Odyssey of the Despairing Mind

📅 Published on February 17, 2022

“Odyssey of the Despairing Mind”

Written by Bryce Simmons
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 11 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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I believe there are imperceptible forces, energies and intangible things, which, arising from some sub-dimensional source, act on our minds, influence our thoughts, and perhaps even create entirely new thoughts—ideas which we wouldn’t have normally, naturally considered.

The human brain largely remains a mystery and is still yet a small, trivial thing compared to the enigma of the universe.  We try to grasp at new understandings, re-configure frameworks, and occasionally even draw up new schematics of both, but we have neither the resources nor the time—as biological beings—to fully chart and comprehend either puzzling object.  The universe, regardless of its contents, is simply too vast; and the brain is just too complex.

I tried, for years, to understand one and then the other, and in neither case did I uncover any truths or perceptions not known or hinted at by men of science and philosophy.  Even when pooled together, compiled and collated, our collective knowledge of these subjects is rudimentary at best.  Realizing this, I underwent a period of depression; the lack of knowledge, the inability to fully know myself—the brain from which I arise—and the world in which I was born drove me to nihilistic depths.  I fell into that classic existential trap known as despair.

I became numb, apathetic, and physically lethargic.  Activities that had before impressed and pleased me became uninteresting, ordinary, and unfulfilling.  People, in whose skulls existed that confounding object, became ghosts, specters through which I walked, disregarding their presences, intelligence, and emotions.  Life became completely autonomous, and I am sincere in saying that I do not remember those few years during which I was plagued by this heightened and persistent state of indifference.  It was as if a Lethean spell had been upon me.

Eventually, I met a woman and, compelled by the ultimate goal of life and evolution, married her.  And we started a family, had a son, and this occurrence brought on a powerful renewal of my existential fire, but even that did not last for long.  As I raised him, I became terrified that he too would be cursed with the desire to know the secrets of life and creation—and succumb to the same depression I had faced and was still facing, albeit internally, never showing such feelings around my wife or son.  I kept my languishing concealed within, expressed subtly, placidly.

My son quickly grew to be a smart and kind young man, and I am excited to see where life takes him. He is the best of me: a new, superior iteration, if you will, and my wife and I are extremely proud of him.  He prospers in school and his social life and shows no signs of succumbing to the same fate that I had.  He is strong of heart and determined of mind, and, most importantly, a compassionate boy.

A few years into the marriage, I suspected that my wife knew about my psychological malady, even though she had never asked about it.  She’s perceptive and can always assess my moods and act accordingly.  When one day I came home from work, having suffered considerably from a relapse of the aforementioned depression, and sat despondently in my office’s chair, she brought me some coffee and read a few poems from a collection of Lord Byron’s work.  She always ended with my favorite, “Darkness,” and recited it in a way that brought the grim, apocalyptic scenes alive.

When she had finished reading, and I was in a much better mood, she left me to go exercise upstairs.  I stayed in my office, recalling my day and, after a while, decided on what would have to be done to ensure that the following day did not go so badly.  The troubling issue is irrelevant.

Despite the elevation of my mood, I was still afflicted with “the depression.”  It’s not something so simple as regular sadness, which can be easily dealt with or at least tolerated if the cause is specific and can be reconciled.  So, my attitude had been temporarily made better, but my overall psyche was still impaired; my dismal mood not removed but made to slumber.

This must be known, made as clear as possible, because I believe it is this persistent illness of the mind that allowed me to be susceptible to those ultramundane, extrasensory, or otherwise extraordinary forces which I have mentioned earlier.

As I sat there, staring at my bookshelf, mind adrift, I started feeling odd.  This feeling wasn’t exactly unpleasant but felt like nothing I had ever experienced before, and this foreignness of being impressed me with simultaneous senses of excitement and dread.  Excitement at the newness of it, dread at what it could mean.  I had never been significantly ill before—not physically, at least—and a sudden and strange feeling could easily be the preamble to some disease.

The feeling remained, and nothing else accompanied or arose from it, so I regarded it as nothing immediately alarming.  It was as if my entire nervous system was being stimulated, and the resultant feeling made me extremely sensitive to everything around me.  The darkness of the sparsely-lit room became deeper, and, conversely, the light from the lamp on my desk burned like some vermilion sun. My chair took on an uncomfortable firmness, and the soft humming of my computer became as loud and distracting as the raucous of construction machinery.  The shelves, teeming with volumes of all sizes and subjects, seemed to push outward and sink inward, as if the walls were breathing in a steady rhythm.

Seeing this impossible animation, I got up and left the room, not exactly frightened but too disorientated to remain.  I went quickly down the hall, up the stairs—each step coming to me as thunderously as the collision of a judge’s gavel against wood—and finally arrived at my room, exhausted from the sensorial barrage.

I entered on my hands and knees, crawling past the threshold and onto the carpet of our room, which felt soft and inviting in certain areas and incongruously rough in others.  I had never been able to detect such an inconsistency before.  My wife stood before the foot of the bed, watching the TV opposite it, which played one of her workout videos.  She wore a slim-fitting black sweatsuit, and I could actually see the spots where the perspiration had begun to soak through.  Weirdly, these spots seemed to shift, and expand and retract, as if they were alive, appearing not as accumulations of sweat, but sentient, slug-like creatures.

