A time started one way, and the end did the same. A blackness would shadow over him, a blackness would keep him from ever feeling what he wanted to feel. What he craved to feel.
It wasn't happiness.
He discarded of that fantasy long ago.
He knew that everything that tried would likely end in dismay and disappointment, but this didn't stop him from trying. What he wanted, he wasn't sure of, but he wanted it, and he wanted it badly.
There was an affirmation from the very beginning that it had swallowed him alive, but this didn't cause his knees to buckle. Quite the contrary, Cepheus tried to solidify himself as a man capable of preventing the inevitable. At the time, he didn't see it as an inevitable, he saw it conceivable. Even if he couldn't get what he desired most, he at least wanted to feel content.
He wanted to have at least some control. Which is how, with precise calculation, he found himself everything that he could ever one day hope to want. He had a beautiful wife named Elizabeth, and they were soon expecting their first child. He was living the dream in the opinion of some, but it wasn't enough. He couldn't appreciate his life to the fullest.
This isn't because he didn't care.
This isn't because he was a cold and selfish person, but because he was afraid. He was more than just afraid, he was downright terrified. An assortment of phrases could be used to describe all that he was feeling; scared, frightened, concerned, or even, uncertain. He held a fondness for his wife, at the time, she was the closest thing that he ever came to love.
Who's to say that it wasn't love? Who's to say what love really is, and that it wasn't what he was feeling. Cepheus didn't know, but he knew that he had to cure himself of this imaginary force-field, shielding him from ever having what he wanted. What he wanted to want. Whether he wanted to feel accepted or loved, was anybody's guess. More than anything, however, he wanted this sickly feeling of withdrawal to be withdrawn out of him, and to be depleted out of his body.
Ever since he was a child, Cepheus felt a desperate desire for something. He never knew what it was but he knew that he had to do something in-response to it.
He did research on everything that he could find to help specify what he felt to be a strong wrongness, and came up short of any significant information. He remained persistent, Rome wasn't built in a day, but it wasn't built alone either. He began to ponder upon whether or not these feelings were felt by everybody.
He threw the possibility out the window with complete confidence, watching it flutter to the ground below. This thing, this disease, had been tearing him apart from the very beginning, it's not something that people can just not acknowledge. It's not something that people can just live with. He finally, after thumbing through page after page, stifled across information that wrote about alcoholism.
He read tidbits before beginning exploration into the concept.
The disease, much like his, wasn't really a disease, not by many definitions, but it existed, and it ground away at its victims. He read that the addictive tendencies could begin without actually taking a sip of alcohol if the alcoholism gene is passed down from your parents. He never knew his father, and only faintly knew his mother. Like a scar, he looked back at them with only a glance.
His mother, he knew, never took a sip of alcohol in her life. She was a “Lady of God” as she often referred to herself as. For many years of his life, Cepheus went to church, but never believed the words being said to him. He'd smile and nod as the preacher beseeched the followers of the holy ghost to better themselves. He'd hear the choir sing in the name of the lord, but could only faintly depict the words.
He might have been able to give it more of a chance, had it not been for his mother's mightier than thou attitude flushing it all away. Even if he bought into the ideas fluttering about, he knew he was not the work of God, and that he couldn't be saved. It was a hard pill for Cepheus to swallow, but he did. He then wandered about the memories of his father. “That sinner,” his mother would always say, but he never knew for himself.
What he did know through memories from his family members is that he hastily used many of his days stabbing his arms with needles. At that moment, Cepheus held a certain honest fondness for his father for the first time in his life. He marveled at the recollection of past memories spurring about in his mind. This was the conclusive answer; he had inherited his father's addictive tendencies.
Did he discover the antidote to the disease? No, not exactly.
He discovered, after shoving a couple needles into his arms that he was wasting his time. He didn't share the same disease as his father, but he might have shared the diseases of some of the people inside of the drug den that he went to, due to filthy needles. It was around this time that he began to learn about drug use, how they work, what they can do, and how to use them to his own benefit.
