of monsters and living things
I mean, I have the feeling that something in my mind
is poisoning everything else
She stirs on the couch, tossing a bit against the worn-out honey brown leather, something in her body strained despite how exhausted she was. Invisible strings pulling on the muscles and the weary mind. She moans out quietly knowing that something bad was approaching, sinking deeper into the soft cushions as the hectic noises from the bar and restaurant slip under the closed door, strangely enough providing her some comfort. The familiarity of the too well-known racket, soothing parts of her gently. The steady flow of loud conversations, glass clinking against each other, and all sorts of wooden surfaces. The laughter and happy cheers, blending somehow smoothly with frustrated shouts and complaints. All of that giving her a temporary grounding, an anchor to something almost stable. But it’s not enough to stop what’s coming her way, images starting to shift and move around her brain, voices like shadows whispering into her ears. She flinches in a half-sleep state and feels something tightening in the chest, pressuring it and making it seem as if her ribs might crack and break at any moment.
Why aren’t you coming?
You know it’s time.
You already drank your last shot. Everything else is gone.
Voices whisper softly, their sweet sticky words clinging to her bones, to the skin, to her bearly breathing hopes.
Why won’t you come?
Why won’t you... stay?
Did your love die in vain, little girl?
Her lungs move faster, chest rising and falling rapidly as a hazy fog unexpectedly covers her eyes, haunting and possessing her with a million tiny images of the past, bending and shifting until they become one - a person, made from flesh and blood of someone that would never come back. Dan. She sees him half standing in the shadows, his back and a part of the face lost in the darkness, while his hand moves forward as if backing her to come. Pleading both with intensity and softness that almost breaks her heart all over again. No, too much. Please. She begs the ghost as her form tries to fight the longing, her body in slumber shifting to his gravity as she finds herself standing in the same dark alley as him, feeling the cold pavement under her feet, stale and musty air lazily gliding against her skin. She looks around confused but doesn’t see anything further away, just blackness.
As if the only light left in hell was beating around them, like a faint pulse of something that would die anyway but somehow still lingered. Remains of life, that was long gone. She looks back at him and mouths - I can’t... I just can’t. He makes a step forward and his eyes spark with soft, tender amber lights, drawing her in as her chest starts to feel more pressure, threatening to explode if she moves even by an inch. She shakes her head, struggling as her throat tightens, tears starting to stream down the face and landing silently on the ground. Baby... I can’t. I’m so sorry. His stare turns confused and pained, his hand reaching out for just one more moment, before falling down numbly as if someone had just cut off the strings with a razor. A lifeless puppet returning to its inanimate form. Her body slumps even more while something unnamed in her cracks, and she knows instinctively that it will never return into its place. Never.
You could have joined him.
Did you not love him? Did you not care?
A different voice asks curiously, its tones meaning to be soft but cruelty slips out of it like disease, crawling eagerly down the pavement and sticking to her fevered skin, slithering its way up the body and filling her mouth and nostrils. Sticky, sticky, tar-black smoke. Choking her with fierce pleasure, gradually devouring her soul. Aimlessly she tries to catch her breath as her body makes one last effort before it gives up completely. I just need to... She lifts her eyes and watches with pure horror as a hand moves from behind the man that she loved the most in this world, and wraps itself around his shoulder and chest, clawing at him and pulling the limp body back slowly into the shadows. She’s unable to stop watching the scene with a terrified stare as the form behind him stirs and shift into a shadow of a man, his smile hollow and just as lifeless as that of the poppet in his arms. Jeremiah. She whispers but nothing comes out, just lips moving, the thick smoke in her lungs expanding, and turning into a rough metallic wire, tensing, smothering, and snapping her spine piece by small piece. So hungry for a life that it can’t obtain on its own. Just a leech, a murderer.
Clasp, lock, snap.
Worthless life, worthless death.
Clasp, lock, snap.
It comes and goes in waves.
She screams and screeches from the indescribable pain like an animal being torn to shreds as the vicious whispers in her mind finally die out. Head shifting to the side with so much force from the shock that her neck snaps swiftly, the crunching sound of her bones, the last thing that fills the space around her as she falls to the ground, letting the dirt soak in her blood. The remains of the person she once was. Just one more puppet on their list, gone.
A hand touches and nudges her a bit, making her jump and cry out so loudly that it pulsates through her eardrums, while she hits and punches in panic everything she can reach and touch, defending herself from every new possible monster that wanted her dead. The survival instinct stronger than the shards of ice filling her veins.
Hey, hey, hey... come one! No reason to be brutal. What the hell?
She hyperventilates as her stare slowly grows into focus, seeing Carl’s shocked face as he rubs out his arm, making some hissing sounds as the pain shoots through his muscles and bones.
Shit, Eleonore. What the fuck?? You said to wake you up.
He says the last words through his clenched teeth and then exhales slowly, attempting to calm down.
Geez, woman. I just woke you up, that’s all.
She makes an effort to create at least a fragment of a normal sentence while she finds her voice, the throat still tightened. She clears it again and tries not to choke up in the process, for a moment covering her mouth, her face turning a deep crimson color. Eventually, she manages to breathe a bit better and extends her other hand as if stopping any potential help that could come from him. She didn’t want to feel even weaker than she already did. Enough was enough.
I’m sorry, Carl.
She utters quietly while her chest falls and raises at an unnatural speed.
I’m really sorry.
He sees her still frightened stare and shifts, attempting to understand what just happened, and then exhales slowly. It’s as if she was apologizing for every bad thing that she ever caused. As if it wasn’t really him that she was apologizing to. He blinks rapidly a few times before speaking.
