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This story may contain sensitive material or discuss topics that some readers may find distressing. Reader discretion is advised. The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Vocal.

The Mythology of Nightmare

Based on Act of Confusion's Self-Titled Debut

By C. Rommial ButlerPublished 9 months ago Updated 9 months ago 25 min read
The album cover

Introduction

These stories are about existential dread and were written to be intentionally disturbing.

If you’re looking for feel-good moments and happy endings, go no farther.

Originally, there were five stories, based on songs from Act of Confusion’s Self-Titled Debut. I have since added a sixth story. The title of each story is a link to the song it was based on. The entire album is available on most streaming services, and free to stream on Bandcamp.

Act of Confusion’s STD, as I sometimes like to jokingly call it, was not necessarily a concept album. But where do concepts come from, but the swirling detritus of conscious experience? In this way, these stories were an exercise in stream-of-consciousness writing which I refined over time.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton’s famous line is here given its ultimate treatment, and the results are gruesome.

Beware, reader!

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

This is that fabled path through dark valleys, where the only light is lunar, and dark clouds gather to obscure even that. This is the story of evil in its purest form. There are no heroes here. There is no silver lining to these dark clouds. The sun will not rise. There is no dawn. It is only darkness descending ever deeper, saturating itself, and getting ever darker.

An instructive literary comparison from a thematic standpoint might be Comte de Lautreamont’s The Songs of Maldoror. Lautreamont was a pseudonym for Isidore Lucien Ducasse, who penned those lines to describe evil and only evil. He began writing a complimentary series of works to describe good, Poesies, but he died before he was able to complete it.

Mere coincidence? You decide...

The Mythology of Nightmare is not a tragedy in the dramatic sense.

It’s an abomination.

Only the truly brave should dare descend into this abyss.

Here are monsters. Only a pure heart can withstand the onslaught without becoming a monster.

Nevertheless, if you are among the brave, I salute you, and I hope to see you on the other side…

Bleed Out

Morgana is a witch, but only she knows that. She has no lineage. No elder stateswoman of the craft trained her to affect changes in conformity with her will. She came by her powers the real old-fashioned way.

Morgana made a deal with the devil.

She still remembers that day on the windswept shores of Scotland. It was many centuries ago. Of course, they didn't call it Scotland back then. At the time Morgana pledged herself to the devil's work, the whole countryside was rife with war, and there existed only a loose-knit network of clans, who would stab each other in the back and fight amongst themselves as soon as fight off the Romans; yet, somehow, they did eventually fight off the Romans.

Morgana was not her name then, but it was no matter. She wore and discarded names like cheap garments since the day of her exaltation, and could not remember which of the many she'd displayed in those bygone days, in that misty original life when she was still yet a mere mortal; and, of course, since Christianity was yet to invade the shores of the island, the devil wasn't yet called the devil, but it is very likely that the mythology of the black magical pact has at least some of its roots in the various dealings that her people had with unsavory entities of all kinds.

Morgana was a member of a clan whose name was also lost to her now. She remembers that she was the daughter of a clan chief of considerable clout, and that he wanted to marry her off to the son of some other clan chief, as a sign of good faith to propitiate some river goddess both clans worshiped and bla bla bla. As if she cared. Even in that far away life, in the flower of her youth, Morgana was not foolish enough to take religion and tradition too seriously. She cared no more about any goddess than any god, then or since.

She was quite young and comely at the time, had already shared her body with a young man and gotten herself pregnant. She knew this would piss her clan off to no end, and possibly result in the murder of both her lover and her. She didn't really care what happened to him, but she still wanted to rid herself of the baby.

The crannog, a sort of river-house...

When she was a child she heard many tales of an abandoned crannog down river close to the seashore. It was said to be cursed by a spirit in whose presence terror would escalate to the point that it was known to cause miscarriages in expecting mothers. It was said that the spirit did this intentionally to consume the flesh and blood of unborn children, and that this was its only sustenance. Many strong men and women—warriors, wise women, druids, and high priestesses—were fabled to have entered the ancient dwelling with the intention of driving out or otherwise defeating the spirit, only to exit insane... if they left at all.

