It’s been roughly one hundred years, give or take a few, since I’ve visited the town of my birth. Folks say, when I was born, I brought Hell with me, and I haven’t stopped since. I haven’t been on the run, per see; I look at it as restlessness. From what I’ve been told about my father, he was the exact same way, couldn’t sit still for more than a few months. I guess that makes me a chip off the old block, huh.
Where are my manners? You may recognize my voice, but how much do you really know about me? The name’s Murphy, a name I gave myself after I was born. I’ve been told that not too many can actually remember the day of their birth, for me, it’s as clear as day.
I remember darkness, vast darkness, but I remember hearing a scratching noise coming from beyond, a slow, chaotic scratching. I went in search of the source of the noise. The scratching got louder and louder and suddenly, the blackness began to peel away to reveal a large group of people, looking right at me and the man responsible for the noise, of whom I can only assume was my father. He continued scratching as the group of people became focused and saturated with color. When I first recognized what they were is a mass of black, white and gray and soon they started to flood with vibrant color. As my father continued to scratch away, I looked down and could see my arms, my torso, and my legs all form into existence, like ink bleeding over a wet canvas. It was magnificent to watch myself being born and the group of people were glued to the edges of their seats. I can only guess they were seeing the exact same spectacle that I was seeing. As my form was being constituted into existence, I began to hear a low murmur of undecipherable whispers emanating for around me. As my body became more and more solid, the whispers grew louder, as if they were getting closer.
After several more moments of scratching and etching, my father stood back and gazed at me. I looked into his eyes for the first time, and…
I’ve heard stories that when a son is born unto you, you look upon him with great pride and love. And the realization that you have become a father finally hits you in the heart, and you are truly at peace. My father looked upon me for the first time with horror and regret. His expression was shouting out “Good Lord, what have I done?”
Something fell from his hand, something black and stick like. I looked back into my father’s eyes and then to the crowd who was watching me intently. I tried to walk to embrace my father for the first time, but there was a barrier blocking me, like frosted glass. I could not get to him.
I looked about my body and noticed, I was now fully clothed, not naked, as I had been moments before while my father was still scratching at the barrier with his stick. I searched myself for something, anything that would help me get to my father, but all I could find…
…was a black stick of my own.
Could it be? Would it even…?
I began to scratch at the frosted surface with my stick and to my amazement, not only was it drawing a solid black inky line on the surface, but was cutting through it, like a hot knife through butter. I proceeded to carve my way through. As I was doing so, the flurry of whispered voices became more audible, some were high, some were low, some were male, some were female, and some were down right terrifying. I spun around to see where these voices were coming from. I dropped my stick.
Thousands of creatures all deformed and primitive were gathering around me, all stopping within a few feet of me. They were waiting. They wanted to be born as well.
“Do it” they said, “Release us all!”
Although they were all different shapes and sizes, deformed or sculpted, we all shared the same quality, our skin was black.
“Pick it up, boy!” They began to chant, “Free us all!”
Free us all? What were they talking about? I continued to carve my way to my father.
At last, my task was complete and I pushed on the door I now created. As soon as the first ray of light slipped through as I opened the passage, the creatures behind me stampeded through and burst the door open. The crowd on the other side panicked and fled for their lives as the creatures created absolute chaos in the room we were now in. Some creatures ran right for the doors to escape, some stayed back to wreak havoc in this bright chamber we were now in. I simply stood there, a new born, confused by my new surroundings and tried to gain my bearings on what exactly was going on. I looked back and saw the door, still wide open and vomiting more and more creatures that hid in the depths of the shadows.
The creatures that first came forth with me were small, in most aspects. They resembled innocent little doodles and cartoons. Like those you would see in the newspaper. But now, those characters had long since fled, making way for more grotesque and monstrous creatures. Creatures with multiple heads and deformed bodies that made any less of a man retch upon first sight.
As I looked back at the door, I saw my father simply standing there, wide-eyed and aghast to what was happening. I called out to him and began to run back. As he turned to face me, he was seized by some of the more appalling beasts that came forth. I made chase but it was too late. I barely touched the tips of his fingers before he was hurried back through the door and drowned in the deep nothingness.
The door sealed itself so violently that the walls began to tremble and quake. Bits of plaster and wood fell from the ceiling and walls. The remaining audience fled the room as I stayed behind, pawing at the wall that separated me from my father. The cracks and groans became louder and louder and I knew, there was no way to bring him back.
I ran from that place, and never looked back.
I was able to retain that black stick that I brought with me when I was born, and it has proved itself quite useful over the years. If I need a quick exit, or a weapon to defend myself, I simply draw one, and upon completion, I pluck it off the wall, or simply walk through it.
I have grown quite accustomed to life in this realm, but still find mischievous pleasure in using my powers to confuse and perplex my enemies or just anyone who gets in my way. On occasion, I’ll see one of my brothers or sisters that escaped with me that day. They tend to hide in the shadows, not knowing how to fully grasp this world yet, but… like all of my father’s creations, we have all the time in the world.
Today, I finally returned to that small town. Not much is left. I heard stories that after my birthday, some organization silenced the entire populous, and because of the horror that was left behind, most moved elsewhere. The building where I was born no longer stands, just a parking lot now, overgrown and rundown, just like everything else around here. Amongst all the desolation, two things still stand, a church and a graveyard. I could never find must comfort in a chapel, so I strolled on over to the latter. Most of the headstones were covered in moss, and worn down. Many were shattered and overturned. But near the back corner of the small plot of moldy land, there stood a lone marker. It was separated from the rest of the stones here, I can only assume, out of fear, after I read the name.
I know I will find no body buried underneath, for I know exactly where my father’s body actually lies. So I sit upon the earth, pay my respects and head the inscription:
Jack-of-All-Trades, Ace of One.
May your canvas be ever blank to create your next masterpiece.
Rest in Peace – Jacob Emory