Here's My Short Story. Hope You Like!
An Incident Between Two Pillars
The Great Awakening
6:00 to 6:15 PM
On a Wednesday night in his sophomore year, Joseph Hochschule awoke to find himself in dark woods. He was instantly chilled by the gloom of the night air. The cloud-veiled and an all but lightless moon disturbed him as it kept a steady, skeptical stare. Joseph’s eyes finally came into a more perceptive focus and he gazed at the trees looming and crowding in around him. They cast jet-black silhouettes against a deep royal blue sky, like ominous statues on a Roman plaza, mocking his ignorance as they mocked his poor vision in the sunless woods. Those trees were not known to his eyes. They were like trees of any other sort: a trunk; branches; leaves; roots, but he had not seen this particular type of tree before. Or, at least, he could not think of a time he had seen them. The more he gazed, the more he realized he had not set eyes on them before, yet they were as familiar to him as his dead mother’s face, like they were an image from his childhood.
The Path Less Traveled
6:15 to 6:30 PM
Joseph slowly came to his feet. His caution seemingly unwarranted as the ground was even.Yet he felt as though he ought not to disrupt the silent atmosphere surrounding him. Slowly, cautiously, he came to his feet and groped through the trees until he found himself on a small, but distinct path that wandered through the vegetation.
Standing in the center of this sylvan alleyway, Joseph pondered as to which direction he would take. He had never seen these woods before, let alone this path through them, yet he felt as though the way to the right was one whose originality had been worn, and to the left there was a freshness and enigmatic attraction. Softly, he treaded down the path not knowing where it would take him, or from where it was taking him.
6:30 to 7:00 PM
The path finally led Joseph to an open, rolling meadow. The Moon’s light was stronger here in the clear and crisp night. The flowers of the meadow gave off a luminescence from the moon’s glow that dazzled him as the cold air carried their sweet aroma to him and pleased him. It was so strong he could even taste the scent as he breathed. But neither the leaves on the trees or the glowing grasses and flowers swayed from the slightest hint of a breeze, nor was a sound heard, save his gaited breath and the rhythm of his own heart.
Then, so subtle that it was barely audible, Joseph heard a murmur in the stillness. He strained and finally saw a small head bopping up and down behind the mounds that rose and fell on the far side of the meadow. He ran to the middle of the meadow just in time to see a child, a boy, skipping along and recede into an opening in the trees.
As he approached the opening, he could hear the boy speaking. He could then hear several other voices, he thought three, chanting in the calm of the night. “Finally,” he thought “I can be with people once more.” And he was relieved to see the boy standing by a tall, broad-shouldered young man who seemed to be about Joseph’s age.
At a glance, the opening seemed like the ruins of an old church that was tucked into the woods long ago. All that stood now was a stone archway about ten feet tall and what remained of a wall, now rising no more than three feet from the ground.
In the hazy dark, Joseph saw the pale-skinned boy sitting on the wall and the fair young man in the archway leaning on a pillar that must have once held tons. Joseph was eager to talk with this mysterious duo and ask where he was and how he might find his way home.
Joseph’s relief then turned to awe. There, standing in the presence of the boy and the man, was a glorious being like a spirit speaking with the young man. He stood upright and moved with the grace and majesty of an eagle on a gentle breeze. His glowing white robe had an ancient crest of a sword of fire and large leaf and came down past his feet so that it seemed he did not step but rather levitated to and fro while he conversed with the other three. This person was not glowing white, or even translucent, but he gave off such a golden aura that it comforted Joseph and, yet, at the same time, gave him an unfamiliar pang of shame.
As if that was not enough for Joseph to handle already, his awe was forgotten and his heart seemed to give one final, resounding and labored beat as he laid eyes on a huge, humanoid, but beastly creature, resting on his haunches by the boy. Only the large, padded toes on his feet touched the ground as the rest of his feet were tipped up making his bulky, sinewy legs that much longer and, seemingly; regrettably, making him quite a fast sprinter. He had a torso like Atlas that came into a huge chest and hulking shoulders that came up above his thick neck. His whole body was covered in a bronze pelt and around his waist was what was left of a regal purple pantaloons that must have once been luxurious but were nothing more now than shredded rags: a ragged memory of a time past. He hunched over with his spiky ears perked and his muzzle pointed directly toward the spirit who now called the congregation to an attentive hush.
