Seconds after thinking to myself how much I liked these knobs, I broke one taking it off for pot maintenance.
Sam walked with the man in white along the paved road; on his right was a lake, on his left a village in the trees.
“Where am I?” Sam asked, What is this place”?
“This? This is nowhere. This is where we all go, and soon it too will be gone. He's coming. The Eraser. He's almost here”.
“But, what about...what about what you gave me? Can't I stop him? I can give it back to you, you can stop him!”
“No. No, I'm afraid not. He will erase everything, and you must let him”.
“What?! Let him?! What do you mean? Hell no I'm not going to let him!”
“I'm afraid you have no choice, look, he is here”.
The man in white pointed to the horizon, and the clouds were swirling into a kaleidoscope of deep blue color, like lava flowing upwards and looking like oil in water, and climbing and growing and darkening the sky, and behind the blue was fire and beyond that the dark black of nothing.
“Remember what I told you” said the man in white as he looked around with a reverent smile, “Use what I gave you with the other, when it's time”.
Kevin could see the Eraser tearing its way through the glowing shield around Sam's house; he leapt and tackled him and they both ripped through the barrier and tore through the roof of the house below. They fell and fell, and Sam saw them plummet from the sky and crash into the lake, and as they did the water hissed in agony at their presence and then was dried up and gone. The two clawed and gnashed at each other, and the Eraser slashed Kevin's face and spilled his blood to the ground. Kevin's eyes burned with haunted fury and he bit the things leg and tore at its flesh and it let out a hideous cry. The Eraser grabbed him and flung him across the barren lake floor and then set his eyes on Sam and the Man in white and all those gathered in the village.
The Eraser launched toward Sam, and the man in white pushed him out of its way and was devoured as they rolled away. Then it stood up and let out a horrible, blood curdling scream as its eyes blazed up with flame; it set to destroying all that was before it. it erased the trees, the paths, the children, and even the sky, and it grew in power and was not to be sated until all was gone.
The barren lake bed, and Sam, who stood between the Eraser and Kevin, were all that remained.
The Eraser sped toward Sam, and Kevin did the same, and Sam leapt aside as the two collided away from him. He sat there on the ground, with an all black sky around him, and called on the thing he had been given. As it came forth, the Eraser turned toward it and set to destroy him. Kevin saw the moment of distraction and used it to grab the Eraser by one shoulder and then thrust his other hand through its back out out its chest, and there he held the half orb of his enemy in front of his own eyes.
The Eraser held on to the thing with desperation, his hands wrapped around Kevin's and soaked in blood, and he called on its power one last time to eraser everything that remained, but Sam used his newfound power to envelop them in a bubble, and there they floated, just the three of them.
Sam reached out and called the Eraser's half orb to him with his outstretched hand and it came to him and the creature faded to nothing.
Kevin pulled the last remaining banner from that deep well, it was Sam's, but before he could get it to him, Sam reached out and pulled the other half orb from his chest too. Both reached Sam at the same time, and he remembered Kevin, but Kevin was gone.
Sam fell to his knees, an orb in each hand. One devoured the other, and then engulfed him.
He was thrust into a blinding white room, like waking from a dream. He could not recall where he was before, and did not have a sense if he had ever existed before this moment. There was a low hum all around and a faint red sphere beginning to take shape in front of him about twenty yards away. He couldn't gauge the size of the room, everywhere he looked was just white, but he could tell that it was a room, it felt like one. The sphere took shape a became a solid red form and floated toward him, the whole room began to turn red too. He had no control of his movement and could only look on as the thing approached. The room then turned completely red and the sphere blended in so that it could not be seen, then it darkened into a black ball and began to change its shape; it became the form of a man and drew closer. The silhouette stretched out a hand in what appeared to be a handshake-like gesture, and Sam was compelled to do the same. His hand grasped the form and he was suddenly struck by all his memories, and more; he saw back through many lifetimes, and then forward through many more, his eyes turned red and he opened his mouth and a great, booming Om sound escaped into the room, and worlds were formed, and history was made, and in the shadows something stirred to life.
