Darkness Comes to Kingswell – Part 15

I tried to calm down before speaking again.  I took a deep breath, mental though it might have been, and said, “Okay, Beth, I’m sorry, but I could use some of those truths now.”

“Our time is short but I’ll tell you what I can.  You must listen then you must leave.”  She sounded like someone near their end.  Her voice grew weaker and more distant as each moment passed, more labored and frail.  My dream-wife was dying.  The thought upset me.

“No one knows where the darkness came from,” she began.  “They simply have always been.  It’s more ancient than time itself.”

I stared at the unblinking eyes that hung motionless outside the window.  They stared back.  An occasional scratch against the glass kept reminding me of their presence.

While I felt the eyes watch me as in the first dream, this particular set looking at me—into me had a far more devastating impact.  They didn’t float around out there looking into the house but perhaps not at me specifically.  No, these eyes were locked on my position, locked on my eyes, and their visual grip on me never wavered.  And the scratching as though intentionally trying to frighten me…  Well, it was working.

We are temptation’s hatred
Feed our lust

Something in the voices of those children I could feel in a way I didn’t understand.  The pat-a-cake song was somehow becoming physical and reaching out.  I thought briefly my head was beginning to hurt, but Beth’s voice diverted my attention.

She had paused for a second as though collecting herself—or itself—as though taking a deep breath in the hopes of finding strength.  Then she said, “It’s eternal in ways we don’t understand.  Calling them eternal limits them somehow.  They’re infinitely infinite.  But they’ve always been weak, and perhaps that’s how we hurt them for so long.  It couldn’t protect itself.  So we went on hurting them.  They began to grow angry after infinities of hurting.  The rage fed on itself as we went on wounding them.  As its fury grew, so too grew their strength.”

I thought I heard Helene screaming but disregarded it as a hallucination wrapped in a dream, and ignoring it I asked, “How did we hurt them?”

“We’ve invaded their world countless times over countless lifetimes through countless universes in countless existences.  We didn’t know we were doing it.  But since the first being of thought dreamed its first dream, we’ve hurt them over and over again&mdadsh;”

We are come for you, David Lloyd

It was a whisper piercing my flesh.  It cut me.  I could feel the gash even if I couldn’t see one.  Children from the Village of the Damned spoke my name, and it hurt me, yet their voices had already returned to a dull, indecipherable background noise.

I tried to focus on the eyes that stared back at me from the darkness and found it increasingly difficult to look at them.  The once-burning embers were now white-hot flames boring into my soul.  It was invading me somehow.  It was violating me.

I looked at it and mustered all the strength I thought I could find, and then I screamed, “Leave me the fuck alone!”

The glass cracked, a small split in an otherwise solid pane.  Still, it cracked right in front of those eyes.  I stumbled backward in terror.

What if the windows break?  What do I do if there’s nothing between me and them?  Oh shit…

We are bringers of night
And dark despair

Another window cracked to my left.  It was on the far wall, what in the real world would be the north wall of the sunroom.  It faced the lake if there was even a lake left.  The crack was another small one in the middle of the glass, yet it was there and I could see it from across the room.  More eyes hovered outside that window like all the others.

I worried the darkness in this place was finally going to come, and I worried it was coming specifically for me.  The thought of what I’d already seen sent shock through my bones as I wondered what it might be capable of us in this unreal dream world.  Their world?

Helene’s voice called out from somewhere in the house.  It was an anguished cry begging for mercy.  Or is she begging for death?  I think she’s begging for death.  But I knew Helene wasn’t in this dream.  This was my nightmare.  I was certain I was losing my mind.

Grasping at whatever this dream-Beth could share, I tried to understand her warnings in addition to what was happening in my own real world.  She’d said it wasn’t the darkness.  I didn’t want to argue semantics with her—or it—but I needed answers.  If there was any hope for us, she seemed to be the only way to find it.

“There’s little time left, Vey.  You must listen.  You’re in danger and we can’t stop them.  It’ll be here soon and your suffering will never end if you’re here.”

“Then tell me what you know, Beth.  Please tell me.”

Unwept tears misted my eyes, deep emotional distress welling within me.  It was the purest form of dread I’d ever known in my life.  It was building inside me like steam in a teapot on high heat.  It threatened to overwhelm me, but even that seemed tempered by the increasing pain I felt in my head.  Or was it my chest?  Or it could have been my whole body.

