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Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Fields Of Melancholy

Category: Issue 15

There was nothing I could say, there was nothing I could do.
Where was any of this going?  Where had any of this been?  What the hell had just happened?

One step forward, three steps back.  I remember the panic. The frustration.  The shouting.  The anger.  The blood – Christ, the blood.

I wiped the sweat from my face.  Looked down at my hands.  Then quickly away.  A tear slipped down my cheek.  I counted my breathing.  Tried to calm.  Let the adrenalin flow.  Didn’t fight.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.  I gasped for breath.  My body shaking.

“Why are you doing this?!”  I whispered.
The first long shadow of the day, the wooden panels of the floor dissected (revealing its true fleshy undertones), the body weeping.  My back arched, my arms outstretched, the palms of my hands coiled tightly into two fists (was this possible? – before, probably not, but now everything is), the knuckles cracking and from the very pit of my soul I screamed in anguish of what was and what was yet to come.

In the onslaught that followed, the rafters came crashing down upon me, I fell to the ground, pinned there by my own guilt I suspect.

How long was I there for?  I could only guess, but sometime later, I managed to get to my feet, wipe the dust from my eyes. Once the mist had cleared I tried to find some clarity, tried to gain some composure.  I had to be a man, I had to be human.

Something dripped from the roof-space.  No, not something, someone.  The fluids, like acid, stinging, eating into me.  I didn’t move, rooted to the spot, some morbid fascination with the way my flesh melted from the bone.  There was no pain.  Only pleasure.

Thunder and lightning exploded about me.  Creatures in the cavities, their spectral murmuring echoing, swirling, around the fabric of the building.  Every wall, every floor seemingly alive – what are they trying to tell me?  What message did they dare impart?  Whatever: I’ve banished them from my thoughts.  I was deaf to their implorations.

Something was there.  Something was coming.  Through the melee.  Through the storm.  The mist as a cloud as a curtain and it parts.  A figure.  The trumpets call.  A round of applause.  I turned my back, face a mirror, I couldn’t look.  The hand on my shoulder.  I couldn’t look, I will not look.  I will not look.

The glass shatters.
Metaphorically at least if not in reality.
For one shard hovers millimetres from my cheek.  I am reflected a thousand times.  Each image a more distorted rendering than the first.  In some I smile, in others I frown; in some I laugh, in others I cry.  But the eyes:  they never change.  Cold.  Black.  Stone.

Hands are clapped, feet are stamped and then, a sound, shrill-like, the neigh of a hundred horses and the mirror reforms itself before me. 

A new reflection: temporary flesh and temporary bone.  The compromise of humanity.  On the balls of my feet I spin round.  My limbs begin to dance, a puppet, a marionette.  A Danse Macabre. The Great Architect pulls my strings.  I begin to sign.  Words form from my hands, fingers, spelling out our destruction.  But from my mouth, there is nothing I can say, there is nothing I can do.

Except for scream.  And scream.  And scream.
This world is an illusion.  I am the ghost.  I see that now.
I take a step forward, trip on one of my suspended strings and fall to the ground.  My head hits the canvas and I’m out for the count.  It is the Beast that dances about me.  Hands in the air and how the crowd roar its name.

One
Two
Three
Four – my eyes begin to droop, they feel heavy
Five
Six – my eyes are closed, the world that surrounds drowning me
Seven
Eight – the universe is standing still
Nine – its weight upon my shoulders
Ten – the blackness, fuck: the blackness


Wait.
Something is here.  Something is watching me.  The soul of the dearly departed.  It has roamed and now it has returned.  It hovers about me, a wispy cloud.  Not white, not pure anyway, but shades of grey, I reach out and as it reaches to me, I hear a billion babies scream my name.  There is such pain in the centre of my brain, an explosion of the synapse. 

A voice is calling me.  Shouting, screaming at me.

My eyes flutter open and I realise that the voice is my own.


She was smiling at me through those bloodied lips, always knowing that she was going to have the last laugh.  She was right.  Damn her.  Bitch.

Even when there was no choice but to force the electrodes under the tips of her fingers and the current passed through (a flicker of life in her eyelids, even if for only a brief second – it was there!) – she knew that by her death she had got one over on me. 

As in life, as in death.  As in Heaven, as on Earth.

I wrapped her in a tarpaulin, at the dead of night (isn’t it always?), threw her in the back of the station-wagon, drove out to the woods, dug a grave (not shallow) and buried her deep. 

After a long, leisurely, drive (making sure people saw me, making sure I saw me – I had to know I was alive) – I returned to the house.  Sunk two tumblers of whiskey, a quick bite to eat (I wasn’t really hungry – was that usual?) and hit the shower. 

