You can read part one here
With a crushing impact, I met the floor of the pit. Unlike the rough, course stone in the rest of the tower, the ground was smooth like marble. For a prolonged period of time, I just laid there; splayed out in the center of the pit and looking up at the dark expanse above as the scarlet garbed figures returned my gaze down at me. I watched as they uniformly raised their idols to the air once more, reciting ”Jubbilex, zanctis melioss”, before dispersing from the mouth of the pit.
Had I possessed my tongue, I would have in that moment cried out to God, beckoning as to why I’d been forsaken in this manner.
As it happened, I’d need not to have voiced this anguished query to receive its answer…
Soon after they dispersed from the pit, a loud groan – as though from a dying mule – rang out from the darker regions of the pit that laid beyond the sparsely illuminated radius from directly under the mouth. My body tensed as I heard the source of the groans grow nearer, the soft shuffling of its movement growing ever closer to the center.Despite feeling the adrenaline coursing through my veins, I laid stiff both from pain, as well as crippling fear. I couldn’t even bring myself close my eyes, that I might be spared the witness of a possibly gruesome end at the whims of whatever vile creature was skulking towards me.
“It chose me”, were what I heard before the dim light finally unmasked the creature from its cloak of darkness.
What began as minute relief that the creature from the abyssal recesses was human; quickly devolved into dread as I recognized the man to be that of my best friend and the elder brother of my dearest Jennifer: Wallace! I felt as though a millstone had been hanged around my heart, sending it plummeting from my chest. During the nigh endless days and nights I spent in torment in the tower, I was most certain that he’d met his demise, like many, at the hands of our ravenous brethren. Seeing him then, I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps that could’ve been a more graceful fate. With his face now in the illuminated radius, I saw that both of his eyes had been forcefully gouged out, leaving two dark red craters in their place.
The closer he entered the light, the more of his disfigurements I saw all over his body. It was as though the jaws of some savage beast had mauled him; leaving not an inch of skin without laceration. He crept closer to me, somehow able to propel himself forward on his hands and feet with an almost animalistic level of agility – despite the appearance of his exposed, shredded tendons and ligaments. “The flesh is abhorred and must be ended”, I heard him mumble as he closed the distance. “The world must be reborn in the image of the flesh”!
No sooner than the deranged declaration left his lips, he bounded through the air like a panther of old and pinned me to the floor of the pit. Despite having more of my body intact than he, I was completely unable to wrestle against him. Wallace’s empty eye sockets began to excrete the familiar black liquid as he barked at the top of his lungs: “Adrayok aduae Jubbilex! Flesh for the Faceless One”, before sinking his teeth into the bridge of my nose. I howled and writhed in pain as I struggled beneath his grasp, to no avail. My screams escalated to painful proportions as his teeth dug in and ripped away the skin of my nose and devoured it.
“This is it”, I conceded as I closed my eyes, waiting for the feral beast that was once my closest friend to tear me apart. That was when from outside the circle of light, an ear-shattering screech rang out. In an instant, I felt the weight of Wallace being forced off from me. When I opened my eyes, I looked over to see that a newcomer from the dark recesses had pounced upon Wallace and was wrestling him to the pit floor. I watched as the attacker began strangling Wallace, uttering rabid growls as they did so. Wallace retaliated by using his fingernails to slash the attackers face, successfully ripping a gash open in their right cheek. This caused them to retract in pain.
Seizing the opportunity to attack, Wallace pounced upon his opponent and began to sink his teeth into their cheek and tear a large region of it asunder. “The flesh is abhorred and must be reborn in its image!”, Wallace shouted, letting out a hysterical cackle as he struggled to hold his attacker down.
Looking closer, I saw the pain and fright in the attacker’s eyes as Wallace unhinged his jaws for another attack. A haunting familiarity struck me fiercely when I saw the twinkle of innocence in those eyes as well. It was something I’d not seen since…
Wallace let out an inhuman shriek as he clamped his teeth around his attacker’s right ear, tearing it clean from their head. I winced as the screams became nearly deafening. I then watched as he sunk his teeth into their throat and spat out a portion of it almost half the size of my palm.
