hyperactive matter, softness, and this soul in between
I immerse myself in the sun
within tattered lungs
gravity no more than a delicate red string
in a child's
soft chubby hands ,
my body lifts and pivots in a boundless spell
on the edge of the light
cutting air between oxygen and lost time .
I am something yet unsaid
of dying stars
fireworks waiting to be lit
I immerse myself in the sun
I swallow myself up
starting creation at day one .
reinventing structural walls
to my soul
those whispers under the wooden boards
strange, I thought, how you can be living
your dreams and your nightmares
at the very same time
- Ransom Riggs, Hollow City
Her hand slides against the cold walls as she slowly makes her way through the dark hallways below. There are round lights placed strategically every few feet, thick green arrows, with exit signs everywhere she looks, seeming to mock her. They do not bring much light with them; they're only subtle guidelines, so no one gets lost completely.
Her body trembles.
But she's already lost and no longer sees a way out.
Trapped somewhere between then and now.
Everything feels out of focus, and it seems like she has spent not hours but days here, wandering aimlessly through the countless, identical hallways. And whenever she goes, she ends up in the same place, feeling more drained with each passage of time.
She's not even sure what that means anymore. She came here to find out the source of the sounds but ended up getting much more than she had bargained for.
Everything became heightened.
Each damaged and bruised part occupying her body and mind felt flipped backward and roughly yanked outside, placed on full display like raw pulsating flesh.
Her head is constantly ringing as she holds onto the cool walls covered with smooth oily paint, often resting her forehead there, even if only for seconds of foolish temporary relief. The waves of furious pain are the worse. As if an invisible attacker relentlessly stalking after her, hitting her spine, limbs, and bones with an old baseball bat, leaving long, sharp splinters behind after each hit.
Yet she keeps walking, dragging feet against the concrete floors, holding on to pipes and anything that she can find, wishing she could rip out one of those things and get it over with. Maybe if she hit her head enough times against the hard metal, the voices would stop.
Ghosts don't have bones to break.
They don't have ways to listen to the pain.
No body, no muscles, no skin.
No vessel to let in the wicked ones, child.
Jeremiah, Jeremiah, Jeremiah.
She hums softly, laying on the floor of the room she has no memories of, with no clue how she even got there.
Repeated sounds against the concrete, her blurry stare trying to lift and find the source of the noise. She looks up but already knows. It's his wooden cane tapping against the floor. It taps lightly, but there is nothing soft about it. It feels like it's cracking her ribcage, attacking the lungs, and twisting the vocal cords as she screams out the wreckage that never stops tumbling down. Her body a city in ruins, under constant attack of war.
And then it shifts, and she's crawling, laying on the dirty floor and dragging her body forward, nails scraping against the ground.
She's limping now. Twisting her face in pain with every step she takes.
And without any explanation, she's leaning on a chair. How did she get here? What happened before?
The chair hits the opposite wall, ringing like an ear-shattering gong as it hits the massive pipes. Her hands itch as she covers her ears, the lungs threatening to explode from exhaustion. There are other identical chairs like that laying everywhere.
It doesn't matter. All she sees is RED. It swallows her up.
Darkness as thick as tar. Deep, sticky, syrupy, coating everything in sight.
She's standing almost straight, looking with hate at him, broken pieces of rust-colored metal held in her hands between the outstretched pulsating fingers.
Rust inside of her and around her.
Aren't you tired, child? Is your mind not bleeding?
I will let you rest,
I will let you sleep.
Time is just another abstract to swallow. Not medicine but poison.
Arsenic for one, please. And keep it coming.
My tap is always open in this bar.
She's on the floor again, only the whites of her eyes, seen from under the long eyelashes. Time stays nonexistent; there is just the pain that speaks of infinity. It's eternal, a flame that never dies out, constantly pulsing in her blood. It is all too easy to let go. To listen to that voice, to those soothing words.
This voice. It rings out louder than shimmering in the afternoon light, cathedral bells as they begin their dance. Moving their heavy bodies against each other, their invisible echoes causing tiny ripples to form between her and the pain.
At first, but then it penetrates deeper, harder. Scarping claws against iron and sinking between layers, using force that blends with something kind, lifting a thin veil between darkness and shades of grey.
A certain slant of light.
So easy to miss.
Something shifts again. She's being yanked back into reality, into the unbearable physical things, the matter around her. She despises it, fights it, resists it. But it happens anyway. Her body shrinks into a ball as she is once again reminded of her sensitive human flesh and the wet, warm liquid under her fingertips. What happens to her is hard to describe, almost as if she is being sewn back together by crimson nylon threads, connecting her form and gluing it back to her spine, to the limbs that felt lifeless before. She doesn't want to come back but finds it hard to sink into the void, into the black, oily whispers.
Jeremiah, Jeremiah, Jeremiah.
She coos under her breath, far too low for anyone to hear.
Why isn't it ending?
Nothingness. So warm, so peaceful.
Not yet, Elle. Not yet.
S t a y.
A different voice whispers - farther away, separated by months of lonely days, of solitude that feels decades and centuries old. And then, her body is lifted into a sitting position. GOD, HOW IT HURTS. How it bleeds. And then she's standing, and there are arms around her, locking her into something that she is unable to escape. Lips pressing into hers, LIGHT pouring into her bones, the muscles. Into the deepest, most rooted structure, filling the skin, organs, and even brain cells, one by one. FILLING HER UP COMPLETELY. TO THE BRIM. And there is peace, softness, kindness. Love that has no stains or faults, the purest of kinds. It's an embrace in the middle of the coldest of winter nights. It's the hand you grab when you're drowning, that one smile that glues your broken ceramic shells with gold - a thing undefined but so familiar, something that has always been there, a memory of something that every living creature knows.
It's beautiful. It fills everything with bright flickering light.
As if warm wings made from countless, feather-soft dreams wrapping around a form too fragile to exist on its own.
Did you enjoy it? I hope you did.
Remember it because it was your last saving grace.
I wake up screaming on the floor next to my bed, tangled up in grey sheets like a cocoon, limbs stiff and sore. My voice is still hoarse, and I end up sounding like a wounded beast at the exact moment when it's being ripped apart. I groan in frustration and cough as my throat automatically tightens, barely managing to swallow. It feels like someone has planted thorns through the entire length of my neck. Damn it. Why does it feel like I'm in a never-ending time loop, constantly falling into the same rabbit hole? How many times can I wake on the floor covered in cold sweats before something changes? I was so sick of the nightmares playing out in my head on repeat, eyes wide open or not. By now, it didn't matter if I was being attacked in my sleep or in real life; it all felt the same. The only difference was that the nightmares left less bruises on my body than the physical adversary. Though even that was a lottery sometimes - I think and rub the right elbow that I managed to bang pretty badly when hitting the floor. The skin there stings, and my joints protest as I try to stretch the arm, moving it in all sorts of angles. My eyes absentmindedly catch a glimpse of the thin bandages on my hands in the dim light of the morning, and I sigh, feeling more tired than ever. I shift a bit and rest my back against the front of the bed, fully aware of the cold coming from the wooden boards on the floor against my bare legs but not having enough energy to care.
My mind drifts in unknown directions. I let it wander loosely, not wanting to focus on anything specific; instead, I put the nightmares to the side and let them blur out gradually - wanting a small escape before it was time to fight for another unclear tomorrow. My thoughts dance around slowly until they take me into a room filled with books and dark oak shelves. I see a wide, heavy desk filled with papers and pretty old trinkets; a small elegant lamp covered with green glass on its top and a gold rim around it, catching the attention the most. For a moment, I hold onto the imaginary door, taking in my surroundings, and then walk deeper into the room and see a little girl in a chair far too big for her petit form. Her hair is long and nearly black, tied only with a dark blue ribbon on top of the head that matches the color of her denim dress. It has buckles that hold the top part in the front and a skirt that goes barely above her knees, showing off black, thick tights with delicate grey flowers imprinted into the material.
It must be winter time. I think as I watch her. She twitches on the chair and scratches her left arm above her wrist, where it's sticking out of a furry yellow sweater, slightly stretched out and crumpled from being worn all the time. Mmm, she could never stay still, especially when intrigued by something. The little girl listens with wide eyes as her father reads her myths about Greek gods, warriors, and foolish mortals that craved more than they had. I smile despite the tired state and let myself stay in that scene a little longer - one of the few good memories I could place when it came to my father. I take a deep breath and recall the myth of Sisyphus - a man that cheated death twice and was punished for it by the Gods. I think of the boulder he pushed up the hill every day without end, and let out a tired sigh. How sad that I could relate so well to that struggle, to the constant nightmare. Punishment on repeat. Yes, I understood it all too well. I cheated death again, and now I was paying the consequences.
But how many chances do you get to cheat your demise; before it calls you home for the last time?
Or drags you there with a satisfied smile.
Eventually, the faded autumn light creeps into the window and colors the floor next to me in brighter shades of brown and caramel, making it look warmer rather than just seeming black and dirty. I wonder if I should ignore it and crawl back into bed, but then decide that my body needs some movement; so it doesn't become a useless block of cement. I get up, legs trembling, everything around me seeming shaky and unstable. I stumble into the kitchen and slump down on a stool next to the tiny island occupying the center of the space. Then after a while, gather enough willpower to reach for a round, slightly chipped ceramic teacup from one of the cupboards. I pour cold water into it and drink it greedily, only to cough out nearly half of it as my throat closes in protest. Like liquid needles and pins - I think and hold the pale blue cup above the sink, my hands wrapped around it as I stare at the remaining water. It's quiet in the apartment, and most people in the building have already left for work or school, only the low traffic below stopping it from becoming too silent, too still.
For a while, I stand and feel nothing, the numbness feeling good, like a familiar coat you had for years. Easy, warm, and not complicated. Then, out of nowhere I start to blink, alarmed by something small that I'm unable to define - like a pesky fly wanting to grab my attention, a thought wanting to resurface, an invisible finger tapping on my shoulder.
