Ashen Conscience

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Lesson One: The Dull Loss

Rain…always rain. The very air he breathed was saturated with that irksome material…always water! He teetered on the brink of madness, the constant motion of waves drawing him ever closer to that narrow precipice, that unstable escarpment. How he longed to be free of this torment! Oh well, he wasn’t one for such an impulsive act; more of an unmotivated coward, was he. With a heaving sigh did he arise, a single ray of light peeking through a cloud, momentarily drawing an arc over what he believed to be his “room”. Sparing a brief moment to gaze longingly at this final, despairing ray, he made his way downstairs, his world once again obscured by that purple haze.

Although he did bear with him a certain refined elegance – a social grace – his utter ineptitude overshadowed both his handsome appearance and his reassuring countenance. His hair was an ugly mop of black, perpetually mussed as he utterly despised combs. Standing at a mere 5’3″, he was rather small in stature, especially compared to the gargantuan fisherman that patrolled the waterways of the Sea Continent: Hydros. Physically outstanding was he not; even less so in the mental category. The only work he was suited to was the waste of precious food, matter, and water, these being talents which he was remarkably skilled at completing. Slob, ignoramus, weakling. All these utterly unattractive features combined to form that which is Vhasn (Va-as).

The pitiful sack of flesh that deigned to call herself his mother lay slouched over a table, an empty bottle of Fonri Juice precariously close to the edge of the table. With a slight moan of aggravation did she arise, her hair covering her face in wetted and dirty tangles. A brief moment of recognition passed over her glazed pupils only to be replaced by that same blind look that all Fonri addicts bore with them. Fonri, you see, is a potent extract derived from an indigenous species of fish known as the Malchuk. Often mixed with a purified blend of Hydrosian spring water, this drink made for a potent, and often addictive, narcotic. Vhasn paused for a moment to sneer at the wretched hag, loudly brushing aside all the clutter she had made in her drug-induced euphoria.

“Hag! I swear you’ll end up drinkin’ yerself into an early grave!”

She merely moaned as the depleted Fonri bottle broke into the floor, the orange coral shattering into thousands of indistinct pieces. A small tic was beginning to develop around the corner of her mouth, a clear sign that her nerves were steadily deteriorating after so many years of veritably inhaling the stuff. He despised her.

“Screw you then, hag. Go and kill yerself, see if I give a damn!”

Ever since his father had fallen to the void, his mother had resorted to this to ease her grief. In fact, it was nearly impossible for her to feel any emotion after her senses had been so-long dulled by the potent juice. Not even elation as her vision blackened, a cold vice settling over her throat. How ironic that her own escape from reality had fulfilled her wish at last. Shuddering once, she fell to the floor, the bright green juice seeping from the corner of her mouth. Of course, Vhasn had already stormed out…into the storm itself. He was an impetuous child, yet he would not be chastised for his actions by her ever again…

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