Karl remembered a great deal as he walked.  It took his mind to another place, a much more pleasing, peaceful place that he would have wished for some time ago.  A small grin touched his lips as one foot traveled in front of the other, left, right, left, right, and then left, and then right again.  It was a cadence he’d practiced for as long as it had taken to get to this point, one that he was tired of, and yet, one that he could not quit until he’d reached the end.

            His thoughts roamed to that place in the past, that place that memory recalls, and emotion often tinges with any and all perceived importance.  It was a calling that Karl could not ignore, a pull towards better times that he felt was, at that moment, vital to his continued existence.  Why this was so he could not think of, but he was not about to question it. 

            One breath.

            He was thirteen years old, he led a good life, and his family was as stable as any in the world.  Karl was an adopted child, but to look at the resemblance between his father and himself, one could hardly tell.  This was no doubt why most people didn’t know that he wasn’t of his parents’ bloodline.  He even looked like his siblings to a degree, though Gary had always allowed him to realize that no matter the family resemblance, he was not a part of their genetic heritage. 

            For a time, it had been a wound in Karl’s side, a blow to his heart and emotions that he’d been just barely able to take.  His father had told Karl too many times that it didn’t matter, that he was their son just as much as Gary was.  But Gary was having a tough time transitioning from his father’s first marriage, which had been long over before Karl had come along, and had allowed his anger at his and Sarah’s mother, and their father, to taint his budding relationship with his new brother.  This had culminated in a series of torments that had followed Karl throughout his life, even into this time.

            It’s not all bad though. Gary had his moments.  Karl could count them on one hand, but the fact of the matter was simple: they were there. 

            Like today, Gary had proven he wasn’t a career asshole by taking Karl out for a burger and a Slurpee at the nearby 7-11.  It had been a hot, miserable day spent landscaping for the company their father owned, a side job that had little to do with the actual business, but was important enough that their father had decided to use them instead of hiring a gardening service.

            His brother was actually a brother sometimes, not just a prick who lorded his position of elder brother over Karl all the time.

            A sudden chill crept into his body as Karl continued forward, tearing away that good day as he closed his eyes, feeling the utter cold stab its icy fingers into every inch of exposed skin, threatening to steal away the warmth that the power of the Knight that was keeping him upright, keeping him moving.  As he looked around, his gaze focusing downward, Karl did not flinch as he saw what awaited him at his feet.

            There were faces in the road, within the ice that had crusted over the entire street, the trees, and the houses that lined the street.  He might have continued forward in the moment, save for the first face he saw.

            It was his brother, Gary.  And only a few strides away, he saw several more faces he recognized.

            His sister, Sarah, his mother, his father, his nieces, even his aunts and uncles, they were all here. Not a one of them moved, though as he listened, standing there, Karl could hear the whispers intensify, thrumming to the rhythm of his heart as he could hear the lament deep within his being.

            In the beginning there was nothing, no one and no thing that existed within the void.  The earth was formless, and the spirit of the Morning Star, He who is Samael, who is Lucifer, the mightiest of all, hovered over the face of the deep.

            Karl shook his head, sure that he’d heard, or seen wrong.  He had seen the mouths of his family move in accordance to the whispers, but as he looked at them, not a one of them so much as twitched.

            And the whispers continued. 

            And the Morning Star created man and woman in His own image. He created them, that they might continue the knowledge of His works, and spread forth His glory.

            Karl felt physically ill, the cold chill sinking into his bones as he looked down at the faces in the ice again.  In one breath he saw their lips moving, and in the next, they were silent yet again.  He tried to move forward, though he could not raise his eyes from the ice, could not tear his gaze away from those of his family that were stuck in the tomb-like stasis.

            He has betrayed.

            Betrayed, betrayed.

            He will betray.

            He has used you, the voices he heard whispered, coming from the lips of each of his family as their eyes stared straight ahead, unseeing as they glanced upon a vista that was reserved solely for the dead.  Karl could not move forward, not until he knew the truth.

            All will betray.

            All have betrayed.

            You are alone.

            No Knight.

            You are alone, alone and unlamented.

            He has stripped all.

            You are alone.

            Now the lamb was the craftiest of all, the most trusting, and the most susceptible.  He knew how to use his wiles, his cunning, and his lies to trick the man and woman, to convince them that the Morning Star was false.  He knew how to appear merciful, to appear weak and caring.  It was he that led the man and woman against the lord of creation, taking advantage of the good will of the Morning Star.

            It was odd how a lie could harm another, and how, when it was known in one’s heart, how it could bolster as well.  He felt warmth flood through his body again.  Karl felt his limbs strengthen, and as he looked upon the faces in the ice again, he saw not a single one of those he recognized.  They were not his family, nor were they anyone he could recall ever having seen before.

            They were nothing to him, and so he moved on.

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