Yesterday. I think. It feels so fuzzy. So far away from today, like a dream. A nightmare. I close my eyes tightly, fingers still wrapped around the cup, suddenly sensing the air becoming colder, uninviting. An invisible black smoke moving into the kitchen, wrapping around my shoulders, ankles, and neck. I tremble and know that it's not from the cold. My breathing speeds up. That room, the darkness. The blood. Wait, what room? Was there a room? I can feel my heart wrestle against the ribcage like a terrified bird wanting to escape. How quickly I had let the monsters slip away from my mind.
I shiver, remembering my name called with such power, such desperation - as if I was the apocalypse on its way and the last man on earth was begging me to stop.
Well, look at who we got here. It seems that little miss Eleonore has found herself a friend.
The cup slips away from my hands, tumbling against the side of the counter. I hear crashing sounds but don't look down. She needs to pay the consequences... the poison is spreading. Shreds of words and thoughts are hitting me out of nowhere. Are you sure it's out of nowhere? A voice whispers, and I flinch - thinking of the nightmare and feeling my chest tighten over my lungs as I acknowledge something I already knew but didn't want to take in. It was the first time I realized with full awareness that until now, almost everything about the previous day felt erased. I remember Jeremiah, the last moments before he left, standing there with Charlie and not being surprised that one of the shadows following me was there. But what hits even more; is that I had no memory of anything vital. I recall going down the stairs and then standing there hours later with nothing in between. Told me what? What rules, for fuck sake?! What poison? I jump and suck the air sharply, when my knee hits a lose cabin door that was now wide open.
Shit, shit, shiiit!
I put my hands on the counter, and try to calm down my breathing, the pain spreading through my entire leg and ringing in my teeth. But perhaps this outcome surprised even her. I hear the words as if they were whispered into my ear and freeze, everything in me wanting to shut off all the noise, the static. You can't stop me or the thing that's happening to her. I told you there is no way out for her, no redemption. My chest lifts and falls, threatening to steal the oxygen around me until there is none left. I hold onto the metal sink as more things force their way into my thoughts. Perhaps if she would choose her victim more wisely. Victim? VICTIM??? As if she planned this as if she wanted any of this. As if she was a killer, a sociopath that relished in suffering and death.
No redemption. No saving grace, little sinner.
Memories, static. Tons of static. Words, feelings, rage, fear, anger, force - hitting me all at once. I feel the red membrane under my eyelids, dripping with something that burns my insides, coating everything like a living organism, slithering forward like a snake, and wrapping around everything on its path. Tick-tock, little one. All of your lucky charms have ran out. A different cup smashes against the kitchen wall, parts of it the ceramic bursting and flying everywhere.
I push everything off the counters, everything in sight; dirty plates with leftover food, a few glasses, wet rags, and clutter - a frustrated groan tearing up my lungs like an old rusted razor blade.
Why? Why the hell it had to be me?
I move around the kitchen in a frenzy, hands tightly pushed to the sides of my head, parts of the sharp ceramic elements crunching and digging into my feet, my mind exploding in every direction. Repeatable static, lightning, and darkness meeting on the night sky in my head. Destruction in the making.
I sit on the kitchen floor, oblivious to the mess and small fragments and shells of broken things digging uncomfortably into my skin. Barely even registering the open cuts on my legs staining the boards, and painting the worn-out wood. Unaware of how much time has passed and not finding even a single reason to care.
Not yet, Elle. Stay.
The voice from my dreams rings out in my head like the lowest of sighs, disturbing the silence and ruining the numbness shielding me from hitting rock bottom. And then I hear it. The sound of glass breaking somewhere in my chest, tiny pieces of a bruised heart falling like snowflakes around my beaten-up form. I burst into tears as the truth hits me, bursting between my ribs, unbearable pressure seeming to suffocate the entire air in the room. Dan. He was there.
No... No. That couldn't be. The dead don't speak.
Breathing rapidly, I bend my knees and wrap my arms around them, swaying back and forth with force, begging the world around me to disappear.
No. Just no.
Are you sure? My own voice asks, ringing in my head, and I tremble, slowing down a bit and blinking away the tears. Was that possible? Did I hear him? In my darkest hour - did he somehow reach out to me, not letting me slip away? I finally stop swaying and look around at the mess that I made. Was there a spark of light in all this chaos that I created? I inhale as something pushes me to drag myself out of the nightmare. To keep going. And if it were so? She dares to smile a little, the expression almost shy. Good things still happen, even to you. Remember that - I tell myself. Even if the old me wants to sink into the darkness, the fear, as deeply as possible. The things that I came most familiar to in the last two years.
It seemed I had more than just one guardian angel looking after me. I shake my head. Maybe it was just a hallucination coming from all the pain I had to endure, a mental breakdown that came to me with a delay, or a nightmare disguised as a memory. I wasn't entirely sure. But a gut feeling inside of me told me that it was him. Somehow, someway. It takes a whole village to save this one. The thought plays out in my mind, and I smiles as it's somehow colored by Dan's voice, as if he was standing behind me, lifting a lock of my hair to the side and softly whispering the words into my ear. I know it's not really him, but the sensation of him being there brings some peace.
Just like it does with Charlie - I think, and my body shivers from the cold, sudden panic hitting me with a fresh new wave. What if I lash out again like I did in the kitchen? I look around again and feel my shoulders quiver, heart pounding. What if I cause damage not just to my surroundings? What if someone gets hurt because I can't keep my demons at bay? It's just a panic attack. Calm down. Be rational. But I can't. And the only thing pushing away the fear is Charlie's name. My body, my whole being desperate for his presence.
Slowly, I move forward on my knees; and and cuss under my breath as the hurt leg protests loudly- feeling too weak to stand up fully. I spit out the nastiest, filthy words I can manage and finally make it to the counter where the stationary phone is. I pull it down and choose the number from memory.
I want to tell him to rush here right away, right now. I want to tell him not to bother with anything but me at this moment. I crave to be selfish and not care about the consequences. I want instant relief, instant gratification. I need him to come here and make it all stop. I want all of that like a junkie on damn crack. But I don't. I stop myself. And instead, I smile through the headache and the whispers filtering under my skull. Leaving him a voicemail. Telling him things we could both live with it.
Come whenever you have a free moment in the day. I know how overworked you are. No worries, I'm not going anywhere. I will be here the whole day. Resting, tucked away under a blanket, with liquids and brainless TV to keep me company. I will leave the keys under the doormat.
I smile reassuringly into the phone as if he could see me and hang up just before the beeping sound can penetrate my skull. I feel empty inside. Like a robot. A machine, trying to convince everyone it was working correctly, even through the smell of short circuits melting and smoke lifting in the air.
https://theprose.com/post/230936/with-all-my-senses ( the beginning )
Previous chapters :
outside stillness, galaxies exploding within
I write myself into a ball of messy things
neurons entangled into static
lightning-bolt in a jar,
machinery trapped in a circulating mind
c o n s t a n t l y beating
nylon threads between soft tissue
spread against spiraling notions
on repeat, they play
on repeat, they breathe
in these heavy bones of mine,
casting a net between hopeless ribs
and tainted rust
take a needle
and construct breaths from a woolen yarn
two strokes up
and three pulls down,
spider's web sewn into lungs
eyelashes covered in silver silk,
with the overused patterns of breathing
destruction and rebuild
all connected into one
and spitting out moss,
trying to balance out the universe's arms
building me into something
I have yet to become
until sleep finds me, soothing my winter lungs
and the summer heart,
making it easier to inhale the stardust
and exhale moss
it's always so l o u d in here
in this head
in this chest
even when so perfectly still
walking on eggshells and ash
I am made of things,
things that are constantly breaking
― Jenim Dibie
He puts a hand gently on my back, careful not to cause me more pain, and guides me out of the room and the wreckage left behind. We're silent for a long while, none of us really sure what to say or how to act. Finally, as we head out into the hallway, the heavy door closing behind us, he decides to speak.
I will report the damages and the break-in in a little while. For now, come on, let's go clean those cuts. At least we are already in a hospital, so that shouldn't be a problem. I don't even know how everyone else managed to overlook the racket that went on downstairs but then again, stranger things happen in life, right?
He rubs his face, looking exhausted, consternation coloring his features, probably already visualizing the mayhem that will follow after he breaks the news to the security staff - and in consequence, the police. He could keep it to himself for now and let someone else find the disaster area, but I know he's not that kind of a person; no matter the situation, he would always do the best thing possible, whatever the circumstances. I nod slowly in response to his words, still feeling a bit out of it after everything that happened, resembling a damaged machine or a radio that someone played for too long, leaving just static behind - just a lot of white noise everywhere.
Letting him touch me and walk me upstairs was a struggle, taking all my willpower not to flinch under it. It wasn't that I found it repulsive or putting off after what occurred between us - no, that had nothing to do with it. But every time I felt his hand on my body, I heard the white noise stretching and twisting, turning me into a bunch of unsteady, grey lines and out-of-tune magnetic waves that tried to find the right station but failed miserably every time. Whenever he touched me, it felt like his fingers might take out the wrong little piece from the wooden tower, build out of my worn-out structure, causing it to fall apart. I felt fragile, not made from skin, muscle, or bone, but from thick bruises painted on the ruins of something that once was a home. My walls were broken, windows shattered, and I had no doors to protect me, not a single room to hide in. And Charlie was a breeze, a potential storm; just one wrong gust of wind, and it felt that I would become merely the sand between his open fingers.
I shiver and shake my head, hoping it will stay in place, staring at the ground and following the lines and patterns of the linoleum floor as he gets the necessary medical supplies from a storage area. We later sit close to each other in a small, currently empty office, my hands resting on his knees so he can take care of the injuries properly. It feels intimate somehow, private. I try not to think about it and instead; concentrate on the pulsating wounds spread against my skin like some abstract form of art. But then I sense his stare on me and look up automatically, noticing the irritation he tries to hide, his face seeming hidden in the shadows created by the lamp behind him. It's a strange and surreal feeling, but his agitated state reflects in me like a mirror and becomes that of my own, something safe and mundane to focus on, something that brings me above the surface of the water and lets me stay there.
What were you doing here in the first place?
He asks in a low, almost harsh voice, and for the first time, I straighten my back, raising my chin in a challenging way.
I was visiting newborns. What do you think I was doing here? The pain got worse, and I needed your help. Simple.
My attitude doesn't faze him, but something in him grows sharper, colder.
