The 616 Diaries: Entry 24 by Kevin Kauffmann
Visit Kevin Kauffmann's page
A A

October 21st, 2019

So I completely forgot to tell you about that dream that I mentioned in the last post, because I’m a horrible storyteller, apparently.  I would have just edited the post and tacked on what it meant, what I saw, but I figured that would be disingenuous.

Plus, I just had another dream, and I figured it would be best to tackle both of them at the same time.  Especially since one was a continuation of the other.

Though they were backward, I guess.

And this is the point where I’m not sure where I should start.  I mean, all things considered it might be better to go at this chronologically—tell you what I saw as I saw it—but you might get a little confused just because of the continuity.  But, really, that should kinda be the point, shouldn’t it?  To have you see why I was confused, to have you feel what I felt when it finally made sense.  Or, well, at least start to get closer to some kind of sense.

That statement is just as delusional as the concept of someone actually reading this diary.  I mean, how am I supposed to get anybody to read something this... ridiculous?  Yeah, I think that’s the word for it.  But here I am, throwing words onto the page or, well, tapping keys as fast as I can without making mistakes somehow.  Maybe this will all be for someone else, for someone to see my dwindling spark or, Hell, they might actually get a warning or two from this little text I’ve been writing. 

Or maybe it’s just for me.  For me to hold onto that precious little bit of sanity for the time being, or for me to find it and read it years down the line when I’m only just barely myself, a few scraps of my personality somehow untouched when the rest of me has been replaced by some villain or devil.

Well, damn, I may have given too much away.

Then fuck it, I say!  You’re going to get the dreams in the order I received them, since I am the great and almighty seer of Hell!

Or, well, you know.  Something like that.

If you don’t recall, this one happened before I met Teresa Slagen, before I read the Prometheus section of the prophecies.  I’m not sure how much time passed while I was dreaming—it felt real, it felt like active time—but I don’t remember going to bed until 3 in the morning and I woke up at, you guessed it, 6:16 AM.  It’s like a fucking internal, infernal alarm clock at this point.  I wouldn’t mind if 6:16 wasn’t in my prime sleeping hours, but that’s just how it is and, sadly, how it’s probably going to be.  I could try to start going to bed earlier, but, well...

That kind of thing has never gone well.  I think I just have to get used to sleep deprivation.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

In any case, this dream felt...substantial.  There’s all kinds of theories about dreams and how time is distorted while you’re in them; I don’t know how much of that is true, but this one didn’t feel like a dream.  It felt like I was just walking around; just a random, easy, plain and boring day until I started talking to the others.  I wandered through the streets by myself, robes dragging along the ground, whatever it was on my feet clacking against the cobblestones as I made my rounds. 

It was peaceful at the beginning of the dream; there didn’t seem to be anyone else around, like it was my own personal... well, I’m torn.  I want to say hunting grounds just because I felt powerful, but I also want to say haunting grounds because I felt... disconnected.  A little more ethereal, a little more connected to something deeper.  To say that I felt abnormal, is, well... understatement is an understatement.  I felt like I was more than just my body, more than just a denizen of that dark domain.

In my dream I was in the body of a demon, but that’s not all.  I was also in his mind.

Actually, scratch that; I wasn’t in his mind.  His mind was mine.  It was me walking through that abandoned street, the creatures of Hell somehow somewhere else.  I had no doubt about it, that this was Hell; that this was my home, my street, my body, my robes.   I wasn’t watching this dream; I wasn’t watching an old, borrowed memory through this dream.  I was reliving a moment and it was really hard to remember that I wasn’t just revisiting my own past.

And by “really hard” I mean it didn’t occur to me until I woke up.  Well, except for a few little fragments where I remembered, but those were pretty rare.  Hell, it wasn’t even a red flag when my robes caught on one of the cobblestones and I saw giant bird’s feet with silver talons where my regular, human feet should have been.  My only thought was that I might need to get them trimmed before I trip over myself.

