(Part 1) (Part 2)

And at the bank of the tide I heard the cries of the beast, calling for my blood.

I lay upon a rough and jagged stone floor, having surfaced from the pool of frigid waters, where I dove for I longed for healing. My eyes now illuminated the places about me for the utter darkness of the cave was perpetual.

I had rebelled against the yearnings of my flesh – the ravenous lust which dwelt within me, and this deed was an abomination to the beast which now pursued me. This beast, called Man, or Hex which is his number, pursued me with rage, for I had upended his authority within myself. No more would I pursue mere passions and desires – for it is these that Man lives by, rules by… oppresses by.

In my dive into the waters many things occurred – I had sight by the illumination that now poured from my eyes, I had cleansed my wounds (which was the first reason I sought to the waters of redemption), but also I had been broken free of a prison within myself; the prison cell in which Man kept me of my own volition – ever subject as a slave to mortal desires.

So I sprung to my feet, for the beast’s raging drew nearer. I could hear its angry ranting voice echo down narrow corridors and caverns of these caves. Where now could I go? Only the opposite direction as that of the approaching beast.

My newly seeing eyes scanned the walls of the cavern, seeking a suitable escape; there were larger, and narrower passageways. I felt to run down the largest opening, seeing it would be the easiest, affording me plenty of space to run, and began making for it. Yet as I heard another shrill cry from Man, I turned and saw its great mass as it came lumbering into the cavern.

In times past, I had been blind in utter darkness, and could not see the Man for what it was, but now as I looked upon the beast, I was filled with an unspeakable horror. The thing appeared as a great ogre, pale and fleshy; it had several heads and was thick with fat all over that jiggled and bounced as it strove toward me. It groped about violently, being utterly blind. Its main head – which was large, of oblong shape, and protruded awkwardly at a strange tilt from its shoulders – had a cloth covering the sockets where eyes had once been. The limbs and faces of men appeared all over it’s body, as though it consumed whole communities and the agonized creatures strove to press their way out through it’s flesh, yet were bound within. It had tumors and sores all over its hideous body.

This was the mob of humanity, filled with vile sin, abiding no law but that of desire, every man doing what is right in his own eyes. Fulfilling his lust on his fellow man, and even killing for his own convenience.

Instantly I knew it was folly to take the widest path; the beast was large and immense, yet it could easily follow me to my utter end should I run down that way.

I chose another path, the narrowest way I could find knowing that the beast could not follow should I take the narrow way. Yet this narrowest tunnel was on the far side of the subterranean river, and I knew I would have to scramble between it and the beast to get there.

I began to run as quickly as my feet could take me, Man was pawing the cavern all about, seeking to lay his hand on me. The beast was blind, true to say, but it had some sense of my proximity through a perception called conviction. Just as it knew I had put to death my own desires, it knew I was against carnal appetites for their own sake, and was thus his own enemy – so also, it sensed this change in me, that diving into the waters, I had been born into the Sun-kingdom and would no longer live by sensation, but by the glorious light of life.

It sensed me as I drew near, and many of its main ugly head strutted forward as though it were looking to find me, though it had no eyes. Simultaneously it pawed the ground and sniffed quickly like a dog. Catching scent of me, its hideous head faced me as though it could still see, and its arms scrambled and clawed at the ground as it moved toward me.

For an instant I paused, staring in horror at the thing. Surely I had been made new, submerged into the waters, where I turned from the vile desires and forces of the flesh… yet even now I could submit to the fear of Man, and be once again consumed by him. Yet I was frozen in horror – for Man is so great, so immense, so terrifying; he has power to cause terrible pain, and power to take life.

Every instant I waited drew a terrible fate nearer to me. I had to get my eyes off of Man; I closed them, and found that I could see within myself a portal to the kingdom above. Of course! This is where the light came from – that light which illuminated my eyes! I saw a place far above the surface of the earth, above the treetops, above even the clouds: a place where the sun ever shines, and never stops, where all things are seen, and there is no fear.

I heard a voice ring in my ears with a proverb; a wise saying, the words of the Sun: “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

I realized that this place, these dark caves where Man lived, where I lived – this place was the interim between heaven and hell; the decisions we make here, and the things we do are what will either graduate us into everlasting life, or else fail us into everlasting death.

A new fear took me over, but it was not the fear of Man, but the fear of God.

My eyes shot open, and I sped past the groping beast, whose reach suddenly touched my back as I fled with all my strength to the hard and narrow way. His touch was a desperate grasp to catch me, but thanks be to the Sun of righteousness, it merely thrust me the faster forward. True, I stumbled, nearly falling to the ground, but Man’s violent hand meant to persecute me merely cast me near headlong into the hard and narrow way.

Part 4