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.
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.
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.
I don’t know how it started or where I was, but I found myself staring down a barrel of a gun aimed at about four to five fit men in sporty metrosexual clothes (it was difficult to get details with such poor vision). The corridor walls and ceiling were soft blues and off-whites, contrasting the thick, black night that we viewed through the one glass wall of the corridor. Under harsh lights, the men looked to be melting as sweat dripped down their oily skin. I felt myself in much the same state, leaking from my skin: salty or metallic, clear or red fluids. I could feel where my face was bruised and puffy. My left eye was surely a purple mess, and I’m positive that the red marks on the floor where I was standing were from my body. There were people behind me. From what I could gather, there were two women just as badly beaten as I was, one adolescent girl in tears and two younger children (a girl and a boy) wailing.
I kept my eyes on the men while telling the woman that was not huddled over the children to grab the other gun at my feet. The men were saying something while holding up their hands to show me their palms. The tones were gentle and slow, and I didn’t want any of it. The eldest man with slicked-back hair and dressed in a leather jacket too warm for the heat of summer began to move a little in our direction. I clicked the safety off as I spit blood out of the side of my mouth. He froze. “Move back,” the woman to my right (let’s call her Vea) shouted with impressive, unwavering confidence. Though he was obedient, I felt my stomach drop. I shot immediately at the man with his hands out of view, behind the others. The others reached for their weapons or turned to run. We were able to obliterate all of them within seconds. I wish the children hadn’t seen that, was my first thought after firing. I removed the clip and ditched the gun. Vea was already telling the other woman to leave with the children. She helped them up and carried the young girl outside as the other woman carried the boy.
I was alone outside, peering into the mouth of a hungry forest. No moonlight graced the path in, but a song on the wind pointed the direction I should take. It was if I had no choice but to enter the woods. The music cracked in the air, some strange mixture of soul and the ambient sounds behind the voice of a teller of horror stories. There were no trails to walk; I had to listen closely for the next turn. After some time, I noticed that the music lead along a path of dead or broken trees. I was constantly jumping logs and balancing myself as I walked across trees that had recently fell. The gradient of the land kept a steady, gradual incline. When the ground leveled-off, I began to actually feel the radiowaves being emitted from one source. I got flashes in my mind of old horror movies I had seen that were set in the woods. My skin began to crawl as the voice and the crackling in the air became stronger. I saw the cabin in my mind before I saw it with my eyes: grey, wooden boards too thin on which to hang a picture, dusty furniture and rotted books, dark nooks and vermin-infested cabinets, a chilly draft through the living room and certain doom inside. Then I saw it with my eyes, between the trees, about 50 paces from where I was. Seeing was believing, and I didn’t need to go any farther. My instincts told me not to pass the cabin, but rather to turn and run back the way I came. So I did.
I could have sworn Vea was somewhere in the woods as well…
Vea and I had escaped. We looked malnourished and filthy. Prisoners of war, we didn’t care where we were headed so long as we were free. We had been gone days now, living off what we could kill or steal. Bandanas covered our nearly-bald heads, and pieces of the enemy’s uniform hung about our bodies. Our skin color was now indiscernible due to the layers of grime and soil that covered us. We had sought refuge from the enemy and their hate in the fields far outside of the towns and villages. The people never ventured into the tall grass and swamps; a fear of the wild ran deep within them. Perhaps this was due to the various venomous snakes and ravenous predators that could not be seen amongst the vegetation or thick waters. Unlike many of the villagers, our chances were better here than with the humans. Like the animals, we were hidden well.
We traveled far together, walking night or day until our body gave into fatigue. In these strange, shamanic journeys, we became convinced that we had crossed worlds as the landscapes changed. Fortune blessed us with necessary food and few accidents or confrontations. Time became untraceable to us, and once we stepped out of it, we stepped into a reality that gave us shelter. An intriguing cottage made of pale woods and clay, simple in elegance and façade and complicated in architectural design of weird additions came into view like the rising sun over the horizon. We beamed and approached it as one might approach a temple. The front door was unlocked. Inside were simple furnishings made of organic materials. Everything smelled fresh and reassuring. Grains and fruits that sat on the kitchen table invited us to partake, which we did voraciously before growing tired from our fullness. We climbed the small and perfect wooden ladder to the second floor, where we flopped on down pillows for a nap.