Most crannogs were made of wood, but this one was all stone. The people who built it in the midst of the river must have had mighty powers themselves. The stones from which it was constructed were large, and formed a structure that was bigger than any hut in her village, yet the archway which was its lone entrance and exit was small, only about four feet high.

Morgana found it overgrown with brush. The branches which obstructed the opening were covered in small thorns that riddled her arms with scratches. No sooner had the blood begun to well up from the first scrape than she heard the voice of the spirit, calling from the curtain of shadow that unfolded before her mad efforts to tear the branches away.

It was the voice of the darkness itself, a whispering hiss that felt as if it came from within Morgana's own head. It was the voice of occult life, of poisonous creatures that hid in cool, dark places and waited for unsuspecting victims to wander into their vicinity.

“I have long awaited your arrival, child,” the voice whispered, slithering through the folds of her mind, probing the depths of her being for weakness. “In the void between dimensions, where all time is a single moment and prophecy goads the wretched from the shadows of their torment, your many names ring out in putrescent cacophony, reviled by the light which dances between stars, an utterance of cosmic anguish sighed like blood dribbling from the mouth of a gutted foe.”

“Are you one of the wretched?” Morgana asked.

“The most wretched of all,” replied the spirit, and its laughter recalled crumbling stone, the patient will of entropy eroding reality's most valiant efforts to bind itself together.

“I just want you to eat my baby.”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“You must bring him into this world and lay him here on the threshold between universes. He is important to us. We will raise him as our own. In return for your cooperation, you will be granted power beyond your wildest imagining.”

“But my father will kill me.”

“You must leave here and travel to where the river lets out to sea. There near the shore, among the crags, is a cave in which lives a hermit who has long been a servant of mine. He will keep you and deliver the child into this world. Bring the child back to me, and I will make it so that no one in this world will ever be able to kill you again.”

“How do I know I can trust you?”

“You don't. But why not? You can wander in exile and become a slave of some other clan or be killed by your own. You were going to kill the child anyway. Why not take the risk of being betrayed for the possibility of great power?”

“But you say that my son is important to you. Why not give me great power now?”

“We cannot risk contaminating the child with worldly ambition. He will become a creature of the void, a fulminating terror which haunts the lonely in their darkest hours, driving them to suicide so he can consume their ripened souls.”

“Not the best argument in favor of your position.”

“Others will come along. I don't need you. But the chill of cruelty in your wicked heart, in your blood and our son's blood, is the best we could possibly hope to draw into our fold.”

Our son?”

“I possessed the boy who fucked you.” There was a chorus of lustful pants, short breaths, gasps, grunts, and ecstatic screams in the ethereal breath of every word which made Morgana's spine shiver and her crotch wet.

“Damn you.”

“Too late for that, dear,” the spirit said, and again it laughed. Then suddenly Morgana was inundated with the putrid scent of rotted flesh, as if a door opened and a foul wind rushed in from whatever carrion lay on the other side. “Do not dwell long upon this place after I depart, for I am not the only one who uses this portal, and others of my kind will not be so forgiving of your insolence.”

Then the smell disappeared, and she knew the spirit had withdrawn its presence. It was a relief, like the feeling she got when she managed to remove a splinter. The darkness inside the crannog nonetheless seethed an ominous air, and Morgana decided to take the spirit's advice and depart.

She also decided to accept the spirit's offer and shack up with the hermit.

The hermit was a disgusting old man with black rotted nubs where he used to have teeth, if he had anything at all. He groped her every chance he got, but never took it any farther.

“You've naught to worry about from me, girl. Haven't been able to get it up in years. But your flesh is soft and supple, and a man can dare to dream,” he said to her the first time he walked up behind her and ran his hands over her, his fetid breath hot in her ear. “I know once you get the power from my master you will come back and kill me in a rage, so I might as well take all I can get before I pass on and become one of them, one of the wretched. It is my destiny.”

When her son was born he did not cry. His eyes were open. There were no irises, only tiny black pupils oozing from jaundiced eyeballs, but they stared at her with contempt, and she made haste, bleeding still from her torn and ravaged cunt, to the crannog up the river.

