The moment I touch the duo and begin erasing, my mind begins to cloud as my invisible eye is attacked by my father’s creature. I try to withdraw; but it’s already too late. My father has sprung his trap on me; and I easily fell into his machination. The fool I am!
A duel then. A duel for mind, and body. I can feel the blob reaching through the aether between my eye and Fathers, hoping to attach my mind to Arnellus and end my will to fight quickly. I may not know all the rules; and I am not nearly as practiced as Arnellus; but I will not be consumed. Not like this. If I’ve learned anything since leaving Bevlum, it is that I am much more the predator than even a Crimson Knight believed.
Without realizing, my anger spills over, and I’ll not be trying to stop it. Unlike every other moment in my life, where showing emotion was a weakness, here it is an absolute necessity. Whereas before I held back a flood, now I am emptying an ocean. Anger over my mother’s death, of being right about who caused her to die, and from a decade of loneliness, all of it spills forward as I dip my paintbrush into vast quantities of Uitherim. My emotions, it seems, are the core of its production.
Unconsciously, I know it’s pointless to draw physical things, the blob’s makeup can withstand any material I might throw at it. Instead, I begin thinking in more ethereal terms. I paint armor over my invisible eye, creating a barrier between it and the gooey veins reaching towards me en masse.
My imagination is the only thing that can save me now. The armor proves to be a moment of inspiration; but only a moment. I have no idea what to create in order to bring an end to this…thing…and save myself in the process.
I understand my father’s endgame…what exactly is at stake now. If Arnellus succeeds in overtaking me, his mind takes over my body, while my mind feeds his creature. As it feeds on my mind, I will produce untold amounts of Uitherim, all of which will be at Father’s disposal. He never planned to cleanse his power, he wants to use it to paint black the heart beating in his chest. With the creature and his own body sucked into mine through the spaces between our invisible eyes, Arnellus Hhand can start his life over at the age of fourteen. My age. Using my body. The last three quarters of my life his to start over. Do more. Solidify his legacy.
“Why is your life so important, Father? I’m supposed to be your ‘legacy.’ Is that truly not good enough for you?”
“Time is the great ender, Ben. Despite everything you do, no matter how famous or great or skilled, it ends. Turns to dust. That’s all legacy is: dust. You, my child, exist only to exact my deepest wishes. My deepest wish is to use Uitherim to gain all that I deserve. It’s only right that you become my extender, having stolen my abilities and wasting them on useless frivolity. I’m taking my life back; and I’ll create all that you never even dreamed.”
“More monsters, then? More abominations? Is that more, better even, than the simple life I was living with friends and taking care of the daughter you left behind?”
Our metaphysical battle rages on despite our words. Arnellus paints holes into the armor around my eye, and strikes it with something akin to a fireball. I feel my physical body scream in pain; and I’m unable to think coherently for several seconds.
Arnellus wastes no time in the interim, painting a black hole on top of my eye. I feel it start to pull the essence of my father towards me. My supply of Uitherim is already near used up, being constantly stolen by the blob-creature’s veins. The battle was never fair. My father’s essence is so close I can feel his thoughts permeating mine. There’s nothing in those thoughts leading to a weakness in his attack. In mere minutes, I will no longer exist.
“I will use you more wisely than you can, Ben. I have sixty years behind me. That wisdom will guide me through your more tender years, those that most folks aren’t sure what to do with. It’s not your fault, Ben; but I have a second chance to avert disasters and live life the right way. To not get married too soon. To not let my passions lead my actions.
I will have another son, and I will lead him to greatness rather than leaving your poor soul to wither in the sands of disuse. I am doing you the greatest service I can.”
My mind is hurting so bad my body is retching. Concentration is near impossible. I only have perhaps one minute before my essence is extinguished; and I…don’t know what to do next.
Wait. Yes I do. I’m trying to battle the mind of a man forty-odd years my senior, a man who wants a young body. A man who otherwise will die naturally in a few short years. All I have to do is…
I dip my paintbrush into the last of my Uitherim. Disengaging from Arnellus’ mental attacks, I focus my brushstrokes on the blob’s physical elements, quickly and thoroughly erasing its existence from physical realm. As Arnellus had spoken of it doing to him, the blob begins to paint my invisible eye because I am taking something out of the “real” world. I feel it attach to my mind and eye, feeding with more fervor than before.