The hurt might even have been in some part of me for which there was no name.  Maybe it was in my soul.  Maybe they were reaching in there and twisting and turning and tearing at me.  Maybe they’d soon rip my essence right out of me like they’d ripped poor George and Mosko off the porch, or Margaret from the living room and right up the chimney, her old bones cracking and breaking the whole way.

Beth’s voice had diminished to a near whisper as she continued, “We didn’t hurt it intentionally.  We simply didn’t know what we were doing.  We didn’t realize they were here.  All we knew was their world offered us something none of our worlds could.  It let us experience the impossible.  Like them, it’s a timeless place where there is no death.  We came here and did what we couldn’t do elsewhere, we came here and visited with those who were no longer alive in our own existences, we came here and experienced what couldn’t be experienced anywhere else, and we came here and hurt the darkness.  Each time we invaded, we brought more pain and suffering to them.  We endlessly raped and pillaged its world.”

“Why didn’t they tell us?  Why didn’t they ask us to stop?”

“They were weak at first.  They were always weak and didn’t have the strength to reach us.  It never had to be strong before we came.  But all of that has changed.  Its anger made them stronger.  When it learned how to speak to us and gained the strength it needed to reach us, they tried to make us listen.  No one can deny hearing its warning from time to time.  They spoke to us with the same animosity we brought to their world.  And still we went right on invading.  The temptations they offered were too powerful.  We called their warnings anomalies and went right on hurting it.  We went right on destroying their world.”

We are manifest and dark alas
Into hellfire your gods are cast

I could feel the children’s singing.  It was no longer a question of whether or not it was hurting me; it became a fact of how much it was hurting me.  They weren’t children.  I knew that beyond any doubt.  They were it; they were the darkness.  I still didn’t understand how or why, but I knew that much with absolute certainty.

My own voice sounded pleading and desperate.  “Then we’ll stop.  Tell them we’ll stop.  Or I’ll tell them…”

I focused on the eyes outside.  I could see more of them in the distance approaching the house.  There had to be hundreds of pairs now staring at the windows surrounding me.  For just a moment, I wondered how it was possible to see them in the distance when nothing was visible in the black emptiness.

Because they’re one in the same, I thought, and I found that realization disturbing.  It is it and they as one, Davey ol’ boy, and boy howdy it/they are really pissed off.

I spoke to the eyes as I stared into the pair closest to me and boring its vision into me.  “Listen.  We know we’ve hurt you.  We know we’ve ruined your world somehow.  We’ll stop.  We didn’t know but now we do.  We’ll stop.  This isn’t necessary.”

“You can’t stop, Vey.  None of us can.  Their world has tempted life for so long that assaulting it has become part of the nature of living.  They know this truth.  They learned it from us like they learned so many other things.  They’re simple, innocent even, and we brought them all the evil and selfishness and anguish we contain, and we left it with them.  So they learned.  One of the things they learned is this: to stop the incursions, they must stop the living.  Literally.  Stop all living everywhere.”

That sent a shudder through me.  Stop all living everywhere?  “Do you mean they’re going to kill everything?”

“They’ve suffered infinite eternities of anguish at our hands.  Their wrath is so overwhelming they’d never kill us.  They plan to give back what we’ve given.  Forever suffering…”

I could make no claims to fully understanding what “forever suffering” might entail, nor could I make claims to a comprehension of what it really meant in the scheme of things.  The world I thought I knew had been thrown away and replaced with one wrought with perils so insidious and beyond human experience that my mind struggled to keep up with the deluge of new truths.  Nevertheless, I thought I was beginning to understand in the smallest of ways what all of this might mean.  It scared the hell out of me and I hoped I was wrong.  And forever suffering was indeed a darkness I could never live with.

“Then tell me this, Beth.  If the darkness hasn’t arrived yet, what the hell is killing everything on Earth?  What grotesque unstoppable thing is murdering everything in its path?”

“It’s a tool.  A mechanism, if you will.  Just as we couldn’t physically enter their world, it can’t physically enter ours.  But in the same way we’ve hurt them, they learned to hurt us by sending its essence into our worlds.”

“If it’s a tool, what’s it designed to do?  Kill?  Is that all it’s for?  It came to kill us?”

“It doesn’t kill.  It preserves.”

Preserves?  Preserves what?  Even as the question crossed my mind, I knew the answer and found it abhorrent.

I watched as more eyes filled the windows.  They burned so brightly and were so numerous that the light from them filled the sunroom more fully than the overhead lighting, casting my bloody shadow upon the wall.  Furious light is how I would have described it.  It burned everywhere it touched me.  It burned inside me.

