Here’s what we have learned thus far:
Avatars of Babalon will mark men; that’s just how that works. Sex: a binding ritual, a shared condition or the attachment to the Goddess. Love: a contractual agreement, forever that elusive fantasy or a broken heart. Chaos and Transformation: the turning of worlds, battle wounds or a change of assets. If one is not marked by any of these, then he shall be with Fire.
She is not one to be forgotten or cast off. The Scarlet Woman’s sensory hooks are tenacious.
I was split in two: one to ride the chariot in the sky, the other to look after the blonde girl. I picked up a handsome stranger the same time I arranged the gemstones in accordance to constellation correspondences. The Light ran out too quick after numerous interruptions), so we had to promise the blonde girl “another time.” At least I got to ride the sky chariot though.
I was a man with talent for negotiation. As the sky burned liquid fire, I was faced with ‘Transcriptions That Never Were.’ I was silently nominated to deal with the demon that promised momentary protection from the fires. The group around me cowered before the skeletal spectre, grinning like a maniac; he didn’t scare me in the least. Neither ink nor blood was laid to paper. The Scorpions burst through the door, many filled with intent to kill. The demon called his legions and fled. I inquired about the promised protection, to which he replied with considerable delight: “I never said I would protect you from the world of men. That is your own affair.” I became claustrophobic as The Scorpions’ shadows engulfed the room.
My head ached. Tilting it just so, I was able to pry a neon green sandal from my nose.
Reattach Men Slow
Ancestral Wet Ohm
Settle A Charm Now
Sacrament The Owl
A Castle, Then Worm
Who Melts A Trance
Castrate Men Howl
Watchman, Else Rot
Canal Meets Worth
A Worm, Then Castle
Mothers Wet Canal
Two Carnal Themes
Mew A Harlot Scent
Wham A Recent Slot
A Camel When Trots
Transact Whole Me
Her Canal Most Wet
Won Carat Helmets
Cow Letter Shaman
A Rematch Lest Own
Worth A Male Scent
A Mental Hot Screw
Lets A Wretch Moan
Whet A Smart Clone
Saw A Trench Motel
The New Rascal Tom
Attach, Else Mr Now
He Met Worst Canal
Carnal, She Met Two
A Hot Welt; Men Scar
Cast Her A New Molt
The night was a haze of visions.
A majority of my memories centers around a cabin in the woods. In one storyline, it was the setting of a romantic assignation. Up in the loft, I rolled between milk-white sheets in the sparkling rays of the morning sun. He had already left the bed. I inhaled his scent and savored the lingering sex in the air. My body was like a sponge for the delicious indulgence of pure sensation. Every touch was a secret luxury. When he returned upstairs, the light danced off of him like fire-water. Each ripple of his perfectly cut body was accentuated; the way his skin shone caused my eyes to retreat back beneath my eyelids every now and again. Sadly, I cannot remember his face, but every fiber of me knows him, my Lover, as The Morning Star.
At the next flicker, the cabin has changed, as the inhabitants have as well. I’m a little girl, no more than ten years old. I see a tall man lumbering through the cabin in a state of dismay. He is not my father. I hold my doll tightly to my chest as I watch him pace in front of the roaring fire. The walls reflect red flames woven between menacing shadows. I am silent.
The scene shifts yet again. Where my doll was a second ago there is now a suitcase of sorts. The pacing older man has become a sly devil of a charmer. His eyes undress me as he places my bag on the chair nearby. The wolf’s tail, poking out from underneath his unbuttoned, oversized, collared shirt, flicks with pleasure as he lunges in to taste my neck. My hand reaches up the back of his head, tugging at his hair and caressing his pointed ears. Between my fingers there’s fur or skin as one transitions into the other and back again.
The red walls seem to close in on me, and I can see the monsters that have emerged from the shadows. They stand beside me and behind me with their hands on my shoulders, acting as caretakers. The door slams behind the pacing man as he storms out into the night. I am left with the monsters… that dry my tears with their large, scaly fingers. Sharp nails run gently through my pigtails as I hear attempts at soothing tones through rough throats and guttural voices. I am offered a seat on the lap of a 15 ft tall, black and green, bipedal reptile with large brown scales running down his head and back of the neck like Mohawk dorsal fins. Once in his lap, he rocks me to sleep in front of the fire.
The same cabin is now a mess of clothes, empty boxes and overturned furniture. Investigating each room, a story assembles in my head. There are two children’s rooms, a master bedroom, a den and kitchen; this was a family’s house. A young girl left many stuffed animals behind in her hot pink room. A young boy didn’t manage to grab his action figures before the family hurried out. What happened to them all? I can only see speculations in my head. The only obvious details are a struggle, a hasty escape, and the unlikelihood of return. But then, I hear the door. There stands the disheveled mother with both her ragged children.
