Flash Writing Challenge: Why I Write

Chuck Wendig has a flash fiction writing challenge — well, prompt more than challenge — on why you write.  First, not really a challenge like running across hot coals, but a prompt in my opinion.  Second, not flash fiction since this is an essay based in truth.  However, has to be within 1,000 word limit.  SO, suppose it is more like a flash essay prompt.

Whatever, lets not waste precious words on frippery quibbling about the challenge.  He wrote:

I’m asking for a 1000 word essay (meaning, blog post).  And I want it on this subject: WHY I WRITE.

Writing saved my life.  Simplistic (clichéd), but there you have it.

I started as a young child, elementary school, as a way to assuage my loneliness.  I distinctly remember sitting in the school library while the librarian read to our class.  I don’t remember the story but I clearly see the short, blonde wood shelves stuffed with various books and seeing a tissue box wrapped in green construction paper labeled poem entries written in black marker.  I was bored by the story, I read it before (I was an advanced reader, having learned reading and writing before entering school), so I focused on other things to entertain me.  I asked the teacher what it meant and she explained that the school paper ran a weekly contest where students could submit poems.  The winning poem appeared in the school’s paper.

I remember stuffing that little box with multiple sheets of folded paper.  It never occurred to me to write my name on any of them.  I just wanted to send my words out for someone else to see.  It also never occurred to me that it was all older students, thankfully, or I may have been too intimidated to stuff that green paper box.  When my poem appeared in the paper no one believed I wrote it.

I’ve never been as brave, or naïve, since.

I started writing poems in elementary school, then branched out to stories, but story telling started long before I learned to write.  Among my friends, I was the script writer for all our play sessions, whether it was a simple game of playing house or more complex plays involving puppets and stuffed animals.  When my best friend moved away, shortly before I entered school, writing  became my solace.  My family life was dysfunctional, with a capital D (as they say), and I spent many hours by myself.  Writing became a way to escape.

When I hit puberty I gained a new friend — depression.  As a teen I remained mostly a loner with writing my outlet for the depression/loneliness that plagued my life.  I attempted suicide at fifteen and as I lay down, waiting for the pills to take their effect, a story formed in my mind.  While writing the story, I decided the timing for my suicide was wrong since I needed to finish the piece.  So, I went downstairs and told my mother.  She took me to the hospital, they pumped my stomach, and I spent a few days in the psychiatric ward.  When the time came for evaluation, to decide if I was ready for release, they asked what prompted me to reach out for help instead of letting the pills kill me.  I told them I hadn’t finished writing my story.

I still don’t know if they understood I meant the one I was writing at that moment, not my life story, but they released me.

Once I graduated high school and started working, writing took a back seat.  Since depression still shadowed my life, I wrote short pieces, mostly poems, as a release like I’d always done.  Imagine the old water heaters, where you had to bleed them once in a while, release the steam, to keep them functioning properly.  That has always been writing for me — a way to release the steam to function (somewhat) properly in a world that I’ve always been out of step with.

I finally went to college in my mid-thirties and continued on to graduate school.  My undergraduate degree is English Literature, my Masters in Library Science, and the best part was all the writing.  While other students complained about all the papers they had to write I reveled in each paper.  Every day, a new paper to write, and I was happier than any other time in my life.

My father died my first semester of graduate school, my mother died two years ago, and writing helped me grieve.  It also helped me discover who I truly am.  I’ve always struggled with self-esteem, self-confidence, never sure who I was and what I wanted to be when I grow up.  Now, as I’ve begun to write regularly again, I’ve decided it is time to pursue what I’ve known, deep down, but was afraid to admit.  I am a writer.  I’ve always been a writer and it is why I’m alive.

Currently, I am applying to grad schools again.  This time, for a degree in creative writing.  Will it help, no idea, but without writing I would have died in 1984.  Apropos, perhaps, since it is a great book that foresaw the future but not a good year to have died.

Writing is my drug, it is my escape, it is what keeps me alive and sane.  Depression kills pieces of you, slowly, insidiously whispering lies.  For me, poems release the darkness that depression enshrouds and stories ignite the lies.  I may never be published, I may never financially survive as a writer, but without writing, I am a goner.  Without stories and poems, I am completely adrift and lost.  I will always write for it is my lifeline.

