I don’t believe in God. I believe that there is something that is larger and much more powerful than anything we know of, but I do not believe in ‘The’ God. For all I know and care, there could be more than one deity, maybe two, or three, or who knows maybe twenty. I have always been fascinated by Greeks and their mythology, but that’s not what I believe in either. I don’t know what religion I would be considered to be under, but I don’t really care. I couldn’t give two shits about whether I’m right or not, and I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.
My name is Tanek Reamer. I have heard many times that Tanek is an unusual name. Well, the truth is that my mom named me after her great-grandfather, who was one hundred percent Polish. Tanek, in Polish, means immortal and I guess that’s how my parents thought of me when I was born. Sounds weird to me, but I actually don’t mind. To me it kinda sounds cool, and I know I’ll almost never run into or hear about another person named Tanek here in America. Reamer must have come from my dad’s side and honestly I have never paid attention to his stories about where the name came from so I don’t really know.
My wife Rachel and I have a beautiful daughter named Skyrah, meaning eternal life, strength, love, and beauty. She is now six years old since last month was her birthday. I’m sure most parents say that they are good parents but they really aren’t because they don’t realize the things that they do wrong. They spoil them, pay them too little attention, or just don’t truly love them. When it comes to my little girl and my wife, they are my absolute world, more important in my life than anything else, and above all, I love them enough to put the world after them.
The alarm sounds its annoying buzz and I get up. I shut off the alarm quickly as not to wake Rachel or Skyrah. It is five o’clock in the morning, but I have to go to the gym to get ready for later today.
Today is special for two reasons. The first is I have a boxing match this afternoon. I am a boxer, not professional, but enough to get paid at a ring to support my family. My fight today is different than all the others because it could change my life. If I win today, I could possibly get promoted, raise in pay and all.
I slip into the shower to relax my body and wake myself up a little. I always make sure to wash myself everyday, especially my hair. I clench my teeth as I scrub my back and chest, scars from other fights that may never heal burn like a million little match fires underneath the skin. I step out of the shower and put some clothes on. Just one last thing to do before I leave: I pull out the card from my sock drawer and place it gently on the pillow next to my wife for the second special event today; it’s her birthday. We have made plans to go out for dinner at her favorite restaurant after my fight.
When I got to the ring, my opponent that I’m supposed to face tonight was there. I hate his guts, that’s the simplest way I can put it. His name is Luke “the Blaze” Johnson. Supposedly, he gets the nickname “the Blaze” because he fights with “fire-like power and agility”, but I know that’s a load of crap. I haven’t really got a nickname of my own mainly because my first name already means immortal which would be enough of a nickname for me. I don’t care if they call him the Blaze, I’ll still kick his ass.
I try to slip past him as he walks towards me because I don’t feel much like talking, but of course he notices me and jumps right into conversation as if we had planned to meet each other here.
“Yeah, you noticed…”
“Yeah well I’ve already been here for a couple of hours,” (whoopedy-doo) “and I’m pumped for this afternoon. How’s the lady-friend?”
“My wife is fine, why?”
“Heard it’s her birthday. I was just wonderin’ if you had something planned for later on. Tell her I’ll try not to beat you too badly so at least you can be alive for her birthday.”
“Gee thanks, you’re a real pal.” I tried to stop our lousy conversation by walking past him again but he grabbed my shirt and slammed me against the wall.
“You know I was just being nice to you, and the Blaze doesn’t like it when people talk nasty to him.”
“Wow Luke when I hear you talk about yourself in third person like that I just wonder why you’re not smarter than you are now.”
“Shut up Reamer, I can do whatever I want and there’s nothing you can do about it, got it? Cuz’ if you have a problem in our line of business there’s only one thing you can do, and you’re not even good at it so you have no chance of winning.” At this I twisted his wrist off my collar, slid it around his back and slammed him face-first into the concrete wall.
I walked away.
* * * * *
At noon, I was ready for the fight of my life. I stood jabbing at the air behind the curtain waiting for my name to be called. One of the other reasons why I don’t have my own nickname is because I’m not signed on as anybody. I’m kind of like a free agent and I have no trainer or advisor, only my boss, the guy who pays me.