Our tryst is cut short by the sounds he hears in the distance. “Sorry, Love, I’ve got to go,” he says as he pulls his pants on while still eyeing me hungrily. “What is it?” I ask as I sit up. He nips at my lips, and I feel a cold nose on my cheek for a second. “Stolen car. They’re after me.” The Wolf peeks at me from behind the Thief’s skin. He throws on his green jacket and tosses me a key before he opens the front door. A paw sweeps me off the bed forcefully and pulls me into his body. Our faces collide in unchecked hunger; one more deep taste before he’s off. “Meet me again,” he growls as he motions to the key.
First, your soundtrack:
My brothers and I arrived at the park about two hours before sunset. The vehicle that delivered us was a strange mix of a hippie van and a school bus. It felt like we were returning from a field trip or sporting event, yet we were dressed in suits and professional duds. We were all itching to get in some exercise at the park before sunset, maybe run a couple trails and do the circuit work-outs. All of us changed as quickly as possible at different ends of the van/bus. Some little fleshy dragons that could be mistaken for insects if one didn’t look closely enough kept flying in the window near me. They were cute and distracting, but they quickly became annoying as they insisted on buzzing around my head or landing on me. Some of them would bite or spit fire so I shooed them out the window several times. Once they were all out, I closed and locked the back window. Peering out, I saw our driver for the first time.
He was a small, thin, pale man, dressed in grays and blacks. A baseball cap covered his bald head, and the chains hanging from his wallet jangled as he walked. He looked at me through the smoke escaping his mouth with other-worldly, luminescent, steel-gray eyes. Storm clouds rolled in him and imps sought to escape his skin. Before becoming too transfixed, my brothers called for me to finish getting ready. I nodded and put on my sneakers. As I was tying them, the driver walked over to the front of the van/bus, a fresh cigarette hanging from his mouth. He began to bullshit with my brothers. As he talked with them, the sky changed rapidly. The sun quickly dropped closer to the horizon. The driver made eye contact with me before walking outside again. The numbers on the clock had jumped 30 minutes in their three-minute conversation.
My brothers shook their heads, as if they had water in their ears that they were trying to dislodge. I made my way to the front of the bus. A Brief History of Time, constellation maps and the Beastie Boys’ album Intergalactic were sprawled out on the floor of the van/bus by his seat. I rose my head to see the driver outside smiling as he crushed his cigarette under his foot. As quick as he was to light another, he seemed to jump out of my view.
The weirdness was apparent to me, but I filed the feelings away for now, deciding not to act. I still didn’t know what this encounter meant really.
“Are we doing this or what?” I called to my brothers. “It’s getting late fast.”
They stopped fiddling with their ears, and we all emptied out of the bus to run among the trees and ponds, toward the setting sun.
I’m in a house. But who am I in this house? Am I the cyberpunk woman with white hair and blue lips, dressed in a black and purple gown? Am I the little girl standing in the upstairs hall in a party dress, with my black hair done up in ribbons and barrettes? Or am I the hired help, somewhere in between these two females, that is supposed to be getting everything in order for the wedding? I think I’m the hired help: the 20/30-something woman in the crisp, white, button-down; the simple, black pencil skirt; and brown hair pulled so tight in a ponytail that my eyes always look like they’re slightly watering.
What am I doing? …besides not being productive and holding things up currently. My boss, a domineering matriarch with permanent frown lines and etched, sinister eyebrows, barks orders at me from the bottom of the staircase. What am I doing up here? Isn’t everyone dressed already?
Oh… OK, now I know what to do.
The little girl is not ready. She has no tights and no shoes, and she is starting to pick the rhinestone barrettes out of her hair. I take her hands.
“You mustn’t play with them right now.”
“But they hurt.”
“Oh,” I make a frowny face as I kneel down to talk to her. “I know it hurts. Barrettes suck. But you only need to wear them for a little while. After the ceremony, you can take them out. OK?”
She rubs her eyes and nods. “If it makes you fell any better, my ponytail hurts like a bitch.” She looks at me. “Uh… don’t tell the other adults I said that. OK?” She nods. “Great. Now, we need to get you in tights and shoes.” We go into her room.
As this is going on, the cyberpunk bride is arranging her “veil:” a silver headdress that extends over her head like horns and below her chin like tusks. Blinking lights frame her face. For some reason, she stays on the stairs while others prep her and workers try to squeeze by her to move from the top levels to the bottom ones. She seems cold and distant, almost dead underneath her impatient and dissatisfied exterior. She looks at her pointy, black nails or the glass, spherical chandeliers above her. A young man, who I soon identify as the groom, comes into view at the bottom of the stairs. His attire matches hers: black and purple with silver accents. His hair is wind-whipped; the black and white colors make it look like an electrified skunk has latched onto his head. He is shouting to the bride about something. I’m not sure what the argument is about, but he is certainly less than pleasant to her and she is certainly less than happy about or attentive to what is going on.
As his voice escalates, the girl, now sitting on the bed in her white tights and patent leather shoes, begins to cry. I don’t ask, but she answers.
“He always so mean to her. I hate him.”
I am guessing that the bride is probably her sister or half-sister. The bride is too young to be this girl’s mother, and the relationship seems too intense for it to be niece-aunt or cousins. As I am doing my assuming, the girl becomes very still, as if she is listening to me.
