I wake up and look around me. The dark-red ice is still coating the interior of the church. This can only mean one thing – I am still trapped within the nightmare.
I remember first coming across the mysterious blood stains at the Northern glacier some time back. When I had reached out to touch the dried blood with both hands, a most chilling sensation crept down my spine instantaneously. Strangely, it was… calming. Suppressed emotions that were tormenting the soul died away like an extinguished candle flame. Doubts about the universe at large intensified. And then, my vision faded to nothingness. The next time my eyes paid heed to the reality before me, I was in the church.
A series of twisted, dissonant hymns assaulted my consciousness thereafter, rendering me mentally wrecked. Yet it was so queerly gratifying that I made the mistake of not exiting the malevolent structure as swiftly as a frightened clergyman would. My curiosity drove me to stay put, to find out what else more the church had to offer. A subsequent series of heart-thumping, equally dark, but almost entirely non-verbal hymns proceeded to wash over my consciousness, grabbing the reins of my mind from my soul. And then, nothing. My vision must have had failed me then, once more.
Here I am, freshly aroused from the mysterious slumber for the second time. I shudder at the thought of what awaits me. The chilly air is getting colder. It’s bite is getting sharper by the second. And there it is again! The surreal hymns! No, something is wrong. This time, it sounds… less dangerous. Odd, what is the church trying to tell me? I simply do not comprehend its intention. Am I to tolerate such a lulling tune, after having experienced the pulse-racingly apt contrast between the previous two sets of hymns?
The atmospheric sound of the artificial keyboard instrument is too dominant. The sound of the human voice is highly absent as well, summoning forth memories of the previous set of hymns. Where, pray tell, is the inhuman singing? My ears pick up on a fleeting bout of it in the sixteenth epitome, but nothing more! The artificially transfigured, lone human voice singing in the opening chapter of the epitome leaves a weak impression, too. I hear gravelly whispering occasionally, and while it gives the added flavor of mysticism, the lackluster balance of varying vocal types undermine its fear-inducing capability.
What is this I feel? A previously unknown sense seems to be active. It is telling me that the present set of hymns is nearing its end. Yet the only crest of the entire experience thus far had been the spirit-raising vocal harmony in the fifteenth epitome! What a disappointment. I had sallied forth into the unknown darkness with the intention of finding my identity through the disturbance of my soul, not the putting to sleep of it. The stringed instruments of electrifying sound and natural percussive beats are overtly reaching for the stars throughout, never bringing themselves down to the Earth to craft dark, aggressive melodies that resonate with my restless soul. The first set of hymns accomplished such a feat though. Oh, how I miss it. This is comical. This is inexcusable! Why is the church transmitting a near identical set of hymns to me? It might as well be repeating the previous set of hymns, but with a shortage of resounding, artificial percussive pounding.
My vision is fading away once more. The hymns are dying away. The dark-red ice is melting, and blood is slowly filling the church. As the foul liquid rises, I ponder on the purpose of this astral expedition. What is it that my soul has gained from it? Is it my identity? Or is it merely a temporary respite from my tiresome reality? It has to be the latter. At least, it feels like it ought to be, considering how mentally flaccid the initially invigorating introspection is turning out to be. Perhaps it is the will of the cosmos that I have just experienced this unexpectedly unfulfilling fantasy. Perhaps the larger forces at work simply want to inform me that the concept of a “self” may be merely an illusion. As much as my seemingly unique collection of thoughts and emotions might want to suggest otherwise, perhaps my “self” will simply vanish in an undramatically mundane manner when it is time for my life to expire – just like this third and concluding set of hymns.
Inspired by Happy Metal Guy’s time at Oculus Infernus.