So you would think that’s enough of a revelation, right?  You can connect the dots, too, right?  Dreaming something like this can really only mean one thing, suggestion or not.  To feel, to think, to act like an entirely different person and feel comfortable like that, especially if it’s a demon?  I am a seer—that much I’m confident—but it may go deeper than that.  I obviously have a connection to these demons, this Räum, though I’m not sure how much of a connection it is. 

In the dream I was him.  I was a demon that took on aspects of a crow, who reveled in his solitude while all the other denizens of Hell slept or wasted their time doing whatever it was.  And I felt good.  I felt like I was one of the precious few individuals who wasn’t an irrelevant sack of wasted potential, who was actually doing something worthwhile.  My prophecies, all of those scrolls I was carrying under my arm, all of that was worth more than my pathetic brothers or the reanimated monkeys who had found their way to our home.

Reanimated monkeys.  That was an honest, true-to-life real thing that I thought.  Not that I remembered; that I personally came up with in my head.  In the dream I wasn’t even close to human and the only thing I had for them was scorn.  Well, that’s not entirely appropriate.  When I did happen to pass by one of those miserable souls, I didn’t look at them entirely with disgust.  Not entirely.  There was a part of me that felt their potential; felt like with the right push and the right nudge that there might be some worth to them, but most were mere annoyances.  Pesky little creatures that I had to indulge or ignore.  I didn’t hate them as much as Amon did, but... guh.

Oh, yeah, Amon.  Turns out that brotherly connection mentioned in the Ars Goetia was way more important than previously thought, or at least that was what came through in my dream.  We had a bit of a rivalry going on—my brother and I—and there was just a little bit of resentment from both sides.  He saw plenty of specifics, where I was more of the big picture kind of seer.  On a good day I could reach his level, but he could never really approach my scope. 

It bugged him, obviously, and that frustration got him to be envious of me, say some mean things, I would get resentful… so on and so forth.  Brotherly bickering was common, though, well… I think I loved him.  I think I wanted to keep him around.  It was hard; there was such a long time period of memories I didn’t really get to tap.  I just heard myself muttering his name every once in a while and flashes of a few millennia would fly past my mind’s eye.

Jesus fucking Christ I just read that last paragraph and I can’t believe it.  I know the line between me and this demon is getting really blurry, but holy shit.  I really did just write that whole thing like it was actually me.

That’s what I’m afraid of, you know.  It’s not the seer thing, or the demonic prophecies, or this intellectual cabal of an Order or the secrecy or even the dreams.  It’s this theory I have, that it’s more than just a connection.  Like... after these dreams, I’m not... entirely sure that I’m not Räum.  There are so many goddamned signs and these feelings I had, it wasn’t even like I was being swallowed up by some unearthly power.  It was just like I was somewhere else, but still me.

And when it’s that kind of confusing, it’s hard not to think of those other demons like Amon as part of my family.  When thinking about him, he wasn’t just another demon that had a raven’s head; he was my brother.  When I finally spoke to Lucifer and Azazel, I was having a chat with some of my older, more important brothers.

Oh, damn, bad storyteller again.  The dream wasn’t just me thinking to myself as I walked around Hell.  That whole sequence was just a preamble to my conversation with the actual Devil.

See, those scrolls I mentioned earlier?  Those were the prophecies.  Hundreds and hundreds of lines of angelic text; not demonic, angelic.  It seems that even while in Hell, my demonic doppelganger did not conform to the new standards of language and, trust me, I know what that looked like.  Couldn’t read a damn thing of it when I was passing by, or, well, I couldn’t if I saw it now.  It just clicked for Räum, or the dream version of me.  Nothing important—nothing written by anyone but him or Amon was worth a damn to Räum—but I picked up a few signs here and there when I wasn’t buried in my own thoughts.  Well, buried in Räum’s thoughts.  He would go off on mental tangents like crazy.

…shut it.  I know I do the same thing.

Anyway, I made my way through the streets and came to this huge staircase leading up to a palace in the center of the city.  As I made my way up all those steps, I looked around and watched as light danced off stalactites and ruined buildings in every direction.  Although it was an absent-minded thought for Räum, I remember looking past the edge of the staircase and watching lava flows rising and churning with the heat, the iridescence from the molten rock enough to light my way, to light all of this demonic capital.  I knew that, that this was a place of great importance in Hell; that I wouldn’t want to be banished to the foreign and furthest extents of this empire in exile.  With my work, with my self-inflated importance, I needed to be here, in the center, where the Devil waited.

