Vignettes of Ruin and...

Animus Fractus (the Broken Centre)

In The Nightmare on March 20, 2011 at 12:03 am

The pantheon of compulsions otherwise known as the Gods of Vice reside in a place called the the Animus Fractus.

I am going to tell you of the time I found my way inside it, though I believe it is a unique experience for everyone. It was under a charcoal sky where clouds churned with dark promise. Nothing good could grow and anything that had survived was stripped of that which gave it purpose. The trees were gnarled and leafless, flowers were dry and colourless as paper.

I treaded carefully, barefoot, along a path of razor rocks, not really understanding where it might lead, until I stood outside a gate of metals and jewels. There was something familiar about the gold and the blue gems, something comforting about the shining silver and the amethyst: a closer look revealed their origins. Among the precious bounty were links to others in my life. The sapphire and seed pearl ring my mother gave me. The silver dragon my sister gave me. The golden crescent moon my grandad gave me.

The diamond tear Vincent gave me.

Trinkets of a past forgotten, held me outside the gates that concealed a terrible truth. To go forward, I must let go and so I tore the delicate chains from their mount to reveal a barrier of bones. I knew these bleached remains belonged to me. I pressed against them and they opened to reveal a roofless rotunda of ruined pillars and cracked mosaics. Red vines wired around the columns, a dark liquid was being pumped sluggishly through their canals. I knew these were my veins. In the centre of a the room, an ornate bird bath stood silently- I could not help but feel drawn towards it, it’s cool marble inviting. I peered into the depths of the water, but I could not see past what looked like strands of russet seaweed. I swept it aside and as it brushed my fingers, I suddenly knew it was something else. My hair.

It was as I drew back in horror that I became aware of an inscription around the rim of the basin. Thou shalt not live thy life fully except through the surrogate of fiction.

A series of commandments were set out in cold green stone. Thou shalt never stop being fat so you will never stop striving to be thin. Thou shalt not ever let your wounds heal completely. Thou shalt never cease the pursuit of an ideal and ageless beauty. Though shalt never make enough strong decisions in time to elevate you from your pit of existence. Thou shalt only ever have success in consistent failure. Thou shalt only feel purpose when derived from anger and hatred. Thou shalt be set apart from others in complete submission to your addictions. Thou shalt be devoid of any feelings on these matters except in moments of utter loneliness.

Thou shalt watch the hours of your life pass from the outside of the glass.

The water settled and it’s surface reflected back an image that looked like me but could not have been me. My sunken eyes regarded me with a knowing sorrow I did not yet feel, and right then, I only knew a smothering panic. I looked up and I was surrounded by the Gods of Vice. Spectoris with his glazed eyes. Virtua Retailia laden down with bags of rubbish. Adora smeared in garish make-up. Epidarium scratching at skin that was already bleeding. Substantia stuffing so much cake into her mouth she could hardly swallow it. Damnatio smashing his fist into the face of Severity, the Goddess of Self-Punishment. Despero crying while Oblivio looked on from a throne of shadow, utterly indifferent.

Any second now, Obscura will confront me and rip me from this realm of dream.

But it was no dream. Flakes of  ash began to fall, the remnants of a life burned with regret, the confetti of a grim ceremony. The gods stared and did not speak; they did not have to, becasue I already knew what they would say. For they were not great deities residing in some unreachable kingdom, built on the backs of slaves who never stop being hungry for more. I stood there facing only myself, over and over again, in a great hall built from my bones, cemented with my blood and bound with my hair. I realised I had always known where to find my Gods. For all of us were prisoners in the Broken Centre, the place where my heart once thrived without the burden of vice.

  1. We all live in our private worlds with our gods of vice to keep us company. Just not everyone have your great imagination. I think is kinda impossible to live without fiction but we can’t loose control of our kingdoms for we are bound to live in it through all our existence…

  2. You’re right – this was chilling, Ailis. When you mentioned it earlier I envisioned a god more great and terrible than any we’ve known before, but it turned out to be something much worse.

    You have always thought the gods cultivated you, but you’ve realised it’s the other way around; it was you who planted these seeds and broke their limbs as they grew. Maybe it’s not too late to nurture again, to teach Spectoris to truly see the depth of what is around him, to show Adora that she is still worthy of being adored without the makeup. Their sick control over you could instead become a blessing, and what then? The bone-pillars might recede, allowing in a warmth you’ve not known in recent years.

    On another note, you told this story in a very cinematic way. It especially brought to mind Ultimecia’s castle in FF8, bathed in a dark mist and weighed down by massive chains. This could make a beautiful animation.

    • actually i wrote this one fresh today, I still have my reservations about the other post I mentioned before, it’s sitting complete but unloved in my drafts section. it’s already gotten me into trouble and i haven’t even “published” it!

      yeah i had to “go” someplace other than where I was forced to sit while I wrote the above- in a room of men screaming at a rugby match! *shudder*

      You’ve actually given me an idea for the direction of “gods”, maybe they can do and see good eventually.

      All this talk of FF8 has made me want to relive parts of it again. I loved Ultimecia’s castle.

  3. although eerie, still a sliver hopeful. There is still breath – whether reluctantly taken or appreciated, breathing constitutes hope.

  4. Wow, beautiful writing. Very enlightening to read.

    Funny that you mentioned having to write this during a rugby match of screaming writhing men.


  5. “Thou shalt not live thy life fully except through the surrogate of fiction….”
    Ailis, this statement and all this post left me impressed, is full of variety and diversity of images and sensations… see you soon…

  6. “Thou shalt only ever have success in consistent failure.” Wow, this piece of writing is inspirational. I have no idea what of this might be fact or fiction (showing my ignorance *blush*), but it is so poetic … and so descriptive, as though I’m right there by your side watching you think these thoughts. I will subscribe right now!

  7. Beautiful, insightful writing! New to the neighborhood, but certain to be back.

    by David Moffit and Reggie Hamm

    “I have wrestled in the darkness of this lonely pilgrim land
    Raising strong and mighty fortresses that I alone command
    But these castles I’ve constructed by the strength of my own hand
    Are just temporary kingdoms on foundations made of sand
    In the middle of the battle I believe I’ve finally found
    I’ll never know the thrill of victory ’til I’m willing to lay down
    All my weapons of defense and earthly strategies of war
    So I’m laying down my arms and running helplessly to Yours…”

  8. I’m suddenly captured by your perception of the demons within (and to me they can never be gods, only demons; I believe evil is real but gods are invented). Some I know too well, others I have thankfully avoided.

    ” I have no idea what of this might be fact or fiction … but it is so poetic…” – mypastmademe

    I was thinking the exact same thing. There is a dark beauty to your words that makes the demons all too real, but possibly fallible as well. I would hope you do not speak from experience, but unfortunately I believe you do.

    • I think calling these so called entities ‘gods’ is is a little bit cynical on my part. I think what I am perhaps unsuccessfully trying to impart is that there are no gods or even demons, only ourselves. We are our own greatest obstacles to contentment.

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