THEND


 Prologue

 Fear you all,
For one night you may see,
Neither man, nor beast, nor machine,
From which you'll flee!

Oh, laugh do you,
The great of great and brave of brave,
But flee you will,
For your life to save.

It is as the moon,
Neither dark nor light,
But from it comes both,
One side ever day, one ever night.

As a shadow it creeps,
From, yet not, beyond the grave,
 And all of you will flee,
But not one life will you save.

It is a black knight,
On a pitch horse;
Its eyes are bloodier red,
Which pierce you, not even a corpse.

One day it shall come,
To reap what has been sown,
With fire and flame,
Destroying It's own and It's own!

So, fear all who may hear,
And I pray that you might never see,
Such a fearsome creature,
Which Thee calls Me!


 Part One: Of Light Lost

Pricks of light speckled the absent void, and allowed even those in the brilliantly artificially lit city to see the two planets off in the distance and the omnipotent moon rising just off the distant horizon. Inside the city below, men walked strait and tall, oblivious to the almost full figure that was rising as it had countless nights before, but without purpose. Here, this moment is frozen.

There was an old highway that led into the city. If someone traveled along it, someone could be assured of being undisturbed, not from lack of travel, but from lack of use. Men traveled by energy in those days. It was obsolete.

We move along this ancient monument of man. We don't take any time except this moment that stands still. We pass homes, factories, and farms that produce what solid matter converters cannot -- fountains, recreational areas, and governmental buildings. Wood, found to be to flexible and flammable, is absent in all structures. It was obsolete.

Reporters and policemen no longer inhabit the confines of the street. Since the creation of intercontinental peace and the formation of worldwide government, they haven't been needed. There are still a few terrorist groups, but they are small and insignificant in relation to the power of the whole. They were obsolete.

As we continue on, there were a cluster of restaurants. The menu included no prices, for the objects we call money were then an object of speculation and wonder of an era not long past. Money was obsolete.

As we turn off the highway onto what was once a back-street, we find alleys leading off the streets. Peering closely into the shadows, we may see creatures, not unfriendly, who had left the dark everlasting structures of steel and stone. They were cellular creatures that, if you had come too close, you would hear as I have. Do not fear them. They have bark, 'tis true, but if you are in need, they will help protect you -- for a price. Their boughs cover the entire city. Bargaining with them is possible since they were flexible.

We slow as we approach a house on the edge of the street. It was an unusual house; one of the few from the time that buildings were made partially from wood. It had seen happy times, sad times, hard and easy; it had withstood floods, hurricanes, and storms; but nothing recently.

Inside this wizened structure lies one of importance to what was to happen. Fate had chosen him. He was a college student of twenty one years. He had the shadow of a man, but, in the right light, his age melted away.

He was in his bedroom right them. He was sitting up in bed, listening with all of his senses. The room was unusually organized, but had papers and books encircling a central clearing point. The titles included "Ancient writings," "The 1086 Processor," "Advanced Electronic Theory," "The Fusion Engine," and so forth.

We move over to the desk. There were two items of interest. One was a packet of papers entitled "Modifications to Military Decryption Programs." The other was a letter.

The letterhead was spartan, if existent. Even so, there were impressions of a great scholarly mind which had been firmly chiseled into stone, then left out to wear away over the years. A curious thing about it, the wording was as if it were meant to be a matter of business, but then, as the letter went on, it became more personal in style. It was as if the person who wrote it started out in a formal style, then forgot to be so formal, writing as if to a friend.

Exiting the house, we move two blocks due south to the college this nameless prodigy attended. We enter through a wall into the storage room. Here were boxes enough to make someone's eyes swoon. The only one of true importance is the one over there in the corner inside the security system. It was marked no differently than the others and addressed to the same archeology department. It was even from the same dig as many of the other boxes. Yet the contents were two stone tablets, not ordinary tablets, but ones inscribed with special power. We pass back through the security system. We don't trip the system since we are not here so much as time is concerned.

Next door another room with a sign over it labeled "COMPUTER LAB" houses some of the most sophisticated pieces of machinery that man had yet invented. The capabilities were mind-boggling.

We exit the building through the storage room. We move through crates of parts man hadn't even dreamed of yet. Back outside, we return to the point where we started, awaiting the continuation of time. Time must continue for the sequence of events inevitable to have happened. Besides, if time remained stopped, no one would have died -- or lived. And living... dying is a law-bound necessity.


