Tim was at that weird place in between the sweat on his body being wet and drying completely. He was stalling. Fear looked over one shoulder but the need to know leaned on the other shoulder with immense pressure.
His throat stretched and ached around the ancient words that spilled out. Words like these had to be said in one breath, strung together like one continuous sound. With the last bit of air he spat out the last bit of the words.
Candle flames flickered and then turned black. Tim watched as there black ate up the orange in the flame like oil being poured into water. Around the room the light from the flame took on a purple hue almost like black light. The pentagram on the floor began to glow a dark blue in a throbbing light.
The corners of the room were bathed in the blue brilliance. Tim’s eyes grew wide as he watched one of the support beams reflect the light and then he saw a figure leaning against it. Its posture was relaxed and casual like it was waiting for a train that would be arriving in the next few seconds.
Tim flipped the light switched up. A man was leaning against the support beam. He was very handsome and well groomed wearing a suit that would set Tim back a few thousand dollars easy. Tim noted that his eyes were pure black as if his pupils filled up the entire eyeball. But this wasn’t the reason that Tim felt a little off about the man. There was just something different about him.
The man started to move forward. Tim whispered something under his breath and the man stopped.
With a sigh he asked: “Do you really think that this would work against me?” With a wave of his hand, the man was advancing once again.
Tim was awestruck and anticipated the attack.
“What did you want?” the man asked.
“I had to know,” Tim said.
“Lust, obsession, these are some bad things Mr. Cox. You have your answer. Now, what do you want?”
There was a change to the man’s face something that was brewing underneath, something menacing. Those horrid eyes were inches from Tim’s own.
“I can’t believe it. If you’re real then—”
“Yes, so an aspect of everything else is real. But you know the rules and the cost. To get this far,” he gestured to the room behind him, “you have to understand the costs.”
Tim’s eyes went over all of the old tomes he had piled up after reading them and all of the runes he hand put up everywhere for the summoning. On some level he was always aware of the cost, even if he thought that nothing would happen. A price lays heavy on every action.
“That’s just it. I wanted an answer. The thought of nothing after death, the thought that life ceases forever is something I can’t handle.”
The man didn’t seem shocked by Tim’s response. His head leaned forward a little and those strange eyes looked deeper into him.
“Why?” said the man.
“Time is passing too fast and the last day will be here soon.” Tears started to well in Tim’s eyes as the words came out. “I blink and the last thirty-five years are gone. To know that in some form we go on is all I really needed. Even if it means that my soul is yours now, it is better than thinking that it wouldn’t be.”
The man turned his head slightly and a small smile came to one side of his mouth. “If there is nothing after life you would have never known it. Now you’ll know something else. Was it worth it?”
“Yes, I can sleep easy even knowing that I’m going to you.”
The man stepped back into the shadows.
“You know, for each person it is different. Yours just may be the cession of existence with a tiny bit of knowledge left lingering around to be aware of it.”
Tim’s face went pale and his eyes went wide.
“And, since you seem to think in terms that everything is an extension of yourself and must end, eternity may one day come to an end. We will all be faced with the same problem that has haunted you for the last fifteen years or so.”
The shadow was starting to fade out along with the new hope that was just brought into Tim’s mind.
“Besides,” said the shadow, “this could all just be a hallucination.”
The voice disappeared and Tim held his face in his hands.
Adam Armstrong is a life-long native to Northern Kentucky. His writing has been published hundreds of times in everything from small literary magazines, to large sci-fi markets to trade journals. Adam writes professionally and lives with his wife, Melissa, and their son, Dylan. You can visit his blog at: http://wordsandsquiggles.blogspot.com
Image by Keoni Cabral