What about the basement, Eleonore?
My bravado falters just a fraction, and I can tell that he notices it. I don't respond, and he sighs.
But I guess we will circle back to that later as well.
He takes a deep breath and gazes at me for a moment like he's trying to scan my entire network system and understand how the wiring works. Good luck with that - I think and don't look away, building up strength for whatever he might say next.
You didn't call that you were coming.
It was implied.
Not well enough.
I can sense tiny embers moving under my skin, and I take the subtle heat with relief, finally something to warm my cold bones.
Charlie, is this the first day that we met? How many times did I actually warn you I was
going to come, and pay you a courtesy visit? Not. That. Many.
I throw my hands up in desperation, groaning, irritated as the skin around the cuts opens wider - allowing the dirt and rust to move deeper under the fractured tissue. I mumble some nasty things in response to the unwanted pain and put my hands down, back on his lap, too tired to focus on my non-existing polite side that I just had less and less these days. I look up at him as he disinfects the scrapes and cuts on my hands and suck air through my teeth as it stings like freaking hell. He doesn't react in any way and wraps my hands up in bandages where it's most needed, giving me some space so I can still move my fingers around. I stare at his focused yet strained expression and manage to bite my tongue at the last moment. He saved my life, sparring me just inches from death. We both knew I was so close to giving up, finally too worn out by the things that were constantly ripping me apart. A piece of faded material can only take so much. I gaze at him and shake my head. I think it would forever remain a mystery to me how he was somehow always able to sew my threads back together - mending me when everyone else in his place would just throw the old fabric into the trash. He finishes, and I carefully move my fingers. The skin still stings, feeling pulled and stretched out, hands seeming more fragile than usual, but beyond that, they appear to be more or less functional. Mmm, what was the physical damage, in comparison to everything that was fucked up on the inside anyway?
At least you didn't break anything.
His tone is unexpectedly soft, and I find myself blinking without control, feeling things in me start to crumble like pieces of dry cement. The sensation is so powerful that I nearly see the white dust covering the clean floor beneath my feet, coating everything in sight.
I'm so sorry.
I say quietly, shutting my eyes tightly, guilt spreading in my veins like an infection.
For what, for no open break? Because I can assure you it would not have been pretty.
I look up at him, and somehow he smiles despite the mood in the room. I shake my head slowly.
Just, in general. I will send you a list, and you can pick something out yourself.
I can feel his gaze on me again but avoid it this time; I know what's coming next.
I don't want to talk about it.
I blurt out of habit before I can think, and he sighs. I watch as he gets up and starts to walk around the room in circles. I feel nausea returning and close my eyes, slowly counting to ten, so I won't snap at him again, grabbing the sides of the metal chair and pressing my fingers into it until the pain distracts me. I had no control over my actions anymore and was terrified of saying something I wouldn't be able to take back. After a moment, when my stomach stops doing Olympic somersaults, I look up, and my eyes widen in surprise, even my exhausted state fading into the background. I watch as he stands about 6 feet away from me, his forehead against the wall, the palm of his hands low, and tapping against the thick surface, back moving in a rushed rhythm as his lungs rise and fall. My eyebrows furrow, forehead creasing. He's angry. I never saw him angry. Well, upset, sure, a bit judgemental at times, and disbelieving my truths for a good reason. Yes, that I was familiar with, but not anger. The raw form of it.
I stand up quietly and walk up to him, putting a hand on his left shoulder and squeeze it; he doesn't shift and look at me, just keeps tapping on the wall as if I wasn't there. My hand slips down gently until it reaches his, fingers intertwining and wrapping tightly around his warm skin. I press it so tightly that I can feel his pulse; it's rushed, chaotic. He doesn't say anything. I turn him around slowly, so I can see his face, but he keeps looking down. I lift my hand and put it on his chest, fingers gently stroking the material of his shirt, waiting patiently until he calms down. He finally breaks out of his haze and looks up at me. I can't read anything from his face - there's too much going on there, too many things, that I fear touching.
Nora, who was that man?
No, stop. He could have killed you... or just let you die, whichever came first. You need to warn me about people like that. What if I was too late? What if I didn't make it in time?
I gaze at him, confused for a moment, the gears in my brain turning very slowly and unwillingly, refusing to push through any additional effort today. But ultimately, the information breaks through. He wasn't angry because of me, the trouble I got him into, or the mayhem that my presence in his life caused; he was furious because he felt helpless and unable to help and protect me when needed, feeling weak against the things he could not control. Well, I guess they both got to experience that unsettling feeling.
Well?! Why won't you answer me? God dammit, Nora!
His voice breaks slightly at the end, and my heart shrinks under the ache and softness that attacks me without mercy, ready to explode if I take even the slightest breath. I feel him. I feel every little pained part of him growing and expanding in my cells. It's so much to experience at once. I blink away the tears that are on their way and hold onto his hand tighter, feeling his pulse exhilarate under my skin, giving me sudden strength to find peace inside of me, to find peace for him. I tap my hand against his chest to the rhythm of his heartbeats, closing my eyes and listening to the music trapped there - it's a melody that unexpectedly invites me more than I could ever anticipate. A smile creeps to my lips as I tilt my head slightly, creating a song I know I could listen to on repeat for days or weeks, and it still wouldn't get old.
This throws him off, and I sense that he is slowly relaxing.
What are you doing?
It's just something my mother did when I was little and couldn't calm down.
He stares at me for a moment.
You don't talk much about your mother or your parents, for that matter.
I told you why before. We have complicated relations since her daughter has the talent to wrack lives, but I love her. I love them both. That one thing hasn't changed. Are you feeling a bit better now? I hope you are.
I don't know. This whole thing has set me off. When I found you and saw you lying there on the ground and screaming, I thought I would lose you.
Well, you didn't. I'm still here and will irritate you as long as you let me. But I think that wasn't the only reason you got angry.
I challenge him, standing on very shaky territory; he sighs again and steps away, seeming awkward and distant now. I want to say something, but I'm just not sure what it should be. He crosses his arms and turns his head towards me as if defending him from an invisible threat could jeopardize something extremely important and worth everything. Our friendship.
I had no other choice, I had to save you. And I had this feeling that it would work. I don't know why, but I did. I'm sorry. But you have to know one thing. If I had to do it all over again to save you, I would. No hesitation.
I stare at him and his expression, the entire body language, and feel my chest tighten at the sight. How many times could a heart break? Sometimes, it can break from the beginning, each and every day. It's limitless in its power to crumble, and somehow it keeps on beating just the same. I feel my eyes start to sting, but for the very first time, I don't stop the tears for fear that someone might see. I let him see all of me.
Charlie, I'm not mad or upset about that. Once again, you saved me. How could I feel even one negative feeling towards you? And let's face it, I wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for you. It's okay, I promise. I do.
My voice is so soft that it feels like silk that I would like to wrap myself in. I'm surprised that I can be so tender, but at the same time, I'm not surprised at all that I can be so soft towards him. Not anymore.
Is this that scene in a movie, when you make a standing ovation speech and then disappear out of my life?
My cheeks are still wet from the tears, but somehow a shaky laugh bursts out of me as if sunlight, breaking through dark, turbulent clouds. It was a shock that I could master up a smile after this day, but that was the effect he always had on me in the end - a sensation of the sun coming through the clouds, even on the darkest days. He tilts his head, gazing at me with soft eyes, and lifts his hand, gently rubbing away some of my tears with his thumb. His touch is such a relief that I automatically lean into it.
Nurse Evans, was that sense of humor slipping from under those pretty pastel scrubs? Well, may the heavens have mercy on me.
He smiles but then grows serious again, concern still visible in his stare.
Are you sure that you are okay with it? Won't this mess everything up between us? With everything that you have been through? After everything that you have lost?
No. Nothing can.
You can't be sure of that.
I don't say anything in response but come closer, wrapping my arms around his waist and putting my head to his chest. I hold him until I feel him gradually relax as the warmth of our bodies blends together, each of us softly soothing something else in the other. Then after a while, I step aside, stand on my toes, and kiss his cheek, letting my hand lift and trace the side of his face with attentiveness. A little glimpse of heaven, for the damned tortured souls - I think and force myself to snap out of it, something in my gut telling me that if I let myself sink into this moment for too long, I might never want to come back for air. It's a very disturbing thought. I take a deep breath, smile at him, and squeeze his shoulder just before I head for the door.
Come on. I need to get out of this hospital. Oh, and by the way. Great 'saving' technique. I would say you are close to a black belt at it. Both professional and enjoyable.
I glance back, not being able to stop myself, watching his face turn into a faint shade of crimson. My smile turns dark and I relax as well, the easy, familiar banter between us giving me the strength to go through another day with my head held up. There was something about him, something powerful enough to remind me of the person I once was. He gave me the courage to find her once more and rebuild her into someone that could stand on their own. I was so grateful for his help but was also all too aware I had to find my own light and my own strength. And that meant forgiving myself. It meant confessing my sins instead of hiding from them.
Alright, Mister Evans. I don't have all day here. I need my support system to follow me, and guide me through my miserable existence.
I walk out and head for the elevators, feeling his disapproving stare on my back.
You do realize that we still need to talk about that man in the basement and how you know him in the first place? I won't let you run away from it. Not this time.
I hear the sternness in his voice, the power behind the words, and nod calmly in agreement, knowing I no longer wanted to run. It was a strange yet oddly liberating feeling.
Yes, but not now. I'm afraid I'm currently out of order.
I walk in into the special double-door elevator, stumbling a bit, and he follows, the shiny metal closing behind us. I needed some alone space to process what happened today. Though in truth, there was never enough time to adjust to the constant turmoils of my life. Always spinning, always gliding just inches below the water, hoping for a little more air. Just enough to survive. I think about the broken pipes around me, the blood on the floor, the never-ending pain, and Jeremiah's words. I close my eyes, and other things play out as well. The memory of Charlie's lips on mine invading me, those arms wrapped so tightly around my waist, my wounds, his light spreading through my cells and replacing everything else, pushing away the darkness and letting new things in. My brain had a difficult time - simultaneously processing how to move my limbs and coordinate the feelings that shifted endlessly, moving from an overwhelmed state to complete utter numbness. My life was getting more complicated with each passing day, and decoding it became a real struggle. I felt like I was continuously spiraling down a rabbit hole, with only tiny glimpses of the perfect blue sky in the distance.
