Name's Steven. 18. Marietta, Georgia. Music. Drummer & vocalist. I'm pretty fucking metal.
The Human is a ball of pure pain, stricken with impressions of being submerged in water and something drastic about to happen. He gradually gains consciousness, sensation by sensation. At once, he makes the decision to open his eyes and discovers that he is in a strange, dreamlike world with different, oddly-colored sky pockets and no buildings in sight. He suddenly hears a horde behind him, chasing him, and so he breaks into a sprint and arrives at the edge of a cliff. The Human sprints along the top edge of the cliff and eventually spots a small, decrepit building. Desperately seeking refuge, the Human opens the door, rushes inside, and flings it shut; the sounds of his pursuers are still audible outside. Gathering courage, the Human peers out of the building’s window and finds that his pursuers are nowhere to be found.
Suddenly, a voice breaks the silence in the room. The Human turns around to find an almost shapeless thing wearing a cloak seated at a table, smoking a cigarette. The thing explains that there’s been a rumor going around with regards to the Human’s return to this place; rumors that he is going to change things. The thing eventually removes its cloak, revealing that it resembles the Human. The Human reveals its name to be Allen, and angrily tells the Human that an event called the Conflagration is set to begin now that the Human has returned, and the two have some things to discuss before Black John and his Numbers - the Human’s pursuers - return. The Human has no idea what the Conflagration is or what this strange world is, but, at Allen’s prodding, realizes that he has vague memories of being in a world where things made sense before something went horribly wrong. Allen antagonistically teases that he has all the answers - teases that the Human needs him. Before fading into thin air, Allen reveals to the Human that in order to make it home, he must find the House of Gold and Bones before the Conflagration begins.
Thoroughly infuriated and puzzled, the Human exits the building and sets out along the cliff’s edge, seeking a way down. While walking, he surveys the landscape and finds a forest in the valley below as well as a giant, crimson city on the horizon. He gets a strong feeling that House of Gold and Bones will be found in this city, so he makes this his destination. He eventually happens upon a set of large, steep stone stairs seemingly carved right down into the valley below the cliff. Cautiously, the Human makes his way down these stairs, and eventually reaches the bottom. Very suddenly, he hears a mob behind him once again. After a moment of hesitation, the Human becomes infuriated and turns around to face his pursuers. He finds the Numbers - a horde of zombie-like people - gathered around him, boxing him in, with a large, fierce leader - Black John. Black John asks the Human “RU486?”, which strikes the Human as nonsense and serves to infuriate him even more. Enraged, the Human approaches the mob’s leader and suddenly punches him in the face, throwing Black John backwards and stunning the entire group. Seizing the distraction as an opportunity, the Human breaks through a gap in the crowd and sprints away along a road, though he eventually finds that he’s no longer being pursued.
Exhausted from the climb down and the sprint, the Human eventually stops along the road, lays down, and loses consciousness. He wakes up later that night and realizes he’s directly in front of the forest he spotted earlier. Allen appears, dressed in a mock uniform, and antagonizes the Human even more. Allen reveals that he’s keeping an eye on the Human, as he can’t be left alone here. The Human decides to ignore Allen and starts for the forest, but in a fit of fury, Allen picks the Human up, demands respect, and then vanishes. Just as Allen vanishes, a new voice strikes the Human, and he turns to find a bearded man dressed in dark hunting clothes wearing a backpack. This man tells the Human that his name is Peckinpah, and says that he is going to the crimson city - called Red City - and agrees to accompany the Human there.
The pair sets out into the forest and are walking for a while before a long howl sounds. Peckinpah explains that the natives of this place are on edge, as they realize the Conflagration is at hand. Stunned by Peckinpah’s knowledge of the Conflagration, the Human questions him. Peckinpah reveals that the Conflagration is a coming of age ceremony of sorts, but more importantly, it’s a celebration of one person making choices and embracing change. The Human is clearly puzzled about how the Conflagration is tied to him, so Peckinpah reveals that the Human is the one who must choose in the Conflagration.
Peckinpah begins to explain further, but is interrupted by a chorus of maniacal laughter from Black John and the Numbers. Peckinpah explains that he and the Human must split up for the moment. He says that Black John’s assignment is to transport the Human to Red City in such a devastated state that he’d make the choices Black John prefers at the Conflagration. Peckinpah gives the Human a pill of Paris Green, explaining that it would knock him out while Black John and the Numbers bring him to Red City, thus saving the Human from their influence. Peckinpah then assures the Human that he’ll be there when he’s needed, and then vanishes. The Human realizes that the Numbers are nearly on top of him now, so he consumes the Paris Green. He turns to find himself confronted by Black John, who grabs the Human by the throat and smashes him against a tree. The Human moans, and vague impressions of twisted figures and hands are the last thing he experiences before he blacks out.
The Human concedes that even though he is now an adult, he still lives to party. He describes a party about to take place at a house by a lakeside. As the Human’s friends tell a story, a pitched scream emits from the direction of the lake - someone is drowning. The Human tries to stir his group to action, but they’re all too intoxicated to move, so he tries to save the drowning victim, who he soon recognizes as Rachel - the daughter of his neighbors. The Human paddles his way out to Rachel and manages to grab her, but he is overcome by his intoxication before he can bring her ashore, so he pushes Rachel in the direction of the shore in hopes that someone would save her and then lets himself drift off.