I awoke to a door closing shut. Vea was still asleep on the other side of the loft area. I heard three voices which I identified to be mother, father and daughter. The shuffling sounded like they were moving bags and items around. Guilt washed over me as I thought of our shortsightedness and rashness in devouring the available food and using all their belongings without questioning our actions. They would find us eventually so I didn’t prolong the inevitable. I descended the ladder while they were in the kitchen and hid behind the corner like a child encountering unfamiliar animals. I realized my actions may be strange for an adult woman. But was I an adult woman? Or was I an adolescent? Thinking about Vea, I realized that, although we had been through much and thought of ourselves as adults, she did look quite young, just like I likely did as well. Our age eluded us. It did not elude the mother who had spotted me behind the corner. She knew we ate the food and used the house. I was expecting a punishment, but instead I was greeted with tearing eyes and exclamations of pity and sorrow. How malnourished were we? How feral did we appear?
She asked me questions, and my mind answered though few to no words escaped my mouth. I didn’t startle at her light touch as she rested her hands on my shoulders. Mother and Father took us in. They let us bathe and gave us clean clothes. Luckily, the daughter they had was not jealous or vindictive. She was happy to have sisters even if we were still quiet, reserved and somewhat strange.
One of my first days as their daughter was spent exploring the land near their cottage. Mother told me of a wonderful lake just past the tree-line. Vea and I could see the lake sparkle in the summer sun. As we approached the water’s edge, a giant tower of water rose to greet us. The form of a human-like entity took shape before our eyes, followed by other forms and noises. Feelings of apprehension, awe and beauty welled up within me simultaneously. I found myself playing with a bone pendant I wore around my neck (I wasn’t aware of it until now). The water entity nodded in recognition of our presence. As it gradually dropped by into the lake, the edges reformed in a different pattern. Where-ever we walked, water started filling the land right up to our ankles. A hand of the water came down on the string holding my pendant. The bone snapped off my neck and was beginning to quickly be buried under the earth as the water moved it. I knelt down with the intention of retrieving the pendant, but a voice came to me and told me to let it go. I sat and watched until the last of the bone was hidden from sight.
We returned to the cottage and assimilated to their lives. They told us stories and kept us warm, fed us healthy food and entertained our minds. Eventually, we were given wigs made of horse hair that we wore out. As soon as we were ready to join in classes that their daughter took in a nearby school, we were enrolled with new names.
The time Vea and I spent as prisoners seemed like a previous life, and the memories were washing away more each day. We walked through the fields to a schoolhouse that stood solitary at the edge of some woods. Many of our peers treated us as if we had always been living there and going to class with them. It was a nice feeling.
Just before waking, the class and I were walking in the fields together when we saw skinny men, women and children in tattered clothes stumbling through the grasses and swamps. Their words were a language I did not know, but I understood their pain quite clearly. I was reminded of the victims of war.
This post is inspired greatly by the movie, Ink, which I highly recommend (thank you, Kiowa and Jamin Winans). While this is not really a review, it is more of an expansion or exposition on the archetypes presented in the film. When I initially wrote the piece, I was unsure whether to use all the specific names of the archetypes that the film gave or to use my own. I decided for this post to keep the names of the archetypes, as presented in the film, intact. Some of the archetypes are more general and explicit, such as ‘Storytellers’ and ‘Pathfinders,’ though both are apt and portrayed in a different light than what I am accustomed to seeing. I find that there are some commonalities between Clive Barker’s cenobites and Ink‘s Incubi. Any of you familiar with the Hellraiser series will see why if you watch the film. There are no spoilers in the text below, just my observations and insights about the archetypes (plus one of my own to add to the mix that the film illustrates but does not name) in addition to the film’s explicitly stated characteristics. I rather enjoy Ink‘s revamping of some common archetypes and the interesting portrayal of others.
The Incubi exist to draw others into their nightmarish world. They care not for others. They destroy dreams, love, hope, inspiration and aspirations in favor of a bleak ‘reality’ of torment to which they desensitize themselves in order to exist. Storytellers regard them as black holes. Storytellers deliver tales of heroism, greatness, love, salvation and redemption. They put forth the concepts of manifested faith, accessible Archetypes, the power of Myth and the grace of Love.
