"Never open that door."
A simple enough instruction, right? But, rules!? Never my thang.
Shame. I'd been acing my apprenticeship.
We'd finished the Necronomicon, with only the one 'Elder God' breaking through… [sigh] Wolverhampton will never be the same.
De Vermis Mysteriis? Pnakotic Manuscripts? Breezed 'em!
My necromancer nous? Honed! Legions of undead slumbered, awaiting my signal. This wizard thing? Pish! Easy!
It's odd: I'd never really acknowledged that door's existence before. The occult and arcane artefacts crammed onto its adjacent, splintering racks fascinated me way more.
But once grumpy, wizened Azkrakenoop the Ancient warned me off it? Well. Anarchy assimilated reason.
He'd nipped out one afternoon. To pick up lizard spit, mayfly eyeballs, or suchlike. Y'know, when "it" happened?
Those stained, warped wooden timbers entreated me: irresistible, despite invoking the ancient warlock's warning, "Through that door the future lies, Jacob. Once seen, it can never be unseen. It will change you forever!"
But, really? Who wouldn't want the jump on destiny?
Checking the wards to ensure my solitude, I slipped between the shelves of questionable, whispering artefacts. Oh, they knew what was coming. They'd seen it all before. Literally.
I swear, the door began creaking open before I even touched the knob, revealing a mirror set into the wall. A protoplasm of time and space whorled behind me in its reflection, those existential aeons mesmerising.
Azkrakenoop's remote warning suddenly klaxoned across my brain: "Get out! Get! Out!"
Too late. Before I could move, my countenance morphed, time leeching every ounce of my vitality.
In three seconds flat, I'd aged a century.
Now, Azkrakenoop stood before me…and behind me in the doorway, breathless, petrified, finally, resigned: I was him, he me, then…
…our separate entities merged.
Chastising myself, I promised myself (again!) that, next time, it would be different.