Genesis Chapter 2


Chapter 2

“Well John, I gotta tell yu, this book, The Call, It changed my life, and I am a hard nut to crack, believe it or not.”
“Well you are nut, that’s for sure, heh, heh.”
“Oh don’t you get me started! This guy!”
— Laughter –

“No, he is a capital guy, though, and a great host, isn’t he, people?”
— Applause –

“And don’t forget to mention my winning smile, John!”
“Of course not, Craig, but now, I heard you were in a pretty sorry state not six months ago.  Am I mistaken?”
“No, John, you are not. I was living on the streets doing all sorts sorry things, you see, I had lost my divinity, I’d lost myself; gosh, darn it, has it only been six months now?”
“Yessiree. Now that is just a miracle, wouldn’t you say guys?”

“Oh come on now, Craig, no applause needed, and no it was not a miracle, ‘cause you  yu know what, John?”
“What’s that?”
“Miracles just plum don’t exist.”
“Just what kinda wool are you trying to pull over here, Craig?”
“I’m not pulling wool over anyone’s eyes, John. Just presenting some simple, simple truth.
Now, truth can sure look pretty ugly though, can’t it? Until you know it for yourself. That’s self worth, John, and once upon on a time, my daddy, Craig Townsend Senor, told me, he said “Son, you can’t buy self worth at the five and dime” and if I turned to him today and said, “Well sir, you are sure as heck wrong about that”, not only would I have told the truth, that to him might be pretty ugly, but I’d have a red bottom too, that’s for sure.”

“Well, that ugly truth that daddy didn’t know, is still true. I got this book at my local book store for just fifteen, ninety-nine and, I’m tellin’ you guys, right here and now, self worth is what it’s made of!”
“Well tell us a little about this miracle book, won’t you?”
“Gladly, John, this book here, in less than three-hundred pages has brought me from selling crack to selling hope, and business, let me assure you, is good, and it’s all thanks to no one but myself, my hard work, and this thousand-watt smile on the back cover here, look at that, John.”
“The indomitable Mr. Chris Fidem, award winning author, motivational speaker, philanthropist, and just an all around nice guy, I hear.”
“That’s for sure John!”
“Well you’d know. Personal friends with the guy, right here.”
“He has brought me out of some dark places, John. His books, “Redundant Religion”, “The I In Me”, and “I, Lucifer, I, God,” have been multimillion dollar winners, every single one of ‘em. That’s because Chris isn’t here to sell you anything, he simply wants to show you what you already have.”
“I’ve read them all, Craig, and now we are providing, at Chris’ personal request,–”
“And out of his own pocket, I’ll add.”
“–Yes, indeed– you the chance to receive a copy of his new book, fresh off the desk of the genius.”
“That’s right, before it even hits stores, the secret of intoning the great self…“
“The power of the you in universe…”
“The soon to be number one bestseller…”
“The Call by Chris Fidem!! First one hundred callers receives the book totally free of charge. Just pay shipping and handling.”
“People, a million dollars can’t be wrong, hahaha!”
“John, you know just as well as I do that sometimes self worth is hiding right under your nose.”
“Wait, Craig, don’t you mean… your seat?”
“You know I do. Come on people reach under there and show the folks at home what you found!”
“Now, if the audience would please calmly be seated–“

–              –              –                –               –             –

What has 2AM come to? I’ve been sitting here since eleven and am actually looking forward to Sex Toy Talk at Three O’clock after that. No luck… its on every goddamn station.

What is your average teenage American to do with the hours of boredom that insomnia forces upon him in these modern times? I’m almost feeling dismal enough to watch reruns of the Leave to It Beaver Show or whatever, that white washed American dream show that Gran likes to watch mindlessly at the home.

I try it, and my already burning eyes begin to roll back slowly into my head. If they think that’s gonna cure her dementia, they probably have another thing coming. I bet Charles Manson jacks off to this shit in his prison cell.

Exhaustion always brings funny thoughts into my mind, mom doesn’t think they’re funny. Morbid, everything’s morbid to her. If it doesn’t have talking inanimate objects or singing animals, its morbid. Then again she hasn’t had time to watch TV since Reagan was in office. Actually she probably would have watched him, wasn’t he in the Mickey Mouse Club or something?

On that note…**click**…goodbye mindless, brain melting television, hello swirling, flickery, darkness of living room ceiling. You know you’ve been watching infomercials too long when you can still see Craig and John’s pearly veneers flickering on the ceiling. If they are burned into my retinas, I swear to gods, skreek, skreek, SKREWDRIVER! Maybe a melon baller.

Exhaustion makes me weird.

The darkness is still swirly but the flickery is gone and, thank gods, so are the veneers. The darkness makes me tense, always has. Almost always, ever since I was like eight.

Now don’t get all “Sixth Sense” on me, I’m not some tragic, sheltered, child who can “see dead people” or anything… but I do see something, and before you start spraying psychobabble out of your, oh so learned ass, you should know that my brain has been poked more times than a Louisiana floozy. I’m just as sane as any other teenager… insert sly smile here.