Just look at the ego on Räum.  I’m gonna separate myself from him here just so you guys know how arrogant my dream self was.  Not me.  Even if I’m fashioning myself to be a demonic seer or maybe some descendant or even a reincarnated demon.  I don’t fucking know.  All I know is that I’m strangely ashamed of my dream behavior, even if it wasn’t in my control.

But that’s just how Räum was, apparently.  In the dream, I made my way up the stairs and through the small courtyard without any regard for the demons I was passing.  When a small, yellow demon wearing a loincloth shouted at me from his perch on the roof, I didn’t wave or acknowledge him.  Only when he threw a rock at me did I even look up from my path, and I grabbed it out of the air before slinging it back at him.  It was kinda satisfying to do that; I could tell through the chaos in my mind that I had predicted its flight path and knew the demon wouldn’t react fast enough.  However, what shocked me out of being entirely Räum was that my vessel had thrown the rock back wreathed in green flames.  I just watched from some sort of spectral vantage point as the rock hit the yellow demon in the forehead and singed his skin.

And just like that, I was back to seeing the world through Räum’s eyes and to ignoring the yelp of pain coming from the roof.  Whoever he was, I didn’t hold much respect for him.  I think part of it was that Räum was confident in his own strength and he could take the yellow demon, but I think a larger part of it was that Räum knew the creature would not dare touch him.  Räum was just that important, or at least that was the impression I got after the dream was over.  Actual importance or just self-importance is up for debate, but it was clear that the demon had a pretty high opinion of himself and his work.

Back to the dream.  I made my way through the foyer, the entrance hall, a series of rooms that held no interest to me then, though I would have loved to have seen it as myself.  There was so much detail in some of those paintings, so many words being whispered by the staff of the palace.  It would have given me so many clues—given me so much material to work with—but Räum didn’t care what I wanted.  Hell, in his life, I didn’t exist.  It’s infuriating, being the passenger sometimes.

Though when I opened up the doors to the throne room and found Lucifer and Azazel turning to face me, being a passenger in a demon’s mind wasn’t really an issue.

“Räum?  What brings you here?” Lucifer asked as he rose to his feet, his loose skirt falling down to his ankles.  He was just like I remembered from the other dreams, and I had no doubt about who he was this time.  With Räum’s perspective, I knew exactly who this shining man was and just what he was capable of doing.  I had respect for this angel in exile—or rather Räum had respect for him, which was a rarity even among the Fallen. 

 

The crow held disdain for more than just humans.

“Maybe he knew we were talking about him behind his back,” Azazel added, and I turned to the blind demon with palpable anger.  I could feel it reverberating throughout my feathers and it even caused my talons to tap against the tile beneath me.

If you couldn’t tell from that hint in the last few paragraphs, Räum didn’t much care for Azazel.  The blindfold in spite of his ability to see from dozens of hidden eyes, the reptilian tail he would use to trip unsuspecting demons, the ostentatious goat hooves; everything about him bothered Räum, though his smile was the worst.  Those thin, purple lips were always stretched into a shit-eating grin, and even now while I’m writing this I’m starting to become just as irritated as my demonic mentor.

Though Räum handled the situation relatively well.

“Oh, Azazel, your words are not worth the breath you waste,” I said, far more pretentious than I would have been, personally.  Yet this was Räum’s life and just my dream, so I got to say the words and notice Azazel play at pouting.

“Aww, he thinks I’m not funny.  You think I’m funny, right, Lucy?” Azazel said as he turned to the radiant leader of Hell, but Lucifer stepped past him and waved him off with an errant flip of his hand.

“Sometimes.  Not as funny as you think you are,” he said, briefly turning to give a coy smile to his friend, but Lucifer eventually returned his attention to me and nodded at the scrolls underneath my arm.  “So what’s that?”