From the other side of the curtain I hear Luke’s name called and then I hear the roar of the crowd. As his name is said two guys in blue suits rush past the curtain, forcing it to sway to the side, then gently drift back to its normal position. “You’re up,” and they were gone.
“And from the red corner; the amazing, the immortal, Tanek Reamer!” I jog towards the curtain and throw it up over my head. On either side of the ramp I’m going down fans are screaming my name, asking for autographs, and taking pictures. I run towards the ring and jump up onto the platform, ignoring the stairs on the corner. I put a foot between two of the ropes and slip under them. More chanting as I raise both my arms and yell. I started to turn towards Luke when something caught my eye. I had to turn back and I saw a little boy, about my daughter’s age standing on the middle of the ramp I had just come down. His hair is long and blonde and he has these calm blue eyes. As I stared through them I was suddenly lost. I heard a faint bell but I paid no attention to it.
The next thing I know I’m on the ground. Just realizing that I was in the middle of a fight, I quickly rolled to the side and got up. I swiftly glanced back to the ramp but the boy was gone. I turned back towards my opponent as he readied to shoulder me into the corner. I dodged it but as I moved out of the way he also turned and got a hook in at my face. I stumbled back a couple steps and shook it off. I’ve had worse than this guy, and I wasn’t about to have the first loss of my career be to him.
I saw him shuffle towards me and rear back his right fist, which I stupidly assumed meant he was going to punch me with that arm. Now usually I would never had made this mistake but for some reason I did. I put my arms up high and when I made my move, he changed his. He dove towards my knees, grabbed and pulled them up and threw me to the floor. It was a rookie trick and I couldn’t believe that I had fallen for it.
He jumped on top of me and started pounding at my face left and right. I managed to block most of them and meanwhile was trying to think of a way to get out of this position. I wrapped my ankles around his waist and twisted him off but he came right back, and that’s when I saw my opening. I repeated my trick and got him off me. As he stopped himself from going backwards he hurled towards me again and I lifted my lower body off the ground and heeled him in the nose. He held his nose and I could see the blood pouring out of it, but surprisingly I heard him laugh.
“You’re giving me a better fight than I would have expected, but now you’ve really pissed me off and I’m gonna finish this.”
He snarled and ran at me. It seemed to happen in slow motion in my mind. He planted his left foot down by the outside of my right. I curled in my legs just enough to get them both around his ankle and I squeezed and rotated to my left. He had no clue what hit him. His ankle was twisted and sent him sprawling through the air to land on his face. I had not intended to, but I didn’t let go of his ankle and so it jerked unnaturally backwards. I think I broke his ankle but I wasn’t sure. I leapt to my feet and looked at him. To my amazement, he got up, slowly, but he got up. The crowd cheered. I cracked my neck and jogged in place a little to get my blood pumping more.
With someone like this guy, I knew that after a severe injury and a lot of embarrassment his next move would be his last of the fight because they always get angry and make some dim-witted error. He limped towards me and I backed towards the edge of the ring and leaned against the ropes. He threw out a high punch and I ducked it. It was really high though, like abnormally high and I don’t think I even had to duck as much as I did. His arm connected with nothingness which left it just hanging there for a moment. I bound my arms around his thighs and threw him over the top of and behind me. I don’t know what he had been thinking about while he was flying through the air, but I imagine it wasn’t too pleasant.
He flew behind me, over the ropes and landed on his back on the ground below the stage. The crowd went silent. I thought I had killed him, but a worried announcer and official proved my suspicions to be false. I turned to look at the crowd and I suddenly got the image of the blonde-haired boy right in front of me, crying. But it vanished and I put the thought aside. After Luke had been wheeled out of the arena, the official announced me the immortal Tanek Reamer, and the winner.
As I got washed up back at the locker rooms my phone rang. It was my boss, he sounded happy and he said he wanted to offer me a proposal. I was so happy I didn’t even change back into my normal clothes and instead stayed in my crimson and gold shorts and blue shirt.