Rebel and Revel

Two particular words, as of late, have followed me around.  Revel and rebel.  At first I didn’t notice but today, listening to Renegades by X Ambassadors, I noticed the words again.  I feel like the theme of my life lately, rebel and revel.

CONVERSATIONS

Here is a recent conversation I had with someone studying to become a therapist, of all things.  You’ll understand after you read:

Future therapist: God, my latest cases make me nuts, I think I need counseling.

Me: Oh, why? Too many cases or people not wanting help?

FT: No, just pain in the asses, all of them.  I have one transgender whining how he, or she, fuck, I can’t remember, doesn’t get any understanding from family.  I try to listen passively, not judge, but damn, I can’t help but judge, I mean, what. the. fuck.  He comes flouncing into my office ten minutes late complaining that the cab was late, complains that no one will hire him because he isn’t a he or a she and then started bitching something about bathrooms in Florida.  I don’t understand what the hell he’s talking about half the time.

Me: Is it man transitioning into a woman?

FT: Yeah.

Me: Then you should refer to her as she, at least respect her enough to refer to her as she identifies herself.  As for bathrooms, I think she might be referring to Florida where they wanted to pass some crazy law that said transgendered people couldn’t use bathrooms of their sex.  In other words, your client, as a transgender female, would have to use the male bathroom since, in the eyes of Florida, that is her sex since that is how she was born.

FT: Yeah, see, that is what I mean though, who the fuck cares, we aren’t in Florida! Then, another client, complains about how fat she is and the medication she takes isn’t helping so why should the surgery be any different.  I mean, shit, just stop shoving french fries down your throat and exercise, maybe then you wouldn’t need surgery.

Me: What medications?

FT: Thyroid and antidepressants, I think anti-anxiety, too.  But no wonder she’s depressed and anxious, she’s fatter than a house!  Get out and maybe you won’t cry in my office all the time.

At this point I admit, I kinda lost my shit a little, I was so annoyed my response was nasty.

Me: You need to check your privilege.  First, you’ve gone to the best schools paid for by your parents and you went into a profession to help people yet you have no damn empathy whatsoever.  Your job is a paid internship, granted, but it was a choice you had that most people do not get.  Most people are lucky when they have a service job, let alone get to choose what they want to do.  Second, the transgender woman, you disrespect her by not caring enough to think that it is an insult to continuously forget if it is he or she so to you, Florida is something not to care about, but for her, it is her life, where she has to worry about what freaking bathroom she decides to use because someone might decide she is not a “real” woman.  If so, if that law passed in Florida, it is a misdemeanor, something that would be on her record, just because she peed in a stall instead of a urinal.

As for your fat client, yeah, nice, saying this to someone who has struggled with weight, depression and anxiety my entire life, that you are so callous to not even understand that sometimes it isn’t about french fries and exercise.  Even when there are no underlying metabolic/hormonal/medical issues for weight, there are often still mental issues where food becomes comfort.  Depression, yeah, sure, just get over it, is that what you’re going to tell your clients?  Because honey, if that is the case, you have clearly picked the wrong profession!  I have had family, friends and therapists like you, who look only at the surface, who think it is just something to get over or suck it up or whatever idiotic idea that rolls around people’s brains.  You, who have never suffered with depression or anxiety, who has had parents that never told you you were stupid but instead supported even the dumbest ideas imaginable because they loved you.  You never worked through school, you partied through your first semester until you were on academic probation then became a serious student but even if you got kicked out, no big deal, you would have gone directly to another school.  You were given a car, grew up in a nice neighborhood with a great school and had teachers that helped you.  When you had some difficulties with math, oh, gee, there were tutors for you.  You joined a sorority and never had social anxiety issues so to judge someone else who struggles, wow, why did you decide to become a therapist?  You seem to think people need a kick in the ass rather than help.  It really amazes me that people are still so clueless about depression, anxiety and all these other issues but you, of all people, should in the very least have some textbook understanding that people do not want to be so stuck, to fear being around people, to feel like they are crazy all the time.  These are not choices and for those of us who suffer, we truly want a way out and in the very least someone to understand.

At this point someone else stepped in, calmer than me, and took over the conversation.  Honestly, I was shaking with rage at the callous disregard for people suffering and this from a soon-to-be therapist!  I truly feel sorry for her future clients.  Shortly afterwards, as I made tea trying to calm myself, someone commented that I was such a rebel for not holding my tongue.  They actually said, “I can’t believe how rebelliously you lashed her with your tongue!”

