1- The Krankhafte Plague
The history of humankind is fraught with mayhem and disaster, death and destruction, and it's all self-inflicted. We're so arrogant that we can't stop fighting amongst ourselves to see that we aren't our own worst enemies. There's so much more out there that we should be protecting ourselves against. There are many more enemies that we should dominate over, should we stand and fight together. There are so many more enemies of mankind that slip past us unnoticed, biding their time, waiting for the opportune moment to slither in for the kill.
I first noticed these unnamed enemies towards the end of World War II, during the winter of 1941. It was another bitter cold day, in my small, poorly insulated apartment in Berlin. The curtains were drawn shut, as I was sickened by the view portrayed through the window. The city was a mass of chaos and confusion, police brutality caused an uproar of hysteria, people were afraid to leave their homes during the day. People hurried to and from work, not staying in the streets longer than they needed to be. Planes flew overhead at all hours of the day and night. Some planes dropped bombs. I lay awake at night praying to God that these next planes were German planes, that the bombs they carried were German bombs. The sky was tainted with all the colors of war, the scene displayed outside my window was one of fear and anxiety. The scene outside my window was one of man-made hell.
I was like everyone else, I didn't dare leave the house except for work, and even then, I'd try to bring work home and get as much as I could done in the security of my apartment. I was a professor of the sciences at the Berlin University, so I was obliged to present myself to my class periodically throughout the week. I marked the papers and wrote the lectures and tests from my apartment, and I also had my research papers that I had been working on. I went by the name of Friderik Eisenbachs, but that changed after I discovered the truth behind a terrible plague.
One particular day, whilst I was at the university, giving a lecture to my class on the practicality of religion, the master professor of the institute knocked on the door, and informed me that he had waiting on the telephone, a man whom wished to speak to me, and only to me, concerning a matter of grave importance. At the time, I didn't know how important that phone call was (I doubt even he knew, himself, for that matter), so I rushed to the professor's office and held the receiver to my ear, and heard the voice of my family doctor. My mother and father were deathly ill, with a sickness like nothing he'd ever seen before.
He had called to arrange for me to bring some books to him from the university library, in a desperate attempt to find a cure for my parents. He had also organized a bus fare for me to travel into my home village of Krankhafte, leaving that afternoon, so I could aid him in his research for this seemingly incurable disease. I explained the situation to the master professor, whom gave me his consent to take leave. I wasted no time getting my act together, it felt like only moments had passed and then I was boarding the bus, to leave my bruised and broken city behind.
2- The Tortured Mind
To my embarrassment, I had fallen asleep on the bus. My face compressed against glass, I opened my eyes and looked around to find that the bus had come to a halt, and all the other passengers had departed. My mind took its time to return to full consciousness, and it was quite some time before I noticed that the bus driver had gone. So I gathered myself and stepped off the bus. My luggage was stacked unceremoniously on the path, and I began gathering the cases and bags of luggage, when I noticed that the bus driver was leaning casually against the wall, cigarette in hand. I didn't think he had noticed me, but then he spoke out.
“Strange things happenin' round here...” He said. “Don't know what possessed you to journey out this direction.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked. “I was raised here. This is my home.”
“Times have changed, boy. Times have changed. No person in their right mind comes into Krankhafte 'nemore.”
“But, what about the other people on the bus?”
“You were the only person on this bus, son...”
“What? I saw... The town... Does this have anything to do with the war?”
“It's got something to do with a war, yes.” and with that, he threw his cigarette butt on the ground and walked away.
I made my way through the cobbled streets towards the house in which my parents lived, the house in which I was raised, the words of the bus driver echoing in my mind. What did he mean? What's going on? I walked through the village, and I made my way towards the old dirt road, overgrown with cannibalistic weeds. I walked down the road that I knew so well, yet I felt that the warmth of my carefree childhood was gone. I anticipated the joyful nostalgia of my youth, but I could sense that something was definitely not right, and that my presence was undesired in this place. I came to the end of the road and I piled my luggage on the ground, to unlatch the front gate to my old home. The porch light came on, and a man emerged from the house.