He learned much of this from a man named Raoul Harris.
Raoul Harris was a thin, young man with slick black hair, usually fixed up in a ponytail. He was considerably tall, well over six feet, and he came across much taller by the way that he carried himself. When Cepheus met him, he was twenty years old, but he still knew a considerable amount about drugs. Cepheus believed that Raoul grew up with the substances, but never actually asked him.
Raoul taught him everything he knew, and pretty soon after, Cepheus began experimenting. He never had the same interests buzzing around him as Raoul, but he was quite a busy bee, trying to find what happens with each mixture of substance. What happens if I do this? Okay, that happens, but what happens when I do this? After his first couple of experiences with cocaine, he lost interest almost immediately.
The addiction-quenching substances weren't nourishing of his hunger. Through time of experimenting, he thought happily that he may not only reveal to himself the little something that he's addicted to, but also how to cure his addiction. The idea fumbled itself merrily around and around, the idea that every individual has an addiction, and he has simply yet to find his. He scrolled through more and more pages, stitching one chemical to the other, but didn't garner any success.
Months elapsed, and hundreds of experiments went along with them, even months after his son was born. He named his son, Orion, naming him after one of the many constellations in the sky. His father had done the same, but never sat through the years to see him grow up to appreciate it. Cepheus' days began to become routine, toss a few chemicals together, and inject them into the bloodstream.
His fingers were always crossed, and he was always hoping that positive results would develop. More often than not, he would be poked and prodded at by his wife, by this point back from work, while he lay lifeless on the couch. She wondered why her husband was unconscious while their son cried inside his crib. He hid the use of chemicals on his body, as well as the disease that was eating him alive from his wife.
He convinced himself that he was doing it for her safety, but he never truly bought into it. Cepheus was petrified by the concept she was going to leave him. He knew she could do better, but often, he wondered, if she knew she could do better. More days and days went by, more time of him experimenting, he sat downstairs in the basement, where much of his study took place, and listened to the sounds of his son crying.
It frustrated him, but he continued working. He realized he was no longer fighting for just himself anymore, he was fighting for Orion. If by some chance his hypothesis held weight and he had found the disease from his father then there could hold some possibility his son would carry the disease as well. The idea worried him more than anything else, it was one thing for him to suffer, but the idea he had brought something in the world to feel the same torment was something in its own.
He needed to find a cure; he had become obsessed with unraveling himself a cure to all of the heartache and suffering that had beckoned its presence into his body. Finally, hours into the day, he had enough and drifted his way dizzily into the upstairs of his house, and once again heard the cries of his son. He went to the crib and glanced at him with eyes of the closest to joy that he had ever felt, and smiled. He smiled as he held his son in his arms, patting him on the back and causing for the tears to soften.
He knew the time was approaching when he would have to be a parent to the child, and it only made him feel more and more uneasy. He brought his son, he brought Orion, to the floor, the child now old enough that not only could he sit up by himself, but he could also crawl around freely. Cepheus looked at him, and his son looked back with a smile now on his face, Cepheus smiled back with a tear falling its way down his cheek.
His heart ached at the idea that this little bundle of joy, as Elizabeth called him, would carry down the same road that he has. The idea that the child would have the same uncertainty, and the frustration was unbearable. Piercing through all of the thought, a knock on the door sounded and everything else turned to mush. Even at the present, Cepheus likes to bury this moment deep. He kissed his son on the cheek, and he brought himself back to his feet, taking one last look at his greatest creation, and then, finally, he answered the door.
"Hello," a man wearing a policeman uniform uttered with a somber look on his face, matching the sadness arraying from his voice.
The man was standing alongside another officer of the law, a woman with short-brown hair, and dark sunglasses. She was looking down at the ground, deliberately looking away from Cepheus. The man, however, continued looking at him with his unpleasant expression, his eyes noticeably reddening with every second of silence.