What I can’t believe is that it is rebellious to speak up against such attitudes.

LUNCH REVELATIONS

Speaking of weight loss, since January I have lost (so far) 70 pounds.  I still have a lot to lose so, while I realize I’ve done a great job so far, I tend to lose sight of the progress as I focus on the end goal.  So, during lunch with a friend I have not seen for almost a year, when she saw me, she was surprised and thrilled.  Honestly, she walked past the table not recognizing me the first time.

She told me I need to revel in my progress and the changes I’ve made within myself.  When I mentioned the above conversation, she laughed and said, “yeah, you have always been a rebel, revel in that.”  She said it isn’t so much me speaking up against it but how passionately I do it.  I guess I don’t see it and while I know she meant well, as did the previous person who made the comment about my rebellious tongue, I can’t help but feel as though I need to learn to shut up.  I never did learn when to hold my tongue, much to my mother’s annoyance.

SPEEDING TICKETS

On my way to the gym the other morning, I kept the windows wide open instead of turning on the air conditioning.  It was warm, around 90, but not humid so it was nice having the wind blowing in and not the usual bubble.  Of course, I also listen to music, loud, so I can sing along and not hear myself because, well, I sound like a bag of dying cats scratching their claws against a chalkboard.  But I like to sing!

I also have a tendency to… uh… drive a little over the speed limit.  In this particular case, I was doing about 50 mph in a 35 mph zone.

It’s the car I tell you!  It is, the speedometer tells me I’m doing just fine and the gas pedal hits the floor all by itself.  Yep, that’s my story, nothing to do with my foot pressing down and not paying attention to either the digits on the dashboard or the road signs clearly stating what I should be driving.  Nope, the car, it’s all the car doing it.

Anyway, yeah, I’m a speeder.  Always have been.  No excuses, terrible habit, I know and trust me, my insurance bills scream at me every month.  In a former life I was a race car driver… hell, probably just the race car!  I’m not reckless in the sense that I don’t speed around people, I don’t bypass school buses and cause people to leap to safety as I whiz past.  Nor do I have accidents (oh please, karma, do not punish me for this statement now).  The two accidents I’ve had in my life were not my fault.  One, I was stopped at a red light when I was rear-ended.  The other I hit black ice; driving below the limit as the conditions were bad.

However, that is a neither here nor there with this particular story.  I digress… guilt probably.  As I was heading to the gym, windows open, singing at the top of my lungs to music that was loud enough that I could not hear, it didn’t occur to me that others could actually hear me.  Lucky for me though, the cop found my performance hysterical.  He walked up, laughing, and said that he was ready to give me a ticket but because I was clearly enjoying my bad singing and made several people laugh along the way, he decided to let me off with a warning.  Plus, he said, the lyrics I was singing seemed appropriate and made him laugh harder:

You’re the judge, Oh no
Set me free
You’re the judge, Oh no
Set me free
I know my soul’s freezing
Hell’s hot for good reason
So please, take me

The song is The Judge by Twenty One Pilots.  I would like to note the part where he sings “set me free” is quite high, much higher than my range, but damn if I did not try to hit those notes!  No wonder he was laughing.  Other lyrics for this song: I don’t know if this song is a surrender or a revel.

REBEL AND REVEL

Which brings me back around to the two words, rebel and revel, and how they’ve been the theme words of my life the last couple weeks.  Perhaps it is because I’ve been happy and, in finding my happiness, my rebellious side is re-emerging.  I don’t care as much about what others think about me and, slowly, I’m letting go of the fear that has strangled me most of my life.  I still struggle but it is getting easier, finally, which means on my death-bed I’ll finally have achieved my utopia haha!

Now, for your enjoyment, here is the song that got me out of a speeding ticket The Judge by Twenty One Pilots.  Note: this is audio only so, for visuals, imagine a fat, middle-aged woman with an extremely short haircut in workout gear with windows wide open on a hot summer day, singing and car dancing trying to hit the high notes and failing — badly.

Finally, the song that brought the theme words clearly into focus for me, the one I am currently listening to, Renegades by X Ambassadors.  I’m surprised this band isn’t more popular.

Too Late

RiteintheRainSometimes you realize too late. 

