Chilling me to my core
Echoing through my tenuous grip on consciousness
Eliciting bile to rise from the dregs of my hollow empty stomach
I began to dry heave,
Though as tremble-y as I'd been up to this point
I doubt any of those present noticed the difference
Sick dread throbbing and growing, I began to feel desperate
Violent thoughts and images filled my mind,
Urges to commit the foulest of atrocities
Darkened visions of cleaving all in my path into bloody puddles of carnage,
My perma-rage brewing just below the surface of my pale skin,
The diaphanous blue tint sparking like static electricity,
Fury simmering, swirling, rising,
Forming slick beaded rivulets of sweat,
All clinging to my fevered skin
Like the cold dead fingers of the newly deceased men I would soon have to eat
Scenes from some old b-flick I saw on a channel that wasn't supposed to exist
Drifted in, an old man cackling, wielding a butcher knife,
"You kill what you eat, or you don't eat..."
Forcing his son's young new bride to choose between
Joining him on a cannibalistic killing spree
Or starving to death chained up next to the newly rotting corpse of his son
Whom he'd accidentally killed the day before
That movie had kept me awake for two days straight
It had been called "Flesh of the Dead, Fresh"
In my mind's eye that creepy old guy was the first to fall prey to my new killer appetite,
Images of what went next flooded my head
I saw myself slaughtering and eating everyone I'd ever known
In quick methodical slice and dicery of a gourmet chef
And the delighted wild eyed slurping of the viciously hungry monster
Who relishes nothing more than the daily grind of kill and eat
Becoming nothing else,
It frightened me just how appealing that suddenly sounded
Drinking in a blood bath, playing with my food,
Passing out atop a pile of corpses
Having to bury some of those who fell victim to my eyes being bigger than my stomach
And feeding the rest to half formed wriggly zombie pets later in the week,
For the first time I truly saw the horror of what it was to be undead
Vile skullcrusher, eat and kill, try and fill that gaping void,
For the first time I hated the Elohim -
For the indentureship I so eagerly accepted from them
I allowed myself in that moment, facing my nightmare
To revile and curse them, to regret what they had brought into me,
It felt off but I wallowed in it, reveling in the rush of rebellion,
No mere servant I'd told them yet,
Now it seemed I was to be less than the lowest slave
Ground into the corpses beneath the feet of the gods,
This could not be allowed to slide, my heart screamed,
Dwelling on the morbid idea of seeking revenge on the Elohim,
A scenario played out in my head where I attempted just that,
It was over fast, I was liquefied by divine lightening in three seconds flat
That released some of the steam that was building,
It seemed as though fire trickled down my limbs,
But I could not be sure, the sensation was gone before I could verify it,
A light engulfed wispy silhouette danced at the corner of my mind,
Whispering to me,
"There is a purpose in these moments, Gillian,
But do not hate that which brought them to you,
You like all things must be tested, catalyzed, and moved into place."
Abandoning that train of thought, as I'd been entreated to,
Yet another scenario unfolded -
I saw the flaming skeletons of the Lake of Fire swarming in on me
Scream song echoing out of the agape mouths of the hosts
"For your wasted life this is more than you deserve,
Foolish earth beastie, to think the supreme in deity
Desired anything from one so lowly and pathetical as you
You are not fit to serve as our temple maiden
You are even less worthy to take up the rightful duties of the Elim
To take up our mantle and our holy quest
As if one so weak as you could ever give them all
The spanking, the bitch slap they all so fiercely deserve
You'll be less than a footnote in the annals of time"
Then a whisper in the fire-crackled brittle wind "the Akashic Records"
It was the same voice as that which issued from the silhouette moments ago,
Azrael's eyes swam before me,
The scream song ass-whipping continued,
"You won't even be a proper undead
Your apathy, your wastefulness, it has been much time since you were enquested
Your failure, you've managed to give no epic spankings,
You've managed only to get captured
And when this is over Kirion will be given your anger to feed upon
Until you're drained and less than a shell
Your undead corpse re-deposited in the Lake of Fire
Until your soul is fully devoured,
Souls take awhile to digest
Kirion ate one of those once; she says they're worse than her cookies...."