She changes. As she dries her eyes, I see that they have grown older and changed color. The muscles in her face tighten and she assumes a new persona. Her voice is that of a grown woman… or rather, female cyborg.
“I am Out of Time,” she says to me, plainly. We both pause. She flickers back into the little girl. “I don’t want to be here, like this.” She begins to cry again.
I try to handle the situation. So I start the only place I really can.
“OK. OK.” I lay my hands in the air. She flickers back to the lady cyborg; her mannerisms and demeanor show me who she is moment to moment. I ask her: “What Time are you in?”
“Many. I live several lives simultaneously.”
“Some I don’t know. Sometimes I cannot control where I go; I just pop in. I don’t know how many lives I am living exactly, right ‘now,’ but I do know that she’s me and she’s trapped.” She flickers and cries. Instantly, another young girl that looks almost exactly like her, except with blonde hair, appears behind her.
“Who’s trapped? Who’s ‘she?'”
Two, three, four more girls, all very similar, but slightly different, pop into existence.
Flicker. The voice is now a blend between the adult cyborg and the little girl. “The bride. Out there. She’s me. I’m her. She just doesn’t remember. He made her forget.” The crying of the girl with black hair begins to reverberate all around in the room. The other young girls look around with dry eyes. Many look focused on a task, or at least, are driven by strong feelings. They begin to talk in unison about numbers and counting and manifestation. I cannot make sense of it all.
I hear glass break outside. The chandeliers, they fell from the ceiling. Broken glass is strewn all over the upstairs hallways and down the staircase. The bride is nowhere to be found.
The young girls rise together and exit their bedroom. These mirror images begin to oscillate between one and many incarnations. When the girls come together as one, the image is of a young adult woman with black hair and violet eyes. She wears an oversized men’s button-down shirt. Her legs are bare and milky white. She wears no shoes and rolls her feet slowly from heel to toe.
Parents, relatives, the bridal party and guests all tell her to stay put, not to move. “There’s broken glass everywhere; you’ll slice up your feet.”
“I am aware,” she says as she walks forward without flinching or avoiding the glass. “You seem not to appreciate how much I do not want this. I will show you that I’d rather walk through broken glass (this broken Reality) than be a part of it.”
And she walks slowly and purposefully, never wincing or crying. In the windows and mirrors she passes by, all can see images of a thousand incarnations that she is, including the little girls and the cyberpunk bride, including tribal warriors and circus performers, including war machines and hummingbirds. The hallways are long, but she continues. Though glass embeds itself in her skin, she does not bleed on the forest-green carpet.
I am a love of that I am a reflection and emanation. Kisses under the stars. Tall grass reaching for our bodies. This figurative heart is also the lips of Nuit.
I am suspended in Time and Space. Hanging from my foot, I feel the rush of blood to my head. I am Red at every extremity.
I offer up my heart as a torn entity. In my struggle between the binaries, I express both forms simultaneously.
I am captured by Life. Celestial forces pull at my chest and wrap me in electromagnetic fields. These forces are hands in my flow, attempting to redirect. When my eyes close, stars explode behind my eyelids and the fire rises within me.
Caught in a sea of darkness, I see my monsters and the spoils of war float by. Temptations to which I submitted mimic the color of the bleeding sun. The rope is within reach. I seek to extract myself from this Ocean of bruise-blue and this Sky of blood tears.
One foot on a black hole, another on the sun that is slowly being sucked in, I stand, a knife in one hand, with broken skin and bruised body to face the shooting stars and Windows of opportunities floating in Outer Space.
Masked I am: all Blue and smirking.
Fires and serpents at my feet that I cannot fight: my hands are tied and my arms spread wide. There will be no yelling through this duct tape. There will be nowhere to move when the archers take aim at the bulls eye marked on my chest. A phantom heart resides in the background, with the rainbows peeking from the storm clouds and the incentive on which I am to focus.
Tied up in electricity, I cannot help my fascination with the fire butterfly in front of me.
A hand emerges in the heavenly light. Inside its palm is an eye that cries for a reason that I do not know. The walls of this room have no beginning and no end. The doorway is through the flesh, and the night sky can be seen out my window.
I am bound in the colors of Fire, though I don the colors of Water. I reach through my element to the one that binds me, never allowing the physical abomination I face to shake me. I even ignore the easy way out.
I stand in front of an explosion. It is not for others to know if I initiated it or not.
Locked in a space I can reach through, I peer into the Unknown. Perhaps I care little to use the key I know is there to unlock myself at the present moment, despite the water slowly rising in my cell.
An angel stands in a stream of Water and Light. All that she emits conspires to spell out your name.
Perhaps I look much like a leprechaun among the flora. Yet I sit within the constructs of this world, laughing all the time in the face of Death.
My strength keeps me hanging on and glaring into the face of my opponents.
I am both the malformed entity with dragon wings and the one that loves such creatures.
The epiphanies I come to are etched in my skin. I write my Truth on my body for all to see.
