03 Jan Chalk
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"Chalk"Written by Sidney Crawlspace
Estimated reading time — 40 minutes
My name is Abby. My sister Amber and I are identical twins, and spend most of our time together. Outwardly we look the same: same shoulder-length brown hair, same large brown eyes, same pale skin, same thin 5′ 8″ builds. Inside, though, we’re a bit different. She’s the outgoing, friendly type that gets along with everyone. Me, I’m the awkward one that can’t figure out how to keep a conversation going and gets nervous around strangers.
Lucky for me, I have Amber. You could say that she is my hero, and I hope to be more like her someday. This might explain why I embrace the twin stereotype of our dressing alike most of the time.
It’s only ever a problem when one of us meets a boy we like. When this happens we have a signal: two small taps on the elbow, where nobody can see. If one of us taps the other on the elbow, that means: “I think he’s cute, give us some private time!” Her idea, of course.
Thanks to this little system my sister has had several boyfriends over the years, and I’ve had one or two. Amber dates sporty athletic types, I date broody insecure types, but neither one of us ever takes these relationships very seriously. At least, we didn’t until Chalk.
Our whole lives we had talked about our careers. We were both so driven. We had planned to graduate art college, rent a studio apartment, and create for a few years to see if we could get a reputation going as world famous artist twins. We had saved every penny through high school to make it happen and give ourselves as much of an opportunity to break out as possible when the time came. It was a dream we had shared since I can remember.
But then, we met him. It was our first year of art college on a sunny day, and he was creating a chalk sketch of a huge tree on the walkway between Building A and the Concourse Building. The roots curled around the metal benches, as if holding on to them with a firm grip, and the branches extended up and out towards the parking lot like giant fingers. It was a massive, impressive sight.
Like a few others, we stopped to watch him work. His jeans and hands were covered in chalk dust, but he had managed to keep his tweed vest and the purple button-down shirt clean. His sharp, angular features looked quite handsome, although they were often obscured by his longish hairstyle that he kept having to shake out of his vision. A pair of glasses hid his eyes.
Those glasses were weird. I mean, they were just regular glasses, but it seemed like no matter which angle he was at, there was a strong glare hiding his eyes. I think it was those glasses that kept me from tapping my sister’s elbow, even though when I felt two little taps on mine I felt a little jealous that she had “called it”. I mean, let’s face it, he looked pretty hot.
That day I left Amber to meet Chalk. Everybody called him that. He was a first year like us, and was known for sketching out chalk drawings around the college grounds and random other spots around town. I never did find out his real name, and I don’t think I ever met anyone who did.
Once, Amber said: “Oh he likes to keep his true name a secret and I’m not allowed to tell anyone. It’s really exotic and beautiful, just like him, but I kind of like that it’s a secret. It gives us something special between us, you know?”
I wish I had listened to my gut and warned my sister that something wasn’t quite right… but how could I know?
In the weeks that followed Amber would go out regularly to visit Chalk wherever he lived, and I focused on art history and improving my brush technique. I didn’t think anything of it at first: I was absorbed in my studies, determined to make a serious mark on the world as an artist, and she had never been the most studious type in the first place.
Still, as the weeks and months passed, I started to develop a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. She had never spent this much time with a boy before, and we weren’t spending nearly as much time together as we had our entire lives. I tried to brush it off as just one of those things, a part of growing up, but still, there was something a little unsettling about the relationship.
It’s hard to describe. Early on she’d say: “Abby we’ll catch up later, I’ve got a date with Chalk tonight!”
Then it became: “Sorry, I’ve got to go see Chalk.”
Then: “Going out sis!”
Lately, she didn’t even bother saying goodbye. Every day she’d just take off to go see him. He never came over to our place.
Things came to a head one Thursday night when we were doing our traditional sister time activity: drinking wine and watching “True Blood”. It was the one tradition we still managed to maintain.
We were just chatting after the show, having to actually catch up on what was going on in our lives. I told her about what I was working on, which courses I was thinking about taking next term, that kind of thing. No boys and no parties recently. The truth is, without Amber around, I was just a bit too shy to go out and make new friends.
When I asked her about what was going on she could only talk about Chalk, as usual. It was really starting to get on my nerves. He seemed to be the only thing she could talk about. A part of me started to hate him… and I admit that it was jealousy, but it was something else as well. I started to hate him for what he was doing to my sister. She was getting kind of obsessed.
Amber always seemed to avoid specifics. She would talk about how he made her feel, the kinds of things he would say, the incredible pictures he was drawing, on and on and on… but if I ever asked her about an actual date they had gone on, or what kind of place he lived in, or even something as basic as if they had slept together or not, she’d get this far-off look in her eyes and say something like: “Come on Abby, there are more important things.”
Tonight was no different:
“He’s so spiritual, you know? When we’re together he talks about how he draws energy from the environment and from people and how we all feed on one another in some form or other, and he’s so right, he’s so right…”
“Ok ok, enough about the boyfriend. You get that assignment for Classics done?”
“You know, the big one that’s worth 40% of your grade that’s due in a week?”
“Oh that… no not really. There are more important things, sis.”
Up until this point I had assumed she was finding time somewhere to get her work done, but this was news. She had never flunked a course in her life and Classics had been one of her favorites!
“So, what, you’re just ditching it?”
“I don’t know. All I really know is how Chalk has been making me feel lately. Did you see the work he did on the eastern wall of Building A? It was this beautiful scene, half city street and half forest with deer and rabbits and…”
“Whoa whoa whoa, time out! Amber, you’re going to fail if you don’t get the assignment in! You’re OK with that?”
She just shrugged and sipped at her wine.
“So you’re… what… going to drop out?”
“I haven’t given it much thought sis, there are more important things.”
“There are… what are you talking about? Have you lost your mind?”
Everything we had worked for our entire lives was right here, and she thought there were “more important things”. I couldn’t believe my ears.
In the past my sister was always good at reading me. I could hide my emotions from anyone but her. At this point, though, I wasn’t being subtle. I was almost yelling, I could feel my cheeks reddening, and was obviously upset.
She just looked at me with this easy, relaxed expression that hinted distantly of pity.
“You just don’t understand sis, it’s something greater than all of that. Chalk was just saying the other day… ”
“Fuck Chalk! Did you forget our dream? You’re throwing it all away!”
I was screaming. I’ve never screamed at my sister in my entire life, but this was too much. It was like she was in a trance or something, and I had to try to get through somehow.