The streets, always wet from constant misty rain, appeared soft.  Not soft like soil more like concrete not quite cured.  Despite the time being a little past noon the sky was dark gray.  Typical November but the best discoveries were during cold, gray, dark November days when attempting to escape the depression.  It wasn’t easy, escaping depression, when every aspect of the day was cloaked with it, like a classic read with themes of gray, rain, cold, damp, sunless filtering the pages.

This depression themed day led down the stairs to the lower level of Pike’s Place Market, where fewer tourists visited, with the weirder stores tucked beneath fishmongers tossing fish.  One particular store seemed more like a dream than an actual place, I’m not sure it ever existed or if I spent the day hallucinating in my attempts to outrun the rain and depression.  It was a bookstore, of sorts, that sold strange comics and ‘zines, political books not from the latest politician running for the presidency but items declaring anarchy and rebellious ideas, and other piratical or bombastic ideals.  Items that could probably only be found by a search through the dark, deep web that few dared tread.  Yet here they stood proudly declaring their fuck you to the world, daring someone to read them, to touch the mutinous ideas and open their minds to be infested with radical ideas.

The ‘zines were typical of the ’90s, when everyone seemed to print copies in their basements or printed after the boss left; dropping these printed pieces of their souls on street corners and bus stops for anyone to take and read.  The covers had strange artwork, tortured abstracts or angry scribbles, while the pages were filled from edge to edge with handwritten rebellious screed.  They were stories, poems, pleadings, ramblings, and a few detailed blueprints on changing the world.  To me, they all seemed like prayers, or wishes, or longings; they reminded me of wishes written on torn paper, placed in a glass bottle, and tossed to the ocean in hopes that it would reach the right destination for fulfillment.

Every shelf was stuffed with pages that were filled with hurt, and pain, and anger, and defeat, and rebelliousness, and naiveté and desperation.  I was lost, for hours, in the tiny space, leafing through dozens and dozens of these strange little self-printed offerings.  I never bumped into anyone else.  I don’t recall even seeing an employee by the register.  Which is why I’m not sure it was real or something I fell into, like Alice.  I felt both fascination and fear from these slim volumes.

I wanted to explore more, to find some dark, drab hangout where all these minds met to discuss, in secret, ways to make these outrageous ideas part of reality but I also feared becoming part of something so clearly outside the norm of society.  Fear suddenly gripped me, I already spent too much time in this strange place, and I headed for the door to escape.  As I turned to exit I clipped a shelf and knocked a few items to the floor.  I picked them up, placing them back, and found one that I missed earlier.  A strange black and white notebook.  It wasn’t printed like the other ‘zines or books, it was an actual journal.  It was hand written and when I ran my fingers over the words I could feel the indentations from the author’s pen; obviously a heavy hand when writing.

I called out for someone to return the journal but no one answered.  I contemplated leaving it on the shelf for the author to find, relieved, but my fingers gripped it tighter instead of letting it go on the shelf.  I tucked it under my coat and quickly left like a thief.  I walked a few blocks to a small café where I ordered coffee and a lemon bar, tucked myself into a booth in the corner, and began reading.

This is meant for you.  You found this journal because the story is for you, so shut down your fears and hear what I am about to tell you.  This is my story, of my escape from prison, and the place I discovered that doesn’t exist in this world but is real nonetheless.  For all those times you thought your were insane, when you felt like you were seeing another world silk-screened across your vision of the reality you live in, you were peeking through the door to the place I’ve visited.  You were too scared to open the door and as you read this you want to slam this journal shut because of that same fear. 

I looked up around the café expecting a camera or friends to be laughing in the corner.  It had to be a prank.  I leafed through further pages, skimming paragraphs here and there, searching margins and inner cover for a clue to the original writer.  As I skimmed one line caught my eye, Clara, my name is Jesse, and someday we will meet.

I leaned back stunned.  My heart pounded in my chest as the adrenaline coursed through me.  I couldn’t help but fear what I was reading.  How did this person know my name?  This had to be some sort of joke.  If not, then someone was stalking me or my worse fear was happening — I was actually insane.  I asked the waitress if she could read the line out loud for me, making an excuse that I forgot my glasses, just to verify it actually existed and someone else saw what was written in black cursive.  After she did, I paid and left, the strangeness of the situation propelling me to move quickly.  I walked the trails for hours before finally heading home.