Seeing the severed gore land only inches away from me, I spotted something glinting in the dim light. My heart froze dead when, upon examination, the reflective object was revealed to be the very diamond encrusted locket I placed around the neck of my beloved wife-to-be. I looked up once more at the brutal struggle to see Wallace begin to tear away the skin of his face as he proclaimed: “The Faceless One chose me to be reborn in the image of the flesh”! The attacker – my sweet Jennifer – laid pinned beneath him; profusely bleeding from the gash in her throat. ”Adrayok aduae Jubbilex, zanctis melioss”, I heard coming from the mouth of the pit.
“I hear their call! Flesh for the Faceless One, harbinger of rebirth!”, Wallace screamed, having completely removed the skin from his face. The venomous black ichor began gushing from his mouth, as well as his eye sockets. With a mysterious vigor coursing through me, perhaps driven by the desire to protect my love from further harm at the hands of her own brother, I found myself to my feet and lunged at Wallace as he reared back for another attack. To both my own and his amazement, I was able to successfully intercept his assault and restrain him to the ground. As I struggled to keep him detained, my head began to pound with every uttered syllable of the acolytes’ recited incantations from above.
With the venom gagging him, Wallace lashed out that he heard the summons of the entity; that *he* was the one chosen to be reborn in the image of the flesh. It was in that very instant that the cacophonous vocals of the abominable entity spoke to me in whispers that were almost hypnotic in nature. ”Do it! End him!”, It barked, “For the flesh is weak and is undeserving of rebirth”!
“I will be reborn in its image!”, he gurgled, writhing beneath me. The pulsing in my head became more frantic, The Faceless One’s command continuing to echo through my mind. I tried to shake it’s voice from my thoughts. That was when a volley of images flooded through my mind.
I began to see the flesh of every living creature peel from the bones as if it were mere parchment. I could again perceive their tortured cries echoing as they looked up to the skies, their shed fleshy pelts soaking into the bowels of the earth. I saw them prostrate themselves before the Faceless One, who held dominance from the sky above. “They have been reborn with purer flesh,” It stated, ”End him now; that YOU may be reborn in flesh.”
I began to feel something for the first of what would be many times to come in that moment as I watched the skinless creatures in the vision start to tear each other apart; I felt a primal urge to feed! All at once, I could feel a blinding rage take ahold of me as I looked to see Wallace beneath me struggling, now at my mercy. I could feel myself slipping into the ravenous temptation.
All it would take, I silently reasoned, was one strike to his throat… then he’d be in a pool of blood alongside his sister…
Hate burned inside of me as I chanced a look back to see my dearest Jennifer’s body sprawled motionless, blood now encircling her head. He killed her!, I shouted to myself, returning my gaze to Wallace’ empty eye sockets. This bastard that I once called a friend had just murdered his own sister – My fiancée! I felt the throbbing with an immeasurable intensity as I bared my teeth and ripped into his throat.
I could hear him cry out as he struggled beneath me. New sensations coursed through my entire body with every second my teeth burrowed further and further into his skin, savoring the warm crimson river that flowed down my throat. Earthquakes were erupting in my head and I felt as though it would explode!
My eyes began to burn as the venomous discharge ran freely down my face. Such intensity caused me to raise up and scream to the mouth of the pit above, just as Wallace and others before. The burning was excruciating and I felt an overwhelming compulsion to attempt gouging my eyes out!
I, overtaken by my newfound feral ire, proceeded to repeatedly stove Wallace’s head into the ground. I didn’t stop until I’d heard the satisfyingly distinct sound of his skull splitting! I howled and roared to the air like the unbound ape I had degraded myself to in that moment as my head continued to pound and quake.
The cooing voice was soft, broken; yet oddly soothing. I almost didn’t hear it first, having lost myself to the savage hysteria. “Freidrich!” This time, it was cried out from behind me. I looked back to see my Jennifer – alive! Slowly, I returned to my former state of reason. I got my first clear look at her; her once entrancing face was marred nearly beyond recognition. Despite this, her eyes bore no falsehood – this was, indeed, My Jennifer!