My mother, the exonerated Dr. Lillian Fawst, is a head shrinker extraordinaire, and though she would not touch my virgin brain with her dexterous probing, did put me through a hellish amount of brain boot camp at the hands of her esteemed colleagues.

Probably shouldn’t have told her about, what I then termed, the “demon head” which I had seen in a black back window of a certain wintergreen minivan. I came screaming into the passenger seat crying and probably tearfully babbling about something that she immediately labeled the result of developmental problems in the mask of too many “dreary” and “stark” television programs, hence the Disney injections.

She liked that their films are positive, tempered with the balance of darkness which is overcome by a reigning since of logical morality which should temper my troubled mind into a bright and bubbly coma until I’m old enough to get a job and a single bedroom apartment for my problems and I.

I never spoke to her about them again. Like talking to animals isn’t something a complete schizo does.

So, mommy doesn’t understand, how about daddy? Here’s me running into his bedroom one night, crying my wittle heart out about the silhouette of a man in a wide brimmed hat that I awoke to find standing over me, ominously staring down to my bed, rocking slowly back and forth. Did I mention ominously? Well, ominously.
“Can I sleep with you and mom?”
“Just go back to bed and pray, son. There is no fear in the perfect love of God.”

Great, so now I have to go back to where a possible stalker (maybe farmer?) is still standing at my bedside, powered by the prayers to a God who doesn’t love me anymore because I am afraid of said stalker(farmer). Real reassured there dad, thanks a ton, it’s been a slice, I’ll just go get chopped into tiny bits now and fed to the pigs. Of course, stalker(farmer) wasn’t there when I got back and turned on the little-boy-saving-night-light. I did discover something peculiar, however, beside my bed, where he was once standing, rocking slowly back and forth (ominously), was my little, wooden, rocking chair. Proof of an afore unknown physicality to my nightly phantasms, these ain’t your grandma’s night terrors. Yep, slept like a brick that night.

My places to turn have quite clearly run out. I did try to tell some friends when I was little, hey, at least I scared them enough to stay up with me when I was too scared to sleep. When I approached junior high I could clearly see that well of support drying up too.

So now, when the house is quiet and darkness’ obsidian mirror settles over me, I see the oil of black shifting and turning like polluted water all around me, and in the shifting there are faces, some seem to be human, others certainly are not. Sometimes they notice me, sometimes they do not. When time comes that they have the notion to really show themselves to me, for whatever reason, I am still terrified, and alone, with no one ever to turn to; boo-hoo, poor me.

I have chosen infomercials as a “healthy” alternative. Who knows, maybe I really will go blind, watching the TV in the dark for hours, like mom says, and have no need to fear anymore.

At the same time there is a part inside of me that lives for that unique, thrilling, moment of recognition. When I hear someone walk into my room, and they don’t answer when I call “Who’s there?” or “Mom, is that you?”, and that strange part inside me, that really already recognized the unearthly presence as not human, ignites and my heart flutters, and my palms sweat, my mind races, and I ignore the urge to run; when I stand before it in awe and terrified wonder. When I tremble as I approach, and think of what the consequences will be if I can touch this quiet stranger, and if they are more or less mortifying than the implications of the opposite scenario. When a new and terrible shock warms over me as my hand inevitably passes through the shadowy figure that is clearly standing eye to eye in front of me, but the light always comes on, and whatever it was has gone.

I asked my father once, being that I was young and naïvely under the presumption that he was the picture of wisdom, “Why do I see these things?”. His answer was a question.
“What did you do? You must ask God to search your heart so that you can be forgiven. You see, the closer we get to Him, son, the more responsibility we have to be pure, and the closer we come to the darkness that is hiding inside of even the tiniest little crevices of our heart, a darkness that must be purged if we are to see His face.”

My father was a “born again”. He got “saved” in the eighties at a little group church in the garage of some old, famous, Christian minister. Baptized in the Holy Spirit and everything, he must have gotten the package deal. He made some Christian friends and they all started a merry little flock of their own; I was once one of his most devoted little lambs.

The thing about sheep is they are meant to be herded, not heard. I had things to say. I had questions to ask, and feelings that I couldn’t confide. My father never understood that when I asked him a question I wanted his answer, not His answer. Of course God, having the only answers applicable, had the only answers given, and I was regurgitated His words for most of my life, never knowing about those other things I needed to know, that David, Moses, Elijah and John The Baptist had no idea about in my little life, thousands of years after theirs had ended.

Mom always thought religion had its place, as everything does in the human mind, but clearly defined differences began to cut a groove between them. After Dad began to have these “revelations” about things, she began to be cautious.

Suddenly things ran much deeper than religion. He started to confuse me. Saying things like “God is so vast that he doesn’t exist outside of our ever expanding inner selves, that our inner selves are just an expression of His outer creations, housing so much more the information that the physical universe could ever hold.” I only later would understand a kind of truth in these words.

My parents began to argue.

