Four Stages

Despair, Seperation, Aggression, Acceptance

 
A Spirit Medium was commisioned to help in the investigation of a triple homicide. This vision would give the first glimpse into Xavian's Touch.


 

Incubation


 

"They don't even know what they've LOST!"

The man bellowed as he haphazardly kicked a small branch that had fallen casually onto the trail. He balled his hands in his pockets, his jawline clenched with indignation as he brain replayed the day. The soft crunch of his shoes against the damp leaves echoed as he slogged his way toward home. Life in the evergreen Ilun Valley wasn't always easy and the weather was as fickle as it was often docile. For men like him working on a large crop-share was the best way to ride out the unproductive post-harvest months. Though even in that lavish environment, some jobs were undoubtedly better than others. That was the kind of job the man had. Well, formerly had until an impromptu sitdown with the landowner, Sochalla.

His caring but often overbearing wife, Danil, had begged him emphatically to cut back on the drinking. She didn't understand how relieved he had felt to find himself on easy street. Sochalla's crop-share was easy work for great pay. So why not celebrate after the hard ride they had had? You only have one mortal body, may as well enjoy it, right? And oh, how he had enjoyed it. So when the Sochalla pulled the man over for a private chat, he thought it was for his overdue raise. Instead, the slim, elderly man brought up his, as he called it "drinking habit". Then began accusing him of having alcohol on his breath at the beginning of shift every morning. The man, as an upstanding citizen, naturally denied the charges. A few drinks at night in the privacy of your own home didn't count as a problem. Sochalla disagreed, and after a tense back and forth the man left the crop-share unemployed.

So now here the man was, walking home, trying to figure out how to explain this injustice to his wife. Knowing her, she'd tell him to go pray at the local shrine behind the town hall. He didn't believe in divine intervention and was never interested in trying to rely on it. The man had seen enough bad things happen to good people to know that prayers alone did little. As far as he was concerned both The Divinity and The Order were useless for common men like him.

His thoughts scattered as he was forced to stop. Some combination of the pent-up anger and his worries had diverted his attention for he had arrived at his doorstep without noticing. The man chided himself for being so deep in thought as to walk all way the home and not really realize it. He exhaled loudly as he tried to relax, reflexively rubbing his jaw at the realization of it being clenched this whole time. If he could just make it through tonight he thought to himself. In the morning he'd sit down and find a different crop-share to work. Everything would be alright.


 

Stage One


The door vibrated as it was furiously slammed shut. The man was storming out of the house in a small fit of rage. She just didn't seem to understand at all. He had thought that maybe she would get it just a little bit after all this time. Danil hadn't even given pause to the comfort of their life. To the tiresome work, he had put in to get them here, to this very place. It wasn't easy to stay in this part of the valley, plenty of other young couples would kill to have their location. The man knew how important it was to stay here. The status it portrayed as well the expectations of it. Of course, he knew these things, he was the one who had found it after all.

The conversation had somehow gone worse than even he had imagined possible. The man had forgotten his wife was close with the wife of one of the other farmers. Danil had been ready for him before he had even stepped inside the house. She couldn't believe he had been fired over being drunk at the job. He had tried to explain to her he was just as shocked, but the words didn't come out right. She even accused him of being drunk right then. The man had been shocked, after all the years they spent together he figured she'd remember how high his limit was. He tried to remind her, but that just made it worse. Why couldn't she just see it from his viewpoint?


Why is she never on your side?

The stiff wind blew across him and he shivered as the words ran through his mind. She really never was on his side now that he thought about it. It was like she always listening to her mother or her friends. Danil never listened to him though. He gazed up at the sky, its auburn hue cresting over the treetops. His favorite bar should be open by now, the man thought to himself with a self-serving nod. It was the one place he could go to for total solace. The one place where he could be understood.


You don't need anyone.

He couldn't remember the name of the tavern owner at the moment. But he did like the older gentleman. It always seemed as if no matter what the man ordered, the drink would be stiff as a somber tree. As the man usually did, he told the owner to serve him up something especially loud then there had been a stiff nod and an exchange of money.

"When I say loud, I mean LOUDER than my WIFE." The man chuckled at his own poor taste in humor. The greying owner stared at the man for a moment then continued making the drink. The man stared into the back of the bar owners head for a moment. Maybe he didn't like the tavern owner as much as he thought after all.


He doesn't care either.

The man glared at the barkeep as his drink was delivered. Before the barkeep could even properly introduce the drink, the man had grabbed it and in one crisp motion, gulped the shot down. He slammed the empty glass down on the wood countertop, leaned back and punctuated the air with a loud burp.

"Ahhh I remember why I used to like you."

The owner reeled back a bit from the brash phrasing. The man pushed the glass forward, motioning for another one. "I think you've had more than enough, friend, " a slight look of disgust creaked across the owners face as he spat out the words. The man glared wordlessly at the bar owner for a second. As if shocked by the well-deserved retort.