She looked down at me, and while I did see worry on her face, it was a different kind of worry; one not born of surprise at seeing her husband crawling on the floor, clearly upset by something, but a worry that intimated knowledge, a worry at how I’d handle the cause of my distress; a cause of which she was apparently aware.

She took a step toward me, and it was as if a mountain had collapsed in on itself.  This, it must be said, is significant because my wife is very graceful and has a remarkably light step.  She can approach anyone with complete silence if she chooses to.

When the metaphorical rubble settled and the earth ceased its groaning, I looked up at her and asked what was happening.

She returned my gaze but did not speak, and I silently thanked her for it because my own words had come out with such sonic force that I feared my head would burst from the internal echo.

With all the overwhelming sensations and accentuated perception, I thought that my condition would lessen over time, that my brain would begin to resist whatever psychotropic agent that acted on it.  But instead, the phenomenon increased, and my perception of the world was intensified to degrees beyond description.  It was agony, a hyper-real bombardment of every imaginable stimulus.  In a strange and unaccountable series of visions, things were shown to me in the once flat and featureless greyness of the carpet that my mind could not fathom, that my pitiful human sense organs could not tolerate, and thus discarded.

This ignorance, this avoidance, was something I somehow knew had occurred before the onset of my condition, but then, on the floor, I was still made aware of the stimuli—still acknowledged, somehow, their existences like taking a potent pain-numbing medication, and drawing a blade across your arm. You don’t feel the pain of the cut, but the damage is there, before your eyes.  You’re not immune from the physical harm being done.

And so, I was made nightmarishly aware of things which before had been ignored by my senses.  I was given a second sight, an initially dim yet mounting vision, an extrasensory glimpse into both the extra-dimensional and sub-dimensional, into the spaces between the particles and the domains beyond our universe.  Things impossible to relate with words, pictures, or models, things that would make mankind, Earth, our solar system, and the Milky Way altogether seem like shallow impersonations of cosmic order by comparison.

I saw, through that increasingly potent second-sight, images so profoundly insulting to the significance mankind places upon itself that I began to doubt the legitimacy of my status as a living, thinking being.

Seconds—or hours—later, my senses were focused and consolidated into a single hyper-sense of sorts, and it was through this newly-arisen organ or spectral impression that I passed from the world of the material and into something else—an infernal place.  I was fully aware of having consciously left my wife, and yet I still sensed her, in some vague capacity, accompany me to and through this sidereal void.

I was—or perceived myself to have been—encased in some sort of shielding, because I found myself floating in the open blackness of vacant space, in front of a massive, fire-ringed portal.  Through the portal I could see stars, or what I believed to be stars, but around it—and myself—everything was unending, unblemished blackness.  Pulled or driven of my own accord, I floated towards and entered the portal.

I emerged from the portal into a space aflame.  Indescribable shapes, worlds, creatures of unrecognizable anatomy—all were aflame in the tumult of cosmic fire that was infernally present throughout the space I had entered.  Amidst the cosmic crematorium burned black, massive suns. They were perfect spheroid conflagrations that soundlessly discharged a black fire.  Despite this umbral burning, the space was still bright, as if the flames gave off shadows that illuminated an area rather than darkened it.

And due to their silent burning, I heard something that terrified me.  I heard, with an audible clarity that was as perplexing as it was terrifying, an evil cackling; a laugh as of demons in chase of prey.  In the ocean of spatial fire laughed billions of black stars, a chorus of sadistic stellar bodies jeering at the alien victims they were incinerating.

There wasn’t a direction I could turn that was devoid of the monstrous orbs.  At distances from mere hundreds of feet to millions of lightyears away, a tenebrific sun cackled and spat its fiery mockery at the alien lifeforms that writhed in untranslatable anguish around me.

A massive, polished-purple, winged coleopteran tried with futility to abate the pervasive heat that seared its body, but it was not magically—for what other answer could there be—protected as I was. Several hundred miles away, I saw and heard—with that same impossible sensorial acuity—a population of tri-pedal mammalian creatures being eternally carbonized by the crematory suns; their cries so awful, so pained, that I felt an almost debilitating empathetic sensation.  I beheld lives, species, entire worlds being extinguished in the boundless hellscape I inhabited.

In contrast to the omni-peripheral chorus of solar laughter, a distinct voice could be heard, from a distance I could not guess at but which seemed both far away and extremely close.  This voice, as I heard it, came from an individual, a single entity seemingly unlike the solar bodies that dominated the ultra-Hadean region.

I sensed a mind, a singular sapience that gave an impression of sovereignty as if it alone held true reign in this nether-space; its dominion acknowledged by even the laughing hellish bodies.  In an instant, without any indication that I had earned its attention, I was transported to the being I had sensed.  Before me, in a space unburnt by the wicked black suns, hovered a small form.  To my shock, it bore a humanoid shape, a familiar face.  It was only a few tones lighter than the black aura that bled from it, and yet I recognized its features.