She just sighed, put the wine glass down on the table, and stood up. “He said this day would come. That people wouldn’t understand our bond, our love, our special energy. Abby, I’m going to give you some time to calm down. Maybe you’ll see things differently in the morning.”
Amber walked toward the door and started putting her shoes on.
“Where are you going? You’re in your pajamas!”
“There are more important things…”
This was crazy. She was clearly brainwashed or hypnotized or something. Anger gave way to fear now. My sister was in danger, and it might even be too late. This guy had reached into her and stripped out the person I’ve known all my life, and left this weird… shell.
I leapt up off the couch, dropping my wineglass on the way, and slapped her in the face as hard as I could as she reached for the doorknob. She just looked at me with this distant, slightly pitying smile.
I screamed: “Wake up!”
She moved toward the door again. I blocked her, talking all the while: “Amber he’s messing with your head! Don’t you see? You’re throwing everything away for some guy! It doesn’t make any sense! Why are you…”
And then she shoved me. Hard. Harder than I knew she could. When I hit the floor I was a good five feet away, and pain shot down my leg and up through my hips and back. Never once in our entire lives did we ever hit or scratch or even push each other. Now she had just thrown me to the floor, and was looking at me with that same distant little smile as if she didn’t even care.
“See you around, sis,” she said.
Part of me was still in shock, and the other part was just too sore to move, so I just sat there on the floor and watched as she walked out the door. She had left her keys, her cell phone, her purse… just walked out in her PJs and shoes. What just happened?
After a minute I snapped out of it, pulled on some clothes, and went out to look for her. I limped around the dorm, a bruise swelling up along the back of my left thigh. She wasn’t in the common room or cafeteria, and I sort of assumed she had gone out somewhere to meet up with Chalk.
It was only then that it hit me: I had never known where Chalk lived. My sister was out there with some guy whose name I didn’t know, who had absolute control over her, and I had absolutely no idea where she was. Some sister I am.
The only thing I could do was go to the places I knew he tended to do his drawings, but I didn’t have much hope. It was dark out, and a light rain chilled me to the bone.
The tree was mostly washed away, but a ghostly hint of the design could still be made out. It looked more like some weird squid now, with hooks clamping around the benches and tentacles reaching out into the parking lot.
I checked the eastern wall of Building A, but they weren’t there either. As the chalk on the mural had started to run, the scene had transformed. What was once a bright and bustling cityscape on the left had turned brown and drab, with people’s faces on the sidewalk sagging and melting. Their eyes bulged from their faces and their mouths twisted into grimaces.
I almost turned away but then something occurred to me: chalk doesn’t really work that way. If it was running it would just fade and become blurry. This was different. It was as if the image was transforming into something else intentionally.
My gut churned with fear as I turned to examine the image more closely. The horror of what was being slowly revealed by the rain began to dawn on me now, and I realized that there was no possible way this was accidental. Whatever was happening, there was a dark design behind it. A purpose.
The cars were turning to rust, the windows breaking and sagging. One of the buildings near the middle had actually crumbled, and inside there were people screaming, stuck in the rubble, with arms and legs trapped and bleeding. Their expressions were so real and life-like, filled with agony and despair. I shivered against the cold and held myself, trying to convince myself that it was just a picture… but I couldn’t help but feel scared. This was just wrong.
The forest scene on the right side was the same: what was once a happy green scene with cute animals had turned dark and brown, with the leaves looking dead and rotten, branches standing out like bony fingers, and the animals all transformed. The deer was still standing, but parts of its flesh were gone revealing half the skull and several ribs. Its entrails were dragging behind several feet. What had once been a cute bunny was now a rotten corpse with little black specks over it… flies?
Suddenly, my sister’s cell phone rang in my pocket. I jumped, startled by the sound. I guess I had grabbed hers by accident when I left; we bought the same model. The call display said simply: “Chalk”.
My hands shook as I pressed the answer button. I held the phone to my ear and listened at first, hoping for some clue as to my sister’s whereabouts.
Amber’s voice said: “Western wall, sis.”
It was her! I felt a bit of relief and realized that a part of me had been dreading that something horrible had happened to her. “Amber you scared the shit out of me! Come home, OK? I’m sorry for the fight, we’ll figure it out, I love you just…”
“Western wall, sis.” It was exactly the same as last time. A bit muffled, with a slight hiss in the background as she spoke. It was like a recording.
The line went dead. Fear slammed through me with a shot of adrenaline, and I took off around Building A. Even now I can’t tell you what it was that scared me so much, but my heart was pounding in my chest and I knew with absolute certainty that something was wrong. I had to find her, now!
Running along the north wall was the longest run of my life. Rain pelted down on my aching bones and the bruising in my left leg gave me a crazy limp, slowing me down. Eventually I rounded the corner, expecting to see Amber or Chalk or both but… nothing. Nobody was there.
I walked forward, dragging my left foot a bit, shivering worse than ever. There was no sign of them, but after travelling a few feet I saw that a new chalk drawing had appeared on the wall.
It was our living room. My sister was still in the same pajamas I had just seen her in, and she was sitting on the couch with her head tilted to the side. Her stomach had been torn out, and was splattered across the floor at her feet.
Her expression was a combination of horror, pain, and confusion.
My stomach turned then, and I collapsed onto the sidewalk. I vomited up the wine from earlier and cried, knowing that this wasn’t just an image. I didn’t want to look anymore and just stared at the mess I had left, slowly being rinsed away by the rain.
Just then I heard a shuffling, and looked back up in the wall. A life-sized rendering of Chalk was now standing at the bottom of the frame, looking out at the world, smiling. His glasses were reflecting the light, hiding his eyes as usual. He had a large butcher knife in his right hand, and blood coated the knife and arm up to the elbow.
Next to him, I was standing with my right hand on his shoulder, my left hand held out in a beckoning gesture, and a smile on my face.
What was this? What did it mean? In my terror and pain I couldn’t make sense of it, but I did know one thing: I had to get back home. This could mean something. There might be a clue back at home about where my sister was… and whether she really was dead or alive.
I got home as best I could, every bone aching from the chill and the shock. I would change, call campus security, and convince them to help search for her.
When I walked in I closed the door behind me, tossed my keys on the table, and confirmed that my sister wasn’t gutted on our couch. I turned and the bedroom door opened. Chalk was standing in the doorway, smiling. He had the knife in his hand. It gleamed, like his glasses, reflecting light from a source I couldn’t quite see.
