Tower of Babel
Author: Isaac Woulms

Chapter 32


There was only darkness.

“Ben, is that you?”

The male voice that spoke to him came from different directions, echoes bouncing off invisible walls in this perceived void. As Ben moved his right hand to his face, a strange feeling came over him. When he moved his arm, it brought feeling to that part of his body, and when he stopped the movement, the feeling would disappear again. Ben tried to look down at himself, but felt like he was just a floating head, hovering inside a vacuum. Slowly, to Ben’s surprise, his body took its natural shape and definition inside the darkness.

“Hello?” Ben asked. He heard echoed footsteps at a distance walking in his direction. “Who's there?”

The constant beat started overlapping itself and the clicking of steps became louder. A shade of light gleamed far in the darkness that consumed him. It’s a doorframe, Ben thought, but as he thought the phonetic sounds of the words he used crept around his head and over his ears. At the center of the rectangle of light stood the owner of the footsteps whom slowly made his way towards Ben.

“Can you hear me?” Ben yelled, but the sound coming from his mouth crawled to the floor and died shortly in front of him.

Ben saw the figure look back at the light as it dissolved behind him, the darkness reached its zenith once more. Ben lifted a foot of the ground and felt the sensation of falling rush up his leg and grip his mind. He involuntarily waved his arms around to catch his balance, but as Ben brought his foot back down, the feeling had stopped.

“What’s going on? Where am I?” Ben’s voice suffocated again. He took a deep breath and realized it was the first breath he took since he had been in this abyss. An instinctual alarm rang in his head. “Help.” Ben reached out with both his arms but the sense of falling came back to him. His body started to tilt and bob, slowly doing a complete front flip, as he was certain that he was plummeting.

“Calm down, Ben. You’ll be fine.”

The echoes silenced and the voice came across the darkness with ease.

Ben felt like he was laying on the ground, the lack of breathing eased away as the urge fell to the back of his mind.

“Hold on.” There was a moment of silence and then, “It’s not much.” A dim, red orb appeared in front of Ben. “At least it’s something.” The red orb was all Ben could see.

“Where am I?” Ben asked telepathically.

“This is your mind, Benjamin. This is where your thoughts, dreams, and desires come from. Everything you think and everything you have thought originated from this very place. Everything you have learned, read, heard, and sensed, meshes here. It’s a lot larger than it looks, but we're not exactly in a location per say.”

“I'm in my own mind? How is this possible?”

“I brought you here so we can talk without anybody to disturb us.”

“Why does it look empty?” He tried to look around for anything, but could only see the red orb.

“That's just the way the inside of a mind is, completely empty. Our imaginations create the world we live in and we our taught to accept it as truth. People can live their lives so sure of something, traversing many a great difficulties only to fulfill a figment of their own imagination.”

“All of it is a lie? How is that possible?”

“I would rather not have intercourse over such, philosophy, as you humans call it, but I do need to bring something to your attention.”

Ben couldn’t let the conversation change just yet. “So what does that mean about the meaning of life if everything is fake?” The red glow seemed brighter now.

“What you see before you is darkness, and the place we happen to be standing, is your mind. Everything comes from the nothingness within. Do not shy away from a hard fact because it is not convenient to accept. From this void, you’ve experienced pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, and all the other emotions life has to offer.

Ben shook his head.

“This is your mind Benjamin. That fact you cannot deny.”

He pushed the thought of darkness aside and asked, “Who are you?”

“My name is Baal.”

Ben almost brought his fists up. He held a stance of neutrality less he intends to look hostile in such an unfamiliar environment. “So you’re a Demon. Are you here to stop me?”

“Stop you? You are on the third quarter of the structure and you have surpassed all of the Ascending. You’ve gained an ally along your travels and have defended yourself against a convict. Honestly, I would like to see how far you can go, but there is something I think you should know.” Baal paused for a few seconds then said, “What is the reason you have climbed so high in the Tower?”

“To save Lilly.”

“Lilly? Oh, you mean Lilith. If I remember correctly, she was sent a few days back to retrieve you.”

“She did come to Arp, but I didn’t know she was sent to retrieve me.”

“That was her goal, but she surpassed the time limit and was escorted back.”

“By force you mean.” The ball of light grew brighter, stretching its borders. Ben tried to see past the glow of red, but could not make out any details of Baal.

“Are you sure it was by force? I highly doubt Shax could make Lilly do anything, let alone by force. She returned to the Tower, apologized, and reported that you were unworthy of Ascending membership. Dr. Chen deemed you a harmless variable in the grand equation of his master project, and we left you alone.”

“What makes you think I’ll believe a word a Demon says?”

Ben heard a small laugh in the back of Baal’s throat. “What have I to gain by lying to you? Something else for you to ponder, it is not like everyone you’ve met today has turned out to be a bad person. You have taken a shining to the dragon girl.” As Ben was about to speak, Baal cut him off. “Benjamin let me break it down to you another way. I have been watching you ever since your first step inside the Tower. You witnessed the death of Nebuchadnezzar. You touched the dragon girl’s clit then sneezed in her face, should have sneezed inside of her.”

Ben dismissed the sneezing comment.

“Lighten up; I want you to be comfortable. You fought that military clad bionic man, whom of which is still out to kill anyone wielding telekinetic abilities, myself included. Just recently Samael joined your group, which is kind of odd since you two were really going at it forty minutes ago.” Ben heard Baal take in a deep breathe. “Quite an adventure you have had, but there is something else you have come here for. It is not Lilly, though you have told yourself repeatedly that she is the reason for your efforts. Benjamin, Lilly is merely a shadow of the reason. You have been lying to yourself.”

“What makes you think you know me so well?”

“Know you? I’d say I know a few things about you that you yourself do not know.”

“Try me.”

The red orb's glow was ever so brighter, as the palm of Baal's hand came into view half a foot beneath the orb. The only detail that caught his attention was a ring on his left middle finger. “Tell me how much you know about your parents?”

Ben's eyes widened and what little he knew came to his mind. “They died in an accident.”

“Is that what you were told?”

Ben reached out for Baal, but was alone in the dark. The darkness drifted away and Ben was back in the divide with Trisha and Samael. On second thought, never mind, he could hear Baal tell him.


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