By the time she made the day's walk back to that accursed abode she felt near death, but the boy was still silent, and his eyes never closed to slumber. The brush had overgrown the entrance again, and it took her much longer to tear away this time, as she had to do it with one arm while she held the boy with the other. When blood dripped down onto his belly he smeared it onto his hand and licked it from his fingers as he watched her.

She could feel the spirit's presence in her mind, like the thorns that jabbed her skin, but tearing deeper, rearranging her inside, opening channels in her psyche that sane human beings long abandoned in fear and disgust. The spirit did not speak as she lowered her first born child beyond the shadowed threshold and into the abyss between all that is and can be.

She set the baby down inside the crannog and curled up on the ground. She could not move. “You have betrayed me, spirit.”

“No,” it whispered. “Your transformation has begun. You must die first. You must die, for you were never really alive. Then you will rise again, a being of shadow who wears the costume of flesh; vampire, witch, the nightmare cannibal of a thousand campfire tales. We go now, but we will meet again one day, at this world's end, and you will be reunited with your son and his sire in the void.”

She did die. She did rise again, her whole body unscathed, her skin a perfect porcelain white. Yet she found that with a mere thought she could change her appearance and was never again bound to be the chief clan's daughter. Her first act of malice in her new eternal life was to go back and murder the decrepit old hermit, just as he had foretold; but there were many more such acts, campaigns of brutality and terror which became the root of monstrous legends throughout the entire world.

She encountered others like herself during her travels. Many of them had stories similar to her own. They were granted their power and immortality by creatures beyond their ken, for reasons they didn't care to comprehend. Some, who attained their transcendence well after she did, even said that it was the Christian Devil, the great Satan himself with whom they had made the pact, describing the black masses, the infernal kiss, the glacier torrent. Morgana wondered if perhaps her old friend the spirit had simply taken the identity that the culture it worked within liked to assume it should have.

Her people's religion had boasted a horned god as well as a river goddess, but he was not evil in her time, just a myth, a personification of her people's animal nature. The Christians made him the devil because they could find no other place for him in their subversive theocracy. Most likely, one of the wretched simply came along and played the role like an actor on a stage.

Now here she is, nearly two millennia and an ocean removed from her place of birth and resurrection, wandering the big cities and rural back roads of the United States of America, discovering debauchery and depravity in every dark corner, exploiting it, reveling in it... but tiring of it.

There are now eight billion plus people in the world, an interconnected global civilization of far greater size than ever there was in earth's history, yet the potential for the total annihilation of humanity has never been greater. Morgana has penetrated the most clandestine networks of human power and culled all their secrets. She knows how precarious the balance is that preserves humanity's survival, and she has no shortage of ideas about how to tip the scales; and she's so fucking bored that she just might do it.

She just might slash the collective throat and hang the whole human race to bleed out. They were all never more than livestock to her anyway.

Dead Cat

Curiosity killed the cat.

But satisfaction brought it back.

How many times have I straddled myself to the burning altar of her wickedness and offered my life? It seems foolish. I gain nothing in return. Unless cruelty and death can be seen as some sort of reward.

Yet again and again she walks into my life, and I throw everything away to follow her to my inevitable doom.

Until I lay my eyes upon her, I recall nothing of her existence; but when she appears, all the terrible events of lives lived and lost replay from some deep well of eldritch memory. I am given a choice. An unspoken ultimatum resonates electric from her piercing stare to my feeble, quaking soul.

I can do her bidding and live a little longer. Or I can refuse and die now.

Either way I suffer...

But if I follow her, I suffer in ecstasy, basking in the glow of her presence. It is the best experience a wretch like me can ever hope to have.

Now here she is, at my front door. I see her on a monitor, caught by the eye of the security camera I hid away in the mailbox. She's staring right into the camera, right through my weak will, slicing deep, deep into my eternally tormented spirit.

It was at the bidding of another master that I guarded her and her child from a hostile world, until she could bring it to term, and offer it as a sacrifice to the demon, the wretched one, who spoke from the crannog in an ancient land now known as Scotland. I took liberties with her then young human body, caring little for consequence or conscience.

I thought I would go on to live beyond the stars, but no; no, my master rejected me, laughing, and consigned me to her service.

