The Vault

There is a vault within that most
hold dear,
the gestalt of sin, bound by a
chain of fear,
hidden, locked away from the sight
of brightest day,
unbidden, birds flock and spirits pray,
the power of gnosis found,
occasioning falling tears.

Without we seem to live
with no doubt,
while within we quail in terror,
the furor of internal conflict
the edict of self-condemnation,
remonstrations of failed creation,
stifled by trifles enlargened
and unbounded,
inside we flee screaming silent wails,
afraid of the tales of violent sound.

But this is the way of the earth,
the necessary culling in light of rebirth,
as the waters of the worlds wash sibilant
upon the shores of material innocence,
intransigent spirits spinning,
blending into the foliage, camouflaged
against the trumpet call of Divine Awakening,
slaking their thirst in the blood-filled wells
of the damned.

Man against man, woman against woman,
brother against sister against mother against
friend, and round it goes again,
a seemingly never-ending spiral, each iteration
a gyroscoping motion of devotion,
dedicated to pain, to repeating the same thing,
over and over again.

Is there a winning scenario?

Impresarios of pleasure wax eloquent, dependent
upon transcendent whims, denouncing friends,
family and strangers alike, gossiping,
dripping lies like sties from eyes awash with death,
steadily imbibing negativity until they take
their last breath.

This is the sinning scenario, the winning
being comprised of exactness and oppositional
proactivity, higher vibrational nativity born
within the crucible of spiritual knowledge,
the anvil of experiential college, the acceptance
of human frailty, of the failure of the will
to Be.

The vault within crumbles under the light
of awakened awareness,
the bareness of the opened soul the passage
through which spiritual light flows,
the space within which gnosis and transcendence
grows.

Take it slow, but steady, make sure to leap,
not step when ready, when that synchronicitous
event occurs, to do what is necessary
to fly, like the birds.

Dark Angel

Lord, bring us light.

Her bright soul
called to him and
in turn his called
to hers.

He felt her
deep.

I’m sorry.

Souls in synch
they soared across
skies soaked with
blood … rent by
broad strokes of
thundering
cumulus cries.

Sympathetic angels
watched and
wept softly their
timeless knowing
heralding the
inevitable.

Is this what was promised?

♥★☯ Dark Angel ♥★☯ - dark angelMalignancy masked as
love seared
their souls
boiled the soil
of a landscape torn
by desolation.

Bright balmy dreams
coaxed them forth
sharing laughter and
love upon
whispered promises of
furtive
future love.

Take this pain from her.

Dark dreams lay beneath
the veneer of light
nightstalkers and ghosts
of pain past never
far from thought
the ides of life beckoning
death lurking
just … there
beyond the pale
of morning light.

Open hearts crying
tears of silver shards
pierced heartache
leaving chasms of sorrow
in their wake.

I couldn’t stop her.

Her heart lay broken
a million times
no words of solace or peace
served.

Poignant cries overpowered
by sirens and concern
leaving him lost
listening to silence
love hanging by a single
thread of desperate
longing.

Nothing I said was enough.

Free will rules the
dark and the light alike
lives torn asunder by
the choice of one
leaving him bereft
contemplating love
and solitude.

A single path
then appeared
twisting into distant
and treacherous heights
the abyss lurking
to each side
promising oblivion
to the unwary.

My love could not hold her.

Step lightly
knowledge beckoning
the path beyond pain and
heartache
the mortal coil left
behind.

He left her with a
single kiss
to cold
pale lips
his eyes turned to the
heavens
his feet drawn by love
into the life
beyond.

I pray that she finds peace.

Bugman’s Burden ~ Conclusion

9th Interlude
The war was over.

Night had fallen upon us like a veil and the Beasties howled in ecstatic hunger, anticipating the flesh of their victory. The harsh strobes of the settlement cast a dim glow over the graveyard and the Beasties advanced, ghoul-like. The hulking form of Sloogon rose above them like an avatar of death.