“Eh-ih-her”, I croaked out, unable to form the necessary syllables. “Freidrich… my Freidrich…”, her voice was faint and fading. I hastily crawled over to her and cradled her head in my arms. As disfigured as he appeared, I still was hopelessly entrapped by her eyes. I leaned down and planted a kiss upon her torn, scarred lips.
A long forgotten sense of warmth and tranquility flowed through my body as I held her close to my chest. I nestled my head to hers as she allowed herself to drift into a quiet slumber. For hours, I held her; studying her sweet face that I’d feared I’d never see again, feeling her warm and steady breaths upon my tattered skin.
Something began to twist inside of me, however. I began to fervently ponder how vulnerable she looked; cradled like a child in my arms.
It, too, would be easy…
Just like Wallace…
It was then that my started pounding again, the cacophonous voice booming: ”End her! The flesh is weak and detested”! “No… no, please, not her…”, I silently cried. My eyes began to burn again as it demanded again with malicious vigor, ”End her! Return her to the flesh of the earth, that you may be reborn”! In, what would prove to be, a vain attempt to combat the cacodaemon’s will; I laid her down and scurried away from her into the darker regions of the pit. I felt as though a raging fire had been set alight in my head.
My head felt near to bursting and I began to drive my head into the wall of the pit with hopes of, in one way or another, escaping the scourging. Eventually, the darkness indeed welcomed me again. I scoured in an endless limbo for what felt to be just shy of an eternity. The hope of merciful demise, however, was extinguished as the void around me shifted into a display of the outer cosmos. Once more, I watched as the Faceless One emerged from a blazing orb that penetrated the abyssal expanse.
I felt weak with dread at the sight. ”You think you can deny rebirth simply by expiring yourself?”, its chaotic bellow shook my presently frantic heartbeat.
“What are you, what is this place”?
I was at a loss, why wasn’t I allowed to be at peace?
”You were made, like all things that be of the world, in the image of the flesh – of me”. As it spoke, the glowing orb hailing the Faceless One expanded. I felt a scalding sensation when the orb crept upon and swallowed me whole, causing me to tightly close my eyes. ”Look around you”. Opening my eyes, I saw the earth, a quiet, yet peaceful display. “What is this”, I beckoned, “be this an illusion”? ”Nay, you are merely witnessing the end of a cycle”. All around me, I watched as primitive wildlife grazed peacefully about in a wide, lush grove.
Oddly, I felt a comforting warmth flow through me in observing them. With but a swift pass of its naked hand, however, the formerly gentle creatures became hostile. I watched in revulsion as even the young of the various herds were remorselessly ripped apart. “Stop this!”, I cried out to it. I was given no response as the genocide continued. Eventually, there was but one of the creatures remaining; a grizzly who, upon its victory, roared to the skies above in berserk delirium as it rended the flesh from its bones.
Slowly, I saw the littered carcasses spread across the soil until it formed an entirely new landscape, comprised solely of living flesh. All across the horizon, the flesh soil expanded. I was disgusted and horrified at the sight of the hell-scape that surrounded me; pulsing and quaking just as that which comprised the malevolent being’s head. “What have you done”, I shouted to it, my mind in danger of breaking irrevocably. ”What has always happened when the flesh becomes abhorrent and must be reborn, that is how life continues”. Just then, the sinewy land below started to undulate and protrude upward. As it did this, I noticed how it molded itself into the form of… of…
of a man!
Like an infant at birth, the creature blasted a shrill cry as it drew in the breath of life and opened its yellow eyes.
I then witnessed more of the same phenomena when more of men and beasts alike were birthed shrieking from the primordial flesh. “What manner of Hell is this”? ”Heaven and Hell,” it thundered, ”are only the mere philosophical constructs of feeble flesh”. “W-what are you?!”, I stammered, stripped of my ability to compose myself. In front of me, the new-born skinless man’s eyes flooded with the venom as he opened his mouth; speaking in the entity’s discordant tongue as a conduit: ”I am the world; for the world is bound from flesh, and I AM FLESH”!
