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You Weren’t There

GRIMSKULL

You Weren’t There

TOMBSTONE

In the darkest moment of my life, trapped between life and death, I looked for you.

But you weren’t there.

When they dragged poor Walther, the betrayer, to the side of that cauldron, he whispered for deliverance, for death to take him sweetly across the river.

Did it fall upon deaf ears? For you weren’t there.

Pain is an inadequate term serving only as a meek imitation of the profound torment that was unleashed upon Walther. I remember the grotesque guardians of agony thrusting his head towards the shimmering pool of hellish liquid. Tendrils of malignant steam coiled about, whispering insidious taunts into the air as if even the elements conspired in this ritual of suffering.

He wished it had been your hand held out to ferry him to the beyond.

But you weren’t there.

Walther’s scalp grazed the surface first. It felt the vile sensation of insects burrowing through his skin as the bone beneath his flesh was being relentlessly pursued by tortured heat. His blackened hair caught fire, a funeral pyre erected in honor of mercy that had been crucified just as his forehead breached the boiling broth.

The pain, if it could be likened to that benign torment, was an undefined beast.

A monster, he thought. One that he could not escape. A monster that only had one task.

But you weren’t there.

It lacerated his sanity, clawed at the iron bars of his resolve while grotesque metaphors of suffering unveiled themselves in the vortex of Walther’s dying consciousness.

He pleaded, hoping against hope that the Ferryman would close his life’s tattered book.

Alas, you weren’t there.

The sea of molten fire had claimed his eyes, devoured his ears, and yet, he was not lost.

In the crucible of his doom, pain was there.

Walther had cried out for one to ferry him away from the pain, away from the life, to the great beyond of death.

But Tombstone, you weren’t there.

Why?

In that moment, Walther knew the answer.

Pain was there, was his world—an intimate lover who he could embrace.

No retreat. No surrender.

No death.

His bones were strong, the marrow within indomitable. As the last vestiges of physical sensation flared like dying stars, Walther did not struggle.

For the man, once mere flesh and blood, was reborn—tempered in the unfathomable forge of torment.

In the end, as darkness embraced him, he embraced it and became something more.

He was Conquest.

He was Pain.

He was Grimskull.

Why did I ever seek you, Tombstone?

For solace?

For an end?

My torment was but a crucible, and from its searing flames, I have risen, not broken but reforged.

I once yearned for your cold embrace. But now? Now I see the truth.

I am no longer Walther, the fragile soul crying out for release. I am Grimskull, the undying flame, the embodiment of resilience.

Beyond life and death.

When the world turns to ash and all is silence and void, remember this:

You weren’t there, but I did not need you.

For I transcended death.

I transcended you.

And I will always be there.

In pain,

Grimskull

Grimskull