With a few brushstrokes, I change the blob’s biology. Rather than feed on the mind, it would gain nutrition instead by sharing calories with me. I decide to leave in the boost to Uitherim production, I’m going to need it. Deciding I don’t want to look the part of a monster, I make the blob a mere presence within my blood, leaving no outward monstrous qualities. Finally, I paint my father’s creation back into existence, within myself. The blob now works in my favor; producing Uitherim only for me. I have control of it unlike my father, though I realize it feels more like a leash than complete subservience. Surprisingly, I find I am now attached to the dragon, Veshinti, as well…she is now my servant, not my fathers.
After hours of careful work, I’ve finished what my father never could. I’ve gained full control of my newfound power, and the wisdom to wield it without being overtaken. In addition, the blob contained much of my father’s memories and the emotions tied to them. Essentially, I stole my father…and I feel as much a monster for doing so as I feel he is for trying.
I am certainly changed; and I’ve no idea if that change is for the better. I have broken the laws of nature, a sin of science if not of the divine. This is my curse, one that may find me more a monster than my father could have dreamed up. For, with my father’s memories, I see that all power must be used, never wasted; and yet doing so leads unerringly to corruption.
I can’t even be sure I want to attempt an exemplary life. Why should I? Not even my father cared to treat me in a manner that would lead me down a path of goodness. My friends and family in Bevlum let me go without a whisper. My sister would never be able to look at me without fear again. On top of everything is the anger coursing through me, always.
Was I born a monster then? My decision is quick, I will never be weak. Never again shall I be led by one of lesser power than myself. I will not weep for my father, or mother, both of them left me and I refuse to carry their responsibilities any longer. Should the world dislike what I have become, then in their hearts and minds I will be the monster. Carefully, I open my eyes.
At the same time, Arnellus opens his. Damn him. Taking a few trembling steps, he comes over to wrap his arms around me. I want to laugh at his newfound weakness. His eyes shine with the innocence of youth and the bedevilment of life at the same time.
“How? I…you spared me!”
“Yes Arnellus, I did. You’re now damned to live your own feeble life…you don’t get to live mine. I’ve stolen your creation and changed it to suit me. Though you created monsters, and looked the part, your true legacy is a son far more monstrous than you.”
The hurt and pain of my words are obvious on Arnellus face. I don’t care that he’s my father anymore, inside he’s little more than one of the goblins that killed Mom.
The blob never truly took full control of him; he used it to keep his body alive just long enough for me to attempt usurping his mind; and all the while planned to take my life. His blob, for him, was merely a coat protecting him from the elements. I noticed this while examining him through the invisible eye the second time.
I can see that he won’t live as long as I expected. His naked body is covered in sores, and black lines trace his every vein. I have a feeling that the cause is yet another attempt to boost his power. Now, he holds so little memory that it may be impossible for him to use his power, for I now hold his fiendish imagination within my own.
“You knew I was lying to you before beginning to paint, didn’t you?” he asks me.
Nodding, I ask him the one question I don’t know the answer to, “How long will you live, now?”
“All I require is a new blob. I’ll survive long enough for it to be created. You’re going to allow me that, right Son?”
I glance at Carghen. Despite being an asshole, he is the only mentor I have. The shock of seeing the blob dissipated is only now leaving the Crimson Knight, and now Arnellus is speaking of recreating it? The shake of his head is enough. My decision is made.
I direct my cobra, already hiding behind Arnellus, to strike. Driving its fangs deep into my father’s head, the cobra injects the maximum amount of poison, my hate, directly into the man’s brain. Arnellus begins to quake, all his senses now on fire. I watch him shit, retch, and piss uncontrollably.
Commanding the cobra to wrap him up until he stops moving, I turn towards Carghen. The Crimson Knight allows his fear naked accordance. It appears Maylyn did want him alive, his health fully returned to him despite poison that held him on the edge of life and death.I think I will forgive Carghen. He didn’t know Arnellus’ secret agenda; and he’s certainly no monster, not like Arnellus; and not like I plan to be. Then again, everything put into the world, and everything taken out, paints the invisible eye…
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