Vignette: Ultimate Desire
Inside the beating heart that was larger than any room that one could ever find in the world, Desire watched the events that unfolded in the land of man, woman and beasts. She was in her domain, the Threshold, which was a massive statue of herself with its arms outstretched and its chest open to reveal its beating heart. Holding a smaller silver heart-shaped between her thin white fingers, Desire found herself for the first moment in her existence suddenly uncertain for the briefest of moments of what she wanted to do. Through the eyes of a very young Burgess, Desire peered at the events that slowly unfolded. It was a curious moment. A event horizon of things that were to come.
"I have it," the man who stood before the young and tired Alex Burgess spoke excitedly, only to dampen the excitement the moment he realised it was the son and not the father whom answered the door. "Alex lad, where's your father?"
"He is-" Alex began but John Hathaway had no time for a child's uncertain answer. Shoving the child past him, the museum curator made his way into the house and scanned the room with his bespectacled eyes. Alex noticed that his father's guest held close to his chest something that was wrapped in a dark velvet cloth. Desire noticed that Alex felt the initial pangs of curiousity growing as he stared at the concealed parcel. Finding no sign of Roderick, Hathaway searched for the one who would most likely know where he was.
"Here, sir?" a carefully delivered response came from the side. Turning to his right, Hathaway saw the butler that served Roderick Burgess step into view with a teapot, two cups and a biscuit on a tray that he carried. "Master Roderick is at his chambers. Would you like me to inform him that you have arrived?"
"By all means my good man," Hathaway muttered and Alex noticed him patting the wrapped parcel a few times before continuing, "Inform him that the matters regarding.. Edmund have come to a possible conclusion."
"Of course, sir," Compton replied.
Desire felt a the touch of Destiny upon her sigil. Walking towards the gallery, Desire slipped the silver lighter back into her dress pocket and reached for the icon of a closed booklet that hung on the wall. She hated the interruption. Though there was no way she could see them, she sensed that Robert Burgess' waking dreams were of the power and the glory. And of death. "Of course," Desire grinned to herself, "Especially death."
But the call of the sigil was insistent. Desire knew she had to answer it.
"You called for me, older brother?" Desire asked aloud and the sigil faded into the hushed whispers of soul mates that never found one another. The empty frame where the sigil hung became a screen with the hooded form of the eldest among the Endless standing within. Face obscured within the brown robe and cowl which he always wore, Destiny peered through and gently spoke with carefully chosen words.
"Younger sister, I have read what is to happen and I have come to ask you if you are certain of this. Your actions here may bring much more changes than you shall ever anticipate. It may even take from you that which you have longest desired yourself."
Desire smiled, "You have called me to warn me of my own desires, Eldest brother? Do you notice the bitter-sweet irony of that."
"I am aware that your indecision is based on fear," Destiny replied with his voice holding neither gall nor guile.
"Of course," Desire snapped back, "You after all speak only of what you see written in the book chained to your right hand. And though you cast no shadow, you call upon me to cast upon me doubt."
"Doubt? I have not-"
"Don't tell me things that are under my own perview, Eldest brother. I am Desire. And I know what is best for me."
Destiny gave no response to Desire's almost emotional outburst. Instead, he slid his hand across the cover of the great grimoire in his hands and turned to a page which he found even in his blindness. He slid his finger down the length of the page to end near the center and spoke aloud, "The bonds of family bind both ways."
"Rubbish," Desire sneered, "Who would claim such an idiotic thing."
Destiny gave no reply. Instead, he bowed his head once again and allowed his sigil to reappear. Desire felt furious. She knew her brother was not one to call upon his siblings unless there was reason to. A seed of doubt penetrated Desire's gigantic Heart.
"The Magdalene Grimiore?" a bald-headed, slightly pot-bellied man with a hooked eagle-beaked nose came into the room with an urgency present in his eyes. Hathaway smiled and raised the wrapped parcel from his chest. Alex watched as his father broke into a fit of joyful exclamation. Rushing towards the visitor, Alex saw his father wrap his arms around the man and grin an almost sinister grin. "Yes!"
"Yes," Hathaway replied, "The Order now has what it needs to bring back Edmund."
"Come," Roderick called out to Hathaway and Alex as he made his way deeper into the shadowy confines of the house, "Quickly... You have come at a right time. Things are prepared. Perhaps one can say we sensed such a night was near."
"Destiny," Alex muttered absent-mindedly.
"Yes, it is Destiny my son. Now come, you shall take part in this!"
Desire sat down upon the red couch that faced the largest mirror in his chambers. He gently slid once more the silver-heart shaped lighter from his pocket and thumbed it as he found himself once again juggling the sense of worry that was on his mind. A part of him was tempted to call upon Despair, his twin sister, whom he trusted among all the siblings. He did not know what to tell her, however. For a moment, he found himself considering Destruction, but then he remembered that his brother had abandoned his place a long time ago. Even the gallery no longer contained his symbol.
"Warning me of my actions," Desired hissed aloud and reached deep into his pants pocket with his other hand. "Consequences, brother Destiny. All you see are the consequences of ones actions. But you forget, I am not one to care for such things." He slid the cigarette towards his perfect lips and flicked the silver lighter open with a single snap of his fingers. Watching the burning flame dance for a few seconds, Desire smiled his perfectly sinful smile and brought the flame towards the edge of the cigarette. "Twist and bend them as I require it. Of course. I am Desire. They are but Human being. They exist for the sole purpose of my directions," Desire shook his head at his own words, "If I thought otherwise..."
The cigarette gently fell onto the red couch, bouced off its brillant vermillion leathery finish, then rolled onto the ground without a sound. The blue smoke trailed upwards, dancing from an unfelt wind that twisted its path into strange symbols and shapes and arcane words.
The Threshold suddenly opened its massive eyes. Staring into the limbo that surrounded it, the gigantic statue that was Desire's realm felt something it had never felt before. And in an equally impossible act that none would ever bear witness to, the Threshold reached deep into the hole in its chest to feel for the presence of Desire deep within its hollow heart...
.. and find none.
Nothing but cold, empty, absence.
And the dying embers of a forgotten cigarette
left burning on the floor.
- end of issue 1 -
by Tobie Abad
(visit Ultimate DC)
Andre Mischa Cleofe
Cathy delos Santos