He shot up from a sitting position. He was searching for an insubstantial, intangible force which had awakened him from his sleep. Concluding that it was non-existent, he got up for a glass of water. A moment later, he returned from the bathroom, less parched and less awake. He walked over to his desk and picked up a letter addressed to him from the college archeology department, a man of over eighty. It stated:
 

Archeology Department
Terminè University
Diabloangel, New California 14618

Mr.
1200 Roto Street
Diabloangel, New California 94530

Dear Sir:
Please come to my office tomorrow at 3:20 pm to discuss your final project for my class. If you cannot make it, please see me for another time. I hope to see you there. Until class tomorrow!

Your friend,
Oscar


He replaced the paper, gave a shrug, and went back to bed.


Diary Entry: Jan. 8, 7:02 am: For some reason unknown to me, Oscar wishes to meet me about my final class project. I don't know why he's talking about this so early. The school year is only a third over.

Worldwide, all is quiet. Don't take this wrong, I am grateful for peace. But, as many can tell one, there tends to be a great calm before the storm. Maybe I'm just imagining things.

Locally, there are terrorists, robberies, theft, a couple of murders -- just a quiet day. These aren't to the same degree as they had been once. Old habits die hard. Sometimes quickly, but always hard...


We peer down into one of the college's classrooms. Here, caught in a half standing position, was Oscar Nadànio. He was an unusually immaculate figure at this moment. Students joked that he was as old as the dig dust under his fingernails. Mr. Nadànio was the head of and the archeology department. It had taken him years of work and diplomas to achieve this position -- now that he was near his death.

A vast multitude of books, some two hands high, created a wasteland of what were once working tables for students. Among them were weed-like charts and drawings of things both known, unknown, real, and unreal.

The clock on the wall hung there as a vague reminder of hours which had been forgotten. It had emitted no sound in respect for our presence. As we leave, the hands resumed their cyclic task, repeating what they had done once more.


Professor Nadànio got up from his chair, vaguely conscious of the knocking made at the Professor's door. Outside the door, he stood with his senses aware of... something..., yet uninformed as to its nature, being too brief to know, but readily recognized. Oscar opened the door without greeting, without recognition. Oscar handed him a hastily scribbled summary dated some days ago. His eyes widened as the Professor stood there, stroking his unkept and mangled chin. He would have stood closer to Oscar if it weren't for his odor. The note read:
 

Several tablets have been found out at the Black Ridge dig. For your final project, you can translate them if you wish. I'm about to try myself, but, since you are reading this, I have been unsuccessful in translating them. I'm sure you'll find a way.


"Did you find anything at all?"

Oscar shook his head and grunted an exhausted and forced, "No."

He left.


Diary Entry: Jan 8, 11:51 pm: This being my third entry, I will just report my progress. There is none. That's not quite true, I have failed to identify the writings as any of the previously known "languages", if you will excuse the lack of a better word, and that in its own backwards sense is progress. The idea came to my mind that it might be a dialect of a language. This is the thread that I will follow next. I pray it will lead to an historical end. I seem to be a workaholic, especially since its that time of year again. Eighteen years, and two days ago. Liz in the psych class I took last year said it was because of my "insatiable desire to create a past because he lacks a past of his own due to a lack of parental..."

Back to work.


People jammed the transport pads in a futile effort to get to the plant, office, or wherever they worked. One man appeared to have been loudly exclaiming his displeasure for a moment that is a minute to us. Here we see a battle so that some regularity of a normal job could be instituted. Off in the distance there was a figure. Tall and proud he stood uninvolved. As we approach, we see he was the epicenter of events that followed this scene. For him, things were going well.

He had stopped for a moment, straining his senses to their uppermost limits. He was receiving two signals. The more obvious and explainable was the bully behind the bush. As with all bullies, he had limited himself to his strength, a blade, and a war cry. Looking inside, we see this bully was afraid. People scared him, so he scared people to make himself feel better. He desired to be unafraid, but he lacked the resources. War was a way of life for him. Unlike most bullies, he was a military dictator with some real power. His power was insignificant.

While we are examining people, let's look at our focus. He had a self-inscribed super-ego that lacks some situational and historical information. Therefore, he had to rely on the id in some circumstances. In his brain, formulas combine with other formulas and the unexplained in multi-dimensions to form the force called magic or the supernatural. These combinations buried themselves and were unknown until they were jerked to the surface.

We move into a room in his mind marked "MOTIVATIONS." It is a large, empty room that is over-used. On the floor is the only item in the room, a piece of paper. I can read the clear, definite words on the paper --  "Lack of history --," and then in small letters, "No parents." We will go back now. There will be more later. We move on.


The clock on the wall ticked the hours. He stared at the non-repeating, interconnected, unintelligible markings on one of the clay-like sheets before him. He sneered at it. For a solitary, hazy moment, it looked at him and laughed, not only the laugh of a jester, but also the amusement of knowing -- but knowing what?