“YOU LIE”, I rebutted in pitiful defiance, “You are evil! You slaughtered innocents!” ”I have done nothing; what has occurred is what has always been pre-ordained.” “It was YOU that corrupted them, that damned them”!
With that, the grotesque automaton began to mold into a morbidly familiar appearance; forming the gaunt face and thin body of Wallace. The voice boomed through the mouth once more: ”This was YOUR doing… What you have deemed as damnation is but merely that which was only natural for beings of the flesh”. I covered my ears and tightly my eyes, demanding the being to silence its lying tongue.
All around me, I began to hear more of the maddening wails of birth until I was eventually forced to open my eyes once more. In doing so, I was met again with the setting of the depths of the pit. As I laid numb, my head still aching from the blunt trauma I subjected myself to; I slowly lolled my head around to regain my bearings. I saw once more the lifeless body of Wallace – my once greatest friend, slain by my hand. I couldn’t help but to weep; recalling the horrible perversion from the hallucination.
“Only natural for those of the flesh”, The Faceless One’s words stabbed at my mind once more:”What has happened was what has always meant to be”. I looked over to Jennifer, still laying quiet and still. I willed myself up and began to slowly crawl towards her. She looked so beautiful… so peaceful… so delicate…
That stopped me in my tracks, No! No, I won’t! My head started to quake again; forcing me to collapse into the fetal position, clutching my head. I howled out in the manner of a Neanderthal, voicelessly begging to be spared of the present scourging.
The pressure was utterly unbearable and I was certain that it would cause me to combust. In spite of this, I was determined to allow no further harm to come to my dear Jennifer. I ceased my inane howling when I heard the faint pattering movement across the floor of the pit. Following this, almost on the cue of the devil himself – or rather, what I believed of the devil at the time – was the recited chorus again. Opening my eyes, the quaking in my head refusing to cease, an alarming terror seized me when I saw that Jennifer was no longer where she had afore laid.
I could hear a soft growling coming from the darker regions of the pit from ahead. ”Eh-ih-her,” I called out feebly. What I saw next is an image that I recollect with a certain sense of sorrow, fleeting a sense as it may be now. It was indeed Jennifer, but not my sweet and delicate rose that I’d once pledged my heart to. Her eyes bore the yellowed irises of primal wrath and her torn, scarred lips were adorned with pulpy viscera. As she approached the circle of light, I could see her dragging the carcass of her lifeless brother behind her. *”EH-IH-HER”*! Her attention, arrested from Wallace’s body, turned to fix her enraged eyes upon me.
I felt my blood freeze over when I returned the gaze into her hateful, glowing eyes.
I heard her her whisper this before crawling in my direction, her growling growing more distinct with every inch she gained. When she was but a mere foot from me, I watched her jaundiced eyes excrete the horrid ichor as she let out a jarring shriek before leaping to pounce upon me. It was with a stroke of fortune that I was able to avert myself from imminent harm by rolling myself away. Landing upon the pit floor in the space where I had occupied only seconds ago, she turned her soulless eyes to me once more;
”Adrayok aduae Jubbilex, zanctis melioss…”
I felt my heart shatter at the utterance of the demented chant from her lips.
No… No, please… not like this…
”Eh-ih-“, before I could let out my plea to her, she once more lunged for an attack – this time succeeding in striking my left eye. Instantly, my left eye socket flooded with blood and darkness permanently assumed its control. I retracted and attempted to flee from further harm. Her reflexes, however, allowed her to have me at her mercy with ease as she pinned me down. I wanted to plead to her; to tell her that I loved her and would not let this be our end.
Such as it was, I would find that I possessed no influence of any sort in that matter as she leered down at me with her venomous eyes, no longer recognizing me as her lover. Without wasting an instant, she struck my chest with a clawed swipe; reopening existing scars as well as tearing new ones. I screamed more painfully in that moment than I ever had before – and ever would since – while the pounding erupted in my head once again.
The pain gradually changed into anger as, with a blood-curdling screech, she bore her teeth into the soft tissue of my flayed body.
How could she?