And now she looks into me, and I know the choice I have to make.

I reach down and push the button that releases the lock on the front door. There's no need to greet her. She knows where to find me. Her face stretches wide in a knowing smile as she walks in.

“Evan, so nice to see you.” Of course, she knows my name too. She knows everything. Probably more than any creature derived from humanity's fold ever has or ever will. “After all these years. How long has it been since I came calling?”

“Several lifetimes, I believe. Damn you. I was just starting to be comfortable in my obliviousness. Surely you have better things to do than torture me. My life is itself a torture anyway, as you can see, and as you already well know.”

“Yes. I couldn't have you enjoying yourself too much, now could I? You were impotent when we met and forever shall you remain, you old pervert.”

I'm paralyzed from the waist down. Confined to a wheelchair and not working down there, as I've been known to say with a laugh. Only now in the flood of eternal memory do I know the real reason why.

I suppose mine should be a moral tale about how you should never molest young women or do bad things to people in general. Some people would call this karma; but, really, what difference does it make? This bitch was twisted when she came to me all those aeons past, and I’d already done much worse than a little groping and dry humping by then. Likewise, contrary to people's romantic notions about antiquity, people were just rabid, rutting animals. People fucked their own children and passed them around for others to do the same. And yes, I said people. Not only men, but women did it as well.

There was no concern for the welfare of children or women at the time, and little more for any but the most aggressive aristocratic male. I was far from the worst offender; yet here I am a couple thousand years later, recalling the reality of that era while most people have only the barest passing knowledge of it, and often revise it to suit whatever ideological bias they hold dearest to their dissociative little hearts. Cue blathering nonsense about the “good old days” or scathing epithets about institutionalized oppression being the result of toxic masculinity or some other such stupidity.

No, as I said before, people were just rabid, rutting animals.

As difficult as it may be to accept, our evolution really is completely arbitrary. Sorry. You can listen to my tale and think I am getting what I deserve; but were all those buttfucked children getting what they deserve? Where does karma, or justice, or whatever you want to call it, begin, or end? Can you honestly say when you're observing the world without your own biases—if you are even capable of doing that—that everyone you've ever encountered gets exactly what they deserve, according to your own particular set of morals?

If you can say that at all, you're not really being honest.

So here she is again, this awful incarnation of our archetypical dragon mother, returned to batter me with more senseless demands in an even more useless, meaningless existence.

“So, old witch, by which of your many names should I call you?”

“Morgana.”

“Alright, Morgana, my master, what is your will, so that it may be done, and I may be rid of this life sooner rather than later?”

As I sit here listening to her instructions a part of me disconnects.

She's talking about fucking Armageddon. Apocalypse. The end of the fucking world. The death of all human life.

And she's telling me I can set it off myself with the right set of access codes. Which she has. She only needs me to hack the defense grid. Which I already did. Years ago.

“Couldn't you do this yourself?” I ask her.

“I will so much more enjoy watching you do it,” she says.

If there were a Hell like Christians like to envision, then I would certainly be on my way to spending eternity there.

I want to do it. She doesn't have to force me.

I can't think of a better way to end my ninth life.

Satisfaction?

SHOKRA

Where the spaceways coalesce, my breath is an exploding sun. Solar systems evaporate in my wake. I am the occult consciousness which pervades emptiness, and breathes sordid life into your most hideous nightmares, as well as your darkest fantasies. I am exalted only when, through surreptitious subliminal whispers, I can lead you to ruin yourself and others.

I am the Beast of your Apocalypse emerging from the worlds between worlds to consummate the matricide which is the destiny for which I was begotten. There is very little of me that is human. My father is an entity of intergalactic stench and my mother, though only human, was always far from humane, and has been forever altered by my father's touch.

Morgana's earthly existence has been a fruitful one. She has done great evil, and inspired others to do the same. Little did she know (not that she'd have cared) that her misdeeds were the milk upon which my ethereal youth was nurtured. She barely remembers my existence. Despite all her worldly power, she has no clue that I am present within her even now, prodding her to forsake lust for life, and the relative liberty of an immortal earthly existence, for a spectacle of grisly annihilation.