"Hello, and what can I do for you?" Cepheus responded with a worrisome look on his face before looking back at his son, who had now stopped marveling at his wind-up jack-in-the-box toy, and was now staring back at him and the policemen.
Cepheus continued looking at them, panic building before he heard the female officer make a small cry to herself, and his suspicions were confirmed.
"Is there something wrong?"
"Your wife, Elizabeth Corvus," the male cop began.
"Yes, I know my wife's name," Cepheus interrupted.
"Your wife was in a car wreck, she met in a head-on collision with another vehicle, and ... and the medics, they tried to do everything that they could. They tried to resuscitate her, but they couldn't. We're sorry," the man concluded.
The world, deciding to take a theatrical route, had slowed its pace. Cepheus looked around for a moment, seeing everything more vividly. Then, suddenly, they became more blurry, he became dizzy, his eyes glazed over, and the world around him falling to pieces. The house was the first to crumble, he faintly heard the windows shatter to pieces. Second, he heard the sound of something escaping him, a wispy noise that he couldn't specify.
Afterward, he felt it. He felt something leave him, whether it be his conscious or his soul creeping away from him. He didn't know. He just knew it was gone. His face was pale, and sweaty as he looked back up at the officers, the world began to reorganize itself. The shattered glass accumulated back into a solid piece, and his trance was broken.
"You're sorry? My wife is dead, and you're sorry?" Cepheus responded, his face was stoic, as his face would forever stay. “Get the fuck out of my home.”
The man looked as if he were going to burst into tears and the female might have already, but Cepheus couldn't see past the sunglasses. Cepheus backed away from them, he felt as if he may literally explode into a million pieces, or simmer before dissolving into thin air. Finally, Cepheus closed the door on them, and turned away, the expression on his face as expressionless as ever. He picked up Orion's jack-in-the-box toy and threw the boxed devil to the wall, and out popped the weasel.
Then, he dropped to his knees and a rushing of despicable thoughts danced in his mind. How would he possibly raise a child, and keep him safe, if, even at the moment, he was dying. He wasn't, he knew, but he couldn't imagine himself being away from his child. For him to be exactly the same as his father, but he still held hope that he would find a cure, and he still held hope that his son wouldn't be passed down the tormented disease.
He felt even more afraid, and even more uncertain, but more than anything; he felt angry.
Cepheus knew that he would never have the capability to raise a child. He was too far gone in something else, but he promised himself, and he promised the child that he would find a cure to the disease, or at the very least, he would find a way to deal with it. He'd find a way to channel the vicious and tantalizing evil, but for now, he was beleaguered with desires, and as if he got something of a look into his own inner-being, he realized what he wanted more than anything was revenge.
He wanted revenge against the individual that introduced him to the narcotics, as if for some reason, blaming the man for his troubles. Cepheus was convinced that somehow everything could have been avoided had it not been for the moment that he met Raoul Harris. He needed somebody to blame for everything, he needed somebody to target that would bring him a withdraw from the pain and constant suffering, and Raoul pulled the short-end of the straw.
Cepheus didn't know what he was going to do, but the frustration was boiling in him. The frustration of losing his wife, the frustration of not being capable of raising his own son, and frustration for the fact that he had spent the entirety of his life searching for the antidote for something wrong with him only to come up short. He dressed himself in his leather jacket and jeans before cradling the gun that slept under his bed in a small box in his hands.
On his motorcycle, he allowed for the wind to thumb through his long black hair, and found himself out of Acera in the blink of an eye. He found himself in Urgway shortly, the neck of the woods that provoked shivers up the spines of numerous civilians. The sky had darkened by the time that the Cepheus arrived at Raoul's home, which wasn't a home in many definitions of the word. The place that he resided was a deteriorated trailer where he sold heroin, cocaine, and plenty of other luxurious items.
Cepheus knocked on the door, not in the need of a fix, but in his mind, he was fixing the broken world by taking the man away from them, and sending him away. Cepheus knocked on the screen-door of the house, the frustration brooding inside of him, until finally, Raoul opened the door and looked back at him.
