I’m all tied up — flat on a medical bed, fit for an asylum.
Everything is in black and grey. Void of any vibrant colours.
The floor is made up of black dust and we were inside a half sunken old ruin.
No other soul in sight.
At arrival here in the void, the old man had dragged me onto a contraption that instantly came alive, straps wrapping around my torso, arms and legs.
‘Fascinating, does it not hurt?’
I shake my head, stunned.
He takes out an odd looking thread needle and pokes me. I feel nothing. He tries to slice me with an ancient dagger and again, I feel nothing.
Everything he takes out of his many pockets slid over my skin like it was made of glass.
He couldn’t draw blood if he wanted to and if I had a drop of blood in me.
He said I was a Golem? I barely knew what a Golem was. In the video games, I played those were the giant zombies. I’m pretty sure I still looked like a boy or else Kera would have said something.
Looking down at my body, it showed me everything was normal, my familiar long skinny legs and bony chest, but somehow I wasn’t ordinary anymore.
I remember being human; I’m pretty sure I was human before I died. I’ve had all kinds of vaccinations to protect me since I was a child. No help if you ask me, considering I died, but the needles definitely pierced my skin then.
‘What are you going to do with me?’ the straps holding me down moved along with me. The more I struggled, the tighter they became.
‘ A curious question, yes, but I’m more interested in what you are. Do you think if I drop a boulder ten times your size on you, would you break?’
I begin struggling, but the straps tighten, becoming like a second skin.
‘Don’t worry, I won’t do it, Benny boy, you’re special now, and I would say indestructible.’ He loosens the straps and sets me free and begins walking, leaving his strange contraption behind and into the dark.
As he walks, the only source of light followed; slowly ebbing away from me, leaving me in the shadows.
‘You seem to be made up of a resilient but malleable essence. Once molded into a form, it becomes unbreakable. I’ve never seen it before. I can sense old magic, quite ancient mind you. Primordial. Wherever you came from, it’s not from any world I’ve been to, but maybe it is where I will find the solution to my problem.’ the old man mumbling with himself.
‘Who are you?’
‘Who am I. I have many names, but I was once Baldemar Wayland, a blacksmith.’
We walk and walk as he tells his tale. He is lost in its telling and me in listening.
‘I had a beautiful wife and daughter, but everything changed when a divinity came into our lives, Gods and their magic.’ he grumbled.
Not too far away I could see a short three-story building with its own source of light. It looked so lonely and abandoned in this place.
‘The God had the whole of creation dripping from his hands. He created creatures at whim, made my daughter a creature of her imagination! Something I could not give her or create in my smithy.’
As we draw closer, in front of a grey three-floor house, there was a female automaton that closely resembled a young woman but made out of gold plated metal. She had dark hair loosely tied in a bun, wearing a long black dress with an apron. She was plucking grey roses from a grey garden. She looked angelic, like a young maid painted in the old painting.
‘Hello, Ava, I see you’ve grown bored with your machines again.’ Baldemar remarks before pecking her on the cheek and entering the house.
‘Not bored, I’m simply seeking inspiration. If you took me with you in your adventures, I could be less inclined to become uninterested.’ Ava smiles at me and beckons me to enter the house.
‘I am Ava, Baldemar’s only companion; you would think he’d be more accommodating. So who may you be? An enemy or a guest?’
I didn’t know what to say. Firstly, Ava was an amazing creation. Whoever had created her made her look and move like a human. Her thoughts and way of speaking, it was like talking to a real live human.
Ava sighs, ‘He looks a little dimwitted to me, Baldy.’ She pokes me in the middle of my forehead. I feel nothing.
‘I’m Ben. Whoever created you must be bloody brilliant.’ I follow her through a metal swing door.
Inside was a cozy living room next to a dining room by an open kitchen that looked half like a witches laboratory.
Ava moves close and scans me from top to bottom and smirks, it blows my mind. It had all the right wrinkles, and dimples and her eyes had crinkles, eyeballs to looks so lifelike.
‘Baldy made me, although he treats me like his daughter. I get punishments, studies, house rules, and chores while at the same time, he tells me stories of places he’s been. He likes to talk a lot.’
‘Ava, can you please go upstairs and finish the project we’ve been working on. I’m sure you’ve dallied enough. I’ll need it on my next trip. I’ve found the god child.’
‘Can’t I do it later; I want to talk to our guest. I’ve never met anyone my age before.’
Baldemar’s face darkens; at the sight of it, Ava frowns and leaves without a word. She heads to the far end of the living room and turns to a staircase on the right, heading up she stomps like a child. I’m not sure if she was doing it purposely or she was just heavy. She is partially made up of intricate machinery.
‘She is my daughter you know. My real daughter. She is older than the discovery of the moon. Older than the oldest ruin in any world, she lived hundreds of years ago, during a time when Gods roamed the earth and before they hid in their realm afraid of us.’
Baldemar hands me a cup filled with a thick fluid that smelled foul.
‘Drink it, it will be your only source of sustenance here,’ I take the cup and sip, it tastes like a blend of bitter gourd, fish oil and something harshly sweet. I try not to hurl.
‘I placed her soul in that body myself. Her body I made by hand, piece by piece. I killed the God and stole his magic to do so. Metal tainted with godly magic. It was only fair, why couldn’t we have powers of our own? Why could I not keep my child alive forever?’
‘Is that what this place is? Your creation?’ The concoction was disgusting. I could feel it oozing down my oesophagus.
Baldemar snorts, ‘No, I was exiled here, given the title of God Killer.
However, I was not the only one who killed a God. Other mortals realized the divinity could be killed, so they hunted. Soon the Gods fought, ran and barred the other worlds from their realm.’ He pours himself a cup of the horrid mixture gulping it down like water.
‘But it was too late, with all the dead gods, magic surged through all the worlds and mortals and I later discovered that the killer like I, could not absorb all the magic; I could not become a God.’ Baldemar grew pensive, lost in thought.
I wasn’t sure to be afraid of this man or want to become his friend. I could understand his situation. In a way, it isn’t so different from the rich kids in school who got away with anything just because they had powerful connections or their parents were working in high places.
However, I am stuck in this godforsaken place, literally, and stuck with a killer who killed a God to boot. How could I possibly get out of here and find Luna?
‘Did you know, the moment a God dies, their essence disperses. It doesn’t cease to exist but moves into the particles around us. The air, the sand, in the tiny particles that make us what we are. Finding a new and capable host. No mortal is capable of holding so much magic but they can have a part of it if they are worthy.’
‘Then why do you stay here? It’s dark, gloomy, and colorless when you have so much power.’ I pass him back the cup empty.
‘I have control here. No one can enter the void, and no one can leave it but me, so don’t bother to try.’
I wouldn’t know what to do first even if I tried.
There was something off about this place.
A deadness to it.
Or was I feeling my lifelessness?