Head to the Library
The library holds all the answers! No matter the comfort home might offer, he realized that true answers had to come from study. Heading off at an awkward, unsure trot, Dan started towards the familiar, brick building.
Passing through the front doors, it only took a moment before a librarian approached though instead of up and away from her face, her wild black hair spilled over her shoulders. “You have come” she said, eyes wide, yet somehow listless.
Confused, but captivated, Dan followed her into a backroom at the direction of a beckoning hand. “I am knowing” she stated, revealing she was some version of a wizardess or prophet, though Dan still felt a vague sense of confusion overlaying his entire brain with each additional moment on this strange day.
“You are confused, child.”
His head bobbed.
“I understand.” She pulled out a heavy book, its yellowed pages covered in a strange script. “You have not been told. It began long before the world was the world as we know. Back, back far ago there became a dark force. The dark force was born of the hate and cruelty of humans, those who would abuse a child or burn a woman for belief. The dark force birthed from our humanity and in return, will feast upon it. It has a hunger, that unsated, would eat the world once more. But, if kept at bay, it will allow humanity to live on.”
“To sate its hunger, few are chosen out of the many. Those chosen must be swallowed by the dark force to keep the world safe. But, legend has said that the sacrifice of one such child of the few, willingly taken on, will change them into an enchanted. That being can protect the chosen, letting the dark force feed on the power instead of the chosen. But, if left unprotected, the children will be taken.”
“Wait? Taken? Killed? Eaten? W-were my friends the chosen?” Dan’s thoughts all clashed together, but the woman seemed to simply know. Her hands moved slowly over to a shelf where she unveiled a glossy, glass globe. A crystal ball. “Show me, glass. Show me the chosen.”
As the crystal suddenly began to depict a cloudy scene, Dan recognized the same dim room he’d left. His friends all sat, once again playing cards, though no one laid any hands. Instead, they all just stared at the shapes, mindlessly. Then, all of a sudden, an invisible force tore through the room. The motion of the curtains fluttered like mad while the lights crashed on and off, bursting a light bulb across the room.
Then, one by one, the limbs of each child was torn away from their bodies. The spray of blood showed in the flashes of the pulsating lights. No sound escaped the ball, but Dan could see how their mouths silently howled out as something, something unseen, tore them apart and then, right in front of his gaze, finished them down to bare bones.
“Oh my God! W-what was that? That was the dark force? I’m the thing? I’m the thing! What can I do!? How do I use this? What do I do?”
The woman, suddenly somber, merely shook her head. “I’m sorry, chosen. It’s too late. They were... already devoured.” She placed one wrinkled hand upon his shoulder, and he felt it’s weight there gently patting. “Poor soul. Your friends... cannot be, but many are in need of help. Perhaps, it will ease your pain to seek out those.”
Following her words that day, Dan fell silently into a path to the Children’s Hospital. Joyous cries welcomed him, but he heard only the imagined screams of his friends as their flesh was ripped straight from the bone beneath. Tears streamed down smiling faces as broken bones were knitted and cancer withered away, but Dan saw only Patty clinging to her own leg, trying to hold the stretching ligaments together. Bed after bed, he healed the sickest children in each hospital, but his mind only replayed what he saw in that globe that day.
And all his life, no matter how much joy he saw, nothing erased that single day when he left his friends to die.
Written by Picklessauce69 on 30 April 2016
The end (for now)