The Human comes to in darkness, reflecting on his memories of saving Rachel at the lake. He gets up and finds a door, soon realizing that Black John and the Numbers have him captive in a basement in Red City. He finds a window and gets stuck trying to crawl through. Just as two of the Numbers come downstairs and approach him, Allen - now dressed as a beautiful woman - comes and pulls the Human fully through the window. The pair quickly flee through streets and alleys of Red City, passing mysterious, skulking zombies all the while. Allen explains that these people are zombies because they have nothing better to do. The Human is stricken by his surroundings - he thinks of the city as blank and yet full of concepts.
The Human and Allen eventually arrive at a park. The Human realizes that Allen has again disappeared and that Black John and the Numbers have now caught up with him. The Numbers surround the Human and Black John slowly approaches, but the Human decides that he’s done running and he’s now looking for a fight. Just as he prepares for the confrontation, Peckinpah is suddenly at his back, this time well-dressed in a suit and tie. The two fight their way through the hordes, eventually breaking away and running through Red City. When they finally decide it’s safe to stop, the Human is doubled over and heaving, while Peckinpah seems exhilarated at the fight and flight.
The Human notes that they’ve arrived in a cemetery named Gravesend. Peckinpah beckons him to follow through the cemetery, and arrives at a headstone that reads “September, 1982” on it. This date is when the Human, aged ten at that point, lost his innocence. The revelation of this headstone compels the Human to realize that this whole world is him. Peckinpah explains that everyone has aspects of themselves that they hate - such as Allen and Black John - and describes the entire situation as a war for the Human’s soul. He explains that everyone is just a collection of the choices they’ve made, and that depending on the Human’s choice during the Conflagration, he may never return here again, or may be doomed to keep returning forever.
Confused and enraged, the Human swiftly leaves the cemetery, walking through Red City while contemplating his life’s choices. Suddenly, torrents of rain begin pouring down in the city. The Human walks through the downpour, eventually arriving at a small, decrepit chapel. He takes a seat and begins to drift out of consciousness. He flashes back to 1982 - the Human, as a child, was reluctantly packing his bags to leave his home. He was tormented by the real-life Allen - the alcoholic boyfriend of his mother’s who abused the Human when his mother wasn’t around. As the Human packed his bags, Allen came into his room, beer in hand, and began beating him around. As the Human was made to leave his home with his mother and Allen, he promised himself that he would leave and rise above his circumstances. He promised himself that he would abstain from drugs and alcohol and that he would be a better person than Allen.
A voice in the church suddenly wakes the Human. The dreamworld Allen is standing before him once again, this time dressed as a demented Catholic priest. Allen and the Human verbally brawl, and while Allen explains that he’s the version of the Human who hurts others to avoid being hurt, the Human realizes just how disgusted he is by Allen. Allen then reveals that the Conflagration is now underway, and the Human notices a plaque overhanging the priest’s chair at the altar reading “In Domus de Aurum et Ossium”, and as the meaning becomes apparent in the Human’s head, the words immediately translate to “The House of Gold and Bones”.
The Human immediately rises to leave the church, but when he flings open the door, he sees hordes of zombies and the Numbers surrounding him on the steps. In their midst, Peckinpah and Black John are struggling to overcome each other. Peckinpah sees the Human, casts Black John away, and immediately runs toward the Human. As the two retreat back into the church, the Numbers and the zombies began an ominous chant of “RU486”. Safely back in the church, the Human bolts the door shut. When he turns around, Allen floats imposingly into the air above them, and Peckinpah dives for him. The two begin fighting ferociously while the Human struggles to process the entire situation. The Human freezes up and falls over, and Peckinpah almost immediately picks him back up and encourages him.
As Peckinpah tries to convince the Human that he just has to make the right choice, Allen becomes prominent and begins drowning him out. Peckinpah lets off a terrible scream and charges Allen, and they burst into ferocious fighting. As they fight, their images begin to blur, until they resemble a mirror fighting its own image. The Human then turns and notices the walls of the church are engulfed in flame, set alight by the church’s candles. The Human’s focus shifts back to the fighting pieces of himself, and when they begin to drown out even the flaming church, the Human realizes that he’s ignoring even himself in this situation. He’s not living the life he wants to live.
After watching the conflict awhile, the Human rises and approaches the church’s altar. He notes that his body is contorting, damaged by the fight between Peckinpah and Allen. As the Human crawls toward the altar, he realizes that life can only carry on with an understanding of who he is and where he’s been. However, he can only understand when he makes the choice to be a better person. He makes his choice and the entire world explodes - incinerated in a flash of heat until only black consciousness remains. The Human notes that the House of Gold and Bones had been destroyed by his choices at the Conflagration, but he resolves to rebuild it to be stronger and even better. He concludes that with a genuine heart, he would lead a different life that would never get away from him again. He then awakens slowly.
I was at this show. I can see myself :’)