Kevin could feel the connection between himself and the shadow, he closed his eyes and focused on the humming force inside of himself and how it called out to its other half, and then he saw a vision from sight that was not his. Kevin watched through the Eraser's eyes as it closed in on his two fleeing friends, saw them turn in terror as it stalked and devoured them, and witnessed the beast turn back to where he was and look straight into him from that far off distance. Kevin held on, and then heard the thing's voice in his head, “Fine, come along. Watch.” It turned toward a glowing sphere on the horizon and took off in its direction; he recognized it was Sam's house.
Kevin broke the connection, he needed to somehow get to that house. There was nothing around him but a sea of endless dark. He closed his eyes and pulled from the deep well of the ancient manor, to his surprise, it was mostly empty, all that remained were the memories of him. He pulled them out, one at a time, the long, streaming banners of his past, and he placed them in front of his tiny patch of existence and used them to walk across the void toward Sam's house. As he went, the memories faded to nothing. He was erasing himself with each step he took.
The Eraser sped toward Kevin, both their eyes blazed red as they barreled at one another. Kevin braced for the collision, but at the last second the Eraser flung himself up into the air and over top of him, wiping away all the land around him as he flew past, and leaving only a small remaining patch where Kevin stood, stranded.
The Eraser paused for just a moment and glanced back to shoot Kevin a mocking smile.
“I'll be back for you after I destroy what's left of The Others” he gibed, as he turned and faded into the black.
Randy and Tim were from the same neighborhood as Kevin and Sam. They'd all known each other their whole lives, and they too had met the man in white, he'd stopped them on the road just before encountering Sam for the first time. He'd pulled their memories of Kevin out of that dark well in order for them to help find and rescue him. Now, however, they ran for their lives. Now the black shadow was behind them, and Kevin was trapped. They had failed.
Sam made it back to his house, the last remaining structure to be seen; It reminded him, vaguely, of the old manor sitting atop that lonely hill. He went to his room and knelt with his hand outstretched in front of himself, and then closed his eyes. A red light grew from his hand and expanded into a perfect circle that encompassed first him, and then the room, and finally the entire house; as it did, everything around him changed, he was no longer in his room, but outside, and there were others there as well. He was on a green hill, and there were rows of wooden chairs lined up, like for a wedding or some other event, and they were all facing a wooded area where tree houses and other structures could be seen; some were filled with people dressed in white flowing cloth, others empty. Children ran around in groups playing, and there were trails that led into the forest, and a paved road that followed a lake shore off into the distance. The old man in white stood there at the base of the road, now clothed in a gray, hooded robe. He smiled when Sam saw him, and then waved him over to were he was.
The Eraser burned with a stolid fury. He stared out into his dark trophy world, he was disgusted by the collection of things, his want to keep them, and the fact that he had betrayed his very purpose; he did not have, he did not retain, he did not revel in what was. No, that was the Other's job; his was of nothing, of all dark black, of empty and of void. He'd grown weak. It was his own fault. Now he saw it, now he understood. He stared out into that void and erased it all with a blank stare; the rivers, the trees, the buildings, the people. All of it, even the digital black glow that held it. He felt himself grow stronger as it was destroyed. Of course he did, this obsession with keeping his destruction, it was in itself a thing, and all things must be ruined and erased.
He could not, however, erase Kevin, not yet anyway. No, Kevin held a part of him, and though he needed nothing else, he did need that, for without it he could not complete his work, without it the Other could prevail, so those floating banners remained, and he hated them.
He'd hunted his kind to the last, and took all they had, that's how he was nearly able to erase all of existence, but now there was another with his power again, and worse, the Other had passed his on, and it was growing without him there to keep it in check. Soon, the New would learn how to use it, and he'd risk being cast back to the shadow, instead of all being shadow.
He leapt from the darkened abyss and out of the well, driven toward what was his. He sped through the night, erasing the thin path of world left by the Other and his New. He could feel the half orb inside him burn with a frenzy to be whole again, and he grew more powerful the closer he came to its counterpart.
Kevin opened his eyes and an energy buzzed through his body. He felt his throat repair itself and his muscles jolt from their atrophy; he half rolled/jumped off the stretcher, startling the two who were carrying him. He recognized them, but there was no time for pleasantries. He called on the monster inside of him and began to change while he yelled at his two friends to run, and they did. They did.
