It may sound strange, but I sympathize with the tortoise that died under the weight of its golden shell, you told me about.
Who would have known that the very thing with that we decorate ourselves might be our very downfall?
In our entire hemisphere, there is probably no person more versatile educated than you. You’ve traveled from North to South, East, and West in search of the new intellectual frontier. Not only did you read every considerable work ever published but did so while crossing the wilderness all by yourself.
I’m sure there is nothing left to surprise you. That is why I address my strange case for you to make sense of it.
It hurts me to inform you that I have fallen violently ill. No doctor knows what has befallen me. Nor where it comes from. I don’t dare to hope that there is a cure for my continuously degrading condition.
You know me as an educated man, secular in my beliefs. Always have I been skeptical about the supernatural and otherworldly hocus pocus.
What I am about to tell will undoubtedly surprise you as much as it did me. Keep in mind, I will recount everything precisely as it happened. No description, no detail – as fantastical as it might seem – is added for narrative purposes. It is in my utmost interest that you know the real story.
This may as well be the very last you ever receive from me.
It was on a lazy Sunday in late October when I decided to reorganize the library in my personal study – the one you always have been so fond of. From time to time, the need to rearrange the treasures of a lifetime stirs in me to remember their wisdom and calming my nerves by verifying it’s still complete.
As I was halfway through with ordering them alphabetically by the name of the author’s birthplace, I noticed a strange and unusual looking book.
I’ve never seen it before; nor something similar to it. Its cover was a stubborn rough leather binding, not too far from the works of old. But it lacked the touch of sophisticated delicateness only masterful hands can give. Instead, it was crude. Raw. Emanating some kind of primal power.
As I reached for it to inspect it further, every fiber in my body revolted against the motion. I froze. Stuck in a fight, I couldn’t quite understand. It was like an animalistic survival instinct put itself in the way of my scholar curiosity. The memory alone makes my whole body tremble as I write you these lines. It was the point of no return.
In the end, curiosity had won. As my fingertips caressed the spine gently, every hesitation was swept away in an instant. The unknown, grotesque tome, threw itself into my hands and pulled me into my reading chair.
Strange lettering. Foreign symbols. My mind sucked the pages dry as it unfolded itself before my inner eye.
I have no recollection of any of its content. All I remember is waking up, hours later, in the dark of my study. My throat was crisp and sore as if I had wandered the desert for centuries.
As I glanced into the twilight, the once colorful bookshelves I was so proud of, seemed strange. What I thought to be a sparkling font of collective wisdom, now it’s true nature was right before my eyes. I cannot make it unseen.
A thousand voices in total chaos were writhing, screaming, and howling on the shelves. In tears, they lamented their cruel fate. Imprinted on their very bones were messages of pure misery – the distilled pain of civilization -never finding relief in death. Their only hope was to be forgotten. Something that people like us had prevented from the beginning of time.
In horror, I jumped back. Desperately I grabbed the barbaric tome which, obviously, was to blame for my delusions. It disintegrated to dust right in my hand. I ran out of the room and locked the door.
My friend, I haven’t entered my study since. I cannot face that hell again.
Days after, more things started to change. Lifeless objects came to life. They wouldn’t stop telling me their stories. I cannot but see their true nature. The endless chatter fills every waking hour. I threw out everything I once valued so much. They’re lying in the yard, relentlessly bemoaning their torment up towards the heavens.
Knowing that the true spirit of everything around me is just pain, fractured my mind. Splinters. More and more pieces. Each one with its own ways. I fear, my beloved friend, I cannot bear to keep them together anymore.
It is my duty, as the last act of my remaining humanity, to end all this misery.
The man who never should have been
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