Chapter 4: The Land Without Footprints: The Shadows Amongst Shadows

Posted: July 28, 2013 in Novel: The Land Without Footprints
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Book description: The Land Without Footprints: Shadows Amongst Shadows is set in the Modern Middle Ages, the age after the ages of Earth, when humans inhabit a planet where, unbeknownst to them, the moons control every action. What remains of the Earth is confined to books. In fact, many have decided to live by the rules of those books once called fiction. But no fiction or reality rules over the Mystic. He rules by only two laws: obey his desires and obey your desires. His desires are twofold: virgins and immortality. However, the desires of his subjects are as wicked as ever known. But the Dagens, a family rooted in the old ways of society, cannot give into their desires. They cannot kill just to kill, hate just to hate, destroy just to destroy. Yet if society is to become what it once was, the Dagens must destroy freedom and place chains around those who no longer wish to be chained.

4 – Bann

“I don’t want a legacy.” On a throne carved from human bones, the Mystic perched stroking his long white beard. Cosmetics about his eyes enhanced the terror of his hazel glare.  Almost he appeared more hawk than man. “Legacies are for dead people.”

A sea of priests mumbled amongst one another. Each had their head shaved bald, their eyebrows dyed absurd colors, and wore yellow cassocks. Besides height and weight, they all looked alike.

Father Panis, the eldest priest, stepped to the front of the crowd. His cassock was white-and-yellow. Short and pudgy described him best. Blue eyebrows made him look a clown.

“Arkin, you cannot be the Mystic forever,” the priest said beside a low chuckle. “Eventually your children must follow.”

Arkin hammered his hand against the arm of the throne. “My grandmother lived until she was two years more than one hundred and twenty. I am only half that age, priest, but I will outlive it.”

Bann lifted the cradled babies off the kaleidoscopic-checkered floor, climbed the stairs to the Mystic. “You cannot murder your children for eternity, Arkin.”

Arkin put his face in front of one of the babies, and it began to cry. “Why can’t I? Will they not die every time they swallow steel?”

The baby cried louder, woke its sister, and they cried together.

“Yes, they will die every time,” Bann said over the noise. “But part of yourself will die as well.”

Arkin eyed Bann as if he’d just discovered the stars. “What part of me will die from destroying these abominations?”

“The part it took to create them,” Bann said.

Slowly slow, the Mystic outstretched his hands, allowed each of the babies to play with his fingers. Then the Mystic sang in a key, it seemed, he’d only just created:

  Hush little baby, don’t you cry

  Daddy’s gonna teach you a lullaby

  And if that song don’t make you quit

 Daddy’s gonna beat you with a stick.

The babies cried louder.

Arkin pulled away his hands, cleaned them with his own spit. “Remove the life from the both of them.”

“But they are your heirs, Your Grace.” Father Tillicum squeezed the sides of his cassock. “Your wife grows weaker than the sun’s light at night. If she dies we’ll not be able to convince the people of another pregnancy. Many questioned this pregnancy because of your wife’s age. Ninety year olds do not regularly reproduce.”

“I want not to speak,” Father Logrip said, pink eyebrows nearly kissing each other, “but Father Tillicum’s words open my mouth. The people will reject a birth from the grave. They barely believed in this pregnancy. If it weren’t for the story of Sarah in the Old Testament they would’ve stormed the palace and treated us like food.”

“You need a new spouse,” Father Panis said. “It is time your mother becomes your mother once again and not your wife.”

“This room is filled with truth,” Bann said, although he wished not to admit it. He distrusted the agenda of anyone who claimed to speak for God. “These are your daughters, Arkin. You should not murder them”—he needed a reason why—“until you at least mount them.”

Arkin covered his ears. “I’ll never fuck a thing that wants me dead. Remove these twins before I remove all of your mounting equipment.”

All the priests laughed. They weren’t afraid of castration since they’d already castrated themselves in order to serve their God. Although some married and adopted heirs, none of them created children of their own.

“Why are you laughing, you nitwits?” Surely he knew why. Arkin stood up tall, giraffed his neck. “Do you enjoy death?”

“No, Mystic,” they all said in unison, saluting with their middle fingers.

“Forgive our joy,” Father Ferret said, covering his rabbit teeth with a hand. “We laugh not at your stupidity but at our own inferior conditions.”

Bann put down the babies, walked back down the stairs. “Remind yourselves of who you laugh at before you laugh.” He unsheathed his sword. “I challenge you to achieve your emotional erections without your heads.”

In one swing he killed Father Ferret. With a second swing he parted the dead body of its head. Blood squirted here and there without a determined destination.

“Enough, you idiots.” Down the stairs, the Mystic ran. He circled around the mess, kicked the corpse, let out a wildly wild laugh. “I tire of this repetition. Both babies will die. I will make a new daughter as I made these nonhumans, and this child will become my new wife. Now one of you dolts bring thirty virgins to my bed chambers and make sure none of them are decaying this time.”

Bann wiped red out of his eyes. “Follow the instructions of your Eternal King.”

Father Slocum cleared his throat. And with a handkerchief Father Income wiped his brow.

Father Panis stepped to the front of the crowd again. “We cannot follow these directions.”

Bann raised his sword. “And why can’t you, priest?”

Louder, the babies cried.

“There are no more virgins in the harem,” Father Panis said. “For months now we’ve been recycling them.”

Bann directed his sword toward the elder priest. “The Mystic’s harem must be filled with 1,500 virgins at all times.”

“It is impossible,” Father Income said. “One cannot pull a yes from a no.”

“A man is not supposed to deflower thirty virgins a night,” Father Logrip said. “Only Hercules even attempted such a feat from what we’ve garnered from recorded history. In Hinduism gods could embrace for years at a time, yet even this was usually with just one other. Perhaps Jesus Christ might’ve had such capabilities if he was indeed who he said he was, but we are unsure of his sexual preferences.”

Arkin clutched his stomach. “I am no mortal, you nitwits. I am God with a human face. I will always have my wants. Always.”

Priests cheetahed out of the throne room to find virgins. One could pull a yes from a no, it seemed.


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