Short Story: Victims of Pestilence 4: 1890
To all who read,
Unleashing this formidable curse must have been Pestilence’s greatest work of art – its defining masterpiece. Maybe even its debut. I have seen this curse scour the lands and reach its arm way over the oceans till it firmly grips hold onto the mind of its prey.
Humans often confuse Pestilence’s curse. Is it madness, lunacy or an illness? Maybe it is this madness that ties humans together. Trapped together in misery. This confusion only feeds Pestilence. It licks its lips as people turn on the cursed. It watches as people devour the mad alive.
The most likely answer – it is all of them and none. It is what Pestilence wants it to be. Mankind has no control over it, not even the power to name it.
Pestilence brings down the greatest of men, tragically tearing apart their minds. Their brains are splattered onto a canvas creating an awfully magnificent painting for the world to gaze upon even aeons later. If I’ve learnt anything, it’s that you can’t send Pestilence away. It will always be coming for you. The mind is the deadliest disease and even the demons shriek in fear from this awfully cruel curse. Pestilence made sure that man’s greatest fear will always be the mind, forever taunting them. Following them till their final moments. Such a curse will never leave you alone, a companion to take with you to death. A companion ready to stab you in the back, prepared to take you to death.
spells can control the beasts luring and running amok in the headspace of a person.
It’ll make you do things. You can’t help yourself. It’ll make you disappear for hours, days maybe even years and leave you messed up. You’ll disappear into another episode, a show that has so many re-runs you’ve memorised every line but you’ll never work it out. Never find order amongst it. The re-runs will play randomly. The last episode doesn’t follow the next. You’re trapped till death.
Watch as Pestilence chases down that poor man with no ear. All we will do is watch. Chased him to the wheat fields where he was felled by a revolver forged through dragon’s breath. This man was just a poor artist, Pestilence’s unwilling fool. An artist burdened with the hand and eyes which could behold so much suffocating beauty. The shadows in his mind chased him, for he was too ahead of his time and mankind was not ready for it, nor was his mind. The penniless and helpless life he led created the bullet that finally made him cease to be. The warm and comforting Paris air did nothing to bring his mind to ease. While others twirled and dined in blissful ignorance, the earless man prepared for his world to end. He was condemned to suffer by Pestilence. It watched in glee as the earless man walked away to finally meet his long-awaited doom, the final escape. Anything to rid himself of his affliction or the curse that has been entangled in his nerves since his first time opening his eyes.
Yet, there was a hesitation. A flicker of life in his heart that begged his mind to listen. His heart pleaded for its life. This world is bearable. The easel and paints could be his escape. Maybe he could fight off this curse that would always creep up suddenly like a horrifying shadow on a dimly lit night. Maybe. Yet, his very immediate future has revealed that he had wounded himself. A shot meant for the shadow that has been after him since his birth. The bullet had missed and stuck not Pestilence’s slave, but himself. Pestilence’s slave remained unharmed. It will always remain unharmed and will continue to attack many: men, women, people, children, adults, elders. It will never rest. Not until the sun has lost its light and the world has spun off its axis. Feared by all, even the demons themselves.
But we cannot entirely fault the decrepit creature known as Pestilence. Shunned by his kind, the earless man was forever labelled the madman. A madman that didn’t deserve their love or attention. Pestilence and mankind pushed him to the furthest corners of his mind till his thoughts exploded on canvas after canvas.
So many swirls, so many beautiful strokes that will be stamped in history. His work will be known as one of the greats amongst all those in The Starry Night sky. Stamped in history and seen by all the sane and insane. He will be a roaring success.
But only once he is dead.
This is the unconscious deal he made with death. Pestilence cared not whether the man lived or died. There was enough lunacy and shunning for Pestilence to get off on. There is enough prey in the sea.
He yearned to be loved, and needed someone to appreciate the wonders he created for the world. He needed a compassionate heart and curious eyes to soak up the wonders hidden inside him. But no one did. No one filled that empty void. So Pestilence did. It was much too easy for Pestilence to slip into the mind of society’s failure.
Skittering to his 37th year he also made his way into a wheat field with a troubled mind and gun. A gun that disappeared and hid from history, hid from himself.
Was this gun a submission to death?
Was this gun a final stand against the shadowy slave of Pestilence?
But wait, I recall he tossed the gun!
Was this an act of hesitation?
To toss the gun. To toss the temptation of death. To be rid of the temptation to murder.
Was this his way of taking a stand?
Only Pestilence had access to his mind after toying with it for so long. Only Pestilence knows of the demons it shoved into the lonely man’s head. Pestilence knows who the earless man’s true victim is. Remember that art is always open to interpretation, even this last masterpiece. The fired shot will be his last mark as an artist. The splattered blood was the last time he touched paint, the final colour he used as he became a retired artist. Though the earless man will always be the victim of Pestilence’s worst curse.
He is not the first.
And he won’t be the last.
How can I tell?
Can you feel that tingle? The one at the back of your neck. What about your head? There is a string that is wrapped around your skull and pulling tighter and tighter but never leaving a mark. No proof to call for help. Can you sense it? The shadowy figure – don’t look. Don’t turn to watch the figure in the corner of your eye.
Its beady and white eyes are staring down, waiting for you to turn. Waiting for you to attack in a fearful frenzy. Sharp and curved, its lips are gleaming with delight. Like the Cheshire cat, it takes pleasure in your confusion, the uncertainty you feel. It watches as you question your reality. Looking closer – don’t look. It’ll just flit away. Pestilence’s slave has adapted well, even in the brightest corner of your mind. Breath in, its eyes are glued to your chest. It watches as it rises and falls despite the weight that sits on it. It listens to your breath, one that you are struggling to control.
Beady eyes. Alight. It is still watching. Giddy with anticipation. Waiting for you to attack. Waiting for you to turn and whip out your own gun. One that you forged with your mind – however unwillingly. Its long and uncurled nails are holding the object is that not near you, but is close enough.
Can you see, from your peripheral vision Pestilence’s slave?
Can you see how the straight nails soon begin to curl with excitement and tension?
It holds tight with pleasurable anxiety, waiting for the kick of euphoria when you finally lose yourself. You are but another earless man. One amongst billions. No matter how great. How otherworldly. Pestilence does not care. It will send its curse if it wants.
I must, however, leave you with more distressing news. I can no longer bear to watch Pestilence wrapping its hands around your kind. It has a grip on your throat and won’t let you go. I had to watch as you go purple and blue. I can no longer watch till your blood is old and dead. The oxygen is almost up. Listen to my tales. Stamp into your hearts and minds all the lessons you’ve learnt. Learn from history’s past and society’s failures.
So for the last time my loves,
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