“Friderik, it's been so long!” It was our family doctor, Isaac Waultz. “Come, come. The guest room is prepared for you. You need your rest after the journey. No, don't worry about your luggage, I'll bring it in. Go on, get inside!”
I walked over the threshold, and found my way into the guest room, where I fell into an interrupted sleep, perverted with nightmares of wars, and ghost towns, and people that don't exist...
The next morning, I had an insufferable migraine, burning into my skull, every pulse of blood to my brain was like the hardest of hammers. I walked into the room the doctor had adopted as his study. I pulled a seat up to his desk, and piled my books in front of him.
“Friderik”, he said, “ we need to talk. Your mother and father are very ill, they're sick with a plague. This plague... is like nothing I've ever seen before, It spreads like wildfire! It's taken hold of almost everyone in this village. So many people have already died, so many more are closing in on death, your parents are amongst those. I believe it to be an act of chemical warfare, on Britain's behalf, but that's irrelevant to the cure of this damn plague.”
I thought this was quite far fetched. For an attack such as this to go unnoticed would be nothing short of impossible. The more time I spent pondering over the facts, the more I began to feel that the plague had arisen from within the village. I sat in the doctor's study, contemplating how to react to his ludicrous theory, when I heard a loud crash come from overhead. Moments later, myself and Dr. Waultz, saw through the study window, a body falling onto the front driveway. My mother was dead.
I sat, stunned, as the doctor hurried outside to confirm that the unthinkable was indeed true. He came back inside, to check up on my father, and to call the funeral home to take my mother's body away. I just sat, mortified by the event that had unfolded before my very eyes. My father had gone into shock, and the doctor feared that he too would break down soon. How soon, he wouldn't say. A matter of days, weeks, hours? The doctor started reading through the books I had brought him, determined to find a faint sign of a cure, but he was clutching at straws. The books were so full of unimportant, neglected knowledge, they were worthless. Every now and then, the doctor would stop and jot down a few things on his notepad, before opening up more books, taking a few more notes. He'd usually end up ripping the notes out and discarding them. A few times, he took the notes, and pulled out his medicines, and tested his cures on my father. Out of the half dozen times he tried, he gained nothing. In fact, a couple of the medicines seemed to agonize my father even more than the “normal” tortured delusions, and make his condition all the worse. I just sat in my chair in the doctor's office, and watched him, as the hours ticked by, until he closed the last book.
He held in his hand one piece of note paper, littered with his scrawled handwriting. He was about to take something out of his medicine bag, when there came a knock at the front door. He pulled two small bottles from his bag, and hastily poured one into the other.
He handed it to me and said “give this to your father, I'll answer the door.”
I got to my feet, and walked into the downstairs bedroom, where my father sat on the end of his bed staring into nothingness. The doctor had moved him downstairs to prevent an incident like that of my mother's death from happening again. I knelt beside my father, and showed him the bottle. He winced, and turned away, quite childishly. I held the back of his neck for support, and pushed the bottle up to his lips. The amber liquid spilled into his mouth, and slid down his throat. I could faintly hear the doctor talking to a man at the front door. It must have been the people from the funeral home, here to collect my mother.
I could just make out their words. “She's just in the front yard” the doctor said, pointing in the general direction.
“No, that can't be right.” The other man spoke, “there's no-one there at all.”
I felt my throat swell up, I couldn't believe it. I later discovered that the man was speaking the truth. My mother's body had gone, without a trace.
I didn't know how to feel, how to react. I walked towards the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea, to settle myself down, but when I came out of the study into the hall, I saw my father rip open the back door, and dash outside and over the fence. I yelled out in frustration, and ran full slog out the back door in chase of my fevered father. He was running through the grass fields behind the houses leading into town. He looked over his shoulder at me, his eyes infused with insanity. He turned down an alley between two small cottages. I was almost caught up to him, but as I rounded the corner into the dark alley, he was nowhere to be seen...