Let me take you home then.
I break away from all the buzzing thoughts and nod while he wraps his arm around my waist gently and letting me sink into his familiar embrace. His scrubs making comforting sounds as I close my eyes again, the elevator gradually moving up into something that spoke of a little more mundane. The monsters, for now, left seven or eight floors below.
https://theprose.com/post/230936/with-all-my-senses ( the beginning )
Previous chapters :
you're a beautiful chaos,
insanity woven into something breathtaking
- Anna Rose
a little game of hide and seek
my hands are of your colour,
but I shame to wear a heart so white
- Lady Macbeth, William Shakespeare
He stretches slowly, hearing his bones pop with every move, the neck muscles protesting loudly, as he tries to massage the sorest spots. The day was too long and the hour late, nearing ten at night. He was ready to take a break and go to the cafeteria, hoping to fill his stomach, close his eyes for a couple of minutes, and rest, even if just a little - in his profession, even ten minutes of shut-eye were often a blessing. As he heads to get some food, his mind finally lets in all the thoughts that were blocked before, too busy to notice much more than his pilling up responsibilities - furrowing his eyebrows, only now realizing that he had not heard from Nora all day. He thought she would visit, but it was more an assumption than actually being informed about her plans in any way; he just figured that by this time, she would need his help to soothe the voices in her head. He sighs, never in his life expecting to have problems connected to the supernatural, and plans to check his phone after returning from the cafeteria - but in the end never gets there, a strange noise catching his attention instead.
At first, he is willing to dismiss it, being used to the most peculiar noises happening randomly in the hospital, usually in those rare moments when it was quiet enough for anything to break through the multicolored cacophony of sounds filling the walls of the enormous building. But now, the low sounds seemed to stick to him, clinging to the eardrums and vibrating in a way that proved to be nearly impossible to ignore.
Slowly, he tilts his head, curious despite the fatigue and the mercilessly outstretching length of the day. There it was again, as if repeated pounding of something heavy, metallic, and then a faint chilling noise coming from inside the walls. In a slightly wary state, he passes the hallway and walks forward until he reaches the door to the staircase; putting an ear against the metal door and flinches when the familiar sound invites itself once more; the same clatter but more distinct. He starts to feel nauseous as his mind tells him what he already knew but didn't want to comprehend or take in, blocking out the potential consequences. His eyes close for a few moments, some childish part of him hoping that he confused the sounds and the sensation creeping in under his skin, causing the hair on the arms to stand up - but now, his muscles strain in a different way, a strong need for action growing even though the more rational aspect of his personality wants to blame the whole thing on exhaustion. Act. Help. Protect. He grabs the handle on the door and jumps slightly as the sound rings out again, his hold tightening automatically. Someone was shouting down there, and the screams were getting louder, muffled yet much clearer - even though he was sure there were many layers of concrete and metal separating him from the dread that seemed to seep from the underground.
He quickly writes the code in a small alarm box placed on the wall and walks down the stairs; there is no way that the screaming came from the floor above. The only possible place where the sounds could be coming from was the basement of the building. The acoustic there always carried the sounds far; people hearing all sorts of unearthly noises and avoiding going there if possible. However, the employees working there, such as the plumbers and the mechanics - just shrugging it off casually, often being the ones responsible for the racket in the first place.
He keeps going down, and with every passing moment, his pulse rushes faster and faster, heart pounding against the ribcage, footsteps echoing as he goes, all the way down to the boiler room. Passing pipes of all shapes and sizes, searching for the source of the unusual sounds, carefully, taking each step. He looks to the sides, steam very visible even in the faint light available there - sweat appearing on his forehead as the temperature increases, the long-sleeved shirt under the scrubs becoming damp and sticking to the shape of his spine. He listens to his shoes scrape against the floor and feels the adrenaline levels rise, blood pounding in his head with fever. Something tumbles down, and something else breaks, ringing out so loudly that he feels it in his teeth. It sounds heavy - quickly, he moves forward, breaking into a run, passing each door, confused more with every fleeting second.
Again, the scream continues, piercing his ears as he finally recognizes it, blood freezing in his veins, body overwhelmed by fear. Of course, it was her voice all along. How could he not realize this before? Well, maybe he chose not to; the denial set in deep, telling him not to believe his own senses, the possible truth too terrifying to let in. He won't let anything bad happen to her.
Are you sure it's not too late already?
He moves the thought away immediately, not letting it stay, tearing it away from him like a beast that wants to claw into the tender meaty flesh, eagerly ripping it apart piece by piece. Forcing himself to focus only on the task at hand, he finally finds the right door, the only one cracked slightly open, a beam of cold blue silver light slipping out and coloring the floor next to it. He stumbles in and gapes at the scenery with growing disbelief.
There she was, lying on the cement floor, in a space with not enough light to spread out all the shadows away, twisted into a little ball of pain, broken and bent old chairs spread on the ground next to her, strange pieces of red metal thrown all over the room. He looks closer, still confused, trying to take the entire scene in, brain pushing to put the picture together, staring at the metal until the shapes become familiar - smaller fragments of pipes from the central heating system. He nods slowly, noticing bolts to match, lying close to his feet, further confirming his suspicions. A new scream causes a jolt of electricity to curse through his muscles, forcing him to jump back to life and run to her.
But then a voice stops him mid-track, somehow, blocking him almost against his will - like shutting off all the lights in the room, a complete blackout of senses - he thinks absentmindedly as the sudden inability to move vanishes as soon as it appears.
And who might you be?
He looks to the right and notices a calm but slightly irritated man standing in the shadows, wearing a long elegant, grey coat and resting his body weight against a solid-looking, tasteful cane. The bottom of it looks like oak, smooth and expensive, and the top with its carved, animal-shaped head appears to be, made out of bronze. He seems to be around fifty and about 6 foot 1 in height. The man takes a few steps forward, stepping more into the light of the lamp above him - one of the few sources of light in the otherwise dark and unwelcoming space. Charlie gazes up and feels almost magnetic energy surround him, broad shoulders, a strong jaw, and a pair of dark steel blue eyes gazing back at him. The stare is alluring and dominating, dangerous. Like watching an earthquake just before the ground swallows you up - you know you should move, but you're stuck in place.
Another cry breaks through his distracted thoughts, grabbing his attention and causing his chest to tighten painfully.
Well, look at who we got here. It seems that little miss Eleonore has found herself a friend.
The man says, partly amused and in part restless, as if he was disturbed in a very ill-manner way by this peculiar intruder to his private game, looking displeased by the additional and unplanned actor on the stage.
Who are you, and what is happening here? What did you do to her? Why is she in pain?
The stranger taps his cane casually a few times against the concrete floor before answering as if lost in thought. Charlie looks distracted for a second at Nora and notices that each sound makes her body jump slightly as if low currents of electricity and light were moving under her skin. He wants to go to her so badly, but the man coughs meaningfully, causing Charlie's eyes to drift back.
I have to admit, I am rather surprised by this small intrusion. You see, dear boy, this one here is very unsociable, and has difficulty finding new friends. But then again, I didn't know her a few years back. I hear that she used to be a life of the party once - though I find it hard to believe. Then again, sins and tragedies have a way of changing people. Don't you agree?
The man continues, not seeming to notice the questions, appearing to be more focused on the sound of his voice, almost mesmerized by it, covering himself in it like a warm velvet shawl. Charlie's hands roll tightly into fists, knuckles growing white, blood beginning to boil. He looks back at her and winces, her body seeming to shrink from the pain, his eyes set desperately on her fragile form. He stares, hypnotized as the light above her head and the darkness around them seem to display her agony as if she was on a stage in some grotesque theater. He notices the blood coating her fingers, leaving deep rusty trails all over the floor, and then shifts his stare to the man standing in the small distance - at his immaculate, clean hands. My hands are of your colour, but I shame to wear a heart so white - the memorable words he read a long time ago ring out in his mind, and he feels anger grow inside him, sizzling. He's ready; ready to move and to do anything, just as long as all of this stops. He shifts forward, but the man blocks him, suddenly standing just inches away; the tension builds between the two, the pressure in the room increasing, thickening the air.
She needs to pay the consequences; a contract has been set in motion, and we have been waiting for more than enough.
What...? No. What in hell are you even talking about? Do you even hear yourself?
She broke the rules, and now the poison is spreading.
The man notices Charlie's eyes widen and enjoys the confusion on his face; all of this was just amusement to him.
Ah, you seem to be surprised by this. I guess she has not told you everything then?
Told me what? What rules, for fuck sake?! What poison?
Ah, manners, dear boy. Temper, temper. It's not polite to curse in front of a lady. Then again, she won't be around for much longer.
Something snaps in him like a rubber band, causing his insides to sting and throb. He plunges for the man and attacks, trying to knock him down and push him out of the way, but the other guy is surprisingly strong - as if he wasn't fighting with one person, but many. He blocks him with just one arm over Charlie's chest, the elbow directed up and pressing beneath his throat, while the other arm leans securely on the cane. The sides of his lips lifting, a crocked razor-sharp smile coloring his face as he towers over him, deeper wrinkles appearing in the corners of his eyes - yet there is a certain tone in his voice that gives him away as it vibrates with growing irritation.
Don't be ridiculous, you fool. You can't stop me or the thing that's happening to her. She knew the consequences, and there's always a price to pay for death. But perhaps this outcome surprised even her.
Charlie's eyes widen, but he doesn't stop - instead, fights with double force, finding a better footing and pushing the man forward - it feels like trying to relocate a bulldozer. But nothing that lunatic had said or done mattered. He only had one focus, and that was her.
You're insane. Get out of the way, old man. Now.
I told you there is no way out for her, no redemption. She took the life of the wrong person, and there was so much more at stake than she could even imagine. Perhaps...
He finally decides to throw Charlie off with a low growl, visibly consternated with the prolonging interference, and then keeps on talking as if there was no battle to begin with, no confrontation. As if this was just for fun, and he was getting rid of a misbehaving child.
