It was a rainy night. Even though it was a full moon, it wasn’t visible. So, there was no light coming down from the sky. There was no light that could illuminate that darkness. There was no escape from that darkness.
Police Officer: “It’s not safe to be here, kid.”
The officer said as he moved closer to the boy. He looked to be around 7-8 years old and was sitting on a bench alone in that rain.
Police Officer: “What’s wrong? Are you lost?”
The officer asked in a voice that should be comforting for the boy to hear, a tone of voice that he should feel comfortable listening to. Furthermore, the officer bent one knee to look at him in the eye.
Boy: “I … I am … not lost. But …”
The boy pursed his lips as if to indicate that he wouldn’t say anything more.
Police Officer: “I-I see. Then, are you waiting for someone?”
Boy: “I … don’t know.”
The boy said. The officer didn’t understand what had happened and so all he could do was to offer him a hand.
Police Officer: “Come on, come with me. It’s dangerous to be here.”
Boy: “It … is?”
Police Officer: “Yes, this rain is not good for you. And it seems like lightning can strike too. Although that’s not likely, better safe than sorry, am I right?”
The boy looked at the officer blankly. The officer started to take the boy’s hand as the boy didn’t do anything to resist.
Police Officer: “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. I’ll listen to whatever your problem is and will do my best in solving it for you. So, come now.”
The boy didn’t resist. In fact, he didn’t make any movements at all. He just kept staring blankly at the officer. The officer understood (or at least assumed) that the boy was going through something really troubling. He had no idea what it could be but he understood that he couldn’t leave him all alone in the rain.
Police Officer: “So, what is your name?”
The officer asked in a soft, gentle voice. That voice was meant to comfort the boy. But instead, it shocked him. It reminded him of a different voice, a voice that was in no way comforting, but in every way – eerie.
Police Officer: “What’s wrong? Tell me your name.”
Boy: “I …”
The boy struggled to say anything. Half of his mind was occupied by the thoughts of the incident that had led to him ending up there. He just couldn’t focus.
Boy: “My name … is …”
And all of a sudden, tears started flowing down his cheeks.
Police Officer: “Uh!”
The officer was left bereft of words as he saw that. “Just what in the world happened to this kid?” he wondered.
They continued walking. In a short time of about two minutes, they were at the police station. While the officer took the child into the station by hand, other officers enquired about him and they all got worried when they heard what had happened.
Cases of kidnapping, murder as well as child torture was nothing very new to the place they worked in. One or two of them popped up every two months. However, that doesn’t make it any less horrifying.
Police Officer: “Hey, could you go and sit over there while I take care of something?”
The officer asked of the boy as he pointed at a bench within the station. The boy looked at the officer with the same blank expression and nodded.
Police Officer: “Okay, don’t go anywhere. I’ll be back in a second.”
The boy nodded yet again and started walking towards the bench the officer pointed at. His tears, by that point, had dried off.
Police Officer: “Hey, you …”
He trailed off as he checked the boy’s forehead, before going, to make sure he doesn’t have a fever.
He didn’t have a fever. The officer felt relieved.
Police Officer: “Okay, that’s good. Now, I’ll be …”
He said as he started to leave but stopped mid-sentence. He stopped because he got a good view of his eyes for the first time.
Police Officer: “Y-You’re … blind?”
The officer said as he saw those eyes with no light in them.
The boy wasn’t born blind. He was born with a rather good pair of eyes. But he lost the sight he was born with. Furthermore, he didn’t lose them because of some natural loss of sight or overexertion of them. His sight was taken from him. It happened in the morning prior to that night – before the rain started.
“Hey child, can you hear me?”
He heard a voice. It was a rather pleasant voice. But he didn’t know whose it was, who it was addressing and where it came from. The boy looked around but couldn’t find the one who said that.
“Ah, so you can hear me. That’s delightful.”
Hearing the voice showing glee, the boy felt uncomfortable. He was standing in a public park filled with people on all sides. So even though he continued to look, he couldn’t find the one who said it.
“You don’t need to look around to find me, child. I’m right here.”
He heard that voice. It seemed like the voice was addressing him. But if so, whose is it? What is the speaker trying to say?
“You won’t find me even if you keep looking around, child. If you really want to find me, look within your heart.”
The boy gasped at those words. For an eight-year-old like him, those words didn’t sound all that creepy; but they still gave him a bad feeling.
Boy: “W-Who … are you?”