His crime had been cannibalism. He had killed and eaten his entire family, including cousins, distant relatives and even a few unfortunate neighbors who had been in the vicinity when his terrible hunger had reached its crescendo. Sloogon had been on Purgatory for fifteen years, the longest surviving prisoner in the history of the planet. The Administrators above had made that little factoid available to me before sending me down to meet him in the flesh, so to speak.

I shivered again, afraid in spite of myself. Ranae had left my side and moved to the stone wall, where she crouched, her arms wrapped around her knees. The others were also silent; each lost in their own nightmarish conception of what the immediate future would bring.

A new sound rose from the graveyard and I shuddered as I recognized it. The hoots and hollers of the Beasties had been replaced by a purposeful cadence. They were chanting.

““Fok it! Eat it! Food an sex!””

Over and over again, they chanted. Sloogon’’s bad habits were in tune with those of his chosen companions. Perhaps as a direct result of his lengthy incarceration or more probably as a result of the morbid dementia that afflicted us all in this hellish place. Ranae’s voice was a hollow croak.

““There will be no stopping the Beasties tonight. They will take us all. I know it.””

She was right. Ranae cowered in the mud, staring at me wildly. Her eyes were orbs of white in the faint light. I had no response for her. Could barely think, let alone speak.

But it didn’’t matter. The hopelessness of our situation was beyond discussion. Around us, the other Talkers were moaning fearfully as the reality of our imminent deaths marched nearer.

Suddenly, Kahaki was there. He was covered in mud. Only his eyes were visible, flaring with excitement and madness.

He stared at us both, his usually vacant expression replaced by a feral hatred. Still, in the depths of his eyes, I could detect a yearning for love, for the love of Ranae. He spit at me and pointed at Ranae accusingly.

“”I’’m leaving you, mama. You love the Bugman more than you love me. I’m gonna be a Beastie now. Sloogon says I can.””

Ranae looked at him; her mouth working futilely as she tried to respond. A dull croak was the only sound she could make. I watched the little monster with grudging admiration, appreciating the extent of his hatred.

To join the ranks of Sloogon’’s Beasties was to align oneself with the dregs of depravity and no salvation was possible from those stygian depths. Kahaki looked at me once more but I did not meet his eyes. Instead, I shrugged and concentrated on Ranae, who stared at Kahaki, despair dripping from her eyes. When I looked back, he was gone.

The Beasties had reached mid-field and their cries were louder now as they sensed our desperation. Sloogon had moved to the front of the assembled Beasties and I could see a dirty cloth twisted around his thick neck, soaked in his own blood. I put my arm around Ranae and she drew closer to me, unresisting in her stupor.

From the ranks of the Beasties, a familiar voice rose, a child’’s voice. ““Mama, help me! They’re gonna eat me, Mama! Help me!””

Ranae tensed and called out, her voice quavering. Her will had returned at a most inopportune time.
““My darling boy! Kahaki! Mama’’s coming! I’ll save you!””

She sprang into action. She pulled away from my weak grasp, drew a flesh-encrusted thighbone from the mud nearby and jumped over the wall, her naked form reflecting the wan light of the settlement’s glow-orbs.

““Ranae, no! Come back, they’’ll eat you too!”” I cried, reaching out for her. I was too late.

The dancing Beasties howled and closed in, quickly overcoming her with their numbers. Her screams blended with Kahaki’s as they both reaped the consequences of their pro-activity, becoming an early-evening feast for the ravening Beasties.

I turned away then and began preparing myself for my death, which surely would not be long in coming. The cache of supplies lay nearby.

A collection of silvery cases, bound together with thermoplast ropes. Some of them had been opened and in the darkness between the crates of dehydrated food and medical supplies, I could see small, beady eyes staring back at me.

I smiled to myself, in spite of the pain eating away at me.