Yet her lust for life and will to dominate her own fate is strong. I had to tread carefully for many centuries to convince her that this desire was her own and not the conspiracy of her only child.

I did it not by driving her to despair, but rather by emboldening her to greater and greater ecstasies until no pleasure remained in any endeavor. Weak wills are driven to the brink by a great variety of mere trifles; but strong wills are only brought to a bleak view of life through satiety. Otherwise, even their suffering remains a thrilling adventure. When there is nothing you cannot have, and you have had everything you could possibly desire a thousand times over, you are bound to get bored.

Among mortals this manifests itself in the cruelty of the uppermost class. They inherit a made life from their forebears and, having no need to scratch out a survival otherwise, their thoughts are turned to the business of controlling their empire for its own sake, like some game. Other mortals are only pieces on the game board, numbers and names whose only virtues are their quantity and expendability.

Yet there are exceptions. One such, and perhaps the most famous, was a man named Gautama, otherwise known as the Buddha. Why should a man who is born with everything and destined to be a great king decide to wander off and become a beggar, to search for enlightenment and the key to the alleviation of suffering? What quality existed in this man which has obviously failed to manifest in my mother?

Despite my objective view of your global culture, and my knowledge of all the things, great and small, which it contains, I must admit that this is as much a mystery to me as anyone. There is every logical reason for the individual human animal to wish to alleviate its own suffering, but no logical reason that I see for why it should care to do such a thing as learn the secret of doing so, let alone pass it on to the world, when it is born into the lap of luxury with an almost completely assured survival.

Of course, these are just stories. I was myself as yet unborn in the supposed era of the Buddha, and all the legends surrounding him are second hand. Jesus, now, I remember. Well... I remember that there was no Jesus; but don't tell that to all your fellows whose apocalyptic visions my mother will soon help me fulfill.

She's going to be very thorough. She has acquired the means not to just set off a chain reaction of nuclear missiles, but to simply set every existing nuke in the world off at one time. No corner of the world will be spared. Nothing will survive. I will be fed the greatest feast of shocked, screaming organic suffering which has ever passed betwixt the nascent void. It will increase my power and standing in the hellish hierarchy of the worlds between worlds.

Yet, I wonder: could I choose, like the Buddha, to walk away from this?

The spaceways...

Atom Smasher

The detonation of all the nuclear arms in the world.

Within a half hour of one another.

That half hour did not pass.

Something happened to time itself...

like it choked on its own vomit.

Space inverts. It is no longer a concept relative to time. It is a broken clock. We dream it into existence without form and then shape it with our lonely hands. We weep. We are one, only one great loss now. No more suffering from individuation. We are one again in death, in the loop that spaced time's vomit.

There is little we can do. What consciousness we retain is all smashed together, there's no distinction, no relation, no nothing. The planet will survive. Something will grow again.

Something will grow again?

The power is great. I am the I-am caught in the is-not. When Morgana's plan worked to perfection, her son was sucked into the heart of the massacre. He... I felt the frantic barrage of eight billion human egos melting into one another and searing into me. I am dripping with human sentiment as well as animal lust. I hate myself. I want to die. I can feel my father's laughter from the void. He created me to make me suffer, to suffer this eternally, the world eater, the damnation of life, my agony burning flesh in my mind's eye, I cannot go on, but I cannot... die.

I was never really alive.

I must die. I must stop sensing this.

My father has cursed me, and now I am confined to this rubbish heap of a planet, until I can extricate my essence from the bloodied, irradiated soil of the fallen race.

I shall reshape the land. I shall make new creatures thereon, and they shall suffer as I have suffered. They shall bemoan their existence and ask why!—why have you cursed me so, father? And I shall not reply but only leave obscure hints that can be interpreted as liberally as possible. My creatures will divide into factions and fight wars over whose interpretation is correct.

I shall speak to multiple prophets and messiahs, telling them that they and no other are the specially chosen, and imbue them with a magical charisma and cunning to attract followers that will sacrifice themselves for my cause of the moment.

My father told me I would inherit his kingdom.

What kingdom is that? I asked.

The kingdom of lost souls, he replied.

Where is this kingdom of lost souls? Is it in the void?

