Chapter I: Requiem Aeternam - First Instalment

Artwork: Seph Brand/ Madness Serial

Artwork: Seph Brand/ Madness Serial

 

Warning: the following story contains the depiction of violent scenes and also, adult language. Reader discretion is advised.


To my Yang, whom I will always love.

 

THE SHINNING RADIANCE faintly colours red when comes in through the carmine translucent curtains covering the tall windows at my side. I stealthily walk towards the reddish light, rising from the darkness. First, my hand clinging my cherished knife and then, my spectral face.

Is it me or the me that isn't me?

The reddish shaft of light makes the dust specks flying in the air visible while spilling directly upon the opposite corner of this dark room, thus, revealing the face of my prey, the face of Constantine. He always fascinated by the immaculate white of the cedar-wood walls decorating this room, which now, he conceives behind him when feeling them with his hands.

Circumstances led us to this crucial moment happening here, amongst the shadows and the scarce light, to cast the lot into the lap of fate. To cast a lot to determine who’ll be the hunter and who the prey.

The old wooden gramophone on the other side of this large room plays Mozart's Requiem Aeternam, emitting a dull sound that harmonises with the organic hum from my circulatory system. The gramophone’s tonearm holds the needle while the nonstop vinyl spins clockwise, recalling me of the relentless time, which, like the gramophone, won’t stop so quickly.

The die is cast.

I approach Constantine with steady steps, like a clandestine wolf lurking in the nightshadows as it waits for its prey. He’s shivering in fear inside; I can see it in his terrified visage. Same visage that seems perfect marble-carved as a Hellenistic sculpture, but which at this moment, shifts away from the virtue of the harmonious and ideal. He never foretold this coming from me. He boasted of taming me, and his hubris has been assuming his vindication from my bloody rage against the world. He turns the prey besieged between my flickering knife and the whitish wall behind him. I hold his gaze as he frightened yells:

"MADS, THIS IS MADNESS!"

Yes. This is madness —I say to myself—. Folie à deux is how shrinks call it. He knows well. This is a reciprocal madness we've shared since the exact moment we met. Madness: you embrace it, or you annihilate it.

"Just let this happen, Constantine. Close your eyes and wade into the quiet streams of your mind. When you open them, you'll see that, as in all the occasions I’ve painted you, both in my mind and my canvases, you'll be overwhelmed by the final result."

"You aim to make me prevail over death. Can I posit this as your intention?" he asks me perplexed studying the situation and me intently.

As I approach him, the look in his deep dark eyes begins to get lost in his face’s reflection in the chromed blade of the knife. His breathing turns agitated and rapid; I can almost hear his heartbeats coming out of his chest. His eyes, whose pupils still fixed in the knife, seem liquid.

I see a lump forming in his throat.

I grasp the wrist of my metallic gloved right hand, holding, in turn, the knife handle as I revolve it around the wrist axis. I seek to bring it the same dexterity required to wield a brush. I push back the metallic hand without letting go of the knife until the joint rattles, and then, our eyes collide again. Like the first time.

"My only design endeavours to save you and our friendship," I explain him breaking the ominous silence. "I must restore everything is broken between us. I placed you higher than all stellar divinities. Nevertheless, you coveted more," I say warmly welcoming him with open arms and beckoning so that he approaches me. "I know you came here with the clear intention of doing this same to me. This is reciprocal. But unlike you, I'm not going to backnifing you," I add, holding his right shoulder to pull him towards me and thus prove once and for all he isn't another of my delusions.

"You're too vicious to be God, and I'm too naive to be Lucifer," he says finally approaching and laying his head down on my chest.

Being in my arms, Constantine settles among these trying to soothe me with his mere presence. The wan daylight is getting scarcer. This extinguishes, dying and dying, little by little. He makes a vain attempt to take my right hand to disarm me, an act to which I immediately react with a subtle headshake in disapproval.

"Can we leave hostility aside and speak calmly?" he asks me, taking his head away from my chest for a moment and looking me into the eyes. "All this only happens in your mind. You’ve to be aware this is not the first time you do this. Don't repeat this story. Our friendship may prevail," he avows patronising.