I was too terrified to move. My heart was pounding in my chest again. I stammered out: “Where’s Amber?”
He just smiled and stepped aside slightly. Then, much to my relief, Amber stepped out of the bedroom. She had changed into the same outfit I was wearing.
She had the same smile on her face as Chalk, the same one I had been wearing on the western wall of Building A. She turned away from me for a moment, took the knife from him, and pointed it at me. “Get your PJs and shoes on Abby. We’re going to make some art.”
Part II – Cult of Chalk
You would think that being a cult investigator would be so exciting that I couldn’t get bored. The problem is that I get completely obsessed with something, learn everything about it, and when I figure there’s nothing new to see I lose all interest. It doesn’t matter how freaky the subject is or how dangerous, there comes a point where I get the sense that I’ve seen it all, done it all, and it’s time to move on.
Devon and that night at the warehouse changed all of that. I discovered that there was something I hadn’t seen yet, and it was bigger than I could have imagined. In my defence, though, nothing could have prepared me for this.
When I first got hooked on the dark and dangerous world of cults my mom completely freaked. “Kevin,” she said, “you’ll just end up shaving your head, selling everything you own, giving all the money to some degenerate, and then you’ll kill yourself so that you can join the mothership or something!”
Later I found out that, as crazy as that sounds, people really do that. They do it every day, all over the world. There is some serious brainwashing going on out there.
I didn’t want to worry my mom, but I was just too fascinated. The strangeness of seemingly normal people randomly tossing their lives out the window was just too much to resist. I told her that the surest way to make sure I never became a victim was to learn everything I could about the subject. Eventually she grudgingly agreed to let me take a few courses.
If the courses had been good I might have been satisfied and moved on, but they were a total bust. Documentation on this stuff is pretty sketchy and usually takes the form of dry police reports or glossy made-for-TV documentaries that skip most of the details. It’s all pretty surface-level, and doesn’t explain how or why any of these people do what they do.
Eventually I decided to dive in and do my own research. I got good at hunting people down who were currently or had been in cults, as well as family members of people who had joined cults and disappeared forever. When I found them, I interviewed them, and eventually had enough material to start writing books about it. I was never really popular, but I hacked out a modest living.
At first it was great, but, I’ve got to be honest: it’s just the same old story every time. Some guy looks for people who are insecure. They’re easy to find; they’re everywhere. He tells them that not only are they special, but that he has the secrets to unlock what’s special about them. He tosses out a bunch of pop-philosophy that he read out of a magazine to get them thinking that it might be true, and they start believing in him in the hopes that he can make the world a less intimidating place.
Then they’re welcomed into the group with open and loving arms, and it’s all chanting and social pressure. They start getting social validation and encouragement every time they obey orders without question and voice their agreement with the leader. If they disobey or question the leader, well, maybe they’re not such a great person after all. The group turns against them until they fall in line, and when you’ve been insecure your whole life and finally find a group of people that accept you, you fall in line real quick.
To seal the deal they’re encouraged to avoid contact with outsiders so they don’t get “contaminated”. The group becomes their whole universe, and nothing makes sense outside of it. Then you just mix in a little group-hypnosis, a low-protein diet, the occasional drug-induced “mystical experience”, and voilà: you’ve got yourself a brainwashed cult.
I’d start one myself but, damn it, I’m just not depraved enough yet. Maybe someday.
I had seen it so often that it had gotten boring, but then I met Devon. Now, I know that it’s a horrible cliché having your mother call you up out of the blue to set you up on a blind date. Her friend’s cousin’s daughter has “a great personality”. It’s an old story, but that’s ma for ya: a true classic. Truth is, I love her for it, and considering how long it had been since I had a date at all, I was open to seeing anyone even if their “personality” weighed 100 pounds more than I do.
So you can imagine my surprise when I met Devon. She was a stunner: a tight 5 foot 3 inch package with long black hair that shimmered and flowed past her shoulder blades as she moved. The killing blow were her dark eyes: they looked right into you. There was something about the way she moved, the way she smiled, and the easy way she laughed. This was a woman that was confident, had herself together, and was enjoying the hell out of life. The effect is more seductive than anything you can imagine, trust me.
She was way out of my league. I mean, I’m not ugly, but I’m not the kind of guy anyone would pick out of a crowd. Average guys don’t get these 10 out of 10 girls. So, when I met her, I figured it would be our first and last date. You can imagine my surprise when, at the end of the night as I was dropping her off, she stopped mid-sentence and kissed me.
“Sorry to kiss you out of the blue like that,” she said.
“It’s OK, you can kiss me like that any time you want,” I said.
We went on a few dates and things went well. She laughed at my jokes and ignored the drooling stares other men gave her. She was witty too, always with a quick turn of phrase or clever observation. Her sharp features and pale skin went well with her dark hair and eyes, and that stare she’d give me sometimes just melted me to the core.
She recently quit her job as a lawyer, and was trying her hand as an artist. When I asked her why she just said: “There are more important things, you know?”
Still, the better things went, the more doubt built. I just had to know: why was she bothering with someone like me?
Eventually I just decided to put her on the spot. We were walking home one night after a few drinks and stopped on a foot bridge over the highway just to watch the streams of cars come and go. It was just something to do to pass the time, and she was funny like that: she never really needed entertainment. I swear we could be staring at a brick wall and she’d be just as content, as long as we were together.
After awhile I asked: “Seriously, why are you dating me?”
She laughed: “You’re a great guy Kevin, why wouldn’t I be?”
“No, seriously, I mean… why did you agree to go out on a date with a stranger you had never met anyway? You must have guys falling all over themselves trying to get your attention.”
“Well sure but… I don’t know.”
For the first time I saw her hesitate and look away, holding something back. I knew I was on to something.
“Was it a bad relationship or something?”
“No, no my relationships have been fine.”
“Well do you have some dark secret, like a criminal record? Or you’re an asylum escapee? Or you’re really a dude?”
She laughed, and said: “No no, I’m fine, and I’m all woman for your information!”
I think I must have shown some visible relief because she laughed again. I guess I had been pretty worried that she was going to turn out to be a cannibal, or worse, a man.
“Well then… do you just go out on every blind date that your mom sets you up with?”
“No, I never do.”
“So then why did you agree to go out with me?”
I had her then. She bit her lip and looked down at her feet. I waited.
“Well I… heard you wrote about cults.”
“Oh! You’ve read my books?”