Once home, I put the journal on a shelf and ignored it.  I didn’t want to read anymore, didn’t want to discover that I was actually insane.  I feared I lost my grip on reality and that this was actually my journal but I believed it belonged to someone else.  A small part of me also feared that it wasn’t real, just a coincidence that the author used my name for their character.  I almost preferred insanity to the mundane reality.  I wanted to escape yet I feared falling into a rabbit hole of crazy like Alice.  After a few days, I forgot about the journal and over the years, over many moves, I packed it up with all my other books forgetting what it ever was.

As I pack for yet another move, I rediscover the journal.  I might be too late for that meeting Jesse promised.  Sometimes you realize too late to let go of fear and fall into exploration.  Maybe I believed I had too much to lose but now, I’ve already lost everything.

When You Just Don’t Give a Shit

Yeah, so, I’m in one of those moods, those mental places, where I just don’t give a shit about most things.  I want to write some pithy post, all erudite yet witty, that will either leave people thinking or start a conversation.

Unfortunately, I can’t muster up enough of a shit to write anything like that.  There are so many things wrong in this world, so many things to complain and rail against, yet, well, here I sit.  There are so many exciting things happening to be in awe at the times we live.  Yet, on a daily basis my intellect and creativity whither away which leaves me in this state of giving-no-shits; permanent apathy is settling in.

In general the world around me seems interested in the inane — what happened in the latest “reality” show, what celebrity is fucking up now (or having a baby, or an affair, or insert other shallow crap here), what are the latest fashion/beauty trends, or some other boring insignificance.  I mean, what is this shallow, petty crap that people discuss?  I have no idea what they are talking about half the time.  And it isn’t just brief conversations of shallow between other topics.  Nope, the entire day seems filled by these idiotic dialogues.

People seem shocked that I don’t know whatever “reality” star they are talking about and when I mention I don’t own a television they practically fall down in seizures.  I didn’t just cut the cable, I actually do not own a television, and people can not fathom how I manage to make it through life.  Despite no television, I still manage to be informed just not about blithering idiot stuff.

Clearly, the issue is that I am surrounded by people who do not stimulate me.  I feel like I am either falling into some sort of dementia or developed late-onset-adult-autism of some kind — I can’t relate well to people lately.  I’m not some genius either, it isn’t like I have some MENSA level IQ, I’m average.  Which means either average has now become above-average (highly doubtful) or there is less intellectual stimulation than there used to be.

I don’t know when I fell behind, socially speaking, into the corner of obliviousness about what makes the world talk.  For example, I’m an atheist but not a rabid atheist that wants to debate every religious nutter out there.  For those that believe, fine with me.  It only bothers me when someone feels the need to get in my face and “save” me from my heretical ways or impose those beliefs onto society (i.e. claim same-sex-marriage is an abomination and, therefore, should not be legal).  So, other atheist seem to think I’m not a true atheist because I don’t fight for the cause.  I care about the environment, I’m liberal (some say very liberal), I care about my health and animals and all sorts of things but I’m not fanatical about anything.

Which seems to be the other problem.  Yes, I yearn for deeper conversations but the few that I’ve met who have those deeper conversations are then the other extreme, they are only interested in fighting everything.  Fight the power!  Yeah, maybe it’s my age, but I don’t always want to march against everything.  I don’t want to spend my life tilting at windmills.  Sometimes I just want to go to a movie that stimulates my brain cells, entertains my creativity and leave talking about it further.  I don’t want to go to the movies then march in the streets against all the injustices that movie has revealed to me!

Which brings me back to this place of apathetic no shits to give.  Where have I gone wrong?  Where in my life did I get a choice between a path of inanity or stimulation?  If I was given such a choice I missed the opportunity to choose differently.  If I could go back, I’d choose the path that would lead me to a life where I could enjoy things, maybe not be so in my head (as I’m accused of often), where I didn’t yearn to spend my time making up stories and living in fantasies because reality sucks.  I’d choose a life that gave me more of a mix, inane and intellectual, allow me to nurture creativity, and even sometimes spark enough outrage to make me fight the power for some things.

As it stands now, I’m numbed by boredom and cowed by the insecurity of being out here alone.  Hence, no shits left to give.

P.S.: I give so little shits I didn’t even edit so forgive any typos/grammar/passive voice crap.