"Corvus, how you been, man?" Raoul Harris proclaimed with an over-the-top grin on his face.
"She's dead," Cepheus replied coldly.
"What?" Raoul retorted with genuine surprise on his face. "You alright, you don't look good."
“Yeah, I know."
"Come on inside, gotcha just the thing to take the weight off," he exclaims until turning around and motioning for Cepheus to come inside.
"Actually, I already know exactly what I want."
"Really, what's that, man?"
With that, Cepheus turned the man around and whipped him across the face with his gun, sending the large man spiraling before landing to the floor. Cepheus looked down at him with admitted satisfaction on his face until pointing the gun directly at his skull with all of the frustration pouring out of him.
"What the hell, man, what I do?" the man cried with fear in his eyes.
Cepheus liked that he was afraid, he liked it much more than he wanted to admit.
"You helped this world take everything away from me, and that is the reason that you must die," the words escaped from Cepheus without any emotion in them.
He hadn't any emotion left within him. It, along with his conscious, had evaporated, never to be seen again.
"I didn't kill no one, man!"
Immediately after those words escaped from his fallen prey, a moment of enlightenment dawned on Cepheus, heating the flames to a higher degree.
"You're right," Cepheus admitted.
Cepheus climbed back to his feet slowly, calculatingly, and began to turn away, finding his way back to the front-door as he prepared to leave. Raoul climbed back to his feet with worry still in his eyes as he walked toward his attacker. Cepheus pointed the gun back toward his direction and pull the trigger, sending an aimless shot in Raoul's direction. The bullet ran forward, and drove to the side of Raoul's face, skinning the side of his cheek badly.
Cepheus left that day with an understanding of precisely what he wanted, he wanted to kill the man that took his wife away from him. After searching through all the irrelevant news filling the newspaper, he found an article regarding the traffic incident. Skimming through all the details he didn't want to have to think about, he found the one thing that he wanted to discover. The man driving the vehicle, the blue truck, that collided into his wife's car was named Will Andrews, and he refrained from obtaining any serious injury from the altercation.
A vicious and devilish smirk stretched across the face of Cepheus, and for a minute, the disease's effects began to disintegrate from existence. The feeling felt exquisite and caught him deeply off-guard. He wanted to have this feeling enter him again, and he thought he knew how. The minutes rolled into hours, and the day was coming to its decisive and abrupt end. He found what he was looking for, he found the address of where the murderer of his wife resided, and the hunt had begun.
Will Andrews didn't live far from Cepheus' abode, merely a mile or two away, and because of this, Cepheus felt there was no reason why it couldn't happen the same night that he had confronted Raoul. However, he knew that it couldn't, he knew that he couldn't afford to take any risk if he desired to walk out of it freely. Part of him wondered whether he even wanted to get away with it, he wondered whether or not there was anything worth going on for.
Then, he confirmed to himself that if he were ever to lose all of his freedom, he'd want for it to happen after he cured his son. The next couple of days were spent studying his victim, studying the workings of Will Andrew, an unmarried truck-driver that made a considerable amount of money. He had an outgoing social life, and would often have been on multiple dates after the week reached its end. Cepheus believed that he could use this to his advantage.
One of the nights as Will Andrew walked his way to his truck after saying his farewell from the pretty little number that he met while driving around his truck, Cepheus struck. Clumsily, but successfully, Cepheus drove his gun over the back of his victim's head and placed him in the trunk of his own vehicle. He looked at the vehicle, noticing the rusty scraping on the side before he got in the car and drove to the man's house. He laid him on a wooden table and leaned him on top of it.
The man's house was nice, but Cepheus had already spent the last couple of hours looking at it while he prepared himself. Cepheus walked around his prey, sizing up his adversary with a demented stare and sweat dripping down his brow. He drove a conclusive needle into his patient's arm, the syringe injecting him with a drug that boldly blocks all neuromuscular transmission at its junction, causing paralysis of its affected skeletal muscles.