One should never marry outside one’s species, an atheist and a religious nut ball, for instance, apples and oranges; if an apple married an orange, what would you get? Well I guess that’s me, I’m an aporanglepp, the most awkward fruit— ever.

One day, my dad was going off on some tangent on a realization he had about “the abomination that a man should lie with a man as with a woman” and I, looking on, dryly as I would while he ranted at me with that zealous glow in his eyes, stopped him midsentence and said three things.

“One, I don’t believe in the Bible, I can’t find sense in how it was written by the creatures that even “He” admitted were imperfect, foulable, and full of nasty, nasty sin.
Two, I don’t believe gender should be a deciding factor on who you’re allowed to love, I know good, perfectly non-evil people who love each other the same if not more than you and mom, gentles aside.
And three, you are freaking me the fuck out, I’m beginning to be too scared to ask you to grab me a glass of Koolaid, for obvious reasons, and if all those things mean that I am no longer welcomed by Jehovah’s son into, whatever, the pearly gates, then I am not a Christian, and I do not need you shouting at me right now.
I am sixteen years old and a sophomore in high school. Do you remember what that was like!? I have too much stress just getting up in the morning and going to that hell hole to worry about yours.
I love you, but that’s… just how I feel. ”

That building geyser of adolescent angst had clearly been simmering for a long time. He made a face like he had just bit into the bitter aporanglepp fruit and told me he would pray for me; that was that. The only reason I had any semblance of spiritual belief after that day was because of the actual spiritual experiences that I was continuing to have in spite of any religious ties.

Dad continued to get stranger. He no longer read his Bible, although, he had it mostly memorized, it was left outside of his study on the floor. He broke off connections with his church friends and began (what my mother called) a social withdraw. Without need for a Bible he, I can only assume, was strictly having direct revelation from “the God that was within without” now. He began to write. He barely ate. My mother of course wanted him to seek psychological help; he said something like he was beyond worldly help.

I woke up one appropriately stormy night to hear him calling out “I am that I am” over and over and over from his study. My mother came slowly into the room, laden with the sad expression of things that were too much for my young mind to understand and too deep for her to put into words, and sat by my side with her arm around me, more to comfort her than myself, I think. She was tired, tired of pretending that he was still the man she married.

We left the next day. I awoke and she had already packed my bags. He didn’t even leave his room when we lugged the meager belongs we’d take out the door, I even made some extra noise, but mom kept shushing.

We lived with Gran for a few weeks, back when she still had all her cup cakes frosted, then we were in a pent house apartment, which I hated, and now a cozy little home, only mildly haunted. I am almost able to put the nightmare of high school behind my back. I have been exploring my own religious queries and I might be Buddhists. I wonder if I’ll have to be the really tall solemn one, or the jolly, fat, Santa of the orient. I’ve only actually finished the intro on the book I got from the library, but I’ve got high hopes for the little fat guy.

The black hole that has opened over the recliner I’ve been sitting in for the past four hours is shifting and yawning as I focus on keeping my eyes relaxed and unfocused. The diaphanous air is filled with mangled visages flitting in and out of view, some so corporeal it makes me jump, but I am determined to focus on this growing, swirling, blackness that seems to reach down like a cyclone just above my nose and rise back, a worm hole turning inside out, then outside in.

I begin to feel that electric fear in the dusty instincts of the human brain, that are the same that warn a cat or a cow of a coming storm. I am shuddering to keep so unattached from my body that I may ignore my natural impulses. My arms are limp, my muscles relaxed, my eyes at half mast, on the brink of sleep, a light trance going deeper.

As I struggle to hold all these subtle machinations in balance, something begins to form. I can’t believe it, after months of trying to control this state, I am finally getting the knack, and just as I had thought, something truly was coming of this chaotic darkness, it could be harnessed to do something, it had a purpose.

Shapes, crossed, shifted, blurred, changed so fast that the human eye couldn’t find distinction, so I quickened my mind by slowing my body, and so too did the patterns begin to slow, and deep in the center of this giant shifting abyss a colorless shape began to form in the intersections of the shifting amorphousness.

It was… a face, then a raven, a book, an “R”, and the pattern repeated, swishing together. Was I really seeing this? Had I fallen asleep after all? The pattern, what did it mean. As soon as I thought this, as if in reaction, the pattern shifted back into blackness, but the blackness was still and silent now. Then a focusing of invisible matter, a tensing of the air, something was different; the dim face of before slowly returned from whatever pocket of the black cosmos it had gone. The details became more grounded.

I lulled deeper into trance. It was coming, it was coming, a grimace, an elderly woman, eyes pure milk white; now I started to get a little scared. She looked at me, she—she knew I was there, she saw, she was real. I had called this, was this a symbol only, or was this–. The blurry figure, now a full body, stepped out of the vortex parallel above, as if the air between the floor and ceiling had invisible paths to walk upon.