The drifting remains of the black shadow had re-gained their shape at the bottom of the ancient stone well. There it gathered its withered strength, for it now realized that it had lost something, or rather, that something had been stolen from it. In its attempt to turn Kevin to its bidding, it had somehow transferred some of his power instead, enough to nearly kill him when Kevin used it against him, and that piece of himself in Kevin was the only reason he was not destroyed completely.
The creature bent to its knees, closed its eyes, put its hands together to form a cup in front of himself, and then opened his mouth; a red orb presented itself, but it was incomplete, only a half, and for the first time, the Eraser knew fear.
Kevin was floating across the ground when he opened his eyes, his vision was blurred, but he could barely make out a figure in front of him, and he could tell that it was speaking to another behind him, though the words were all muffled. He tried to speak, but his throat would not allow it, and all he could muster was a faint and raspy breath. At that, his floating motion stopped and he was lowered to the ground and one of the figures bent over him, then a cool stream of water met his lips, and he could feel it soothe its way all down his throat and into his stomach. He tried again to speak, but could not. A wet cloth was placed on his head and he was lifted once more and resumed floating.
Sam sat there a long while staring out into the void from the small trail of existence he had helped to create. He held the red glowing ball the man in white had left him; it was smooth and slightly warm, and he envisioned himself tossing it out into the nothingness and watching it set there like a tiny red star in the night, but he did not, instead he just looked into it and saw that if he did toss it off into the distance it would just return to him. The more he peered into the thing, the more he understood, and eventually it absorbed into his palm and he stood up to seek shelter from what was coming for him.
Sam and the man in white made their way back along the trail of color they had created through the darkness. Features that had been erased were now slightly different depending on Sam's recollection, which he was able to transfer to the man in white by placing his hand on his shoulder and concentrating. He was unable to witness the creating though, as it would cease upon him opening his eyes, or due to a loss of focus.
“Where are we going? Why aren't we fixing things?” Sam asked
“I need to rest. There's so little of me left that I cannot do any more right now, and I need to get you to safety. I fear I've made a great mistake”.
“Mistake? What mistake? We killed the thing!”
“I'm afraid we did not. Please, no more questions, I must concentrate. Lead me back to the house, and do not stop until we are there”.
The man in white had his eyes closed as they went, and Sam walked in front of him, occasionally looking back to make sure he was following properly.
The blood-soaked Earth underneath Kevin swirled up to meet his opened throat, and the blood slowly left the dirt and re-entered his body, and with every step the man in white took, Kevin's heart beat along. His wound closed and he gasped for air and coughed violently, then passed out, but was alive.
The man in white fell to a knee. Sam looked back and saw his eyes were open, but his face was tired and older looking.
“What happened?!” said Sam as he tried to help the man up.
“Don't, please, it's no use. Turn around and wait there, I have something for you”.
Sam did as he was asked.
The man in white closed his eyes and opened his mouth, his face was fading to pale grey color as he grew thinner. From his mouth came a red glowing orb that floated out into his hand.
“Here” he said, his voice growing frail, “Take this, use it with the other”. He outstretched his hand to Sam, the orb floating just above his palm while radiating a soft glow.
“What is it? What other? What's happening to you?!” Sam was nearly in tears. “There's no one left, you can't leave me here”.
The man in white smiled at him, and then his light went out, and he crumbled to ash and blew away.
Blood spilled to the ground, and the creature's hands instinctively wrapped around its own throat in an effort to stop the wound; it gurgled and sputtered and fell to its knees, the flames in its eyes diminishing until they were extinguished and turned black. The thing looked up at Sam, and its features began to change; slowly the shadow faded until only Kevin lie there dying, tears staining his cheeks, and blood running from his throat onto his hands to pool underneath him and stain the Earth.
“No!” was all Sam could yell as he turned with a pleading, helpless expression toward the man in white, and then back toward Kevin. He fell to his knees and took Kevin up in his arms and sobbed. Kevin looked up at him with a knowing stare, and then his hands fell away from his throat and he lay there motionless.
The black ashes that had drifted off were making their way to the old stone well.
“Come” said the man in white, “We have work to do”.
“I can't just leave him here, I won't!”
The man waved his hand and Sam set Kevin down and stood up to follow him.
A floating filmstrip joined the others in that dark place beneath the ancient manor, and the descending ashes made their way there and began to take shape.