The saga presented in the beginning continues… lovers on the beach, hand in hand and skin to skin. There are two fish I know so well that keep us adhered.
He looks like a nazi, with anger and coldness to match. I am naked before him, coming out of the Water to face whatever may be waiting for me in the blood of the setting sun.
Within me thrive beauty, music, life, fantasy, destruction, innocence, enchantment and growth.
Beyond Time and these cities of Men, we reside in the clouds together, as forms of what we can conceive.
Possessed by something else entirely, my eyes are now in reverse.
I will break through that which holds the key in order to get it.
These images and forms are cast in beauty and pale pink and live within alien landscapes.
I see. I listen. My mouth is shut.
All incarnations were called to join in one room. I was lying on the floor. The first to arrive included the Angelic, the Demonic, the Primal, the Sullen and the Fantastic.
One of the stories: The hunter holds his fallen love.
Within my eyes, his image is never really gone. The fires and finely sculpted body, complete with the Mythical implications, still burn my eyes.
I am leaving. I am taking this key and locking the door behind me. I know not what the Path holds for me, but I see vague images of Lovers, Guides, Demons and the cloak of Night.
This Djinn is too sultry to not become captivated.
A target for some unknown archers, I sit with a crown on my head and scepter in my hand. My throne is stone and these blues and violets are so heavy this time.
Where Ocean, Sky and Moon meet, the Goddess emerges. She absentmindedly creates whirlpools with her fingers as she is so lost in her own head.
Another of the stories: This time she cries out among fallen trees as she holds her lifeless Lover in her arms.
Incomplete: A fire dancer and a woman meet.
He enters from the back door. He is cast among shadows and holds clenched fists. The bare light bulb swings above my head, and all I can do is look at the ground.
In the green-blue haze, a new creature emerges in the face of dragons and clown-faced skeletons.
Laughing ‘til tears spill down my face, a rainbow wash of entities spring forth from the subconscious. She touches my head while this one dances by my shoulders. I see the ones I know from dreams and the One we shall all know on our last day.
Incomplete: Her eyes are new and fashioned by the magic he weaves. Faces, jewels, symbols, and gifts float from his spirit to dress her as he wishes.
The Witch spins and weaves, playing with Infinity. Her tools are represented. Their fear is evident.
Fangs materialize over her. She is blue and black with Death entering her eyes, spiders crawling up her body and serpents reaching for her. A hand from below reaches through her chest to pull her down.
The Rogue Alchemist meets the Eye in the Sky. He masks himself in the presence of the Eye. The flow of Power is both ways, from him to the Eye and from the Eye to him. The water is blood and the sky is fire. His totem, the Raven, responds to his calls.
Incomplete: This Devil has maces fastened to his wrists. The poison plant people and fire woman appeal to him.
A boot squashes the sun. This man with the hammer hand falls under rain while snakes turn to flowers.
I ran and exploded into pure energy. On the other side, I emerged as a beautiful Faery from a red flower.
My totem speaks; he brings some Faery friends.
The Bull King comes to greet us. We become possessed: everything tainted red and blue.
Her gown eats the floor and her throne eats the sky. She sits with a cat on her lap. Her eyes have no pupils.
Abstract: Colors! A tree hand reaches for a pear. A sinister goatee is the stem to the pear. Eyes cry or protect. Hearts are flowers that birth spirals. Violet fire burns in the corner.
A portrait with a loving glow.
A boy sits in the corner. The shadow he casts creates a hungry woman.
Close-up of fascination.
The primordial Beach and Creation.
Elven couple by Water.
Abstract: Green man covered in occult symbols with a snake arm is distracted by the tongue of a half-face woman. She is hanging in the air by a neon eye as her face also emerges from a psychedelic tree. From the tree hangs a man in a noose and flowers grow. A butterfly with eyes flies by. A night Faery dances on spirals of Love next to the Raven of the Night.
A figure in a purple cloak approaches the light at the end of a maroon hallway of mirrors and torches.
A redhead by a brick wall.
Abstract: Happy, neon fish-face swims under the cartoon dog with a genie lamp for ears. A pink and purple Faery Steed is vaguely recognizable.
Abstract: A blue eye has eyelashes of feathers from which hearts trail. The hearts flow into cotton-candy clouds that pass over the full moon. These same colors spiral into fires in the corner, over which, “RED MEAT” is written. RED MEAT is at the foot of the bed, which remains unmade. Zzzzs trail off to the door, beyond which, the cat explores a tunnel. Dreamers’ thought-bubbles contain “X,” which runs into a path leading back to the blue eye. Clovers and clubs hang in the background, along with dancing plant people.
The Cosmic Jester peers into the ring of Existence, where pregnancies, births, deaths, reincarnation occurs. The lotus flower sits within the heart, that ends in Infinity. “ZERO” creates its own trails in the sphere. The Eye sees “SOUL.” The Jester smiles as the Dice at the end of his hat reflect in his eyes. Sun, Moon and Stars are all contained in his silly hat. Behind him, the Goddess stands among spirals of Creation.
