He woke up in darkness, pure and absolute darkness. His lips were dry, he could feel the cracks, filled with dried blood. He lifted his head. Closed his eyes, opened them again. His shoulders burned, his arms probably were made of stone: no, he could move them. He lifted his hands to his face, felt his features: he was intact. But he was cold. And naked. He could feel the dryness of the place, he was. His back leaned on the wall. As he moved, he could feel the little cracks in the stone behind him, the chalk behind him.
He knew the place.
He knew the place, because he remembered it. And the darkness laughed at him, like back in the days of his childhood.
He screamed, but his screams felt silent, as if he couldn’t utter one sound.
He got up, scratched his back on the coarse wall, he could feel his skin scrubbed off his flesh. But it wasn’t the worst. The worst was, that he wasn’t alone. He knew, he was alone, the only human in this cellar-room where his grandparents had put him, decades ago. He wasn’t even sure, why they had done it. But he didn’t care. Not in this moment. The terror of his former trauma was erased by his actual problem: He was alone and not alone at the same time. He couldn’t even see something, because the darkness was more than absolute now, as if behind any darkness another darkness waited and this one, behind the veil of night, was not empty. It was full of … things.
Things, he could hear. And feel.
And those things were part of something bigger, as if it were able to fill the void behind the void itself, the magic of unreality being part of … of what? Of him! But why?
“But why?”, he tried to scream, but was unable to do so. The air he was breathing, was not real and had an oily scent or feeling or whatever he was able to experience. Feeling and hearing and seeing became one and exploded every single moment into something different, dark and twisted and at the same time beautiful and bright and then again it became almost nothing. Parts of his body became part of his little finger of his right hand and every muscle and bone felt like made out of clay and he felt every tremor, every twitch of every nerve as part of a dance he was not able to stop – not able to stop this intrusion. His ears ringed, every color was a new tone, every imagination a song, unholy and beautiful.
And behind the darkness he could feel the bright lines of the old silver, its meaning, its words: incantations from universes beyond his own to open doors and invite creatures, which were nothing like his imagination was able to accept. There was no color, no form, no sound, which could be replicated in a way, human minds would understand.
But here he was, alone in the darkness in the cellar of the house he had lived in as a child and his grandparents had put him here – again, even now, after their dead. And as if fate had decided to laugh at him and his fears, Dunwic and his daughter had poisoned him and put him back in that small room, in the dry and dark place, where he was so alone, he imagined the hidden eternity – like before.
And again he screamed, but his scream never reached his ears. His eyes were not his own anymore, he could feel, they were moving forwards, pulled by an unknown force. His jaw cracked. His teeth danced in their bed of flesh, his tongue twisted herself in the back of his throat. His try lips cracked more, until they created a valley of flesh and blood, ripped themselves in two parts, making room for his frontal teeth, which lifted themselves up, creating fires in John Joes nerves, but he was not there anymore. Nothing, what had been John Joe, was in the room anymore, only darkness and glittering memories fading in the night.
“He should be ready”, Dunwic said. He was looking out of the window. The trees dreamed and the moon rolled drunkenly over the sky.
“Yes, my dear. A usual person would need at least 24 hours to archive this state, but our host had experiences before. He just needed to control them. But as a child? Almost impossible. Yes, Marion, you are different.”
She smiled. “Thank you for that praise.”
“And yet, the outcome of his experiences may differ.”
“Genetics don’t lie. And you know, that we share a little bit of DNA.”
“My dear Marion, you have no idea. His parents suffered tremendously when they tried to bring him into the cult. Years of their lives disappeared in the whim of a moment. And they were forced to tell him, that his parents had died and his grandparents had to raise him.”
“And yet. Look at me. Don’t I look like 25? Maybe 30? Although he is my … nearest relative, he looks as old as he is.”
“Say the word, Marion. Say, that you are his sister.”
“Never!” Her face broke into pieces and it took a few moments to move back to their old place.
“You are angry, my dear.”
“I am and I hope, we can get started with the séance, so I can leave this place.”
They went down to the cellar. The light bulb flickered slightly, throwing shadows on the chalked walls, white as death. They stopped, listened. Nothing. Only the silent light. The house was holy in its own way, no insect was able to live here for the last decades. Only humans. Or … someone else.
The darkness was broken by the blade of light, cutting the tiny room in two or more pieces. Photons danced in madness.
“He is gone”, Marion said.
“No, he is there. Just wait”, Dunwic answered.
They waited. The dancing dust particles slowed their movements, as if they were forced to stuck between movement and its opposite. A thought of a body appeared, slightly less dark than the room itself. Moments went by, and between every heart beat, the entity grew more and more into reality.
“He is moving through the dimensions. You know the concept of multi-dimensional movements. You have learned them.”
“I have learned them, but I never saw them.”
Dunwic nodded. “You are his older sister. You had reason and logic when it happened. He was a child. He does not have the chains, which bind you. He is pure.”
