Chapter 4 Scene 1

by Richard Perkins
This entry is part 14 of 65 in the series Doormaker's Fall

Chapter 4: Shadows and Whispers

“The Great Prophecy foretells us of salvation and destruction. Surely it has come to us as a warning. But why has it come only to us, I ask? Surely we must be best suited to insure mankind’s survival, nay mankind’s transcendence. Surely this is our test. And brothers, in this test we must not fail.”

Oracle of the Prophets I

Devon dreamed. It was the old dream again, and it was not a good one.

He was a child, sitting on the floor in a small room, playing with an assortment of strange carved toys. In the dream, they were always familiar to him, like the cherished playthings of youth, though that would not be the case when he woke.

The room was empty, the walls dark and shadowy. The light was wavering and indistinct. It pulsed and throbbed like a fragile living thing. It came from everywhere and nowhere. There were no windows or sconces. Then suddenly Devon realized that what light existed in this place came from him.

There was a heavy wooden door in the wall to his right. It was banded with dark iron and set in a frame of polished stone. He knew, in the way that one knows such things in dreams, that the door was locked to him, never meant to be opened.

On the wall opposite the door, there was an enormous frame, draped in rough white canvas. Behind the canvas the frame was ornately decorated with strange icons and symbols. The frame held a mirror, its depths empty and dark like the room built to hold it. But the mirror, like the room, was hidden and must never be revealed.

He took up the blue block, a foaming curl that was cool to the touch. It crashed and rolled in his head, terrifying and awe inspiring. It held such power, yet it was only a carved block cupped in the palm of his hand. The instant this thought formed in his mind, the block began slipping, seeping between his fingers to fall on the dusty marble floor. It shattered as it fell, into a million pieces that could never be reassembled. Yet when he blinked, the block was laying whole and unbroken at his knee. Reeling from the sudden silence, he did not want to play anymore.

Yet he was compelled. He took up the pale white block, a writhing funnel shape. It whistled and howled in his head, numbing and harrowing. As with the blue block, it stayed dormant in his hand only a moment. Then it whirled up into the room to fill the space above his head, expanding until it was everything and nothing. But when he looked down, the white block was whole and untouched with the others. And again he was left shuddering inside, desperately wanting out of the strange room.

But with shaking hands, he continued. He took up the brown block, a tiny pebble or a rough hewn boulder, he could never be sure. It rumbled and groaned in his head, unstoppable and relentless. Before his eyes, it crumbled into rich black soil, which dried to dust and blew away. Yet afterward, he could see the brown block whole on the floor as though he had never touched it. Now his mind was galvanized by fear. His brain gibbered and clawed at the walls of his skull in its frantic need to escape what was coming.

But inexorably, his hands sought the last block, the angry red carving of twining forked tongues. As he took up the last toy, he was engulfed in searing agony. It crackled and snapped through him, all consuming and insatiable. The block flickered and flared, racing up his arm and filling him with a savage hunger.

Horrified, he saw an answering red glow from behind the canvas and knew that the mirror was no longer empty. Though his mind screamed against it, he was on his feet, crossing the floor step by agonizing step. His bare feet left smoking scorch marks on the marble. He railed against it, but his defiant screams were lost in the roaring inferno that assailed his thoughts.

At his back, a soft white light separated the edge of the iron shod door from its stone frame. Tumblers turned, protesting from centuries of disuse, and the door swung ponderously open. But Devon knew it would be too late. It was always too late.

With halting steps, he had reached the mirror. At his touch, the ancient canvas shivered and fell to the floor in tattered shreds. The lightest touch of his feet set them ablaze. The icons on the frame rippled and chased each other around the mirror. Within the mirror that should reflect nothing, a baleful light was gathering. As he thrust his face closer to the inky surface, Devon at last saw what the mirror held.

Ascending from the depths and swimming ever closer to the surface, Devon saw his own face. He felt himself falling and grabbed the mirror frame. The flames from his hands licked hungrily at the icons and sent them swirling dizzyingly.

In the depths of the glass, he saw himself twisted by flame, consumed by flame, no, composed of flame. The ornate door at his back was nearly open now, and he struggled with all his will to turn and face it. But just before he could wrench himself away, hands of incredible strength wrapped around the frame from within the mirror, imprisoning him.

He was unable to look away as those incandescent eyes locked with his. The face in the mirror stared back at him, and he choked on its smoky breath. The haunted visage hinted at endless torment, frustrated rage and soul crushing despair.

Come. You know there can be no escape for us now.

His hands were torn loose from the frame, and then Devon was falling headlong into the mirror.

He woke when he hit the floor, having tumbled from his bed. It was still the dark of the night. Already, the details of the dream were receding from his mind like spilled water drying in the sun. A sense of visceral terror remained, along with an image of burning eyes, and the specter’s last phrase.

Cold sweat was drying on his skin, leaving an unpleasant tacky feeling. He shook his head, trying to dispel the icy dread that gripped him. The dream had not tormented him for several ‘turns, and he could not fathom why it had returned to plague him tonight.

As he crawled back into his tangled blankets, he habitually rubbed the small golden charm dangling from the leather thong around his neck. But it did not reassure him. When he finally got back to sleep, he spent the rest of the night defending a wagon train of priceless treasures from unending hordes of imagined bandits.

One Response to “Chapter 4 Scene 1”

  1. [...] the book this week too. I finished most of another scene in Chapter 12. I’m also posting the three scenes from Chapter 4 tonight for those of you who want to continue Devon’s adventure. Chapter 4 was a challenge [...]