A comic strip of a night of drunkenness.
Portraits of my friends and a coffee house conversation.
1st panel: I’m wearing a t-shirt that says “RAGE” as I crush cars, destroy buildings and burn people. 2nd panel: My face contorted in anger, I am fantasizing about throwing punches at some choice people.
A green-eyed man.
Fishies kissing my toes as I stand with a flower in hand, balancing against a tree and a toe in the pond.
Goddess(/I) emerges from a water lily. The full moon and a water snake are behind her.
Abstract: A cat hangs out in the clouds as a message in a bottle travels through the water below. Flowers spontaneously spring from the water, which gets kissed by a fish. Balloons soar upwards from the road with a cartoon car. A strawberry in the sun is dipped in a chocolate well.
Abstract: A woman’s face covers the page. There is the sun in her eyes. A fire butterfly passes over an unmade bed. Ice cream cones and cherries are directly above the bed, being licked. The moon makes music from the clouds. A cat is made from the letters in “MEOW.”
Realism: Tree Frog
Realism: Snowy Mountain Lion
Faery sitting on a pentacle. Lizard face eating a flaming ball on a fork.
Man emerges from a flower. A snake wraps around his waist. The sun is in the sky and a heart-shaped woman’s face with puckered lips is in the background.
A woman (me) from the waist down, in a mini skirt and heels. Young, hot man’s face in the corner reacting.
Infinity symbol wrapped around a crescent moon.
We had been traveling. Currently, we resided in a transitory nest within the city. The faces of my companions were fluid in space-time. They changed; I changed.
An average day it was certainly not. Something stirred in the skies. We all knew it intuitively and instinctively though we talked not about The Unseen.
The decision to go to the Ocean at The End of the World was unanimous. I do not remember how we traveled, but it had wheels. We arrived as the skies spun and changed colors.
A storm is brewing, someone seemed to say.
There were, at least, five of us, and, at most, ten of us. Either (/any) way, the numbers were split evenly so each person had a “counterpart” of the same gender. Mine was blonde and taller and less skilled than I was. She seemed to pop into existence as my feet hit the sand. Her hologram wavered with the clouds in the sky. Spirals formed on the horizon, indications of merging points and vertexes. The edges of The World became dark. All five (ten) of us panned outward to observe the land from a bird’s-eye (or space-eye) view. The Pattern: Shadows coming from all angles with a perfect circle of Light that was quickly diminishing. And who should happen to be in the center of that Circle of Light but the five (ten) of us.
We drew our Eyes back into ourselves and each assumed our stations. I sat, lotus-style, at the Water’s Edge. My counterpart was fastened onto me with a silver string around her waist. She sat in my lap, over my crossed legs, facing the watery horizon. It was my charge and my responsibility to keep her safe, to stabilize her form through the journey. I instructed her to close her eyes, to breathe as normally as possible. “You must stay with me; pull the c(h)ord tight. If you ever feel you are losing yourself, locate the c(h)ord and my body. Re-orient with me as quickly as possible.”
As the shadows closed-in, the others instructed their counterparts in the same manner. I felt the indigo rise to my eyes and brow as the skies darkened rapidly. I closed my physical eyes as my Third Eye burned bright violet in the Dark. The circle became a pinhole and then…
Nothing at all.
We were traveling (or not?), her/I and the Others. I felt her temptation to open her eyes, and I strongly transmitted “Don’t.” The blackness swarmed in and through what may have been our bodies. There were noises that may have been drums or shrieks, harps or hail, bells or singing, sonication or pressurization. There were sensations of gossamer webs, crackling embers, soft glow, a school of fish, amniotic fluid, riptides, needles, gravel, fine silk and wind tunnels. A kaleidoscope of taste-color crashed upon our faces and re-arranged our flesh. I kept the center, held it as a meditation of a grain of sand in a sandstorm. She remained still with me and followed where my mind willed her.
And with no warning whatsoever, the World returned. We were sitting on the Beach at The Edge. Ten dissolved to five, and the silver c(h)ords returned to our spinal columns as the violet gave way to indigo and, eventually, the flesh of our brows. The sky was bright blue with puffs of gleeful white clouds. Waves kissed our feet as we rose in synchrony. We returned to our vehicle and sped off.
It started as a coming-of-age story, set in a university of buildings of cobblestone with a prestigious and arrogant presence. This particular man-boy was no ordinary one. The story started as most of these stories do:
He had a different life than the others; one they didn’t or could never know, and so, it was one they didn’t (and didn’t want to) understand. He worked nights at a nearby motel with his only friend, a large girl with facial piercings, beautiful hair and second-hand clothes. They were both maids. Pushing cleaning carts in their cyan-green uniforms (a poorly-enforced code with which they took liberties), they would often talk about their day, their hopes, the people they knew as they drank cheap hard alcohol hidden in some of the plastic containers.
Silver dazzled in the sputtering fluorescent light as a turquoise stone swung on the end of the long sterling silver wire. With every step, the turquoise peeked out from behind his thick, black curls. “I had to defend my jewelry today again,” he said as he took a swig.
