his tainted soul

- an original dark fiction -

composed by Obsidian The Ghost Faced

It seemed like an eternity since he last thought of his past. Compared to the old man he was now, it could have very well been. Most of his loved ones were gone, save for his brother, who by now was just as ancient as him – the miracle of modern medicine the old man thought as he scoffed softly. His brother had always been kind to him, he used to visit every day for sixty years, as the old man sat huddled in a dark corner of the small, windowless room. Now he came every so often, but the old man was still grateful. At least the voices still talked to him, when he could hear them. They weren't so loud now. The old man reminisced painfully about those voices, back to his childhood...

His earliest memories were of his first dream. He swore that he could hear them in the shadows, whispering in a strange tongue. But little did he know, they would never stop talking, never stop screaming, never stop torturing him, even in his nightmares. Sometimes, he could see their faces, hideous faces concealed by darkness. As they began to pass, the darkness joined with such intense, blinding light, and new voices – the voices of reason, kindness, conscience, memory, and even destiny. A bizarre duality came to exist within him, he was a conduit of good and evil, light and dark, creation and destruction. The boy prayed that this would pass, but his wish never came true. His life had come undone. The boy decided to bear this new, twisted destiny, alone. Time continued to creep on, and now the boy had become a young man. But time hadn't dulled the pain that came with waging war every second of his life. It only became worse. Every small choice, became disasters of dire result. But at last, a glimmer of hope revealed itself to him. Like most things, it was small and internally useful. The young man again hoped, and prayed, to become whole again, to unite his now fractured psyche, to end what seemed like centuries of intense mental warfare. He had finally tasted victory, but it came at a terrible price.

The young man could have more control, as long as his mind had his secret weapon. But if he wavered, even for a second, they would take control of his mind, and the endless war would begin again. What were they fighting for anyway, the young man mused. One day, it dawned on him, they were at war for control of his mind. He thought back to his childhood, over all the small events, and the catastrophic events. While he had tried to aid the parts of his psyche aligned with the light, he had unwittingly helped those parts aligned with the darkness. He had tried to silence the voices, but they responded by inducing intense physical pain, making him weak and vulnerable for days on end. It was at his lowest point, contemplating whether to keep going, or to end it, he struggled to understand what he had done to deserve this wretched curse. Then the voices did the one thing he never thought they would do – they spoke to him.

But this time, the young man understood their language, bizarre though it was. As he learned to speak the way they did, he also learned their unique identities, not only to deal with them, but also to watch them. Three aligned with the light – one who served as a gatekeeper for the young man's memories, and who seemed to own an iron fortitude; one who had an overdeveloped sense of justice and duty, ready to avenge; and another, whose strength served as a beacon of unity, linking the three. The same applied to the voices aligned to the darkness – one, who embodied the basic, primal desires of any human, his mind both primitive and lethal; another, who seemed borderline schizophrenic, barely contained behind a wicked and grim sense of humor; and the third, who was clearly the darkest, led the other two through fear and agony, possessing a fiery ambition, like volcanic obsidian. A seventh voice was also present, never fully revealing himself except to commune with the other six. The battlefield was finally revealed to him. But even this wasn't enough to shake the sense of dread eating away at him. If they could communicate with him, what if they could do more? What if the unthinkable happened?

The thought made him consider his family; his mother, who was continually betrayed by her frail body, constantly being torn away from him for incalculable lengths of time, leaving him to wonder if she would even come back alive; his father, like the ancient Greek legend Atlas, seeming to hold the entire world on his already overburdened shoulders, dragging himself from one place, to the next place, and the next place, trying to stay a step ahead, even if only for a second; and his brother, walking his own dark lonely path, fighting his own mental war, struggling to control the angry, raging monster that lurked just below the surface, stalking him like a hungry predator. The young man could see his family suffering – it stabbed at his heart like an assassin's knife. How could he give them to his nightmarish reality? He could feel each identity violently fighting for control, trying to take over, before receding back into his subconscious, watching, and waiting for him to slip. The effort of trying to suppress so much activity began to take its toll. The young man's body began to weaken and break down; some days he felt as though something was eating him alive from the inside. It was all too much. Before his health, his mind, and his resolve failed him completely, he had to make the hardest choice he ever had to – he vanished. One day, he just left, imposing a self-induced exile, but for how long, he didn't know.

