She awoke with a gasp, bolting upright in bed. Gathering the soft fabric of her nightgown about her neck, she clutched tightly and frantically searched the room.
No. The room was devoid of life, aside from herself. And Darkness.
She tried this every night, to no avail. Every time she woke from these furtive but desperate attempts, only Darkness and her own haggard panting greeted her.
They were partners in an arranged marriage. One she didn’t want to be in, but Darkness was insistently insidious.
The visit to the weathered old woman was a pointless endeavor. Give up. That’s what the old woman had said. “You’ll find no light there, no redemption. This isn’t hope; it’s desperation. Stop now before it’s too late.”
If the old crone wouldn’t help her, she’d go it alone.
From that day forth, she spent every day in bed. Flat on her back, hands clasped over her heart, she sank into a trance state.
Through the void, she reached, fingers grasping at the viscous mass of nothing. But they found no purchase; what she sought simply wasn’t there.
For days she was like this, until finally. Finally, something happened.
She stood at the foot of the bed looking down upon her own sleeping form. The brief flutter of hope immediately crushed under the weight of what had actually happened.
She had peered too long into the darkness, mining its depths for some glimmer of light. Only now did she realize she had faced the wrong way.
Of course! There is no light in Darkness. Darkness is the very absence of light, cast aside by it. It was all consuming of those who plumbed its depths for answers to futile wishes.
And now? Now?
She was Darkness.
By the time the reclusive woman was found some months later, her corporeal form had withered into a corpse.
Only Darkness remained. Insistent. Insidious. Lifeless.
She could hear the faint groans of life stirring from the master bedroom.
“Fuck. He’s awake.”
With a heavy sigh, she struggled to turn her head toward the window. She could hear his soft approach, the door squeaking open. Will he ever fix that fucking squeak?
“How do you feel this morning? Ready for breakfast?”
“Would you just leave me alone? I can’t bear this ritual anymore.” Why must he torment me so?
“Look at me, Clara. Can’t you even look at me?” His soft touch caressed her cheek, brushed her hair back.
Her reply was less biting this time, her voice suddenly soft, tears streaming down her cheeks to wet the pillow. “I can’t stand for you to see me this way.” Please don’t look at me.
“How long will it take for you to realize I’m not going anywhere? Nor do I want to. How long will it take for you to see the richness of life still in your grasp?”
He realized his mistake as soon as it escaped his lips.
“Heh, my grasp. My grasp?!” Her eyes flitted down toward her motionless hands, then up at him.
“I’m sorry, Clara.” He cocked his head to the side, eyes suddenly flashing. “No. You know what? I’m not sorry,” he said in a stern voice. She couldn’t remember the last time this gentle man grew so stern. “I’m not sorry at all. I’m done tiptoeing around you, and you’re done existing this way. This is no life.”
She gasped as she looked up at him, eyes surprised as the tears slowly dried. He continued, “Right here. Right now. You make a choice. Are you going to live? Or are you going to die? If you want to die, you know she’ll do it. I can call her right now, and a simple injection will end it all. You have that right. But if you’re to live, things change. Starting right now. So what’s it gonna be?”
She eked out the barest of whispers, “Live.”
“I. Can’t. Hear. You.”
“Live. I want to live.”
He stooped over, draped her arm around the back of his neck and carefully lifted and carried her to the wheelchair. He smacked the wheel nearest him and smirked, “You think I haven’t heard you call this a fucking prison? This, my dear girl, this is your freedom. This is your steed. Your iron horse.” He wheeled her down the hallway, through the living room and carefully out the front door and onto the porch. “Now. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do?”
After descending thirty floors beneath the surface, they approached the smooth, plain white wall – everything a muted but austere white, impersonal and utilitarian. A hidden panel slid open with a flick of his hand.
The coolness of his palm pressed into her back as he ushered her to a bank of monitors that stretched further than she could see. Without a word, he released her restraints and gestured toward the first one.
Gently, hesitantly, she pressed her right palm flat to the screen, and slowly the smooth black surface revealed its intent.
The thirteen year old girl stood tall and proud. It seemed a foreign thing to her, standing like that. A combat staff, taller than the girl, leaned upon her shoulder as she wrapped her hands and wrists in layers of thin, white fabric.
Taking the staff in hand, she assumed a perfect combat stance. Her feet, wrapped in the same material as her hands, planted firmly on the planks.
A boy, three years her senior, approached her from behind. She knew who it was by his footfall. She didn’t turn, instead holding her position. He was studying her stance, her breathing, gauging the levels of her strength and confidence, her nervousness.
Coming round to face her, their eyes met as he began his assessment, “Well done; you’ve surpassed my expectations, and in such a short time at that.”
She tried not to focus on the nearness of him, the way his bright blue eyes pierced into her. She remained silent, expressionless and alert, her gaze unwavering.
Arching his left brow, he smirked, “Alright, tough stuff. But are you ready for them?” He nodded toward the wings, and a trio of stout boys padded out in v-formation, staffs at the ready. They looked experienced and displayed natural, unstudied assurance.