Next I was aware only of Azrael's proximity, of being vigorously shaken
"Snap out of it Gillian,"
For a moment all I saw was Azrael's wickedly gorgeous face
Eyes ablaze with concern, tenderness
More than anyone should ever expect out of the ruler of Hell
Not for the first time I wondered what it was about me that held his attention
Engendered his tolerance, eased his loneliness,
What made him look at me and think, "Hmm if not for her species,
Her inability to bear my heir, I'd probably have married her already,"
My brain felt hazy, dizzy, rippled
Things were falling back into focus, but clarity was still low
I'd let my mind take over and had little clue what had
Transpired outside of my mad mental wanderings
There were small signs, claw marks on Azrael's face
Astromena, her minion and Miradra had moved closer
All were uncomfortable, fidgety,
Hekyl and Mikot now in the corridor archway, daggers drawn, ready to pounce
I shook, hunger gnawed grotesquely at my innards,
The weird viral thing in my blood writhed and prickered
My rage marched under my skin ready for war
Sweat poured down my brow and the fire-light from above
Shimmered over the whole of Lake Pit 12
The silence was heavy
Azrael released me, his face resuming the usual mask of calm indifference
"That was an interesting reaction Gillian,
If I didn't know better I'd say you'd just been possessed by a demon,"
He turned away from me and closed in on the witch
Towering over her, she cowered,
But I saw the light of lust bursting in her perky little downcast violet eyes
If no one else did
My anger centered on her for a time, straining to hear what Az had to say to her
His voice was low, menacing, compelling,
"You are completely certain there is no alternative first meal?
Lie to me and I will kill you without hesitation,
I could really care less about your unequaled skills,
Irreplaceable or not,
I'll tolerate zero betrayal from you,"
She backed away, alarmed, evidently he'd never issued so blunt a threat to her before now
She gulped and went on, her tone duller, lacking its usual flair,
"There is no alternative first meal that I know of,
In truth, I am not even certain there is any alternative in her subsequent meals,
It is her breed sire we need to be asking,
Science, alchemy and magic only say so much, master,
Her breed sire, whoever it is, masks much from my divinations,"
Azrael closed the distance,
"Your clever wording only covers your ass a little Mena,"
Azrael spared no glance for me as he abruptly strode over to Miradra
They went deeper into the hallway to convene with a six-pack of minions newly arrived,
Mena's minion engaged Hekyl and Mikot in conversation, as they sheathed their weapons,
Pointing briefly at his Papa Smurf band-aid, probably bragging about how he got it
My dark gaze fell upon Mena
Her head tilted as she rubbed her palms together
I strained against my chains wanting a pound of her flesh
Very greatly wanting to kill the messenger
She grinned wolfishly, glanced behind herself then approached me,
"Not at all concerned I might tear a chunk out of you," I rasped,
"Not at all," she confirmed in a low voice, clearly not wishing to be overheard,
"As you can tell I would love to kill you as much as you'd love to kill me,
But your mystery is too enticing,
And I must know how deep it runs, Chicken Little,
Also I am more than confident I'll win Azrael's marriage bed,
He's not an easy conquest, but one more than worth making,
You have nothing to compete with,
He needs an heir from legit wedlock,
And you are undead, you've no fruit to bear,
Maybe if you amuse me I'll let him keep you as a pet once we're wed,
You amuse me so far,"
My only response a growl,
"Simmer down kitten, for now we are allies,"
She kissed my cheek chastely
And slipped a few items into the side pockets of my burlap sack dress
"Life is nothing without interesting challenges no?"
She walked backwards to her former position as Azrael returned to the pit room solo
Hekyl and Mikot drew attention,
Mena's minion fell silent, giving me a tremulous grin,
Pinning Mena with a fierce look Azrael said,
"Now before you go, have you anything you wish to disclose?
Hmmm, maybe some important detail you've neglected to tell me?"
Astromena gave a low curtsey, "Nothing comes to mind Highness,
The results of Gillian's tests are very thoroughly outlined in my report,"
Az replied, "Very well then. Your performance has been acceptable.