“No. Well I mean yes, I picked them up after our first date, but that wasn’t why…” She just trailed off there, still looking down and avoiding eye contact.
Something was really bothering her, but I couldn’t figure out what. I’ve interviewed dozens of people involved in cults, possibly hundreds, but this wasn’t the typical level of anxiety or sadness people usually wore on their faces when talking about this stuff. This was more just… concentration. Like she was just trying to get the words right.
She had never been tongue-tied before. She still had too much of that lawyer in her. I decided to give her a little time to come around to it, and watched the stream of headlights below us.
“I know someone Kevin. Someone you really need to meet.”
Oh no. Not this. I know this speech.
She continued: “Look before I go on I need you to trust me that he isn’t a cult leader. He doesn’t manipulate anyone or keep anyone from contacting the outside world, and doesn’t even ask for money! He’s just… ”
I had meant to let her finish, I really did, but anger got the best of me: “Are you serious? Are you really being serious right now? Every single person who has ever been in a cult has sworn that it wasn’t a cult! That’s how they all work! They don’t ask for anything and have this big outer layer where everyone comes and goes, but once you’re accepted into the ‘inner circle’ then everything changes and it’s goodbye bank account, hello poison Kool-Aid!”
“Kevin will you please… please just let me explain. Please can I just have the floor for 5 minutes?”
Her eyes were pleading. I couldn’t say no to them, so I put my hands on the railing and stared out at the line of red tail lights, grinding my teeth.
“Ok, first a quick yes-or-no question: have you ever heard of a guy called Chalk?”
I shook my head.
“Alright, there’s a reason for that. Chalk isn’t a fake prophet come to get people’s money. He’s the real deal, Kevin. Not exactly a ‘messenger from God’ or anything, but you would not believe the clarity he brings to your mind!”
I wanted to tell her that that’s why they call it “brainwashing”, but I bit my tongue. She had over 4 minutes left.
“For example: would you believe I used to be shy? I mean crushingly shy, like I wouldn’t talk to anyone? It made my job as a lawyer really, really tough, and with his help I was able to become so much better at what I did. I got so good but in the end, I realized I just didn’t need it anymore to prove that I’m worthwhile. There are more important things. And you know what Chalk said to that? He agreed, and recommended I take some time out to find what I’d like to do instead. Now I ask you: if he was some kind of power-hungry cult leader, wouldn’t he have wanted me to stay a lawyer to look out for his best interests?”
I had to admit, she was making a good point… but it could have either been a stupid rookie mistake or an advanced long-term play on his part. It didn’t really change anything.
“The reason I decided to date you was because of something he said once. He said that one day he would love to meet someone who was an expert in cults so that they could judge him. He would answer their questions fully, go on record, and let them decide for themselves. So I thought… I thought…”
She thought… what? I lost my composure as the realization hit me: “Oh my god that’s even worse! So you’re saying you’re dating me to recruit me?”
“No! No that’s… I’m not explaining this…”
“Devon, let’s go meet him. Right now.”
“What?” She looked surprised.
The fact was that I was furious, and someone was going to pay. This bastard, whoever he is, reached out to me through this amazing woman and toyed with my emotions. I wasn’t going to let that slide.
I had my handy Olympus digital voice recorder in my pocket that I carried around for interviews, and I was going to put this cult leader on YouTube for everyone to hear… with my commentary picking him apart, of course. And if I happened to find an opportunity to break the guy’s nose when I was done, so much the better.
Despite it being around 11 at night, Devon said that Chalk should be available. We caught a cab and she gave the driver directions to a warehouse down by the pier.
In the cab, Devon seemed to suddenly transform. She had been understandably upset on the bridge, and flustered that I had caught her in her little manipulative scheme, but that all changed now. She let out a long, satisfied sigh and leaned back in her seat, looking out the window and ignoring me. There was a small smile that played on her lips, almost like she had won something. Like she had beaten me.
My sense of humiliation grew, and I just got angrier as I became more and more convinced that she had played me every single step of the way.
Were any of the things she told me true? Was the whole “shy thoughtful moment” on the bridge just a big put-on to bait the hook? Was she really in control of the conversation the whole time, just pushing my buttons, provoking me into reacting?
It didn’t matter. I was going to meet this Chalk, and expose her little god for the pathetic fraudulent degenerate he was. Then we’d see if the little bitch smiles so smugly.
When we got there we entered through an unlocked door that faced the street. It was dark inside, with only a few lights were on inside the warehouse illuminating the centre of the room. A man was on his hands and knees in the open space creating a complex pattern on the floor about 50 feet wide filled with arcane symbols and various languages.
A young woman met us at the door. “Hi, is this Kevin?”
I wasn’t surprised that Devon had told them about me. It is a cult, after all.
In the dim light I could see that she was a young woman, maybe a college student, and her expression didn’t give a hint of a threat. Still, I’ve seen that before in some real psychos, and considering how much of a fraud Devon was turning out to be, I wasn’t about to let my guard down towards her.
When neither of us spoke she smiled warmly and extended a hand. “I’m Amber. Welcome, you’ve been expected. From what I’ve heard you’re probably pretty pissed right now aren’t you?” Her expression implied that there was a joke in there somewhere, but not knowing what else to do, I decided to grit my teeth and stick to my manners. Show no weakness.
I shook her hand. “Hi Amber. Well I… I mean… I’m just a little confused, let’s say. Could I talk with Chalk?”
“Of course, go right ahead,” she said. She waved me towards the man in the centre of the room.
I took a few steps before I realized that Devon wasn’t following. I turned around and she just stared at me blankly. Of course she wasn’t following. She had done her job and delivered me to her leader, so that was it. There was no reason for her to bother with me anymore.
I should have just kept walking, but I couldn’t stop myself: “What kind of bitch does something like this? Dates a guy and plays him for weeks just to set up some meeting?”
“I understand, but there are more important things. Chalk will explain,” said Devon.
“Chalk will explain. Go now, he’s waiting,” said Amber.
I wanted to scream at her, to hit her, to make her feel some of the anger and pain that was boiling inside of me, but it hit me: this is the lion’s den, and I’m going in completely unprepared. In fact, now that I had the chance to think about it, this is not the way I do things at all.
When doing interviews for my work I would usually have left a message with a friend about who I was meeting, where I was going, and how long to wait until calling the police if they don’t hear from me. I would have also written a note with the same information and left it on my desk for any investigating officers to discover later. I would have also definitely been going under an assumed name.