Perhaps if she would choose her victim more wisely, this wouldn't even be an issue. Just a life lost, nothing more - but she chose wrong, dealing with powers she could never comprehend or wrap her mind around - too many incompetent people roaming this earth, dear boy, way too many.
He seems so pleased with himself, and it slowly sets Charlie into a state of white, blazing fury that he never suspected himself of. He reaches the man with impressive speed and presses a fist to the side of his perfectly square jaw, the blow sending the guy back with force as he stumbles back and hits the floor with his side; roaring out in rage and spitting-out heavy invectives through his teeth. Yet he doesn't get up at first, instead groans again and pulls out something from underneath his body - a chunk of the red metal from one of the broken pipes - he stays down, the pain and the turmoil recognizable on his face.
There is nothing you can do to stop this, you imbecile. Her faith is already sealed.
He turns his stare from the man and sees her - scraping her nails against the floor, her eyes out of focus, her fingers leaving more bloody trails, strands of hair covered with dust and dirt falling to her face. Too much to see, to bear. He runs to her without thinking, pulling her carefully up to a sitting position, and she screams from the sudden change. He can almost physically feel all of her pain as her body strains. It’s loud, overwhelming, nearly pushing the air out of his lungs. She doesn't look at him, but her body language says it all, shooting a jolt of electricity through his nervous system that terrifies him, blocking out everything else. She is ready to die, here and now, the pain too excruciating to endure - he can feel his throat getting tight, reality blurring out as he experiences something for the very first time in his life - it's unbelievable but true. I feel you, sensing everywhere; in my bloodstream, my bones, under my skin. With all my senses, Nora.
This lasts just a fracture of a second, but it's enough - unexpectedly, without any warning, he knows exactly, what to do, a sense of clarity coming over, his mind made up, something deep in the guts telling him that this would work.
He pulls her up, forcing her to stand up and look at him, waiting until her hazy stare finally meets his, finding something in those weary, lost eyes that makes him lean forward. A strange kind of assurance, growing and bursting in his cells, one by one like multicolored glass; it feels like energy that wants to reach hers, the images of blue and orange light touching filling his mind as he bends down gently. She freezes - the surprise caused by the warm touch; and how close his body is against hers breaking through the chaotic and confused state - his lips pressed against hers, his arms tightening around that bruised, tortured body. Tense at first, her hand pushes against his chest, wanting to pull away, seeming like a wild animal caught in a trap, desperately wanting to break free from the familiar hands that felt like home but now seemed like bars in a too-tight cage.
The energy of the one she lost, nearly tangible and bleeding out of her pores, as he holds her close - things that he cannot explain, happening around them, filling the air and coloring their rushed breaths, constantly shifting, breaking, and flickering.
Once again, she tries to break free from the hold. But after a while, her fingers soften without her wanting or permission, as do his kisses against her lips. Her hands move up, sliding against his neck and grabbing onto his hair, pulling him closer as everything seems to slow down around them. She takes it all in, surprised by how her body reacts to him, how it craves the touch; her senses are on fire, blood sizzling and catching new flames with every breath. It's strong, crumbling, on the verge of overpowering all of her - but for the first time in a very long time, it is not caused by pain. She wraps her other arm around his back, wanting to become one with that blazing white light she feels between them, purifying everything in her that was wounded, broken, and scarred. She feels tears of relief under her eyelids as the strain in her body eases down. Yet her pulse rushes like never before. So many contradicting feelings, like being crushed into dust only to be rebuilt with the softest care.
He separates the kisses now; one, two, free. Softer, kinder, full of... He moves away as she stares at him with wide grey eyes, fearing to take even a single, quivering breath. She lets go of his hair, hand sliding down, fingers barely touching his skin or clothes - as if she might get burned by even the air around them. Slowly, she moves her hands away completely - wrapping her arms tightly around her thin torso. Her mind is stuck now, thoughts going blank, just ringing out silence in her ears. She looks confused. Did that really happen? The question was more than visible on her face.
Are you okay?
Charlie asks gently, focusing only on her state and not what he just did. There was nothing that mattered more at that moment that knowing she was going to be okay. Everything else could wait. She looks around, disoriented as if she did not hear him, moving in different directions, feet dragging against the floor. She stares at the mess everywhere but doesn't really see it, eyes sliding against the fragments of pipes, the ruined chairs, and water leaking from the damaged construction. Did she do that? She moves her hands up and stares at her fingers - they are dirty and covered in blood, filth, and rust. Well, that seems to answer the question. She moves around a couple more times and stumbles on her way. She seems to hear some noise behind her and turns her head that way.
She looks up at him as if she doesn't recognize who he is, staring at the worried look on his face - the pain visible in his eyes. She blinks, all those emotions running through him, making her snap back into reality, finally regaining some sanity. She stumbles his way and puts her arms around him tightly - then something breaks deep inside of her, and she bursts into tears, pressing the cheek to his chest and burying her face into his clothes, whole body trembling.
I'm so sorry, Charlie.
She croaks out and coughs, her voice hoarse from hours of screaming.
Don't be, please... it's okay.
He murmurs soothingly into her ear, and she trembles again.
What are you even apologizing for?
He asks, whispering the question.
For making you go through this. It's not your battle.
Do you mind if I decide that?
No, no... please don't joke about this. I can't take your light tones, not after... everything.
Nora, I decided this, alright? This was my decision. On the day I met you, I made a conscious choice; to do whatever I can to get you out of this, to help. And I am not backing away now. Are we clear?
He pulls her away from his chest and lifts her chin, making her look up at him. He sees her wet eyes, and something breaks in him as well. He bends down and kisses her softly, just one brief kiss. He looks back at her, watching as her face turns surprised, eyes widening. And somehow, that makes him smile.
That was just to grab your attention. You can relax now and stop digging your nails into my skin... thanks, that's much better. So, are we clear?
She stares at him and feels all the good energy going through her. Like a gold, warm light, slowly filling her up - replacing the freezing, blue one that was there before and that seemed to linger in her since she could remember. She stares at that kind smile of his, and manages, to gradually relax. No longer so awkward and disconnected. She sees him as he really is. Her savior, the protector - and most of all, her friend. A friend that one day started to be a little more.
Yes, clear, even if you're making the wrong choice.
You always need to win the argument, don't you?
He lets go of her and looks at her hands.
We need to clean that up quickly. I don't want you to get an infection...
He starts to say but does not finish, eyes darting somewhere to the background; she stiffens, sensing his tension, and then the realization slowly hits them both. They forgot about something, or more to the point, someone. She turns around. Funny that she could just throw him out of her head like that after everything. They notice him again, standing there, a bewildered expression on his face - no longer on the ground but standing straight, only slightly leaning on his cane. There is no more pain on his face, just curious wonder, and fading anger.
A healer, of course. That explains why you have not visited us yet. I guess Alister failed to tell me some crucial details concerning you, my dear.
He says and stares at them for a few moments. Processing the game changer, which he did not anticipate, with surprising composure and then just leaves, disappearing into the corridor, his cane and the heels of his leather shoes causing surprisingly little sound for such a massive, heavy figure. There was something about his face. It made Charlie think that the strange man was enjoying the new challenge that fell into his lap. He looks down at Nora and finally lets himself breathe out all the tension and weight he had kept on his shoulders until that very moment.
Don't you feel like this day has been long enough?
He asks her in a tired voice.
You have no idea.
When Lady Macbeth returns from Duncan's chamber, she holds out her blood-stained hands and says, “My hands are of your colour, but I shame to wear a heart so white,” claiming that although, she has Duncan's blood on her hands, she feels no guilt.
https://theprose.com/post/230936/with-all-my-senses ( the beginning )
Previous chapters :
I think there
are demons in here,
residing in frilly homes
in this silly head
After another sleepless night and a numbing morning, I find myself retreating to the hospital like an odd moth allergic to the fluorescent lights but somehow addicted to the familiar sensation. Spending the early hours of the afternoon in the hospital; in hopes of not only charging up my mental state but also talking to Charlie about the things I keep to myself. The things that have colored too much of my life in dark, thick ink, precautions I used as a safety net so no one would come too close. I have learned over time that it was easier for people to examine you only from a distance. Sometimes the farther, the better. But with everything going on - especially after Alister's ominous visit a couple of days ago - there was this feeling in me that I had to let him know more about the mess that my life had become. The assurance that I didn't have that much time to spare; growing with each passing day. Lingering in the air, moving in my lungs and under the skin that always felt laced with fever, the body dancing in a confused daze between flashes of heat and tingling sensations like frostbites, filling my cells even at the rare moments when being human appeared doable.
Hope seeming to be just around the corner, waving illusory white flags in the distance, taunting me with images of a possible future. Wishful thinking was a nice temporary distraction, yet that's all it was in the end; a distraction and a time filler for a few amends along the way. But no matter how much color Charlie brought with him or warmth to chip away the ice that was always sticking to my insides, it still wasn't enough. Nothing sufficed the hollow things for too long. The best I could do was be thankful for the small moments that landed in my lap if I tried hard enough; gratitude, pieces of redemption, and a little time. Every moment leading me to my final destination.
A place that was never meant to be pretty.
I close my eyes, counting the passing seconds and trying to remain grounded in the now, focusing on the things I needed to take care of; he had to see that the time spent with me could harm him in so many ways. He worried about me, my deteriorating state, and all the bad things that could happen. That was undeniable, but it was also more than obvious he did not put the same care into his own safety, not noticing the deep dark imprints collecting on his skin like ash, swirling around him just because he was foolish enough to hover around with me for far too long. The darkness had a peculiar quality about it. It tended to mold into one with your soul if you were not careful enough. For me, it was too late, but for him, there was still time.
My disease would no longer spread to anyone else.
There were people in the shadows waiting for me, men far too destructive to be dealt with; men like Alister and his brother or the minions they had no problem sending out. Just like the trained beast in the alley.
Distracted, I touch my neck, still feeling the bruises that were no longer there yet left a permanent mark in my memory. I was a coward in many ways, but I did not want my weaknesses to harm Charlie in any possible form. At times I felt that even if I had a thousand lifetimes to spare in each one, I would want to keep him safe. I rub my face with the other hand, wondering if all the time spent with him wasn't affecting me too much. I thought I had hardened with all the pain I had to go through, with all the disappointment and failures. And yet, somehow, time with him seemed to have the opposite effect on me.
