A short story that I always try and remember and refer to in times of need. I hope it helps someone else like it does me…
“He’ll do great things that boy…”
That’s what the village people said about him. Strong, co-ordinated, talented, smart and charming. The young man felt as though he could become anything he wanted.
He stood tall with his shoulders back and his blue eyes spoke of a steady self-confidence held deep within him. His body was strong, built through hours of intensive sword training.
After endless hours of sword practise, he began to stroll through the village back to his home. A number of girls waved to him as we walked by and he politely waved back.
Upon arriving home, he began sharpening his swords ready for training the next day.
Suddenly, a spirit appeared behind him, calling his name. The young man spun around ready to attack, only to find an incredibly plain looking spirit floating harmlessly in the centre of his room.
Neither male nor female, the spirit held an entirely blank expression. Neither happy nor sad, as though there was no emotion inside it whatsoever. The spirit spoke “Jean of Furthershore, I am the Spirit of Seeing”.
The young man stood facing the spirit confrontationally. “What do you want?” he said drawing his sword. The spirit remained completely unafraid.
“Only to show you my powers. I can show you anything you can possibly imagine. For I am the Spirit of Seeing”, the spirit replied plainly.
The young man observed the spirit carefully. It continued to float passively in the air and seemed to pose no threat. “You can show me anything huh…? Show me…the stables of Furthershore” the young man said curiously.
The spirit blew a puff of smoke, and inside the smoke the stables could be seen clearly. The image of the stables hung in the air for several moments before disappearing.
The young man smiled. How interesting, he thought to himself. Another idea immediately came into his mind, “Show me the most beautiful girl in the world” he suggested with a smirk on his face.
Without a word, the spirit blew another puff of smoke, and in it appeared the most beautiful girl the young man had ever seen. Her long, dark hair lay delicately over her pretty head. She had big, piercing brown eyes, a delicate nose and plump lips. One hand lay perfectly on the hips of her gorgeous hourglass figure.
The young man’s pupils dilated as he stared at the girl in wonder for a full five minutes.
Remembering where he was, he cleared his throat and composed himself once again. While he felt slightly embarrassed, the spirit maintained an empty gaze seemingly unaffected by the young man’s embarrassing display.
Another idea entered the young man’’s mind. “Show me a great warrior” he commanded. As usual, the spirit blew yet another puff of smoke with an image of exactly what the young man had asked for. The perfect warrior stood looking into the distance, his body toned and muscular, with a stern expression on his face.
The young man marvelled at this great warrior, pledging to himself that he too would one day be a great warrior just like this man.
The young man had had enough. “You may leave now spirit. I have seen enough”, he said dismissively as he went back to sharpening his swords.
The spirit of seeing spoke without emotion: “ I shall remain here in the corner of your room, ready to show you my powers on your command”.
The young man shrugged his shoulders in acceptance. The spirit didn’t seem to mean him any harm.
As the weeks went by, the young man became accustom to the spirit in his room. He used it to see the weather of the day, to see what his friends were doing and he even started looking at beautiful girls with their clothing removed — after all, the spirit of seeing would show him anything he wanted.
The weeks turned into months.
He started leaving his sword training an hour early. And then two hours early. And then three. For the spirit of seeing was far more stimulating than dull, repetitive sword training.
The girls in the village waved, but the young man stopped waving back. They were plain, he said to himself. One day he would find a girl as beautiful as the ones he watched through the spirit, he thought.
He began using the spirit to watch great battles. He cheered aloud as his favourite hero turned the tide of the skirmish at the very last minute. Watching with eagerness, thinking that one day soon he would lead his own army into battle.
He thought of these battles while he practised his sword-work. He even began reciting lines he had heard his favourite hero speak as he swung. And he would leave training after just a few hours to rush home and watch another great battle (Not before seeing more beautiful naked girls, of course).
A year past.
And the girls in the village had stopped waving. Some had wedded a husband. Most could be heard screaming the name of another boy in the village from the archery range each evening. Apparently he was skilled with a bow. The young man cursed and muttered under his breath — something about real warriors not attacking from afar.
He now often trained only for a few short hours and some days he would skip training altogether. He would walk at a quick pace through the village to get home, uninterested in exchanging pleasantries with the village folk.
He had begun using the spirit to watch as a number beautiful naked women perform sexual acts upon one another. It seemed now that a single naked woman was no longer interesting.
His admiration for his favourite hero had turned into jealousy. He would watch the hero defeat enemy after enemy, the gap between himself and the hero seeming to loom ever larger.
He could no longer run much of a distance. His shield felt heavy. His sword skills no longer matched other warriors of his own age.
Several more years past.
The young man had given up on becoming a hero, although he would still re-watch his favourite battles through the spirit from time to time. Still unmarried he had become deeply frustrated and sad. His sword lay quietly in the corner of the room collecting dust.
On the night of his 30th birthday, the middle-aged man sat alone in his room feeling worse than he had ever felt.
The clock struck 12.
Suddenly, the spirit of seeing began to laugh. The man was startled, the spirit had never laughed before. In fact, it had never shown any emotion whatsoever. He looked up at the spirit who caught his gaze. Slowly, the spirit of seeing grew a wide smile.
For the first time in 10 years, the spirit spoke. “My work here is done” it said in a deep voice.
“What are you talking about spirit?” the man spoke fearfully.
The spirit laughed again. “I shall reveal what I have kept secret for the past 10 years. I am the ultimate concentration of evil. I am root of all the darkness in the world. I am the devil himself”, the spirit spoke pridefully.
The man became terrified. His mouth wide open and speechless.
“A demon will attack this village tonight. A prophesy foretold that you were the one destined to defeat it. But it is I that has defeated you. And now the souls of this village are mine”, the spirit spoke with a tone of utter glee.
“Why wait ten long years?” , the man spoke with a shaky voice, “why not fight me face to face the first time we met?”.
The spirit let out another laugh. “If I had faught you face-to-face, you would have conquered me. But I am cunning, and the slow drip of poison given to you through the means of endless fantasy has rendered you too weak to fight. And now this village is mine…”
The man could do nothing other than slowly sit down onto the bed. A deep, dark pain settled inside his stomach. One that he knew would never go away. Only the devil himself could inflict the deep, tormenting inner anguish he felt pulsing through his mind.
The torture in his mind was too much to bare. He needed something to quell the pain.
“Can I see those beautiful girls just one more time?”
A wide grin grew across the devil’s face. “Always”.