Prologue

 Follow the Path of Righteousness,
And from the Darkness Springs the Light.

World of Dreams

1980

 

HIS HAND PROBED the surrounding darkness and found searing heat, the flesh on his fingers scorched beyond salvation. But he could not see. Shrieks of agony invaded his senses; the obvious pain and torment permeated his being, once again coloring his world in despair.

   He struggled to wake, near breathless, determined to leave this world of eternal darkness. By the simple act of waking, he would be exerting control, thus striking out against the malevolence without a name. But in leaving, he would be unable to put a face on his enemy― abruptly, he received a thought, a thought that slavered putrid malice.

   You may not explore this world. A pause, then apprehension. Why do I deign to answer?

   A self-doubt, a sign of weakness? Beads of sweat began to diffuse, his body trying to follow his mind into semi-consciousness. The sheets were moist, this moisture too beginning to dissipate. Still he did not wake, where others would have screamed into wakefulness. Instead, he fell deeper into sleep. Where are you? Who are you? WHAT are you? You who foment such pain; the thoughts stabbed at his being.

   An answer? No, just a feeling sent. Who are YOU to ask?

   The pain almost unbearable, he asked again, WHAT are you?

   Laughing − no not laughing − an arrogance born of eons, the defining quality of evil, I am the Beast.

   And there it was again, a different voice, the faint whisper of hope. Paul, wake up. WAKE UP PAUL, you're dreaming.

 

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