A Warning to Thinkers

Between the writhing black clouds purple lightning flashed, silhouetting ominous shapes against ripples of diseased light. The night sky ignited, burning shadows twisting as though with the agony of birth, and in my mind I felt an immeasurable intellect struggling to awaken. The ocean heaved and thrashed as though in protest, an endless vista of black, churning seas inexorably bowing to the waking whims of the depthless sentience taking shape beneath it. The wind seemed to howl with the horror of the mortal world, its turmoil like a herald of the slumbering immensity rising relentlessly towards ghastly, unfathomable consciousness.

It seemed to me in that moment that our reality was but a dream, an illusion which with the waking of the sleeper must return to chaos. To face such a notion, to see reflected in the roiling depths the awful lie that our lives are no more than a fragment of the endlessly deranged caprice that is the true nature of the universe, that time exists only as a passing curiosity, that is to know true madness. I could almost feel my mind bend and flex, buckling and straining under the immensity of that horrific revelation.

I feel sure I would have been lost. My soul teetered on the edge of eternity, all sense of rationality shredded by the sheer endlessness of the beyond. I stared oblivion in its face, as the madness beyond reached out to claim me.

But in my last, shrieking moments of unravelling sanity, I whirled upon the person of the philosopher and drove my blade through his heart. I did not think, was beyond such luxury by that point; driven by an instinct I knew was right. In that moment time seemed to pause, as though wrong-footed, hesitating between order and chaos like lightning caught mid-strike. As the body sank to the deck the air stilled, the thrashing of the sea subsided, and the howling demons in the sky faded from view against the veil of a blue sky made visible once again. The swirling tempest gasped its last with the dying breath of the philosopher, and even as the life flew from his body the talons of madness released my mortal mind.

I stood silently on the becalmed deck and let the dagger fall from my hand. No one spoke. The captain stared first at the body, then at me. Finally he looked to the black-robed priest, whose grave countenance mirrored the terrible truth we had all glimpsed at such cost.

“You have a choice,” said he, his keen eyes roving between us all, “you have seen what lies beneath our world, and it is not Hell with its fires and devils. It is not Heaven with its angels. It is oblivion that awaits this world with the waking of the Sleeper who dreams it.”





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