I had barely closed my eyes when Malphas1 was upon me.
He seized me by my right arm, the arm that was replaced, and his touch chilled me so severely that I fell to my knees shuddering and barely able to moan from the intense pain that completely bound me. He asked me a question about the differences between my arms as he switched his grip. Only after he released my right arm was I able to answer him. Though by this time, he had hold of my left arm with both of his hands. Something like black ink invaded my skin from under his grip and followed the veins under my skin.
I was so distracted by Malphas, that I did not note when a figure appeared to my right until it was too late. The human skeleton was completely devoid of flesh, dried or otherwise, and appeared to be like any other dry human skeleton except for the crown of horns that was attached to the skull. Dried thorny vines were woven around and through the horns. He2 seized my right arm with his left hand and laid his right hand over the right portion of my face, covering the replaced eye and surrounding flesh.
My right eye failed to see and turned to [stone] as the flesh fell off my right arm from the shoulder down. The bones did not fall away but remained in their proper place relative to my body. I could feel the skeleton’s bone grip tighten around my exposed bones.
The physical sensations were more than I could process and I started to shudder. I was still on my knees as the two entities used their grip on my arms to lean me back. Malphas turned my head to face up as the skeleton removed his hand from my face.
Above me the ignored sky churned clouds into a rotation directly over my head. The blue and white mandala took on hues of green and pink when viewed through my now dead eye. The combination of colors, shapes, and movement was the last straw needed to trigger a fit. I lost all sense of touch as something like the taste and scent of iron filled my mouth and nose. My body relaxed and only their grip kept me from falling.
The rotation widened. I could see through the eye of the swirls into a depth that was too dark to be called “black”. My own eyes rolled up which should have caused me to be unable to see anything that happened after.
Malphas touched my forehead.
An eye opened there in response.
I continued to look straight up into the depths with the [eye] that had been created.
From the infinite depths above me, something like a beam of light descended into the pupil of my third unblinking eye. The light filled my head with intense pressure and I felt as if the very boundaries of my identities were going to burst.
The beam ceased. The opening in the rotation closed. My third eye closed, and with it, my awareness of this scene.
I am kneeling on compacted dirt. I can feel [certain clothing upon me and I am not ashamed at what is hidden by it or what is revealed]. Even with my eyes closed, I can recognize Malphas’ grip on my left arm. My right arm has been reduced to bone and something even more bony is holding it.
I open my eyes. My left eye is normal and views the bonfire before me with disinterest. My right eye is dead and sees a different fire floating in front of my forehead. I recognize the flame somehow. I mean to ask where Socheniel is since it is his brow fire that is gracing mine. My mouth does not move.
I turn my head towards Malphas. I barely shift when he reaches out and turns my face back towards the bonfire. The shift is enough for me to see my surroundings. The horn-crowned skeleton still holds my right arm. Socheniel’s fire is upon my brow, but behind me is the black-armored angel whose presence fills me with fear.3 I am still too spellbound to be afraid.
I realize I am participating in a Mystery™, but the layered meanings escape me and I despair in my ignorance. I feel my flesh beginning to harden and petrify from the outside in. My skin develops nodules that connect and spread, holding me in place.
I panic, breaking the stupor, and struggle against the four forces that would have me still and subdued. As I move, I realize my skin is not turning into stone, but wood, and that wood had a particular texture to it. I recognize where I had felt that particular texture before.
I stop panicking and reach out with my mind to the wood statues4 that my body is emulating. Silently I feel them connect and respond in kind.
“What do you want of me?”
I take their response as a command and force my body to its feet. Wrenching myself out of the grip of Malphas and the crowned skeleton, I lurch away from the black-armored angel and shake off the brow fire. I force myself to move, to step, to mark out the measurements of life by dancing around the bonfire.
Each step I take reversed the conversion of my flesh. Each pause I make allows the conversion to continue. I dance with measured vigor then, making controlled swings and attempting to move in such a way that all parts of my body are in motion more than they are in statis.
After the first revolution around the fire I look back at the confining entities, wondering why they have not come after me. The answer surprises me into complete stillness and my body locks in place.
They are still holding me. The flesh they hold labors to breathe. I feel the sensations of being in three places at once, within the statues, at the bonfire on my unmoving feet, held before the bonfire in failing flesh.
I see/feel Malphas lean over my captive face. “We will continue this discussion another time.”
I wake shuddering viciously in my bed. It takes me some time to fully wake as I feel as if I have to drag each individual nerve ending back from some pit of anesthesia.
I resolve not to mention a single word about the entire encounter to anyone, much less online.
That I am here doing so is the most distressing portion of it all.
1: I’ve resorted to calling him that name again, even though I know that is not his name, and yet, it very fucking is.
2: Definitely masculine presenting but don’t ask me how I could tell.
3: The same angel that accompanies the Bow-Wielder and reached out to me when I was with George the dragontamer.
4: This is all I am willing to speak of about said wood statues. I didn’t even want to say this much of it, but something something fucking compelled something.