This wasn’t right. I had to do something I—was completely immobile, too deep in trance. I could see her walking toward me, very slow. My muscles were twitching and vibrating in a worthless effort to function as she slowly approached. She became so clear. Her face was not grimaced in fear, but anger, she pointed a crooked, accusing, finger at me, her sagging breasts and soft wrinkled belly, her hair, was dangling toward me in sweat rung mattes, her eyes had the permanent purple swelling of aged stress and hardship, there were strings of drool from top to bottom jaw, bowing downward.

She was so close, the vortex seemed to threaten, a suckling ingress upon the spiritual air, I was crawling out of my skin, my heart was racing. Would she touch me? Would the drool be cool on my face? Would the weight of warm, sagging breasts rest on my stomach as she spat the words she so anxiously wished to scream?

I was hyper ventilating. She was at my feet. I could see the lashes of her eyes. She began to crawl over the fold out ottoman with changing gravity and the effort of her age, she grabbed my collar with dull claws and pulled me to her elder drool encrusted lips.

Would I smell her breath? I did not want to. My back lifted slightly off the cushioning. Is she going to kiss me? Eat my soul? She began to inhale laboriously here, her long, crooked nose brushed mine, her overlaying teeth visible.

“A’bandraoi basaich!!! ” she rasped like words from a strangled throat, scratching into my ears like a gorse stem.

I was going to vomit, she pulled me closer into those milky eyes, I felt her cold flesh, I screamed without making a sound and–


I leapt as if from death’s grasp out of the recliner and onto the floor, landing awkwardly on the remote control.

The room looked like a living room. No trace of naked old ladies or vortexes of doom.

“Are you okay? You were making some pretty strange sounds in your sleep.” My mom was standing in the hallway by the TV, John and Craig were at it again. I thought I was going to burst into tears.

“You really shouldn’t watch TV this late at night, you’ll go blind.” She came and took the remote from me as I sat in shambles on the ground.

“I can’t believe they are still running this crap. Haven’t they gotten their first one hundred callers yet?” She turned off the set, it crackled with static for a few seconds.

“Those books are just egomaniacal porn for week minded weirdoes who probably need real help. Go to sleep, Gal. ” She turned off the living room light, the hall light, and then her own light, after she shut her door, leaving me in stunned, flickery, darkness with smiling veneers that seemed to mock.

Craig and John smiling, in negaverse, holding my father’s latest book.

–                     –                    –                –              –


A Genesis of Heroes

This is something I have been planning to do for quite some time. I am beginning now to write a series, my very own “super hero” story.

This of course is through my own dreamings, the land scape of Night, if you will, and the characters here echo pasts of my pasts, beings of my beings. If you look carefully you may find the secrets of a man broken into word and placed in careful disarray.

I look forward to seeing how these children will save us all some day. Or will they trip like so many of the greats, upon their own humanity?

Anyhow, here are their humble beginnings. I give you the first recruit in a sequence of back stories.
I give you:


Chapter One:

“I met a man at death’s door. The door just happened to be yours.”

Dull humming reminder on my cheek. My straight red hair swept out on the linoleum like autumn leaves on the kitchen floor. Dull to the feeling, I learned how to swallow, to steal the satisfaction from him. Which of course sometimes meant blood.

His anger, looking up at where his once well groomed hair had laid perfectly in its meticulously combed ridge, now a tangled pile, his pressed white shirt, besmirched by unsightly, nebulous, sweat stains, gathered, veining down his soft, formless chest, his gut.

I made him look repugnant, when I took in the pain, ignored the the spinning room. I would lay there in shambles, wanting to vomit and scream and cry, betrayed, as I used to.  Instead I breathed it in and produced a perfect, bored, unconvinced smile.

He drew his lips back until his jaw line was skeletal. As he made me wretched so I made him, his weakness like strength turned against him.

I can’t move for the moment, but I know my blood stains his spotless floor and I constrict, clenching out like oil paint, and smear cadmium red curses no bleach on earth could dissolve.

What weapons have we who lie on floors like broken coal in the grid iron trap, never to be collected in the east?

When he was done expressing himself on my ribcage, he would walk in to the bathroom and wet his face. When he came up from the sink his expression sometimes made me laugh out loud. He made this guttural sound, I can’t even describe, like something was caught in his throat. The door would slam, the bath water ran, and he would hum that song. The same song he hummed when he organized his post marked bills, or the items in the fridge by date and letter.

He was once a mild man. Order was his law. It was the walls that kept him safe from all those things he feared. You see, my father, he didn’t know how to exist, not really. That was the biggest laugh of all.  How controlled he was, how he could master anything with a formula. Life, sadly for him, does not have one of these.

He spent his time building models and putting ships in bottles, weighing numbers, organizing, creating his own equations to solve and dissolve, anything to stop him from thinking about it, life, until, of course… he met her.

She, a fiery red haired, anarchist who spit in the eye of The Man, a painter, a poet, and, according to herself, a revolutionary. After displaying a detailed painting of Nixon with Monroe’s nude body on a live television auction some problems began.

Now she needed a number crunching mad man to split mathematical atoms for her. She suddenly came down with a bad case of tax fraud, unless she could find someone who could gather up enough sense from her “books”, which could only have existed due to the chaos theory, to present in court. This would have been a systematic impossibility for anyone but my father. In the end he cleared things up for her and everyone was ordered to let bygones be bygones.