Conversation happened, but was a bit more strained than usual. When things ‘got weird’ between them, the ritual to take the edge off was to inhabit an empty room for half an hour. They’d drink some more and talk, but use the room as a contained area, like a confessional or secrets’ box. Tonight they got into the double bed and sat upright, passing the plastic bottle between them. After some drinks he lied down and positioned his body to face the window as she started to speak. She felt distant from him, like he wasn’t telling her as much as he had in their past. She wanted to be closer; she wanted it to be like old times. Didn’t he trust her anymore? Pause. Or was there something else? He didn’t provide answers or assuage her fears; he remained quiet and motionless. He didn’t turn as she placed her hand on his shoulder. A shiny film of drool reflecting the stale orange lights from outside pooled on his pillow. She sighed in disappointment.
“I know y’all gonna change those sheets now before I get back with some ice,” said a strained deep voice from the door.
In her focus, she must not have heard the door open. She was greeted with an impatient stance from a tall, muscular body with a loud mini skirt and halter stretched across it. Long, red nails were being tapped on the door frame while hair extensions almost broke free from the headband as s/he shook her head in chiding. The queen’s eyes met the young girl’s as a righteous finger shook in the air.
“Wake that little boy up and get him outta my bed. Y’all two are lucky I aint tellin yo manager.” The queen huffed and made a small scene as she walked quickly down the hall.
The girl sighed again.
The movie cut to the next scene in school. In these scenes I began to transition into the man-boy’s place. Two things occurred, but I cannot remember their order. I’ll start with what I feel may have been first: The House (again, The House always comes before the critters).
He/I had cut school that afternoon. I slipped out while everyone was talking and eating lunch outside. My friend was still inside somewhere, and she was likely annoyed and still wanting to talk. I took the opportunity to get on my scooter and leave campus; no one else would know I was gone. It only took me about ten minutes to get to the city limits. I exited the city and followed a sense of urgency. The expedition was unplanned; I had neither a map nor supplies. Structure fell away once outside the city. Traffic lights were few and far between. Stretches of road were long and winding. Businesses were mostly long closed down or nearly empty. The air was fresh but buzzing in a different way than it does within the city walls, untainted by human thoughts. I traveled through rolling hills of green like an ocean swim.
And then I arrived. A small corridor between two stone walls overgrown with ivy was my way in. I parked my bike outside and slid between the walls. At the end, acres of land opened before me. This looked like a private estate. The lawn was well maintained and saturated green. A garden wrapped itself enchantingly around some small houses and sheds. Paths seemed to spring up right under my feet, and they led me to a hole in a wall, an empty stable and a tiny, furnished house. All of these were overgrown with ivy or honeysuckle. Looking through the hole in the wall, I saw more land of the same, with gardens and greenery and fruit. Though it may not have seemed so special, I found it difficult to avert my eyes. They felt stuck on the scene. Slowly a dewy haze crept in from my peripheral vision. I heard music on the wind and melodic voices singing.
If it was not for the raucous in the stable beside me, I would probably still be staring down that hole. I literally jumped at the loud noise, like a stable door being slammed shut. When I looked though, nothing in or around the stable seemed to have moved. I almost loss my balance as I examined the stable. I grabbed my head as it began to ring. With one hand on my head and the other out in front of me, I stumbled away from the wall with the hole, the tiny house and the full-sized stable. Walking back the way I came in, I saw some things I did not notice upon first gaze. So strange that I missed a large tan sign claiming this was an estate and the gigantic House many yards away. Unfortunately, my distorted vision did not allow me to read the name or address on the sign. An old man’s voice came out of nowhere, followed be his very presence next to me. His image was blurred, but I take it he was the grounds’ keeper. The House looked well-kept and full of life until the man touched me. My thoughts raced with him through a gutted-out House that barely stood except for its pretentious façade. I pulled myself free of his grip and charged to the corridor between the walls.
As I was running from The House a wind kicked up suddenly from the opposite direction that I was running. In a strange daze of pain and disorientation, I began to panic at this manifestation. If this was a magic land, well, then I’d fight back with its own rules. I called for my broom to come save me. My Will guided it right to my hands. I jumped aboard and blasted off to the walls. The House, angry with my attempt, gained gravity to distort space. I felt myself being pulled in by its force. To answer its threat, I shrunk myself and dissipated to avoid its gravitic grip. It seemed to shriek as the sky began to crumble, but I had made it to the walls.
My head pain was its worst just before entering the walls. As soon as I managed to slide myself in, I recombined into myself and the pain and ringing dimmed as my vision cleared. I stayed between the safety of the walls and rested until I felt more sober and in control. Looking back toward the estate, I could see none of what I had just experienced; it was just a wash of trees and green.
