Dark Night of the Soul
A short tale of redemption and change, within a world of magic and witchcraft.
Flames... The faint, ambient sound of fire as it wafts and burns by the oxygen in the air. In a dark room, stone, large pillars connected to the ceiling high above... A crypt by all standard measurements. Lit only by four floating balls of fire in each corner and two blue flames flanked on either side of me in the center of the room where I sit kneeling on both knees. The clack of metal shoes meeting stone approaches from a large mirror that looks like it holds the void on the wall directly in front of me. My mother, in her all black robes, hood on, and laced with all her magical jewels.
“My son... You return to me seeking forgiveness for your sinister actions.”
She says sternly with her clear and soothing voice that reverberated ever so slightly off the walls.
“That of which I informed you many times would not lead to pleasant outcomes. But you proceeded rashly, so, now what you need is, redemption.”
She takes her hand from behind her back revealing a small black book in her grip that couldn’t have looked more ancient, even just holding it there the scent of old paper, and dust was so explicit I could taste it. She hands it to me and continues.
“I issue you a task. I want you to locate one of my lost artifacts, an amulet, if in the hands of an ignorant soul it can do a lot of harm. Use the book for aid, but find and bring me my amulet.”
She turns and walks leisurely back towards her mirror, then pauses for a moment.
“Oh and monsieur... Do good this time. Dismissed.”
As I exit my mothers crypt my mind reminds me it still harbors the negative consequences from my past evil acts, a sharp pain followed by the whispers of a demon.
I say annoyed. Also accompanied by a migraine.
“Ugh, alright now, how in the world am I going to find this damn amulet.”
I mutter to myself. Gazing around for a moment into the forest surrounding me, I think to look at the book, and start paging through. Assumed correctly indeed, it’s a book of spells, but not any basic spells, chants. Chants are more complex, longer, take more time to cast, longer lasting effects, generally, all that good stuff. Furthermore there’s illustrations and descriptions of magical artifacts riddled throughout the book,
*Ok, ok, alright... Ah-hah what is this? The Amulet of Voltaire, a powerful artifact, granting the wielder full control over their soul across all dimensions. Hmm.*
After paging through some more I find a chant that could help me locate this amulet. I combine my previous knowledge of astral projection spells and this chant that allows you to see all magical energies briefly if casted correctly. Right out front of the crypt I perform the spells and pick up on the amulets signature, a little over a thousand miles from here in an old abandoned house it seems. I travel straight there, no stops or communication with anyone, or any thing.
I arrive, at dusk not long before nightfall, and stand in front of the house. The entire house, enclosed by a ring of “CAUTION DO NOT ENTER” and “NO TRESPASSING” tape along its property border. Scanning the area, always making sure I’m aware of my surroundings, I see it’s safe, step over the tape and towards the house. At the steps up to the front doorway, of which there is no door, I start to hear it... screams. Entering into the darkness of the house, the screams and cries of a woman echo off the walls of the house and quickly irritate me. As if a switch had been flipped inside of me, I turn and walk callously back to the top of the steps while half muttering, half thinking in my mind,
“I’m not doing this, this is a waste of time, there’s a reason why certain things exist and she fell into this situation most likely of her own accord, why should, I, help her, me... Of all people, ME?”
As I begin to tread down the steps,
I hear in my head.
The demon again.
“Wait... No. I’m definitely not doing what you want me to do.”
Forced to reconsider, I then hear the whimpers of the tormented woman.
Contemplating, I realize, moderately disappointed in the realization, this is probably the right thing to do here, subsequently, I’m one of the few people that can save her and if I was in her position I’d want someone to save me as-well... Also I need that damn amulet.
I head back in and try to follow the sound of the woman’s cries. Down the stairs into the basement I swear her screams were getting more violent, screeches that sounded almost as bad as scraping a nail down a chalkboard. In the basement I finally lay eyes on what has been making all the noise, down the long hallway, the soul of a young girl, sits, wrapped in a ball. I approach and kneel down next to her.
*eh-hem* “Hey... Miss... What’s wrong?”
Nothing. She just continues to softly cry.
“It’s okay, I’m here to help.”
I say trying to sound as sincere as possible.
She says, nearly inaudible.
“The necklace?... Where is the necklace?”
I say knowing that has to be the amulet.
I cast the spell starlight, creating a bright shining ball of light above my hand. It lights up the entire hallway like a star in the night sky.