I rushed outside and ran across the block on my way to my house. I only lived about four blocks from the gym and arena so I usually walked or ran back and forth between the two. I ran with my head looking down, watching my feet and didn’t even need to look up since I knew the way by heart now. But I had to look up as I rounded the curb that led to my house, and I heard a woman’s scream. I looked up and I saw the door of my house busted down and the source of the screaming coming from the inside.
I rushed through the disrupted doorway of my home trying to think of any other possible explanation for the door and the screaming. But I could only think of the one thing that seemed to make since; and I didn’t like it.
I ran up the stairs to the second floor and as soon as I hit the landing a baseball bat introduced itself to my face. I tumbled down the first few stairs but then caught myself. I looked up and a man, about the same age as me, stood staring at me through his eyes that seemed to push through the thicket of darkness that encased his hooded face. He tossed his bat to the side and reached a hand into his pocket; and I think I knew what was going to come next. I hurled towards him, reaching for his busy hand. But my previous fight had tired me and he pulled his hand out faster than me and the butt of his pistol also met my face. This time though, the sideward swing made me fall down to the edge of the landing.
With weak and blurry eyes I could barely make out his outline as he walked away from me and into my daughter’s room. A minute later he came out dragging both Rachel who seemed to be knocked out and Skyrah who was fighting for him to let go of her, but had no luck in doing so. He threw them both next to me and pulled out his gun again. Skyrah took this opportunity to punch at the intruder, but only managed a scratch on the man’s face. He backhanded her with the barrel of the gun and she was on the floor, unwilling to try anything similar again.
With one hand he pulled me off the ground and sat me against the wall. Rachel moaned as she became conscious again and half sat up. The trespasser saw her and threw his gun to the side and drew out a third weapon, a knife. I saw the knife move in his hand and he held it and it moved closer and closer to my little girl. I didn’t want to watch but I was too weak to move and couldn’t feel any part of my body. The knife plunged into her chest and the last gust of air left her body, and she stopped moving. He turned back at me, and smiled.
He wiped off the blood on the knife on his sleeves.
My baby girl.
He checked the knife over to make sure it was clean. Apparently this guy was not worried about getting caught and wanted to make sure we all suffered, but why?
My first thought was that it was Luke, but he was in a hospital, and even if he somehow got out, this guy was way smaller than him.
He knelt down by my wife and grabbed a fistful of her hair. He yanked her head up and scrambled behind her. His knife went to her throat. Oh please God no.
I’ve never asked for anything from you before. I know I don’t usually pray or go to church, but this is just far worse than anything I’ve ever deserved. The man pressed the knife further against her throat and a trickle of blood came out from underneath the blade. At least she was unconscious again and it would be easier for her to die.
And then she woke up, and instantly knew what was about to happen. She stretched out a hand to me and I barely managed to do the same. Our middle fingertips touched, and he drew the edge of the blade across her throat. Her hand dropped… and she was gone.
He didn’t bother to clean the knife this time; he tossed it towards the stairs and went back by the bedroom. He bent over and picked up his firearm again. He made sure to take his time walking back over to me so that the pain could soak in. He checked to make sure he had his ammo all set and then he was ready. He stopped in front of my open legs and pointed the gun at my face.
This is it I thought, I have no hope for escape and my entire family is dead. Whatever being is up there right now is one sick freak for just watching. Was a little divine intervention too much to ask for? I mean, he could have at least made it less tragic and made them quicker deaths.
The pistol fired and a piercing pain went through my left shoulder. He still wasn’t done yet. Another shot went into my stomach, and another into my right leg. He checked the number of bullets he had left, and I guess it was just one, because he reached out further with the gun and point it straight at my forehead. He pulled the trigger halfway when I heard sirens. His finger did not move but he twisted his head around to look downstairs and out the door.
I don’t know how I managed to do it, but in the time that he turned his head I found a way to semi-get up and tackle his knee-caps and tumble with him down the stairs. When we got to the bottom I knew I had no more fight left in me and was at least happy that I was going to die and see my family again. I saw him lying on his stomach just outside of the doorway, and the knife stained with the blood of my family was in his backside.
