I wanted to do something special with the Forward and used it an introduction to Luke from the perspective on the interviewer going into the depths of Hell to meet the beast before his demise.
“All of the streets are starting to look the same as they cross over and under one another in a uniformed sequence of never-ending consequence. There is no starting point and the only ends found are designated ‘dead ends’ that come from nowhere. I’ve tried to make sense of it all in my own mind, but when there is no rhyme or reason for everyday things than any explanation seems trite and ordinary. Much like the faces that pass me on a daily basis in any city U.S.A. There is that omnipresent hollow blank stare, black eyes that reflect an empty nothingness. This used to take me by surprise, but not anymore. I am sad for myself and what these lifeless zombies have become. People used to be so expressive, so alive, so intrigued with the wonder of everyday existence. That ‘wanderlust,’ has been replaced by something I never would have imagined in all my years on this earth. I used to think myself immune and untouched by such triviality, but not anymore. I have smelled the fear that emanates from deep within the souls of those who pass. I have seen it in their withered hands as they’ve hailed for taxis, dug in their pockets for change, looked at their watches for the time. For those we look down upon everyday with wrinkled, cracked skin, swollen knuckles, workers hands that have borne the seasons changing through the years. Sometimes hitting the pavement beneath their feet, bracing them as they’ve fallen forward, knocked around like some pinball in an arcade game, bouncing from one terrain to another, and one shoulder to another. I have held my breath as they’ve passed, trying not to notice the stench of old sweat, human musk rising in the steam of summer. The dirt buried so deep in the crevasses on their wrinkled faces, matted hair upon their heads that protrude to heaven like a two-by-four board. I have been one of the many that has witnessed the sternness in our own fortunate faces, our bottom lips tremble as we try to hold back a well of tears, hopelessly conversing with ourselves in earnest, quietly swearing to GOD, “It will not happen to me! I will not fall so far down.” But, always present, is that little glimmer of doubt as we straighten our ties, brush off our designer jackets, and watch for the street light to change.
There is that reprehensible stare as we walk by those less fortunate, an uneasy quivering. We all share it, we all fear it, and we all deny it. “That will NEVER be us!” “We will never become that which we hold such contempt for.” Are we sure? Are we really sure that our lives won’t change on a dime and that homeless vacant soul pushing the shopping cart filled with blankets, trinkets and garbage won’t be us? They’re wearing tattered clothes, torn and filthy, vacant smiles as dim as our eyes. There is no light here. What stands and remains is a hollow shell that once was: was every dream, every longing, and every hope and wish that wasn’t meant to be. Don’t pretend it hasn’t crossed your mind that you haven’t wondered. We’ve all crossed the street to avoid such unpleasantries. It is the pride imbedded within us that can’t comprehend how we as individuals could possibly let this happen to ourselves. Doesn’t fate take a part? If you believe such, then you must resign yourself to the fact that all things happen for a reason and that it was pre-destined, either in the cosmos or your DNA. Isn’t that the world’s consciousness these days? It’s all over the news, every place you turn. The world is on its collective ear, waiting: waiting for every whisper, every rumor, and every headline. It doesn’t matter anymore if these things are true, we will sensationalize them anyway. We will fill that need of instant gratification that we all lack. WE WANT IT NOW! Tomorrow is too far away. All of humanities patience has been washed away with the tsunamis’ and hurricanes, blown away with the tornadoes, fallen with the mudslides. So, we wait in fear of tomorrow, the next day, the next month, ten years from now. Some of us don’t have that much time. Some have to take their actions now, and their consequences. It’s inevitable. Fear breeds contempt. Fear breeds intolerance. Fear breeds. I have always prided myself on not knowing fear by its first name. It does have one, you know. What you choose it to be is of your own fruition. Childhood fears may still haunt your dreams but do they follow you in the daylight? Do they coldly hold your hand as a former lover? Do they embrace you as a dream you gave up on? Or are they merely an extension of your everyday existence? You know within your heart the roles they play. But I am not talking about childish fears. I am referring to what’s real in this life now.
What is it you really fear? Fear of poverty, fear of sickness, fear of loneliness, fear of the unknown, fear of true evil, fear of death? That’s the big one. We all fear death. Some scholars have accepted their fate as a part of life and living. They have no fear of the hereafter. They have their own image of what the ‘afterlife’ will be as they enter into it. I am not here to debate their faith or belief. I am here to relay to you a story of a fear I have never known until I met Lucas Price. I am Russell Thomas. I am a reporter for the Daily Sun who has followed every move, every whisper, and every breath of Price since his fateful journey embarked. I have a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology and in journalism. I have numerous journalist awards, interviewed Kings and Queens, rock stars, and have had two best-selling crime thrillers on the New York Times list for 2 years. Both career paths have served me well, until now. I am, or was, one of those jaded people who thought I had lived a life that encompassed the world. I have all a man could possibly wish or hope for. I have been callous, egotistical, a modern monster at any given moment. I have been the center of my own universe with an unbeatable voracious spirit and appetite. I have seen the world a hundred times over, call some celebrities friends, and have bedded some of the most beautiful women you could imagine.
It never occurred to me that my life would change so drastically that I would find it hard to concentrate, or look at my own reflection in the bathroom mirror in the morning. The kingdom I knew, built, and thrived within has been altered forever. Everything I feared within my own consciousness was born into one man’s heart and mind. He optimized true evil to me, and yet, did so with such grace and finesse I found myself at times lost in his own thoughts and words. His voice rang in my ears for over a decade. I woke up to the sound of his laugh. I’ve slept hearing his bellowing GOD-like lectures and truths. I have been haunted and afraid. Afraid this in his own twisted mentality somewhere his reasoning would resonate within me and I would find him to be sane. I lost my objectivity somewhere along the way. All the training I’ve had seems insignificant and useless. I feel like a student of man again; a newborn for lack of a better analogy. Forget what you have read in the newspapers or seen on T.V. It has all been tainted and slanted information to benefit the greasy palms of a thousand for the sake of ratings or copies sold. Even my own words have come back to haunt me; but no more. I know the truth. I will share with you my truth. I freely admit Luke Price has become my biggest fear.”
Forward from “A Question of Sanity.”