He was startled. The ticks now counted the minutes. He could feel a curtain had been drawn to reveal something. It was still in the dark. He needed to find a light.

He was excited. A good walk might help. So, he left the building. He passed into the campus gardens. It was peaceful there. Nobody was around.

He did not recognize that the bully was there. He was too involved -- or rather uninvolved -- with his walk. The sound coming overhead in the tree of, "Pilot to bombardier, pilot to bombardier, target in sight. Fire at will," and the sight of the balloon shushing with its contents overhead didn't register with him.

He looked up, dripping wet and red from the force of the impact. The bully was there, laughing. When the bully regained a little of his semi-adult self, he issued a cry. "Secret agent            has done it again. He saved the president, rescued his girlfriend, bombed the treacherous nerd-lord, and cracked the super-secret spy code all in time to get home in time for dinner."

He looked down into his dripping hands. There he saw a dim glow form...


Diary Entry: Jan 30, 11:12 pm: It's great! Better yet, IT'LL WORK!! Well, at least it should work. Why didn't I think of something so simple before!?! It's just encoded. People come and go, but this will live forever! One moment...

Hate to cut short, but the janitor is making me leave. Until Monday...


We are in a small market. The smell of fresh foods would inundate the air if it weren't 'frozen'. If anyone is hungry back there, please get something for after this stop. But remember to 'pay' for it. The register is empty. Don't pick anything that needs to be weighed. The balance was in use, recovering from pressure placed upon it, even though it had been minor so far. It was about to be augmented.

If you feel something, it is The Being. It has come here because of the events of the last few days. It was awakened at the dig. It moves faster than we do, so we can't see The Being.

Moving along, we find him about to have entered the structure we just left. He appeared off balance in mid stride. The clothes he wore were unchanged and wrinkled from being pressed in the same position for hours, maybe days. He carried a list. On it was a stockpile of words symbolizing foods which have been preserved, dried, canned, or otherwise similarly processed to remain for a long time.

We again move inside of him, returning to the same room. It is open. A fuel line passes through the doorway. Watch your step. We find the paper is now gone. Now, there is a poster here. It says the same thing.


He entered the computer room with the mountain of food he had just gathered. He was in newly changed clothes. His eyes would have glowed of vigor had not such been shrouded by his lack of rest.

He pulled out the cans, lining each one up neatly to the side with the slowness and deliberateness of a tired thinker deep in the solving of mismatched clothes, hastily put together into random order so that each pile appearing was as a child's drawing. Underneath this -- the first thing to be thought of -- were the tablets, carefully wrapped for the journey, a stack of computer disks, and a dusty box labeled "HARD DRIVE." Taking the contents out of the box, he connected them to an enormous computer and slipped it into a corner. Inserting the disks one by one into a slot in the computer, he began to copy the contents of each one onto the hard drive. Turning to the door, he locked, barred, and barricaded the door.

Days passed. Then weeks. Then months. Finally, he assembled it.

Two more hard drives, each with a larger storage capacity, had been added to the system. The ultimate program that he had finally assembled from all of the little programs, data files, and sweat he had created took all of the space. This was history in the making.

A piece of what was a scanner, a device which reads images into a computer's memory, and other miscellaneous items compounded a machine referred to as a 3D-microscopic scanner. Cradled inside of this were the two pieces of clay-like substance inscribed with ancient words. It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. Desire works just as well.


Diary Entry: June 13, 2:0 something, a.m. I think: Somehow, in these last few months, I have completed every course I was taking in order to devote more time it's got to work to the analysis just rest up of the tablets found I will need to rest going home today need to be safe I hope the time spent here will not be sleep in vain before starting the system and program rest, I will install an energy barrier yes, protect to keep this room safe no one will be able to enter but me history in making at home I will sleep for the next two days years meanwhile, the computer should be able to analyze the bed tablets the greatest artificial intelligence system to bed ever tired be developed


We are back in his room. He is fast asleep, getting up only for relief and food. He had pushed himself too far, and now needs rest and recuperation.

The room showed the lack of use; dust covered the rooms, save for a daily newspaper. It showed brilliant pictures of armies fighting one another. The headlines read "TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS ARISE IN TERROR". More recent papers underneath read "TERRORISTS BREAK THE BACK OF PEACE: GLOBAL WAR I!" and "WORLD LEADER TRIES TO STOP THE TRAIN." The articles described how it was country vs. country, terrorist organization vs. anyone, and everyone was on his own. Do not fear, for we are only watchers of events to verify their truth. We have no form, substance, or impact on this world and its events. We are merely observers for the future.