An hour or so later, I went back into the den, something wasn’t right.  Yet, I wasn’t surprised.  I glanced to my left.  At the mirror.

Vincent.

I spun round, her reflection:  in her favourite chair, naked as the day she was born.  Smoking her last cigarette.  A clear sheen illuminated her body.

“Eve.”  I paused.  “What do you want?”  I asked as I turned away, knowing that she was just a figment of my imagination.  When no reply was forthcoming, I didn’t suspect a thing.  Nothing was out of place.

I went to the kitchen, poured myself another drink.  I saw her move past me, out of the corner of my eye.

This time I thought I was ready for her, but she was too quick.  The fugue travelled too swiftly, leaving only the slightest of vapour trails – her substitute swiftly vanishing into the ether.  Like a puff of smoke– the aroma of ozone in my nostril. Indeed: smoke and mirrors.  A magician’s trick.  Simplicity.

I hung around for a while but she didn’t return.  Just left the taste of vanilla on my tongue.  An entree.


She wouldn’t let me sleep.  First, in the dreams. Then: outside.  In reality.  At the end of the bed or even worse, lying next to me: the covers pulled back, her legs slightly open, beckoning me unto her, a hint of the wizardry within.

All this was a game.  There was no point in playing, but even so, I persisted in reaching out to touch that body.  The result was always the same, always close but no cigar – all I ever felt was the stained and bloody satin sheet: the stench of rotten flesh on my skin, how I wanted to scratch, to dig my nails into my soul to remove all trace of her.

Of course, I never did.  That would be unforgiveable.

At work: my colleagues didn’t know what had happened, they were none the wiser to her diversions.  She’d telephone them, leave messages on their voicemail, cryptic descriptions of where she was, what she was doing (“Have you been down to the woods today?” She’d sing).  They’d come to me, ask what was wrong with her, had she been drinking?  Was she ill?  Why did her emails tell them to bring spades? Shovels?  Blankets…she mentioned a picnic?  Interestingly, they all said the same: she sounded a little distant.  Like she had something over her mouth. That maybe it wasn’t her at all, that perhaps someone was pretending to be her?!  How little they knew.

Surely, that was the point: what did they know?  Before, they hadn’t given a shit, many of them didn’t even know her name, so why this sudden interest in her?  Did they know something was wrong?  Had they guessed things weren’t quite right?  Could they see right through me?


A pause for thought.  Was that the proverbial nail in the head? That, it was me?  I started acting differently.  I can see that now.  Especially when she started appearing at the window, waving at me through the rain.  Mocking me.  I would close my eyes (I didn’t want to see her like that, especially when she started to deteriorate), praying that she would disappear, but she was always there when I looked back – even if many moments had passed.

When I walked down the road, strangers stared like they knew she was there.  What was it?  Could they smell her?  It was true: my soles left bloodied footprints in the puddles, if only momentarily.  The chain that was her around my neck glowed ominously.  Like her eyes: burning amber.

Dogs would bark noisily in my direction.  I developed a nervous tick, always rubbing my hands, my arms – too much blood on them I suppose, in the pores, under the nails, in my hair.

I just couldn’t shake her.  Even in the brothels (where I sought the caress of another human) she was there.  Watching, waiting – commenting on the performance, marks out of ten.  Cursing the girls, tempting me with her own delights, as I ran my hands over their throats, playing her game again.


Soon though, enough was enough.
“Eve?”
Yes, Vincent.
“Why are you doing this?”
Isn’t it obvious? Didn’t we promise always and forever?

She was right. Again.  I threw the used bills down on the whore’s bruised and beaten body and headed out into the night.  Like a thief, an angel, a demon: ready to steal the next soul.


Stay.
She asked this of me, sometime after.  A couple of months had passed perhaps.  I don’t know, days bled into weeks into longer.  Her body but a former impression of itself.  Should have been where it belonged – back there, that hole in the ground.  Six feet under.

How I hated her but there was some succour in having her around.

I noticed though there was something different about her.  I wonder if she was also aware of it.  I recognised it even if she didn’t – reminded me of our last days together: boredom.


My bags were packed and I headed to the door.
“Why?”  I asked.  “Why should I stay?”
She looked away.  Her guard was down.

For the first time I really saw her for what she was.  I mean, come on, she was barely human.  Things were growing out of her for God’s sake.  Her words, the way she spoke, as her voice-box broke down, really grated me.  Her stench was unbearable.  I couldn’t wait to open windows, to get outside, to the fresh air (not that that really mattered, for by now she was in me).  Her hair, matted.  Her skin, transparent, putrefied – her breasts sagged and God only knew what that was hanging between her legs.  This was abhorrent and how disgusted I was with myself. With her.

“This is getting too much.”
For me or for you?
“For the both of us.”
Her silence had a point, I suppose.

