The door unlocks as fear walks in. It's in his eyes, the darting back and forth, the blinking jittery consequence of looking in all directions at once. The silence of his house greets him, silence that spurs him to sudden action, for the silence is too loud.
The desk, a light flicked on casually; the book, stolen artifact; the curse of the other world in pages ... how long can he hold it? How long can you hold fire before your body is consumed? Third degree burns don't hurt because the nerves are dead. How long can he hold this before ...
Don't think about that now. Read. His eyes and mind emancipate and condemn as he opens the book, the dread Necronomicon, and reads. Words lost since before the Code of Hammurabi are breathed again to other forces whose ears are always open, waiting. In the beginning was the word. The beginning returns.
Now he's lost in words, the past and present and future. Laws greater than physics control him. He continues. His mouth would continue to bend the words out of his lungs if he was to die right here and now.
Reality softens rather quickly when pressed.
Behind him, the walls of sanity melt like wax. The man continues. Curiosity, his curiosity, the same obsession that drove him to ten years of digging in the Jebel Akhdar Mountains for just this precise moment betrays him in the end.
He looks up. Is it his eyes that drip like glycerin or the universe?
His legs push him up, over, toward the wall, toward a boundary, transitive, ephemeral, with less permanence than a butterfly's breath. A finger, hand, same hand that traced the words, the finger that made order of chaos words touch everything at once.
And he knows.
His Adam's apple gulps one last time before the knowledge of nothing and everything, overwhelming petty good and evil, embraces him in pain.
Is that a tear of agony or ecstasy that falls on the dusty floor, now softly settling?
Created: January 31, 1998; Updated: August 9, 2004