It was my son.

His face was on that floating, monarchial object, staring at me with eyes that somehow appeared both alight with youth yet wizened by the passage of eons.  I tried calling out to him, to ask how I had arrived here, and why he was among such awful and impossible things, but whatever shielded me from the insane heat also prevented me from speaking, or interacting at all with my environment.

My son—at least, the thing that wore his face—opened his mouth, and out from it came a surge of light, and I felt this light sear through the shielding that had protected me, and I heard behind me the sudden cessation of those laughing suns—and then their abominable death-cries, and then silence. And all around me, everything was turned to nothing, suddenly and totally effaced, and I perceived only my own immateriality.

My eyes opened to find my wife crouching above me, with the same worry I had seen before across her face.  She helped me to the bed and laid my head on my pillow.  The carpet where I’d been kneeling—suffering—was scorched, as if a great swathe of flame had passed over it, searing it down to the very roots of the threads.  There was ash everywhere, even floating in a tiny haze a few feet above the floor.  Looking down at myself, I saw with shock that I was completely naked; that my clothes had, apparently, been burnt away in the same conflagration that had swept through the room.

I turned to my wife and asked what had happened, but she shushed me and told me to get some rest.  I did as she commanded and, after drawing the bedcovers over myself, drifted off to dreamless sleep.

I awoke later in the night.  My senses had returned to their ordinary, limited capacities, and nothing I touched felt too soft or too hard.  There were only faint traces left of the once fulsome ash.  My wife had cleaned most of it up sometime during my rest.  I got out of bed, relieved myself in the bathroom, dressed, and went downstairs, where I found my wife in the kitchen preparing dinner.  She embraced me, asked how I felt, and I told her that I was fine.  She said we were having spaghetti for dinner, which smelled delicious—it’s my ultimate weakness—and I sat at the table.  She then told me to “go ahead” and ask the question I wanted to ask, so I did.

She answered, and her explanation was far more believable than I had expected it to be.  She made me promise not to explain how she had acquired the influential item due to its exclusive use in her highly specialized line of work, and I will not divulge that information.  But she confirmed that yes, I had briefly been transported to realms and states that humanity cannot ordinarily inhabit, visit, or even view—and would not, for millennia, without the aid of the influential item—the Timepiece of the Black Horologist; an almost sorcerous means of trans-material relocation.

She said that we weren’t even children on the evolutionary scale compared to other entities in the uncharted gulfs of deep space and that if we encountered them as we are now, they would view us as we view dust—inert, not alive.  When I asked why she had given me this ephemeral ability to see—yet not understand—the unseen, she said that I had “moped around” for too long, that it was beginning to sadden our son, who had always been high-spirited, and, of course, perceptive.

Thankfully, my son had been at a friend’s house at the time and was not around to see his father so distraught.

When she mentioned our son, I asked her if she knew what I had seen at the end of my experience while trapped within that Chthonic space, and she said she did not.  She informed me that she had never tried the experience herself and that the knowledge of its use came from others of the “lab” who had no obligations of sanity to a family.

I explained the imagery to her, and her face contorted into deeper levels of awe and horror as I detailed the cyclic and apparently eternal cremation of the alien beings.  When I mentioned seeing my son, she seemed to mentally sink inward, as if in consideration of something profound.  I asked what she was thinking, and she responded with her own question.

“Do you have any idea why you saw Alex in the face of that mighty thing?”   “No.  Why?”

“Eat.  Think about it while you do.  I’m sure you’ll come to answer.” I ate in silence, turning the abysmal experience over and over again in my mind.  It wasn’t until I had cleared my plate and gone into the living room to sit with a cup of coffee that I realized what it all meant.  On the table nearby was a picture of my son and I from a few years ago.  We were in front of the house, which I’d just bought at the time.  Alex sat on my shoulders.  We were both smiling, and Alex had his mouth open in a shout of joy—I remember running around and letting him direct where we went as if I were a mech and he was my pilot.

During my journey, my delving into that blackly burning abysm, I saw that cute face on the entity that had—with its scouring light—incinerated those monstrous, infinitely cruel suns.  And the lesson came to me.

As my wife had said, I had “moped around” for years, depressed and downcast by my inability to fully know the mysteries of myself and the world.  But what I didn’t before realize, hadn’t even considered, was that not all mysteries are worth solving—not all truths are worth knowing.  That I shouldn’t be dejected just because I can’t know the unknown.

My son’s face, my son’s joy should be enough for me.  Ensuring his happiness above all else should be my goal—my existential fire.  That joy which, once seen, can eradicate all horrors and worries which may haunt my mind.  That is the ultimate truth I saw, of which I was made so profoundly aware, during that fantastical journey into the nadir of the universe.

With this knowledge in mind, I am happy that I will be long dead when humanity develops sufficiently enough to physically voyage to those ultimate depths of cosmic darkness because I never want to see—nor be intimately reminded of—the horrors therein ever again.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Bryce Simmons
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Bryce Simmons


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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