I fled back to the university on my scooter, eager for some normalcy of everyday life. My parking spot was still free so I took it. The face of the clock read a time that was virtually no longer than my scooter ride within the city limits; I was not even late for my next class, which happened to be “Wellness” (the college cop-out name for gym). I hadn’t been able to change so I showed up in my suit. The instructor made me play basket ball regardless. We had numerous courts, all on the lower floor of the gym. The design was such that a running platform was above the court and stairwells were at either side of the court leading up to the running track. I was on the stairwell when the instructor winged the ball in my direction. I caught it, but the instructor’s impatience and distaste was more than apparent.
My reaction was just that: a reaction. Without thinking, I shot the ball at the wall opposing him with the same gusto. The echo was like the thunder of Zeus announcing his displeasure. My plans to stare down the instructor were foiled by distraction. I heard two balls fall from the wall, one right after another. This anomaly immediately got my attention; a human vendetta was small potatoes compared to physics gone awry in the “real” world.
Indeed there were two balls on the floor, but neither of them was a basketball. They were about the size of one, but one was white and the other was black, and they both seemed to be growing. The balls unfolded into two creatures that stood about 10 feet high. They were both bipedal and had bodies similar in structure to humans. They were sexless and their appendages were malleable, morphing from arms and hands with opposable thumbs to tentacles to robotic cylinders with claws or clasps. Their faces were different, but both animal-like. Though these animals represented were no animals found on earth, the best likeness my human mind could grasp was a rabbit for the white one and a horse for the black one. They both greeted me and telepathically introduced themselves. The white one was Odds and the black one was Ends. They huffed and blew some smoke as their eyes began to twirl and flash. A speech seemed to be eminent, but was cut short by a ball that made contact with my head. They dissolved into the air and seemed to traffic back to the hands and face of the clock, with Odds filling the spaces of the faces and Ends bleeding back into the hands and numbers.
To be continued…
I found myself at a retail warehouse – some strange mix of Bed, Bath & Beyond and Best Buy. At first, I could not distinguish myself from some of the shoppers I saw: the newly-wed couple, the lone intellectual, the overly enthusiastic child, the exhausted mother, the care-free bachelor, and the malcontent teenagers. They were all there, and I grappled to figure out who I was this time around. Or was I the disembodied Watcher again?
No. The Salesman could see me. As I found my body and my orientation, I felt his eyes already on me, as if he had been watching since the second I entered this dreamscape. He was an attractive man of somewhere around 30 years. His skin tone and hair color hinted at a lineage descended from desert-faring people. Immobile he stood, with his hands held behind his back while his eyes interrogated my presence. Eyes just like a gun, with all the world in his cross-hairs; he was not of this world common to the shoppers. But, then again, neither was I so it seemed.
As shoppers approached him with questions, he morphed into a dozen different people. Each one was tailored to the customer’s tastes, and he always got the sale. I watched through the newly-wed couples’ eyes as he saw an attractive young woman addressing the novelty and fun found in the item while she saw a warm, mild-mannered man appealing to her sensibility and frugality. He herded them from one aisle to another and finally, to the checkout. In my examination of the Salesman, I ignored the customers as much as they seemed not to see me.
Outside the warehouse was an unremarkable desert that felt like a hole in the world. I could hear and feel the wind, but strangely, it seemed not to move anywhere: no origin and no destination. The Salesman appeared behind me, and assumed the same stance as before. His eyes spun through several colors and shapes. We stood in silence, glaring at each other. Neither of us were looking for answers or explanations; we seemed beyond the point of interrogation, now into the phase of silent accusations. Was I the Accused or the Accuser? Did (does) it, would (will) it, should (who cares about “shoulding” anyway) it really matter?
Nothing happened in the desert. We eventually walked off in the same direction, not together, but not completely apart from one another.
We entered the old house turned base. Those we knew were inside doing whatever it is they do. It was something important to them, some political activist activity or some kind of “rebellion.” It was of little importance to both the Salesman and myself, though, everyone else seemed unaware of our disinterest. They spoke to us as if we were thick as thieves and blood brothers. Perhaps that is how they saw us. Truth be told, the Salesman and I were far “closer” in those ways than either of us with any of them. They were of the world of shoppers; that very great fact immediately places galaxies between us. Whereas the Salesman and I- we were two of a Kind.
The activists continued on with their activities, speaking nonsense words to us. We sat in opposing chairs and communicated via eyes. I knew my eyes were much like his own. The flickers of information and subtle changes went unrecognized by those of this world; our eye changes were above (or below) and beyond their perception range. The activists probably were consciously unaware of the effects of our exchange, but within minutes, the base became silent and still. No one asked aloud if anything was wrong, but they gradually gathered close to us. Some sat behind the Salesman and some sat behind me.
Stories were told through the movement of gas molecules, but no one spoke a word. Images of the desert were transmitted and imprinted in the air. There was a boy that looked very much like the Salesman, only he was about fifteen years his junior and of the world of shoppers. He was not as quick, clever or confident as the Salesman (his idol and role model), but he would never admit these things to anyone except in prostration to the Salesman.