"Um, excuse me? I just got here? It's a little early to be cutting me off don't you think?"

The barkeeper met the man's glare with an inquisitive look. The elderly server motioned to the right of the man. A small stack of nine drink glasses sat to the side of the counter.

"If you don't remember the other drinks you've had, then its definitely time to for you to leave."

The man stared blankly at the unwashed glassware. Were those his? When had he ordered those? Maybe the barkeep had made those drinks extra loud after all.

"Well seeing as how I don't remember them, I think that means we can start the count over." the man slyly smiled and winked.

"Do I need to get a message to Danil?"

The man stiffened at his wife's name. There she was again, controlling his life from afar. Why were the people around him constantly imposing their will on his life? He began to wonder to himself if that's why he didn't remember the other drinks. Part of some clever ploy to make him think he had been drinking too much. The man wondered to himself if she had had anything to do with his sudden and unwarranted termination. She had known about it awfully fast after all.

 
You can't trust anyone.

 

He reached into his pocket pulled out of a few coins and tossed them on the counter. It was clear to him this was no longer HIS place. It was even more clear to him how little power he had in this town. In this supposed ORDER.

"Don't worry, I'm done here."

The man could hear the owner call out to him as he moved and then stumbled toward the door. The floors were clearly uneven he rationalized to himself. He could barely remember why he wasted his time coming to such a dive.

 
You're better off by yourself

  Yes, the man thought, yes he was.

Stage 2


The man was back on the streets again, wandering aimlessly. Listlessly. The night breeze swept leaves down the road, the air still and quiet. A striped cat sauntered into his vision. The cat stopped upon seeing the man before slowly moving in his direction. He stared at the feline for a second, was it a feral cat perhaps? The cat sat on its back legs a short distance away and let out a soft meow. Nope, just a normal cat. He reached down and pet the fluffy animal. It responded with a confirming purr.

Four Stages Article Image
Black Cat by Unknown

The man gently picked up the ebony and grey cat. The gentle purr of the pleased kitty reverbing through his chest. He had always connected with animals, especially the fluffy variety. The man had had a cat as a child that he loved dearly. Unfortunately, his wife didn't share the same love of them, and the house was devoid of furry friends. A fact that didn't escape him as he found solace in the cat.

 
They never let you be you.

 

He nodded as he continued to pet the vibrating bundle of fur. He just wanted to be himself and free. What was wrong with a drink a time or two? Who didn't need a few drinks before work? The early morning wake up time and a solemn trip to work everyday dulled the senses. A good ale just helped make it all bearable. Unfortunately, life continues to be hard after the morning drinks euphoric feeling wears off. It was for the betterment of everyone he dealt with that he had a lunchtime shot of something stiff.

It was like they were punishing him for being human. When had the world become like that? You couldn't enjoy a relaxing drink or even own a pet in your own home. The man looked up as he slowly drifted back to reality. He glanced around at his surroundings in a daze, he had wandered almost to the edge of town. The man sighed, he had nothing else to do at this point really. It was time for him to just head back home.

 
If you had power, things would be different

 

A crisp wind racked across his body forcing him to shiver. It wasn't just time for him to go home, it was time for him to go and take his life back. To find his power, to not feel like a passenger in his own life. At that moment the man realized he had something clutched in his arms, He glanced down to see a bag of trash in his hands. Why had he picked this junk up? The man couldn't seem remember and shook his head in amusement. He turned around and began walking back toward his house. He spotted a trash pile and dropped the odd bag into it. The man shook his head at his own forgetfulness. He clearly needed a drink.


Stage Three


The shadows flickered across his path as he approached his home. He was cold from his walk and tired from the struggles of a tumultuous life. His hands slipped clumsily as he fumbled to open the door. The man was frustrated, this door was always giving him problems. No matter how many times he fixed it, it would become jammed again. Whoever kept breaking the door would pay gravely for it He continued to fumble with it for another second.

He paused as he saw a shadow move through a view into the home. Who was at his home at this time of night?


Betrayal

With an exasperated huff, the man leaned back and swiftly kicked the door, popping it from its flimsly hitches. He was sick of this stupid door just another example of his hard work wasted. All these people coming in and out of his home constantly breaking his repairs. They did it knowing that he was going to have to fix it. Just like everything else. Just like his job. He busted his ass day in and day out, first one in and the first one out. For years he drank to get by and no one had ever complained. They needed him and everyone knew it. That must have been why he was fired. The insolence of them!


DECEPTION

He burst into the house and took a gander at his surroundings. Who else was here at this hour? The sound of conversation and laughter came wafting from the common area. The man's hands went white as he clenched them, moving slowly toward the sound. Is this the witching hour upon which that woman sought to sow his ruin? As he walked past the family shrine the voices began to clear. A few of them sounded familar. Was that a co-worker's voice he was hearing?


