(Here is the last part of chapter 2. Again, I apologize for the errors that you may find. Thus is the nature of drafts. Enjoy.)
Wrath did not bother undressing, nor washing himself. There was no clean water, and his clothes might as well have been a part of him. He needed new ones that did not have holes or smell so ghastly. Maybe on the morrow he could find some more. The thought of going out now even flashed across his mind, but he decided against it and instead sat down on the bed, crossing his knees and folding his hands, as if in prayer. He lifted his chin, as if he were about to speak, but he did not and instead stared straight ahead. He did not close his eyes, nor slow his breathing, but stared at a peeling wall. He turned inward and closed out the world around him, giving himself a refuge to hide inside to heal his mind.
He did not move a muscle, nor bat an eye. It served as an escape from the world, a place where he could collect himself, and figure out what it was he wanted to do. He now remembered that sleep brought horrific nightmares. So, instead of sleeping, he substituted it by doing nothing, shutting himself down, and becoming distant in his thoughts.
I feel so lost. Wrath said mentally. It was a thought that continued to come to him over time. He tried to keep that kind of thinking away, and instead focus on his family; happy thoughts. But the thought of being lost kept returning, begging for his attention with a calloused palm. It bothered him, and he wanted it to leave, but return it would. Maybe, he thought, if he were to think it through, it would go away.
“Who says that you are?” A voice says, “You could be making it all up. The world is not a friendly place, so who is to say that this isn’t normal?”
“It is normal.” Wrath said to himself.
“Now it is?” The voice asked Chidingly, almost as if it had been expecting a different answer.
Wrath shuddered mentally. If the world was always this cold, then what was the point of going on? He knew that he wanted an escape. Some kind of release.
“Give me death.” Wrath whispered, barely letting the air past his lips.
“I can not grant it. I am merely a voice, one that you yourself created.” It said, “Death will have to come to you by your own hand.”
“I can not, though. I will become what crawls through the streets and the sewers, licking blood off the walls of old homes. Never still, always hungry, killing because it can not die itself. I do not want that kind of fate.”
“Would it not be easier to live?” The voice became deathly quiet, “Who says that those creatures out there aren’t happy?”
Happy? What was happy? Some long forgotten memories tugged at his mind, bringing into focus his family, his friends…even his duty to the city. They passed back into whatever dark recess they had come from, taking any old feeling of warmth with them.
“They are not happy.” Wrath felt himself saying, “Even in death they scream in pain. Watching me with hateful eyes. I hear no laughter from their severed throats, no mirth shining in dim eyes. There is nothing from them. They envy my life, and I envy their death. They are not happy, I do not want that fate.”
“But you don’t know for sure, do you?”
“No, I suppose that I don’t.” He sighed, “But I have seen, and I am afraid. Give me real death, and I will embrace it warmly. Darkness; unconsciousness is what I want.” Wrath’s voice broke slightly, “I haven’t seen real darkness in so long.”
The voice that was speaking to him went silent and Wrath reflected on what he had been given.
After a time, the voice came back saying, “Do you want to see it? Do you wish to see Death?”
“Gods yes!” Wrath was able to pull himself out of his “slumber” and instead of hearing a hollow voice in his head, now saw a man standing in front of him, arms crossed. Dark hair billowed down over black eyes and black skin. The man was like a shadow, yet he stood there in flesh, a single piece of red cloth covering his chest, back and thighs.
Wrath jumped up and reached for a sword that was no longer there, falling backwards over the bed in his surprise, causing it to groan horribly, as if it were about to break.
The man waited for Wrath to collect himself both physically and mentally. When he did, Wrath stood in a stooped position on top of the bed, arms held up as if he were about to grapple with the man. He stood tensely, waiting for the man in front of him to do something.
The man smiled when he saw that Wrath had finished flailing in surprise, “Hello. You seem quite blind when you gaze off at that wall.”
Wrath did not say anything. What was there to say? This man had entered his home without his permission. And while he was ‘sleeping’ to boot!
The man continued smiling, as if deeply entertained by Wrath and what he seemed to think of as antics.
“I suppose that you will want to know who I am and what I can offer.” The man turned and walked to the opposite side of the room and seated himself in a chair. “Don’t worry. I can’t harm you. See?” To prove his point, he grabbed at a broken cup on an end table. The cup, unsurprisingly, left it’s place, tightly in the grip of the man sitting before him. However, when Wrath looked closely, he saw that there were two cups now. One in the man’s hand, and the other sitting on the end table exactly where the cup in the man’s hand had left its place.
“How did you do that?” Wrath demanded feeling a little frightened by what he was seeing and if he was completely honest with himself, of the man as well.
“Exactly what you imagine me to.” The man smiled, setting the cup back to where it had been, merging the two cups together.
Wrath did not know what to say. He stared at the cups dumbfounded and completely baffled to how such a feat was possible. His mouth opened and closed, and he tried to get the words to come out, but finding that they were no longer there. The man held Wrath’s face in his gaze, watching with apparent amusement at the reaction that he was getting. Wrath noticed that there was even a slight smirk!
Finally, the man seemed to take pity on Wrath and said, “This world is not everything that you would imagine. For instance, this cup!” He gestured at the mostly complete cup beside him, palm upward. His black eyes bored into Wrath’s own. “I picked it up, yes?”
Wrath nodded dumbly.
“And what did it do?”
Wrath struggled to force words out, still trying to figure out exactly what it had been that he had seen! The words came out haltingly, “You…duplicated them!”
The man actually laughed this time, rich and charming. Wrath felt a sensation rush through him, and when the man stopped, the feeling passed.
“No.” The man was still smiling and chuckling, “Not duplicating. In fact, I didn’t pick it up at all! You only expected me to, so that’s what you saw. Except, you also saw the reality and realized that it conflicted with what you thought you were seeing.”
“But…I saw you pick it up!” Wrath flushed indignantly and he felt his face getting warm, “I know what I saw!” The absurdity of it all came to Wrath and he no longer felt afraid, but instead, angry. How dare this man tell him that he did not know what his own eyes told him! This trespasser was playing tricks, trying, no doubt, to rob him of his wealth! What of the children? Where was his wife? This thief was merely a distraction!
Wrath did not wait for the man to say anything else and shouted at him, “Out! How dare you walk into my home without my permission! How did you get past the guard?” The man sat firmly in his chair, again with that little self-satisfied smile on his face, as if watching a monkey in some circus! How dare he?
The anger flooded Wrath and he felt a new well of energy open up inside of him. He jumped down off of the bed and grabbed his sword, wishing the rid himself of the intruder and his infuriating smile. He would save his family, and the world would be rid of yet another necromancer! Never to bother another soul!
But when Wrath looked to where the man had been sitting, he was stunned to find that there was no longer anyone sitting there. The chair remained as it had been all along, as if no one had sat there at all. A thick layer of dust remained undisturbed on the padded seat.
What is happening? Wrath wondered. He twirled around, glancing this way and that, trying to see if he could find the man, but was met by an empty room. The room was hushed, and an open breeze rolled through the window, making the silken blinds wave in the wind. All Wrath could hear was his breathing come out in anxious spurts. Where is he?