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Dear friend, hear my tune!

by RavenNaal

For the longest time, my life had already ended. Yet I continued to go about wandering this world with a false purpose, always believing to be just as alive as any other being that had a pulsing heart. I went to work the morgue. I cut open bodies and prepared them for an ashen end. I never realized then, but now I understand. I always wished I could have been the one on the table. Having my skin layered in Massagolene. To have bright, buzzing lights humming above my cold cadaver. Stuffed full of wool rather than swollen flesh and sanguine blood. It would have been nice to have all senses jaded, to never see the horrors of this world. To never taste the blood of another animated body exactly like you. Never to have to hear the accursed melody played on a skeletal violin. Strung so methodically and carefully by a mind far greater than my own. Such a dream life would have been, if only death had been present.

But no, I was cowardly, too ignorant to understand the hell our world was. To work, cash in, spend, play, then sleep. Repeated for eternity till death takes our last winded breath. Heaving and creaking as were old. Laying in a white bed with no one to hold, to comfort us. Doctors asking us whether we're fine, whether we're ready for the ever approaching end. I could not handle it, the stress of age. So I left everything behind me. My car, my wife and kids. My house and job, friends and family. None of it really mattered if they would all die, rust or crumble in the sands of time. I moved from place to place, getting there by taxi, bus, or walking. Years went by with perpetual motion, it was the happiest I ever was. Considering I had nothing to hold onto. Away from all responsibility and worry. Then I stumbled upon a town, one by the name of Aeryan. I doubt you’ve heard of this ancient collage of buildings. Isolated from society, hidden away from any of those who might stumble into its decrypted allies. Somehow I had found myself within that mysterious and uncharted place of untold stories.

Now though, I sit here on my white, wooden rocking chair. Writing my thoughts and memories. I am old and dying. So is the fate of most who wish to leave the life of servitude to the masses. Everyone of us ends up right back into the fold. Realizing our foolishness of seeking something more, something different. The life you most likely live now is one of safety. Ignorant and stale your life may be. But know this dear friend, that life is far more stable than seeking the unknown. The unknown is terrifying beyond imagination, it shall leave you crippled and mad for the rest of your life. Always looking behind your back for an invisible entity you will never see. Never knowing whether only you hear your own thoughts, or if what you see is even real. That is the fate you shall face if you shall choose to veer off the paved road. I sit here writing this as a warning to you, stay on what you know. Never face the void because the void will always stare back. It will look at you with eyes of emptiness, with a look you can never comprehend. Heed my warning or don't, it is not my place to choose your actions. All I can do with my crumbling body is tell you of the tales I have gained over the centuries. So now I shall continue my accounts of this village far from anywhere you have surely ventured too.

I first saw it from a far distance, I could tell from even miles away it was as old as the dirt and stone beneath it. From the meadow I viewed the cryptic wooden buildings from, I swear to all the known and unknown gods that I heard a soft spoken song. It strummed to me, drifting through the hollowed winds that bellowed greatly. As if the giants were climbing down from heaven themselves! Yet the melancholy melody still drifted through it like a calm ocean. I felt a great desire to find who or what was creating such a song, so I ran, ran as fast as any steed that has carried life! Faster and faster I went, searching to find the source that made my still heart rumble in an emotion not known to me, or perhaps even man. Right up till I reached the town's gate. The gates were of silver and ivory. It was a grand display of iron work, with every notch and twine designed into the image of some being I have no knowledge of. A figure adorned in a cloak and a stunning crown was displayed all over the walls of each bar and spike. Staring at the figure caused my soul to feel something I could not understand. Strange I thought of it, how an image can bring upon such a reaction from the very depths of my being. After a time I still do not know for how long, my eyes peeled away from the shined iron bars and I realized the music had stopped. Whoever had played such a tune had chosen to halt their playing for another day. I was rather sad to know that, I longed to immerse myself in their music as soon as I reached this dilapidated place.

It seemed to me that that was not my fate however. So I chose to explore this town I had found myself within. Walking around I noticed that whoever lived here had a strange obsession with these strange symbols, as well as the same figure I had seen at the gates. Its appearance was everywhere, etched into the walls, carved into the streets and floors of dwellings. I felt as though this small town had a great shadow of madness looming over it. The further I walked the cracked road, the more like I felt I was drowning deeper and deeper into a void of an ocean. It was a terrifying feeling, one that shall never leave myself alone. I noticed that I had reached a point where that figure stopped appearing around the place, I was curious as to why. Abruptly I realized that instead of simply a lack of the indignants not carving it into the buildings and floors. The figure of what I perceive to be a grand king, was replaced by some symbol. One I had seen early on into my journey within this town. Within the middle of the symbol for which seemed to cause a sort of dizziness and sense of insignificance to me, was something similar to a flower. A classic circle in the middle with half circles all around it, or at least half around the twisted flower. From the flower that seemed wrong within my mind was out branching tentacles. For a reason I do not know, I felt as though they were truly reaching out to grab me, but after further observation I could clearly see they were just markings on a wall. Not something out to get me. I sighed a breath of relief and continued on.

Now though, a great pressure was within me. Suffocating my entire being. My body was screaming to turn around, to escape this immense pressure. But my foolish mind needed to see more, to know the history of this ancient forgotten town. Continue on I did. The only thing keeping me dredging along through the black muck that clogged my mind, was the great curiosity of discovering a secret that has far long been hidden under eerie wooden buildings and stone road ways. Eventually I had reached somewhere new, where the buildings began to disappear and the trees began to die. Yet here is also where I spotted smoke coming from further down. So I ran down the cobbled pathways and avoided all the overturned barrels and broken glass that littered the way.