Leave now," dismissal coupled with an indifferent shooing hand gesture,
I knew without doubt Azrael would pour through that report with a fine tooth comb soon
Facing me then, Azrael's face was impassive, unreadable
Giving away no secrets, though I knew there were more than enough to go around
Mena cast one last hot gaze at his backside,
Then winked at me before heading towards the corridor exit
She stopped stiffly holding very still,
I knew she was eyeing the gilt red flame sword again
It probably offered a great delectable mystery up to her as I did,
Maybe she even recognized it on some level
Snapping out of her perusal
She turned back towards me as if to say the Hell with discreet exits
In a thunderous burst of purple flame and smoke she and her minion vanished
Leaving behind a vaporous crimson after glow
Its tendrils wrapping around Azrael like an ominous warning,
A sinister Devil's Halo,
Throwing his face in shadow, his eyes sucking in all the reflective light
Burning like violently hot embers
In that moment I became aware of just how much of me was attracted to his darkness,
Hanging there from the chains convulsing with hunger, rage and madness
Seething with lust for the comfortingly sinister image he presented;
I'd fallen hard for him these past 150 or so years of dreamplay
And I could not erase this knowledge of how I'd been changed by both,
It and my stay in the Lake of Fire,
Darkness had been such a miniscule part of who I was until I came to Hell,
Here this side of myself had been amplified to an extreme
Pulled to the forefront, cultivated, nurtured, allowed to grow,
Though I loathed the idea of letting it consume me and play me like a puppet bitch
It was now very large in me and I knew it would remain eternally
It hungered on its own,
Autonomous from the hunger of my belly, and harder to fight
Even if I did eat this fresh dead guy they were surely fetching for me...
So the choice is this be the monster and eat the man they bring,
According to Mena it may not end with that one time,
Or be the monster and gobble up any and everybody I can get my crazed teeth into
In a way they seemed almost the same
Both horrifying and appealing at once
Would it be so bad to lose myself?
I never much liked myself
Azrael swooped in on me then breaking my train wreck of thought
Gripping my chin, he dismissed Hekyl and Mikot, who obeyed instantly
And began speaking to me fervently,
"Don't go! Stay lucid.
I know it's tempting to give in,
To cross the threshold willingly, Gillian,
But don't! Please...you...
You'll lose all your control and hate yourself more than you already do,
I don't know why I even care. I see this kind of shit day in day out
And it's less than nothing, but for some fucking reason
I don't want that for you.
For some insane reason you bring out some sort of unholy tenderness in me
Comfort me on some basic bone deep level,
I should have removed you from that stupid Lake
A hundred years ago when I realized I'd never have enough of you,
It eats souls you know,
Takes like a thousand years to digest an innocent soul,
Barely a hundred for a dirty soul,
But I think maybe it ate a little too much of your soul
For you to ever be whole again,
And I'm such a bastard for allowing that to continue until you forced my hand,
But then again I'm supposed to be the ultimate in evil,
Really, I'm just some jackass who likes to read who got saddled with the job
Because my father is king and suddenly disappears several hundred years ago,
Fuck, you have too much power over me,"
As though I'd forced him to reveal far more than he'd intended,
He pushed me away, retreating back to his usual spot next to the entrance
He was silent, hatred and adoration simmering in his gaze
His body trembling as he fought to get back his mellow
Fingers adorned in armor raked threw his hair
My inner rage boiled to the surface,
Fighting my chains, I screamed every flavorful obscenity I could think of at him,
Then I rasped, "You let me fall for you because you can tolerate me!
I have too much power over you! Look what you've done to me, you fuck!
You're right I'll never be whole, but who even cares, I've never been whole
I don't even know what that looks like! I've always been nothing,
Empty, lost, a walking corpse, and
Your shredding crew was years late to come collect my soul
Which you threw away so casually, oh and now you want it back
It's too late, whatever we could have had is something different now
Because while you were too much of a pussy to just come and fetch me
The minute you wanted to
Somebody else came along and made me what I am now!
Now I have to eat people probably for the rest of my freaking afterlife,
How do you think that's going to change me?!
You think I'm less than what I was already what do you think that's gonna make me?!
What's even the fucking difference between the two, huh?!
Oh that's right, one way I'm your eager plaything
And the other I barely remember your name! Well fu-"
He closed the distance faster than I could even see and
Shut me up with a sultry mind bending kiss,
After which I could only make a vowel sound or two
"Shh, Gillian, you'll give yourself a headache,
What do you want me to say? Huh?
All I've got is - I've taken precautions,
I won't let you be destroyed by eating this guy,
I'll find some light for you.
I'll find something else for you to eat,
You won't have to eat people more than the once,
I promise, even if I have to tear the universe apart to make it so,"
He kissed me again, "I will keep you, you are mine,
Even if I have to marry another to make my heir,
It is you who has me by my shorthairs, and no other,
They'll be nothing, you'll be all,"
I looked him in his blazing dark eyes, "Shorthairs maybe, but not your heart,
Azrael those are pretty promises, sort of, but you shouldn't make
Promises you can't keep, promises you don't even understand,"
I paused then blurted a theory
Which had been forming since that silhouette chick whispered to me,
"Besides, to you only getting your hands on the Akashic Records
Truly means anything,"
Azrael was floored, "How do you know what I'm after?!"