Though for her, I went into the den, sunk back into the chair.  (Her chair originally but) I liked the feel of it as it wrapped itself around my body.  She stood by the door, ten or so feet away.  We had our boundaries, I couldn’t stand her being any closer.  From somewhere, she pulled a cigarette and puffed merrily away.
“Isn’t it time you gave that up?”  I stated as I watched the smoke travel through her body. 
She kept on staring at me.
I ignored the discerning look, I wasn’t bothered.  It was time to bring this to a close.
“One of us has to go.”  Was all I said.

A dirty tear from her eye.
The breaking of bone as she nodded her head.
I was expecting this.  I’m sorry.
I shook my head, sat forward, wanted to reach for her but thought better of it.
“Don’t be.  All good things come to an end.”
She smiled. 
I’m glad you think like that.  We’re on the same page.

I thought I saw movement at the window.  When I looked back, she had gone.


So I went into the kitchen, switched on the kettle.  One last hurrah before departure.  Within moments the familiar aroma of burnt ozone had returned.  She was behind me.  I caught a glimpse of her in the metallic of the kettle.

There was a knife in her hand.

In one quick, swift moment, I spun round, tried to take it from her, but she wasn’t having any of it.
“Your funeral.”  I mocked.
She laughed, but it wasn’t mirth, it was melancholy.
I don’t think that matters now, do you?  Not now.

She was serious.  Deadly.
The kettle began to boil.
“We used to have a laugh, didn’t we?”
Of course we did.
As the kettle started to sing that all was over, I stared into the steam, expecting to see a string of fat girls dancing the can-can.  But they weren’t there.  It was all in my imagination. 

I closed my eyes.  Could hear the tapping of the knife on the Formica.  The blackness swirled around me.  The room was full of smoke and I started to fall, to fall into the decent of madness.  Drawn in like a moth to a flame.


When I came too, somewhere out back, the mirror cracked.
“Cut it out, cut it out!”  I started to hit the air, hit myself, bouncing off the walls.  But it wasn’t now, it was before.  Before all the insanity.

I must have banged my head on the floor, the blood poured freely.  There was a large bruise under my eye.  How long had I been doing this?
“Cut it out, cut it out!” I kept screaming over and over again.
The loneliness is coming.
I tried to sit up but I must have been tied to the floor.  “What do you mean?”
It’s all consuming. Prepare, for it has arrived.


The bonds are released, I am lifted to my feet and carried to the bathroom.  Been here before, I know it.  The light overhead flickers on and off.  My hand on the cord, a naked reflection in the floor-tiles.  Words are scorched into the walls, the ceiling.  Blood all over my body.  Ghosts hover above me, around me.  In me.

Eve is on the floor.  Fresh.  Just like I remember.  Just after I killed her.  Not naked.  Wearing her coat.  I seem to think she said something about an affair, someone in her office.  Divorce.  She wanted to leave me. Someone who could give her what she wanted.  Not me.  Her face pulped, her teeth broken.  The only feeling I have now is indifference.  Not particularly bothered at all that she was dead or at what I’d done.  A pool of her blood, heads towards me, I dip my toes in the warmness.  Writing my name in the redness of it all.  A hardness in my groin.

But the wave she promised hits me and I drown in pity.  I put my hands to my face to protect me from the onslaught and wait.  And wait.  And wait.

When I peer through the gap between my fingers, I look towards the mirror.  She’s returned, in all her putrefied glory.
A reflection, a shadow as she stands behind me.  Her hands on my hips, bringing her into me.  I try to fight it, to turn away, this sight revolts me and yet it’s obvious I’m still excited.  I want to remember what she was, not what she is.  But that doesn’t work either – after all she was a first class bitch.  Well, that’s not the whole story, she was at the end though and that’s all I want to know.  Though was she always?  I can’t be sure.  I feel boxed in.


There is something sharp at my throat.  I don’t want to see it but I take it nonetheless.
“Trust me.”  She whispers, using my voice.

And suddenly everything is clear.  She nibbles at my earlobe.  It wasn’t her that died that day, it was me.

The light-bulb explodes.  The world is darkness.  I draw the knife across my throat and the scarlet drops begin to fall – for the first time ever I feel love.  Albeit if the concluding kiss is metallic.

As I fall to the floor, I hear the front door close.  But whether or not she left me, I will never be certain.  One thing’s for sure, I’ll fucking miss her.  Yet tomorrow, is another day and I have the strangest of feelings one of us will be back…outside time has stopped still and yet the children still play in the street, in the yard, in the field.

Until she returns, I hope in the meantime I can get by myself.  After all, it’s never too late to invite friends to the last day of your life.

 

 

Posted by deand on 09/05 at 07:23 AM | Permalink
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