Though his ears rang with terror, Joseph could still make-out their mantra:
“Waste Not, Want Not, Dreams Sought, Wars Fought
The naiveté of the first becomes the Fall
The greed of one makes misery for all
Blood Pool, Bellies Full, Rabid Drool, Thou Fool!
Nip that bud before it may flower
Else its petals wield too great a power
Spilt Aroma, Mental Coma
Please, think for me; I can't bear to
Regulated Life, No More Strife
I sign my mind away to you”
The chant seemed to mean something different to each that chanted. On certain stanzas, one of them always seemed to not be speaking for themselves, save the child who did not seem to understand.
The child was quick to be the first to speak and the four started to converse as associates do from years of familiarity. Joseph watched on from the shadows as the curious quartet built a fire and conversed as like minds would do round a cozy fire. They did well to cover up the tensions that lay between them, and Joseph did well to keep himself hidden.
7:00 to 7:30 PM
Joseph thought of a night when he was twelve years of age. His mother and father sat facing each other, placing the length of the old oak table between them. Joseph had been placed in the middle, but had shifted slightly closer to his father and peered at him while he spoke:
“Look, honey, I think you… we have a problem. I was talking with Dr. Klaus Barbie, you know, from the center, and he thinks you may benefit from taking medication. It wouldn’t necessarily be anything permanent and it wouldn’t change you, it just, you know, be a temporary thing… ‘til we can get through this.”
Joseph’s mother and he had never been close, as much as she tried to enter her son’s distant world. Often, he remembered, his mother would sit Joseph down, distracting him from his readings of Dante, Milton, tales of heroes like Samson, Achilles Oedipus and Van-Helsing and from his favorite book of the Bible: Apocalypse. She would pry him to know why he was so quiet. He would not squirm, but he would not speak of anything troubling him because Joseph was not a quiet child, as his mother supposed, he simply had no want to talk to her and her nagging was most unwelcome to him at the time.
Joseph’s father did not want to actually put Joseph’s mother on medication like he said he should. Joseph had made his father feel bound to his words though. If anything, it was just to protect his son from exposure to the darker side of the human psyche.
“The Little Red Primer for Children and Diplomats”
7:30 to 8:30 PM
Joseph looked up from what he pondered in his heart to observe his new acquaintances. The beast was speaking privately with the boy. The boy affectionately called him “Abbadon.” Abbadon seemed to have thoroughly enraptured the boy in a tale as his massive arms flowed expressively as a maestro conducting “A Night on Bald Mountain” and his radiant eyes seemed to tug at one’s very soul.
Joseph moved over a bit closer to hear. As he did so, Abbadon revealed a little red book and read from it. From it he recounted an epic tale of how Abbadon had once been one of five princes. They had been slighted by their father and king to please his new queen who was not nearly as strong or intelligent as they were and, logically, should have held a higher place of honor. They left the kingdom out of disdain for the silly woman. They rejoiced in their new freedom and, together with all those that followed them, created their own paradise. They ruled this paradise, which lies farther down the path they were yet to travel and to the left, for not long at all when Abbadon had been cast-out by the eldest of his four brothers along with all those loyal to him. His brother, Abbadon said, had become a slave to his daughter and deformed son.
Abbadon closed the book slowly, put his paw on the boy’s shoulder, leaned closer to him and told him of a prophecy of how a servant loyal to Abbadon was to rally his people and that she was coming to lead him to them so that he and his people may create their own paradise. Abbadon leaned closer to the boy: “…but that wanna-be hero-boy, champ over there might be a spy for my brother who is afraid that I may act on another prophecy that has been written. I need you to bind his hands when you two sleep so that he does not hurt the pretty girl coming to fetch me. If you do this for me I will let you reign as prince in my new paradise. No longer when the choice comes will you have to choose to go on the path to the right or the one to the left. You will be able to transcend the meager choices given you to serve either one of two masters. You will rule yourself in my kingdom and serve nobody but yourself in true freedom.”
8:30 to 11:30 PM
The two that seemed to be human, the boy and “champ,” articulated their fleshy fatigue and laid-down below the archway of the old church to rest while the beast and the spirit went off into the dark woods for whatever reasons they did not say and did not care to say.