I smiled wearily, "The Akashic Records were whispered to me in the wind
And you were the only person who came to mind,
And you just confirmed my theory,"
His fists dropped to his side, "Oh. In the wind.
The Akashic Realm must have called out to you,"
He stared at the floor for a bit and then looked back at me,
Eyes heavy with sorrow and excitement,
"I'm so jealous. They never call to me though I try to reach out to them.
It's true, all my existence that's all I've ever cared about,
Until you came along,
Since the first time I heard of them,
I wanted nothing more than to find the Akashic Records,
My Holy Grail, yeah you have my number pegged.
Until you that was the only thing that ever held any real interest for me."
Then like a pouty little boy, "Why can't I have both?"
I grinned viciously my fangs bared,
"I think you know why...besides you'd only ever be able to have me a little anyways,
You'd never be satisfied by that, no one would..."
Az grabbed my head, "I will have all of you!"
My head drooped, "See that's what I mean, but it just isn't possible,"
"Why not Gillian?"
I snapped, "Oh you mean besides the fact that you'd have to marry somebody else?!"
He seemed chastised, but held onto his wish anyways,
"I will keep you."
"There are other obstacles, Az," I whispered.
He gripped my hair tighter, "The Akashic Realm calling out to you?
It was warning you, maybe. I get it.
You're thinking it wants you to keep me away from it.
You have no proof. Who's to say I'm even a threat to it? You?
I like to think you know me better than that... don't burst all my bubbles..."
I curled my fist on his chest,
"It's a possibility real enough to not be taken lightly.
But it's just a blip on the radar of what stands in our way,
I'm certain we were meant to be enemies,
It's just some random freak accident that I love you and you can tolerate me,"
Azrael's grip on my hair grew painful, I looked up at him,
"Why do you say it like that?!" he asked desperately,
"I more than tolerate you...wait- you love me?!"
I blushed and looked away stammering,
"Yes, I uh, I do, I love you...fuckhead..."
Yeah, that lacked grace...
He looked confused, lost even,
I got the impression no one had ever said that to him
My heart broke a little,
He looked around as though thinking really, really hard,
Guess I'd introduced a new concept to him,
"Wait I think I heard of that!"
He then actually pulled a little book out of his pocket,
My jaw would have hit the floor if such things were possible,
It was a pocket dictionary,
"Love, love, love, ah there it is..."
He read, my eyebrows shot up,
"Hmm, well that seems somewhat inconclusive..." he muttered,
Then he showed it to me there were multiple entries for the word,
Pretty thorough for a pocket dictionary,
Must have been a huge dictionary magicked to fit in a pocket,
I pointed to the one I meant,
He smiled but didn't really seem to grasp it,
I murmured, "Well, uh the definition falls a little short of what it means,
It's a very intense emotion...that made it sound...well, simple,"
His brow furrowed, "It's an emotion I don't think exists in Hell...normally,
There was one definition
That indicated it was how God felt for his creatures...
I suppose that would likely make it scarce here...
Come to think of it though,
I don't have a clue if there really is a god in Heaven...
Seems like something I should know
Considering I'm widely rumored to be at war with him...
Um, maybe, if you told me it's opposite I might understand better,"
He blushed like a school girl, looking distinctly awkward,
I briefly wondered myself if there was a god in Heaven,
If there was He had no mercy for me,
Actually having to explain love to the devil
Whom I'd managed to fall in love with
That was just cruel, maybe there wasn't one there
The Elohim and the Elim are definitely deities, gods...
But if there was a literal devil like so many believe,
Then I supposed that their god may also exist
Albeit perhaps separately from the deities who'd contacted me
Or maybe it was the same deity they called God...uh
My head throbbed ferociously
Trying to figure out theistic realities seemed rougher than
Helping Az to know what I meant by I love you,
I blurted out, "Hate! That's its opposite..."
Azrael looked impressed, but still thrown,
"I must seem pretty naive to you,"
He grumbled, "I have been very sheltered by this stupid royalty crap...,
So the opposite of hate huh? Maybe that's how I feel about you too...
No wonder I'm so screwed up by it,
Born and bred in Hell. What's for breakfast?
Oh it's hate flakes! Yes, again. But uunnhh I had that yesterday..."
