Post feature RSS Story Fragment 4/6: The Puritan

Written by Glenn Winkelmann Jr. (AKA: C-zom) All copyright held.

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April 2013 will usher in the final batch of canonically unrelated, but atmospherically similar, flash fiction stories that are used to compliment the Triptych atmosphere and experience while also wetting the appetite of trackers/followers/fans of Dark Craft Studios. The previous set of three were highly praised (off the comments section of Moddb), so two more by Glenn and presumptuously one more again by Secondary/Junior Writer Ian Wiese will show up before the month is over. The last three anticipated a gigantic media campaign, and our first trailer. By the time this final set of three is done, another media campaign and trailer will be launched.

The Puritan

That there is a Devil, is a thing doubted by none but such as are under the influences of the Devil.”
- Cotton Mather

He realized that the rituals of mysteries performed around him were not fit for his intellect, but for the minds of weaker willed individuals. Yet there was no doubt that Ambrose had succumb to a singular intoxication for the festivities that he proclaimed to be so far above. Unfortunately, if he had not resigned himself to his own insignificance in the ceremony as a mere acolyte, he might now be the one adorning the pillar of fire, or might even be the masked supplicant leading the ceremony known as the 'Birth of Totengott'. But because of his disillusion from the sect which he pronounced as juvenile he shall never attain such titles with them, or lead them to proper enlightenment.

But how was it that he harbored such contempt for the ones who had before lessened it? That sinuous gathering of night-worshipers was very disquieting, and the more he lingered with their company, the more it was he felt a sense of shuddering awe. And, indeed, it was awe that inspired a desire in him to achieve a particular transformation into the being known as 'Totengott the Puritan'. To accept him is to become him; his assimilation into your person is but a subtle change in perspective and in aspect. Within all does he rest, and within all will he awaken. And Ambrose achieved this when he finished immersing himself in the delight of decay and rot, of disease and pestilence. His vestments were but tattered cloth, his residence was a thatched thing of straw, mud, and mortar atop a foundation built from the ruins of a pig farm. And, he gathered from the farthest reaching corners of the colony all things which reflected in his eyes the understanding, or dare he say, the beauty, of death. The 'yard', (if such a title could be bestowed upon a field of mud, sty, and dissolved farmhouses) was decorated with the corpses of half feasted animals. Upon the edges of the roof he hung the bones of all things human or animal he could find, and from the ceiling interior he had strewn the dried hides of children to which the townsfolk looked for in vain. And he had placed the jars of their eyes, heads, hearts and hands in various stages of dissolution upon the windowsill to be admired by the guests that supplicated him daily.

From his venerable Tartarus he would entertain guests of an utmost enjoyable caste. To the murderers, rapists, serial arsonists, occultists and witches his doors were always open. And to engage in colloquy with the foulest of the world's inhabitants was the highlight of his life, to which his sound sleep would recall to him the particular moments of enlightening conversation. And, finally, through all of his being there festered a gruesome contentment. But it did not last. How could it? He realized that his passions ran deeper than any others, and that such efforts were never made by the ceremonious ghouls which had been his kinsfolk for so long. Their trivial, surface scratching on the edge of the cosmic threshold was – to him – akin to reading the title of a book, and claiming to know it's full contents.

And it was this ignorance – this placid denial of the deeper intricacies of his religion – that the colony showed him over time. And that is where such contempt was formed that Ambrose, in a moment of realization, opted to dissolve himself of any responsibilities in their sect and to star in his own ceremony, on his own stage, on a day of his choosing. Still, if not for these lepers, would he not be in a gibbet on the northern side of town, presented as a supper which even the crows would refuse? His first encounter with the colony was many years ago. Centuries, perhaps. It was on a parched, freezing, evening solstice that he crawled on all fours through the brambles and undergrowth of a dense pine forest, flayed and weary, shackles dragged behind him in the frozen mud. Over his head were the darting arrows of red light, cast from the pursuers not far behind him. The condemned know of little else but the desire to survive. And so, with the last vestiges of his strength, he refused to consent defeat, but pulled himself forward through the frozen wastes to find a new home.

The righteous mob stopped their pursuit and turned back home, so that he could rise and limp the rest of the way towards the colony he had heard so much about. Upon mounting the crest of a summit, he witnessed in awe the gyrations of their Yuletide rites which inspired in him a sense of wonder. In the chlorotic glare of a sickly fire there were throngs of naked figures groveling in a foreign tongue to a pillar of flame, clung to the shape of some amorphously sinister creation of wood and leaves, an ignorant interpretation of what he should come to worship. But upon this sight he fell madly in love, adoring the intricacies of their heretical worship. Weary and wounded, fatigued from his escape from that dungeon cell, Ambrose stripped himself of all clothes, ran towards the pillar, and joined the sect in dance. He would have held their hands in merriment had they possessed any.

And, now, the preparations were complete for his ceremony... that is, all except one striking difference between him and the congregation he would speak to: his skin was too pure. To become something ethereal, something drowned in the essence of distilled life, he would need to embrace the diseased rot of that mongrel colony. So he strove to wed a wife, a leprous thing with bony limps and boiled skin, which would assuredly bestow upon him the blessing of her condition. It did not take long to persuade a dying woman of the benefits from taking his hand, for she would be privy to untold splendor.

Ambrose, concealed in a costume that hid his rotting flesh, was assured of his transcendence to 'pure' worship. He observed in contentment as a pillar – amorphously shaped, and sinfully disparaged – was lit by his own followers. The spasmodic shadows cast gnarled patterns from the burnt oak trees which swayed in the night wind. From under the lichens, from within untold crypts, and from between the trees there oozed the throngs of dancing revels; mad, noiseless ghouls of the dragging dead. They adorned the pillar of sickly fire and spun in hideous gyrations as the drums began to sound, precipitating as they did the flutes to echo from the abyss in droning keys. He lifted his hands into the air and began to preach. And preach he did, as fluently as one would expect, for as he held his sermon there spoke the voice of no man, but of Totengott the Puritan.

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