“Lucifer.  As much as it… pains me to say this,” I said, pausing to indicate my sincerity, “the prophecies were not entirely accurate.  Or rather, events have taken place that have made it necessary for me to make… adjustments.”

“Ooh, adjustments!” Azazel squealed as he clapped his hands together and hopped forward.  He even tilted his head to make him seem even more ridiculous.  “Lucy, we just got to see Räum admit he was wrong!”

“Mind your tongue, Azazel!” I shouted, feeling the feathers on my neck standing up in response to my anger.  “I have a mind to pluck it from your throat if you continue your behavior.”

“No one is taking anybody’s tongue, Räum,” Lucifer said with a sigh as he approached, coming to a stop just a few feet away from me.  Once he was standing over me—but not in a rude or arrogant way—he crossed his arms and looked at me with caution.  “What kind of adjustments are we talking about?”

“Things have changed somewhat drastically, Lucifer, and I come to you...well, in secret,” I admitted, turning away from the devil’s gaze.  It wasn’t fear, it was… shame?  “Amon does not know I’m here.”

“How much did you have to change?” Lucifer asked, and I felt so nervous that I dragged one of my talons across the stone floor, which did not go unnoticed.

“Oh, shit, this is serious,” Azazel said, and I was ready to immediately snap at him, but when I looked at the ridiculous satyr, I could see that he was genuinely interested.  His attempts at “wit” were of no concern to him at the moment.

“Serious… yes, that’s the word for it,” I said, pausing before looking back to Lucifer.  “Almost everything has changed.”

“Everything?  That can’t be true, can it?  Did the outcome of the war, the apocalypse… is everything up in the air?” Lucifer asked, and I realized I couldn’t tell him everything.  It wasn’t even possible and, frankly, I did not feel like I should.  For them to know what I had learned was a violation of the prophecies themselves, I knew that, but I also knew it was my duty to give them these coded messages.

Yes, even in Hell, these prophecies were coded.

“It… goes beyond the apocalypse, Lucifer,” I said, and I could see that he was relieved.  Azazel was noticeably confused, but I knew exactly why he would have thought that.  I wasn’t able to pick it up, personally, but it was just a general assumption that I had as Räum.  I knew more about Azazel than anyone else, it seemed.

“So we win,” Lucifer said, smiling, and I realized that I would be forced to take that smile from him.

“It is not clear who wins,” I lied to him, but even as that reality crashed down on him, I could see that he was still holding out on that indomitable hope of his.

“But you just said that the prophecies go on after the war,” Lucifer argued, but this time I stayed firm and collected my thoughts before replying.

“As always, my prophecies are multiple in nature.  With every major turning point and decision, the universe reveals itself in a sort of multiplicative reality.  I see those diverging paths, where Adonai loses or wins, at the same time.  Branches of a never-ending, never-fully-realized tree.  In regards to time, you unenlightened see only a line, a sapling that grows only in one direction, while I see a glorious canopy of possible futures.”

“Damnit, Räum, can’t you ever get your head out of your ass?” Azazel asked, but I ignored the sleight and focused on Lucifer, who wiped a weathered hand over his mouth and chin.

“So what does this mean, Räum?  Do these prophecies give us information that we need to know?” Lucifer asked, and the crow’s thoughts forced me to become myself for a moment.  I could feel his pain, his burning desire to let Lucifer know everything, but I could also feel Räum’s sense of duty.  He knew he could not betray his own prophecies and deny the future that he was trying to craft.

“I have been given information that I cannot directly relay to you.  These scrolls I have in my possession,” I said, consumed once again as I lifted my left wing in a makeshift shrug, “have been coded so their information will be revealed at the appropriate time.”

“At the appropriate time?  Coded?  Who would be able to break the code other than you?” Azazel asked as he drew closer, and my beak rattled slightly as emotion threatened my ability to stay calm.  After taking a breath, I turned to face the blindfolded demon.