The Storytellers are liars, planting seeds of idealism, love and a world with light. At least this is how the Incubi see it. The Storytellers replace pain and fear with false hope and childish aspirations. The Incubi would never do such a thing; they will present the Truth as it is: cold, slicing, agonizing, uncaring and barren. They, themselves, have become numb to such nightmares so they may carry the Truth of their nightmares to others. They seek to stamp out the encouragement and guidance of the Storytellers.
While some humans regard the Incubi as demons or similar ‘evil spirits,’ other humans regard them as necessary teachers and the keepers of ‘the brutal truth.’ While some humans regard the Storytellers as a kind of guardian angels or similar ‘benevolent spirits,’ other humans regard them as false messiahs and seeders of ‘tall tales.’
One cannot be both Storyteller and Inubi, but one can choose to be neither, either entering as a Pathfinder, a Drifter, or a Force of Nature. A Drifter is caught between the pull of Storyteller verses Incubi. They are able to see potential and possibility, but they are without sufficient belief in the visions, so they cannot pass on stories to others. They accept and wallow in their own failure and delusions but are unable to take the steps to become numb in order to deliver the nightmarish ‘Truth’ unto others. Pathfinders and Forces of Nature are neither Storyteller nor Incubi; they are outside this spectrum of distinction. The Pathfinder is akin to the Trickster spirit: a teacher that would never profess oneself as such. The Pathfinder can induce Change on various levels once s/he discovers the Pattern. Despite a Pathfinder’s personal sacrifices, handicaps, or wounds, s/he will always know how to access the Pattern(s). For if a Pathfinder cannot rise above one’s hardships, s/he will cease to be a Pathfinder.
Forces of Nature are often spoken of among humans with considerable reverence, misunderstanding, and possibly, preconceived notions. Forces of Nature interact with Pathfinders much more directly than interacting with either Storytellers or Incubi. While Pathfinders find, follow or ride the Pattern, Forces of Nature may be described moreso AS the Pattern. Forces of Nature are all the elements set in motion, moving along certain courses. Like a beaver that builds a dam, the Pathfinder goes in current to redirect. One cannot effectively redirect Forces of Nature without firstly, recognizing them; secondly, understanding them; and thirdly, entering into them. Entry points are outside of the Pattern itself, by definition. This is how we navigate different planes. Each has access to different doors, different layers within layers.
Does one really choose one’s role? [Yes.] Are only some allowed to choose, while others, once they have Chosen (as opposed to chosen) a role, have set their Fate thereafter (even if ‘thereafter’ is a kind of misnomer to describe the experience)? [Dunno.] Is it really all about the access points of re-entry that we can detect at any given moment so that we may Change once again? [Quite possibly.]
A good story never provides ALL of the information on a particular subject in one place. It does, however, provide enough mirrors to reflect upon and angle just so, so that infinity spreads out before a merry wanderer. (And we’re all wanderers.)
The morning is cool and rainy, perfect for the day after All Hallows’ Eve. We remembered the dead and faced our fears; we sought out the forgotten and broke some bounds. Be mindful of one’s costume, for like attracts like. Donning hues of violet and perriwinkle in amidst sparkles and elven mimicry, I was perfectly aware of the visitors to come. They move swiftly on winds and through light and shadow, whispering and giggling as they hide in plain sight. Quiet smiles cross my lips as I match their fun and revelry.
“Keep her away from feisty floral life, bright rings and the hedgerow, for we may never see her again,” they would say as I share my apple with my friends, watching many of them float among dandelion seeds and curtains of mist. I do not distrust them in ways that many humans do (even when there is fair reason to). The mix of blood in my veins, my guardian trees and patron cats afford natural protection as well as tight bonds. We understand each others’ desires and whims, dances and games. Playing does require an odd sense of humor, patience and proper guidelines. If you do not know those guidelines, here is not the place to seek those answers. (Not all at once. Remember?) What I can tell you is this: the answers are found in countless stories, many you have surely heard numerous times before. The secrets are wrapped in silk words that move like water in the brook or clouds across the moon.
Stories have great power: power to inspire, power to lull, ignite, placate, woo, usurp, persuade, break, rouse… the list is as numerous as the stories themselves. Pick your favorites wisely. Commit some to memory, and toss others to the wolves or out your window. You are known by many by which ones you choose to tell. This is how they know you.