The clock on the wall says it is June 22. In a few moments of time, he will awake.


In a half awake daze, he walked the halls alone. His footsteps echoed against a cold and hard silence. Upon reaching the computer room, the buzz from the force field was a welcome relief to the noiselessness. Hastily, he deactivated it, passed through, and, with a sigh of relief, heard the buzz once again. In the twilight of the room, he was unwatched, unknown, alone.

Checking the computer system, the tablets were listed as being 94% translated. A pleasant smile broke over his face. Only a few hours were left. He sat down and started to read a book entitled The Fear of Being Caught.

Several hours later, the process was complete. The entire translation was saved onto a disk. He decided to view the tablets before making a hardcopy. A few simple keystrokes and the tablet's translation came up on the screen. His eyes and face inundated with white. Recovering, he sent the command to print while silently rejoicing. Quickly, he made a decision and left for food and supplies, skipping all the way.


Diary Entry: October 25 I think, 4:17 pm: For the past four (?) months, I have been secretly constructing mechanisms as detailed in the tablets found. I am almost finished. The creators of the tablets (as I assume that there was more than one) were ingenious to hide the plans with a common story line. Fortunately, the decryption program caught this. Oscar has accepted the story as fact yet is curious as to my avoidance of publicity, but not of people. This discovery will blow away all other history.

The wars go on but have slackened as peace between allies is reconstructed. There has been a worldwide cease-fire as positive negotiations take place. Terrorists still immorally murder people, despite the cease-fire. What is the world coming to?

I must get some rest. I have not made the same mistake of almost continuous work. I will stay away for a couple days, and then, when I am fully rested, I'll test these curiosities, some of which had parts foreign to me. Until we meet again! Boy do I have a good life!


The Being is out again. It is observing events as we are, without interference. We can see the blur as The Being goes by, since we are forced to push to go faster in this moment so we can observe future events. We'll need to go faster.

We move back inside of him. Familiar corridors lead to the same door. Notice the fury of activity. Nothing was focused away from this room. Over there in the distance was a dark area. This region had been shut down. It was a region of reason -- and caution.

Entering the room, it appeared smaller. The poster was gone. In its place towered a massive neon sign. It has been covered for the most part, but some of it showed through. It read the same.
 

He strolled the corridors, his skip-steps echoing through the noiseless halls. Peoples' attention had fixed itself on the violent wars. There was no time for learning now -- action superseded thought. Entering the computer room, he unconsciously turned on the force field. All else was out, he was in.

Picking up a list, he ran down it. He checked off several items as he found the corner they were in. He put down the pad, picked up his journal, and began to write.


Diary Entry: October 31, 11:58 pm: Though people work at all hours in these days, I am alone here. Just as well, for I wish to keep previously unknown devices hidden until it's time. This way, nobody will see what each one does until it is proven to work. I have briefly thought that these may not work, yet I am confident and, perhaps, overly optimistic. Goodby to the old world, hello to the future. Let's see what these babies can do.


We pause only briefly just to note one item. This was the final diary entry by one Michael Revelatious Miasmal.



He moved over to the first mechanism. He touched the first colored square as he eagerly awaited destiny. The time was near.

He saw the machine worked properly, so he continued on. Two, three, five, eight machines, all worked as planned. He continued, hastily checking each one over in eagerness.

It was unannounced and unexpected. Fragments of energy flooded the area from what was a force field. Metal and stone melted. Inflammable plastics engulfed themselves in cold flame. The outward force caused the entire eggshell structure to burst into...

Then, just as quickly as the process began, everything was sucked inward into a giant vacuum. All this took place in less than a tenth of a second. Here destiny had left its scar.

In the middle of the rubble, someone found His body. They radioed in for an ambulance, saying He was barely alive. The ambulance found Him in critical condition.


Part Two: Of Driven Darkness

Medical Log: Doctor Hernst: November 10, 7:45: I have just checked in with The Patient. He has, by God's grace, survived the disaster. He has incredible recuperative powers. He is now awake and has begun to act 'normally'. It was strange when He came in. All of his vital signs were acting very abnormally. I guess this can be attributed to the unknown force which caused the college's destruction. Investigators are coming by later today to question Him. He is still thought to be the building's only occupant... and the only possible live witness.


We are moving in toward the city. We have adjusted our speed so that we are almost half as fast as The Being. Hopefully, this will be fast enough.

If we could see into every house, we would find that some curious explosion of several buildings, one of which was the university, had superseded the war as news. Numerous items had been listed as missing, the only of which had remains was the university. All were structures; all left few or no traces.