No. Now I can’t see my family. Kill me now. Kill me. Do it now. Come on guy get up and finish me off. At least do one good thing for me. God please kill me.
“Please,” I muttered, “please God kill me now.” But he offered me no response.
I had to see them again. I crawled using only my left arm towards the stairs. After what seemed like hours I made it to the top step. I crept to my family and tried to hold them in my arms. And for the first time in my life, I cried.
I glanced back towards the outside, and I saw the boy with sky-blue eyes and blonde hair. He opened his mouth as if to speak but no sound came out. For some reason, I took this as a sign from Him. I don’t know how I got the idea, if I was caught up in the moment or what but the thought was just there, and no one could have convinced me otherwise.
“I hate you. I’ve never done anything wrong, and you betrayed me.” I had more to say, but I had no more energy, and I’m sure he knows what I meant. The boy vanished into thin air and I was left puzzled as to whether I had seen what I thought I saw, or not.
An hour later I was in an ambulance on my way to the hospital. A man was trying to take care of my wounds and ease my pain. I fazed in and out of what he was saying, thinking only of how much the day had changed, from Rachel’s birthday to the fight to back home… Rachel died on her birthday. Skyrah died then too. It was too much to bear and I fazed back into the man’s conversation.
“…wouldn’t worry too much about these wounds. It looks like you’ll make it after all. Thank God you’re still alive after all that. If that had happened to me…”
“Thank God I’m still alive? That’s the last thing I’d ever do. Yeah, you might as well thank him for killing my wife and my six year old daughter, and basically leaving me for dead. The last thing on my list of things to do is thank God for what happened. I mean seriously, that must have been a joke right? God doesn’t deserve anything, especially not my thanks.”
Then, I got my response.
I looked back up at the face of the man. What I had said seemed to have offended or surprised him because he wasn’t moving at all. In fact the ambulance didn’t seem to be moving either. I half sat up and looked around. No, the ambulance wasn’t moving either, what was going on?
Suddenly, I heard a loud bang. It was coming from the back doors of the vehicle. All at once the doors were ripped off of their hinges and flung straight into the air behind the figure who had thrown them. At first, the figure seemed to be a gray mist but gradually faded into real life and took the form of a man in a dark grey suit with a red tie. As I looked at his face I noticed that he was facing me, but with his eyes closed. I tried to lean closer to the person when his eyes unexpectedly shot open. His eyes flared bright red and then weakened to black.
“How do you know my name? And who are you?”
“My real name is Lepas but most people here on Earth refer to me as the devil or Satin.”
“You expect me to believe you’re the devil?”
“Do I need to prove it to you? Your name is Tanek Darren Reamer and you are a boxer down at the local gym. You don’t believe in God per say but you think that there is something there that doesn’t have a specific plan and prefers to intervene when things don’t go their way. You met your wife in a car accident on your way to a friend’s birthday party, to which you invited her to because you had a classic love-at-first-sight moment. Two years later you got married and 5 months later you got her pregnant with a baby girl, whom you named Skyrah. Both your wife and your daughter were just brutally murdered approximately an hour, three minutes, and… thirty-five seconds ago.”
“Most people around here would call that stalking.”
His eyes blazed red again and he grabbed my throat. Before my eyes I saw the world around me burst into flames. Skinless animals and people crawled on the ground and down the walls screaming in terror. A woman out of nowhere dropped from the sky and landed on the broken concrete. She sat up and the creatures started towards her. She attempted to run but the beasts ripped at her clothing and at her skin and she was carried away followed only by the sounds of her cries. The man who claimed to be the devil walked towards the center of the area and rapidly all beings around him stopped and bowed. Even the flames from the buildings and the cracks of the concrete ground seemed to reach out and succumb to him. He looked up and one of the lost souls lunged for me and pulled me out of the ambulance and threw me to the ground before him. He reached down and picked me up with just two of his fingers. His nails cut deep into my throat and he smiled. “Now may we continue?”
At that I found myself back on the bed in the ambulance and the world around me was back to normal. Le-… whatever he was called, brushed off his hands and his eyes once again dimmed to a black. “I don’t think I need to explain myself any further now do I?”
