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into every house, we would find that some curious explosion of several buildings, one of which was the university, had superseded the war as news.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..."
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..."
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.
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