The cycle never ends. Birth, death and rebirth. With the passing of each life, somewhere, another begins. We are promised nothing in this life except pain. Pain, and the promise of death, hence the cessation of pain.

Along the way, the choices we make determine the course of our lives for better or for worse. The Beasties had made their choice and the agonized screams of my fellow Talkers announced the hellish result. Shadows abounded and moist, horrific slavering sounded close by.

I shuddered, awaiting my own call to judgment.

Ranae had been right. The Beasties were showing no mercy. Come morning, there would be no Talkers left in the settlement west of Hell’s Gate. A shadow covered me, obscuring the faint light of the settlement’s strobes.

It was Sloogon.

The Beastie stared down at me in triumph, his immense body soaked in blood and gore. As his minions surrounded me and began to grasp at my body, I could hear Sloogon’s breath whistling through the hole in his throat. How he gathered enough air to speak, I’ll never know.

““How’’s dat, Bugman? Yo kill alla peeple an now yo die in Hell wit yo bitch! How’s dat, Bugman? Yo be notin, in dis place! Sloogon rules in Hell!””

The pain caressed me like a long-lost lover and I welcomed her final embrace. I flew into the forever-night, my soul diaphanous upon the breath of the solar winds.

~

The choices we make stay with us eternally. Never are we allowed surcease from the pain we cause others, nor the pain we inflict upon ourselves. My last conscious emotion as a creature of the physical plane was regret.

Regret, tinged with sadness. Regret for the choices that I had made, the life I had not led, the love that I had hoarded jealously, for myself alone.

Last but certainly not least, regret for infecting the rodents aboard the space station with the virus. The rodents that had accompanied me to Purgatory 7, hidden within the silvery boxes that contained the supply shipment. I felt regret for sharing my virus-tainted bodily fluids with them on the station, for knowing the equation’s answer before the formula was written.

Soon, every living being upon this planet, as well as those who had been aboard the station, would be dead, God willing. This time, there would be no cure and the virus would spread throughout human space until all of Man’s works vanished, subject to the ravishes of time.

Ancient of Days, I pray that my Will become the Alter of your Judgment. Let my utter abdication of pro-activity provide atonement for my unforgivable sins against your Creation. Thy Will be done.

Let the church say, Amen-Ra.

 

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Bugman’s Burden ~ 8th Interlude

8th Interlude
My physical descent into purgatory mirrored my soul’s fall from grace. Euphoric weightlessness within a womb-like cavity followed soon after by crushing gravitational forces beyond my control exemplified the shift into micro-dimensional space. The stasis-field that held me bound did nothing to assuage the intense pain of molecular restructuring brought on by re-entry into normal space.

The space station orbiting Purgatory 7 only served to reinforce the sensation of isolation. Cold, gray walls, Technicians and Administrators clad in silver bodysuits. They gathered around me curiously, studying for themselves both the mental and physical profiles of the most hated man in the galaxy.

In turn, I observed them. In them, I saw myself. Or rather, myself as I used to be. Supposedly objective and clad in the regalia of their stations, imperious in thought and attitude. Physician, heal thyself.

““Are you sure that’’s him?”” One said, doubtful.

““Of course I’’m sure, dolt. Look at his coloration, his eyes, and the size of his head. He’s Black. If you look closely, you can even see the remnants of the Enhancer’s probes. See?””

The other replied, imperiously knowing.

““I don’t know. Doesn’’t look like him to me.””

“”Nobody ever looks like they do in the holovids, don’’t you know that by now?””

““Yes, but I thought he’’d be taller.””

““Stupid fok.””

When I was younger, I had believed that humanity’’s inheritance was the stars, that the only limit to our technological sophistication was the boundless expanse of God’’s Creation. The purity of my innocence astounds me in retrospect. My naivete was boundless.

The extremes of outer space can only be explored by the fearless navigation of inner space and to follow that chain of thought too deeply threatens the very foundations of human achievement as well as our individual grasp upon sanity’s diaphanous fringes.