P.P.S.: Also, to punctuate the concept that everything is turning into quick soundbites, I noticed the new WordPress reader shows how long something will take to read.  Yeah, if you haven’t noticed, go to your reader and as you scroll down your feed, notice in the bottom left corner of the post preview it says something like “30 second read”.  Yep, now WP tells you approximately how much time will be spent reading a post.  Sadly, even the news sites seem to be less than 2 minute reads.  Everything is condensed for quick consumption.

My Soul for Sale

My tagline reads: I’m selling my fucking soul, in desperation, without mystery, like a two-bit dime store beatnik poet rhyming for a hit of delirium.

The lines are from my original poem Selling My Soul, written way back in (late) 2011.  Those particular lines, however, resonate with me still.  I crave that hit of delirium daily, to escape life, to escape reality, and live in the dreamlike visions of not only my poems and stories but where my soul feels untethered by reality.  It leaves me stuck between the clichéd rock and a hard place.  I live in reality.  I have bills to pay, rent overdue, income falling short of what life demands, but my mind is restlessly attempting to describe what it envisions.  Not only restless, but desperate.  It doesn’t want to just describe it, it wants to live there.

I want to live in the reality where my soul is free, where my heart feels joy and love, passion and creativity, every moment.  Unfortunately, this life forces me to face reality and know that I must wake up and make money if I am to survive.  Sometimes, however, I do not want to wake up.  I do not want to die, oh no, death is nothing but and extended blackness of this reality.  Death leaves me feeling nothing.

What I want to live is that moment when, for example while watching a movie, the hero says fuck you to the prevailing powers because freedom means something more than conforming to the hypocrisy of wearing the correct façade of civility all the while suppressing the true self.  I do not want to conform to the modern-day demands of beauty, and femininity, and work, and grind of bill paying while my productivity is wasted in a gray cubicle provided by my latest pay master.  I do not want to suppress my intellectual and creative self.

Unfortunately there is no other way, is there?

 

Will You Ever Actually Leave?

Yeah, so, I’ve kept the blog private with the intention of not actually blogging but still following.  Well, I’ve gotten an inordinate amount of requests to see the private blog that I thought perhaps I left too soon?  No promises on actually blogging in this space but for those who want to see the archives for Sunday Picture Press, or may actually give a shit about my past posts, I’ve changed the privacy settings to allow the curious to see it.

Hopefully the curiosity is satisfied and not disappointed.  But, for now, here is Indigo Spider, and perhaps there will be new stuff like this:

POEM #230

My dreams are dead
shredded in an escalation of violence
during the demon wars
which left nothing beyond the revenant
that stalks the landscape of my desolated mind fuck

My dreams are alive
dancing free in the syncopated rhythm of rhyme
breathing between the lines and lucid dreams
which I swim with increasing desperation
attempting to remain comatose in fevered sleep

My dreams are dead
brutally murdered by obscene fear and obsequiousness
impaled on the edge of renegade and submissive
where nothing remains beyond my bleached bones
that crumble to ash in morning light

SWALLOW THE SKY

Sun rises and kills night
The moon hides from the carnage
A child of domestic violence
Revealing her face in phases
While the daily ritual continues
Sun worshiped and night vilified
The massacre accepted
Leaving the demons to swallow the sky

MESSAGES

Her persona speaks violently
a digital version of herself
part truth, part lie, part delusion, part memory

So, there you have it, Indigo Spider apparently will never die.  People still seek it out, occasionally, in waves, that make me wonder if I can ever truly walk away.  The previous poems have appeared on another blog(s) that shall remain nameless.  If you find it, good on ya!  If not, perhaps I will re-post other poems and stories from the other blogs I’ve got hiding out in public.  No promises, no clue myself.  In the very least, for those who keep asking to be included to the private blog, it is no longer private so you can be disappointed in finally discovering the truth.

I shall end with my latest obsession, the newest stuff from Twenty One Pilots (for which I am beyond the normal listening demographic but clearly don’t give a flying fuck).  Enjoy:

FAIRLY LOCAL

RIDE

STRESSED OUT

 

SPP: Smoke

Frederico Bebber via My Modern Met

Frederico Bebber via My Modern Met

a ghost trapped, a light
just flickering between two worlds
~~ Anti-hero by Steve Shultz 

revenant/ˈrɛvɪnənt
noun
1.something, esp a ghost, that returns

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.