty, hapless form, where my defined edges were hazy and blurred. The time that I noticed the shifting floor skirted in smoke through my own hand was about the time I realized my very physical death had taken place; that I was in the depths of a nightmare.
I had no memories of my life, besides very basic things that babies know; eating and sleeping were important, day , night, life in general, going to the movies alone was embarrassing, that culture defined who we were. But as a personal life, the normal stories that brim a confident mind, ones of family and friends, was a blank template. I had no memories of myself, no location to where I might've lived, how I lived my life, if I even had kids, or if I nursed sick cats back to health for a living. There was only a single blip of memory, a flash, if you'd call it that much, of a pair of blue eyes. They owned no body; there was no face with them, just the two azure orbs gazing at me from the side, wide-eyed and terrified. I didn't know what I might've done to them, what I had said, if they were my own, when this happened, if ever. They were just there, sitting on my empty slate-of-a-brain by themselves, rolling around in my head as I tilted this way and that. The rest of my mind was sickeningly clean- besides a nagging dream of being stretched to my edges, I had no ideas of anything; no idea to what I truly looked like, how old I was before I died; I didn't even have a name. I owned nothing.
I was Me, and that's all I knew. Me …and eyes.
Rolling back my head, I regarded my current situation; Vast, open caverns as far as I could see, all packed full of skeletal torsos linked together by an impossibly long chain. Looking down my wrists were skeletal, bound to one another by this same chain, pulled along a silent army that the anorexic could only dream about. We all lacked legs, instead left with thickened wisps of a tail-like spine that led to the shadow field below me, a churning, blackish mass of dark. I looked behind me; empty, soulless eye sockets, staring forward solemnly as they pushed towards nothing. With a growing urge of disgust, I glanced down at the rest of my own body, seeing the same fate. I yelped; finding my remains were as ill-defined as the rest; without vocal cords, much less an actual throat, I emitted no actual sound.
There were creatures around me. Demons, I suppose. One was a shovel-faced lizard-like creature, three awkward, protruding teeth jutting from its lower jaw. Its eyes were wild and narrow, pupil-less, looking over the skeleton parade that I was a part of. No back legs, only veiny, torn wings and two spindly arms which were almost comical. He hung there, flapping haphazardly, watching over us all with as much excitement as a sack of peas. Far below me in what wasn't swallowed by blackness, were caterpillar-like bugs scattered on the floor, writhing about, desperate for any spiritual scrap dropped their way. Something swam along near them, large and dark, body so meticulously black it would be difficult to define, even in the brightest light. It's green, soulless eyes swam behind a pillar and out of view, curling around the adjoining room and watching its surroundings carefully.
The shifting chains around my wrists jingled as I pulled forward to get a better look at the monster, bones drifting through the metal cuffs like they didn't exist. The line moved on without me as I gave another silent yelp; raising my hands to my skull quickly, I watched that empty spot shuffle along happily, unhindered.
"Shit shit shit shit shit shit" I berated myself internally as I struggled to torso-swim my way back to my place like an errant wind turbine, running a skeletal hand through the links and cuffs. They hit this time, cartilage and bone smacking against the metal. "Shiiiit!" I hissed to myself, looking around wildly. I tried again and again, hitching a ride along this conga line as the silence struck me again. There was no reaction. No one noticed my ethereal escape. No one seemed bothered at all.
I straightened up and finally let go, a little lost for words, looking about for someone to help, maybe get the spindly armed sack-dragon to take a look at my predicament when I saw it- a beam of light broke through the darkness, ebbing down twenty feet into the muddy abyss. My soul drifted on the chance of a wind towards the center of this empty dungeon; smoke and mist ebbed from the floor like it was dotted in commercial fog machines. Dog-paddling my way to the heavenly beam of light I finally came closer to it, looking around suspiciously that this was all so easy. No commotion. No problems that half a skeleton's torso goes drifting about unattended. For a hell filled with guards, no one seemed to really do much in the way of security.