In the dark corners of the space station, beyond the inclination of the Technicians and Administrators sight, lay the chaotic vestiges of true reality. I could see clearly from my vantage point beyond their version of reality as they pontificated, irrationally secure in the implicit knowledge of their own willful blindness. While they pronounced judgment, produced documentation and observed stimuli, chaos stole away the foundation of their Truth.

It’s quite simple, really. Chaos is the common denominator that underlies the entirety of Creation. In any ordered system, events tend towards disorganization leading to eventual reorganization on a larger, more coherent scale, after a certain indeterminate point.

Black, beady eyes kept me company in my silence. Brown, gray and black bodies whispered through the stainless corridors, attuned to the cleaning cycles, the robot-drones and the occasional stray eye. Somehow, these creatures survived, and in surviving, thrived. Watching them, the full realization of my doom churned and roiled within me, finally heaving forth without apology.

I vomited profusely and tears coursed down my face as the rodents accepted my offering. To my reasoning, the purging of my stomach symbolized my acceptance of personal responsibility for my crimes, while simultaneously representing my denial of ultimate culpability. Society must play some role in the vagaries of human expression, regardless of the extremity of that selfsame expression.

My moment of epiphany was accompanied by the realization that beneath the surface perfection of our their reality lay a heart of darkness, a fetid abomination of death and decay. I reveled in that knowledge and the chorus of my insanity was born aloft by my shrill laughter, which echoed throughout the station in loops of forlorn despair. Let the church say Amen-Ra.

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Bugman’s Burden ~ 7th Interlude

7th Interlude
The red dwarf sun was setting on the eastern horizon; its wan light approaching purple. The stars glimmered coldly above the desperate battleground and our souls lay in the balance, forfeit to the Eater of Worlds. I gazed upon their beauty and the torturous cries of the wounded and dying assailed my ears unceasingly.

The surreal atmosphere was heightened only by the stark hopelessness of my situation. My chest ached with a searing pain that banished all thought of surcease. But that was not important. The battle had proceeded from mid-morning and would end with the final setting of the crimson sun.

In the center of the graveyard, scattered body parts lay – half-covered by mud – the odd limb grotesquely poking from the dark, combat-churned soil. These pitiful remnants would be gathered later by the losers and provide them with the only sustenance they would receive outside of each other until the supply ship returned.

I was told that the months on Purgatory 7 were short, three quarters Earth-time. The planet’’s retrograde orbit around the red dwarf skewed all natural perception of time and the years might seem to last forever to one damned, as had this single day of blood and death.

The few of us left standing watched the final battles silently, waiting for the now inevitable outcome. There had been thirteen deaths thus far, nine of them Talkers. Our side was losing.

““Where is Kahaki, Bugman?”” asked Ranae, her breath harsh in my ears.

She was sweating profusely, her eyes wild and darting. Dried and caked mud was her only clothing. She had lost her thin garments, as well as her dignity, in her earlier battle with Sloogon. Her hair was torn and she sported numerous bruises and cuts on her arms and legs. Blood ran down the interior of her thighs, evidence of her earlier ambiguous victory.

Kahaki was nowhere to be seen.

Sloogon had manhandled her aggressively, using his massive strength to subdue her. A sudden blow to the head had knocked Ranae from her feet. He had thrown off his loincloth, his bulging stomach protruding grossly over his trunk-like thighs. His penis was barely visible, its considerable length and breadth superseded by the girth of his belly.

Sloogon had advanced upon her, goaded on by the raucous cries of his minions. He knelt before her torn and bleeding form and his immense bulk sank into the mud. Her body disappeared beneath him, only the rabbit-like thrusting of his cellulite-encased ass giving evidence of her violation.

Suddenly, Sloogon had bellowed with pain and rolled to the side, releasing her, blood running from a gaping wound in his throat.