Halting here, I have brought in a demolitions expert to explain part of what has happened -- for the record, of course. If you could, explain to us, sir, what exactly has happened?

"Yes, well, an improperly manufactured part caused an improper input frequency to the advanced warning sensory equipment, causing it to believe that the only means of defense was (excuse the phrase) self sacrifice. An AI, or artificial intelligence, system in the proximity sensed this yet was too slow to counteract the resulting explosion. Yet it was able to trigger a biomechanical repair device which..."

Thank you.


He had begun packing to leave. For one whose dreams had been disintegrated, He longed for life to go on. Looking down into empty hands, He saw the tablets again. They mistily melted into nothingness. He ripped his hands and desired to be alone.

Pushing the idea out of His mind, He began the slowly instantaneous teleport home. He arrived to find a dusty, unattended room. In the subconscious of His mind echoed into infinity the words, "Where did I go wrong?" Only this, and nothing more.

He vacuumed off the room. Pushing, pulling, dragging, thinking. He tearlessly cried Himself to sleep.

Here lay a lifeless Man.

The next afternoon He awoke. The sky was overcast. Peaks of sun watched the earth yet did little for it. Though it was a cool morning, He felt an unaccountable heat which, He presumed, was from His disturbing sleep. He began cleaning without a look at the clock or the world. Time was becoming irrelevant. All life was gone.

A clumsy operation, but he finished. He turned on the holovision. It took an infinite second to come on. "Hopes of peace were disintegrated yesterday as the  peace conference broke down after increases in tensions surfaced in open brawling among diplomats," came out from the speakers. He was vaguely stimulated. It continued.

"Also   in  the news, certain radical terrorist organization members have voluntarily  surrendered      themselves to military  forces this morning in a panicky terror. Sources say one of the terrorists was screaming of a black, shadowy demon  which   descended   upon them. Further details have not been released." As a commercial started, His ears stopped peaking. The news then continued.

"Scientists     report today that unknown   forces are producing unusual weather, not    only here, but on every planet observed in this solar system. On Venus, the volcanic activity forced many people to leave the planet     to escape the     disturbances. Martian  colonists sought    shelter  in hospitals in efforts to limit the effects of a massive cooling of the     planet. At this time there     has been no explanation offered..." He turned it off and went to bed.

He dreamed an unrememberable nightmare as It stalked the streets.


I reassure you, we are insubstantial and are merely observers, having no physical contact with what we see going on about us. We cannot be harmed or impacted in any way by the events that transpired. Because of difficulties, we can move only at a rate which allows us only to watch events as they happen. Those of you with weak stomachs can leave at any time.

To aid those of a non-scientific background, we have Professor Ecole, the renowned and controversial archeologist, to give some insight into the origin of the tablets. If you would Professor?

"Iyes, ov courrse. Wiell, I have hypothiosized that de ankcient cievializations may have beeen hieghly techknologiecal sosieties. There have beeen small biets of eviedence dat they thdad deeveloped makchines that vee dav onlly beegun to kreate. Dthose tableets, iet seeems, konttained inforrrmaeshion on dese deevises. One ov dem, iet kan be infferrred, had de kapability off rrepaairing heuman tiessues, whichk ies dow dis perrrson surrrvived. Moust praobalby, iet eused reaadilly avaelable matierrialls du thho laaackh ov sskien..."

Thank you.


It stilly moved -- a colorless, lightless, and shapeless figure. A lone midnight voyager came down the near deserted street, a long shortcut. A creature loosely named man approached. She halted the traveler with a fierce blow. It came out into the shadows.

Minutes later, a pair, one after the other, ran across the streets, neither pausing to rest for fear of the other. The first, mad and dressed in liquid crimson, turned abruptly, facing the pursuer. Eight inches of iron slipped in her hand. The 'pursuer' clutched the unfastened skin as warmed red seeped, then gushed over. Turning to flee, she almost fell as she saw It. A shrivelled cry resounded among the remains. They found the pursued in a hospital bed the next morning.

The insignificant marched the street while embedding lead, bursts of flames, and battle-cries among targets both inanimate -- and animate. The 'distributor' did not see It seep from the ground, and only sighted It when a Shadow moved. Slugs inundated from the distributor's weapon. Each one passed through It and burst into illuminating flames. The distributor kept on firing. A delicate rosy blossom opened itself along the walk...

The count marked 51 reports of such scrutinized events. Each one was clean of evidence. The works were neat.


For those of you confused about prior events, I will make an attempt to explain. He had been in the hospital for over a year. Red tape and covering of one's tail tends to work that way. In this time, war was reinstated. Resources dwindled. The solution was to ration goods. The easiest way was to reinstate currency -- and the greed with it.