Tonight I don’t think I even mentioned to anyone that I was going on another date with Devon, and I could feel eyes in the dark corners of the room watching.
I bit my tongue, turned around, and walked on. The danger of the situation meant I had to try to bottle these emotions and keep my cool. I admit, I wasn’t finding it easy. I promised myself that I would make the bitch hear me though, sooner or later.
The man in the centre of the room looked like he was just finishing up his work, putting the finishing touches on the design in the middle. He stood up and dusted off his jeans. When he looked up at me he shook his hair from his face and simply waited for me to join him. He had angular facial features, a wide smile, and wore a tweed vest over a purple button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up.
As I passed over the patterns I began to notice some distant similarities between some of the symbols in occult texts such as “The Lesser Key of Solomon”, as well as a few Egyptian heiroglyph references, but for the most part they were a language and art style I had never seen. Either he had pulled from some pretty obscure source material for his holy scribbling, or it was just art made to look like language.
Even if it was nonsense, one thing was definitely true: there was something gorgeous about it. The characters (if that’s what they were) seemed to have a compelling flow to them, a churning that pulled at the concrete they were drawn on. It was just chalk on a warehouse floor, but somehow it really did seem like magic. It was almost like there was a humming, or some kind of vibration coming from the patterns as I stepped on them.
The sceptical side of me was screaming to ignore stupid, fanciful thoughts like these. I bit my cheek on purpose then, hard, focusing on the pain, focusing on my anger, and looking away from the swirling patterns on the floor. The man in front of me was my objective. Focus on him.
When I was just a few feet away I stopped. “You Chalk?”
He nodded, but said nothing. He had a pair of glasses on that were reflecting the light so I couldn’t see his eyes.
“So? You wanted to speak with me, right? You know you could have just called, instead of sending someone to trick me into coming. I don’t like being played.”
He didn’t flinch or speak or even raise an eyebrow. He just stood there, smiling.
A part of me found his calm stillness in the face of my aggression unnerving, but I wasn’t going to give in. You have no idea who you’re dealing with buddy. I don’t get intimidated that easy. I pulled out the Olympus and said: “I’ll be recording this. You don’t mind, do you?”
Oh please object, please give me a reason to start arguing with you…
He slowly shook his head once.
Fine. Now if I could get him to speak.
“So how long has your little group been in operation?”
I waited but… silence.
“No? OK well, how big is it then? What’s it called?”
Again, silence. It was making me feel uneasy and a bit paranoid. Why was he just staring at me? Was I missing something? Is he setting me up for something?
“Look, I was told that you wanted to be judged, that you were going to give complete answers. How am I going to get these answers unless you start talking?”
“You haven’t asked the right questions,” he said. His voice was difficult to describe. I’d say it was like wind through the leaves in autumn or the babbling of a brook but, to be honest, I can’t quite call it up in my mind. It was a human voice though, I’m certain of that. I’m certain.
I stood there thinking for awhile, trying to work out how to navigate this man. He was like a statue of a person, rather than a living being. I couldn’t even see him breathing. I had ventured beyond the world of generic degenerates and into some real psycho territory.
Well, if he’s a cult leader, he’ll only really be interested in spreading his little twist on philosophy and holy doctrine. If the preacher wants to preach, then let him preach.
“What is it that you’ve been teaching people?”
“Do you want me to tell you, or do you want to know?”
It only took me a few moments to realize that his question was a trap. Word games like this almost always are, and if a cult leader asks you an either/or question you can be sure you’re being manipulated. Now it’s just a matter of working it out to use it against him…
So, if I choose “I just want you to tell me” he’ll say something like: “well if you aren’t going to try to understand what I tell you, why bother?” Classic dodge.
If I say “I want to know” then he’ll tell me about the long, long journey ahead in order to truly comprehend his teachings. That way he can drag it out over months, giving me tiny bits of his holy doctrine each time and promising me more in the future, all the while making me participate in ritual after ritual to break me down.
Either way, he doesn’t want to give a simple answer to a simple question.
I decide to stick to my guns: “I want to know, but I want to know right now. Tonight. Within the next hour, ideally.”
He smiled a little more broadly and said: “Your offer is accepted.”
He took off his glasses, and the world went black.
Gravity is gone, and just like that, I understand everything in existence.
It hurts of course. Hurts like hell. Hurts like someone is reaching into my skull from a thousand different angles, piercing my skin and hacking away chunks of bone.
The cerebellum goes first; a smooth chop just up beneath the base of the skull. Just like that I no longer have any sense of what it is to work a human body. I still feel it though. I still suffer from it. I just have no notion of how to control it.
A hundred needles pierce the back of my head, destroying my concept of vision. The needles become drills and they bore in further, killing my ability to speak, wiping out my ability to understand abstract concepts. Pain is left, however. Pain and confusion remain, overwhelming and all-encompassing.
Knives stab up through my chin and sinuses and up up up into my temporal lobe. I can’t remember who I am. Every record and memory stored in my brain is forever obliterated. There is no moment before now, nor is there one after now. I am the eternal essence of suffering and confusion.
When the concussive force of the sledgehammer crushes the front of my skull the confusion disappears. I am simply pain. I have always been pain.
Agony is the universe in its entirety, and it is infinite and eternal.
Then, out of the fabric of pain, a new concept is offered. There is a record of a man named Kevin. I can use that record, pretend to be him, and escape this universe. I can exist on a whole new level of reality.
My guide and saviour will be Chalk. He will bring me forth into this new plane of existence, one filled with thought and new feelings other than pain. Once there I will help him exchange energy. It will be my infinite pleasure to do so, and in exchange he will give me experience beyond my imaginings. He will show me how to puppeteer this body, and how to operate the brain to make-believe I’m a convincing “person” named Kevin.
I do not hesitate in my acceptance of the offer.
As I am created anew by Chalk, I am told that he would normally complete this process without pain over the course of months. At first I don’t understand until he teaches me what months are, and what it is to be without pain.
The sheer wonder of it is beyond anything I was ever capable of imagining. To exist without constant, never-ending suffering, is just incredible. Even this is merely a step on the road to something greater. A thing called “death” awaits me that will provides the promise of absolute oblivion. It will be here in just a few decades at most – barely a blink compared to the eternity I have anguished. My only disappointment is that I have such a tiny blink of time to serve my savior.