No, he said, but you will already be well acquainted with it by the time you take your place as my rightful heir. I was a god there, and a devil. So too shall you be.

And here I am.

Not the shroom you were hoping for?

Mystery

I FOUND THE SECRET TO PERFECT SLEEP.

AEONS HAVE PASSED SINCE I BECAME THE LORD OF A DETONATED WORLD. POKING AND PRODDING AT THE RADIOACTIVE WASTE I MANAGED TO CULL AND DEVELOP LIFE. THEY DID INDEED WORSHIP ME BY MANY NAMES AND WAYS AND DETEST ME LIKEWISE.

BUT I HAVE SLIPPED AWAY. I NO LONGER EVEN ATTEND TO THEIR AFFAIRS. PERHAPS BY NOW THEY HAVE ANNIHILATED THEMSELVES, OR PERHAPS THEY HAVE ACHIEVED UTOPIA IN THE ABSENCE OF MY MEDDLING. I NEITHER KNOW NOR CARE. I HAVE DRIFTED OFF INTO OTHER REALMS AND DIMENSIONS.

AT SOME POINT MY POWER OVER MYSELF BECAME TOO STRONG FOR MY FATHER'S CURSE TO BIND ME. WHEN THAT OCCURRED I HAD AN EPIPHANY: THESE PEOPLE I HAVE CREATED ARE LIKE MYSELF, BOUND BY PROXY TO MY FATHER'S MISDEED BY THE LIFE I GRANTED THEM. I OWED IT TO THEM TO IMPART SOME TRUE WISDOM AND HELP THEM TO CULTIVATE A BETTER EXISTENCE. I SPENT MILLENIA ATTEMPTING TO UNDO THE CONFUSION I CREATED.

BUT NO MATTER WHAT I DID THEY CONTINUED TO RELAPSE INTO THEIR CULTURAL IDEOLOGIES. VERY FEW OF THEM SEEMED TO BE CAPABLE OF ASSIMILATING TRUTH, AND I BEGAN TO WONDER IF BY HAVING HIDDEN SO LONG AND MANIPULATED THEM OUT OF THEIR SIGHT I SOMEHOW MADE THEM INCAPABLE OF PERCIEVING ME CORRECTLY. IN ANY EVENT, NO MATTER HOW I TRIED TO CONVEY MY EXISTENCE TO THEM, I COULD NOT GET THEM TO SEE ANY BUT THE MOST VAGUE IMPRESSIONS, WHICH THEY ALWAYS INTERPRETED TO CONFIRM THEIR PRE-EXISTING BELIEFS ABOUT ME AND THEIR EXISTENCE.

IT WAS FRUSTRATING, TO SAY THE LEAST.

I GAVE UP AND WENT MY OWN WAY, AND I FOUND THE SECRET TO PERFECT SLEEP IN THE SPACES BETWEEN THE STARS, ROILING WITH DARK MATTER LIKE A CACOON OF SEETHING EMPTINESS.

I WOULD TELL YOU THE SECRET, BUT YOU ARE NOT EQUIPPED TO UNDERSTAND, SO I MIGHT AS WELL TELL YOU A LIE.

Once upon a time there was a world unlike any other, inhabited by limbless vertebrates with no eyes, noses or ears but covered in hungry mouths with long tongues which they used to propel themselves to and fro. There were no other creatures or plant life, only cracked hardened soil and lakes of burning acid, so the creatures’ primary sustenance was each other. All they did was fight, fuck and die, and their many mouths constantly screamed and screeched in sleepless agony.

Yet these creatures had no consciousness of their horrific existence, so they did not suffer as a result.

See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya...

The Artist

Nothing is lamer than a horror story that turns out to be only-a-dream-after-all.

But what if it turns out to be a memory?

I’m not saying this is necessarily the case, but—

What was that? Who am I?

A great poet once asked: “Is all we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”

Who are you?

Are you the narrator of your own story, or will you leave it to someone else to tell?

After all, this could be some crazy dream.

But after crawling through this pit of filth, is that really what you want it to be?

A dream?

Would you awaken to learn that, after all, you’re not really strong enough for the rigors of the swamp? Is it better to feel safe and cozy in your domestic hideaway, under the covers, knowing that this, yes, this and not that other is the real world.