It made me softer, more sentimental, letting in all the things I fought relentlessly to keep out. And that hasn't changed. I was still fighting because it was just something I did. After all, fighting and resisting was the last liferaft I had. And without it, it felt too vulnerable and breakable to be human, too exposed to handle the remaining sanity that I clang to so hard. Maybe without the support and kindness I got from him, I would have given up a long time ago. But there was something about Charlie that brought light into my bruised structure. A structure so damaged that I thought it had no chance of mending. And yet. I shake my head slowly and rub my face again, moving up my hands and sliding my fingers through a haystack of tangled-up dark hair.
And yet he brought the light with him, something so bright and warm that it made me want to cling harder, clawing into reality with brutal force until my fingers would bleed.
I inhale and look at my hands, almost expecting traces of blood on them, as if in some bad played, Shakespearean tragedy*. Insanity and the mundane tasting nearly in the same flavor. Sighing, I shift against the wide windowsill, my thin form and stiff muscles protesting against the hard surface. It was a typical November afternoon, with all of its gloomy and questionable beauty, so there wasn't that much natural light in the small library on the lower condignation. It seemed not too many people reached it this far; most kids and adults preferring the more cheery and colorful rooms closer to the main floor. Not that it bothered me, to be honest, I enjoyed it. It brought traces of peace with it as everything around me seemed too loud lately; even the white noise seemed too much, the beeping machines too irritating, making it nearly impossible to stay in the humming packed spaces for too long. The hallways too crowded even when there were hardly any people around. I massage my temples with growing agitation, trying to ease the lingering headache. The lamps were too bright, the footsteps sounding like beating drums, and my head in an enormous risk of exploding if there was even one more call for the doctors or staff coming from the speakers in the ceilings.
So here I was, my imaginary audience, many floors below, struggling for some peace and refuge. The voices in my head, infecting not only my mind but the bloodstream as well - buzzing and vibrating through each unsteady breath or uncoordinated step with echoes of hungry, poisonous snakes that would always stay with me, never leaving my side. The hell is empty, and all the devils are here*. I whisper under my breath, letting out a low chuckle that could make anyone's skin crawl, and shake my head in amusement, realizing I was like a restless rat. Finding the darkest, most abandoned place possible, disappearing from earshot and any human eye. Still, there was something to it; the lower I hid in the building, the thicker the walls seemed to get, cutting me off from the unnecessary noise. Or at least muting the volume - I think and rest my head against the wall behind me.
How do you start when everything in you seems so polluted, so stained?
I silently question the empty room, imagining a space filled with strangers listening in and sitting on plastic folding chairs. I look to the center of the room and see women nodding slowly to my words, or fanning themselves with paper programs of the play constructed of the tragic comedy that was my life. Then my eyes drift to the sides, and I notice men with casually rolled up sleeves and relaxed poses. And the more serious ones in shiny glasses, the blue lights of the lamps reflecting in their eyes, white smoke as if from cigarettes swirling lazily around the space around us. I amuse myself for a moment with the view until more dark questions swirl in my mind, bringing me back to reality. How do I let Charlie in deeper into this hideous world I was a part of? Do I brave myself to open the door wider when until now, I was trying to close it shut? How do you open something that has too many bolts to count? I wasn't sure yet, but all I knew was that even if I failed at telling him everything, he at least deserved a warning. A loud and clear one. Louder than anything ever before.
My eyebrows furrow as an unexpected subtle thudding sound breaks me away from my thoughts. I look up with curiosity but don't see anything at first, my unfocused stare struggling with the deepening greyness of the room, noticing the streetlights behind me were already on, the orange glow reflecting off the glass and coloring my shoulders. I slid slowly from the windowsill, trying not to make much noise while my sense of coordination, unfortunately, contradicts those efforts. I curse low as my knee hits the side of a nearby table, a small stack of coloring books sliding to the floor. I ignore the little mess and move farther to the entry where the strong lights fill the hallway and look outside carefully, not catching anything out of the ordinary, my eyelids fluttering at the sudden fairy of lights that blinds me as I foolishly look up at the fluorescent lamps. I grunt and put a hand in front of my face, blocking the unnecessary cause of pain, blinking as the thudding noises seem to ring out somewhere, from inside the walls. It's probably just the pipes. My brain assists logically, but something about the sound makes my heart race, and I struggle to keep calm.
Silently, I shift down the empty hallway, gradually scanning each inch and corner as I pass it, trying to attach the sounds to a specific location; for a while, nothing else happens, and I start to question my sense of reality, but the noise rings out again. With slight hesitation, I put an ear to a nearby wall and listen as my brain analyzes what it's hearing, battling to find a name and meaning for each sound, the adrenaline pumping in my veins, heightening everything around me. Mmm, as if something metallic was being hit repeatedly but also if something was scratching, clawing, wanting to break through. I inhale and close my eyes, focusing on only this one matter alone, imaging the wires in my brain untangling and sliding into the proper sockets. The sounds seem to wrap around me, coming from every direction. But it is a false notion that the brain falls under at first. After a moment, it becomes clearer where it's actually coming from.
From hell, darling.
A little voice in my head whispers eagerly, but I ignore it. No, this time, the strange noises came from a different down below. From the basement - a louder and stronger assurance appears, and I nod. I have never been there before, but there is a first time for everything. I reach the end of the hallway and find the door to the side staircase, noticing the safety lock that, under any other circumstances, would block me away from entering. I reach it and blink a few times, as the usually illuminating control panel is now completely black. My heart speeds up as I hesitantly pull on the big handle of the door, swallowing as the only restriction I find is the extra mass on the reinforced door. I shift my weight to the back of my feet, steadying myself, and pull with more power, the door opening without much struggle. Every logical thought in me screams to back away and let someone know about this, but something else in me stirs, twitches, sliding like a snake under my skin, whispering invites to take a step forward. I feel reality shift and slip away from me further as the door closes behind me, the sound of my feet fading out as I head down the stairs - not realizing that it will be the last touchable moment I will remember for many hours to come.
What happens later brings darkness with it. Too much of it. Darkness so deep that I become only a shadow of my former self, the physical things around me fading, blurring until this body is only a well-constructed illusion. The last tangible hope to hold onto, being the pain that comes later. White hot wires of electricity spreading in each cell; and expanding until I forget myself completely, shredding me inside and out until the word human becomes only a surreal concept.
Only pain and rage that comes from fear. From the last need to survive until there is no more light to hold onto.
Death no longer a harsh prosecutor but a kind friend holding your hand.
There is nothing else.
Just a silhouette on the verge of my vision. And its cruel, wanting smile.
It has wanted me for a very long time. And finally, I gave myself away to it without even knowing.
It pulls me in. Deeper and deeper into a place where oxygen is a luxury and sanity just a song once heard in a different life.
A life too far away to ever be reached.
I find myself grasping onto life by holding razors and faded dreams, hoping to stay afloat for just a little bit longer, dreading the feeling that comes with drowning.
The demons were in slumber till this day, dear girl.
Just a grey meaningless distraction before the last arms can hold you in their embrace.
They are cold, and they are waiting for you.
*Reference to "Macbeth" one of William's Shakespeare novels, and the famous scene in which the character of Lady Macbeth's hands are covered in blood.
https://theprose.com/post/230936/with-all-my-senses ( the beginning )
Previous chapters :
To Honor What You Feel
If you do anything today, I hope you give yourself space to honor what you feel. Whatever it is that you feel.
Feel what you do even if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else. Even if someone says you’re not supposed to feel the way you do. Even if another person alive couldn’t relate to what you’re feeling. Feel it anyway.
Feel what you do even if it’s ugly and messy and rough around the edges. Even if it’s the worst of you. Even if you’re afraid to hear what the pain has to say. Even if you’d rather pretend you didn’t feel a damn thing and be numb. Feel it anyway.
Feel what you feel even if it’s silly. Even if it’s joy you have to celebrate alone. Even if it’s little and quirky and only for you. Feel it anyway.
I want you to lean into feeling even when it’s scary and doesn’t make sense to you. I want you to grab feeling by its hand and explore its inner workings together. I want you to ask questions. I want you to be okay without answers. I want you to wonder. I want you to think. I want you to be curious about the darkness. I want you to embrace the quiet. I want you to enjoy the lightness.
I want you to be absolutely enveloped by feeling because that is why you’re alive. That is why you are here. To feel everything you do and feel it deeply. Because to do otherwise is a betrayal to your heart, to your humanity, to yourself.
I hope you give yourself space to honor what you feel because you deserve to experience your own emotions. You owe it to yourself and your life to actually experience it fully. Besides, you can't ignore what is demanding to be heard forever.
- by Collective World, Thought Catalog
(wanted to share it, in hopes it will move others too)
Reading this really moved me, and made me think more about how I handle my feelings and especially my pain, and the things that make me too uncomfortable because they hurt to pick them up from the ground,
that you would rather bury them instead "because it's easier".
I think it's in our nature to divide our feelings in the "good" and the "bad" category... but in honesty, if we do that, we just end up in a bigger mess of feelings that we started with. I think its about stopping considering some feelings negative, therefor putting them aside because it's hard and "well, no one wants to feel THAT, so let's not" approach.
I have a big difficulty expressing the feelings that make me uncomfortable, and it takes a lot of my energy to let them out, because I always fight them. It's is something that became a habit of mine by now and it's difficult not to fall under that pressure
(yes, a pressure that I put on myself, so surviving would be easier, so it would be harder to get hurt again).
But it's never easy, because one day you come across someone that opens doors, that crushes your walls or at least crumbles your foundation, slowly brick by damaged brick. And the light feels intoxicating and brings a gust of fresh, unpolluted air, but it also brings the chill that comes with that wind. With the wind that makes the things that you hid so well, resurface.
The hurt, the pain, the sadness, the heartbreak that colored your past so many times. All the things that you neatly stacked in shelves and that you locked away in the basement. Leaving those things in the darkness, happily letting them cover with mold and dirt over time and each passing year. But now all of that is slowly being EXPOSED and it fills you up with dread because now, you actually have to TALK about it, you have discuss it, leaving your armor and your protection in a corner in that basement and adjust to the light that's coming in.