When I am fully reborn, Chalk is smiling at me, and I at him. I notice this body is still standing in a warehouse, holding Kevin’s recorder out. I hit stop on the recording, and then delete it. It seems blasphemous to have a record of this moment beyond that which has been shared between us so intimately.
“How can I serve you?” I ask him. Speech is a wonder. Breathing is a wonder.
He points down at our feet. We have been standing on a beautiful image of Kevin’s mother. No, I must learn to say “my” mother. That is my mother on the kitchen floor, covered in blood, her head nearly but not quite severed from her body. That is Chalk and I standing next to her.
I know that I must make this art become reality.
As we walk to the exit there are two beings Kevin thought he knew: Amber and Devon. Those aren’t their names of course, just as Kevin isn’t mine. We are greater than that: we are servants of Chalk.
Other servants are also in the room, ones that Kevin had only guessed at. They are standing in small groups, taking up residence in the shadows to watch our savior work his art on the floor. There are even more servants out there in the world, each with their own make believe character to play, although how many of them are out there I cannot know.
Kevin would probably object to what we’re going to do to my mom, but it’s fine. I can do things that Kevin wouldn’t do, as long as those things are in the service of Chalk.
After all, there are more important things.
The anchorman had completely lost control of the interview. Part of me thought it was funny, but even so, I had a hard time laughing. This whole thing had me worried. I wasn’t sure why at the time, but maybe some part of me sensed that this was only the beginning of a much more enormous horror.
On the surface nothing was out of the ordinary to justify my unease. It was just my usual Friday night ritual. Dinner done, lights off in the livingroom, a glass of whiskey, and the local news before watching a movie with the wife. This was my comfort after a long, hard week of angry clients and angrier bosses. It was time to unwind.
Still, tonight it wasn’t working. Tonight something felt off. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.
On the news tonight was the latest on a series of killings that had terrorized the city. People were being murdered in their own homes, with rarely any sign of struggle, and never a sign of a break in. They were just found gutted or stabbed or sliced up. The victim was almost always an adult, although there were a few children. Disappearances of other family members were common as well, but there didn’t seem to be a consistent pattern.
The only clue left behind was a bit of residual chalk dust lightly powdered over all of the victims.
“This is a real death cult, alright? The next Charles Manson is out there turning people into murderers!” The shrill woman, I think her name was Gladys something, was a representative for a group called “Family Survivors of the Chalk Murders”. They were a growing group.
She was debating someone who also had a family member that was recently killed. The guy’s mother was butchered in her own kitchen. Even so, he was disagreeing with her. He was some kind of expert on cults, and said that none of it matched the patterns of behavior that these groups usually showed.
“Look, this doesn’t fit with how cults do things. There are no messages left behind, nobody emptying their bank accounts or posting manifestos. None of the active cults in the area are taking responsibility, and believe me, they would if they could. I understand that you need to assign blame, to have someone that you can attack, but there are more important things! We need to stop looking for some cult leader and find the person or persons who are really doing this!”
He was making sense but… I don’t know. Maybe he was the reason I was feeling so uneasy. He was average looking, not really remarkable, but there was just something about him. It could have been that, even though he was yelling, he looked completely calm. His voice didn’t match his face.
Finally the anchor broke in: “Kevin, thanks for that. I’m sorry but we’re out of time, we have to move on.”
Rick Warslen’s face appeared on screen again as he shuffled papers dramatically and the graphic reading “Chalk Murders” appeared over his shoulder.
“Tonight’s grizzly murder of Thomas Greetly brings the total number of Chalk Murders to 38. Greetly was found in his office by the cleaning staff this morning stabbed through the back of the neck repeatedly and coated with a fine layer of chalk dust. The city lives in fear as the number of murders seems to be increasing in frequency, with a murder every day for the past four days. Authorities have yet to comment on… I’m sorry… one moment…”
He seemed to be listening to someone off-screen. I had to laugh a bit. He really did not have it together tonight and it seemed like the whole news broadcast was disorganized and amateurish.
“Don’t laugh at him dear, he’s just upset!”
I was so startled I nearly jumped out of my skin. Kim was standing there next to me in her pink housecoat, backlit in the darkened room by the kitchen light. Weird that she startled me. We’ve been married for 32 years now, and I’m used to being able to hear her coming. I must have been even more wrapped up in this news story than I thought.
“Yeah OK hon, I’ll give the guy a break, his daughter having been killed and all. He’s still a wreck though, really he should have taken more time off than just a month.”
“Well, if I got all hacked up and chalk covered, would you go to work the next day?” She gave me her cute, pouty, fishing-for-compliments look. I knew what that look meant. It meant she wasn’t going to let me watch the news until I gave her some attention.
“Of course not baby, I’d be a wreck for years!” She leaned over and I kissed her with just enough passion to make her feel like I wanted her, but not so much that she would get excited and want me back. This way she can push me away with an “oh you!” and I can go back to the news. Works most of the time.
Rick Warslen had started up again. “… obtained exclusive closed circuit security footage of the murder of Thomas Greetly. Ladies and gentlemen, while this may be hard to watch, it will be important to identify the killer and for your own safety familiarize yourself with how these murders are being done. Children and those sensitive to violence should leave the room. The following footage is very shocking.”
“Whoops, that’s my cue to get out of the room,” Kim said, “Really I have no idea how you can watch that!” She smiled and gave me a head shake of disapproval as she left. I love her, but as soon as anything the slightest bit scary comes on the TV she either runs away or makes me change the channel. I haven’t been able to watch a horror movie in peace in years.
The camera quality was pretty good for security footage; sharp and in full color. You could clearly see the rows of cubicles and into the glass office that Greetly was working in. It was late and he was the only person there. The lights were on in his office area, but the rest of the place was mostly in shadows.
Two people entered from the left. One was a guy with longish hair wearing a vest over a purple shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He had a pair of glasses that reflected the light from the office. The other person was an older lady in a shawl and drab looking dress.
When they entered his office Greetly looked up at them and leaned back. He seemed relaxed; not at all apprehensive about his guests. The old lady walked around the desk to stand next to Greetly while the guy in the shirt and vest stood back by the door.
The anchorman’s voice cut in: “I’ve just been informed that the woman on screen has been identified as Greetly’s mother, Mildred Greetly, an 86 year old pensioner. She… oh…”
He stopped talking when Greetly’s mom pulled out the knife. It reflected the office lights brightly. She held it behind her son’s back, and he never saw it coming when she drove it down into the back of this neck.