“Shouldn’t it be obvious, child? Who else could you find when you look within your heart? Who else could I be?”
Who else could he find when he looked within his heart? There was only one answer that anyone could come up with.
“Is it really that surprising? I think you should have heard that the god lives within a person’s heart, within their soul. I am the one they talk about.”
There was no way the boy could just readily accept that as if it’s nothing. He may have been a child, but he was not so ignorant of reality that he could just believe someone who calls themselves a ‘god’. So,
Boy: “Y-You … don’t lie to me. You can’t be god. I can’t just believe you if you call yourself a god.”
“No, no, child. You are wrong. I am not a god.”
The voice said very calmly,
“I am the god.”
The voice continued before the boy could think anything.
“If you want me to confirm it to you, then come.”
The boy was doubtful. He was suspicious. He had always been told to not associate with strangers. And this was a stranger who didn’t even show his face. He couldn’t do just as the voice told him to. And yet,
He could not help himself. The boy asked where he needed to come because he just couldn’t control his curious mind.
“Come to the shrine nearest to this park. You know which one I am talking about, don’t you, child?”
He nodded. There was only one shrine that can be called near to the park. Every other was at least 10 kilometers away. So that one shrine can only be what that voice asked him to come to. And the boy, knowing he shouldn’t, started to head there. It was as if his legs moved without even his consent.
Boy: “This must be the place, right?”
He asked himself as he stepped foot in the shrine. There weren’t many people in the shrine. In fact, the only ones there were the people who lived at the shrine and a couple of people who had come to pray.
Monk: “Have you come to pray, boy?”
Boy: “U-uh, I …”
“Go on. Say you have come to pray. It is not really untrue, you know.”
The boy felt the urge to ask “How?” but he controlled himself and nodded to give the monk the answer to his question.
Monk: “I see. Come here.”
The monk walked ahead as he asked the boy to follow and he did. The boy followed him and entered the tomb. He was barefoot as he was walking in the shrine he had never been before. Needless to say, he was pretty nervous.
Monk: “Don’t be afraid. Come here.”
The monk motioned the boy to come to a place he was already headed towards. As he reached that place, the monk pointed at a statue. It was a statue of the god the monks prayed to.
Monk: “See. He is the god known as Ozyllus.”
The boy felt a shiver run down his spine as he heard that name,
Monk: “He is, in fact, the only true god.”
The monk said. The boy heard.
Monk: “He is the one who brought prosperity to the world when it was being ravaged by the demon known as Abyss.”
The monk continued to say. The boy continued to hear.
Monk: “He defeated that demon and brought an end to the war.”
The monk kept singing praises. The boy kept listening blankly.
Monk: “Mankind has now strayed from the path he opened up for us – the path of peace that would lead to salvation. But if you pray to him, you can still find that path, and you can still find salvation.”
The eight-year-old boy didn’t completely know what that word meant. But he did understand that it was something good, something that a lot of people would want to find.
Ozyllus: “See. Now do you believe me?”
The voice suddenly spoke.
Ozyllus: “That statue, in front of you, is a statue of me. The monk just told you about me too. That saves me some trouble.”
The voice continued leaving no time for the boy to process everything that was being told to him.
Monk: “So boy, join your hand together in order to pray. Like this.”
The monk said as he joined his hands. The boy had no choice but to follow suit. That’s when,
“I hate YOU!!!”
A voice came. It was a much different voice than what the boy was hearing in his head again and again. It was the voice of a girl.
Monk: “Uh, I suppose she is in a bad mood. That was to be expected though.”
The monk said as he heard that voice as well.
Monk: “Don’t worry, boy. It’s just a girl who lives here. We are going somewhere but not taking her so she’s angry.”
Boy: “I-I see.”
Ozyllus: “My, my. That girl he just mentioned is an Aural. I thought this shrine only had casual believers but I suppose that’s not true.”
The voice told him as he heard the girl running away angrily. Shouts of “Sneha, come back” or “Don’t be such a brat, Sneha” could be heard.
Hearing them, the monk sighed confirming his guess.
Monk: “Don’t mind them, boy. Come now, where were we?”
After having prayed to the god he had just come to know about, the boy exited the shrine building.
Boy: “I … I didn’t …”
Ozyllus: “… get to meet me. Is that what you are thinking, child?”
The boy wasn’t really surprised to hear his voice again suddenly.
Boy: “You … are Ozyllus, is that right?”
Ozyllus: “I would like you to address a god with more respect, but oh well; I can let it slide for children I suppose.”
