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Excerpt from the Testimony of “Warlock” *UNEDITED FLASH FICTION*

You tend to hear a lot about living in the “real” world. You tend to be told that success is determined in a specific way, using specific measurements, based on specific criteria. As someone who lived in that world for the better part of century, I can tell you those people are wrong. Success is not a universal standard and it truly stands immeasurable. Through this book, this vade mecum, I have learned that success is entirely internal, a measure of your current self against your former self. If you seek success beyond that, you have blinded yourself to the way.

I thought the world knew the truth. I thought society was right. I thought my ideas may have been backwards… until I discovered this book. This soulful collection of paper, bound in hard black leather. The words in this book seem to float around me when I read from it. I’m not always sure if this book, this vade mecum has claimed my sanity. Only in pure fiction can the words you read become reality. Only in fable do men bend the rules of the world to their will. Only in fantasy do those men maintain secrecy.

But I do live in this unfortunately real world. This book grants me the power of Legends and it never leaves my side. This satchel carries within it the thing that separates me from that world of reality. For when you see blight so perilous, with a smell so foul as to choke all five of your senses and a face so vile that you can only pray this is a dream… in that same moment, I can step up. In that crucial desperate time when all men cling to hope and beg their Gods for mercy, this book, this vade mecum chooses me to oppose such threats.

At first, I turned to the gun for a solution.  But the book would not afford me such indignant death as suicide.  So, I turned to the sword, hoping to temper myself into as finely honed an edge as the blade I would wield. This too, fell short of the book’s measure of success. But when I finally read from the book a passage that had not been which suddenly became, I understood. The powers of the greatest gods and men of history lie within the pages of this book, this vade mecum. It has chosen me to be the dignitary of combat against that which threatens the complacent realities of men, women, and children. I have been given the “divine right” to stop such horrors as I have.

Now you persecute me for my actions. But without those actions, not one of you would remain. There would be no one left to persecute and no one left to take on the role of persecutor.  I merely recited a passage which allowed the annihilating fires to overtake the beast. I saved a city at the cost of a block. Not one among you would have had the courage to make such a decision! Not one of you seems to grasp that a thousand lives saved millions!  What’s worse still, not one of you believes that this power came from this book, this vade mecum. If I could dispose of my responsibility to guard the book and the world, believe me… I would abandon you all and return my lips to the barrel of that .45-caliber snub nose.

But, the book must be with me and I may not die until the world is truly safe.  Imprison me if you must; I would understand the vote to convict. The lives of those lost in that horrific battle are my responsibility and immeasurable burden to bear. But if you think a prison will hold me when the next hellspawn breaks free from the deepest reaches of the dimensions of negative space… I will stop that threat as well. This book, this vade mecum will succeed again, and you will thank me for being the leash that guides the legend, the hand that beckons the power of Gods.

I don’t want the power or responsibility of this book, this vade mecum. But, as long as the book chooses to go with me, I will carry out my duty as defender of this realm. And you will never be able to stop me from saving this planet. Like it or not, my sole duty is to protect you. And I will.

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