A Further Consideration of Jabberwocks

[Uncle Longshadow, in a journal entry]

[I have heard tales, from men who clearly knew too much, of things even my erstwhile Keeper knew not to write of in his books. Were they not so useful, I would do my presence of mind the favor of shutting my ears to the secrets in their heads. Unfortunately, this time, as before, I have no such luxury. I will tell this story, then, as I first heard it told to me, that I not lose it along with my mind in what I fear may soon come. There are simply some things too terrible to be allowed to go forgotten.]

The man poured another glass from the newly cracked bottle of whiskey, it’s iconic wax seal leaving crumbs upon the table. He sipped it, slowly, measuring his pace with the beating of his heart. I know this, not because I counted out his cadence, but because he had not yet fallen over dead at my feet. That he could bend the terms of our pledge so far as he had is a testament to the danger of knowledge in the hands of men who recognize it’s power. That he had not slipped from my linguistic noose so completely is a testament to the quality of Annie’s pledgecraft. Clearly I owe the old hag a suitable present on the coming anniversary of her freedom from the Princess Who Rules In the Lake of Singing Tears. A nice cut of fish, perhaps.

[The man began to speak] The world was not always like this, you know. Then, perhaps you don’t. Either way, it is the truth. There was a time, before, when a man of wisdom could hold back the night by the shining light of his soul alone and dare the sleep of the great beasts with impunity. [A chuckle] I see you don’t believe me, do you think I’m free enough of your tricks to lie to you yet? Maybe I am [he winked] but I suppose you’ll just have to trust me. Tell me, what do you remember of your Master’s realm? I promise you, there was a time when your Master would not have dared take you from this world directly, lest the Kings of Man bind it in a servitude more eternal than any but the angels can truly understand, though I imagine a discussion of the Qash’mallim to be a bit far afield of what you’ve asked. Fine, fine, I’ll skip ahead.

We broke it. The World, I mean. Our Kings climbed into Heaven, murdered God, and fucking broke the whole damn Universe. Didn’t see that coming did ya? Well, guess what, when the World broke, it fell into darkness. No, no, not like a dark place: Darkness, with a capital D. Some of us think the breaking created the Darkness, but I think it was already there: A place of Isn’ts and Couldn’t Bes balancing our precarious world of Ares and Shoulds.

The thing is, and this is the worst part, the Darkness isn’t empty. There’s stuff out there. Well, when we fell into the Darkness, we landed on top of some of those things. They can’t fit here, though, because they aren’t Real. Yeah, I know the words don’t quite capture it. I’d tell you there’s a language with a word for what I’m talking about, but you won’t believe that either. Anyways, they couldn’t fit here and so went where all the other unreal parts of our world must stay, the place where we all must go when we dream.

It’s a bit deeper than where your kind likes to wander, I think because of how you see things, but so much is about perspective. Regardless, opinions vary as to what they are up to. The Legends, as we learn them, tell us that they are trapped here, but too big to simply leave. Our World is like a mountain, under which they’ve been buried. They work to undermine, then, the fabric of reality, making it weak enough for them to escape. However, I’ve been to the place where the Darkness waits, separating us from the Heaven we’ve lost like some oily sea, and I can tell you: It’s ABOVE us, past the world of dreams. These Fallen Ones rest just short of its shores. What? Yeah, the Darkness is in the Dreaming, who’s telling this story? That’s what I thought. Anyways, those things are practically sitting on top of us, so why can’t they get out?

Well, I’ve got an idea. I think they lost bits of themselves, stuff they can’t, or won’t, leave without. Now they are searching, I mean, all they have is time. It’s not as though words like ‘alive’ mean anything to them. What? Oh, sorry, remember all of those nouns I’ve been throwing around? Forget ‘em, they don’t mean a damned thing. Everything I’ve given you is a contrivance, a poor tool to talk about things God saw fit to leave out of Creation.

Too bad he’s dead, eh?

Anyways, enough of that, I’d tell you that what you see in your dreams is one of those, but there’s more horrible shit in this world than Nightmares from the Darkness. Remind me next time you are looking to lighten my debt, and I’ll tell you about the time New York was destroyed.

[Laughter shook from his lips, as he finished the last sip from the bottle I’d forced his words with, and faded as a ghost in the shadows before I could demand further service. I do not know that I’ll ever learn a method to compel an honest deal from his kind, then, though, I’d rather keep them from my affairs entirely.]

[There are Dragons yet in this world, I think. Perhaps there are still those who know how to slay them?]

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A Further Consideration of Jabberwocks

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