This boy set out into the desert on a mission. My side did not know his mission, but we had hints about his mindset. He carried a messenger bag full of unknowns. It felt like weapons that lacked conviction, and I knew the boy lacked expertise. Perhaps a gun with blanks or perhaps a knife he would wield unconvincingly. Images were choppy, like a reel that has been edited or spliced. In the desert he found some men and he found some women. He passed by the men, making eye contact but no threats. With the women, he would attempt flirtation. The ones that returned the flirtation made him sweat. If they giggled, he would sweat some more. If he construed the giggling for ridicule, out came the gun. He would command them to kneel and place their hands behind their head. Many would cry and beg for mercy, which would empty out his eyes while searchlights flooded his mind. He prayed for the Salesman to guide him, constructing His image in his mind. Then the Salesman slipped into his body. During this time, the boy had no recollection of the actions taken. He would return to himself as the women walked away, unharmed, without a care and sometimes even in high spirits. He would torture himself with attempts to remember the details, but the Salesman requested that he be content without the memories.
This cycle repeated many times on many days of many months to years. Before grabbing the gun and turning it on a woman, the boy told himself that he would go through the motions himself. Whatever it was he was doing, he would be the one to do it. He would remember. The Salesman would take pity on his condition and allow him. Or else he would rebel against the Salesman and reclaim his body and mind. But time and time again, the Salesman would appear in his mind, calm the boy and disarm him. The boy would retreat and feel safe and warm as he drifted to sleep.
There was one time when the boy awoke while he was still holding a gun to a woman. He had recollection of him/the Salesman ordering the woman to praise aloud Ha-Li (THE Godform). This particular woman refused; she was the first to do so. The boy panicked. He consciousness fled in and out. The name of Ha-Li was used in vain and blasphemed. Were there gunshots? It was difficult to know. Suddenly, the woman disappeared from the images. The boy walked back to the base like a zombie in sweat-soaked clothes and an empty messenger bag.
His body tumbled into the room, startling those immersed in the mind-movie-story. Both the Salesman and I watched him; neither of us moved from our chairs. He shouted at both of us- words of hatred, pain, remorse, renunciation, and accusation that bled from disillusionment and delusions. He waved a key in the air in a triumphant defiance that neither of us quite understood. He said he would enter The Room of God, and that neither of us could stop him or dissuade him. We could not go with him, he stated; he proclaimed that he knew we were of the Damned. If we were of his world, perhaps we would fear for him or attempt to stop him from opening that door with the silly key he waved around.
The door was a plain one with chipped white paint and an old handle that rusted over a bit. It was on one wall of the house/base. Nothing else was kept on this wall; the wall had a way of rejecting wall hangings. It broke mirrors and absorbed any ink or paint so it was always a bare, plain, old, white wall. From the outside of the house, there looked to be a sun room on the other side of the door. It was constructed of white boards and columns that held the unbreakable glass in place. We could see the other side of the door through the glass from the outside. Nothing was in the room, which was all the better considering anything under glass in hot dessert sun would bake.
The boy took off his shirt and went into one of the bedrooms to change into a new pair of pants and a gray, zip-up hoodie that he left open. The Salesman and I saw him in white robes in flashes as he moved from the bedroom to the door. He shouted some more nonsense and then grandly unlocked the door. The activists were shocked that they key worked. They backed away. It seemed that even the boy was shocked that he had found the one, magical, working key. He was awestruck and regarded the inside of the room with much trepidation. We smelled the fear wick off him and heard his heart beat like a jackhammer. He molded his face to something he thought to be impressive and victorious as he turned to the activists in his sorry facade.
He lifted his foot to step inside and no sooner than he made the motion did the room respond by sucking him in as if he had opened a vacuum. The activists did not see this, though. To them, he had merely stepped inside as light spilled at his feet, and the door clicked shut behind him.
The Salesman and I met him inside, as one merged entity, through projection, as the flesh remained outside the door, and half of our minds entertained the activists’ questions. We questioned him on how it felt to be in The Room of God. He was unregulated. His sense of time and self kept fragmenting and reconstituting in what may be considered fractions of seconds. His articulation fell away from him as symbols and words ceased to make sense. He paced and bounced around the room while simultaneously melting or solidifying into what might be described as “the floor.” His spirit was in agony as he struggled against dissolution. Two simultaneous visions: one of the bare, white room and one of Space, phased in and out for him. They collided and melted into each other. He could not make sense or hold onto to either.
The activists had ran outside to find out whether they could see him in the room or not. Some were shocked to see that he wasn’t there at all, while others were saddened or terrified to see him in such a degraded, raging or self-mutilating state. They fought over the reality.
“He’s dead in the corner!”
“What?! No, he isn’t. He’s inside beating his hands to a pulp against the wall.”
“What are you talking about? I don’t see him.”
“You don’t see him because he’s not there in the room at all.”
“What are you, blind? He’s catatonic and drooling on himself.”
“Oh, I thought he was just asleep.”
“Where? I still don’t see him.”
“Maybe he’s hiding?”
“He’ll be cooked to death in there…”
In any vision, they all agreed on one thing: It must have been the wrong key.