Authors: Joshua A. Chaudry
Apotheosis of the Immortal
Joshua A. Chaudry
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This is a work of fiction. All of the characters and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons or events is purely coincidental.
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Copyright © 2014 by Joshua A. Chaudry
Published in the United States by Adakyn Press, 2014
E-Book ISBN: 978-0-9915617-1-1
Cover art by
Printed in the United States of America
This book is dedicated in its entirety to my son, Caleb Chaudry, as a small way to thank him for his patience, support, and the sacrifices he has made so this dream of mine could be fulfilled. He gives me the drive and determination to keep trying, even when my shoulders are heavy with disappointment and my outlook is bleak.
There are so many wonderful people who have helped me along this arduous yet thrilling journey. So many people I would like to thank, however to name them all would be something like a page of genealogical listings in the book of Genesis—I would be saying so much without truly saying anything at all. Therefore, I have chosen to reserve this page for those few special people whose support and dedication to my life in general have been so huge that I consider them soul mates—people who have directly affected the course of my life in one way or another, and have made me better for it.
I would have to recognize my parents and grandparents, who fight at every turn to get my life on track, yet are always there for me either way; my brother and sister, who have always loved me unconditionally; my niece and nephew, whom I love like my own; my late friend Mathew Rickett, who, during his last weeks of battling cancer, actually comforted me instead of the other way around; and my son, who inspires me to rise from my couch every morning—with his damn alarm clock!
“To write is human, to edit is divine.”
– Steven King
I would have never understood this quote if not for my editor Faith Freewoman. She has the gift to take my words and transform them into art. Faith has changed me as a writer, giving me the perfect mixture of support and reprieve to allow tremendous growth as a novelist. She picks and prods, asking me the perfect questions, questions poignant enough to bring me to my own solutions. The knowledge I have gained from working with her is absolutely priceless, as it will be with me and show in my writing forever. The most wonderful thing about working with Faith is that she allows you to create a product all your own, brought forth by your imagination and creativity, yet you couldn’t have done it without her. It is, she is, an amazing and beautiful paradox.
I would like to thank Teresa Reasor, an author, and another great artist in the field. She has helped with my edits and her insights are sometimes nearly magical. She has been with me from the beginning and continues to be there for me whenever I need guidance; her help gave me my first big breakthroughs as a writer, and without her graceful interjections I would not have been able to reach my destination.
I would also like to thank Ellen Fox, who has supported me in many ways since the beginning of this project. She is a brilliant writer and has somehow been able to inspire the same in me from time to time.
I would like to thank my father, Dr. Khalid R. Chaudry M.D. for all of his emotional and financial support; without his faith and unconditional love this would certainly have never happened.
Lastly, I would like to thank
You & Me Coffee & Tea
for providing great coffee and a wonderful working environment.
He went to
sleep next to his little brother Malaki—boys in a castle, exchanging gallant tales of Solomon, the older brother they idolized, and dreaming about the brave knights they might one day become. But the sinister night had abruptly crucified that age of innocence and Elijah emerged a man—full of hate and intent on vengeance.
It seemed like an eternity had gone by, but he remembered every detail, every moment like an hour… the fear and confusion on Malaki’s face, his murderer’s stench and cold stare. He remembered his mother’s dead eyes desperately calling for help. The puddles and splashes of blood covering the walls and floor. The merciless destruction of Sara, the girl he’d loved his whole life.
Revenge was all he had lived for in the hundreds of years since he opened his eyes and raised his head from the cold stone floor of Rothber Castle. Some time during that terrible night he had been baptized in blood and birthed into immortality. His mind and body had solidified with clear and immutable purpose, though his soul had been crushed in its wake. His soulless geste was cold and cynical; everything pure and sacred was dead. All that remained was a hard and implacable shell, an unyielding carapace—immortal, and fully sustained by hate. Nearly a millennium of blood, lust, and dreams of revenge hadn’t been enough to sway his purpose or dull his passion.
A great abyss separated Elijah from his human capacity for love, respect, and peace of mind. The mortals with whom he interacted were mere keys on a piano, striking the strings that dulled his senses and eased his pain.
He was a dead man walking.
Elijah – The Abyss
“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”
“Beyond Good and Evil,”
Aphorism 146 (1886). Friedrich Nietzsche
“Noooo! Elijah, help
Elijah was jolted from his dream of playing childhood games with his beloved Sara by his little brother’s shrill cries. His pulse thundered as Malaki continued screaming his name.
Lunging to his feet, his eyes still bleary with sleep, he sprinted to the stairwell. Beneath the faint, flickering yellow light of the rushes on the wall, Elijah watched in horror as a burly man descended the stairs with little Malaki thrown carelessly over his massive shoulder.
Elijah was disoriented from his sudden trepidation, and the dim light was making it worse. Rushing forward, he didn’t notice until it was too late that the usually cold, dry floor was now warm and wet. And just as a horrible stench made him gag, his bare feet skidded on the steps, and in the flicker of rushlight Elijah saw they were saturated with a blanket of red.
His shoulder struck the edge of the wooden banister and numbed his arm, making it impossible to catch himself when he tumbled backwards and hit the whetted edge of every stair as he fell to the bottom.
He landed on his aching back, and his eyes fell on a gruesome sight only inches from his face, one so dreadful his mind refused to accept what his eyes were seeing. A surge of horror exploded in his chest.
His mother’s body lay on the stone floor next to him. She was naked, and nearly every inch of her was covered in blood. Her dead eyes were still crying out for help; her face was frozen and distorted with terror. Her chest had been completely ripped open, the wound too hideous to comprehend, and Elijah’s stomach roiled as he gagged again on the stench of blood and death.