He said and he sighed.
Ozyllus: “Yes, I’m Ozyllus.”
Boy: “Hmm … so what exactly do you want from me?”
The boy asked with a bit of anxiety.
Ozyllus: “Oh, don’t worry. I won’t ask for too much.”
He said as his voice got mellower.
Ozyllus: “I just want you to give me your eyes.”
The boy didn’t understand why the god would say something like that.
Boy: “M-My eyes?”
The boy could comprehend the words but not the meaning behind them. The fear of what it may be started to make him more and more anxious.
Ozyllus: “You don’t need to be so troubled. You will lose your sight, yes. But in exchange, you will be doing a great service to humanity.”
His words were not without any substance behind them. They were not mere deception.
Boy: “You …”
The boy could feel the emotions of the so-called god as he said the word ‘humanity’.
Boy: “You say my eyes will be able to do something good for humanity?”
Ozyllus: “Yes, that’s exactly what I am saying.”
The boy couldn’t just deny him now. The emotions he felt in Ozyllus’ voice told him that he was not lying, not completely lying at least.
Boy: “I …”
He couldn’t decide on what to do. He was put in a bind with nowhere to turn to for any help or advice.
Ozyllus: “Why are you so conflicted, child? It should be an easy decision. By sacrificing your eyes, you could, in a sense, save the world even.”
Ozyllus: “Yes, that is the extent of how great it would be if you give them up. It should be obvious what the right thing to do is.”
Boy: “I …”
Ozyllus: “Come. Come to the bottom of the shrine, the entrance.”
The boy was already heading down the stairs to where Ozyllus told him to come. He was already heading to the entrance. So he continued on.
The boy had come down to the entrance. He could see no one there. Not a single human was present there.
Ozyllus: “This should make it easier for us, right?”
He said. The boy heard. But for some reason, there was a difference in his voice that the boy noticed.
He gasped as he turned around. The difference that he had been able to pick up was that his voice, for the first time, seemed to be coming from a specific direction. That direction was behind him.
Boy: “W-Where did you come from … all of a sudden?”
Ozyllus: “Well, I just thought I’ll try to let you see me since you are about to do something so noble. Appearing visible to the naked eyes might be pretty taxing in a soul’s state but still, this is the least I can do for you. Now you can take pride in the fact that the eyes you gave didn’t just save the world, but also captured the reflection of the god in them.”
The boy fell silent. He just couldn’t retort. Something absurd was going on. And he had no clue about what to do in response.
Ozyllus: “Well now, you must be wondering how exactly you are supposed to give me your eyes.”
He said as he raised his hand to the boy’s height.
Ozyllus: “It’s simple actually.”
He faced his palm at the boy’s head.
Ozyllus: “You don’t need to do anything in fact. All that needs to be done will be done by me.”
A hint of darkness was on his face as he spoke.
Ozyllus: “Yes, just like the whole humanity doesn’t need to do anything but sit back.”
He moved closer bringing his hands towards the boy’s eyes.
Ozyllus: “All that needs to be done in order to save this vile race will be done by me. They don’t need to do anything.”
He kept moving closer. The boy, on the other hand, was frozen in his place. He couldn’t move. He was seeing the so-called god in front of him coming towards him seeming to want to grab his face.
Boy: “Uh …”
Ozyllus: “It’s okay, child. There is no need to worry. Just stay there. It will be over before you know it.”
The hand moved closer. The boy couldn’t move.
The hand came even closer. The boy still couldn’t move.
The hand continued to come closer. The boy continued to try and fail in moving his limbs.
The hand came closer. The boy didn’t move.
The hand came closer. The boy moved.
He looked at the boy in surprise as the boy moved away from Ozyllus’ approaching hands.
Boy: “I can’t. I can’t give up my eyes.”
He shouted. He couldn’t help himself. Ozyllus thought this would happen. But he thought this reaction would come much sooner. When it didn’t come, he started to think this boy wouldn’t resist for a second. But in the end, he did resist.
Ozyllus: “I see. Then what if we make a deal?”
Boy: “A d-deal?”
Ozyllus: “Yes, you let me take your eyes and the people of the shrine get to live.”
The boy didn’t understand. So Ozyllus continued.
Ozyllus: “I may have forgotten to mention this but all those people except the girl that is being left behind are going to die today.”
The boy couldn’t say anything. What was he supposed to say? He just couldn’t understand.