No, that’s okay. You probably left some bruises but I can always say my newest girl is a wild one. Yeah, this can work to my advantage.
He grins nonchalantly and she relaxes a bit, shifting the facial muscles in an effort to do the same. She grimaces at first from the memory of the still lingering nightmare that she just went through but eventually manages to lift the corners of her mouth in a more natural way.
This will teach you, to never walk up on a sleeping woman.
She says almost lightly this time and he nods thoughtfully.
Oh trust me, lesson learned. Your shifts start in ten, maybe get yourself something for the nerves? Let your bar be your kingdom.
She watches as his eyebrow lifts and then he winks at her, his stare becoming more boyish.
Ask me in a couple of hours, and who knows, by then I might just say yes. But for now, I’ve got work to do, and that will have to suffice me for the time being.
She puts a hand on his shoulder and squeezes it as she passes him; a silent thank you for his tolerance towards her brief insanity spectacle. She walks out briskly out of the little room, with still strained nerves, leaving the nightmares behind the door, and entering the kitchen soon after, making sure her mind is being occupied as much as possible. Knowing the perfect cure for her state didn’t reside in the bottom of a whiskey bottle but in his presence. But she was a big girl and knew she couldn’t call him for rescue every time the monsters from under the bed reached the hollow cavity in her chest, and her tired mind.
No, that would have to wait, as she wasn’t the only one in the need of rest. Charlie deserved a break too. Maybe. She hesitates for a moment as she swiftly mops the floor in the kitchen, her muscles eager to move and burn the problems away. Maybe she should let him take a breather from her? Could she handle a whole day or more without his medicine at this stage? She purses her lips annoyed and empties the trash cans, heading outside. She steps out into the cold air and lets it cool her fevered thoughts as she dumps the unappetizing remains of the day into a nearby container, crunching her face. Lovely, just lovely. She inhales deeper as the chilly wind fills her lungs and blows her hair in every direction, the skin on her arms catching goosebumps. Definitely not, t-shirt weather - she mumbles and goes back in, but then shifts her head back for a moment, looking at the narrow alley and just the one streetlamp that allowed some light to slip in. Maybe a small break will do us both good - she thinks silently. She didn’t want him to realize too soon how big of a mistake she was. It was a surprise he stayed as long as he did. Why push her luck, right? She needed all the delays she could get with him.
On the other side of town.
The streetlamps by the docks reflect themselves in the hectic waters caused by the approaching storm, giving the scenery outside the tall square window an attractive vibe. As if watching a captivating masterpiece, the dark inky background brightened by the orange and blue lights playing across the surface of the water, bringing the thought of fairy lights in Winter. Well, soon the snow will fall anyway, covering the dirt of the world with the pretense of innocence and purity. Beautiful but only masking the filth of humankind. He unclenches his hands against the sides of an irreplaceable, by now one of a kind armchair, and massages his strained fingers, then looks to the other side, smirking at the view of the man behind a desk. His eyes closed and elbows resting on the antique wooden surface as his fingertips press into each other in concentration, their shape reminding him of a perfect Piramide and the fools praying to false gods. And nothing much has changed since then, the lowlifes of this word just as foolish as always - he thinks and smiles to himself, watching the man stretch out his neck, moving it to the sides and murmuring words low under his breath. Without needing to open his eyes to gaze at the new company in the room, he speaks quietly.
What is it, Alister?
Nothing brother. Just observing and wondering if the meditation session is over? Should I say “namaste” now?
Jeremiah’s eyes snap open rapidly only to watch the other man smirk mockingly at him. He frowns.
I have kept myself busy and actually doing something worthwhile, not like some that I know.
You call that child’s play something worthwhile, brother? More like a waste of precious time.
You speak of that with such ego, even as you know that it has not failed before.
But it’s too subtle, we could have been done with it by now.
The other man's tone suddenly turns dangerously low.
That's not how it works, and I presumed you would be aware of it after all these years.
This causes the younger sibling to take an almost unnoticeable shift in his seat, the gleeful stare in his face slightly cracking like dry cement.
Well, dear brother, our usual ways don’t seem to work as well as before. Time to upgrade.
Perhaps. And just so you know, I am aware of your little doings. Don’t think I don’t know about an “assistant” of yours, that you send her way with a not too subtle threat.
The other man sighs with irritation.
Just something to encourage her.
You know that she has to come to us on her own.
Oh, and is that why you alter her slumber and dreams? What I do is no so different from what you do.
Those two methods are not the same. To play with the mind is art. To damage the body, now that is plain laziness. Over the years, you have come too accustomed to everything just being as you please. Where’s the challenge there, brother?
The other man shrugs, not really displaying any care in the subject.
As long as it gets done, it does not matter much. Don’t you think?
He stands up from the armchair and nods at his brother.
I will give her a few days.
He says with a slight warning grazing the air, moving and sliding like a snake at his feet.
But if after that time she does not show I will make sure to check what’s taking her so long, and what help she is unquestionably receiving.
His smile turns darker.
Even cockroaches can’t survive forever, brother. Always remember that.
He gives his sibling a long stare, gazing at him in silence. As much as they both protested against the methods used by the opposite fraction, neither of them did anything to stop the other. It was their choice how to play the game and see which one would succeed this time around. A game they were both playing as long as they could recall. Something they were made and designed for. An existence they, themselves could not turn away from even if they wanted to, obliged by a contract no one could ever question or break. Well, then it was probably a good thing they loved their line of work so much. Very well indeed. After a while, Jeramiah rewards him with a smile as well. Yes, it was very important to enjoy your line of work, especially when there was no expiration date on it.
https://theprose.com/post/230936/with-all-my-senses ( the beginning )
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