I continued down the alley, unsure of where my father was, when I heard a blood curdling scream reverberate throughout the dark walls of the alley. I turned every which way, to pinpoint the origin of the horrific cry, when I glimpsed my father, dashing across the street, madness emblazoned in his eyes, and tattooed onto his soul. There was a woman, lay injured on the cobbled road, fear locked in her body, as she watched my father flee towards the town center. I ran after him, post haste, intent on suppressing the beast within him. I caught up to him outside the pub, and wrapped my arms around him, to keep him from fleeing again. He writhed viciously in my grip, and managed to get an arm free. His fist collided with my nose, and I felt a white hot pain blister on my skin. I let go, and held my hands to my bloody face. My father pushed away, and stumbled into an inebriated bystander. It only took the drunk one swift bullet-like punch to the jaw, to knock my father out cold.
The man said nothing, but instead vomited onto the wall of the pub, before staggering into the night to leave my father unconscious. I pulled my arm around him and dragged him to his feet, ignoring the blood running down my face out of my nose. My head was spinning, I felt myself drifting in and out of focus. I held onto my father, despite tremendous back strain. I held onto my father, and dragged him through the streets. A voice inside my head was guiding me along the deserted streets, telling me where to turn, where to cross, until I came to a rest outside a very run-down looking shop. The sign was heavily worn, and spattered with blood and grime, but I could make out the lettering: “The Krankhafte Butcher”. My stomach was filled with dread, many a tale of torture and murder have been told of the butcher of Krankhafte. Regardless, I was in no situation to go elsewhere, and there was some unnamed fate that had driven me here, so I took a deep breath, and knocked heavily upon the massive door.
3- The Impending Fate
The door opened, and I was faced with a giant of a man. Fists the size of boulders, and as tough as them too, this cleaver-wielding giant was the pinnacle of the evolution of man. He must have seen the body in my arms as an offering, as he greedily snatched my father out of my arms with little effort, and sunk back into the dank building that was his meat shop, indicating me to follow. Stunned into silence, I followed, anxious to discover the fate of my father.
As a child, I had heard stories of this meat shop, blood running down the walls, corpses lying on tables with their insides removed, and their hollow shells stitched back together with clumsy needlework. In reality, the only blood in the room was that which my father and I had brought in, and there were no corpses, no tables... nothing. Walls, ceiling, floor. Maybe his killing floor is hidden away, my mind was starting to feel regret for leading me here. Nothing made sense. We came to the end of the room, and followed some stairs down to the basement. It was almost pitch black, and I carefully navigated my way down step after step. There came a point where I expected to find the flat, cool surface of the basement floor, but the stairs kept going down and down. The stone steps were venting cool air into the narrow stairway, evaporating the sweat beads as they rolled down my cheek. My muscles tensed up and my concentration towards descending the stairs doubled. I had the feeling that if I lost my footing, I would plummet through the darkness to my eternal death...
We kept going down and down, we were deep under the village by this time, and I noticed that the sound of my footsteps suddenly became more dense and less echoed. My next step sent an unexpected shiver through my body, as my foot fell ankle deep in ice cold water. The figure ahead of me kept going down, so I clenched my teeth and kept right on behind him, even though a few more steps would have completely submerged me in water. However, we had at last come to the bottom of the stairs. I saw the silhouette of the giant in front of me grab a torch from its bracket on the wall and light it. The shocking reds and oranges of the flickering torchlight stunned my eyes and I was temporarily blinded.