THEY PLANNED THIS

Now it made sense. Who else would have made his occasional home remedy seem more? The man that fired him had known too much, how did he know? How deep did the conspiracy go? Was there more to the story? How long had this been going on? Did they not expect him to come from his walk and find them there?


EVERYONE IS INVOLVED

As the man stepped into the light of the room he slowly surveyed the room full of people. There in the corner of the crowded room was his wife. Impossibly tall, with scarecrow thin features. Like an awkwardly bent twig, almost invisible in its litheness. Her scowl was even more pronounced than usual, and seemed to be pushing the sides of her face out.

"Oh my god, where have you BEEN! We've been looking for you for days!"

His eyes swept across the room, for one set of treacherous eyes to the next. The beloved owner of the sweatshop that practically begged people to work there. He saw the fat bulbous man for what he really was at that moment. Not a loving pillar of the community or stand up boss. No, he was just another leech getting plump for his hard work.


FAT FROM YOUR SUCCESS

The man couldn't take it anymore. He grabbed the his former boss by the collar of his neck and wrenched him forward. He leaned closer until the two men were within spitting distance of each other.

"Listen here you fat fuck. How dare you show your face in MY home. How long have you been planning this? I bet YOU'RE the one with the drinking problem!"


LOOK AT THEM ALL
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The chorus of gasps around the room finally hit his ears and he gazed up to see the other interlopers. A motley crew of sabateurs who had keep him from acheiving what he was owed. The tavern owner, someone from his work, that noisy lady across the street. All of them staring at him, mouths hanging down to their knees like wet dough. They couldn't believe he had figured out their trick.


THEY'RE ALL LIARS

"Why would you hit Sochalla! What is wrong with you! You storm out and don't come back for DAYS then assault that frail old man like that? What is wrong with you!"

The woman that was his wife was screaming at him. He mentally tuned her out as he knew it was all just lies at this point. They just wanted his power. They wanted ALL his power. He had never really even wanted this house actually. The man didn't even love where they lived. He worked all day long, tirelessly at an Order sanctioned labor mill to provide the fake life they both led.


DON'T LET THEM LIE TO YOU ANYMORE

The man struck the fat, blubbering, drunken, weak and greedy slumlord in the face again. He finally felt like he was getting somewhere. The man took a deep breath as he took in his first lungful of freedom.


THIS IS TAKING BACK YOUR POWER

"YES IT IS!" his fist came crashing down into the man's face agian.

TAKE MORE OF YOUR POWER BACK

"HAHAHAHAHA YES! I'LL TAKE ALL OF IT BACK!"

The man started laughing as he felt himself gaining power with every crunch. The room was filled with voices. Some woman was calling a name he felt like he once knew. It barely mattered anymore. The sound of the dull thuds of his fist drowned it all out. The rage was blissful and the revenge was sweet.

He had found his answer.

Stage Four


The man realized that the only way for him to be whole again was to get back everything he had once lost. His time, his energy, his freedom. To do whatever he wanted, whatever he wanted. Why did he let anyone control him in the first place? He suddenly felt a gripping touch on his shoulder, the man glanced to his left to see a thin bony and skeletal like appendage on his shoulder.
THEY'RE TRYING TO STOP YOU.

With a yelp and flinch he swung his fist around behind him. A meaty thud rang out as it impacted. His reaction was had been swift and brutal as the rage twinged adrenaline was still running through his veins.

Crying sobs hit his ears as he slowly turned to see what entity had grasped him. A woman was half collapsed against the wall, paintings that hung on them were strewn against the floor. What might have once been a table was broken into shambles. A thin frail man was slumped in a patterned chair on the other end of the room.

"Why are you doing this Avell?" the soft words made him pause for a moment. That voice, that tone, paused his carnage for a moment. His head was foggy, his mouth parched and vision was cloudy. His eyes had started to hurt from the daylight peeking through the window.

Sunlight? Wait, when had the sun come up? Something felt wrong. Something felt wrong.

Only the powerless lose control

Was that his wife on the ground? The blood at the corner of her delicate lips, did he do that? Had he done that to his beautiful wife?
Only the WEAK lose sight of what they want

How many people had been in the room again?
Let me in and you'll never have to feel this way again

He stumbled a bit as his feet hit something. The man looked down to see the tavern owner. His hair shimmering with rust and red colors.

Wait, wasn't he old with grey hair?
YOU are the WEAK one.

"They just wanted to make sure you were ok." her faint whispers punctuated with soft sobs of terror. Blood ran down the side of her face. Blood? Or tears?

The man sank to his knees, running his hands across his face as panic began to sink in. His mind hazy as he tried to understand what was going on. What his mind was processing. A wetness on his face startled him as he touched it, he paused and looked at his hands. Smeared in blood and small pieces of flesh and grey matter.