And as I watched more approach and those already at the windows turn their focus entirely on me, I understood more clearly that time was running out.  I understood the darkness was knocking at the door and would soon let itself in the same way it had on the porch and in the house.  It wouldn’t wait for an invitation.  It was coming and I felt nothing could stop them.

For only an instant, Beth cried out.  It was a hurtful cry, one that told endless stories of pain.  Before I could respond, she said, “They’re bringing us suffering, Dave, and they see death as an end to suffering.  They want nothing to do with it.”

“Is it just us?  Is it just us, Beth?  Are we the only ones?”  I was frantic and desperately groping for answers to questions that I wasn’t sure I wanted answers for, yet I asked anyway.

“No.  It’s all life everywhere.  They’re not only taking back their world—they’re taking all worlds.”  Her voice was barely a strained whisper.

“Then tell me how we can survive?  Can it be stopped?  Can they be stopped?”

“Not anymore.  Their anger is too powerful, their rage too all consuming.  It’s made the darkness strong.  We could contain them before, but not now.  They watched us and learned how to follow us home.  Now it brings the undying forever to all of us.”

I again thought of Brogan’s condition and how he was treated by the demonic nothingness as it flooded into the living room.  I thought for a moment I understood why.  The concept rapidly spiraled into a horrifying realization that my mind was only barely able to see.  Preserves.  Endless death.  We invaded.  They followed us back.  It preserves…

“Infinities growing angrier made it more powerful.  Nothing can stand against it now.  The time of the living is over…”  Her voice seemed to fade into nothingness.  It sounded like the final gasp of a dying person trying to convey last thoughts.  There was more I needed to know.  More truths, as she put it.

Darkness falls
Darkness comes for you, David Lloyd
We are darkness

“Beth!” I screamed.  “Help me, Beth!  Please!”

The sound of the children was suddenly overwhelming.  The eyes in the windows…  And I could hear them scraping as they tried to get at me.  All the windows were cracking, spiderwebs of breaks cutting through the glass.

There were so many eyes that the brightness from them was like sunshine, although there was nothing warm or peaceful about it.  And the voices.  The children’s voices kept coming.  They kept getting louder and louder.  Suddenly I could hear their pat-a-cake song tempered only by Beth’s agonized screams.

We are pleasure’s anguish
And pain’s desire
We bring undying forever
To feed our ire
Hourglass sands are had in vain
Feel our dark heart bleed your pain

We are temptation’s hatred
Feed our lust
We make all your worlds
Burn to dust
Hope is just a fleeting promise
Darkness comes and is upon us

We are bringers of night
And dark despair
We are legions of hate
And cruel uncare
We are manifest and dark alas
Into hellfire your gods are cast

We bring death to hope
And end of days
We consume your spirits
On souls we graze
Cataclysm is what we give
Darkness now is all there is

The exploding pain in my head was equaled in impact only by the screams from Beth’s voice.  It was a horrible declaration of suffering.  I tried to respond but my body felt like it was burning from the inside, and that on top of explosive tearing of my flesh from top to bottom.

I fell to my knees and began crying.  I placed my hands over my ears in an empty attempt to shut out the singing.  But it was fruitless.  It wasn’t so much heard as it was felt.  It was ripping me apart.

As Beth’s wails of distress continued, I could hear more windows cracking.  It sounded like all of them.  They were breaking.  The eyes were finally coming.  They were coming and I couldn’t stop them.

We are darkness
We are for you, David Lloyd

The windows finally broke.  All of them shattered and exploded at once.  The nothingness flooded into the room and around me and over me.

There were no eyes.  There was only darkness filled with the face of hell of itself.  It was a ghastly sight I knew would blind me.  Not even God’s imagination could produce such a chilling countenance.

And its eyes…  Its eyes were so full of hate and destruction, so full of ire that it would undoubtedly push me into madness.  Horror swept over me as I finally saw the darkness.

“No!” I screamed, and I repeated it over and over.

The children’s singing was everywhere.  It was a song that would scare the devil, so dark and capable of inflicting so much pain.  The essence of it was death itself, but an endless death over a thousand infinities.

The sounds of windows breaking added to the abomination.  I was in the middle of it.  Perhaps I was even a part of it.  And in the end, there was only Beth’s final cry.

“Go, Vey!  Go and never return.  This is finally their world again…”

I could feel her pain in my ears.  It was equaled only by my own as the terror of terrors wrapped me in its darkness.

[Introduction | Part 14 | Part 16]

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