As my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw a wide underground graveyard, flooded to waist height, the tombs and gravestones lay below the eerie green surface. The butcher walked around the perimeter, lighting the torches along the walls, bringing this aberration of mankind into reality. Creatures of the like I'd never seen before, hell-spawn from another planet. I waded towards the center of the room, where an ancient stone sculpture of an angel stood with all the grace of God, and all the tragedy of hell, its chipped and stained figure opened its arms in acceptance. It was the only tomb that was raised above the water. My father was lain peacefully on the lid of this marble deathbed, the butcher stood at my father's feet, his head bowed in silent prayer. In that instance I knew two things; that the butcher was not as barbaric and merciless as I had imagined, and my father was definitely dead.
I was about to give my life up to the butcher, for the sheer hopelessness of my situation, but at that point of realization, a score of human-shaped alien creatures rose from the water on the far side of the room. They were dark, bruised creatures, with scales and rotten flesh. They bore slits on their chests, in which they appeared to be breathing, but the black slime that seeped from their gills was too horrific to contemplate. I staggered backwards, to get away from them, and back up the stairs. I was afraid to turn my back on these creatures for fear of what terrors they could potentially unleash upon me, but I couldn't know where I was going, and the risk of tripping over a tomb would surely bring me to an end as well. So I turned my head, to find the doorway, the bottom of the steps. Corner to corner, I stared long and hard along the walls, but the opening in which I came through no longer existed. I was frantically wading through the water, eyes intent on believing that there was actually an opening in the wall. So focused on that wall so far away, I tripped on a small carved stone idol, and fell beneath the water.
Eel like creatures wrapped themselves around my limbs, chest and throat. I was choking. I tried to breathe in, but I only consumed the putrid water. It flooded my lungs, burning my body away from the inside. I was seizing up, my mind had gone into spasms, and the electrode synapses of my brain were being torn apart. The toxic water spread throughout my body, turning me into a hollow shell. My eyes were eaten out from behind, and the water streamed into me through my eye sockets at an alarming rate. I was dead, and the eels were swimming around my hollowed body, a mother actually swam down my throat and laid its eggs inside me. This was the end of Friderik Eisenbachs.
4- The Immortal Horror
I opened my eyes, surprised to find that I still had a consciousness. Was I in heaven? The pain was gone, My vision was restored, and as far as I could tell, there were no adolescent eel creatures swimming in my stomach, so I naturally assumed that I was embracing the afterlife, whatever it may be. How very wrong I was. Lying on my horizontal, I peered up at a stone ceiling, ancient and overgrown with moss and algae. I tried to make out the figure etched into the stone. It appeared to be a king of some sort, for it had a magnificent crown upon a fiercely determined face. Huge muscular arms, one holding a long, sharpened trident. His legs looked sleek and strong, but it was only when I saw his chest did I realize where I was, for it bore the same gill-like slits as the vile creatures that had caused my death. But this man-beast also sported a giant eye-like organ that sat just above where I'd expect his stomach to be. I was in the same room underneath the village that I died in. I was lain upon the very tomb where my father had died.
I made to sit upright, but the water-demon monsters held me down with their vice-like grips. I was about to scream, but one of them forced his putrid hands over my mouth, so the sound just reverberated through my skull. I tried to struggle, but I knew there was no escape. After a few moments I knew resistance was useless, and I stopped struggling, and they loosened their hold on me. The butcher appeared at my side, and indicated to the monsters to release their hold on me completely. I lay there, chest heaving, mind spinning, and the butcher spoke to me, in a fatherly way.
“Shh... it's OK, you can relax. We're not going to hurt you.”
“W-w-what's going on?” I said.
“Don't worry, don't think too much... Everything will be fine. Oh, and I think your father will be pleased to see you've come round.”
My... father?... I saw him die. The butcher started to explain things to me. He was hesitant at first, but when he got started, he talked of such aberrant blasphemies that gave me the worst of mind aches should his words even contain a minute trace of truth. He showed me the secret doorways concealed in the walls of the dungeon. There were more than a dozen passages leading from this massive chamber into all kinds of unfathomable rooms and dungeons, and the butcher even spoke of an underground city, unbeknown to the likes of the authorities above. My first passage down one of these demonic hallways, the butcher took me to see my father. He led me down a long, descending passage, where we walked in almost complete darkness for near on an hour before he came to a halt. Beckoning me forward, he opened a large marble door ushering me into a vast expanse of utmost terror.