Whenever I am faced with letting out pain and hurt, whenever there are too many tears coming to make it possible to breathe properly, I crumble. And it's not a pretty picture, no it never is. It's that moment that I hate the most, the moment that makes me feel the worst possible thing in my dictionary... it makes me feel weak. And with the feeling of weakness, comes the sensation of being helpless, of being unprotected and opened to any possible wounds and damages that can come my way. Me, the exposed animal in a forest with no trees. Scared of being caught up with too many feelings to and not knowing if I can stay above the surface of the water, of the waves that always come out of nowhere and want to swallow me whole.
The thing is, those feelings scare me, because I let them scare me, I let them grow like a giant in a child's nightmare, blowing everything out of proportion. The feelings that I don't want to expose are real, and cause me so many things. But the truth is that I have to let that giant return to its natural size. I don't know how long that would take, fully aware that it will cause many tides of feelings that are considered the bad ones, the negative little monsters that we fear.
But the one thing I do know, that it will be worth it.
Living in fear, is not living. It's just making it through a day, again, and again, and again. But I want more than that, I want to face my demons, my fears, my pain.
It will be a long journey, and there will be many walls to break through, but I have stepped on this road already, and I want to continue it until the new light no longer blinds me, until the wind no longer chills me. Until the light brings me warmth.
a new way of seeing
buzzing / noun
a low, continuous humming or murmuring sound
a flurry of activity
Raven, you were sleepwalking.
She halts to a stop, her hand squeezing the carton tighter just before pouring its contents into the glass. It causes the orange juice to splash all over the counter and her long, loose white t-shirt, the cotton material, absorbing it with eagerness.
Shit, shit, shit... so damn clumsy.
She cusses more under her breath and then cleans everything with unusual speed and precision that contradicts her words strongly. Almost like a machine. Mel furrows her eyebrows at the sight, but she doesn't comment on it.
It happens to us all, Ray. It's fine.
She rests her arms and elbows on the counter, leaning in heavy on them for a moment, lost in thought, her head sloped forward, a bunch of messy black hair covering her face in the shadows. Then she jumps up abruptly, a sudden realization hitting her.
Crap. Mel, I'm so sorry.
I said it was fine.
No, not the stupid juice. I completely messed up Ben's shirt.
She starts to lift it carefully, face crinkling at the damp, clingy material, and then she wriggles a bit in an attempt to pull it over her head without getting extra filthy and even more sticky all over. In the process of it all, revealing stripy white and blue boxers, the soft skin of her stomach and back already exposed. Mel just shakes her head, a bit irritated, and puts a hand quickly over the girl's arm.
No, that can wait. I want to talk to you first. Besides, Ben has tons of those in the closet; he won't even notice. Ever since he saw that Top Gun movie as a teenager, he makes it his sole mission to always have some white tees in stock. Let's face it, that obsession got him into being a pilot in the first place.
She feels a lazy and affectionate smile creep onto her face.
No matter how much he will try to convince anybody that asks him about it that destiny brought him there and that being a pilot had been his dream ever since he was a kid, a passion shared with his grandfather. But that is only a part of it, and I know the full non-edited version.
She says, watching Ray turn towards her with a small smile, her body language becoming more comfortable. She touches the side of her nose as if it's a shared secret between them and winks at her before turning away towards the kitchen cabinets.
Well, let him have it. He deserves it after having to deal with you on regular basis.
Somehow, she senses the shift in the air and ducks her head down long before the dishcloth can even reach the back of her head, grinning pleased, while her friend's eyes become a bit wider.
Keep trying, Mel. Remember, you're getting old. You need all the practice you can get.
Nearing 32 is toddler age. And I got stuck with a 22-year-old infant to watch over.
Mel points a finger accusingly at the girl and hopes there isn't a slight shake to her voice. Then she picks up the dishcloth from the counter and moves it between her fingers with some tension.
Ray, you really were sleepwalking last night.
The girl's face freezes, her eyes blinking with speed as if she was trying to unhear the words, turning the time back simply with the power of her mind.
Mel, I slept the whole night through in bed. I woke up so rested, more than I have been in weeks. You have no idea how good and strong I feel.
Oh, I think I have a clue or two.
They stand there for a moment in silence until the girl tries again.
It's been an amazing Sunday, I don't know what it was about it, but I finally feel relaxed. Not stressed, not overthinking in any way, not... scared.
Mel nods a few times, taking in her tones and energy as if tasting each flavor before speaking again. Ray puts one hand on her hip while the other one flies in every direction, gesticulating as new words fall out of her mouth like bullets out of a machine gun.
It must have been that nap in the garden that I had. A few hours in the sun and shade, in nature, and boom! I feel much better. New day, new me; everything in brighter colors and with a nice tan to match. After that, the whole day was a breeze. You were right all along, Mel. Meditation really does wonders. I mean, I was against it at first, sure. You know what they say. Only the rich and jobless choose spandex and lycra for everyday clothes. But it works. I feel totally brand new. What...?
Ray catches some air to breathe and then looks confused at her best friend and the serious stare that she shrinks under, suddenly crossing her arms as if protecting herself from all possible harm that could come her way. Screwing up the shaky foundation she had managed to build so far. The temporary confidence evaporating in seconds. Her fingers clinging and clawing the material of the shirt. The yellow stain below already drying up and filling the open kitchen with that particular and intense overpowering smell of oranges. A unique blend of a scent both appealing and somehow suffocating.
Honey. There was no whole day for you.
What do you mean? Of course, there was. I remember it all.
Alright. Then tell me, what happened after you woke up from the nap?
It's almost comical how the girls' face changes, bends, and twists in all sorts of direction. Yet, there is nothing funny about the situation itself.
Mel, I-I did so many things yesterday, I even...
She cuts off, uncertain what to say next.
Did you do them? Or did you dream of them in your sleep? It seems warm, doesn't it? The memories? Much brighter and softer than in real life?
I, no... I mean, yes. Shit, Mel, I don't know!
She wines like a wounded animal and puts her hands to the side of her head, closing her eyes shut as if blocking out everything around her. Mel comes closer and gently takes the hands from her head and puts them in hers, kissing them softly, knowing that it would calm her down. The girl slowly opens her eyes and gazes at her as if she was the only one that could save her from her own thoughts. Almost as if her friend could even stop the earth from cracking in two if she pleased.
It's okay, trust me. You just slept longer than you thought. You actually slept through the whole day and staggered back into the house after 2 a.m., causing a few things to fall to the ground with a lot of racket.
The girl tenses, but she smiles at her with tenderness.
No, don't over-panic. Nothing broke, mostly just some clutter here and there, I promise. But it woke me up, and I came down, just in time to see you walk past me; eyes opened, but not really seeing me. Sleepwalking happens. It's less uncommon than you think.
Ray looks doubtful, so she gives her a reassuring look.
She squeezes the girl's hand and walks her over to the sofa, pulling her down gently. Ray follows her without protest but with worry still visible on her face. Her aura, as if a distinct flavor or sound, vibrating, shifting, and buzzing like an aggravated, hyperactive swarm of bees. There was a layer of aggressiveness to it, not the obvious kind but the one that came from fear and confusion. Sting. So no one can sting you.
Yesterday, you let out your energy into the earth, releasing all the tension and fears into the soil beneath you. I watched you through the window upstairs while it happened. I know. It sounds crazy, but I think you know by now that crazy can become your daily reality sometimes. Don't you?
She nods slowly and sighs.
I don't remember it, though. All I know is that I was trying to meditate and let everything go, just like you taught me, and then... nothing. Absolutely nothing, just freaking empty space.
She squeezes the girl's hand again, trying to pour some peace into her body, a whitelighter's most basic, natural gift. That, and healing when necessary. Though, there were never two whitelighters quite the same. The powers slightly altered for each soul blessed with such skills.
And you did as you were told. I feel partially it was by accident, but I'm still very proud of you. I know you aren't a fan of getting into the details of the supernatural and that it scares you. But sometimes we have to talk about it. It's for your safety, and I do not want anything bad happening to you just because you were unaware of how to protect yourself from the gifts you were offered.
They don't feel like gifts to me.
She scrunches her face painfully and pulls out her hands, sticking them tightly under her armpits. There is some sternness about it, and Mel shifts her head to the side, trying to read her. To read the stuff she kept to herself, all the things lingering in between.
Yes, I can see why you would think that. I realize that now it just feels like a burden that was put on you, too heavy to ever carry. But trust me, I know you can do it if you just put enough care and attention into it. I will provide the knowledge and the exercise that are needed for you to accomplish that goal. But you're the one that has to make it happen. Do you hear me?
She can feel the sternness shift and curse in her own bloodstream now. The white, pristine light in her fingertips wanting to escape and fill the entire room. She wants it too, but she fears scaring the girl when they were finally making some progress, and she doesn't want that to change too soon.
Do you hear me?
She asks again, and Ray nods slowly but with gentle shades of confidence this time.
Yes, I do. Loud and clear. But Mel, why didn't you wake me up when I fell asleep in the garden? Why did you let me stay there so late in the night?
She inhales deeper and looks at the girl.
You needed it. The earth needed the time to take in your energy, and there was a lot of it.
Ray's eyes become wider again, but she ignores it. There were plenty of things that would surprise her and put her into a state of shock on this journey. She wasn't going to sugarcoat every little detail because that would get them nowhere.
The energy needed time to sink into the soil and then return it back to you. More filtered, more clear. Less stained by your fears and the things that were blocking you. To make you stronger and not just chaotic, trying to bring the basic level of control to something that has no walls, no edges, or limits. It's tough. But not impossible.
She inhales deeper before letting the inevitable out.
The chaos consumes, Ray. You need to balance it out. Otherwise, it will devour you, and not in the way that you crave for.
Mel, I don't...
No, I know about that energy that you felt in the bar. I know how addictive and alluring it was. And I understand that, but it must not overtake you. If you want to feel it again, you must know how to swim in it.
They sit there in heavy silence for a moment as the girl tries to take it all in, or at least portions of it.
To swim and not to drown in the waves and high tides, you must find harmony in yourself. It's the only way to obtain it, in the right way that will not destroy you.