Ozyllus: “Today, a man would cause a disaster the world would never forget. And the people of this shrine will be one of the many victims of it. You can save them though.”
The people in the shrine were nothing compared to the world. But Ozyllus understood that the boy doesn’t understand the true weight of what saving the world means. So he brought into the equation those the boy knew of. He understood that this will hit the boy’s conscience harder.
Boy: “But w-why? Why is it supposed to be this way?”
Ozyllus: “Because that’s what the world demands. Now then, make your choice.”
He said as he looked straight into the boy’s eyes.
Ozyllus: “Give your eyes to me and save the people in the shrine. Or keep your eyes and let them die.”
He presented the choices. The boy was left to choose. Chose to suffer the pain of losing his sight and blindness for the rest of his life or to sacrifice the people he had just met and had treated him kindly.
Boy: “I …”
Ozyllus had already started to move closer as if he already knew what the boy was going to choose.
Boy: “I …”
The boy didn’t retreated any further as if to make it clear what he has chosen.
Boy: “I …”
Ozyllus closed his eyes and opened them again as if to collect the resolve to do what he is about to do.
Boy: “I CAN’T LOSE MY EYES.”
The boy shouted louder than he had ever before, leaving Ozyllus surprised.
Boy: “I can’t do that. It’s not fair.”
The boy couldn’t help but start crying.
Ozyllus: “I see.”
Ozyllus said as he looked at the boy with sympathy.
Ozyllus: “This is why you are a human.”
He said as he looked as the boy with pity in his eyes.
Ozyllus: “This is why you can never be a god yourself.”
Ozyllus grabbed his head before the boy had any chance to do anything.
Ozyllus: “I lied. I’m sorry but you never had the option to do that.”
He said as he sent the child in front of him in a vortex of pain.
Police Officer: “Tell me, what’s your name?”
Boy: “E-Ethan … Kales.”
He said his name while barely keeping himself from breaking down.
Police Officer: “I see. Do you know where you live?”
Ethan: “I … live … in the St. George’s Orphanage.”
Police Officer: “Orphanage, huh? I see. Did you get separated from the rest of the orphans?”
Ethan: “I did.”
Police Officer: “When did that happen?”
Ethan: “This morning. We were taken to a public park that we are taken to often … when I heard … a voice.”
Police Officer: “A voice? What happened then?”
What happened then?
What happened when the voice called to him? What happened when he went to the shrine? What happened when he came out of the shrine? What happened when he saw the so-called god? What happened when that god took his eyes?
He knows the answers but was afraid to think about them. How could he not be? Was he supposed to remember the fact that he passed out from pain when his sight was stolen? Was he supposed to remember that for some reason, the next time he woke up, he found himself near a pile of dead bodies where only two people seemed to be standing? Was he supposed to remember that the only thing he could see was supernatural? Was he supposed to remember that he saw some auras among the pile of dead bodies that gave him a familiar vibe, as if they belonged to the monks? Was he supposed to remember that the ability to see normal things and not see the supernatural had been stolen from him?
How could he be asked to remember something so cruel? He would never be able to voice this complain. Because, in the next moment, the windows broke and chilling breeze flew in as a man in dark brown robe, a black cape and a golden helm walked towards them.
Police Officer: “Hey, who are you? What happened there?”
Dyne: “Nothing much, your buddies would have been an annoyance to me so I put them to sleep.”
Police Officer: “What? Did you kill them?”
Dyne: “No, don’t worry. I won’t go around killing the police for no reason. As I said, I just put them to sleep.”
The Spectre said in a matter-of-fact tone. The officer covered Ethan behind him as he pointed his gun at Dyne. Unfortunately,
Dyne: “That won’t work.”
Dyne caught the gun with his hand. The officer still managed to shoot but it didn’t affect Dyne at all. After all, he’s a ghost.
Dyne: “You need to go to sleep too.”
He said as he chopped at the pressure point of the officer and made him lose consciousness. He did it so fast Ethan didn’t move an inch.
Dyne: “Now then, you have become a holder of something that could be really troubling for me.”
He said as he looked at Ethan.
Dyne: “I don’t know why a normal human like you was chosen to do something like this but those eyes you have acquired by sacrificing your true ones; they could either end up saving the world or destroying it.”
Ethan had no time to process everything that had happened there.
Dyne: “Thankfully, there are other ways to save the world. And so I am not going to take the risk of keeping you alive.”
He said as he raised his arm.
Dyne: “This probably isn’t your fault, but you will have to die.”