I think it must have been their differences that pulled them so close together. In some papers I found she had said ‘We were so many worlds apart that we were from the same planet’ or something like that.

She, and I guess it only could have been her, somehow brought him out into the light, without even trying. She had him seeing colors he never knew existed. He was walking outside, perhaps for the first time.

She loved for them to take pictures, her life was so fast she could barely catch it in a camera flash, she wanted to hold on just as badly as she needed to let go. There were little wallet sized portraits of her on his back, the strips from those corny booths they perpetually have in your local malls, dated Polaroids.

She thought he was hopelessly cute, a dork by every way of the word. Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t understand each other in anyway, but she was one to just go with a good thing until it stopped, and for the first time in his life, so was he.

Father had never really talked about her, and I was afraid to ask, or say anything really. Most of what I knew I had gleaned from bitter fragments my dad would let loose on accident, occasionally, or crying, shut away in his room. I cherished that fragmented image of her. This matron saint I had supposed left because of the man turned monster in the wedding chamber. She became an angel in my mind that I could call out to in times of need. I could conjure her up in my mind in an instant.I had always made plans that one day I would leave this hell behind, I’d find her and we’d travel the world. Perhaps it was because of the height that I had put her on that I fell so very far.

Once, when I was hiding under my dad’s bed, I found the shoe box full of those pictures, and the paper scraps that may have been the remnants of an attempted journal. I remember thinking “who are these people?” I was shocked after I realized this elegant looking, pale, poet type was my father, then, piecing together the woman out of scraps of paper offal, my mother, my saint in the red on white dress.

I laid there in the dim light with sagging felt lining itching the back of my neck, thinking about this woman in concept, the whole situation, the strangers in that box, wondering what happened to them. They were so happy in there; their little cardboard coffin.  What was it like, the happiness she brought to this home, to my father, when he once smiled and went to theme parks? I wouldn’t really know since I killed her when I was born.

The last page I read was the ending, dated the day before my birthday, the date my mother died. Only then did that severing connection incise my little mind. I stayed, uninterrupted, under that bed for almost three days, crying until I heard footsteps, and sleeping in an unending cycle of web like dreams, clutching her picture, anointing her final scriptures with tears.

I saw her face, I saw myself with the shechita blade, the long, rusted, tool that I used to take her apart, piece by piece, blood soaked dress, white feathers falling, all in the name of me. Or I saw her in the scene of that photo in front of the rollercoaster rails, sitting at a bench, father had some hot pink cotton candy and mom had a giant corn dog. They were laughing, I could hear them from inside of her belly, but I couldn’t breathe, I had to get out, I had to scratch my way out or I would die. In the end I would be standing in the gaping mess I carved out of her body and she would still be screaming while my dad tried to strangle me; a pact was made.

I should not have read that diary, not then. It revealed something I had wondered my whole life; what had I done wrong? What had I done to deserve this? I was content in thinking that my father was a monster and trying my hardest to hate him, but, when I found out what I had done… I became the monster. I was the reason. It was punishment for murdering the only thing that had ever made him happy, that made him human, and I deserved it.

I began to take my punishment then, with very little resistance, and then none at all. Whenever he felt the need, when life became too apparent and he had no one to turn to for his confusion, his disordered grief. I let him turn to me. The pain was my apology, and I screamed.

Years went by, this is simply how it was, and I became more and more a dead thing. At school there was nothing they could do to me, or say that hadn’t already been done, said, or that I said to myself. They were meaningless, everything seemed meaningless then.

I was a pain in the earth and I had only the strength for him to break me, I could only hold on enough for that. No time or interest in anything else.

The sympathy from classmates, the curiosity of teachers, they all fell through me; the hole with the converse shoes. I did what a functional human should do, I sustained my life, but I was not human any longer. I don’t think I ever can be.

Then something began to change.

I was used to my flavor of accustomed torment, I suppose, but the beatings gradually became soured. No longer a penance, it seemed, to a ruined man, a martyred mother, but a pettiness.  He was far too used to his whipping boy, unattached. He began to abuse the abuse, as it were, he dropped a plate, was stuck in traffic, his boss yelled at him, he cut himself, there were a thousand reasons now to be torn and he wrote them across my flesh.

Slowly, creativity began to work in his mind, he started to scare me, and fear can have a strange effect upon a dead man.

I was awakened from a grey dream and, when I opened my necracious eyes, it seemed the pain of ten years echoed to me in the wakening, defibrillating me back from the shade of limbo. In full color came the nightmare that had been decaying the house I lived in.

Father had let things go. He was losing control, grip. His meticulous calculations, his compulsions, they had become reflex now, useless, like drawing meaning from breathing.  In the crucible of the incomprehensibility that is life, and without his tower of idiosyncrasy to hide in, he went unchecked, he began to unravel like a spool on a stair case, gaining momentum with each step. I had been too withdrawn to see, too lost to call him back or to want to.

