Ad Finitum

4.88/5 (2)

Eight feathers left, their multichromatic lustre slowly turning ashen grey. A feather falls, drifting away on unseen winds. 

The flesh hound runs not from the crimson corpse mounds crumbling into nothingness behind it, but towards its master. In its fanged maw it bears the last skull. Oblivion catches up to it and its body begins to unravel. With a final effort, it delivers its ultimate offering.

The skull rolls and bounces before settling next to my brother’s feet. He reaches down to pick up the trophy.

‘Skulls for my throne,’ he mumbles as he crowns the grisly edifice, before collapsing into its embrace. 

‘Blood for me,’ he whispers as molten brass hardens in his chest and the embers of rage die in his eyes.

Another feather turns to dust, leaving six behind.

I find the old man sitting in the middle of his orchard. Grotesque caricatures of trees surround him, their putrid fruits expired despite his best efforts. Puss oozes between fingers that hide his face as he weeps. His good humour has departed along with his domain.

‘What do you want?’

An accusation, not a question. I lean heavily on my staff as my right head lolls, my omnivident eyes covered in white cataracts.

‘To see you off.’

‘And gloat, I presume,’ he lowers his hands. Where corpulent flesh once sagged from ivory skull now glares a desiccated face devoid of all joy.

‘Why would I do such a thing, grandfather?’

‘Because you killed us all, birdbrain. All of us.’

‘It would be precocious of me to assume I am solely responsible for our downfall, yet I do not deny culpability.’

Only five feathers left now. My wings weigh me down.

‘Brassface is dead. I could feel him go,’ the old man says with a sad smile. He shakes his gargantuan head in disbelief. ‘I always thought he would be the one to end us. After all, killing was his domain.’

‘I was witness to the moment. ‘Twas like watching a collector finally complete his preeminent collection. An achievement considered impossible, yet accomplished despite all odds. A blessing that robbed him of his singular purpose. After all, what is the function of the Lord of Murder if there is no one to murder and no one to be murdered?’

‘Hmph! As if any of us will have anything left to our names when you are done with us!’

‘I told you already, grandfather, I bear no sole responsibility. I did put plans in motion and enacted an incomprehensibly complex game of pawns and queens that eventually led to this very moment. But there were other factors, other actors not of my own making. I could not have thought that the ones whose actions would actually drive us to this outcome would be the-’

‘Oh hush! Spare me your lectures! Let me at least have some silence!’

The fourth feather screams as it is claimed by the darkness that draws ever closer.


He nods, before his eyebrows knit together in confusion.

‘I do not hear Him-Her-It-Them’s screams and orgasms any longer.’

‘Our brother-sister has fallen silent awhile back. Strange you only notice now.’

‘I was busy trying to save my pretties,’ the old man complains as he lifts the head of a lilting pox-lily. It falls from his fingers, rotten petals as brittle as the last feathers adorning my wings. ‘Will you tell me how He-She-It-They went?’

The memory is recent, yet recollection comes with difficulty. I am fading faster than I thought I would. I muster all my willpower to hold onto my form for a little while longer.

‘Just like our brother-sister always existed. In pain and in pleasure. With no one left to provide either, brother-sister turned the tools to elicit both upon His-Her-Its-Their own flesh and soul. In a vicious cycle of infinite torment and titillation, brother-sister devoured Him-Her-It-Themself. A very fitting end, if you ask me.’

Two feathers are left after the third bleeds crimson and magma before simply blinking out of existence.

‘Will you at least tell me why?’

A fair question. I reach down and pick up my limp head, pecking out the cataract ridden eye as I contemplate my answer.

‘I am the Lord of Change-’

‘We all knew that, birdbrain,’ he smirks and spits at my feet.

‘We are – were – infinite,’ I explain as I ignore the interruption. ‘Time did not constrain us, matter did not limit us. We had everything ad infinitum. Limitless possibilities in an endless realm of infinite power. Yet there were patterns. Recurrences. Of events. Of ideas. Of actions. And I looked, really looked into them all.’

‘And what did you see, you dumb sack of feathers?’

‘Balance. Unbreakable, untouchable, immutable balance. One that would limit all four of us, forevermore locking us into a constant orbit.’

‘Oh, I get it now. You thought as the Lord of Change, it was your duty, nah, your very purpose to alter whatever you could. And so instead of accepting your fate as a bloody GOD, you decided to pervert the status quo.’

Crumpling itself into a ball of spittle and hate, I lose another feather. A single one dangles from the tip of my wing, its iridescence nothing but the trick of a fading mind.

‘How could I not? I am change!’

Grandfather doesn’t answer. Nor do I expect him to as he slowly slumps on his side and dissolves, becoming one with his beloved garden. The garden that rapidly ceases to exist. I feel a chromatic tear roll down my beak in mourning. 

Change indeed.

I lift my gaze to the Materium. Nothing stirs. All life, from complex to the most basic cellular level, has been utterly eradicated. There will still be changes as the stars grow old and go supernova, yet these are without heart. Without soul. They will not sustain me. Nor do I want them to.

The last feather loses its lustre and with it, I cease to exist.

‘I wonder what comes next…’

About the Author

Daniel was born on a sunny, peaceful spring morning in Budapest, Hungary. He preferred watching television over reading books. That changed when his school took him to the public library and everyone was forced to pick a book to read. He chose The Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Despite his initial disdain, our hero devoured the book in a few days and hasn’t stopped reading since. If you got this far, please send help, his budget (and shelves) can’t handle more books! Oh, and he occasionally entertains the idea of being a writer. The fool.