Our next speaker is the religious leader, the sovereign Bestol Slanders. Please, sovereign, tell us what your opinion is on what It is.

"Yes, sir, I believe that, without a doubt, this is the monstrous creature Himself, the Lord Of Demons, the Prince Of Darkness, the Fallen Angel known to mortal man as Satan. There will only be time before Its resemblance will be lifted and men will know It for what It is. His destruction of evil men of society is not for the good of man, but so that It may add to the number of followers. I sincerely hope that each one o..."

Yes. Yes. And what is your opinion of Mr. Miasmal?

"He is a follower and preserver of the goodness of man. He will be greater than all of us poor sinners after the end when the wheat is gathered and the chaff is hurled into an unquenchable fire. Soon will be the day and each and every one of you shoul..."

Thank you -- for stopping by.

"It was my deepest and sincerest pleasure to speak to you today..."


He shot up in bed, eyes saucer-like, with a shrouding sweat spread over Him. His hand swept His face as He made His way to the bathroom. After a couple splashes of cold water and a good long stare in the mirror, He emerged, shuffled down the stairs, and entered the kitchen. He activated the holovision.

"And that's the weather," penetrated the soundlessness,"In the  national   news, terrorist activities have increased. The milllitary force, in a classified letter to the President, reports   thaaat the military is incapable of flushhhing out and capturing these organizations. When asked about this delllema, the Presidennnt replied, 'No comment'. Locally, the newly formed Residential Security Force, or RSF, hasss announced there have been several instances where criminals have been massacred after preforming some alleged crime. RSF forces have founnnd no clues to these people..." He stared at the pictures.

They were familiar to Him. His nightmare had involved these people. No, He tried to convince Himself that it was a coincidence. Wasn't it? He suddenly pushed it out of His mind. Yet it still stayed there. People He had never seen before. How can one dream of someone -- something -- unseen? This slowly tortured Him.


We are in It. It is resting now. Being Sunday, It will not come out. Here, if you will, are the pathways of It's mind. Some are similar to those we have seen, and some are mechanical in nature -- like circuitry. To our left is a door. Behind it is a "lesser" self -- a being in which It hides yet remains separate. If you look further, you will see six other doors with six other selves, each one greater than the last. Each doorway was sealed. Four have been broken. Each of the Four is on a doorway which leads to a "lesser" self. Seven doorways in all, seven seals, four broken... and a fifth cracked.

We move along, finding It's motivations. In oversized blocks are inscribed "ELIMINATION OF ALL EVIL." Look at it carefully and you will see that the "E" is hazy, the "V" somewhat resembles an "A", and the last "I" looks somewhat like an "L". That would spell...


The following is a thought dialogue of the respected police chief Erebmit.

"It came from nowhere". That's what they said. One speculated that, "It came from the darkness." Another from "nothingness." Had to come from somewhere. Some heroic psycho. Can't go 'round killing. Such mutilation. All known criminals. Then last night some unknown. Then that one. The sight of him on roof. And the cry. Immortal terror. Then he dived... Those faces. Could tell those who saw and those who didn't. Eyes open wider. A clawed face. From own hands. Dwarfed position. First crime rates increase then this. Getting worse. Friends gone family gone. Then these rippings. And the suicide...

Later that night he killed himself by walking into an industrial meatgrinder. His death increased the suicide rate that month to 4,568 or more...


The following actually took place in the local public library.

The cherished librarian, Akeila Wilson, had started an easy day. She had begun to replace returned items when she came across a jumble of deworded books strewn across the floor. She followed what seemed to be a path. At the end, charred into the wall, was a fresh image of It glearing with a snicker. DOA, they believe that, for no reason, she kept running away into a wall, getting up, and running into it again, and again, and again, and...


The electronic voice continued. "In today's news, the suicide and murder rates skyrocketed again. Police blame a vigilante force which, after       this last civilian killing, has been dubbed 'Jack the Ripper'. Some, though, believe this to be and enormous fluke which will not likely happen again in the next century. Others are calling   for a worldwide manhunt for the members of this force. A large group of people are thought to be involved when considering the large distances and the short time involved.

"Else in the news, the   Douglas Nuclear Power Plant, named for the late President, experienced a leak of high      level radiation. Though scientists are concerned, the military sees this as an assistance in sppeeding up the war since most of    the radiation will be dumped across the front lines."

He turned it off and sat staring into His cup. He wished that He could rid the world of the violence. At least He could now talk to Oscar.


All of you, please turn on your lights. It may be midday, but there is little brightness here. Hurry up back there, the Light is fading fast.