Ranae had bitten him savagely, releasing a copious amount of blood that fountained from his neck like rain, running down her body in a crimson flood. Sloogon rolled away from her and staggered to his feet, stumbling back to the edge of the graveyard, blood spurting through his clasped fingers. Ranae crawled slowly back to the wall and dragged herself over it, collapsing next to me, her captive lover. Gore and grime combined, her too-bright eyes shining sullenly behind the hellish mask.

The shocked silence had been broken only by a high keening, coming from Kahaki, who had watched the entire battle from his perch on the stone wall. Ranae ignored him, for some reason preferring to nurse her wounds by my side. She was incoherent and I held her protectively, taking short, whooping breaths while cherishing the stolen moment of tenderness.

Kahaki hooted again, staring at us both. I couldn’t tell if it was pain or anger that the little demon was expressing at the time, although now, I rather suspect it was a little of both. Whichever it was, that was the last I had seen of him.

““Did you hear what I said?””

Ranae slapped me on the side of my head, awakening me from my musings.

“”I don’t know where he is, Ranae. The last time I saw him he was sitting on the wall, watching you, uh, cavorting with Sloogon.””

She shot a look of disgust at me. ““Watch your mouth, Bugman. You still belong to me, or have you forgotten that little fact? We haven’t lost this war yet.””

I refrained from comment, deciding that my last foray into insubordination had used up what little good will Ranae had left, considering the way the day had been going. Win or lose, my lot in life could only get worse. Not that it mattered now.

The pain had spread from my chest to encompass my whole body and I coughed, my body beset by spasms. I closed my eyes and began praying. The oncoming night was accompanied by a chill wind and I shivered uncontrollably.

Whatever outcome the gods had ordained would be upon us soon, for the onset of night signaled the end of the war. Whichever side could field the most survivors would win the day and from the rising tide of noise coming from across the muddy graveyard, the Beasties, at least, were under the impression that for all intents and purposes, we belonged to them.

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Bugman’s Burden ~ 6th Interlude

6th Interlude
The trial had been quick and painless. The absolute obliteration of my life was complete.

To the five-dimensional world of the holovids, my soul was laid bare, my most base truths exposed for the world to ogle and dissect. I experienced the total gamut of human emotion, driven to Truth mercilessly by the organomech Psychic Enhancer’s cold urgings. Delirious ecstasy flirted with visions of the Inferno, twisted by a demented muse. My guilty conscious allowed me no respite from the gnawing realization of my utter damnation.

Eighty million plus people had died from the effects of a virus recombined by my labs.
My test subjects – released on their own recognizance – had been readmitted to unsuspecting populations. I can still hear the grim reports of the viruses’ progress, the mounting death tolls, reported nightly on the holovid news shows.

I had watched it all from the austere heights of my crystalline research labs. The eyes of my technicians had been coldly speculative above the sky-blue facial masks. Their voices haunted me as their physical presence declined, leaving me alone, exiled to my sterile labs.

My last moments as a god were spent staring at a vial of clear liquid, closely related to the one that had brought about my own personal destruction as well as the destruction of millions of innocent lives. Although I could not see them with my naked eyes, living seeds of destruction gyrated within, recombined yet again, capable of decimating the Human population of the entire galaxy without fear of a vaccine.

Undetectable and sublime, their forms were truly perfect, representing the epitome of my skill. Twisting, spiraling madly, their very existence negated the entirety of God’s creation, in my mind.

Thought became action and my Will was done. My body became the receptacle of the world’s sins and

I gave of myself that we all might be saved. May the Lord have mercy upon my soul.

Ancient of Days, I pray that my Will become the Alter of your Judgment. Let my utter abdication of pro-activity provide atonement for my unforgivable sins against your Creation.

My damnation hovered ominously on the event horizon of possibility. True knowledge is ever preceded by sweet, blissful ignorance. I know this now, for my sentence to Purgatory had only just begun.