How do you... how do you even know all those things? No, wait. Actually, don't tell me. I don't need to know that right now.
She moves her hands rapidly in the air like she wants to push the unwanted knowledge away as far as possible.
Mmm, sometimes there aren't that many words needed, Ray. I just know. Some of it I have learned from the ones that know far more than I ever could. And the rest...
She gazes at the girl with more softness.
And the rest I just feel, I feel it deep down inside of me. Right to the deepest, most tangled, and twisted-up roots of my soul.
She takes Ray's hand again and then puts it over her chest, holding it there over the heart, beating steadily under her fingertips, blending with how the energy stirs between her heartbeats.
I feel it all in here and just know somehow. Not everything I can explain. But it is a part of my heritage, and I am proud of it, even if it wasn't always like that.
The girl looks down at her fingers resting on her friend's chest, right in the center of her ribs, and inhales sharply. Mel looks down at her hand and smiles with more tenderness as the clear, soft light leaves her fingertips slowly, cascading down and tracing patterns over the girl's skin so gently that it speaks of affection that has no borders. No limits. Unconditional love in its kindest form. The girl's breathing races, and her chest rises and falls with growing speed.
It's okay. Let it grow inside of you. Just like you let it fill you yesterday in the garden. I promise you; it's alright. I think you know by now that there isn't a single particle in my body that could hurt you. Am I wrong? Tell me I'm wrong.
She whispers gently, and Raven's blue eyes gradually fill with peace and a certain kind of stillness. An assurance.
No, you're not. It's just a little bit...
Yes, it is. But do you think you can find the courage in yourself, to not only feel it but accept it as well?
Ray stares for a minute into the warm chocolate-brown eyes of her friend, whom she treats like family. More than her own blood-tied family could ever be, then gazes down at her hand and the light that dances against her skin, tickling it a bit as it sways and flows without rest or fatigue. And then she nods, her eyes tracing the white fog that seems to shimmer in the bright light of the morning that falls into the windows located behind the sofa. And then, without warning, she smiles and feels something in her melt like snow as the sun breaks through its cold layers. Gently, slowly, with kindness and warmth.
Mmm, that... it tickles. That's wild.
She says with surprise as Mel smiles at her but doesn't respond in any way. The white light starts to move against Ray's skin in a playful way, as if encouraging her to take some action of her own. The girl gazes at the energy with wonder as something seems to fill her up and move through her body. She shifts her eyes closer to her elbow and watches as a faded, very soft light moves under her skin. If she wasn't focused on the strange feeling and the skin where it was heating up, she probably wouldn't even notice it at first. But she feels it, oh how she FEELS it. She closes her eyes for a moment as it expands under the muscles and moves forward, slowly all the way to the knuckles, and then opens her eyes again. Her stare is mesmerized and slightly frightened as an orange light escapes her fingertips, first shyly as if learning the outside world. And then with more confidence as it moves onward and finally meets the other captivating light. The picture in front of her is more than hypnotic. It's enchanting and pulls her in with a magnetic force.
She leans forward and gazes at both her and Melanie's hands as the golden orange light mixes with the delicate white one, forming into small orbs and dancing against each other as if getting to know each other, shimmering and sparkling, creating tiny explosions. Shifting forward and backward, circling each other and then causing gentle hissing sounds. Like fireworks meeting and bursting into million beams of light. Feather-light earthquakes on the surface of the smallest of Suns. She breathes fast and shakes her head in wonder. The strangest game of push and pull she has ever witnessed. It was really hard to break away. And how would she? How could you break away from a miracle? From live magic?
What in the...?
They are just getting acquainted. It's amazing, isn't it? Like little children that know nothing about the world. And yet, they seem to know each other. As if two souls finding themselves in the limitless vastness of the universe. By chance, it seems, and yet, inexplicably familiar.
Ray blinks, and Mel clears her throat, slightly embarrassed.
Sorry, I got a bit extra there. But it's beautiful, isn't it?
Yes, it sure damn is. Fuck.
She whispers out, and bites her lower lip, still mesmerized by the little scene.
Don't stay in that moment for too long, or you will stay there forever.
She looks up at her and blushes.
So, how do I...
Just welcome the energy back in, and it will know what to do. Mmm, simply visualize inviting it into your body, see how it moves and flows back into your bloodstream. Let it return to its home.
Ray looks a bit doubtful and overwhelmed by the entire situation but manages to nod in response. She closes her eyes and repeats her friend's instructions in her mind, slowly, over and over again. Imagining the energy slowing down its dance, shifting and bending, first unwillingly and stubbornly, but then gradually tracing its light back into her fingertips, her hands, up the elbows and her shoulders, gliding until it moves to her chest, flowing between the ribs and filling each and every heartbeat that she possessed. Slowing down even more and resting in her cells, the deepest structure. Her muscles and bones now seeming to be made out of rubber or silicon. It felt more than freaking surreal, to say the least.
The most abstract feeling in the world, right?
Ray opens her eyes and nods, a bit shaken by the whole scene.
Yes, yes... very. Jeezes, Mel. And it's like that every time?
Usually, yes. Though it can even be more powerful than that.
She cusses and shakes her head, leaning her back against the sofa, looking exhausted as if she had just done a triathlon of some kind. Mel nods and smiles.
Trust me, despite the craziness of it all, it's so very worth it. Through a lot of hard work. And speaking off. It's getting late. Take a few deep breaths and hit the shower. I'm leaving now. So, close up later and meet me at the cafe, alright?
Yeah... yeah, of course.
She mutters, a bit distracted.
Yes, feels like a lot of unnecessary mundane to do, but that's life for you. We still need to pay the bills.
The girl groans in disbelief as the meaning of the words finally breaks through but nods after a moment and sits up.
Just give me five.
Mel leaves quickly and closes the door behind her without looking back. Then leans against the door and exhales loudly. Well, that went better than she thought. Her house was still standing, and so were the mailbox and the cherry trees. She would say that they could call it a success. She walks down the pathway and into her car, sitting down and trying to let peace spread inside of her gradually. She wasn't sure how it would all go, to be honest. The first time you deliberately let out your energy, and not just by accident, can be a challenging thing to experience. It was like that for her when she first did it. Her family was a loud witness to it. But with Raven and her level of powers... well, let's just say this morning could have ended in so many other ways that could have been dangerous for both of them. For Mel especially. But she was glad they took that chance. Without it, they could not move forward with what needed to be done. Raven needed balance, and this was the only way to obtain it. Practice as much as possible until the power in her would only expand inside her. And not implode outside. Mel breathes out a bit shakily but then gradually calms herself down. It will be okay. It has to be.
chapter 17. https://theprose.com/post/432229/the-arithmetics-of-mass-and-spirit
chapter 18. https://theprose.com/post/433321/the-things-stitched-beneath-our-skin
The book: https://theprose.com/book/1661/worlds-colliding
things untold but felt
every now and then, one paints a picture
that seems to have opened a door and serves
as a stepping stone to other things
― Pablo Picasso
Was it something he did? Something he said?
No, not really, just... I don't know there was something about him that stopped me in place. His face, I couldn't force myself from looking away, as if seeing a man that found peace, but at the same time...
I ask her with my heart slightly racing. I can't even explain the craziness that's going on in my body, or any logical reason for it. All I know is that I need the answer to it. Strange thing, one might say. The need to know details about someone you haven't even met. About their face expression, about their gestures. Anything. I look at her again with the question still vibrating from my body like some odd form of expanding energy. I can see that she struggles for words, her hands helplessly outstretched forward, palms up.
Mmm, it was as if he was collapsing from the inside.
What do you mean?
I ask slowly, feeling my brain not being able to process the sentence or not wanting to. My arms crossing tightly over the chest as soon as I see my hands begin to tremble. I watch as she sighs and shakes her head, almost as if she had the entire chaos of the cosmos inside of her and didn't want to let it out into the world. My eyes turn soft and encouraging, and she smiles a bit at me, nodding.
It was such a peculiar thing to watch. His eyes were closed, face lifted to the slightly dim light filtering through the clouds. And the light... god, it seemed to be swallowing him up, a soft embrace that he could sink into completely. Getting lost forever and never coming back up for air. I saw peace radiating from him, but also sadness that seemed to flicker from under his eyelashes, as if all the shadows of the world were hiding there.
I whisper out, trying to say something, but she puts a hand up, gently silencing me.
Peace was surrounding him, as everything in inside of him was collapsing.
I don't... understand.
My voice is muffled and low as I make a great attempt to sink into my soft hoody deeper, the wind around me humming the first tones of Autumn all too clearly.
He was rebuilding, Sophie. It's the best way, or any way that I can describe it. As if watching things underneath his skin, muscles, lungs crush and tumble like rubble, turning into dust like... he was finally giving in all the pain that wanted to suffocate him, giving into it willingly until everything inside just... collapsed.
She inhales deeper, enjoying the feel of words finally finding their way on her tongue, rolling off it in a graceful, nearly hypnotizing dance.
Like he was breaking all of his structure and the person that he once was into something new. Devastation, pain, dust. Crumbing away until there was light breaking through in between his shattered walls. And I saw it, like watching him inhale the light, the first sunlight in many decades.
I blink at her several times, not finding anything to say. She smiles at me and then stares at her hands for a while, looking a bit embarrassed and awkward for putting herself out there like that.
I told you it was a lot.
You did, and I knew it would be. Could pretty much feel it from you, like you were oozing
She makes a face and sits on the bench behind us. I join her and slip my hands inside the front pockets of my blouse. It feels nice and warm, but I still tremble a bit as I sit next to her.
Sometimes I forget how you are.
She looks up and gazes at me with her eyebrows furrowed.
Not in a bad way, more like sometimes I forget about the magnificence that sits inside of you. How you paint words instead of just saying them. That's a little miracle in itself.
She looks down at the ground with a shy but warm smile, and we just sit there in comfortable silence for some time. While all the while I wonder how to tell her, how to even start to explain that everything she said about him, every thing she described sounded familiar. That every feeling she read from his face and painted so masterfully seemed to struck a personal cord in me. As if I lived through all of that, as if I experienced it first hand. Or experienced it with him in some other lifetime, a perfect stranger described with someone else's eyes.