Walls stood up, 20 times the height of man, with elaborate marble carvings surrounding the massive room, pews lined up facing an altar, which was positioned between the feet of a 100ft statue of the demonic man-beast that I saw when I first awoke. I felt sick. I was standing in a church of the most blasphemous of the demon cults. It took me a moment to take all this devastation in, before I realized that the butcher and I weren't the only living beings in the room. A man knelt before the altar, embracing this false God as his own. He sat in silence and prayer before rising to his feet and turning to face me.
“Oh, the Lord be praised, my son has returned!” this man looked at me as if he knew me, but he was not my father. His skin was bruised and scaled, he had slits on his chest, in which he seemed to be breathing. His teeth were black, and his green viscous saliva slid down his mouth and onto his chin. His eyes, however... I could recognize those eyes anywhere. They were indeed my fathers eyes. These monsters had turned him into one of them, and I knew, at that moment, that they had done the same crime of nature to me too...
5- The Rapture of the Masses
As I stood, staring into my father's eyes, I felt a mixture of emotions. He had defied science, and had been reincarnated from the dead. The more we talked the more I understood that deep under the bruised and scaled skin, there was still a large part of my father's mind that was distinctively his. To take in the ultimate phenomenon which stood before my eyes, and which I too stood as proof thereof, would be nothing short of extraordinary. I could feel that I too was mostly the same person that I used to be, yet my father explained to me this strange and new anatomy to me. The gills on our chests not only breathed in oxygen, but food, too. This underground labyrinth was old as the earth itself, and the dark, damp, stone walls were hosts to fungal growth. They released infinitesimally small spores into the air, and we, the living dead, breathed in these spores, which stimulated our cell growth, to some level. There was a whole alien Eco-system evolving underground, in which the people above us knew absolutely nothing at all.
As the days passed, I learned more about this new existence. The eel that had laid eggs inside me played an essential role in my existence. The baby eels were born to feed off of my body, so that they could give the nerves in my body the ability to move at my own will. It was a host/symbiote relationship, and this matter of living could be sustained eternally. As the days passed, I felt my initial fears ebb away, and I started to relax, and enjoy being with my perfectly healthy father again. It was a while before I actually noticed that this surreal and wonderful life was not nearly as beautiful and innocent as I believed, it was my perception that was so shockingly jaded. It was in the reincarnation of my mother that returned all the fear, dread and realisation. I was sledgehammered back into the real world with a blow I would never recover from.
I sat in the corner of a small room, along with the butcher and two others. A dim, flickering light bulb was suspended in the middle of the ceiling, directly over a stone table. The butcher had told me that I would witness the splendour and miracle of their life-giving science, but as I saw my own mother dragged into the room, limp and dirty, I felt utmost revulsion. I sat in the corner, and I couldn't help but watch as these three men hollowed out my mother's body all except the brain, before placing all sorts of devilish parasites into her body. I watched as these parasites wove strands of ligaments into muscles, as they rebuilt her skeletal system, as they stitched in the artificially grown lung organs, and carved the gills into my mother's chest, and finally, they lowered the eel into her stomach cavity to lay its eggs, to bring the interdependent relationship into motion.
I was shocked at the operation, but a part of me was desperate to see her alive, and to talk to her again. However, my mother took her reincarnation terribly. Her brain refused to believe the truth, and her body rejected the symbiote, and she died. The butcher told me that this sometimes happens, when the brain doesn't conform to the acceptance of the parasite. He told me that of those that manage to pull through the reincarnation process, none have reverted. Some question the authenticity, but that's another process everyone has had to go through. My mind was being manipulated by the very creatures that sustained my life. I was a corpse, with my thought patterns slowly being moulded like clay into a mind that lacks the ability to question the authenticity of its own actions.