I could not recognize this place. Barely a light was shining in its electric vice, dust lay strewn upon dust, there was a rancor in the air. I heard the drone from the television in the other room, and saw the flicker of cacophonous static streaming through the dust mangled light of a cracked door.

This room was completely on its side. There was one flickering florescent tube streaming over from the wall that looked like a ceiling across from me. The ceiling over head had a book case that stood inexplicably above me in great disarray, the wood was marked and pocked. There were smudging marks on the walls around. Books lay torn and strewn upon the wall on which I was leaning.

I began to feel a deep pain in my head and abdomen, as well as many sundry frequencies of smaller burnings and piercing coldnesses scattered on my arms and back. My stomach felt cavernous.

How long had I been here in this topsy-turvy room at the dim end of a nightmare?  I could not seem to recall. The dim pressure points I felt bruising on my back were old, I had been here for some time and I now recognized the sensation as the pain of too long sitting in a wooden chair, the shaped wood slanting bars and bulbous carvings trying with gravity’s strength and time’s persistence to penetrate the back of my ribs and spine. There was also a great pressure on my hands and a painfully pulled muscle that was twisting slowly from my shoulder’s odd angle; both shoulders were burning dully.

I tried to move my head which slammed instantly, with a force I’m sure was disproportionate to reality, back on to the wood of the chair.

My arms were crossed awkwardly behind the chair back, I could move my fingers but my arms and legs were completely restricted. Between my sinewy digits I felt the syrupy residue of nearly dried blood on the wall.

The wallowing sponge in my head was shifting and growing with a degrading expansion, like a reverse expanding of melting of ice.

I stilled myself a moment, I breathed, I drew in the pain until it was immaterial. The wall became a ceiling and the ceiling a wall. My teetering head sloshed over and surveyed my father’s now recognizable study, though I could not conceive the material of which its reality was made quite yet and the air was still a murky pond of confusion.

I breathed laboriously, wheezing slightly at the obstruction in my wind pipe. I coughed and wobbled and jerked like an inarticulate sack of tenderized meat, trying to reconstitute its former process of movement. I jerked my useless arms from behind the toppled chair. The fingers tingled and lay limply as I examined them to make sure they were what I thought they were.

This was my father’s study, I was on the floor, and the red streaking scrawling on my arm was from a needle whose contents were slowly diluting in my blood stream, the depths were fading. I was laying in filth on a toppled wooden chair, I pulled a small amount of a cottony material in a string that made me cough as its length was drawn from my mouth; the remnants of a gag. I rubbed my bruising throat. This was beyond mere retribution.

I began to rise in a clumsy clamoring over the coagulated pallet of my blood. He had drugged me multiple times, and gagged me. He had tried to kill me. The fog had lifted, I could see clearly, I was shuttering with alertness, and an eye watched me from the doorway. A moment later it was gone, and I heard a familiar voice humming a song with a strange dissonance fading down the creaking hall. How did it come to this?

I didn’t know what to do. My perspective had been so warped so long that I was struggling to grasp the situation clearly. Do I call someone? Do I let him kill me, a life for a life, finally? The terror was alive again, and I was small as that beaten child in memory.

I found myself hiding at first, a hellish hide and seek we’d play, where he would call for me in rage, enticed, prowling like a nightmare creature, the succor of flesh polluting him. The blood on his lips was mine, he was starved for it. The fear of the unknown, of pain, I learned these lessons anew, and knew that I had to find a way to overcome them. I could not be his wound any longer. This was wrong. Where the callus had once been, began to grow a steel resolution. The sacrifice arose from the altar and cried in defiled defiance, “no more” was the cry, “no more!”

When he came for me, I struggled for the first time in years. He did not look surprised but merely adjusted to my resistance.  He stood down last time, but was it an isolated incidence? I could not see how it could be. My eyes were open now; it would never be like it was again. He was gone, I lost, and my purpose was lost, but until my path was clear, I had to fight. I had to find a way. I found the specificity of his hunger and resolved to starve him of it.

It was in the pain, his new found masochism bared its teeth. There was an equation to torture, a new endeavor for his calculations.  He no longer left the house. He no longer had need to. He housed himself in the living room, where the front entrance was clearly in view. He was guarding the exit, little did he know the frivolity in that. I had nowhere to go, no reason to at that. All I knew were these walls, the only pleasure I had was the resolve in the penance that was now gone.

When I robbed him of his last pleasure, my pain, the change in him became tangible, as apparent as fangs. The back door no longer would open. It wasn’t said, but it was clearly declared that I was not to leave. Even his thinking that I would do such a thing scared me.

He was closing in from all sides. The punishment was no longer allotted to only the physical; It was the inner turmoil he sought for as well. In this kind of pain was a new pleasure and I could find no resolve.

When the electricity went, another corner had clearly been turned. He no longer held interest in television, bills did not concern him any longer, I’m sure the water wasn’t far from shutting off. It seemed his life became a trifled thought and his mind, obsessed with the meticulous, was now meticulously obsessed with me alone. The distraction from the life he did not understand was no longer the distraction from, but was the whole, me.