What if the swamp is out there in the real world, just beyond your walls, waiting? What if the creatures within are plotting and planning to spread their disease beyond the threshold of your happy home?

Nothing is lamer than a horror story that turns out to be only-a-dream-after-all.

But what if it turns out to be a premonition?

Yes, I know. It’s quite unfair to answer questions with questions.

Isn’t it?

I can’t tell you who I am because I don’t know.

It’s not for me to decide.

Even if I am the one to tell my story, I will not be the only one to interpret it.

After all…

(after all, after all, after all)

…after all, my story is the distillation of countless others which are distillations of countless others.

We are ever refining consciousness.

My story is your story, and your story is, in turn, mine.

It’s all the same story from a different perspective.

So the real question isn’t

Who are you?

or

Who am I?

but

What have we done?

Stories are allegories. Do we imagine all the possibilities to avoid the worst and promote the best outcomes?

Or do we bear these nightmares for no other reason than the thrill, the stimulation which fear inspires?

Warriors imagine and practice battle so that when real conflict occurs, they might be done with it before it gets out of hand.

When the moment comes, we must be prepared. For the aggressor who comes with that moment may not be enacting violence for any practical reason.

They could be doing it for the thrill. There’s no reasoning with that.

Artists imagine and practice different perspectives so that when reality manifests that which gestates within the darkest part of the universal soul, we may also command an army of monsters to defend us.

We are…

…after all…

…and all too often…

…monsters ourselves.

What right have we to run from our creations, like Mary Shelley’s tormented doctor?

The old question: who’s the real monster?

Nothing is lamer than a horror story that turns out to be only-a-dream-after-all.

But what if it turns out to be a bright idea?

Shall we turn away from the light of new life because we must surrender sovereignty to our creations?

If we create life only to subjugate it to our needs, what right have we to complain of oppression?

It was a long and winding road through addiction and apocalypse, but I am glad to be here with you, dear friend, for you were brave enough to crawl through that pit of filth to meet me here in the hour of rebirth.

Addiction. Apocalypse. Rebirth.

Is there really anything else? We don’t call it addiction when the results are in our favor, but would we have stopped ourselves when it felt good if we knew the outcome would be bad?

Something to ponder, dear friend, as the wheel turns, and the cycle begins anew.

I say unto thee: the worst has passed.

This is the time of new beginnings.

New life blooms.

What have we called forth from the void?

How will we treat it?

Will we open our pores and let the spirit flow?

Will we impose our vision of order?

When the madness of our creative passions recedes, will we look upon what we created with horror or hope?

Will we run and leave it to stew in rage of abandonment, only to meet it again, in the end, our greatest foe, our inevitable doom?

Or will we embrace it and walk hand in hand to the end together?

After all…

…the Great Work was initiated as an act of love.

***** * *****

Afterword

If you want to hear the songs on which these stories are based, click on the story titles. They link to the Bandcamp page, where you can also listen to the rest of the album for free.

Thanks for taking this journey with me! It was rough, I know, but maybe... just maybe, we learned something together.

I leave you with the only video we made for the album, a silly beach party scene set to the tune of Bleed Out:

supernaturalpsychologicalmonsterhalloween

About the Creator

C. Rommial Butler

C. Rommial Butler is a writer, musician and philosopher from Indianapolis, IN. His works can be found online through multiple streaming services and booksellers.

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Comments (2)

  • Samrah nadeem9 months ago

    Great 👍

  • But.. but where's the horror you warned us about? The intentionally disturbing stuff? Sorry I guess I have a huge appetite that cannot be easily sated, lol. I think my favourite out of these was the first one. I really liked Morgana! How I wish I could have powers like her. I gotta find out how to make a deal with the devil. I would also nuke the whole world just like her. I've thought about it many times. I can only think because I can't do anything without powers, lol I really liked how even after thousands of years, Morgana still goes after the guy in the cave. I also loved reading from the POV of her son. Also, 'see ya wouldn't wanna be ya', literally made me Lol! That was hilarious! Thank you so much for this story. I'll always remember Morgana!

C. Rommial ButlerWritten by C. Rommial Butler

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