“Elijah!” Malaki’s shriek jerked Elijah’s attention up and away from the horror lying beside him.
The stranger handed his little brother over to a second man. Dressed in dark robes, the second man’s silver hair hung unkempt from his forehead to his jaw, and a ragged beard covered the lower half of his face. He looked like he hadn’t bathed in months, and his putrid stench clouded the room. But when he turned with a struggling Malaki in his arms, Elijah recognized him immediately.
“Father!” The word was torn from his throat in accusation. His long-lost father’s arms were wrapped tightly around Malaki’s small body, holding him still almost effortlessly.
As soon as he heard Elijah’s exclamation, Malaki suddenly went limp. Elijah saw a flicker of hope in his little brother’s eyes. Until this moment, Malaki hadn’t known it was his father whose grasp was now so strong around his chest.
Malaki’s fear vanished as he realized he was right where he had longed to be, wrapped tightly in his father’s arms.
Elijah shot him a fiercely warning glance. This was not the father they had known all those years ago, and he didn’t want Malaki to give in to that seductive fiction, to believe this man meant him no harm.
Catching the powerful warning in his brother’s gaze, Malaki was brought back to reality. This man’s embrace was different. It wasn’t one of a loving father, but of a vicious stranger bent on causing harm.
What is happening
Where is Solomon?
Elijah’s thoughts careened around his brain. He watched with utter disgust as the filthy man lifted Malaki’s head and pressed his lips against the soft warmth of the boy’s cheek. Malaki was innocent; he was sacred, and this defilement was too much. An unholy rage stirred within Elijah; he must end this now.
“Stop this debauchery. I will
let it continue.” Elijah’s voice was quietly, intently venomous.
His father didn’t say a word. He just looked directly into Elijah’s eyes for a long moment. Then, without hesitation, he shrugged his shoulders indifferently, bit Malaki on the shoulder, and then snapped his neck.
Elijah’s mind and body blanked, frozen in disbelief. Then he was ripped back to painful awareness when he heard his little brother’s body hit the cold stone floor.
“No!” The word ripped from Elijah’s very soul. The pain nearly crippled him. “What are you doing?” Elijah shoved to his feet, bruised and bloody from the fall, his body protesting every movement. He searched his father’s eyes, but found no reason for this devastation, and saw no remorse.
Suddenly Solomon appeared in the doorway between Elijah and their father, and Elijah’s heart leapt with relief. Solomon’s enormous strength could certainly settle this score. Malaki had meant just as much to him, if not more. Elijah’s heart was still wrenched with sorrow over the loss of his little brother, but he found a bit of solace in knowing Solomon would surely make their father pay long and painfully.
He watched his big brother, waiting for him to act, but slowly realized he wasn’t looking at the great man he grew up admiring. The Solomon he knew would never have tolerated this and would not have hesitated to kill in restitution for what had just been done to their little brother.
But now Solomon’s face was sheepish, his eyes apologetic. Far from ferocious, his big brother looked broken—and
“He’s killed Mother and Malaki!” Elijah shouted, trying to yank Solomon out of his trance. But his older brother just stood there frozen; he did nothing.
Realizing Solomon’s many years at his father’s side must have made it impossible for him to act, Elijah quickly decided he would relieve his brother of this burden. Solomon had been older than he and Malaki when their father left, and their bond had been strong. Elijah had also loved their father, but the man before them now was not the man Elijah remembered. He was no longer their father.
A thought leapt into his mind. Solomon had just gone to see Sara. “Solomon! Solomon!” He yelled frantically, but his brother wouldn’t even look up. “Just tell me Sara is safe,” Elijah begged.
The evil his father had become laughed, but Solomon remained silent, hanging his head.
Panic sank in even deeper now. “Solomon!” he shouted again. “Tell me!”
Solomon barely looked up and shook his head slowly to the left and then to the right. Shame was smeared all over his face.
“What have you done, Brother?” Elijah screamed, overcome with grief.
Looking again towards Malaki’s frail, lifeless body sprawled at the feet of the monster, Elijah’s resolve hardened and his mind filled with rage.
His father stood silent; the look on his face was condescending. None of tonight’s events had disturbed him in the slightest.
“Why?” Elijah cried.
His father fished out a small pistachio nut from the satchel draped around his shoulder and pried it apart with his teeth. The cracked shell spewed from his mouth and landed in a pool of saliva just inches away from Malaki’s body. He still didn’t say a word.
Elijah glanced again at Solomon, who was still hanging his head, looking defeated, even submissive.
Anger and frustration stormed through Elijah, building rapidly to an explosion. He understood why it would be so difficult for Solomon to stand against their father, and he wouldn’t blame his brother.
This was his father’s doing. His father’s silence and impiety fed his anger as he stalked forward. “I’m going to kill you!” he shouted.
The need for retribution narrowed his focus to the man standing proudly over his little brother’s broken body. He could already feel his father’s neck crushing beneath his hands; he pictured it in his mind. As he continued forward, he glimpsed a large log hanging from Solomon’s capable hand and was elated and relieved to see Sol had finally regained his composure and was ready to help him.
Lunging for his father, Elijah spotted movement out of the corner of his eye. It was Solomon; he was swinging the piece of wood like a club. It wasn’t until the wood crashed against his own temple and the cracking pain of the blow dropped him to his back that he grasped his brother’s betrayal.
As he lay on the ground, the liquid heat of blood and pain surged from his head and through his neck. He was more confused than ever. What had just happened?
The single word echoed through his mind while everything went black.