“I have special abilities, I can see you, you’re a soul. If you can show me where the necklace is, I can fix this.”
She says, slowly standing, then walking past me into one of the rooms.
Standing facing the bed in the room, she points to it. Inspecting the bed for a moment, I get down on my knees to view under it, something was there. Moving around to the end of the bed frame, I pull it away, unveiling a hole in the ground, about a meter in diameter. Glancing over at the poor soul, then back at the hole, I decide to scoot feet first into the hole. I slide into a tiny den and am met by the only other thing down there, the girl. Her lifeless body still fully preserved but dusty and dirty as if it had been sitting down here for years. She wears the amulet around her neck. I look back at her soul behind me then back at her body before reaching in to remove it from her neck, but as I touch it my eyes start to water and my vision becomes narrowed and blurred. The longer my hands are on it, the worse it gets. A painful high pitched ringing sound accompanies the other symptoms, I have to let go. I discern there’s no latch or hook to take it off, and can ascertain I cannot pull it off because it’s a collar. I remember my mother did say this could do a lot of harm to someone not knowing how to use it.
“The amulet is attached to her.”
I say thinking aloud.
It tortured and tormented her mind, trying to find some way to get her soul out, until, it finally forced and locked it out, then confining it here to her house to haunt it.
I take out the black book and rummage through the pages looking for a chant to help me.
*There must be something in here, it would only make sense... Boom, got it.*
“Alright I’m going to cast a spell to get this amulet off of you and set you free.”
Closing my eyes, I raise both my hands and hold them directly in the line of sight of the amulet then utter a handful of ancient words of the god Voltaire and other magical phrases, repeating it over, 3 times. *Clink* In a moment of silence the amulet falls from her neck, I open my eyes to see and turn around noticing her soul is gone. Abruptly jolting into consciousness the girl produces the loudest, ear-piercing inhaling of air, gasp, one could muster. I leap into the air like a cat being startled, falling backwards.
Outside, on the walkway leading to the house, crickets, the only matter creating noise and the only source of light peering from the sole streetlight not far away in the darkness of night, me and the girl stand together.
“You saved me... Saved my life.”
The girl says to me with the utmost of gratitude.
“I, uh, I did.”
I reply almost uncertain.
“I don’t know how much time has passed, but, a lot has happened since... My soul leaving my body.”
She says looking at the house.
Acknowledging she’s still a filthy mess, covered completely in dirt, now shivering additionally, that makes me speak up.
“Um, do you have a place to go?... Or clean up?...”
She has a long pause if so to think.
“Ok listen, you can come with me, I’ll get you a place to stay, and some clothes... Anything you need.”
I say feeling compelled to.
She stares at me with beady eyes reflecting the intense gratitude boiling inside her and gently shakes her head in disbelief.
“What is your name?”
“Wow E-Exodus, I... I... *Eh* Thank you.”
She says with profound appreciation and unbridled indebtedness, her face expressing her feelings of sheer emotion quite clearly, then immediately swings her arms up around me, hugging me tightly.
Taken by surprise it takes me a moment to relax and accept the hug, but once I do and hug back, I get a funny feeling in my chest and throughout my body, a feeling I don’t think I’ve ever really felt before, and maybe that’s why I say it’s funny, funny but... comfortable, comfortable... And nourishing.
Returning back to the crypt with the amulet, my mother stands waiting at her mirror facing me as I enter, I guess she knew I’d be entering at that moment. I could see her satisfied grin protruding from under the hood she wore as I walked confidently up to her. I pull out the amulet and hand it to her.
“Did you do good this time?”
I nod with a gentle smile, recalling the feeling I got after saving the girl, and how I still feel. Oh and this wasn’t because of a chant either.
“Thank you for retrieving the amulet... I believe this is redemption, Exodus.”
She walks back into the darkness beside the mirror and comes back out holding a pouch fitted in a royal specification, purple and red with gold, diamond encrusted detailing, hands it to me and says,
“A reward for completing your task, you should certainly be able to have a copious amount of fun with that out in the world.”
After which walking back into the darkness, leaving me.
I exit the crypt and outside, open the pouch. $20,000 in stacks of cash were bundled inside. I let out a single chuckle as a prodigious smile enshrined below my nose, oddly it felt like I had been gifted a gift still much greater than this. Nevertheless, I mumbled to myself,