I shook my head and felt at my throat. The gashes were gone. I looked back up at him. “So what do you want with me?”
“Ah, it is not about what I want, but what you want. Would you like to know the truth?”
He chuckled, “Everything.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well obviously there is a god and a ‘devil’. But do you know why you are here? Do you want to know what your ‘god’ is really like?”
“Well obviously you’re going to tell me anyway but, my question is: Why are you telling me?”
“I will get to that, but for now let’s just start with the basics… First off, are you familiar with the ‘Big Bang Theory’? Well I always thought that an amusing speculation because if the universe is defined as everything that exists, then how could it all be put into one place? I mean, what was holding it together, and there would have to be something outside of it right? But that something should be part of the universe correct? So the theory overlaps itself. Well it is almost there you see, not everything was inside the mass, but the parts of the universe outside of it had nothing to do with the explosion.
“There are actually three deities. The one you know as God actually named himself Tevlok. I was named Lepas. The third being is not mentioned in any of your religions. He is actually the father of me and Tevlok. His name is Nalepac. Nalepac tried to create only one son, but ended up with two. He did not reproduce, but simply created energy mass and gave up some of his life into it. Unfortunately, at the last second the accumulated power split into two and I and my brother were born. Tevlok was the loved son and I was the accidental, mistreated one.”
“But who created your father?”
“Ah, but no one made him, he created himself.”
“How is that possible?”
“I can only begin to explain it, for only he truly understands. But as far as I know, microscopic bits of life are continuously spawned randomly throughout the universe, and for only seconds before they die again. It was kind of like sparks of a fire, and then they burst into flame, but a much smaller one. The cluster of life energy amazingly began thoughts that would take your modern age thousands of years to complete and understand, but happened in only their few seconds of life. This is the part that no one will ever know except my father; however the thoughts organized themselves and created a force that imploded upon itself and gave birth to a life form that would live forever. He is not shaped like a human being; it is more like a form that cannot be described. Nalepac calls the structure Onyara.
“So at some point in time, since we didn’t keep track of it then, I got tired of being disliked. I tried to impress my father by creating my own son. I was able to create the collection of power but tried to put into it spark thoughts of life like our father had told us that he had done so many times. But my plan failed and the mass of energy did not implode upon itself but instead froze in place. My father found out what I had done and punished me. I didn’t care because I thought that maybe I could still make it into something. I knew that I wasn’t able to make a single heir but I could chance creating thousands of sparks of life that could spawn millions of followers. I knew these followers would be able to reproduce quickly and eventually become billions. Bu-“
“Wait so this mass, it was the universe?”
“Yes. Tevlok knew of my plan and disfavored it greatly. This is one of the main things that your kind does not know of. Your God did not want humans to be created. He didn’t want you or any other species to live.”
“Well he thought that you would be able to eventually find a way to overthrow him and our father. But mainly it was because he did not want them to live. If they lived, then they would know that I created them, and if they knew that, then they would worship only me and so he and our father would not be needed and he would not be liked as much as I would have been. He also feared that my plan wouldn’t work and so the force of the amount of power from the ball would wipe all of us out, except me since it was made of my energy. The evil that resides in all of man now, in the future, and in the past, is bits of my presence, my resentment towards my brother and my father.”
“So why didn’t anyone worship you?”
“Well trillions of years after I unleashed the strength from inside the orb, your planet formed and bits of life were starting to evolve. The thought process on the planet was not evolved enough to recognize me as the creator at the time. But when it was time much later, Tevlok tried again to destroy the Earth for fear that it would tear his glory away from him. He was selfish Tanek. He put the world into an ice age in an attempt to wipe out life. Unfortunately, it eventually faded and the ice receded away from the remaining life and so it was able to survive. When the humans came to realize what had happened, they mistook Tevlok for saving them from the ice age when it had in fact been him who had originated it. He took this to his advantage and we ended up where we are today.”
“Okay the names are a little hard to remember, and it’s all really confusing but, why are you telling me? Or are you planning on killing me now that I know?”
