Fantasy Fiction Horror

''Adryan, someday the world will end, but it will sure as hell end sooner because of you'', Erix roared in a fit of madness. The person he addressed the crushing statement to remembered his friend's painful last words launched frantically at him. They distinctly resonated inside of him, as did the anger, disappointment, and a nearly undetectable amount of grief, coated with a whole lot of pure sadness, of his best friend fifteen years prior. Adryan had devastated him by his absolute ineptitude, which he did not even apprehend the amount of back down. But nowadays, the scene tingled him as a leitmotif to his miserable life, and he needed to unburden himself, or else he knew he would vanish. Erix had always been a secretive man, so his whereabouts were familiar to no one, but now Adryan needed to find him more than ever. With that in mind, Adryan set up on a self-imposed heroic quest, combing the Kingdom for Erix until he would see him in the shadows, on a removed and sacred place, as he had envisioned. 

One day, Adryan notified his wife, who knew nothing of the incident from her husband's past but had an issue with him that also needed to be remedied, of his planned mission. When he disclosed the perplexing news, she nodded and riposted he should go, and he did not understand until a tad later how keen she was to see him leave. It appeared to Adryan he was always oblivious until it was too late. He carried an enormous amount of guilt like an oversized bag of corn he had to move around the premises daily to feed the diverse animals in their humble familial stables. His family owned a tiny farm on a small island toward the South of the vast Kingdom of Ethican, a magnificent kingdom bathing in the eternal light of the truth, or so he had been told. He was too absorbed in his daily life and his emotional baggage to experience such providence, yet even his Island's name was Hope. He should have had more of that. 

And so, our hero embarked on his trip that one particular misty morning, bearing a symbolism of not knowing what followed and only a backpack containing provisions on his back. He determined he would head to his friend's last known whereabouts, a cottage on an island two days' trip away, but the well-indented coast had much more to give and a larger story to tell, for Adryan did not find him there. When he discovered the house empty, a minute rotten wooden abode, he decided to further follow the advice of the wise old men on his Island – he had to follow the wind and let it lead him. 

He continued his mighty quest transported by the heavy storm, but his boat found itself ten days later in the middle of the ocean. The traveler could see a purple light emanating from a tiny tower on a nearby Island, the light of forgiveness, that invited him so dearly and cordially for a visit. He acknowledged his friend or better said his former friend, for he realized he should not dare to establish terms of endearment with him, was there. He assumed the fact in every core of his being as he headed towards the small stone tower in the center of the small Island that could host only the building and ten people on it, as it would otherwise surely sink. As he reached the dwelling, he knocked on its minuscule, in comparison to the entrance portal that encompassed it, entrance, and did not hear an answer from the inside, so he let himself in after a long moment of patience bordering with fear. He whispered an insignificant, as he felt against his sins, hello, and obtained no answer to his summons. Adryan proceeded to investigate the cramped circular room he then found himself in, feeling chills running down his spine at every step he grudgingly took. However, he knew he needed to undertake such a journey to absolve his soul.

As he resumed walking, tiptoe, careful not to stir the demons, he saw, at last, a bony man, pale, with a black stubble and short black hair, and in his moment of drowsiness and confusion, he ran toward him to the other part of the room. The man looked familiar, even too much so, was it Erix, was he his sins personified? Coming up close to examine the person, he found that he was standing in front of a long mirror without a frame, blending into the wall. Staring at his reflection, he pondered how dissipated he had been, so lost he had not even recognized himself. Otherwise, the spacious quarters were empty, but he could not shake the feeling of a presence lurking upon him from a somber corner. He soon, even more quickly, found out his reasoning, his decisions, and all his lack of knowledge attracted him to a place that had nothing to do with his task, deluding him and devoiding him of breath. There appeared a black shape in the corner of the mirror, seeming the most a giant spider, but nothing of the sort, that slowly and softly embraced him and enveloped him into his shadows as he stood motionless and could simply watch. He could smell its smoke and feel its mist and an utter aura of hopelessness that fed of everything he had to give. It filled out the room but also was the vital part of the room, and the room a part of it as all become one, unspeakable darkness. As he struggled to free himself of its grasp, Adryan whined and burst into tears, shouting the words:

''Erix, please forgive me. I did not mean to break your glasses that time''.

As he pronounced those words, fifteen years later, for the first time, having tortured himself for the entirety of that period, he understood how insignificant they sounded. The guilt would literally kill him, and he had made the ultimate mistake, but all began as he did not renounce his pride as it occurred but continued pushing his way for a quarter of a century. A pair of glasses, vision into a past that would always remain, full of guilt, those thin wire glasses nestled perfectly on his friend's large crooked nose, which him to better play his piano. But Adryan was jealous his friend was required to practice for a concert and could not play card games with him in the tavern they frequented on weekends. Even worse, he had sabotaged him by breaking his tool for better eyesight, and thus he had shattered his own chance for a future as well. Erix went completely quiet and bitterly instructed him to leave, for he said darkness had acted from Adryan, and he was no longer in need of his friendship anyways, as they were too different. Those words stung Adryan to the very core, and he had left Erix's house, only to never talk to him or see him again. The terms ''Adryan, someday the world will end, but it will sure as hell end sooner because of you'' remained sculpted inside of his skull and pestered him like an invasive lump that only grew larger, turning into a black hole, one that was now devouring him. He repeated his apology a couple more times, promising he would buy his friend tens of thousands of pairs of glasses if he got to leave that place. Only, he knew his pleas were in vain. 

Upon his speeches, a little laugh could be heard, and the guilt-stricken man could feel a smirk of the creature that feasted upon his life force in the shadow of the mysterious Island. At last, it spoke in a distorted musty voice, resonating through the chamber and inside Adryan's head: 

''You are a fool, and you shall not be pardoned.'', he heard the words in the distraught voice of his friend Erix, and he let go as the darkness demolished him. He had suffered, ultimately, for his own corrupt decisions had managed to swallow him. 

As he perished, he could hear but a faint sound of a piano being played in the distance, a somber and wistful tune, and a voice that called out to him belonging to his friend Erix, the one he would never get to seek forgiveness from in person. Erix spoke to him, and his whisper thrust a final, lethal dagger and pierced his nanoscopic heart. 

''Our quarrel was insignificant, but your denial of it brought you to your doom. You left and erased me from your life. I only spoke those words in a moment of pure anger''.

Adryan could detect the mumbling behind the curtains of life as he crossed over to the other side himself, only to see the glimpse of his friend behind his piano. Soon, he perished into oblivion, for he had held onto the physical realm, or that one limiting belief, for half of his life. The bells of salvation did not ring for him, as he had found himself in another type of corridor, one that led to even more darkness. Our hero had perished a young man and was soon misremembered by everyone, except for Erix. Even more stubborn and proud than Adryan, he anticipated for the remainder of his days for his friend to visit him on the neighboring Island to that which he called home. He had never flown too far, the anchor of the fight linking him to that place, and to end the trivial quarrel, which he forgot what was even about. 

As he played the piano in his room on the night of Adryan's death, now an accomplished pianist who lacked a friend to share his success with, he could almost hear a faint scream and a muffled apology. Still, he did not distinguish the contents of one such murmur, and the whisper ceased just as his nocturne came to a close. Erix would never know, and neither would his friend Adryan who now dwelled in darkness, a part of the creature that consumed him, an evil shadow lurking upon us all, feasting upon all our vulnerabilities.  

October 22, 2021 21:30

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