What had he done?
You can't go back now. She hates you.

The man started screaming as the bitter smell of iron invaded his noise.

Laughter rang out around him. They were all pointing him. Laughing at him. They mocked him as they waved bottles of liquor in his face. He pressed his hands to his ears, trying to mask the sound. It was futile.
Say it.

"We can go to the elder, you're sick Avell. The drinking has done something to you. This isn't you."

Even when he tried to take control, they laugh. They always laugh. So funny to watch him topple from up high. He wanted to be away from it all. From the control and games.
SAY IT!!

His screams couldn't drown out all the voices. Why couldn't they all just stop? Why couldn't it ALL JUST STOP?
SAY IT AND IT WILL ALL END

The man's voice cracks raw as his screams died out, his anger and emotion drained. He had nothing left. Truly.

He let the words escape from his lips.

"Xavian."

Historical Basis

This is an accounting of a vision from a Spirit Medium who was brought into the scene of a grisly triple murder. It was highly beileved at the time that the murders were related to several other high profile incidents at the time.

A suspect was never found. Increased reports of Raksha activity in the proximity,

Four Stages

Xavian's Touch

Stage 1 - Infection (whispers in your head)
Stage 2 - Host Preparation(hallucinations)
Stage 3 - Mental Degradation(Rage)
Stage 4 - Invitation (Raksha possession)
Related Ethnicities
Related Species
Related Locations
Related People

Related Reading

Xavian's Touch
Condition | Dec 9, 2018

Infection caused by Xavian that leads to Raksha possession

 
Beneath It All
Geographic Location | Jun 23, 2019

Underneath the physical world their lies something vile and corrupt. Something that waits for you to becon it. To corrupt you.

Comments

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8 Oct, 2018 18:41

This was weak as a marshmallow man’s knees over a fire. I could pick up a bag of trash and the scrap paper in it would be better-written than this. You just posted to steal my likes and views, didn’t you? You just want to see me suffer... well I WON’T STAND FOR IT! I’M GOING TO TAKE WHAT’S MINE AND KICK YOU OFF THIS SITE AND THEN YOU’LL BE SORRY AND THE VOICES WILL STOP and.....   Sorry, I really liked this concept. A magical mental disease which can be hard to distinguish from ordinary mental illness except for some magical symptoms. You showed the slow slide into paranoia and insanity pretty well. The interjected thoughts were great too, though I was kind of expecting them to just get simpler as he got more unhinged until he was only thinking in one-word concepts. Then a return to sentences as the dark god started speaking, I guess.   I think you could’ve showed his anger better though. Some of the narration was still quite interconnected, using “because” and “and”. It made me feel like his thoughts were still flowing from point A to point B, and that doesn’t work so well when you’re angry, does it? :P There were also a few points where the tone felt inconsistent (“self-serving smile”, “poor taste in humor”, “witching hour”). The first two because it felt like I was in his head until then and he didn’t seem like the type to describe himself that way, so my viewpoint felt dislocated. The third one felt out of character for him to use too: it was more literary than the rest of his thoughts. Other than that, there were some grammar mistakes and typos, but since this was for Inktober, I think you’ll be able to find them in a thorough proofread :D   One more thing: the warped vision was a nice touch. Seeing his former boss as fat was pretty obvious (outright stated too), but the tavern keeper’s red hair and his wife’s thinness was confusing. Is he seeing them as monstrous/stronger than they actually are to feel less guilty about beating up on them? Was the tavern keeper’s hair red because of more... physical reasons? :(   These are my thoughts. Hope this helps!

8 Oct, 2018 18:59

Well this is interesting. A little too vague though. In particular, I'm not sure what exactly delineates the four stages.

9 Oct, 2018 13:29

Very well done. I was hooked and had to read it twice. His decent into madness was very well done. Maybe you haven't added or made public an article explaining the Raksha yet but I would love to read more about what drove this man to madness and the significance of the word Xavian. I will send you a few grammatical and spelling errors I found on discord. Once again, an excellent job.

10 Oct, 2018 01:32

This is interesting! I never seen a magical mental illness before, and you have took a intriguing spin of the concept. This makes me sort of think of demonic possession in a way, keep it up!

10 Oct, 2018 02:04

I love how it is formatted into a narrative story, could there be an overview of what the infection occurrs?

10 Oct, 2018 02:13

Its the Xavian's Touch in the related sidebar.

11 Oct, 2018 19:46

The narrative structure is a nice touch, and the overall feeling is creepy (in a good way, if that makes sense). I like the way you put the voices the man was hearing in quotes throughout. Can't really think of a question for this one though.

11 Oct, 2018 23:55

Finally thought of a question! This is a magical illness, right? A demonic possession? How is it cured? Or is there even a treatment?

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