Instantly, I remembered the man and his boy as I felt the murderous rage swell within me. The pounding escalated further and my eyes started to burn once more. My vision darkened with the flooding of the venom upon my eyes and my animalistic desires overrode my reasonable mind. I seized an opportunity to retaliate when she released her restraint of my hands in an attempt to strangle me, to press my thumbs into her eyes and hurl her to the pit floor. Regaining my feet, I stood up and towered over her.
She quickly recovered and leaped up for another assault. This time, however, I caught her from the air and promptly brought to the ground, the impact of her body upon the the smooth marble causing a sickening crack to be heard. I lost much of my sight of her from the venom that flooded my eyes. Her eyes, however, I could see; the lost spark of innocence having returned and pleading to me for mercy. Unfortunately, I had lost all higher reasoning in that moment and my wrath was unbound.
It felt as though I had left my mortal shell and was simply a spectator to the vicious slaying of my once beloved Jennifer. When at last she drew breath no more, having been reduced to naught but a shredded husk, I felt my head burn with the aggression of a thousand suns. The pain was nigh unbearable and I began to strip the skin from my skull, crying out in unbridled rage as the cold air stung the naked flesh beneath, venom flooding from my eyes and mouth:
”ADRAYOK ADUAE JUBBILEX, ZANCTIS MELIOSS”!
The last aspect of human perspective I can recall bearing in that moment of savage delirium before my conscious mind became engulfed in shadows was that that of grievance at the utter desolation of my humanity.
I know not how long I remained catatonic. I remember, though, that I did not dream. Rather, I was plagued by the subconscious repetitions of the Faceless One’s revelations:
”You were made, like all things that be of the world, from flesh, of me”!
Eventually, it would be the utterance of the baritone chorus surrounding me that would rouse me from my hollow reverie. Three of the acolytes encircled me at the bottom of the pit, clutching their idols to their chests. Finally, the one in the center extended his hand down to me. When I was brought to my feet, I realized that I could feel absolutely nothing. It was as though I had been stripped of all tactile perception. I could no longer even feel the air’s chilling prick upon my exposed sinews.
More than this, however, I felt utterly empty – devoid of emotion or personality. I looked over to where Jennifer’s body laid, ripped apart beyond comprehension by my own jaws. I felt unable to do much as even lament her death, save for a single tear that I could not feel.
It was then that the trio before me, in a uniformed synchronicity, removed their scarlet hoods for the first time to reveal themselves to be of the very same image of the Faceless One. Their misshapen heads of malformed flesh pulsed as they gazed at me. It became more frantic and my own head hammered and quaked as they then knelt before me, bearing their idols aloft and reciting:
”Adrayok aduae Jubbilex, zanctis melioss”.
Flesh for the Faceless One, harbinger of rebirth
It was through my reflected image in the idol held closest to me that I saw that which, had I still in that moment possessed a human perspective, would have stripped me completely of my mental stability. For reflected in the idol; I saw that I, too, now wore the exact likeness of the entity!
As it was, I would no more possess any concepts of humanity in any known capacity.
What came next would be the defining moments of my eternal existence as, for the first time in the endless age since my inception into the Hellish tower; I saw the outside world. It was not the vibrant land I once recollected on the night of the festival ; for replacing the the rich soil was the grotesque primordial flesh-scape. With an apathetic care, I watched as my once closest companions in life were gracelessly cast out into it, their mangled corpses unraveling and consumed by the flesh earth. It was no sooner that I would once more witness the grisly birth of humans and beasts alike, each wailing with the cries of life. The Faceless One’s words returned to me:
”What began with blood and flesh, shall, too, end and be reborn in that image”.
I came to realize in that moment that the scholars and holy texts of old were false. There is neither salvation, nor damnation to await us; for we had never bore a soul to be judged, nor was there ever a realm beyond mortality.
It is with the last fragment of my former mortality that I record this grim testament; the last act of its preservation as I continue in an eternal hell, bound in the image of the flesh, forever denied relief in death. For I understood, as I do now, how life truly ends:
Not in cataclysmic fire…
Not in a peaceful rapture…
But with the screams of torturous rebirth…
Credit : Corpse Child
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