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Bugman’s Burden ~ 5th Interlude

5th Interlude
“Mama! Whatcha gon’ do with Bugman, huh? Can I play with him before you kill him? Huh? Huh?”

The child-like voice actually came from a child, and a quite dirty child at that. He squatted frog-like on the low stone wall, wearing only a loincloth of undeterminable color. His pale body was barely visible beneath his protective dirt encasement. His eyes were huge and seemed to take up the entire breadth of his face. I swatted at him futilely. He had positioned himself just beyond my reach.

Ranae tugged my leash, causing me to gag and fall back into the mud again. The child’s name was Kahaki and his laughter was louder and lasted longer than anyone else’s did. He hated me passionately and I returned his affections as well as I was able. Before I had arrived, he had been Ranae’s plaything and I hesitate to speculate on their relationship. Accordingly, he took every opportunity to humiliate me that came his way.

“Kahaki, my sweet. Come to mama. That’s a good boy.”

The little demon jumped nimbly from the wall and landed in Ranae’s arms, snuggling deep into her bosom, all the while staring at me, his wide eyes blank and expressionless.

Sterilization of prisoners was mandatory upon assignment to Purgatory 7. He had not been born here. Rather, he was a convicted inmate like the rest of us. His crime, murder.

At the age of four, he had poisoned every child in his nursery by spiking their nutri-milk with industrial strength rat poison. Afterwards, he had displayed no remorse and his family had shunned him, leaving the young sociopath to face the Galactic Tribunal alone.

His case had made the holovid networks of every planet in the Triquad and his sentence of life imprisonment on Purgatory 7 had been greeted by calls of clemency and a renewed scrutiny of the ages old Criminal Justice Code. The viscera-spattered wheels of justice had revolved ponderously and soon after his incarceration upon the prison planet, the furor had died down and everyone had forgotten about poor little Kahaki.

Now here I was, stuck with the little demon for the rest of my natural life.

“My Bugman is special, Kahaki. You cannot have him. I will give you a Beastie later, if you’re a good boy.”

He looked up at her adoringly, snuggling even closer. His little hands were lost in the folds of her clothes and by her expression, I could tell he was caressing her nipples.

I almost gagged, I was so furious. Before I could stop myself I spoke, my voice dripping with spite.

“Surely you’re joking, Ranae. You’re actually going to give that little Beastie-in-training a living person? Why don’t you just let him enter the field of battle? He’s definitely got the killer instinct, even if he hasn’t got the strength to back it up, yet.”

They both stared at me; surprised by my daring. I could sense Ranae toying with the idea of jerking my chain again, but she didn’t, preferring to punish me in a more subtle fashion.

“Hmmm, interesting idea, Gaitan. Kahaki, what do you think of that? Would you like to participate in the battle this cycle?”

Kahaki’s eyes never left me, nor did they lose their blankness, but his voice seemed weak and even more child-like when he answered.

“The Bugman don’t like me, mama. He want me to die so he can have you his self.”

I cursed his wily ways silently. He knew how to work Ranae’s emotions and I knew what would happen next.

“Don’t worry, Kahaki. The Bugman will never have me all to himself, baby. When the night falls, perhaps I shall give him to you after all. What do you think of that?”

“I would like that, mama. Oh, I would like that.”

Sure enough, I found myself face down in the muck once more, subject to the derision of the others. I wanted to remain blind, my awareness limited by the womb-like darkness of my mud encasing, but life summoned me, its final act whispering seductively from the nether regions of Purgatory 7.

When I pulled myself back to a kneeling position I was no longer the object of attention. The others were focused upon the muddy graveyard and the first two combatants trudging across it to meet in its center.

The war had begun. I hung back, preferring to enjoy the brief respite. Briefly, a stab of pain shot through my chest and I bent double with the force of it. The night couldn’t arrive soon enough for me.

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