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Is fate avoidable or controllable? A little of both? Who determines our destiny? Or is it that none of this matters? Whatever the answer is we know one thing: pain is very real to us and it manifests itself in many different forms. How do you overcome pain?

Horror / Mystery
Damian Peters
Age Rating:


As he walked down the lengthy hallway that led to his and Apotheosis’s chambers, Gale felt a heavy presence darken his heart. His legs began to feel weak and heavy. Slowly, he dragged them each step. He guided himself with his left hand against the cold grey wall. As he hobbled along, a flood of memories cascaded down upon his consciousness.

The screams, the violence, the laughs and cries, ups and downs, everything swelled within him. The beginning, the end and everything in between. He was all of these. He was both a hero and a villain. The cure and the disease.

Several lifetimes of memories continued to assault him. “The man of few words.” “The Cloaked Menace.” “The Great Deceiver.” “The Grey Wolf.” “Whoever he was,” “Whoever he may be.” they said.

He stumbled and fell on both knees. Slowly, he managed to manipulate the door open. The loud sound of festivities boomed in the background, though nobody could hear his screams. Inside his mind he yelled loud enough to burst his auditory senses.

It was the memories. He carried them. They demanded he listen.

Gale conjured up whatever reserve energy he had left. Stationed in the middle of their chambers he scrambled atop a mountain. He climbed it’s legs. The voices dared him to do it. They tore and tugged at him, the pain making his thighs heavy as metal and his lungs tainted black with smoke. And still he came. He struggled up it’s smooth surface and hard corners. The voices grew louder and more intense. And still he came.

Now they goaded him. They assured this is what was best. Though there was another. She screamed for him to stop. For him to listen to her. She batted the voices down, slamming into them attempting to silence every last one. Though, it was no use. There were too many. And slowly those voices seemed to consume her as well.

Finally, atop the summit, Gale looked around. He could see the souls of those he had hurt. Of those pain forgotten. They looked at him. Some angry, some sad, some happy, some contemptful. And they nodded “yes.”

The lone warrior, bloodied and spent from fighting was at her wits end. Her fight continued in earnest, knocking figures left and right. She fought the voices tooth and nail as she surged up to the summit.

“There was no escaping fate.” they said as he felt the rough embrace of the noose around his neck.

He heard laughter. All at once the voices were replaced with more recognizable faces. They giggled with mirth and excitement. The families had come out to celebrate. They jumped up and down screaming and wailing and pointing their fingers at him. “Your fault!” they said, “Animal!” they bellowed, “Hit him!” they hissed.

The summit disappeared and he found himself surrounded with spectators. A hidden force adjusted his noose. Tighter it went, stronger it closed. He thrashed as fluid leaked from his mouth as his teeth grinded against his tongue. His feet flitted in every direction. His body gyrated and convulsed on its own. He began to cry and as he did he could hear the laughter once again. The terrible jeers and slurs directed his way. The gurgle of his mouth bubbling blood. The pee and excrement that left his bowels.

As his tormentors left him to thrash alone, he stopped moving. With what would be his final breaths he fell down.

And there he was on the summit once again. He rubbed and adjusted his neck. No longer did it burn and bleed. He managed to stand and noticed he wasn’t alone. There she was. She ran towards him, sprinting as fast as she could. As she neared, she stopped within one step. She extended out a hand. He extended his own. Together they embraced.

She hugged one of his cheeks with her left hand and the other around the small of his back. Her lips were large and plush to the touch. Their kiss seemingly lasting forever.

After some time she began to shimmer then disappear. He looked around frantically screaming her name. Though, no one would hear him. He banged the ground atop the summit with all his might. Beneath him, rocks crumbled and gave way. Again he screamed, this time louder, the shockwaves blasting what was left of the mountain to bits and pieces.

He would not give in, he would not relent. The voices attacked him, and as they did they shouted expletives swearing that their words alone should tear him to pieces. With the summit gone he floated in midair. Figures surrounded him from every angle, ready to do their worst. Reinvigorated, he breathed deep, narrowed his eyes, and steeled his courage.
He fought not like an animal with nowhere to run. Not like a coward whose only option is to fight. Not like a madman flailing and hoping he lands. Not like a beast. Not like a dead man.

For the first time in his life, he fought to live. When the voices would land a hit, he’d land twenty, when they seemed to overwhelm him, he reminded them of his strength. When they began to taunt him he would smile. When all seemed lost and there was no way out he would spring forth again like the undying phoenix.

And soon he was back on the summit. He found himself alone, save one last person. It was a little boy and around his neck was a noose. The boy looked around wildly, he could not see the grown man in front of him. Defeated, the boy knelt down and cried. A puddle formed, his tears of anguish drip dropping into a stone bowl.

Gale watched, as fire started to grow on the boy’s arms. Fire darker and hotter than a star. An aura so consuming it began to eat the reality around them. The bowl of tears evaporated. The summit lay bare but the blackness of soot. And the boy still burned. He turned towards Gale, and pointed. Gale burst into flames, but they did not hurt. They licked deep into his spirit, and spoke to him. Though this time, the voices were not foreign, and they did not demand his attention.

What was both a declaration and a whisper they, he and the boy, spoke in unison. “The fire is bright and will burn for eternity. We will burn. Suffer though we will, through our immolation we shall claim our rightful place among the living. Through our death may it be known, that one cannot extinguish the flames, for our fire is bright, it is infinite, and it shall burn for eternity.”
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