“Why no, I am not going to kill you. You are certainly not a threat to me or any such thing. But you are a threat to your God. He finds you all so precious now, now that he has made his father even prouder, and he is keeping you all as pets. He thinks of you higher than everything else but our father, higher than me.” He rubbed the back of his hand on the cheek of the man next to me in the ambulance, still frozen solid.
“So why me?”
“Because you are going to help me. You are going to help me take my revenge against Tevlok. You want your revenge against him too don’t you? He could have saved your family, but he chose not to. He has the power Tanek, but he disregarded you like you were trash, he ignored the way that your family was brutally murdered right in front of your eyes. We divine beings see all of time and space at once as slow as we want. I can tell you personally that my brother can, has, and is seeing every single worthless piece of living trash on this planet and knows what they are all doing and thinking, similar to your tales of the ‘Santa Clause’… He chose not to help you. All he ever has to do is simply take a quadrillionth of a nanosecond of time to change the way a thought or person or object functions by the tiniest speck to change an entire sequence of events. Don’t you want to get him back?” I would certainly take pride in the vengeance of my family, but against a divine being? Was that even possible?
“If that’s all true then why isn’t he stopping our conversation now?”
“Because my powers are able to keep him at bay for a while. He knows about it, but can’t do anything about it.”
As my thoughts wandered the blonde-haired boy appeared a ways behind Le… whatever, this devil being. As I stared at him I suddenly heard thoughts in my mind that weren’t mine. He is trying to trick you Tanek. He is trying to control you. Do you want to be controlled by this demon? My brother is very clever and he is trying to use you. GET OUT OF MY HEAD! I know that you are mourning the deaths of your family but you have to listen to me. Lepas is trying to take back control of this world. If you free the world of its sins then he cannot achieve his goal. What do you mean ‘free the world of its sins’? I am asking you to sacrifice your life, as my son did years and years ago, for the fate of humanity.
So you actually expect me to sacrifice my own life for the fate of the world which you took from me? I did not take them from you. I-… No, but you could have helped them. How could you let them and me suffer as cruelly as we did and then ask me to surrender my life so that you’re happy? I made it happen in hopes that you with a pure heart would feel more willing to sacrifice yourself. No, that’s bullshit. Now get out of my head.
You would dare turn your back on me and the fate of your world just for your own pursuit of retribution?
Well then I wish you luck, because you and your people will suffer thousands of times over. I hope you regret your decision in the years to come, because now you’ve got millions of them left in your life to reflect upon it, ‘immortal’ Tanek…
It has been well over fourteen thousand years since that night. Most of which I have spent standing or sitting still in the middle of the street. Around me I am haunted endlessly by the tormented souls of my fellow human beings. Everyone on the Earth knows I am responsible, and so I constantly receive verbal gifts of hatred and remorse. All other species on the planet seemed to have divinely disappeared. It doesn’t matter though, because none of us have, or ever will die. The same people alive that day, are still alive now.
We don’t need to eat, drink, or sleep. No one keeps personal objects; they’ve all been destroyed anyway. The globe has become a barren wasteland. Tears cannot even be shed. Our flesh persistently burns for no apparent reason and agony sneaks up on our unconscious sides when we are unsuspecting and seems to mentally rip at our insides. Skin is even a rare sight. Everyone has lost all traces of hope. Sacrifices have been made, rituals performed; all to no avail. Most have forgotten the old ways: how we lived, dreamed, learned.
I haven’t seen Lepas since. I shouldn’t have trusted him, but it still makes me heated that Tevlok has done what he has. I just want to die, now more than ever. I keep hoping I’ll get some sort of second chance to redeem myself, but it hasn’t come, not yet…
I was sitting in the middle of my street facing my old house when I heard what sounded like a nearby explosion. If I had cared at all I would have turned my head, but I didn’t disrupt my gaze. The next thing I knew a man, or what was left of a man, was thrown in front of me. A figure’s human-like shadow crept over the remains and grew larger until it encompassed the entire section of the street. Instantly the shadow disappeared and Lepas replaced its position.
“Hello Tanek. Long time no see.”
“Where the Hell have you been?”