Floating on the edge of it, I ran my hand through the light once, a nip of pain. Instantly muscles began to climb their way from my fingertips to my wrist, stretching and pulling across the bones, beet red and healthy. Beautiful as it was, it wasn't the most soothing feeling in the world, but I could feel it. I could feel the raw, exposed muscle sitting around in this blackened hell; I could feel my nerves trying to grasp hold of the blanched white bones. I clutched the hand to my chest, away from the light, examining it; that if the light touched it no more, the muscles would be no more. They remained.
Weighing the situation, I waved my hand into the light once again, this time a little farther up the elbow. More sinews stretching, more layers added over the muscles. When the muscle stretching died down, skin began to form; the fingernails came last. I flexed the hand, balling it into a fist, wiggling my fingers. I felt it all; with an expression slightly tinted by bewilderment, I stuck my head into the light as well, feeling the same sensation over my face, chest, and quickly growing torso.
There was a moment when I found out that I was a woman; obvious details don't need to be presented- I threw my whole body into the sunlight and grinned with newly completed muscles, feeling that if nothing else, I was no lowly skeletal band member. Clothes quickly swept over my body as it completed itself, the muscles racing down to my feet, quickly followed by skin. Given the eyebrows to do so, I smirked, checking myself over before I heard a fragment of audible speech, obscured by the distance. The light that had restored me was full of letters/ symbols, followed by a series of numbers, and a "yes/ no" section off to the side. Kicking my brand new legs towards the light, I tried to pick up and understand the language I was hearing.
The voices were higher-pitched; young. I was practically scraping my head on the light now, looking around me to see if anyone was as concerned with this as I was. A triangle-like shadow scooted across the light, the brightest part of it peaking from the magnifying lens between it.
"….Ouija board…" I spoke suddenly, startled by my own voice. I slapped my hand over my mouth, remembering such things were a little painful; the voice didn't sound like mine. It was hard to say, being the empty-slate brain rolling around in my head now, but it just didn't seem…right. I coughed and tried again, "ooouuuiigiii…boarrrrrd." Snapshots of memories belonging to the Ouija board came to mind; a game kids and teenagers play—the one that some people thought raised the dead. I realized the situation around me, the flying demons, the skeletal rumba, and the shadow pits of hell below my floating corpse feet. Bullshit. It was actually right?
I reached up towards the light with a slack jawed grin, in disbelief. My hand hit the top, shining beacon of luminosity was above the barrier, just out of reach. I picked at it peculiarly with my fingernails.
"Try it again" the voice spoke, clearer and more defined then the rumblings I heard 5 feet down. I pulled my hand away, trying to see through the intense light- there were three shadows, all sitting relatively close to the board. Maybe the way this all worked was answering their questions —- or maybe the game was full of crap and just incited violence for stupid ghosts like myself to break their position to have the same amount of fun a police interrogation might provide.
"No, it's stupid!" A girl's voice this time; one shadow scooted farther from the board. " I'm not doing this here, it's creepy."
"It's just a game, don't be so annoying." It was a different voice, a slightly bigger kid trying to take charge now. The marvel of a magically bright Ouija board was fading on me now; I mostly wanted to actually talk with them, instead of sitting around, waiting for their tantrums to end. The rest of this place was becoming increasingly more interesting as they squabbled and bickered under their breaths. "Is that okay? Are you going to be strong?"
"Let's just get it over with"
With newly formed lungs, I gave an annoyed sigh.
"We call upon the deceased, Samuel Robinton, to come talk with us today." Two of the three sets of hands put their fingers on the triangle. "C'mon, just do this one last time, and we'll leave then. You happy?" The last set of fingertips placed themselves just above my head, waiting for either me to push it, or for one of them to push slightly harder then the others and scare the daylights out of everyone else. The light intensified.
Reaching up delicately, I dragged my finger on the underside of the board quickly at first, finding no progression. Trying again, I began to run my finger towards "No" slowly in tune with them, giddy with the results; the stylus followed my finger obediently until it rested above the "no" option. The kids pulled away their hands.
