The Foreplay.I don't recall how old I was, precisely... 14 is a good, rough, estimate. I was already practicing whatever this -thing- is that became "Witchcraft". I was also routinely suffering from allergy attacks that, by all rights, should've been taken care of at a hospital. But they weren't "so" bad - I'd take the dose of OTC antihistamines suggested by my doctor (read: A LOT) , the symptoms would fade, I'd pass out... all would be well in the morning.
Except that night. When you have mysterious food allergies, allergies to your own hormones, allergies to perfumes and additives... sometimes a perfect storm crawls up your back when you're busy, and rodgers you dry. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't breathe.
Death.Not "My trachea was a touch restricted" - I went to suck in that panicked lungful of air, and almost nothing came. I tried to stay calm - freaking out would only deplete what I had even further. I slowly reached for the nightstand and grabbed my pills. I cracked the gel-caps with my fingers and poured the contents into my mouth and under my tongue. It burned, it was bitter. My vision started to cloud.
"This is it." I thought "I'm going to die." - a litany of excuses washed through my head. "I'm just a kid, I'm still a virgin, I sleep in the nude - someone's going to find my naked, ass all bloated and purple and holy SHIT that's not fair." But really? Not a damned one of them mattered to the Thief of Life. He had snuck up behind me while I was blissfully dreaming, and now he could take what he wanted - what he'd been cheated of for so long.
The Midwife.Deadboy, my first and most beloved "familiar", was setting on the end of my bed. He had his hand on my ankle. "When it comes, I'll be here. I'll - help..." HELP!? That -asshole-! Helping would be to free up my airways, helping would be to speed the drugs through my system. HELPING would be to go fetch someone to take me to the ER.
Then something started to hurt. To burn and ache. It was my chest. It was like a fire was consuming me from the inside - and it was like part of me was being buoyed upward on the heat. I was still trying - striving, to take in a breath. I dug my nails into the palms of my hands... as though it would anchor me there.
The Underworld.I felt like I'd fallen asleep. And I was somewhere else entirely. The sky was rolling and black - blotted by a thick layer of clouds. Everywhere there was a diffused light (with a high red decay), and everything was shrouded in night. But he was there - Deadboy. As he always was.
"I fell asleep!" I said. "Weight off my shoulders."
He frowned "No."
"I'm not dead. This is where I go when I dream!"
"Yes, it is."
"Deadboy, I'm not dead. I can't be... I'm dreaming. Don't be a dick like that, man."
"You aren't dead yet." He said, his eyes cut through me, and he took my hand.
The realization sunk in all at once. When I dream... I leave my body... and go to some sort of otherworld. And now... (NOW THAT I'M DREAMING - screamed my hindbrain) ... it's no different. I only had a few more minutes ...
Between.And my god, he felt so solid. So real. If I was dreaming, it was lucid. If I was dead, then "heaven" is as sturdy as a concrete block. I kissed him - rather passionately. Phantom sensations, feather-light touches - no more. Real, solid, HERE... of course I was going to.
We ran. Ran faster than was possible. Our feet barely touched the ground. The Gates, those damned gates that I'd never been able to reach, they loomed up to my touch. Taller than any building, thicker than any tree had ever been. The walls that surrounded this place must've been a mile thick.
Beyond.My god, I cannot describe how beautiful that place was. Everything shone. It wasn't all golden gaussian blurs like people think of heaven, and it wasn't glowing coals like hell. Everything was shining, and clean, and alive. It was like the overflowing life of the deep forest had infused even the stones of the streets. And there were streets! It looked like some Hollywood set of an old London neighborhood. But it went on, and on, and on. And we passed a great river that ran out to the invisible stars. And out into the wilds where dew glittered in the grass.
And everything was stripped bare. I saw it all - or... all I could. Suddenly I could see the line of my past and future, so long that it bent with the curve of the universe. And I could slide along that line - watching it all.
GASP.Look, you know how this story ends. It's years later, right? Of course I didn't die. I was moments from grasping the totality of it all. Moments from getting the shapes and angles all lined up and unlocking that cosmic hasp. And then I felt the stinging. My limbs, starting with the extremities, started to burn like they were aflame. I gulped for air, quite suddenly. Something in my back felt like it had torn away from me, and I was aware of both my body (in agony) and my spirit (in bliss). It was like the eyes of my soul were out of focus - seeing double. I had to concentrate to pull the image of myself into a cohesive image.
I was the first Sacrifice, y'see... whether that was the plan or not, I lived on my land, died on my land, was resurrected in it's name, and thus became it's sacrificial king.