I had, by now, long mastered the taking and harboring of the electricity that is pain. It became like a new organ, nurtured deep within. For so long pain was all I knew, it was air. Now it was the lung that breathes, the self sustained heart pumping the life’s blood to the body that had newly discovered need.

Energy can neither be created, nor destroyed, and as for the energy within me, the result of years of rage, mine was now bottled lightening, collared flame.

I no longer slept. I sat awake in my darkened room, waiting for the door to open, wanting it to. I sensed it that night, that it all now was coming to culmination. Something was building in the air and it smelled of a charge, of blood and static. I realized, after two nights of wakeful paranoia, that this too was a part of the equation. The anticipation, the cool fear, it was all of his design. He had no plans of coming up to my room. I was caught on his computating web. I was left to the offensive for the first time.

I had for a long time now abandoned wearing clothes that exposed my scribbled flesh, the cursive scars, too many tedious questions, redundant concern, but this night I would wear only a robe, a satin bath robe that had gone neglected in a stored box marked “C”.

I lit incense in my bathroom. I baptized myself like a virgin before ritual, in the dark. As I emerged from the ivory oval of water, I noticed something peculiar… myself. A cold, white, street lamp was pouring over me from a frosted glass window, and the glowing skin caught my eye. I gazed for the first time in memory at what I was.

There had been no care taken of my body, no manicure. I was thin of self neglect. My hair was long and straight, down to my chest. I did not know how long it had been since it was cut.  My face was long, my cheekbones high, eyes, evergreen with a diluting gold and smallish, my lips were full, and pink, there was a scar that divided the right side of my mouth, a flying pan came into memory, my skin was milk white where it was not black or greenish with bruising, and even whiter were the scars that I could not find a surface without. There were freckles across my nose and cheeks that betrayed a childishness, and I now realized that I was rather tall. I had always felt so insubstantial, yet there I was.

It took me a moment to notice the tear. It had passed my cheek and was itching down my neck. I saw there in the darkness of my bathroom, I now realized, a familiar face in the shadows. “Mother”, I whispered the word as a prayer to the spirit that was my reflection. I did not even know her name, my first victim.

“This is who I am”, I thought, as I gazed in resolution, not this face that some would call beautiful, that belonged to her, but these letters we wrote together upon it, the scars of forgiveness and guilt that I sent to heaven for the lives I had taken, my fathers and hers.

For a moment, as I read the brail of my flesh with my hands, I allowed myself the humanity of a single hope, the hope that somehow she knew, and somehow she forgave.

I left her there in that mirror, she did not need to see what was to come. I poured the silken, white, robe over my undernourished frame and left that oracular place with a new resolve. Purpose had found me there, the purpose to an end.

I opened my door, I felt as though I might still be glowing there in that doorway, blessed by the mother goddess. I descended the stairs with the vigilance and repose of a priestess as I entered the living room.

Let the ritual begin.

I passed the shady couch and tables in the living room. Nothing… stillness and silence only. I walked the hall, reflecting light off my skin onto the dark wood paneled walls leading to it’s room. The cave was empty.

“Shall this be a hunt then, father? Artemis and the beast?” Nothing answered me, not so much as a car passing by, not a breeze.

Was he hiding? I looked in his closet, then in the hall closet. I pushed aside the haunting coats, in darkness hanging like deflated bodies on wire. Boxes.

I glided into the kitchen adjacent to the den, drawers were open, everything was in disarray, but so was the whole house by this time, his cavern of oddly organized clutter.

I saw a hem of fabric move out of sight on the other side of the island counter, I moved toward it. He was ducking behind the island, waiting to pounce. I was going to better him. I walked slowly, stepping on the bits of bare floor around the arrayed trash and mess, then I lunged around the corner toward him like a cat upon his prey. I raised back as fast as lightening. There was a knife in my back.

I reeled around and saw the thing as I struggled with this new kind of pain. The cloth had been a mere diversion. The hair on its head was greasy, in strands like piled spider legs, it’s glasses smudged, it was squat and wore a thin tank top, its flesh was swollen and pasty, the breath I could smell was that of festering gum infection, teeth, blunt and yellow, nose thin and crooked. The expression upon its face was unearthly, the eyes were listless behind the spectacles, dead, but the rest was hungry for mutilation, eager. The contrast was up heaving to the senses. I stumbled back.

It took only a moment for my well trained constitution to react and absorb the sharp pain in my lower back. I removed the knife, a small one, it pattered to the floor as he launched at me. I side stepped, anticipating his move and pushed my hand behind his head, borrowing his inertia, and slamming his face into the wall. I heard the crack of his glasses. As he turned to face me, grinning, one of the lenses fell to the floor. He began to hum again for a moment.

He leapt forward again, hand raised in a fist. I moved to position myself around the island and my head met the sharp corner of it suddenly, I had slipped on some matter sliming the floor.

