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An Infirmity of Stars
An Infirmity of Stars
Published by In A Dark Light
1 Week Ago
An Infirmity of Stars

As I still hold the rights to my most recently published short story, I thought I would also share it here, as it would be nice if the piece could attract as wide an audience as possible. The edited text of the story is included here, or you can click on the link below to read it in its original publication place of 'Horror, Sleaze, Trash'.

T. N. Allan


An Infirmity of Stars
by
T. N. Allan


The soft caress of carpet felt as velvet to his naked feet, a perfect salve for the memory of the scorched and withered remains of his diminished humanity. The thick carmine pile flowed perfectly up and over the visible expanse of elegant stairway, which seemed to stretch forever upward into a horizon liberally dressed in red decadence, bordered on either side by the solid golden arms of the balustrades. Surely, he thought, even the combined glut of vainglorious Caesars, and those pretenders who clothed themselves in their laurel wreathed shadows, had never known such luxury.
††††††††††† Knowledge regarding the Caesars should have been anathema to him, for in life it would have been impossible for his to have been in possession of such knowledge, the Caesars existing beyond the brief limits of his mortal span. But having crossed the mortem vale, the horizons of his own mind seemed at once to have expanded, exponentially so, encompassing knowledge which would have proved perpetually veiled in life, either through the human frailty of wanton ignorance, or through the locked and barred door of futurity.
††††††††††† He felt an element of discomfort amidst this newly awakening world. At first he had been so enraptured by the glorious opulence of his surroundings, by the vivid richness of the seemingly infinite stairway, that he had paid little heed to his newly endowed thought processes. Now that he possessed a moment with which to dwell upon the fact, it seemed somehow ill-fitting, as though he had carried the dead weight of his great labour in life across the dividing line; for hadnít he seen fit to take up arms against these very notions which now resided inside his own head?
††††††††††† Death had not been his intention, merely an unfortunate result of the endeavour. He could still smell the thick scent of soot and ash as the fires had raged around him, feel the sensation caused by the burning volumes as their charred remains had floated piecemeal around the simmering slab that had been his own slowly cooking flesh.
††††††††††† He had felt certain, in those final moments before the blessed relief of utter darkness, that the entire library would be razed to the ground, even as his own body had slowly melted down into the foundations, like the tapering remains of an exhausted candle.
††††††††††† All that knowledge, all of it quite useless in the pursuit of divinity, lost forever. The great library would come to dust and would soon fade from the minds of mortal men, while he felt assured that his own name would live on throughout history, synonymous with mankindís salvation. Too much surety was a danger to all, capable of wrenching the gods from their heavenly halls and rendering the very bodies of the stars themselves infirm with decay.
††††††††††† And yet it lingered still within the shuttered box of his own mind, refusing to surcease from poisoning those simple joys which had been the entirety of his mortal world.
††††††††††† But what world was this?
††††††††††† He walked on, ascending the stairway for hours, days, weeks, and still it continued to rise up into an unreachable distance. Somewhere just beyond his own sight, as though dancing about the very fringes of periphery, he could tell there floated stars; floated gently like so much soft white down caught upon an infinite breeze. The weight of eternity bulged on either side of him, threatening to collapse in and crush him at any moment, while all the while its celestial breath continued to infuse the stairway with the bacterium of time without end. Time enough, certainly, in which to absorb every last detail which now grew as like a seed within the verdant garden of his mind.
††††††††††† Upward and upward still, his mind grew ever larger, blossoming into an Alexandrian maze of knowledge and lore, until it felt as though he would be forever entombed within its centre; a creature of myth trapped within the facts of his actions. Every open cabinet and spreading shelf of learning, which he had so thoroughly erased from the living world, now haunted the byways of his mind, coursing like blood, forced geyser-like, through clotted veins.
††††††††††† How could he now rejoice in the simplicity of the divines perfection, when so besieged by such a weight of conflicting information, by such lurid and far reaching realms of merciless speculation? Mankind was naught but a humble servant of the divine, was he not? His place assured forever more. Such was the mantra by which he had lived his mortal life. Such was the credo by which he had come to perish.
††††††††††† Uncertainty gripped him, body and soul.
***
The harsh caress of carpet was as sandpaper to his skinless feet, a perfect removal of the scorched and withered remains of his lost and diminished humanity. Blood trailed from his tottering stumps like the trail cast behind a poisoned snail, replenishing the crimson hue of the carpet with every bloodied step forward. The foetid pile of the carpet spread crookedly up and over the visible expanse of stairway, which seemed to stretch forever upward into a horizon dressed in bloodied robes, imprisoned between the solid tarnished arms of the balustrades. Surely, he thought, even the combined savagery of the notorious Caesars, and those monstrous enough to have clothed themselves in their thorn crowned shadow, had never inflicted such a punishment as this.
††††††††††† Not even the destroyer Khans. Not even the one-track minds of the fascist dictators, nor indeed any of the near infinite lineage of oppressors which would grow out of mankindís enforced ignorance.
††††††††††† His mind heavy with forgotten knowledge, thick with the many evils which would stem from its loss, he continued to climb the stairway.
4 Thanks From:
Druidic (1 Week Ago), miguel1984 (1 Week Ago), Robert Adam Gilmour (3 Days Ago), Zaharoff (1 Week Ago)
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