Ah crap, that was too freaking adorable, I am so a goner,
Gazing into my eyes,
There reflected was fear, lots of fear,
Yet shimmering somewhere in all his terror,
Even if he didn't fully understand love -
He did feel it for me and he wanted more
My fear was just as palpable, just as deep,
It differed in that I knew what it meant
And I had much more to fear than just the freakish intensity and vulnerability
That was part and parcel of love,
I knew who pulled my strings,
What they wanted out of me,
I knew Mena had designs on him,
She is the kind of girl who plays down and dirty,
I knew in my gut he and I were destined to be enemies,
That is upon that path before us, cold and unyielding
I knew his situation was inescapable,
He was just as indentured as I
Though his was dressed up fancy in robes of royalty
We were right to fear,
Our situation beyond complex,
I saw no way out of it,
Not with both of us intact,
My thoughts jumbled, swirled, weaving in and out
Through images and stray words, visions perhaps,
My mind wandering down paths to come and paths behind
Seeking solutions, insight, anything to hold onto
Then came a bright culmination point within them,
All strands passing through it
Such clarity I'd never before known,
For a brief instant I was there,
Reaching out towards strange book-like objects
The silhouetted girl from before was reaching for me,
Then I was again looking into Azrael's puzzled face,
In that moment of utter clarity my thirst for vengeance tasted as ashes in my mouth
Vengeance though still appealing had lost some of its flavor
Some of its urgency
My rage flared pushing through my veins in abhorrence,
Abhorrence of what had become of...everything
Yes, I would serve like a good little temple maiden
But for far different reasons than before my stay in Lake Pit 12
Before vengeance held me in thrall, as did the rage,
This rage is now no longer only my own, I was certain,
The vaguery of my indentureship, what my quest entailed was now clearer
I pledged my service for the reward of glorious vengeance
And a corporeal undead and powerful form,
The means to escape the Lake of Fire and for a purpose driven after-life
Vengeance pales in comparison to that which became clear at that culmination point,
The knowledge, absolute and pure, that everyone
They genuinely need this,
They need the chaos I must unleash in my quest,
They need it to survive what has been done in the absence of the divine
It is necessary to make them strong enough to survive
Both the damage done and the re-integration of the undiluted presence of the divine
What had been for several millennia was so watered down by comparison
That the current generations were in no way prepared for the undiluted version
None would survive,
Not a single solitary life form, creature, soul, plant, rock or star
As they presently are they are all far too weak, complacent, decadent,
And I emphasize - fragile
The Elohim and their Elim would return
The consequences of not returning
And of returning while the cosmos was still in this frail state
Were the same, total and complete obliteration of all existence
Including the Elohim and the Elim
Who will slip back into that dangerously unstable and volatile dreamstate
If I do not provide the conditions and conduits for their return in time
To prevent their unraveling
As go the Elohim, so goes the universe
Though their methods seem cruel, insane and disconnectedly mysterious
For a moment there I glimpsed the demystified and pure undiluted
Connected patterns and inner workings of the fabric of existence
I no longer had to merely believe their ways were worth it
I now knew beyond shadow of doubt
My sense of purpose renewed and strengthened
After what I'd just seen now peering back into Azrael's face
Was perplexing and outlandish, his sinister beauty called out to me
His heart worn in his eyes,
More vulnerable and nakedly exposed than he'd ever before allowed himself to be
His fragile sense of wonder, light and love, laid raw before me,
He was trusting me, as he'd never trusted another,
And his eyes begged me not to abandon him
Intensity flooded me
There was nothing in me that even wanted to fight it
It was worth too much
I would do more than my mission
I would set Azrael free
I would make for him a fairy tale,
Show him what lies beyond what he had witnessed in our dreamplay
Reaching up I placed my hand on his cheek
Vowing internally to hold him aloft
I could never resist his pull...
Gently I whispered, "You are mine..."
But before I could promise him anything more
My gut clenched up, my insides seized upon me as though turning me inside out
I heard Azrael yelling a denial, calling my name
But I was slipping away
There was a force pulling me over that dreaded threshold
A fierce bitter freezing cold sensation at my thigh
Where Astromena had placed things in my pocket
One of them had burst and the piercing cold snaked its way
Around to and up my spine to the base of my skull
Where it made a tiny puncture and slithered inside
And I was wrenched out of my writhing corpse
…end section 1 (of 5) of arc 12 The Flesh of the Dead, Fresh…
[Original post from 1/4/09 in Drenched in Eternity]Next is the completely new episode 12. 2.
So what did you think of 12.1? Questions? What do you suppose Astromena slipped into Gillian’s pocket? I’ll give you a hint, there were 5 items. Where do you think Gillian has been pulled to and why? Who was rooting for Gillian and Azrael to come clean with each other on the L word?
~ Christina Nabity
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