Excerpt from original writing: What Lies Beyond

The title is one I thought of back in high school when I originally wrote this story, but I can’t make myself change it. It has a history, as well as it being Lestan and Jack’s personal history. This is just a small bit from it, and it’s one of the many moments in the story where Jack has some self-reflection. It’s appropriate for all audiences.

 


 

The wind rustled through the spirit’s translucent form, his hair unmoving in the breeze. He stared at the moon as if he were seeing every minute detail, its rocky and cold surface beckoning to him as did the vastness of space. He craved the void but only ever crossed into it when necessary. Otherwise, he was afraid he’d become lost and never return. That was not his purpose, and he knew his place and where he had to remain. To leave would be to abandon those wracked with grief due to their own unfortunate passings, and that was something the spirit would never wish upon any creature.

He lifted his hand and a battered, pale heart appeared, the agony contained within reaching a volume that could be heard throughout the cemetery. Every soul he led into the next world left their sorrows with him, and in his heart, he felt the weight of every single one. Hundreds — thousands — of cries and haunting screams rustled the energy around him and the trees swayed with the sheer force of the energy until the spirit withdrew, the heart fizzling out to return to him.

He looked out across the cemetery before drifting off the tombstone he occupied. He didn’t walk often as mortals tended to, but after meeting the vampire earlier that night, he felt the need to think, and to think brought its own kind of melancholy. He’d never spoken to another creature at length. It had been enough to cause his entire existence to pause, but what was even more curious was the vampire’s persistence in wanting to know him. It simply wasn’t the way things were supposed to be, and the spirit felt raw anxiety rising within him, the grass beneath his feet flattening with an ethereal breeze as his energy sparked in the darkness.

A name. The vampire had said something about a name before the spirit vanished. He knew the meaning of them and their importance, but he wasn’t anything important enough in his own mind to be deserving of a name. He was just… there. He existed for his purpose and although he’d put a name to that purpose for the vampire’s sake of understanding, it wasn’t even close to the true meaning. The spirit sighed, a dim, pale blue glow emanating from him as he drifted between the shadows in the cemetery. Speaking with the vampire had brought upon more complications than he had ever wanted to deal with.

Cold stone caressed the spirit’s entire being as he drifted through it, the mausoleum steps just below him as he hovered near the walls. Thin, vine-like branches wound their way through the small and narrow windows in the walls, their tendrils dry and clinging to life as they stretched over the worn surface. Silver strands of moonlight disturbed the peaceful dark and spilled upon the floor where the spirit drifted past, the stone steps leading down introducing a much colder atmosphere than above. Stopping once he was fully below ground, the spirit gazed around the quiet room.

Hollowed out shelves in the stonework lined the walls, their presence barely visible to the naked eye in the purest of darknesses. Although the spirit’s eyes were as black as the void, they allowed him a glimpse into that world that none were able to perceive otherwise. He was as much a part of this darkness as it was of him, and within it, he could see the bones lying neatly and untouched in their respective shrouds. The materials were wrought with decay and their jewels tarnished to never shine again, insects crawling over and between them on their path to devour what was left of the body below it.

It was beautiful.

The spirit drifted over to a body that was much less decayed than the others, the bones jutting out where the flesh had all but dissipated with time. His hand trailed over the skull that was thinly veiled with parchment-like skin, and he pressed his fingers gently into the eyes, his own falling shut as he felt a semblance of something that was once there. A sadness gripped at his chest and he pulled his hand away. These were his true friends and the only ones he could ever allow himself to have. They could not tempt him away from his purpose or claim to give him a name. They’d become just as meaningless as he, their own names lost with the passage of time.

The spirit dropped to the stone floor among the spiders and other insects. The tomb walls behind him brought comfort as he welcomed their frigid chill, and the energy of the ever-changing earth behind them seeped through him. He could hear every breath within the womb of Mother Nature itself as he basked in it, and he closed his eyes once more as he took in the sound. An involuntary thought crossed his mind in that moment.

Perhaps the vampire would enjoy it just as much with him. If not, then all would be understood.

 

© 2019 Shane Blackheart

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