I was depressed that my mother couldn't be revived, but I was also envious that she was blessed enough to die, untouched by the sin of these monsters. I lost my will to think and act, I sat without motion for days on end, but the truth kept coming, hard and fast, like an eternal hail storm with the ferocity of God, upon unleashing his almighty wrath. I started going to the reincarnation operations more frequently, until I began assisting in the procedures, helping to tear these God made creations, and embed into them the deepest sins of Satan, himself.
One day, after a particularly long operation, the butcher pulled me aside, and said; “Son, I think it's time you know. Haven't you wondered, haven't you asked yourself where all these bodies come from?”
I shook my head.
“There's a group of men going out to collect some more bodies soon. I want you to go with them.”
I nodded my head, and walked off to join this body collecting group. There was a small group, about five or six men, talking and laughing. They were all dressed meticulously, so that only the smallest amount of skin possible was shown. They handed me some clothes and asked me to do the same, as we were going above ground. The clothing was very restricting on my gills, but I knew that I wouldn't dare be seen above ground with my horrible uncensored anatomy for all to see.
The fresh open air was a marvellous thrill. I tried to consume as much of the night sky, to drink it all in, but the others pushed me along. They had urgent business to complete, and I was in no position to question that. I followed these men, as they marched into certain houses, unafraid. They could smell the dead and the living, and they could differentiate between, and I knew this, because I sensed it too. I helped them gather bodies and ready them for the journey back underground. Towards the end of the night, the collectors expressed disappointment in the amount of dead they had gathered. So we split up, to save time. I followed a well built, and aggressive man. We walked through the streets for a while, until he stopped outside a little cottage on the outskirts.
I tapped his shoulder and said “I don't think there are any dead bodies in there”.
To which he replied, “I know”.
I watched him sneak into that house, and kill the people within. I was a little disturbed, but for the most part, I was fascinated. I followed him, as he emptied out four more houses in this same brutal fashion. I was curious to know why he would go to such measures to kill these innocent beings, but he avoided a direct answer. So we left to take our collection back underground, to bring them back to life, to help them build up this demonic empire, and the others noticed these people disappearing, but had no contemplation of the massacres, of the secret underground army of undead, growing larger and larger. They had no idea that their world was far more dangerous than they think. Their worst enemies were not who they thought they were. The worst part is that they don't even know.
6- The Eternal Penance
My mind was shaped like those around me. I conformed to sin and demon worship like all the other monsters around me. I saw my town of Krankhafte for what it had become; a portal between innocence and immortal sin. I discovered that my parents didn't die of a plague, they were murdered. The plague was bred from a parasite cultivated within these stone walls. This mass genocide was a way of dealing a massive blow upon mankind, and upon God himself. I was a part of the very thing I despised. I was sickened by what I had become, and what lay ahead of me.
My father was less sceptical. Of course he was, his mind had been moulded exactly as it should have been. I wanted to kill these perfect blasphemies, and myself. Their acts were selfish and merciless. They claimed to be liberating the human race, but they were turning us into monsters. Our mentality was one of blood lust and sin. How could a God justify such crimes? I told myself every day that I still had control over my own mind, but every day, I knew it was one more lie, one more sin bruising the history book of mankind.
I came to a realisation that I, and every other damned reincarnate, were being punished, and dealing God's punishment on mankind. I came to realise that God is a giant kid with a magnifying glass, burning a hole right through my skin and into my soul. I knew there was no going back. I knew that I had the rest of eternity to contemplate the downfall of mankind. I continued to participate in the rituals of killing and reincarnating, and I continued to work the dirty deeds of the devil. I knew that I would be repenting my sins for all eternity, and I knew that I would never again be blessed with the forgiveness of God.