She rocked slowly, measuring her breaths and waited for their approach.
The woman released her hand from the monitor and looked down at her feet, whispering, “It was you, wasn’t it? Henry. You’re Henry.”
“Why did you quit?,” he quietly implored. “You were good, a natural. You took all three of those boys, made it look easy. Why didn’t you come back?”
She slowly looked up and into his eyes, hers welling with tears, “I couldn’t. I didn’t believe in myself. I may have been a good fighter, but you were a family. I was an outsider. I could fight, but I couldn’t do the rest of it.”
“You mean you wouldn’t,” he softly accused. “Not for me. Not for you. Not for anyone.” He ushered her to the next monitor, took her wrist and placed her palm upon it.
…so I’m here. With nothing to say. Shall we see if I end up saying something anyway, like yesterday. Why not. [(Fuck question marks. Question marks are squiggly little pricks that make it sound like I lack confidence in what I’m saying.) (See, this is the kind of bullshit that escapes when I don’t have a plan! Who the hell has problems with question marks. I do, apparently. Who knew.)]
How ’bout them Yankees. No. Shitty topic, seeing as how I don’t give a fuck about them Yankees.
How about cookies. Archie brought cookies in today, some elaborate recipe with oatmeal (who knew), raisins, coconut, some other shit, some additional other shit. She said her Mr. Archie complained they were too dry, so she brought them to work. They were too dry. I ate two anyway. For breakfast, because I’m a gangsta. Also because I’m out of oatmeal so I ate dry oatmeal cookies. Fair trade.
Well that got old fast. What now.
There’s a video going around of goats jumping on a trampoline. It’s pretty awesome, and reminds me that I want a trampoline. I need one to have a bouncing army of Garry Goats. Shit, that means I need goats, too. Good thing I want goats. And chickens. And my own personal library. One of these things is not the same, but I still want them all.
This is really fucking boring. Do I sound sufficiently blasé. Uhm. Uhhhh. How can I liven this post up.
Explosions. That works in Hollywood. But what do they know. They worship volcano aliens. Ohmygod, maybe that’s how the aliens get here. All those fucking explosions are really eruptions, shooting evil alien overlords over the masses. Only they travel via airwaves, so they’re distributed among the masses at summertime popcorn explody movies. Yeah.
Topics are good. I should probably make a list of them or some shit. For days like today, when the lack of said list results in a rambling post about grammar, oatmeal and Scientology. Fucking weirdo.
My shoulder is hurting like a motherfucker. Pain shooting down my arm like needles, fingers going numb. Pinched nerve, I bet. Just what I need. My shoulder is a dick. (Ohmygod I just said I have a dick. I don’t. Unless you count my shoulder, in which case I do have a dick. And my foot that hasn’t healed in nearly a year. That’s also a dick. So’s my head. It hurts like a motherfucker. (Ohholyhell that means I’m a Motherfucking Dickhead. Wow. (I wonder what happens if all those dicks get erect at once.)))
Damn, I’m nasty. That’s okay. Y’all already knew that. And if you’re new here, Welcome to the Gutter. (Please sing that to the tune of “Welcome to the Jungle.” It has the same number of syllables, so it totally works. Trust.)
Going to the orthopedist today to have another x-ray of my foot. I don’t see the point, as I can tell him for a fact it isn’t healed. I’ll give you a hint as to how I know: PAIN. Yeah. Damnit. Gonna ask him if he can either check my shoulder as well or make an appointment to do so very soon. I’ve been putting up with it for a few weeks now, but instead of getting better (as I’d hoped), it’s monumentally worse. Yay.
That’s okay. I’m gonna beat these assholes somehow, someway. How else will I go hiking once I hit the PNW. Exactly. So these assholes have to heal, so I can hike. I will it so. Damnit.
House. Almost ready to list. I realize I keep saying that, but it’s superclose now. Repairs made and just needs a hard scrub. (My shoulder’s gonna loooooove that.)
Jobs applied to with the company I currently work for – in the PNW. Fuckin’ aye. I’ve got an in with a local VIP who has an in with a PNW VIP. So, while there are no guarantees and it may take a while, it would enable me to keep my current insurance and bennies. Fingers crossed.
Speaking of PNW, considering taking on a roomie when I move. Could save me shittons of money or get me slaughtered in my sleep, my guts churned into a breakfast smoothie. Worth the risk? I dunno. I value my privacy too much, probably. And my guts. Sometimes.
Mental Health. I’ve taken myself off of all psych meds, and my brain feels better. I still wake up wishing I hadn’t, but none of the drugs I was on ever took that away. So. Fuck it. Why pump my body full of drugs just to feel the same way in the end. So fuck that psychiatrist. Gonna get my GP to prescribe the sleepytime med and stop pouring money down that pill-pushing hodonkey.
Uhm. Those are the shortest updates I’ve ever given. Heh.
Okay. That is all. Good day.
And don’t forget: McGruff the Crime Dog says to Say No to Drugs. I say take a bite out of McGruff.