by Rick McQuiston
Tibok raised the glass to his lips, and inhaling deeply took a large swallow. The red nectar warmed his throat and soothed his mind. It helped, but only superficially for his impending task would not be an easy one. Not difficult in the manner of complexity but in the moral sense. One had to summon great courage to fulfill a task such as this one. It would tire him greatly.
Tibok, Essex of Cloversworth, Chamber High Affiliate, respected nobleman, admired and feared Grand Wizard and member of the Selection, sat in his aged chair. His feet lay outstretched before him near the fire. Each crackle of flame escorted his old, but still sharp, memory back to his youthful years. The years which were full of hope and promise, the years when he was appreciated more, the years when he felt whole and adventurous. But those were times long gone. Gone like a wilted flower in the wind.
Az'uu did not understand. Nor did J-ouu. Nor did any of the Selection. Their minds wandered aimless pastures, forever grazing in fields of ignorance. He had tried to explain his views to them but they would not listen, their heads turned away. Tibok's words met deaf ears. His ideas and thoughts were embraced only by the wind.
Some of the Selection even had the audacity to attempt to have him removed from his seat. Resolving this problem proved to be difficult and time consuming. He had to appeal his case to the Parliamental Judges, and even then, he was absolved by only two votes.
How could the fools not see his reasoning? How could they stick to their foolish ideals? He had explained his conceptions with numerous accompanied ideas and reasons, but they still failed to see the light. They merely reciprocated his views with their own. Fools.
Tibok's thoughts were interrupted by his pet. He smiled a wry smile as the spider gracefully circumnavigated the many bottles and books that filled his wizard's sanctum.
"Come here, We the'th," Tibok cooed in an affectionate tone. "Come to Daddy."
On cue the multi-legged creature silently found its owner's lap and curled up, making a light chattery noise as Tibok stroked its hairy abdomen.
Nobody even understood We the'th. Spiders were abhorred in this ignorant society. People shrank with fear and disgust at the sight of his pet. The fact that it was gentle did little to alter their perception of the animal. Yes, they were destined to remain misunderstood. He could accept this, but only to a point.
Tibok rose from his chair and set We the'th down by the fire. It stretched its limbs on the wool rug, expanding to its full eighteen- inch length.
A soft grunt of satisfaction escaped Tibok's lips. "Rest my pet. Rest," he whispered gently.
He walked over to his desk and seated himself once again. His eyes roamed over the various spell books until he came upon the one labeled PERMANENT ANTIDOTES FOR DEFICIENT CULTURES.
He hesitated a moment before he snatched the text from its slot. Not having authorization would not deter him. It never did before, although this was his most ambitious undertaking yet.
He started to hear the voices in his head at that moment. They were chanting, pleading, praying. They questioned him and sang too him. However, they did not bother him. In fact, in his younger days, he would have occasionally responded, but not now. Not this time. This time he was fully focused on the task at hand. Opening the book to page twelve hundred and sixty-one, he gently laid it on the table before him. The book revealed its words:
PERENNIAL REMEDIES FOR UNSATISFACTORY SOCIETIES
He began to read.
Many minutes passed. Although it had been quite some time since he had reviewed these passages, they were coming back to him.
"Bontho' et illit…," he chanted. "Theoorit ‘f' outthoi."
Behind him, hanging in the shadows cast by the fire, were several small spheres, nine in all. Some were large compared to others, while others were tiny in contrast. They ranged in color and texture from a wet, bright red to a glistening dull blue with patches of iridescent mauve swirling from one area to another. Most pulsed with life. Some were home to countless millions, while a mere dozen occupied others. The three, which were lifeless, were his new acquisitions. They were still in the developmental stage.
"Montel' drith folot," Tibok moaned. "Easti si o' drazi."
The chosen sphere began to rotate. Slowly at first, but it increased in speed.
"Goufi' o' neeth."
Faster and faster it spun.
"Houthin oc seethuj."
Tibok's hands started to flail wildly above his head, making a series of lightning quick gestures.
"Saf'..ot' deel bezexx."
The spinning ball began to lose its mass. It began to liquefy, and as it liquefied, it slowed, and as it slowed, Tibok slowed as well. He was becoming fatigued. His hands now rested on the table in front of him as his words came to a halt.
"It is done," he whispered to himself. "It is done."
The sphere had stopped completely now. It swayed slowly from side to side in a partly and increasingly gaseous stage. Moments later, it had vanished completely leaving only a void of space in its wake.
Tibok drew in a deep and wearisome breath. The task had tired him as much as he had expected. Regret did not enter his thoughts though. What he had done needed to be done. As were the ones in the past, as will be the ones in the future.
"Come here, my pet," he whispered to his slumbering spider. The creature scuttled back into its master's lap.
"Ohh, We the ‘th, the Selection will once again be displeased with me. But it had to be done." He eyed the flask of nectar on the other table.
Too far to walk, he mused to himself. He opted to stay right where he was. He felt fatigue evolving into sleep. Tomorrow. Tomorrow he would stand before the Selection to once again explain his actions. He would tell them that the world was spiraling down towards an inevitable end. He would tell them that the creatures on its surface were warring against each other, killing one another. Disease and hatred was plentiful. Prejudice and fear were abundant. He would tell the Selection all these maladies and more. But that was for tomorrow. Now, he was content to embrace a peaceful slumber.
As he drifted off, remorse crept into his mind. A small amount but nevertheless remorse. The planet had shown genuine promise at one time. For this, he was sorry. Earth might have had a chance, but regardless, it was too late now. He would rest now. Tomorrow would be another day.
© 2008 Rick McQuiston
Bio: Rick McQuiston has been writing fiction for over ten years, and has had 135 publications so far, Micro Horror and Arcane Twilight among his most recent. He is editor of a horror ezine, Many Midnights, and has published two anthology books, Many Midnights and Chills by Candlelight, available on Lulu.com.
E-mail: Rick McQuiston
Personal website: Terror Tales
Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum
Return to Aphelion's Index page.