As Bob wandered around the museum to meet with the curator to find answers as to what the origins of the knife were, he wondered about the woman back at the desk. Not many knew he existed, let alone the tone of her voice seemed so…cycnical, that they had been expecting him.
At last, he found the room where the curator was. The man was terribly old, with almost as many wrinkles as Father Time. Dressed in black, Bob almost mistook him for Death instead. He had a broad chin; with a bright white bushy beard that had grown down to mid-chest. Short white hair hid under his black professor hat. Behind hs small spectacles, his eyes were bright with the blue of an ever clear sky. Though he appeared frail, he stepped light and with assurance and had a hell of a handshake.
The two men shook hands. The man spoke with such a soothing voice. It seemed to possess something that Bob hadn’t felt in a long time—comfort. “Ah, good day, sir. I trust you are here to discuss this relic you’re possessing.”
“Yeah, I have this knife…” Bob retrieved the normal appearing blade from his pocket. “I can’t quite say how I came into its possession. It…I…we kinda found each other.”
The curator examined the blade. “Ah…interesting.” He looked up at Bob then back at the blade. “Well, it’s not quite often that I am gifted with such a find.”
Bob’s interest piqued. “What do you mean? What is it?”
“This is the Kris of Judas. Also known as the Knife of the Betrayer. Contrary to its name, it actually has no affiliation with Judas or the betrayal of Christ. The scholars that had first discovered it dubbed it so. In a sense, it has existed for countless lifetimes; its appearance is constantly changing to the wielder.”
Bob rubbed his brow. “Wait, so it’s some ancient knife that no one quite really knows, has no association with Judas and all that…and it changes appearance?”
The curator nodded. “Indeed. It’s quite puzzling, isn’t it? That’s what makes it so fascinating, though!”
Bob stared at the knife and then the curator. “Well, I just want to get rid of it. If you want it for your museum, you can have it.”
“You’re too kind, sir. However, that would be against the rules. You see, this is not my burden to bear. It is yours,” said the curator as he cleaned his small spectacles with a small white cloth.
“What? What are you talkin’ about? What do you mean rules and burden?” Bob began to get hysterical. “I just wanna go back—I wanna go back and live my life. Be free.”
“Ah, you thought that this was all a charade, didn’t you? Perhaps a dream within a dream…some intricate sort of inception?” The man’s voice hinted at something darker. “You’re new here. I can understand your lack of comprehension. Though, I suppose, it has been quite a long, long time since I’ve been here. Alas, as you can see, I’ve adapted and become an instrument in…educating and calculating events. A sort of chronicler if you will.”
Bob stared at the man, shocked, dumbfounded. “Who…what are you? W—where am I?”
The old man smiled. “You exist in reality. Jumping from universe to universe where you exist. Your mind, the present you, keeps assimilating your parallel’s body. And since you believe you are in limbo, well, you can see…”
Bob’s eyes dropped to the ground following his heart. “So, I really am dead?
“Where you initially, existed?” The curator held back a grin and paused for a moment. “Yes, you are…but here…you are alive.”
Bob wanted more answers. “What about the ‘itches’ I get? What about the sudden impulses of me wantin’ to kill people?”
“Those are hardwired impulses. We’re all capable of things, Bob. Sometimes we can ignore them, the urges, or as you call them itches. Other times, well, that’s how we get murderers, rapists, criminals, etc. Now, I am not saying it’s hard coded in your DNA, it’s just that you’re animals. You’re beasts, cursed beings of flesh that have needs and wants; you lust after looks, salivate over the temptation of what could be instead of cherishing what you have now…even if it is deemed bad or good. You claim selflessness, when in fact, your kind is so selfish, that you can laugh at a dying person; mocking them as they take their final breath. Your religion zealotry against one another is quite astounding as well.” The old man laughed. “Ah, I could ramble on and on with what I see is wrong with your race, Bob. I suppose, I could say that it’s not entirely your fault…but in some aspects it is. Every choice, every action has a consequence. This…what you are experiencing…is your consequence.”
Bob stood in awe.
The old man asked Bob, “how does it feel to be a remnant of a memory? Of a life, someone else lived?”
“I…I don’t know what to think,” replied Bob.
“Give it time. You seem to be on the right path…minus having killed yourself in countless universes so far. You keep that up, and you won’t wake up one day,” said the curator.
“What happens then?” asked Bob.
The old man made elaborate hand gestures, “welcome to the void!” He then laughed. “Now, I suggest you take your relic and keep searching…not for answers, but for yourself.”
“What do you mean keep searching for myself?” asked Bob, confused.
“You’ve answered enough questions, Chronicler. Your task is done,” said a deep voice from within the room.
The knife then found itself buried deep in the chest of the old man.
“What! What the hell!?” Bob panicked, looking over the old man that was now dead with his knife in the man’s chest.
“We will get you, Bob. You will not escape us. Not for long,” said the voice again.
The voice shook Bob to his core. He never felt so much fear and dread in his life. Not ever. He took the knife out and ran out of the room. He saw several dark figures that almost seemed mist-like, with fiery red eyes fixated on him.
Down each path, there stood the wraiths impeding his path. The people were oblivious of them and Bob.
“There is nowhere to go. Give up. Surrender yourself to the darkness,” said the voice again.
Bob thought of what to do. He couldn’t possibly fight against that much, let alone likely wound them. He thought of the curator’s words.
Find yourself. Parallel universe.
He readied to kill himself, but the knife was stolen from his hands by an unseen force.
“It’s not going to be so easy for you, Bobby,” said a wraith.
Bob stared at his surroundings and caught the eye of an instrument of death. “Then I guess I’ll have to improvise.”
He dashed over to the guillotine and wrangled the rope. Too late, they were coming here already. He scrambled to his feet and went to the gallows. No use. He went to the iron maiden and climbed in, and pulled it shut. The wraith reached out, missing him. His life slowly left him. The apparition stared on at him.
“It’s only a matter of time. We will find you and when we do…you will become one…” the voice began to drown out, “with…the…dark…ness.”