Eventually I found a group of unknown individuals. All gathered around a stage. These mysterious people were wearing long black robes, all seemed to have degraded from age and worn. Towards the middle there was a small wooden stage. It seemed desperately broken down, yet still functional. On top of that unimpressive stage stood one person. They seemed to be standing far taller than any other person that was here. They carried an air of importance and authority over everything that their eyes touched. They were wearing a golden yellow tuxedo, which was buttoned up from the neck collar towards the upper abdomen. On their face was an upper half of a white mask, perhaps made that way or broken off. I could not tell from where I stood. I watched as they gracefully walked around the stage observing all the spectators. Then the yellow man knelt down and seemingly grabbed an instrument case from out of nowhere. But at the time I had not noticed, I was too busy realizing that they were the one that had played the grand melody when I had first arrived here! I held my breath in anticipation for what beauty they could compose for me now. They opened their case and picked up a sleek white violin. The violin seemed to be made out of bones, what's, I have no clue to. They then grabbed a blood red bow out of the case and began to place it onto the skeletal violin.

Began to play they did. I could almost see the music notes erupting from the instrument. But this was different from what I had heard previously. I remember this tune being something I so longed for, one that was soft and special piece of music. But this was different. This was an eerie work of art, stabbing at my heart with unending fear! I could feel sweat beading off my body as I listened. I could not tear my ears away from it, it was captivating yet deadly! Every note that played was another excruciating pain on my brain. After even a couple of seconds of hearing this song I felt an invisible being watching me. Even the crowd had joined in to this assembly of eyes. All together, void less eyes watching me with terrifying thoughts behind them. It began to be too much for my mind to handle, the music, the pressure of imaginless eyes watching me. Then the visage of a cloaked figure in yellow appearing in my mind. My thoughts vanished and my mind collapsed, I fell limp onto the cold stone slabbed floor. My ears still ringing with that monstrous music and my eyes seared with the vision of the yellow eminence. 

That is but one of my tales I have yet to share dear friend, my unfortunate life has been full of horror and beings I cannot fathom. I surely wonder what has led fate to play such a cruel trick on a mortal such as me. I have begun to call the being I saw that day as the yellow king. I have seen his figure many more times in my life, all with horrifying tales to match. But those stories are long and for another time friend. Many times over have I tried to copy that piece of music, perhaps recreating it myself would lead me to believe it was nothing but a compilation of notes and strings. Yet never has anyone been able to recreate that same feeling I felt then. I cannot begin to name who the yellow man was, nor what his music could be called so I shall simply call it the empty song. As I hope you understand now, I cannot bear these thoughts alone anymore. Knowing such secrets alone can be a pressure worse than even that of that day. So I shall share them with you my dear old friend. If you so wish to no longer hear the tales of a madman then redirect these letters to some other unfortunate person. Let them hear of this and let them fear the unknown as I have come to do. Thank you for reading and always remember, ignorance is safety. Truth is death.nce is safety. Truth is death.

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5 Reviews

Points: 140
Reviews: 5

Mon Feb 06, 2023 12:41 am
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stonefly wrote a review...

This piece was so gripping and mysterious! I especially liked the beginning. It immediately made me want to read more. These lines really made me feel a lot of emotion: "I always wished I could have been the one on the table. Having my skin layered in Massagolene. To have bright, buzzing lights humming above my cold cadaver. Stuffed full of wool rather than swollen flesh and sanguine blood."
I love how it genuinely feels like some old, broken soul is speaking to you. The tone and writing style is very pleasing. It seemed like a slight wondrous, slightly ominous foray into fascinating worlds.
If I were to give a critique, it would be to separate the story into more paragraphs. It's your choice, of course, but I think it would be easier to read if the paragraphs weren't so big.
I just joined this website, so this is my first review. I'm really sorry if this is a bad review, but I really liked your story and wanted to give it a review!

RavenNaal says...

Your review was just fine, glad to hear you liked the beginning! Almost every piece I've had the paragraph size is still a probem, so ill be sure to keep working on that. Thanks for the review!

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Points: 17243
Reviews: 328

Sun Feb 05, 2023 8:25 am
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Lucrezia wrote a review...

Hello again, darling~

This was another chilling, gothic read—a very nice follow-up to "an aged letter." Having read the two of them, I think I have a sense of your style, your voice, and the dark themes you like to play with. And I must say, I'm a fan. Both works left me intrigued and wanting more.

You have a talent for imbuing your stories with a sense of mounting dread. A lot of what makes this piece (and the first one) so effective in their frights is that the enemy is, for the most part, nameless: we only have a rough outline of what's going on, like we're watching a horrific scene unfold from a distance, and we're not sure exactly what it is but we know there's something deeply wrong. I like how you leave a lot of questions unanswered: our narrator can only relay this strangeness they encountered and the fear they felt without being able to explain any of it. It lends a sense of verity to the work, because it makes it feel like an inexplicable experience a friend might relay to us—or even something we might experience ourselves.

I like your use of formal language and the dramatic, old-school style you employ. As I said about your previous piece, the way it's written is reminiscent of classic gothic works, and I always appreciate a good homage. Reading your work can, at times, feel like stepping back in time, and that's a treat.

As with "an aged letter," this piece has some very memorable lines—once again, you excel at hooking the reader with your opening sentence ("For the longest time, my life had already ended"—great start), and ending with an ominous, fantastic closer: "ignorance is safety. Truth is death." I love that. I think you have a knack for this genre and I am, as before, excited to see what you come up with next.

Good work!

RavenNaal says...

Glad to hear you liked it! I always like leaving my pieces off with something ominous or questioning. Thanks for the review!

Light griefs are loquacious, but the great are dumb.
— Seneca