"That's right, Constantine. Our friendship shall prevail. Don't hesitate about that. This act pursues the perpetuity of our devotion, and the only way to achieve it is by closing this circle we opened together."

"Eternity requires sacrifices. Do you intend to immolate me just like you did to your father and all of them?" Constantine asks intrigued trying to make me see reason.

"We are posthumous. Every moment since the day I saved you is borrowed. This oblation will turn your fall into a beautiful work of art. It's the only way to overcome your betrayal and restore the natural order of things."

"The natural order of things broke the moment I saw you, and you saw me. But at this moment, who is the betrayed and who the betrayer? The boundaries between us, as opposites, became blurred."

"There are no opposites. Just us. You need to maintain your faith in my creation even when my actions seem incomprehensible to you."

"From here, your creation is also seen as destruction."

"An act of creation is always preceded by an act of destruction. Both states imply the same thing: change. What an uncanny idea is for human mind the deletion of bounds."

"And are we bounded?" he mutters resenting.

"We’re bonded," I argue sliding my left hand on the back of his head. "I yearn for the days when world ceased to exist, and we both confined ourselves into the Eternal Forest. I let you know me. I gave you part of my life without sparing. I placed you before everything and everyone, even myself," I say to him as the words begin to knot in my throat. "Nevertheless, you betrayed our friendship, and since then, I die silently and slowly. Yet, I need your empathy for one last time. I want you to feel in your own flesh the pain that tears me apart."

As I utter these words, I see the Wandering Wolf emerging from darkness peeking between my legs. He appears behind me drooling and smacking its lips. Crystalline and glutinous slobber overflows his snout until falling to the ground. Its blue eyes fixed on his, which, like a swaying and sizzling bonfire in the midst of absolute darkness, mesmerise us both. All it wants is to pounce on him to split his jugular and carotids. I realise it eager to do what instinctively has coveted since the day I met Constantine. We both samesiding. We both ache for the same. Blood, blood, blood. The wolf would be enraptured to see the blood ejaculating from his throat spattering and redstaining my face.

Constantine lies in my arms like a shuddering child. The idea of change disturbs him, but simultaneously, causes him some curiosity. He must learn the only constant in this universe is change. Even our reflections in each other's gaze are no longer the same since these vanish with each blinking, in the same way, we both dissipate as fog.

"Mads, put that down, please! "he cries once more. "Please, don't lose your mind, or at least, don't get mad at me. Even when cruel, your wrath is a worse punishment than your dagger."

"You can't lose what you never had. Forgive me, Constantine, but you're giving me no choice. You became my yang, and I never accomplished such a connection with someone else before," I say as I cradle him with more strength. "I revealed even my darkest secrets to you, but you— you took that away from me. You took everything from me. You betrayed me by driving the indulgentless dagger of prevarication straight through me. I gave you something I never gave anyone before, but you despised it. Consequently, the only thing I can do to fix you, to fix us, is to turn you into my most beautiful work of art. I intend to transform you into the finest art so that the whole world can appreciate the extravagant glory of our unique friendship."

"Please!" he begs in desperation. "This is not a way out! You will only cause everything to happen again! This won’t bring back your father or my sister!"

"This is how it should be, Constantine," I say to him with tears in my eyes. "The feeling of being stuck in this same moment back and forth haunts me. I created you, and I'll destroy you. I extolled you, and I'll humiliate you. I gave to you, and I will strip you. Can't live with you. Can't live without you."

I say those last words to Constantine as I prepare for a theatrical reckoning. He's imprisoned without escape.

Between my arms.

Between the knife and the wall.

Between life and death.

He became the elusive prey ensnared inside the collapsed doorways of my lucidity.

There's no escape for either of us. Constantine, for his part, faces his inevitable brush with death. We both got trapped in the perfect labyrinth I created. The cul-de-sac of emptiness conceived by the alienation punished me throughout my life.

This is the moment of truth. The moment for the pageantry ode to true friendship. A square and relentless courtship waltz will be danced on the edge of madness.



Continues in Second Instalment


Hiya! My name's Seph Brand. Thank you very much for scrolling and reading up here. I hope you enjoyed this literary work as much as I enjoyed writing it for you. I would love to hear from you, especially your impressions and theories about what you just read, so please leave your comments below.

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