Those with poor constitutions remain here. Everyone else can come see the miracles of man.

See below us, all those objects that move in the dark. Those are men. Most are dark, but few are truly black. Yet they are all that are needed. There is more. Notice the bright spots covering areas. Do you see the crimson flames leaping from them? Ah, yes. Thank you. There, a few bright points, a number comparable to the dark, exists behind barriers. Those, too, are men. They are men with open eyes.

Then there -- that massive object? That is It. From here it looks grey, but I assure you that is the blending of coal and ivory.


He sat among refuse, His appearance somewhat awkward. His clothes gave Him the visage of a painter's nightmare, not to mention a fashion designer. Yet He barely noticed. He merely sat there with His attention wandering to the holovision every once in a while.

"Worldwide, astronomers   are baffled   at the noticeable dimming        and blackening of the stars we see in the night sky. They report the stars are still giving off radiation, but have ceased radiating in the visible light spectrum.    An official press conference is scheduled for  later  today." The pictures halted and ceased. He barely noticed as He reentered the room.

The doorbell rang. It was Oscar.

"Nice to see you up," he thankfully said while ignoring the sights. "I've got a table for two at one of the nicer restaurants, my treat. It even has some beefed up security system."

"I don't know," He excused, "I've just felt like staying here and keeping quiet. Maybe even take a nap."

"Come on, You haven't been out of this room since you left the hospital. Besides, I hear it's some system they have. The food's good too." At that, Oscar pulled Him out and half dragged Him away while hoping that the restaurant would admit the sight of Him.

Outside they met the Bully.

They left him stunned, dazed, and nursing his wounds.

The Bully had come up with a smile, the kind when one knows some thoughtful insult was to be spoken. Yet only half of a vowel was said when His steel fist, solid as a tank, came dropping into his jaw. People, insensitive to such events, jerked as they heard the soft grinding sound. Yet the Bully didn't remember the punch. Not even when he was taken to the extreme emergency room. All the doctors could make out was, "His fire eyes"...

They continued, both silent, both in shock. Blackened and brilliant figures silently watched them. Eyes listened and ears watched for His size. To both sides, He had potential for both.

They passed along crowded streets devoid of people. They passed noiselessly, a Rock of All Ages, and a Mansion on sinking sand. An awkwardness fermented, and the sound returned.

The line at the restaurant was short. Money was scarce, old, and hard to earn. Businesses were taking what they could get.

The line was full of talk.

They say all drug dealers have been killed by It.

The papers call 'It' Blashad -- sort of a combination of black shadow.

Black is right! Do you know haw many innocents It's murdered? The numbers are exploding exponentially!

And so it went on.


Let's take another look at the city. The highways were in ruins. The only movement possible was walking. So we go on. We come to fractured foundations, mildewing monuments, butchered buildings of the government, and paltry people in black.

Shadows no longer contain mortal life. Yet, you see, the entire city is unlit. Thunderclouded colorless skies exits here as everywhere. Go on and try to find light. You won't.
 

The two walked back 'lone. Nervously fearful conversation was made between them. Neither knew what to say. Oscar made a brief comment that he needed to get some items from a store. He was going to just stay outside in the dark as Oscar went in. The obscure sun was setting. The rounded moon just peeked through an opening. He half heard an ancient grandfather clock echo the time. Each bong lengthened and toning in timelessness. This elongated and was the only sound. Eleven-forty-five. This disturbed Him out of thought. He looked at the store. An ancient clock stood there behind the bulletproof windows. Eleven-fifty-five and two-and-a-half seconds. Three seconds later, with crosshairs targeted on His skull, the silenced rifle fired.

The assassin felt, in a brief moment, the warm lead projectile as it embedded itself in his skull. He looked over at the targeted assassin with fire fueling crimson eyes. A brief flash was muffled in the blackness and charred ashen "human" remained to be blown away by a momentarily still wind. A storm was coming -- and the moon.

He stood there and heard the seventh seal crack just as the snap of a sealed letter. Pained eyes under His shadowed skin wandered the sky. He knew the darkness had ears and heard and eyes and saw, but didn't know. He did this in the light of a slightly shaved moon.

It may not come It may never come It may no It will never come no more It will never arrive It may never leave again... But He knew the darkness had seen. The darkness had watched The Invader attack one of its own. The darkness told gang members this was another gang member picking on its own. The darkness knew not the risks, just noncorporeal rewards. They started to rebel. 'Knock 'em down so others won't stand up. The Bully was a small fry, but was one of us.' And so the darkness wanted one final thing -- revenge.