“I have faith that my prophecies will be translated in time.  Piecemeal, as it were,” I said before turning back to the Devil.  “These steps are necessary, Lucifer.  To say that the contents of these prophecies are volatile is an understatement.  In the event that your forces are triumphant during the apocalypse—that you do, in fact, succeed—these prophecies will become absolutely essential to the world you leave behind.”

“To the world I leave behind, huh?” Lucifer replied, and I instantly balked at how foolish I had been.  I had not meant to reveal that kind of information, it had become so apparent and obvious after my revelations that I had not even considered the effect my words would have on Lucifer. 

However, I calmed down once I remembered the prophetic path I was trying to forge.

“Just a turn of phrase, Lucifer,” I said, but I knew the fallen angel would not believe me.  However, that was not the purpose of my visit.  “No one is safe even now, and absolutely no fate is certain during that final clash.  Since my fate is just as uncertain, I have made the appropriate arrangements so these prophecies can be decrypted when they are needed.”

“And what kind of arrangements are these?” Azazel asked, and I was tempted to lie to him.  However, I knew that he would not have the capability to undermine my efforts.

“You do not need to know.  There are safeguards, Azazel, and only those I trust are allowed the cipher.  As for who has this cipher,” I said as I looked back at Lucifer, “that will be revealed in time.”

“So you come to us with prophecies we are not allowed to know, Räum?” he asked, raising an eyebrow, and even in my arrogance I felt awkward under that gaze.

“For safekeeping, Lucifer,” I claimed with an exaggerated nod.  “If you were to know what occurs in these prophecies, it would change how you would act, what you would accomplish, what you would be willing to sacrifice.  Above all, the best… path that I have found, relies on you and everyone else playing the part they have already been given.  The illusion of free will, in a way, but in another, the truest example of the concept.  Our future relies on you acting as you would, not as you would if you knew the outcome.”

“So my exercise in free will is to avoid knowing the consequences of my actions?  What kind of choice is that?” Lucifer replied with a wry smile, and I again dragged a talon across the floor as a way to avoid the brunt of his attention.

“I am not here to give you the illusion of choice, Lucifer.  I am here to relay the prophecies and I have decided to do so in the least-damaging way possible,” I explained, standing up straighter and trying to seem determined.  “They will be necessary in time, if there is to be a time after the Apocalypse.  And to have that knowledge beforehand would be to undermine your erstwhile efforts.”

“I understand, Räum.  Thank you,” Lucifer said as extended his hand and waited for me to give him the scrolls.  I was reticent at first—or Räum was—but eventually I handed over the scrolls and felt the weight of them taken from me.  Not just the physical weight, but the entirety of their importance.  Räum’s mind didn’t stay there for long, but looking back at it now, feeling his emotions now, I realize that he knew that he was not going to exist for much longer.  This was not just some casual trade or revelation, these were a sort of last testament for the crow.

And that’s when I woke up.

Yep.  That’s when I woke up and became myself again, or whatever the fuck is “me.”  That’s why I really don’t have any doubts about being a “seer” anymore.  That dream was vivid, detailed, and I understood fucking everything.  Before that dream, all the demons spoke nonsense—the only thing I ever really caught was their names—and only because I had heard them before.  I guess after just a day of exposure to the text that my brain went into overdrive.

Though at the time, when I woke up at 6:16 AM, it didn’t necessarily feel like that.  It didn’t really prove anything.  It just seemed weird, an extra step along my path that was almost certainly a leap of faith, and honestly I just thought I was just going a little more insane.  I couldn’t act on it; couldn’t believe in it, yet.  Not until I spoke with Teresa and found that passage about Prometheus.  It was weird, but even then in the darkness, as the red light of the clock screamed 616 at me, I still tried to justify it as a trick from my subconscious.

Until, of course, I found my dream about Räum when I was flipping through the prophecies at work yesterday.

It wasn’t a one-to-one translation, though.  After Teresa left, I was still pretty shaken and I just did not have the strength of will to look back at the beginning translations and try to figure out what they meant to me.  I needed something else, something easier, so I looked at the headings for each section and tried to find what I was looking for, even though I didn’t know what that was.  Along the way I found passages throughout that hadn’t been translated yet, but I tried not to get too invested in them or why there were gaps.  I figured that would be up to me and Amin, anyway, though I stopped trying to figure anything once I got to a certain passage.

