From Imaginary Ripples · Stories

Solitary I: Freedom through Damnation

The ritual takes place in a dark room. Darker than rooms could normally be, the blackness is oppressive and if you didn’t know that the room was a scant 3×3 you’d be forgiven for believing that it stretched on into eternity. A flicker of light suddenly breaks the oppressive dark, followed by the light of a candle. It takes you some seconds to realise the oddity of the candle. It doesn’t flicker and it’s light doesn’t’ seem to reach far beyond itself. Even the floor at the base of the candle is only scantly illuminated., the wall, which can be no more than a metre from the candle remains invisible. The candle itself is made of thick black wax and has a pair of red crosses on it. One on the side facing the wall and the other on the side facing the centre of the room. Again there is a flicker of light and another candle, identical to the first becomes visible. Another 6 flickers occur, 6 more identical candles lit. A red circle is now illuminated on the floor, strangely nothing else is visible. The solid red line on the floor and the candles are all that is visible. You can’t even see your own hand. Aware of it only when you pass it in front of your face and it obscures the vision to the circle and candles.

The Mystic, or at least a figure in brown robes that seem to absorb the light and yet reflect it all at the same time, steps into the circle and starts chanting. It’s a rhythmic chant that seems to draw attention into itself. Even if you tried you would be unable to ignore it, it seems almost as if the words themselves are things of mighty power. The room seems to shrink, such that the only thing that exists is the circle, the candles, the robed man and the words. Even though you know you stand in the room, it seems to you that you are not, if you were able to dwell on the idea you would come to the conclusion that you were not standing anywhere, that you did not exist, the only things that exist are the red line that marks the circle, the candles, the robed man and the words.

The chant increases in tempo and volume. The words seem to draw power from all that surrounds them. Suddenly a sharp pain screams at you from just behind your forehead, a stabbing sharp pain as if something in there is desperately trying to tear it’s way out. Without knowing why you step into the circle. The world seems to ripple around you as you pass the red line. And then pain abates. The chanting continues, growing louder and more frantic. Something wet and sticky drips across your cheek and it is with some shock that you realise that your forehead bleeds from no apparent wound.

A wooden chalice, previously invisible in the centre of the circle, is lifted up by the robed man. His chanting has stopped but the world seems to reverberate with the power of the words and their faint after echo remains. He holds the chalice above his head with both hands and speaks a trio of words that though spoken softly and delicately seem to scream like thunder and tear through your eardrums. He lowers the chalice and within it you see a crystal blue liquid, it seems to shine and contains a hundred thousand specks of light, that are both specks of light floating within the liquid and merely reflections of the starscape above you at the same time.

He holds the chalice in his right hand and reaches towards your forehead with his left. He scrapes his fingers along your forehead, his palm perpendicular to your face and moving from left to right he collects much of your seeping blood. He passes the bloodied hand over the chalice and squeezes much of the blood into the liquid. We’re it hits boils silently for a moment and seems to spread a midnight blue ink throught the fluid shattering the lights, distorting and hiding them behind the darkness that glows. Offering it up to your mouth with both hands he pours it down your throat. It tastes sublime on your tongue, better than the freshest, most potent blood you have ever encountered. It tastes rich like it is more than just a drink, like it is more than mere liquid. It’s a thick fluid that vitalises yet exhausts every part of your mouth that it touches, and thick as it is it flows readily, down your throat without you having to swallow. As it passes down your throat you raise your head to the sky and half scream, half howl as the liquid sears your throat. A pressure seems to build up inside you, as your forehead starts to bleed anew, forcing the unwanted blood out of you. The pressure increase until your eyes feel as if they are going to explode, your throat burns worse than any flame you have encountered and the world seems to collapse in on itself as the pain grows to extravagant heights. Your vision dims and finally blackens, your last thoughts encompass nothing more than the exquisite pain.

You have no idea how long has passed when you awaken. Your forehead shows no marks, and the only indicators that anything has occurred is the loss of some blood, the slight burning after taste of the liquid and the loss of your infatuation with Luke Miller, something that has been replaced purely with a desire for revenge.

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