After more time for preparation, he brought a smidgen of smelling salt to Will's nose, awaking his consciousness.
"What," Will hollers with firm uncertainty in his voice after his eyes are brought open. "Where, ... where, ... What the hell!? Fuck! Why the hell can't I move!?"
"You can't move because of a little concoction I whipped up for the occasion, it's a nueromuscular-blocking drug, one that is slowly becoming my personal favorite as well. Everything about it has been formulated to perfection. It paralyzes the body, disabling the individual from departing, or squirming, but it doesn't numb the pain," Cepheus began.
"Shit, who in the hell are you? What the hell do you want?"
"Unfortunately, this is about more than physical pain, I'm afraid," Cepheus continued, deciding to ignore his patient's scream. "You took away something very, very important to me. All the work that I've spent the entirety of my life doing has been rendered useless because of you. All I ever wanted, all I ever desired, was to feel loved,” Cepheus said, the first glimpse of emotion shown of him since finding out about her death, but he immediately wiped it away with a grin. “I know, it's stupid to you, but to me, for a time, it seemed like the only thing that mattered. I figured from the very beginning that I was going to be alone, but then, Elizabeth appeared into my life. She looked past everything that I was, and she loved me, and surprising even to myself, I think that I loved her. I overcame my problems long enough to confirm to myself just how I feel about her. She inspired me to change, and you killed her!" Cepheus said, his voice growing louder as the words elapsed.
"Look, I didn't do anything, it was an accident, she pulled in-front of me!"
“You know, I had to take the pictures from my house down,” Cepheus continued. “'Cause I knew that having to see the family that I lost would kill me, like I'm going to kill you,” Cepheus looked down at the man, who grew more terrified after the word “kill” escaped from Cepheus' lips. "I injected you with more than just one drug by the way. Like I said, this is more about making you feel physical pain, this is about you feeling how I felt. First, I injected you with cocaine, the drug that I tried from the very beginning, I hoped it'd make the pain go away so I could be there for my wife, and be there for my son, it failed."
Cepheus could loudly hear the sniffling of the man, but it didn't faze him while the words left him.
"Then, I injected you, one at a time, with some of the chemicals that I allowed to intermingle in my body hoping that I would create something to fix who I am. They didn't work, so I figured that I could give the remainders to you. I would kill you, but pretty soon your mind will turn to mush.” Cepheus uttered with a chuckle. “You'll probably die, but if you don't, then I'll kill you," Cepheus concluded with feelings of almost every conceivable emotion protruding itself out of his voice.
"Wait, you can't fucking leave me here, I need to see a doctor!" the man yelled.
"The doctor has already seen you, and has diagnosed that you only have a couple of minutes to live. Oh, and please don't spend the rest of your life screaming. Spend the rest of your life thinking about everything that you've done, think about everything that you've put me through, and more importantly, think about what you've done to my son. He never had a good father, I can admit that, but his mother, oh, his mother, she was great. You killed her, you took her away from him, Will." Cepheus explained, his face reddening, but his voice is trying to hide the pain.
"No, please, come back!"
Cepheus dropped to his hands and knees, looking down at the ground below, the sounds of whimpering sobs plunged themselves into earshot. He drove a club to the ground, and let out a grunt of frustration. Finally, Cepheus looked up at Will. Will tilted his head to the side of the wooden table, staring at Cepheus with eyes filled with panic. Cepheus' hair blocked his face from view as a humming sound becomes to spur out of his voice.
"Half a pound of tuppeny rice, half a pound of treacle. That's the way the money goes," Cepheus sings to himself. “Your mind will wind, wind, and wind, and then, pop will go the weasel.”
Sure enough, after only a couple of minutes were buried before William Andrew died, and at that very moment, Cepheus came to the realize that he had discovered what his addiction was, and how to feed it.