When I saw the description that read “Räum bestows his last prophecies,” I knew I had found the object of my quest.

Now, the annotations were a little wonky.  They started to insert meanings I didn’t necessarily think were there; in fact, it felt like they were gigantic stretches.  They relayed prophecies about human events a few years after it supposedly happened, which was in the 14th century.  I didn’t really catch that when it was happening in my head, but then I realized that the text Räum had “provided” could have been substantially different from what I had experienced.  He had mentioned—had praised—his own actions to himself, how he had coded the prophecies for those who would come after him. 

Only as I was reading the annotations and glancing back at the raw text did I realize that meant me

Yet, for all of my dreaming and all of my delusions, the raw text was still a mystery to me.  I couldn’t parse the syntax or make sense of the grammar.  The only thing I could even see were the names of the demons, Lucifer was easy to find since I knew how the scene was supposed to play out.  Right there I knew I was onto something, but I still did not understand anything that was written in front of me.  Yet again I was stuck relying on annotations and translations, when, at this point, I was certain that I should be able to do a better job.

I was certain I could do a better job when I couldn’t even start to translate the alien language.  Let’s let that one sink in for a bit.

But that’s when I knew.  That’s when I really, truly knew that it wasn’t just in my head.  I wasn’t just seeing things; I wasn’t just clairvoyant, which is such an arrogant to say “just” for.  People would kill to be able to see the future, even if it’s the mundane shit I’ve been seeing.  Now, though, I know it’s more than that.  There is a connection to Räum; I know that for certain now.  I don’t know what kind of connection—if I’m related to him or just some mystic candidate—but it’s there.

Which kinda makes me a little confused about Amin.  When I look at him now, after how he reacted to Teresa and how I can look at him working at his desk and seeing it not click…  I don’t think he’s the real thing; not like me.  That’s not to say he shouldn’t be part of Team Zodiac—far from it—but the Amin/Amon connection… well, let’s just say I have some doubts about it.  Räum has made himself known in my life, and I feel like it would show if Amin was experiencing the same thing.

But hey, who knows?  Maybe I’m just incredibly transparent and Amin has his own transformation going on.  I have absolutely no way to know, and I’d rather trust the guy, even if it’s just for now.  He’s the only person I still know from before this demonic prophecy business, and I don’t want to lose any friends when it’s this serious.

I guess I just don’t want to be alone.  Especially after the dream I just had.

Oh, did you forget?  There was a whole second dream that I’ve been working through in my head while I’ve been typing this.  It’s an odd one, and it’s thrown the chaos of the last dream into a different perspective.  In fact, that’s kinda why I mentioned Amin like I did, because it featured his supposed counterpart.  When I dreamed this morning, I got to see Amon and Räum arguing about something, which in hindsight I think was probably related to the “new” prophecies.

The problem was that I had no idea what they were saying because they were speaking whatever hellish dialect they spoke.  All I could get from the conversation was how everything felt, how Räum reacted and thought about each exchange.  That much was transparent, and Amon was exactly the kind of prick that I thought he would be, which is quite the statement, considering.  Throughout the conversation, I was more watcher than participant, and I got to see Räum and Amon for the brothers they had become.  Neither of them were saints, but no one should expect that from fallen angels.

Thing is… even though I couldn’t understand their words, I felt like I could understand them.  For demons, they were oddly human in their behavior.  And for how familiar Räum was—especially in comparison to the dream from before—I felt like I got a very good impression of Amon and his personality, too.  I felt like I knew him intimately, even though I couldn’t understand a word he said.  Like, I could sense his entire being; knew exactly what kind of person he was.  When they finished their argument and Räum left to deliver his prophetic scrolls to Lucifer, I got a very good impression of the demonic brother he left behind.

And Amin is nothing like him.

 

END OF ENTRY

 

 

__________________________

 

 

Hope you guys enjoyed the blitz over the last four days. Next entry goes up on the 30th, unfortunately, but that'll give you time to dwell on what that last statement means...