Joseph looked at the face of the young man as his face grew tranquil in his slumber. He remembered how his mother’s face, though slack, was not tranquil. She would merely sit and mumble in her chair facing toward the door. Her head would bow from time to time like an elderly parent, grown feeble and senile with age and neglect, will park themselves at the entrance way to their nursing homes hoping to God that someone, anyone, will come to show them that they have not been forgotten- as it is when the still young who, for whatever reasons, do come to visit their quarantined elders, those whom they stride past in indifference will hang their heads again in pangs of shame or rejection. He remembered how she would face the door as he came home from school and she would mumble and he would walk by.
The Pinnacle of Five Hills
11:30 PM to Midnight
A young man woke from a peaceful slumber to hear a woman whisper a scream with such desperation he felt a flash of chill run from his very spine through his bulky shoulders and arms to his very fingertips and pulse at his wrists. A spirit then rushed to him and told him that all that they hold dear and sacred was about to be destroyed unless he could save her.
The Spirit had gone off in search of a savior, a Madonna. There had been many false Madonna’s before. Some were poor excuses for the real thing, while others seemed to reflect much of her famed glory with beautiful faces, graceful ways and diadems on their crowns. All of them, though they false, were seduced by Abbadon and departed in shame and tears. He did not know who this truth would be, what she would look like or what she would do. Only that she would bring about many changes in the traveling party and that they would meet her at this stage in the path.
At the source of the scream was a girl. She had awoken to find herself in someone else’s dark woods. Gracefully, she meandered where she felt compelled to so tenderly tread and looked, looked only from want to see. She saw such a bright moon, but it did not seem to lighten the dark woods. She saw great trees that grew with outstretched branches like crosses, but whose roots had gnarled. She a path traveled only once before that split in two. She saw a boy, she saw a spirit, she saw a beast, she saw a champion. She saw Joseph and she smiled.
Joseph had been recounting his childhood. He remembered when he had lied to his father and his mother’s medication was increased. Each jagged little pill seemed to suck the life from her until one day she did not take them anymore. She had no need for medication. So, she lay down below the iconostasis and said her goodbyes in silence from her bed that would take her to paradise and let her husband and son live in their own that they had made.
Joseph stood-up and saw a beautiful girl smiling at him. She traipsed through the tall, waving grass and emerged onto the leaf strewn forest edge like a goddess rising from the sea. He saw her move and was captivated by her beauty. He longed to bury his face in her flowing locks of hair and breather her in- breather in all that he saw- he wanted all that he saw in her. He saw her perfection, but then he saw a shadow.
He saw her graceful legs come-out from underneath her as she flew. He saw her gorgeous body twist. He saw as her soft and elegant neck was torn and bright crimson streamed down her neck to her soft hands and her supple breasts. He saw as her sapphire eyes teared. He saw and her mouth still smiling warmly and witnessed her lips quiver like a faint whisper.
“Hero” stood-up to see a beautiful girl with a smile that should have blinded her assailant. He saw and made to rush to save her from that beast but found that his hands had been bound. He watched helplessly from his knees, his palms reaching for the heavens, as Abbadon tore at her throat, ravaged her and left to let the blood drain from her gorgeous, writhing body that was now swashing in a muddy pool of dark maroon that gleamed moistly in the bright light of the cynical moon. He braced himself as Abbadon rushed for him and the snarling beast lunged at his throat. He let out one last cry and the beast clung to him, digging its talons in deep. His muscles strained and his whole body labored as he tugged and pulled at his bindings. Every muscle in his face contorted from effort as very muscle in his body was made taut in his effort and his heart pounded. A stream of blood flowed from his wrists where he was bound by the boy’s seven bowstrings between the two pillars. The pillars shifted. Then they rocked. They rocked back and rocked again. Then, in one terrifying motion of power they were wrenched from their foundation letting the stone archway come crashing down on both him and Abbadon. He sighed one last warm breathe that curled into the frosty air like smoke as the two lay crushed flesh and bone beneath the immense stones.
The Morning After
Joseph awoke to find a girl like a dream cradled beside him twixt the two beams that were his dorm room bunk bed. He remembered he knew her and realized they were now no longer two lost souls meandering on a circuitous albeit aimless trek. They were like an orchestra that harmonized to the beautiful music of Puccini. He caressed her face as she peacefully slept and kissed her lips ever so softly she did not wake, but nonetheless she still smiled. Then he had a thought. He peered at her. From the recesses of his very consciousness came an emotion like a great abyss. His body twitched. She opened her eyes and he saw his own reflection in them looming at him. He peered straight through them and into his own. They were radiant. He tried to look away, but they seemed to tug at his very soul.
 Nathanael XXXXXXXX, 2001 (original)