“Which is not …”
“Sh”, Dunwic stopped her. “Don’t wake him.”
John Joe existed again. At least this was, what his mind knew. His feelings were different, his body felt different. When he didn’t concentrate on the light and the two shadows in it, he moved back into the state, where he was forced to feel every single cell of his body, every molecule, every electric spike, everything in its reach. Yet, even when he had focus, he was still bound to that strange dimension, which conquered every other, unknown to everyone, known to the masters of magic, Thelema or whatever name they used. Names are symbols and symbols are strong or weak.
“Come”, Dunwic said to John John, which stood in the cellar, staring at his visitors.
John Joe moved his hand and touched his face. It was real. He lowered his hand and pointed to Dunwic.
“You did this to me”, he said, his voice a bleak echo of humanity.
Dunwic nodded. “I would say I am sorry, but there is a pact. And a pact is more important than heaven and hell and life and death. Come and I will explain everything.”
Back in the 2nd floor, the rooms looked differently than before. The shelves had moved, just a little bit, maybe a few millimeters, less than a centimeter. The dust on them still was on the exact same place. The walls looked younger, but the youth of them were wrong, painted over. John Joe could feel the real walls behind them, the bricks, the stones, the metal arcs connecting them. It looked like a cage, but more the opposite, as if the world was inside the cage and he was outside. He and Dunwic. And Marion.
He didn’t see it, see them. He watched the lines made from silver – and they didn’t exist anymore as two-dimensional art in the wood of the floor. They levitated in the middle of the room, with atomic strings connected to the floor itself like a dancing tree, a living entity. Pulses ran down from its branches down through its stems to the roots, and yet, there were no branches and no stems and no roots, just lights and strings, vibrating unknown songs from unheard notes.
“Touch them”, said Dunwic and John Joe touched those silver lines. He didn’t feel anything at first, but then, after a few moments, the lines reacted to his existence. Some of them moved away, while others moved nearer to his fingers.
John Joe could hear the whispers in the silver, the old voice of the metal.
“They speak”, he said.
“They speak”, said Dunwic. “Listen.”
And John Joe listened. First there were only syllables, made from unknown and forgotten characters made into words for entities which didn’t share this universe, this dimension. He listened to the stories, the songs, the despair, the rage, the war, the pain.
“You hurt them”, John Joe said.
“We wanted to communicate with them”, Dunwic answered.
“Your words cut them. Your light blind them.”
“They can give us power. And life.”
John Joe turned around. His eyes felt the lie in Dunwics face. “Show yourself.”
“Never”, answered Dunwic. His voice was colder than the emptiness behind the stars.
“You are not human. You took my parents. This is your house.”
Dunwic smiled. “You are wrong.”
“I did not talk to you, Dunwic. I talked to Marion.”
Dunwic turned around. His mouth opened, but he was unable to say something.
Marion stepped inside the room. She smiled. “How did you know?”
“I see you.”
“Bring me back, brother. Bring me back to my family.”
“But how …”, cursed Dunwic.
“Our parents almost died when they opened the gate – under your command, Dunwic. You want power and fame and eternity. They were your victims.”
Marion grinded her teeth. “I was there. I still hear their screams, remember the madness of time crashing through their bodies, while John Joe here was in the middle of the field, of the silver-altar, a sacrifice to your gods. The gods didn’t care.”
“I remember everything, Dunwic, now that you opened my mind again. I see the despair of life behind the walls of reality. You wounded that dimension and one of their children was sucked in this universe. You could not catch it. It jumped into my sister, became part of her reality.”
Dunwic moved. At least, he tried to.
The silver reacted, spread out, touched Dunwics skin. Entered his flesh, moved through his body like a blade, penetrated every organ, spread out, disconnected every cell from each other in the whim of a moment. And yet, his brain would feel something bizarre, because the silver would grow around it like a wall, a living wall of despair.
Dunwic broke down. His existence was ripped out of the universe – and moved to the other.
In the movements of the silver, in the patterns of its dance, John Joe could see the other world and outside this worlds, even different ones, one weirder than the other. He laughed.
“Why do you laugh?”, Marion asked, when he stopped, eternities later.
The night was over, the dawn of the new day already smiled behind the windows of the old house.
“Are you okay?”, he asked.
“I am empty. Look, how I age. I am your older sister. And now I have nothing anymore.”
He touched her shoulder. She shrugged. “I am okay. Its okay. I learned much, but in the end, everything has no real sense. Our world is not the only one. Our universe is bleak and boring.”
“Thats the reason, I laughed”, John Joe said. “Our world is the weird one.”
He looked down to the silver lines in the wooden floor. One of them stirred slightly. “I suppose, thats the reason, they want to visit us.” He raised his eyes to the face of his sister. “We should prepare for them.”
His sister smiled. Her mouth showed a tiny gap, only large enough for a small tooth. A tooth of a child.