Death of a Patriot
A clock tolled, announcing the arrival of midnight. Through a large window a full moon cast its brilliance into a spacious study room. Scattered around the room were unique artefacts and strange relics of all sizes and shapes. Brightly coloured paintings and smooth marble statues occupied every available alcove and crevice. It was a mixture of the old and the new, the known and the unknown.
Studying the room closely, one could perceive the enormity and variety of it all. It was like a hundred different worlds, all in one enormous never-ending room. Hazes of incense wafted lazily through the air, making the room thick and smouldering. A large crystal chandelier dangled in the centre, spinning and twisting, floating deftly, glittering rainbows sparkling off of each dew drop shaped gem. In another corner a peculiar globe-looking object showed much resemblance of the Earth, except instead of displaying countries it was arranged with different sized rings that circled each other at unusual angles, much the same structure as a gyroscope. Geocentric models of some sort, suspended in mid air caught the bright moonlight that was cast upon it and reflected it around the room, causing the light to dance around the dark, shadowed walls producing a strobe-light effect that mingled with the glittering rainbows from the impressive chandelier. Everything in the room seemed to be happening, moving, floating or in motion -everything except one.
A man sat at a large mahogany desk, scribbling furiously onto a scroll of ancient parchment. Strange markings were etched into the papyrus, and the man seemed to be in a sort of trance-like state, lost in his own mind. Stacks of papers piled precariously around the man made him look even more out of place in the over-sized and overtly crammed room.
The man was a tall, white haired being with tiered eyes and a yawning mouth. Elaborate markings were etched into his worn and creased skin. They ran only along his face and neck, before disappearing beneath his dark clothing, and then began again at his wrists until the tips of his fingers. Some markings were straight and elusive, turning suddenly to create block swirls, while other lines were grand and curving, spiralling capriciously. It was clear from the way the man examined the objects around him that he was a man of logic, of learning. His aged face showed the knowledge of a man that had lived a long and purposeful life full of importance. He indeed had lived a purposeful life; for he was an oracle, and the greatest one at that. If one were to unlock the workings of his complex mind they would find an intricate weavings of never-ending gears that constantly turned and interlocked, always ticking away, always thinking. With a mind like this the man was always at work, whether asleep or awake.
But, for him this was no ordinary night where he would sit at his desk and ponder the workings of the universe. True, his pen was at work, but was his brain? Or were his thoughts too scattered and misshapen by what he perceived to be close by? Likewise, the man was not in his usual state of mind, as a nagging feeling persisted in pestering him to no end. It was a feeling he got whenever there was danger, a threat close by, or in the immediate future. Of course this man knew he would be safe in his grand labyrinth of a home. Nothing could harm him and no-one could find him-the layout and complexity of the building made sure of that. Nothing could enter unless he allowed it. Or could it?
At the thought of this the man’s pen loosened in his grip and fell to the desk at which he was sat. Closing his eyes he concentrated on anything and everything in the room around him. There was a presence, he was sure of it. But he knew from the way it clung to the shadows in the room that this person had not come to socialize with the man, or even ask a reading for their future. He was an oracle -a man others came to for help and assistance; for a path and purpose in life, yet he had not foreseen this to be his fate.
A shadow slinked and flickered from place to place in the room, sending a chillingly alarming tickle down the man’s spine. The man wanted to speak, but could not find his voice for the fear constricting it. His mouth was clamped shut, and even with all his might the man could only manage a croak. Something beyond his control had taken his free-will, he no longer had a say in the matter of the workings of his body. He was forced into submission by his fear; the man had never been caught off guard before.
A low amused laugh echoed through the now seemingly still eerie room.
The shadow silhouette flitted around the room, flickered, and then faulted, stopping precisely in front of the man. The strobe-light effect continued on its erratic journey through the room, dancing from object to object, wall to wall until finally it flashed onto the shadowed face. “Why hello,” the voice sneered derisively.