I couldn’t help but wince and jerk back from the TV. The utter brutality of it… she didn’t even hesitate. She just pulled out the knife, positioned it in the air, and then put her whole body into the thrust. The force drove Greetly face-down onto the desk, but she wasn’t done. As he went into spasms she wrenched the knife out and then drove it back in with both hands, leaning back to lift the knife as high as she could and then bending at the waist to make the most of each thrust. One, two, three, four… blood splattering up her arms, over her face, everywhere.
The worst part was her expression. That part turned my stomach. She was smiling this big false-toothy grin as she murdered her son.
The man she’d come in with made a slight motion, and she stopped and stood back. He approached the desk and lifted his hands to hover about a foot away from the dripping body, as if giving it a blessing or something. The picture warped then, bulging out unnaturally. It wasn’t a digital interference but more like the lens was being twisted somehow. Then… everything went black.
After a few seconds Mark Warslen’s face reappeared, shuffling papers with shaking hands and a drawn expression.
“Shocking footage of the murder of Thomas Greetly. We’ve been informed that Mildred Greetly has been taken into custody. We have… yes, OK… we do have footage of her being brought in for questioning. We take you live to the 9th precinct headquarters.”
The camera cut to an outdoor scene. It was mayhem as a crowd of reporters was being held back by a few officers. The back door of a police car was being opened. The old lady was pulled out in handcuffs, blood still splattered across her face. No sign of the other guy.
She seemed calm despite the shouting from the reporters. She looked happy beneath the blood, as if all was right with the world and there was nothing to worry about.
A shout cut through the noise of the crowd: “How could you kill your own son?” She said something then, but it was hard to hear. It was something like: “There are more important things.”
They led her to the door of the station and she seemed to be going peacefully, but then suddenly she straightened up, looked around until she spotted a camera, and stared into the lens. She started shouting then: “Chalk will consume you all! Every last one! You’ll rot in the pit, and his presence will be made manifest!” The cops started shoving her faster, so she yelled over her shoulder as best she could: “We are his disciples, and we are everywhere! We’re the people you’ve loved and trusted! And we will kill you, I promise! You will be fed to he that emerges!”
Suddenly the TV switched off. Irritated I looked around and saw Kim standing next to the table putting the remote back down. That’s the second time tonight she snuck up on me! Usually she’s so stiff I can hear her stomping around easily, but there was an unusually relaxed grace about the way she was moving now.
“You been drinking?” I asked.
“You know, dear, I’ve been thinking about taking up a new hobby,” she said. I started to get nervous. First her odd behaviour and now this random phrase. Maybe it was just the crazy old lady on the TV, but all of these little unexpected things about Kim tonight were making me uneasy. I tensed up a bit and shifted in my seat.
“Yes. I’ve been meaning for some time to take up art. You’re going to help me with my first piece. By the way, have you met my friend Chalk?”
She points across the room and fear slams through my body. He’s standing there, the guy from the TV. The tweed vest and purple shirt are unmistakeable. He’s smiling at me behind shining glasses.
“Kim, get out of here, he…”
The blade gashes my right hand, pain shooting up my wrist. When I turn to look, Kim is standing over me, tugging at the knife that has buried itself in the chair. She’s wearing a big, toothy grin.
“What the hell are you doing?” I ask. She doesn’t even seem upset that she accidentally hurt me. My fear at the man’s presence hasn’t left me, but I’m more confused at that moment at what Kim is trying to do.
She pulls the blade out of the chair and winds up for another blow. I react, standing up and making a grab for her wrists to hold her back. My right hand is in searing pain and gushing blood. It’s making my arm weak, and the gleaming knife is getting closer to my face. I can’t hold her back, but at the same time I’m worried that if I push back any harder I’ll hurt her. I’d rather let her kill me than hurt her.
Still, I don’t want to die either, and a terror begins to creep in as I realize that she really is trying to end my life. This wasn’t an accident. If I hadn’t been trying to wave her off my hand wouldn’t have deflected the blade and she would have buried it in my chest.
She’s still smiling at me, showing lots of teeth, but seems calm even as the muscles strain and cords stand out on her neck in her effort to push the knife into my face. I don’t understand.
“Kim! Kim wake up! It’s me, it’s Luther!”
“I know dear,” she says, “it would be better if you stopped resisting. I’m going to kill you now.”
“It’s an exchange of energy. There are…”
The tip of the blade starts to dig into my cheek, and I panic. I shove hard enough to make her stumble back, and suddenly I’m running. My feet take me down the hall, and I slam the door of the bedroom behind me. It’s only then that I realize the stupidity of this move since the door has no lock. I brace my back against the door.
“Come back dear, this really isn’t the way it’s supposed to work,” she calls. My hand is throbbing now, and I wrap a random t-shirt around it that happens to be laying nearby.
I still can’t believe this is happening. My Kim. Why would she be acting like this? Who is that man? Is she really about to kill me?
She tries the doorknob and I press back against the door, my feet sliding on the carpet. Terror wins over confusion then, and all I can think of is survival. I can’t fight back at her directly or I might hurt her, and she’d probably kill me. I need options.
I spot the phone a few feet away, and make a wild grab for it before slamming my back against the door again.
“911, what is the nature of your emergency?”
“It’s that guy from the TV! The one who was with the old lady, the one that’s getting people to kill their families! He’s here and… my wife… tell the police not to hurt her! She can’t…”
“Sir, what’s your address?”
“2654 Chrisland Street. I’m hiding in the bedroom, holding the door closed. Please hurry they’re…”
“Luther?” the operator asks.
What? How does she know my name?
“Yes,” I say.
“Luther, just open the door and let them in. They need to complete their art.”
This can’t be. It can’t be. I start to get dizzy and realize that I’ve been panting. I try to stop before I pass out. Calm down. Think.
“Luther? Luther can you hear me?” Kim calls through the door, “Let me in Luther. Chalk has created such a beautiful piece of art, and I need to bring it into the world. Just come out and sit in your chair.”
“You should do as she says,” says the operator. I hang up.
This can’t be happening. It can’t.
She tries the doorknob again and pushes. I hold it shut, but my feet feel like they just have no grip on this carpet. My heart is beating so hard now I swear I can hear it. Kim had always been a fitness buff and nagged at me to get in shape, but I’ve always preferred the couch and a strong drink. I’m regretting that now. The extra pounds I’ve packed on are going to give me a heart attack before my wife even has the chance to kill me.