“Funny thing. There is no such place as Hell. You humans lack the intelligence to understand that when you die you never leave. Time inadvertently jumps when the mind is asleep and it skips to some other instant for a while. Such is the case with death. True death only occurs with divine intervention when your disembodied soul is pulverized by the hands of one of us three.”
“Then what was that you showed me that night?”
“That my dear Tanek was the future.”
“You’re sick, you know that?”
“Why thank you. But to the original point of my visit. Do you still want your revenge?”
“Revenge? Why has it taken so long?”
“This has simply been a test. Well part of it. I was slightly reprimanded by my dear old father and then I thought I’d give you a teensy bit of alone time.”
“ALONE TIME!? It’s been thousands of years!”
“Like I said before time has no meaning to me.”
“No, I don’t want it anymore. This torture is unbearable and I just want to die.” I looked at the spot where Lepas was standing, but he was no longer there.
Suddenly I was forcefully pulled through the concrete and ground beneath me and I landed on a terrain of nothingness at the foot of Lepas’ new form. I was still able to hear the screams of other humans but it did not seem to come from around me, or above me where they logically should have come from. It instead came from the demented-red eyes of my attacker.
Lepas no longer looked human. His features resembled that of every being I’ve ever known to exist on this planet, fitting for the true creator of Earth.
“Do you want to make your god pay for what he has done to you? How cruel does one have to be to let your entire world die and suffer in order for him to be praised by his followers?”
“I told you,” I had to look away from his eyes because they seemed to pierce my own with its screams, “I don’t want vengeance anymore. It’s selfish of me to let the rest of the world suffer for it.”
He sighed and took a step towards me. “Do you want to see your family again?”
I looked up at him with tear-filled eyes, “Of course I do.”
“Then you would do well to do exactly what I say.”
“And how exactly do you expect me to fight a deity?”
“With my help of course, that was our deal. You want badly enough for my brother to die for revenge and I want it so I can be rid of him since he took away my most prized accomplishment.” At that he grew larger until he was tripled in size. He grabbed at my arm and threw me against the wall to my right. He raised his hands and the nothingness at my feet burst into flames. A couple of the flames held me in place against the invisible wall while the remainder slithered up my arms and legs and licked at my tortured flesh. The inferno wrapped around me and I felt it squeeze against me tighter and tighter until I could no longer breathe.
After a few minutes more Lepas snapped his fingers and the fire released its grasp and bowed to him before returning to its unknown origin. I collapsed on the floor, too weak to move at first. But then suddenly I felt a surge of strength run through me that wasn’t mine. I jumped to my feet and looked up.
Lepas smiled. “Now there is just one thing you have to do. If I tell you now, you will not do it, and therefore will regret it later. I’m going to put you to sleep, and when you wake up, you will know what you have to do. You’re not going to want to, but I’m telling you now, that you must. If you want revenge for your family, and if you want to see them one last time, you will do as I say. Now, sleep…” I suddenly lost all control of my body and I fell to the ground.
I awoke again in the middle of my street in front of my old house. The world around me seemed to be back to normal now. What was it that I am supposed to do? I ran up the steps to my house and grabbed an old black-hooded coat from the closet. I ran up the steps and into my daughter’s room. She was lying asleep on her bed and so I tried to stay quiet. I walked over and kissed her on the cheek. As I stepped backwards I knocked over a baseball bat. It looked familiar… Oh please no.
I reached into my right pocket and found a loaded pistol. In my other was a knife. I can’t do it. This is too much to bear. I thought of what Lepas had said and I knew that if I didn’t worse things would come to not only me, but the entirety of the human race. I threw my hood over my face and picked up the bat. I stood for a moment staring at my daughter, crying. I froze, not knowing how I could possibly do this to my own family.
Just then, Rachel walked into the room. She wasted no time when she saw me, she started attacking and yelling at me with everything she had. Trying to defend myself, I raised the bat in my hat and accidentally made it collide it with her head. She fell unconscious on the floor with a thud. The sound woke Skyrah and she too started yelling. I tried not to hurt her and instead tied her to her bed. I ran downstairs and out the door. By the amount of light left in the sky, I determined that my other self would be home in a matter of minutes so I turned back around. The door I had left through swung closed in my face and became stuck in the door frame. I heaved against it with my shoulder and it loosened off its hinges and fell to the ground.
