Frederico Bebber via My Modern Met
a ghost trapped, a light
just flickering between two worlds
~~ Anti-hero by Steve Shultz
The world spun exponentially faster than my vision with each inhale. There was a thrum, a beat, a vibration that rose from the ground up through my body colliding with my heartbeat. I couldn’t identify its origin or intent and felt the need to run but was unable, my legs rubbery, my vision blurred. Despite my inner animal recommending flight I remained prone on the velvet chaise lounge beneath me.
“Nothing to worry about, relax.” A voice whispered in my ear, sounding distant at the same time. I glanced around trying to determine where I was, to whom the voice belonged, but my vision only registered colors sweeping around me. Soft glowing lights flickering, like candles, all around with soft gauzy curtains enshrining where I lay. I inhaled deeply.
The vibration became stronger causing my foggy brain to wonder why my body remained prone. The sound of burbling water underpinned my inhalations, pausing when I held my breath; my small attempt at ignoring the vibrations around me. The air crackled but my vision softened further, my muscles now limp, my thoughts swimming in padded smoke. I let the vibrations, the voices, the soft candle light ebb from my consciousness as the smoke seeped further into my cranial existence. I thought, nothing matters, let the world explode, let the vibrations resonate in time with my heartbeat, until all my memories are erased and I’m nothing more than revenant.
Stranger’s shadows moved beyond the curtains while the vibrations resonated stronger within my chest. I closed my eyes, smiling, with the feeling of my body vibrating with an unfamiliar rhythm as my veins filled with another hit. Any molecule of fear I entered with was now lost among the smoke and candle light. All my memories, my sense of self, became nothing more than a corpse and in that haze his wolf blue eyes pierced my mind.
The curtains parted softly as if moved by a breeze and the vibration I felt narrowed to match his movements. My eyes, half-lidded, watched him move towards me, liquid in its fluidity, until he stood next to me. I heard him speak but never saw his lips move. “Now darlin’, I have taken your pain. Relax. I will replace with pleasure.” I smile.
“Close your eyes. Feel,” I felt his voice wash over me and my back arched involuntarily. All my synapses responded to his words, his thoughts, his presence and I wanted to fold into his liquidity.
I wasn’t sure he was real, was next to me, or if he was just a product of my hallucinations but his breath over my breasts felt so intense, so warm, I fell further into these hallucinatory pleasures he created within me. My eye fluttered opened briefly; long enough to watch each candle flame flicker before snuffing out one by one. The smoke filled the room entirely, swallowing my flesh with its gentle embrace, and beyond the shroud of gauzy curtains all movement ceased. He sat next to me and my body responded with an explosion of bliss.
I see him back lit, smoke hanging in the air behind him, and a momentary flash as he lights his cigarette. I hear the grinding of the wheel, the flick as the fuel ignites, and see the blue of his eyes in the momentary spark. I hear the paper catch fire and his breath inhale its smoke. He reaches down to touch my skin, now hyper sensitive to his vibration, and his lips smile as his teeth gently grasp his cigarette. “It has been too long. You have waited too long to see me, to end your pain.”
I close my eyes in response to his touch. I have waited too long and think, yes, please, remove my pain.
Suddenly my heartbeat is in time with his vibrations, his inhalations and the gentle touch of his lips on my flesh. I feel the world tilt and slow; my mind grasps for understanding. But my heart relaxes into this new rhythm, my body falls in time with his thoughts, and the smoke drifts slowly upwards. The burbling water sound stretches in a strange extension of the darkness; sound without sound, light without light. I feel my body ignite. He leans forward until his breath brushes my ear. His voice drops, resonating deeply into my haze, “Darlin’, you are mine.”
I feel like a butterfly in his hand and I can not avoid his blue eyes penetrating mine. I feel my body burn, break apart, drift upwards with the rest of the smoke. A scream escapes from somewhere. I hear it, broken and horrific, both from within and without and as the sound gets louder with each breath; I begin to realize it is mine. I feel the scream rip apart my skin, the smoke rushing in to fill the wounds, and his smile soft and dark. His eyes dilate further with each decibel my scream rises. “Shhh, do not struggle. The smoke, let the smoke fill you. You will explode and become revenant.”
I cried and my body shuddered. My mind held on to his voice like a golden flame flickering between two worlds. The smoke filled me completely, draining from the room, erasing all light even that which back lit his form. He smiled lighting another cigarette. The vibrations stopped. The moment before my flesh dissipated into smoke I saw his blue eyes flash and heard him say, “Remember me.”
I knew all light was gone but so was all pain. I knew, even with the erasure of my existence, I would return forever, to any world, to him. To let him remove my pain; burn me up into smoke.