She starts throwing herself against the door over and over. She isn’t holding back at all and is hitting the door with more force than I imagined she could. Maybe that guy is helping her, although it’s only one thump against the door at a time and it’s her grunts of effort that I hear. This has to be bruising her up, and she’ll break a collar bone if she keeps up this pace. The door opens an inch every once in awhile, and I keep having to scramble to keep my back against it. I’m sweating now, although more with fear than strain.
In the window across the room a face appears, looking in at me. It’s the man with the longish hair and the vest, the one Kim called Chalk. His glasses are reflecting the light and he’s grinning at me.
Madness took me then. The throbbing in my hand, the roaring of my blood in my ears, my wife… he gave me a target for all of it. I stood and ran at the window, screaming at the top of my lungs some crazy, incoherent thing. I have no idea what I was thinking. All I could think was that maybe, if I could get him, maybe somehow Kim would snap out of it.
Kim opened the door behind me, filling the window with light from the hallway and obscuring the man’s face, but that didn’t stop me. I dove, raising my arms and smashing through the glass with my elbows. I had no idea how torn up I was when I landed, but adrenaline had taken over again and I scrambled up onto my feet in the cool wet grass. He wasn’t out here. Had I imagined him?
When I looked up, Kim was looking back at me smiling from the window. “Come back here, we have important work to do,” she said calmly.
“Don’t do this, don’t kill me,” I blurted.
“Oh don’t worry about that. There are more important things,” she said. She leaned forward then and started to climb through the window, seemingly oblivious to the scrapes and gouges she was creating in her arms and legs.
I ran. Pain raged through my legs announcing the damage that I did them with my dive through the window earlier, but I was too scared to slow down. Across the street and two doors down was Frank’s house. He would know what to do, even if I was too weak and stupid to.
The street was covered in chalk drawings laid out in swirling patterns. I noticed a picture of a rotting corpse hanging from a tree, which seemed to twist and contort into another picture of someone who was being hit by a car. The detail on their broken shin and the anguish in their eyes was unmistakeable.
As I passed over the drawings it felt like the pavement itself was throbbing and vibrating. My head started spinning then, and I wondered if I would even make it across the street.
As luck would have it, Frank had left the garage door opened, and he was inside putting something away. “Frank! Frank help me,” I called. When he saw me his jaw dropped in shock. I can only imagine how I looked.
“What’s going on Luther? Are you OK? Is Kim OK?”
“Kim did this to me! She’s…” It occurred to me then that she was probably almost on top of me by then, and I turned around to fend her off. She was gone. I looked back at the house, but she wasn’t there either.
A heavy hand landed on my shoulder and I jumped, screaming. It was just Frank of course, but it was getting harder to think things through. “Calm down buddy, what the hell is going on?” He took my good arm and started to help me to his house. I allowed myself to limp a bit, wincing with every bloody step at the deep cuts in my legs and feet from the broken window.
“It was Kim, she just went nuts. She came at me with a knife.”
“Kim did that? I can’t believe it!”
“I’m not sure I believe it either, but…” I held up the blood-soaked shirt in my right hand.
“Alright buddy, I got ya. Come on in and let’s get you cleaned up.”
“What about Joan and the kids? They’ll flip if they see me like this.”
“Don’t worry about them Luther. They’ll be fine, there are more important things. Let’s just get you sorted out here, then we’ll figure out what to do about Kim.”
It sounded like a plan, but something he said sent a shock of fright through me. I couldn’t put my finger on it. What was it that he said that had suddenly turned my stomach in knots?
The truth is, I just didn’t want to think about it. I was sick of being afraid. I shoved that cold fear down as best I could and let Frank guide me into the house, all the while leaving a bloody trail behind me. Seeing the red puddles I was leaving when we got to his linoleum floor seemed even worse, somehow. “Oh man, look at the mess I’m making in your house.”
Frank chuckled. “It’s fine buddy, like I said: there are more important things.”
I froze. That phrase. The old lady said it. Kim said it. Now Frank was saying it.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Where’s the family Frank?” I asked.
“They’re in the living room. Don’t worry about it, come on,” he said.
I tore loose and ran for the living room. I had to know for certain if my suspicions were right. When I got there what I saw ripped the last of my sanity from me, and I fell to my knees in wretched pain and terror. My horrified scream echoed against uncaring walls.
Frank’s family was sitting on the couch. His wife, his daughter, and his son. Their heads, however, were sitting on the coffee table. Their bodies were pale with powder, and blood covered everything else. Just… it was… everywhere…
I could hear Frank approaching from behind at an easy, casual pace. He chuckled a bit before saying: “I’d only just finished cleaning myself up and putting the chainsaw away before you got here. Takes a lot more work than you’d think to get blood out of the motor. Oh, hi Chalk! Found one of your runaways!”
Chalk had suddenly appeared in the moment I had looked away, standing in the middle of the room as if he had always been there. He looked down at me, smiling. The front door opened slowly and Kim walked in with the butcher knife, blood trickling down her arms and legs from wounds she didn’t seem to care about.
She walked straight over to me. I should have run, I should have fought back, but… it was all just too much. I could only weakly paw at the hand that grabbed my hair and jerked my head back. I searched her eyes for some sign of pity or sympathy or something, but there was only a kind of happy determination.
“Kim,” I whispered. It was all I could manage.
She leaned back before driving the gleaming knife forward into my chest. The pain was excruciating, but I lost consciousness before the second, third, fourth, and fifth thrusts.
Death, however, didn’t come. This wasn’t the end.
I was drawn out of myself and down into a dark corridor of rotting flesh and dust. There I joined the dozens of secret victims of Chalk, the ones that his servants had hidden along with the few they had revealed to the world. The boundaries of my identity were split open and my mind was spilled out into the gallery to mingle with the other victims. We think as one now, we the rotting dead.
We feed him from here in this pit of horror and darkness. Our essence decays and powders, feeding him on the surface world, slowly bringing his essence forth. He is so much more than even his disciples comprehend. He is a god beyond imagination, a demon from which Satan himself cowers in fear. The barest hint of him has been shown, a mere shadow. Now, the shadow grows.
Soon there will be enough of us, and his true face will be revealed. Towering and terrible and all-consuming, he will sweep across the world and consume it entirely with a gaping maw of fear and madness. All of humanity will know this desiccation and despair. Suffering will be the only truth.
His power is a juggernaut now. Nothing can stop it. This is only the beginning.
Credit: Sidney Crawlspace
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