"No that he's not here, or no that it's not him?" One asked to the other. I sighed, my patience growing thin. It felt like I had to be somewhere to be, some desire in my gut to hurry along elsewhere. Dammed if I could remember where, what, how, who and all other things; but sitting around playing graveyard telephone wasn't high on the list. Once they had placed their hand back onto the stylus, I wrote out "not him" before letting go of the connection. It continued to move, the kids influencing it negatively until it made me apparently say "Not himasnelj-yes"
"Nothim-asnelj? What is it, Russian?" One kid asked the other, as the last two giggled to the group. Feeling like my competency was being questioned; that everything I had; these last three minutes and ten seconds I had been talking was at stake, that my chance to get away from this dank hell-hole was closing quickly, that I'd surely be found out soon, I figured shouting at the light would be a good idea.
"Not him, dammit! You moved the rest!" I belted out in my own foreign voice, the sound echoing in the hellish cavern around me. Their giggling stopped dead silent; silent enough that I could hear my attention being drawn elsewhere, silent enough to hear the churning happening under my feet. The kids spoke worriedly if that had all heard my voice, some sort of agreement made, but my attention was pulled to the hell around me. The skeleton-parade had stopped cold. The spindly dragon- guards were all now making their way towards me. The black, churning monster I had seen earlier, undefined, was changing its course, the head now slowly coming in my direction. My blood went cold. You could see the glimmer of red as it wiggled along its scales, the long, snake-like motion it made as it swam through air, the dagger-like spines arching across the subtle red of the abyss. Those insidious, hollowed neon green eyes lit the darkness up like a foggy night, illuminating the depths by size an intensity alone. It gathered speed towards the light, my fleshy body frozen in terror, a low, guttural growl swept through me in a chill. Backing up, I looked around to realize that all my guards had given an extremely wide berth to the light and to me. This thing was too massive to escape from.
"Get out of the way!" I screamed towards the light, not caring if the kids thought it was fake or not. I didn't know if this thing would hurt them too, and didn't want to take the chance. There was more giggling on their side- they heard me; I just didn't know how well, or if they could understand me. The demon below my feet howled feverishly, mouth opening to a wide chasm of teeth and dagger-like protrusions, white teeth shooting far wider then I could ever hope to swim or try to get away from as it's jaws began to develop and swirl in color. The kids giggled above me again, leaning over to put their hands back on the board. Concerned for their safety, I jammed my fingers alongside the sides of the light-board and heaved, scooting the light about 4 ft from the children as the monster was practically atop me.
The darkness surged past me, my world closing fast as the teeth shut tight. Sound stopped, time fell by the wayside. I felt my soul drop out of me, that my grand adventure in a life beyond death had come to a close so quickly. I just wanted to be a part of that life once more, to experience things, even for a little while. I wanted life. I wanted to influence. I wanted something better then getting eaten by an enormous mutating demon just below a glowing Ouija board controlled by wee children. Even in the four and a half minutes I had been reanimated, I knew that was pretty screwed up.
My eyes closed as the momentum of attack burst through hell, exploding into the real realm of life, snapping the Ouija board in half and taking the doorway to hell with it. I felt my soul fade, falling back, becoming nothing once again until I was unable to form even a simple thought. I became emptiness, just an eraser mark on the page, wilting away to something resembling a tiny vein of myself which pulsed and fought for existence in the vast chasm of the demon's soul.
Without rhyme, I felt myself coming together loosely, mostly based on one factor: Those eyes. Those damn blue eyes; stared at me accusingly. Even when my soul faded away, that awful memory kept me strung along. I could feel my existence pulse alive once more as I gained a tiny bit of control, my head full of visions that I could only process as the ones around me. The demon, horrible and bloodthirsty thing it was, controlled the body, I had little more to say in the matter then a passenger might on an airplane. It stumbled about in confusion, giving the kids time to escape to some houses down the street, away from the unlucky homes that bordered the cemetery. I watched the kids go through its eyes, I could hear those ravenous thoughts, with our two souls squatting protectively in the same mind. It took a few steps in their direction.
"Hey! You already ate today!" I threatened in my non-existence, to the portion of the demon brain I seemed to be linked with now. It curled and hissed at me as I held tight, trying to keep the demon from going anywhere. It suddenly shut down the visions of the world around me one after the other, shutting down my options, my thoughts, locked me away. I felt my existence fade to nothingness once more as the demon began to march towards the house closest to the cemetery, wild and no longer in my control.