It would be seventy years before he was found again. By now, the voices had claimed him at last. The young man, now old, had simply submitted, given up. From the many voices that haunted his tortured mind, only two remained, a voice of the light, and a voice of the dark. The strain had severed the man's hold on reality, and his mind snapped, leaving him trapped between the waking world, and dark ungodliness of his subconscious. The decision was to find a way to cure him, to restore his shattered psyche. Another six hundred years crept by, leaving the old man to age, to watch the world change, pass him by, and leave him behind. The old man, now an ancient relic, now over seven hundred years old, contemplated his life. From two voices, locked in eternal combat, lay silenced forever, and replaced by a voice that had left him two centuries ago, his own voice. If only he had listened to it, heeded its advice. The old man decided, one last time, to see what had become of the battlefield, the war zone where good and evil once raged unchecked.

It was an empty white landscape, devoid of anything and everything, like a massive white wasteland – except for a small figure walking toward him. It was a boy, but he was familiar somehow. He spoke with the same voice as the old man, but it was much younger. It was him – the old man – as a child. Only this voice was left now, to serve only one last purpose – to set the old man free from his prison, to wake him from his nightmare. Together they walked into the light. Never seen by anyone again. But at least, in the end, he was free, finally at peace. His prayers answered at last. However, something didn't feel quite right. The boy's hand became cold and clammy, his face twisted into an evil smile. The light he was walking into turned into darkness, and it began pulling him in. The old man tried to resist, but the harder he fought, the faster he got pulled in. He would never be free, no matter how strong, how fast, or how smart he was, he would never be rid of the duality. The nothingness consumed him, like dark empty quicksand. The last remnant of his decaying body – his hand – fought valiantly, but to no avail. The darkness claimed him at last.

He opened his eyes. For a few seconds, his vision was blurry, then became painfully clear. The old man sat up from the floor, but as he did, he noticed something eerily different about himself – his shadow was gone. He rushed over to the mirror. What he saw made his blood feel like ice in his veins. He stared at his reflection, but it was not his face. In fact, it couldn't even be called a face. His skin was black, covered in deep cuts and scars. His eyes were now a deep, burning midnight blue. It looked like he was wearing clothes of some kind, but the old man couldn't tell. When he opened his mouth to speak, he nearly jumped back in fear. Instead of his own aged voice, this thing in the mirror spoke with a horde of voices. Some of the voices he heard were familiar, but others were deep and menacing. The old man was in shock. A reflection that wasn't his own, his voice speaking in voices. It couldn't be. It just couldn't be. Until he looked down at his hands. The skin, the scars, the eyes...it was him.

He collapsed into a sobbing, convulsing heap, holding his head in his hands, repeating over and over his shock and disbelief. But something began to happen. He felt something deep inside the core of his being begin to burn. He felt his eyes flare, the cracks in his skin glowing, pulsing with dark fire. His sobs slowly gave way to laughter – manic, disturbed laughter. He realized what had happened to him, and it slowly began to sink in. This day was coming, like some twisted, dark prophecy. He had known for seven hundred years. This is what he really was, just underneath the surface. Maybe he really was born like this, the form that the world could see, just a mask, a disguise. He had crossed the point of no return. He realized nothing could cleanse his tainted soul, not even death. But the dark being he was now only chuckled to himself, rather pleased with the outcome. The last shreds of light, sanity, and humanity cleansed from his new body. He felt his feet leave the floor as he floated over to the wall. It was solid, so he went through it, melting out into the open air, and ascending into the black sky. The old man had served his purpose, and now, he could show his real face. His old identity was dead, and his real one was just beginning. Only now, at the end, did he finally understand...he would never be weak again...but at what cost?

Inspired by - "Indestructible" by Disturbed, "Give Into The Night" by Disturbed, "Animal" by Three Days Grace, "Devour" by Shinedown, "Voices" by Revelation Theory, "Cells" by The Servant, "Sad But True" by Metallica, "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" by Green Day, "Hit The Floor" by Linkin Park, "Monster" by Skillet, "Awake and Alive" by Skillet, "Burn It To The Ground" by Linkin Park, "Numb" by Linkin Park, "Metalingus" by Alterbridge, "Saving Me" by Nickelback, "Life Is Beautiful" by Sixx A.M., "Pain" by Jimmy Eat World, "New Divide" by Linkin Park, "Amaranth" by Nightwish,"Wishmaster" by Nightwish, "Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence, "Going Under" by Evanescence, "Lithium" by Evanescence, and "The Sound Of Madness" by Shinedown

Author's Notes:
1. Listen to the songs I listed as my inspiration for this piece.
2. You will see this character again very soon, but in a different role.

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