The ancient clock began to chime the twelfth hour. "Maybe I'll run yes that's it and I'll hide away where even It won't find me but where can I go where It isn't with me I go It follows got to think this through got to think th.." Oscar come out from the store. The servants of the darkness came -- along with the eleventh bell.

A silence and slowness emitted when He saw his death. He cracked the silence with a trumpeting cry of anguish and pain. The cry shattered windows and fell walls and broke down doors -- the seventh door.

He was gone.

It emerged. It blackened out the sun and with it a crimson moon. It brought a great earthquake which shook the entire earth. It caused volcanoes to spew fiery wrath and sparks that fell to the earth as shooting stars along with a cloud of ashes which even further blocked out the sky. Winds rose in trumpeting screams. Nature and everything with It had turned against man.

All this and more when the old clock in that little shop struck the twelfth bell -- and the twelfth hour.


He looked back on what It had done. Not even the fragmented shells of planets existed -- anywhere. He thought aloud in the stilled silence. His words reverberated in timeless emptiness.

"I have committed a grave thing. There must be even one speck of something, anything here -- somewhere. There is none. I stand here accused. The crime, absolute genocide -- the total destruction of all life everywhere. In this case, everywhen. The plea -- guilty. It is a crime of infinite magnitude, and there must be retribution. Yet how can one make up for such an enormous thing? Death would be pointless. I can no longer die. My body would not allow it. Besides, what purpose would such an act serve? Someone -- anyone -- anything out there. I have power beyond my immortal belief. Yet I lack wisdom. I was protected, but others were not. Come if you hear, please." His eyes dropped. There was no one to answer his plea. All was quiet.

A light emerged in the timeless void. There appeared The Being.

Wordless thoughts spoke through the emptiness, connecting the two. Sorrow and joy, yearning and repulsion, hopes and fears, acceptance and denial, and other emotions were given, received, understood. All in the void of everything, containing nothing. Then, He turned around.

There off the edge of reality and looking back was a small group of humans. They were not there, but were projected from where they were outside of where they were. He realized they had seen what had happened. It shamed Him. Then, He saw Himself with them, dressed as a guide of some sorts. He turned fully to them with Himself and spoke through the years of timelessness.

"WE are but one, Him and I, separated only by a reality which cannot be conceived by mortal thought. You have been here and seen the end of those days. You are saying to yourself, 'What a shame. I am glad we are not the that way.' But I tell you, you are all mirrored of Me, though in a far lesser way, and I was once one of them. I have two sides. There is the good light and the evil dark. All things have this. Even in two dimensions everything has two sides. The difference between you and Me is great, though. I have powers beyond immortal belief.

"You have seen a great destruction. An evil crime in My sights has occurred. There is no punishment that anyone but Myself can create. There has been no one found to give out punishment, for there is no one qualified to be judge or jury. As such, I must erect a punishment for Myself."

In that instant as He concluded, all timelessness shook as time returned. There appeared, in the void, a formless mass. Many were there, but none were visible, for it was dark. And, as this happened, He lowered His head and there appeared a great light as stars were born from the nothingness. The masses then formed features, spreading land, and water, and the skies above. Many masses turned green with growth, then dark on one side as night formed. Slowly, over time which could not be measured, creatures of flesh formed. One such creature rose above yet below all others. His head then rose, and He once more began to speak.

"You have seen many things. These seem insignificant yet are necessary for you to know what is to come. For, you see, the seven doors have been closed and sealed. They can and will be reopened. This is a thought which terrifies even me. I do not know where. I do not know when. There will be signs, but none but The Being will know of them until the time comes. It will be as one who is in the eye of a hurricane cannot feel the danger though it is all around him. You have seen this to tell others. Warn them. Stop them. Even, and especially if, they are strangers. Tell them what you have paid witness to. In that way, they may delay the inevitable. It may be delayed for eternity. But when the seventh seal is cracked and broken, that is The End. It will come so swiftly that it will be in one moment."


In an empty room, a group of people and their Guide stand, all shocked into silence. The Guide breaks the stillness. "It is time for you to go," He sighs.

One of those there, a foolish frightened man, speaks -- yelling loudly. "Do you expect us to believe this? You -- You must have drugged us or maybe hypnotized us -- yea, that's it, There are laws against this you know, We won't stand for this, I'll have You reported and thrown in jail, Yea, I hear You mumbling, Too scared to face me huh, Got to keep your back to me Well turn around and see if I care if you dare no right now don't keep control You fraud stand up and face me as a man right now let's go turn around right now hey I'm talking to Yo..."

He -- It turned around. "I am not a man and will not face you as such. But I will as a demon -- The Demon. The End is coming even swifter than you think. For the others it is later. For YOU it is NOW!"
 

THEND