Blood leaked down my face as I tried to stand, but met a foot in my chest instead which threw me back down. He was wearing his best dress shoes which continued to pummel my chest and stomach with their narrow heads. I could not stop him. Each kick nudged my body a little further back until I was up against the other wall. He was mumbling something about a mistake, about happiness, about the things I already knew; they couldn’t hurt me.

I rolled forward quickly as he prepared another kick and knocked his only standing leg, he toppled to the ground. I stood up as he recovered, dazed, I was more emaciated then I had thought. I wheezed and coughed out some blood from something he hemorrhaged either from the blade or the kicking, I didn’t know.  I leaned against the island; I saw my blood on the other wall, on the counter, pooled a little on the floor.

The room was trailing as I looked over and met a flying punch to the face; I hit the wall behind me and fell to the counter to my right, breathing deeply. Pain in my head. I had to get it together. I closed my eyes for a moment and drew in the pain with a breath.

Something inside of me broke. A thresh hold had been reached, and pulsating hot pushed out from my core, a white burning cold. My body tingled as my brain correlated each scar on my body. A thousand instances of destruction poured over my eyes. A fist, a pan, a stick, the small table, a thousand pummeling noises, screams of rage, and then a silence so deep it quieted the past and a future spread its wings and sang.

The creature that was my father was standing right where he had been. Even he sensed something give in the atmosphere. I stood up straight in the calm of the moment, my robe fell away like water, and I stepped one foot forward into the light and smiled, at peace. He screeched and fell back onto the pillar that stands between the living room and kitchen.

“Oh god… my angel” he croaked out, “forgive me, forgive me.”

I raised my hands to my side. “Years of forgiveness I have for you. Let it fill you.”

The first scar he ever gave me, on my forehead, opened across with the sound of something swift through air. In unison his forehead opened. The second, on the right side of my ribs, opened for him, the bone cracked. He bent over in pain.

“What are you doing to me!?” he screamed, two scratch marks ripped across his cheek, his head went to the side with the force of them.

“Sharing your love, father.”  As I said this he lost breath as his lips split wide open on the right side.

As I spoke I tasted it. “You loved her so much. Each new wound was an expression of that devotion. I want to give that to you.”
Like the tearing of fabric, eight new lashes arrayed on his back, stomach and arms; blood trailed down in stripes, wide to thin.
“I remember” I said, reminiscing, “this one, it’s special.” I traced the scar as it opened from my right shoulder down to my lower left ribcage, he grimaced in pain. “That’s when I learned of her birthday.”

“And this one… an anniversary present.” Crimson flowers bloomed in rows as he cried and sobbed.

He looked over the room in desperation like a rat in a filling pool. He finally settled on the front door, so close, and ran.

He passed the table next to the couch. He reached the coffee table, mid-room, and fell screaming to the ground. I limped over to him. My once broken ankle had cracked once again. He was crying and hissing on the floor.

“I pity you.” I said “Look what you’ve become. Once a proud man, a grieving genius, reduced to a simple creature, a glutton, wallowing in his own filth and shame.”

He screamed at varying decibels, a few more small condolences I gifted him.

“Those were accidents… pointless, frivolous, accidents. You changed, you stole my meaning away.” I leaned down over him, blood dripping from my wounds into his. He spat and winced as he backed away and sat up next to the door that he no longer had any hope of leaving from.

“I’ll do anything. Please.” He was dribbling, he clearly did not understand. “You’re my son, Ner-“ he wretched as a seam opened, crossing over other wounds on his right side.

“No, creature. You will not put my name in your vile mouth. That is mine. The pain, the pain we can share.” I stood up, and raised my hands, blood, dripping like ruby beads from my arms, trailed down like bejeweled wings of crimson rain.

The tearing and rending continued, I gave him penance, I could not hear his crying any more, though surely he was.

The familiar warmth of pain ran all over and around me. I was pain. I smiled down on him, now a mass of red ribbons. I stepped into the light, toward him and his eyes widened, dazed, as light refracted off of red on white, glistening like nothing of heaven or earth.

“My angel, you came back… you came back…”

“Yes, your angel is here. Let her lead you to peace.” I took the butcher knife I had brought from the kitchen and wrote my first words upon myself, my very own, across my neck. He didn’t move or wince as I sat down beside him, a synchronized slaughter.

“My angel”, he whispered low, “My Carolyn…”

I smiled as I collapsed in his arms, drifting to slumber with my mother’s name, and all my dreams of heaven were Carolyn.

–         –        –         –          –

I awoke this morning from a beautiful dream, quite surprised to have done so. I was in a sterile room, with plastic curtains. Everything was white but the man leaning in the corner, he was black, an ink stain on the tender, white room.

My movement was constricted, I looked at my hands and arms. My entire body, in fact, was wrapped in soft gauze, I was bandaged and stitched, and doped, I’m sure.

“I am Pain.” I said in half delirium. He nodded slowly, as if he already knew.

He said one thing then, and hearing his voice, I knew I had heard it before… in my dreams, or perhaps in the dreams I will have.

“Knock, and the door shall be opened to you.”