One day, a dead man woke from his slumber and walked to my side. He whispered in my ear, and told me of fatal, horrible, fantastic things he had come to see. I wondered if he was real, if I was hallucinating once more. He assured me he was not. That he was merely the messenger, the one chosen to bring me another in a long line of their commands.. I raised a brow and smiled, likening him to a carrier pigeon. This.. upset him, until he began to laugh. Dusty coughs and foul smelling things came from his mouth, and hell, I think I even saw a maggot or two fall from his lips. He told me to embrace the Archangel. I told him to fuck off.
He awkwardly fell to his knees and brought an oddly sharpened nail to his forearm, and dug in without a pause. For a moment there was nothing, then a black, ugly sludge began to ooze from his arm. Slowly, he dipped his fingertips in the fluid one by one, and began to write. I bit my tongue and muffled a scream as he began to draw the symbols to each of our nightmares. First two identical triangles, shining in the moonlight. Next, an oddly cute puppy with a dead man's hand in his mouth. (or, at least i can assume.. he wasn't the best artist.) A stooped old man holding a book. A little boy. A tiny flock of birds. On and on he went, until I began to hear nothing but the ringing of bells. On and on they tolled, and I began to shout to overtake their sound.
I knew if he continued, they would appear. How could a normal man's black blood summon Them?
I had no clue, but as I saw the symbols begin to shimmer and move on the ground before us, I realized there was little time left to stop him. My shouts meant nothing to this corpse walking. I put a hand out to grasp him by the shoulder, and as he turned I recognized him for the first time. My first lover had been lying on that table, cut across the throat in precisely the same way he had been the day he died. I muffled a sob, and began to beg. Anything, anything but this nightmare. I was not ready to be their toy. I did not want this future. He smiled and paused in his work, and the symbols on the ground slowed in their dance. The bells' sound had diminished, and I could finally hear him speak once more. "What is it you want from me now? You knew the consequences to denying them."
I shook my head, and denied him, each of us hearing the flat tone of my lies. He turned back to dip his fingers in the blood, but I stopped him before he could draw another line. "Fine.. fine. I won't deny their messengers any longer. But please.. can they at least give me back my sleep? I will converse with as many dead men and messengers as they like, but I can't live for very much longer if they keep frightening me each night." He cocked his head to the side as if listening to a voice I could not hear, and smiled once more. "They accept, but you know what this means. There is no turning back this time. You help them, or you die." I nodded once and began to smudge the lines on the ground, desperate to forget the things that had begun to appear before me. The blood smeared, and I was hopeful for a moment.
My hope was extinguished as I watched the black smears travel up my leg, past my torso and run down the arm I had reached to him with. One by one, their symbols flashed a bright light just beneath my elbow before sinking into my skin, traveling the path of my veins before disappearing. They each made their mark, and I could almost hear them laughing. They had planned this all, and thought it a great game. One more toy for them to break. One more life to destroy. I shook my head, and made as if to walk away. The man was distracted just long enough for me to turn us both around and cold clock him in the face. He merely shook his head and looked skyward. I watched him as the "spirit" inhabiting him fell away, and he was once more just a corpse falling to the ground. I would help them. But I didn't have to like it.