By the time I got up the stairs, I found Skyrah had loosened herself and was screaming as loud as she could. I tried not to look as I threw her to the floor and she stopped yelling. Just then I heard someone coming up the stairs. If I was correct, I had to do this exactly as it happened the first time. As he ran up the stairs I hit him in the face with the bat. My former self was the only person I actually didn’t mind hurting. After all, he was the one who got me into this mess. I tossed the bat to the side and drew the pistol just in time to hit him in the face with its handle. I deposited my weapon in my coat and returned to Skyrah’s bedroom. I dragged out both of my girls and dropped them near the other Tanek. Skyrah in one last feeble attempt scratched at my face and I unintentionally hit her with the butt of the gun. I took out my knife and started its course towards my daughter. I can’t do this I thought, this is too unbearable. I started to withdraw it when an invisible power forced my hand forward, and into her body. I was no longer in control, something was controlling me and I slit my wife’s throat…
The rest was a blur as I was tackled down the stairs and I felt a pain in my back.
I awoke to a blinding light. I stood up as best I could, but I had to put my hand in front of my face to shield my eyes. Moments later the light dimmed and I could see my surroundings.
White. There was nothing else that I could see; no visible walls, no landscape, no details, just white space. After a quick flash of light, I could see a figure in the distance. It looked like it could be a child. I walked towards it for what seemed like a fair distance, considering how far away the figure appeared, but did not find myself any closer. I stopped walking and observed the figure. I still couldn’t make out what it was.
I blinked, and then the form disappeared and reappeared ten feet from me. It was the boy. Normally I would have been angry, but there was someone else with him. It was Skyrah. I knelt down and tried to speak, but no words came out. My eyes swelled with tears and both shapes became blurry. After wiping my face, I could see that she was ok. She looked as if she had never been killed, nor had any recollection of what had happened.
The boy began to speak to me through my thoughts again. I am truly sorry, Tanek. I have never known what it is like to have a family, let alone lose them. All I have ever had is my father and brother. Everything Lepas told you was true. All his facts are correct. I had the power to save you and your family, and I have taken credit for Lepas’ creation of the cosmos. But feel no remorse. I chose you long ago to do what you have done here tonight. You are Lepas’ champion, and unfortunately, you have succeeded. Though I was amused by being worshipped by your kind, it has gotten… boring. Your species has advanced themselves way too quickly and freely. So many different religions and beliefs. And so much violence. I would not tolerate it, for it would not please my father. So I planned on destroying the Earth, and starting anew with a different planet. My foolish brother knew of my plans when he found you. You were so unique and special to him, so strong and full of will. By drawing out the very strands of time, you and him distracted me from my attempt and I have been forced to retreat from my actions. Nalepac has only requested that I start somewhere else, and that I allow you to see your family again.
Where is my wife? I have only the time and strength left after my fight with Lepas to allow you to have one of them, and I am the only one able to retrieve their souls since they died by my doing. Lepas suggested you be given Skyrah. She does not remember what happened nor where she or you will go. Where will she go? She will go to Heaven, where she will relive her fondest memories, as will your wife. You and your soul will be terminated since it is tainted with murder and betrayal.
The boy disappeared and I was left with Skyrah. I knelt down in front of her and hugged her tightly.
He’s right. I needed to see my little girl again. I love you Rachel.
“I’m here sweetie.” Tears ran down my cheeks as I let go of her and looked into her eyes.
“Why are you crying daddy?”
“I… I have to leave for a while.” I lied.
“Because I have a few things to work on.” I lied again.
“Back at home.” I continued to lie.
“Can I see her?”
“You’re going to see her very soon.”
The boy rematerialized and signaled that it was time to go.
“I love you honey.”
“I love you too daddy. Will I ever see you again?” This brought tears back to my eyes and I surrounded her with my arms.
“Yes.” I said aloud as she began to be taken away. It was the last lie I would ever tell.