The Keys to Heaven
A hooded rouge watching the world from behind the curtain.
He knows that the freedom we all experience, the security we find in substance is an illusion.
Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I weren’t the son of a god; oblivious. Wondering ‘what if’ my father never came to me as a kid and explained my destiny. Ever since my life has never been the same.
When I was twelve years old I got a summoned down to the the principle’s office in the middle of class.This was nothing new to me, I had a whole cabinet drawer dedicated to my misdeeds, however on this particular day I wasn’t being summoned because of something I did, this time I was being called down because my father wanted to talk to me.
I walked into the office to find the Miranda, the principal serving tea to a well dressed stranger and this wasn’t what I found odd about the situation, I had always assumed that she was an idiot. What stood out to me was the stranger’s eyes; catlike. “Itchaca, would you like a cup?” The stranger snapped his fingers and Miranda began pouring another cup. He then gestured for me to sit across from him. As I turned around to leave the door gently creaked shut in front of me. “Is that anyway to behave when your father has traveled as I have to see you?”
Father? “I’m not sure I understand.” Miranda hands me my coffee as I sit down realizing that I am quickly running out of options for escape.
“Itchaca you have probably noticed that you aren’t cut from the same cloth as the ones around you,” a Cheshire grin spread across his face. “Our people once understood my power as absolute, I was the sun. I could command this world and it inhabitants,” he gestured to Miranda. However, some of our people did not… enjoy the thought of me having absolute power and cast me down into the shadows. Even after this betrayal some of the less… bothersome inferiors of this world still understood that my power was still a force to be reckoned with. Some of the mortals still worshiped the true sun of this world, your mother for instance would offer sacrifices and herself to me.
And shortly after you were born I fled, I didn’t want to be bothered with the tedious responsibilities of taking care of you, I’ve had many children and without fail they’ve all proven to be just as big a disappointment as their inadequate mothers." And at this point his voice had that unmistakable ring of excitement.
“I’ve been watching you for a few months now and you’re the only one of my children that proved to have… potential. But I need one more thing from you, prove to me that you are ready for my approval. Make your choice, would you prefer to live in the illusion of freedom or would you prefer to live as my son?”
Tendrils of shadow sprung from the ground and consumed him, pulling him into a void that had opened up from the ground. As he disappeared Miranda blinked rapidly as if suddenly realizing where she was, and when she saw me sitting in her chair her face turned that particular shade of red that always tickled me, the shade that had meant I had done something to really upset her. But at that point I had already started running out her office door.
And that was it, for ten years I would live on my own, avoiding detection, living among nothing but the shadows. For ten years I would be alone with my thoughts, I began to wonder if anything I was doing was true. Did I really have a run-in with a god, my father? But on year eleven everything I doubted would be shattered.
I remember that night clearly, I was ‘shopping’ in a local drug store for items I could use to bribe idiots with later when suddenly the front door opened and closed. It was the new tech girl, she should have been at home but instead she came in and started loading her purse with some of the medicine I was about to collect.
I started towards the door when suddenly something caught my foot and I fell face first into a self, I could taste the blood coming down from my nose. “Hello, whose there,” I swore under my breath as I scurried to a safe corner to hide in. As I found my corner I also saw that it was occupied by a familiar toothy grin coupled with a pair of familiar catlike eyes.
“My, my how you’ve grown Itchaca,” he faded back into the shadow but not before a tendril came out a knocked down some supplies on a shelf near me. “Rick if that’s you this isn’t funny,” I slid away, but just barely.
Again I was met with his Cheshire grin. “You know there is a custom among our people where someone doesn’t become a man until he has captured his first prisoner,” and again he disappeared making a large clatter. And this time I knew what I had to do. I waited for her to get lost in the isles before I crept up behind her and choked her until she became motionless. I set her down on the floor and then turned to the exit, as I did the door became engulfed in a thick shadow. "What do you want now? I captured your prisoner for you, she’s all yours now. A small shadow split off from the door and slid towards me stopping at my feet, it was a dagger. I picked it up, surprised at how solid it was for something constructed out of a shadow, “prove to me that you are my son…” A voice echoed throughout the room and I knew I wasn’t going to be given much choice. So I walked across the room and knelt down next to the woman. I raised the dagger above my head and swiftly brought it down into her heart.
Or what should have been her heart. Immediately, in the blink of an eye the whole room disappeared and instead I was in the middle of the woods outside of town knelt over a doe that I had apparently stabbed with a small stick. The deer’s eyes were wild with the pain that it couldn’t express with it’s throat punctured. I stood up, disgusted with myself and turned to run back into town instead I stand up face to face with a well dressed mean, arms open and grinding ear to ear. “Now you can call yourself the son of Tezcatlipoca.”
“What the hell was that!” “I needed to prove a point, you needed to see how freedom is merely a mask for the strings people like me can manipulate so easily. But more importantly, you have proven that you are willing to set yourself apart from the rest of this world’s inhabitants for a greater life. A life… among gods.” He embraced me and as he did my left ankle felt as if it had been set on fire. I screamed and struggled but he wouldn’t let me go, instead he began to hum to himself. After a minute or so, as the pain died down he let me go and I rolled up my pant leg to inspect the damage and I was surprised to find that my leg was fine the only difference was a small tribal tattoo wrapped around my ankle. And as the pain subdued I could feel something different, a new strength.
“This is also for you,” he pulled a small rodent to from his pocket,“his name is Tulio and he is yours to take care of, or not… the choice is yours. His life is in your hands and his freedom is yours to manipulate.” A shadow opened up beneath him and slowly swallowed him leaving his trademark grin for last before completely disappearing. In his place was a black backpack. It was mostly empty, except for a necklace, a hooded jacket and a note which read: ‘I give you a taste of my power but be careful, because I have made enemies and my abilities aren’t the only thing you’ll be gaining from me.’ “Show boating shithead.”
But even after that things would never return to normal for me, just as I think I know how to manipulate my strings someone changes the rules. A month after my encounter with my father, the stranger, Tezcatlipoca I started getting visions. What started off as just a dread feeling coming over me has slowly started to evolve into snapshots of… One thing is always constant about the visions however, whenever I get one I skip town and get as far away as I can from whatever is following me. This time the vision was so vivid I woke up in a sweat, “reporting live from Key West, we are one week away from the twenty-twelve Fantasy-Fest;The A-conch-alypse and-” maybe it’s time I went on vacation…