NOTHING WE SOUGHT THERE

I knew it was Kate standing in the garden. Her green sundress was faded, her skin was still so pale. She had always been pale, the summer sun could only succeed in turning it a bright red before the creamy whiteness returned. Her skin seemed translucent, the thin blue veins visible even from where I stood, looking out our bedroom window. They ran down to her bare feet and crisscrossed down her arms and up her neck. I was sure they probably lined her face.  She had her head down and to the side, her long straight black hair hid it from me.

It was mid-morning in early April. There was a chill, but Spring was already here. Swathes of yellow, pink and purple daffodils crowded around Kate’s ankles. I could remember the many hours she spent planting bulbs, weeding and watering. It was her version of meditation, she would tell me, smiling. They were very resilient, surviving despite my complete negligence. I had not even been able to go near the garden since November, since the funeral.

I stood looking at my dead wife for almost an hour, as still as she was; my bare feet on hardwood, hers in mud. The spell broke, she lifted her head and locked onto me with her violet blue eyes. I sprinted to the back door, sliding across the hallway floor, twice almost sprawling on the floor. I was barely aware of the incoherent sobs coming from my chest.  She was still looking at the bedroom window as I leaped down the back porch stairs and grabbed her into my arms, lifting her off the ground.

We stood there, my face buried in her neck, sobs muffled, her thin body lax in my arms like a doll. The noon sun was getting warmer, but I couldn’t let go. For the first couple of months after she died, I saw Kate everywhere. I rarely left the house in those days, and was often drunk to the point of oblivion. I saw her every time I turned a corner; I saw her dressing, reminding myself of those favorite curves of her breasts and hips. The worst was feeling her weight next to me in bed. I spent January on medication, convinced I was hallucinating. I stopped taking it in February because, even if they were just hallucinations, I missed them.

I put her down on the ground and held her face in my hands, searching her all over. She was looking at me, but her stare was vague. The veins did cross her face, but her eyes were brighter than even I remembered. Maybe she hadn’t died, maybe none of it had been real.

“Kate! Where have you been? What happened?”

My eyes glanced down to her neck, and I suddenly let go and took a step back. I saw the chain holding both our class rings. I had buried her with them.

She finally looked at me in full awareness. She grabbed both my arms, sinking her nails into my skin. I jerked, involuntarily from the pain, but she held me fast with a strength she never had in life. She pulled me close and put her face inches from mine. “I’m not going back Mike,” she said slowly and intently.

She let go of me, reached down and grabbed a purple daffodil. She twirled it and hummed as she went past me into the house.

I watched her shower and dress, choosing another sundress, blue this time. All of her things were where she had left them. I hadn’t been able to touch anything. I sat at the kitchen table watching her make spaghetti. Still humming to herself. We ate in silence. She ate; I watched her, at first in grateful awe and then in a growing strange fear. She stared at me. Watched my every move. Her eyes were bright and cold.

Lying in bed next to her that night, her eyes still on me, shining in the moonlight. I had dreamed so many times of her, I wanted only her. I pulled her close, hands tangled in her long hair. Before she kissed me and took me, she whispered, “There was nothing there. I will send you first before I ever go back.”

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COMPULSION

The restlessness is overwhelming. Mindlessly scratching my skin, as if trying to escape myself. To get out. To be free.

I have to be out. Walking the streets in the dark. Taking sudden turns down random cobblestoned alleys, lit with gas lamps, heavy with strange shadows.

I am trapped in my own head and I have to let it play out. No amount of screaming into empty space will stop the mad electric current pulling me forward.

I need skin, blood, viscera.

Nothing but rawness will do.

 

Young couple, kissing on the corner against the building. Her bare thigh shining in the moonlight. She barely notices at first when I grab a chunk out of her flesh and move quickly down the street before they realize I was there. I can hear her screaming now.

Feverishly licking at the bloody tissue, red rivulets trailing down my arm; chewing and swallowing despite revulsion and sickness.

In the gore is still a hint of her perfume and my body convulses. I can taste his kiss, feel him.

I can hear their thoughts, only of each other.

I chew and swallow all of the flesh, face completely sticky and red. I feel everything they have felt from their beginning. I think I can taste a glimpse of their end.

 

I am not satiated. I am dazed, but the wire inside is still twisting. I want something darker. More perverse. I don’t know what it is I’m starving for as I weave in and out of the emptying streets.

He is following me. I hear his footsteps; he isn’t trying to hide his intentions. I know he has a knife.  And I know he is what I am waiting for.

I play along; glancing behind me now and then. Quickening my steps. He is wearing a hooded coat, so I can only catch glimpses of his face as he passes through the streetlights.

It doesn’t matter. He is set on his purpose, as am I.

 

He overtakes me and shoves me into a small alcove of an abandoned house. With one hand on my mouth, he stabs quickly and repeatedly into my stomach and chest. Then, as I slump to the granite steps, he leans in close and stares with blue eyes as he drags the knife across my throat. Then he is gone.

 

I lay choking on my own blood. The initial  adrenaline rush dulled the pain, but it is coming full on now, as is the ecstasy. My fingers probe the gashes, loving the blood that pools around me. I am complete. I am calm. I go laughing into the oblivion. This is my death and it is the only true and real thing I have ever known.

Birthday

I just need one candle this year, but not a tiny pastel wax stick children make candy wishes over and toss aside.

I want one of those tall, thick, technicolor red candles they have in all the old horror movies I love. This is not a celebration. It is an invocation, and a banishing.

Not all of who you are can move forward to the next year. Even in this sterile plastic world, sacrifice is necessary. Rituals still take place, one way or the other.

I will cover myself with a paste of ash and gore and begin stalking the next revolution.

Blonde and Black

I  bleed out again ..my own fault

Deconstructing myself. .dissecting myself. Carving away all that feels weak.

Until the pile that I have discarded is more than what is left. I don’t have the quirks, the flashes. I feel full of holes..easily palatable,  but insubstantial. More air than meat.

I have to scavenge for parts to rebuild.  Feathers, bones, blood and glass. Gifts from the Goddess who never forgot me, even when I forgot myself.

I will stitch myself back together and I will lick my own wounds clean.

 

 

 

Circuits

It’s not about being tired.

My synapses snapped,  pop, pop, pop

Like a string of lights on an overloaded breaker. Bursting one after another all down the line.

After, acrid black smoke trailed out of my mouth and nose and there was numbness.

Jarred loose. Set adrift and floating off.

Waiting to see if you would notice,  waiting for a hand to grab me and pull me back.  Nothing.

Fading, eyes already adjusting to the darkness. .your conversations growing dim.

 

Viper

I want to blame anxiety.  Depression.  Claim that the Viper curled up around my brain isn’t the real me.

But it is a part of who I am, as much as I hate that part And when I spew venom at those I most love, I have only myself to blame when they disappear.

I have to either subdue it, carve it out or sacrifice myself to it to save everyone around me.

Conflagration

The blank page

safe,

mocking.

Leave it empty, and you can’t be accused, or judged.

But you are still accused and judged

for blankness.

Cowardice for words left unspoken.

Truths left silent.

Write, and the moment the words leave your brain

they are no longer yours.

Twisted and mutated, unrecognizable to what you intended

when you carried and grew them inside.

You learn, eventually, that you will burn regardless,

on a pyre either of the stories you told

or the myths you denied.

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