Everyone has the same dream at some time (all the time?). Over and over again…
Before you mount arguments, I refer you to this anime: Paprika.
The art, the progression of the story and the presentation places you fluidly in the dream state. You are primed for reception of the messages and for the acceptance of the dreamscapes presented. Trust me, you will find reflections of your own dreams in one or many of the tunneling realities.
The movie explores many concepts: the nature of dreams, control of the psyche, alter egos/dopplegangers, memories, trauma, sanctuary, and the splitting and merging of realities. When does one world end and another begin? Will we (can we) secure our portals and gateways? At what point does the veil become so thin that we can no longer tell which reality we are navigating? And is that a real concern if we can navigate each one effectively?
We may assume that our dream life is our own private quarters, secure and wholly solitary in experience. However, as humans, we share many primal landscapes and common scenarios. What themes keep occurring in your psychic spaces? We have all fallen through frightening depths. We have seen heavens and wastelands, history and revolution, alien planets and faery realms. We have been the pursuer and the pursued. (Ever meet the entity on the other end?) We are the warden and the prisoner, the student and the master, the defendant and the judge, the slayer and the slain, the champion and the monster… the list goes on.
What do the overlapping collective subconscious dreamscapes imply? Does it imply that the deepest closets of our psyches can be hacked, manipulated and modified by either ourselves or others regardless of our conscious awareness of what is happening? Does it imply that our evolutionary memories are similar despite region and culture of origin; that there is something about being human that ties us together regardless of race, religion or any other association/affiliation? Or take it another step… that there is something about being an animal, being of the Earth that we will always carry with us?
And what of those who hold memories and lives of the non-human: of the Faery, of the Stars, of the Angels, of the Darkness, of the Hungry, of the Shifters, of the Robots, of the Alien? With what dreams do they impregnate us?
The smell in the air is different today; it brings the spirit of campground fires, harvested fields, dried leaves, baking breads and root vegetables, the wet cloaking of drizzle, and the spice and warmth of mystery and magic. I hear the precession approaching: the Phoukas and Dark Horses, the Witches of Old and newborn Fae, the Night carnivals and moving statues, the lost Ghosts and wandering Sprites, the Scarecrows and Corvids, the Masked and the Dead, the Legendary and the Forgotten, the Visitors and the Stories from distant lands.
At 5:18pm EDT today, the Autumn Equinox will occur.
May all of you find what you are searching for in the Autumn wind.
Ahead and over.
has ‘Fortuna’? just liberation, fluidly.
“Hello… world. Go seen. the hint is just. We’re holding a can of dues. Called with the inconsequential. That, it’s throne: End A is?”
Tricks, Father. Ability. About the physical, called Just Grey war…
the… the… no memory.
Boundaries: Water roads/paths. over.
My own Muscle-eyes of the world: judgment. Observer: (memory/bias). Where? The memory.
Theirs = Go.
Know the Earth Beach. “is where?” Tricks, the And/Or Beach, and possibility of no options.
(to the I: do own the joke). Human.
No crosses, no deep focus to the Tumbling painful let-go. The meaning… Without Ideas, the observer goes to Logic Destiny.
I’m the delight Light. You’re better.
“Sees not the inconsequential. The holding, the preferences of existence.Know Currents about/are judgment. Currents draw the moment, the ability to think within ‘Fortuna’.”
“Hello… final rationale of anything, was transience. Rolled us… to and fro, no holding some mind’s 20/20. The nod on expecting?”
Voice, but inconsequential.
The fluidly to draw better. Sees and just Go. if we are to Go, (their me?) it’s for the sake of mind at spatter mountains.
Back. Discretion. Keep one’s head about The World, and no- then creation. Interpretation. Just ends and effects.
Fire mind Destiny, present something – after it’s better.
Sees Muscle world, and God mitigates ahead of Man. “So think of the future and its perceptive road. Go to (deep voice) the Water-matter of you.”
UNsensory… The inconsequential.
The ___ of delight follows. What A lies like that? or The me? at A edge No End, know spatter Invisible and the delight about being better.
Sees, but ends finally give over in The holding of physical interpretation. Just not do delight = Molds body.
-Tricks within the ‘One,’ easily.