The Lesser Darkness p.13-14

13

He stared back calmly without a word, as if accustomed to being threatened in such manner.

“May I have my neck back?”

I began to return to the present. I took notice of my startlingly icy cold skin, finally realized my hands still about his neck, and allayed my grip in time to heed the warning of my retching stomach.

“You were sleeping so peacefully I could have sworn you to be in some happy place,” he grinned, incognizant of the matters he was making light of. “However, now you seem a bit tense…”

“You seriously didn’t see anything? I was asleep?” I rhetorically inquired, still feeling fairly disoriented.

“I’m not the person who took one… Much less chose the red one first.”

“I thought you said you didn’t know which was which?”

“No, what I said precisely was that I couldn’t tell you which was which.”

“Nice,” I replied flatly.

“But your nearly ruining my favorite rug reminds me of an offer I have for you, before we continue on to the next seed.”

“Yeah, I’m not so sure at the moment of your offers of supposed good intent.”

“You don’t even know what it is,” he countered.    “Don’t you want to live to see what’s next? You’ll need this in order…” he trailed off as though with a knowing air. he jumped up and again fetched a crimson-filled vial from the disorderly table’s contents and held it out to me.

“There’s no fucking way.” I sat unmoved.

“Very well, I can out-wait your nagging curiosity,” he conceded. He set the vial down on the edge of the tallest candle and sat down. “And where did you pick up such outdated language?” he laughed to himself. He directed his eyes to the remaining seeds in front of me. “Now reconsider; you’ve already got the potentially rough one out of the way. Of which, may I again inquire as to what you saw that so shook you?”

Reminding myself that he was of no responsibility for the content of my vision, I attempted to quell my aggravation. “I saw spirits, the evil ones. I don’t know what else to call them. Four of them- but one was different, coming from the shadows behind you. I’ve known them many times before throughout the ages, but seldom in such a personal and violent manner.” I decided to eschew the details. Similar had happened before, but then there was no rescue but Time. “I also heard and felt a great Wind that scattered them. There were deafening voices, though I could not interpret what they were saying.”

“Hm.” his expression betrayed no surprise. “I can’t tell you what it means, but it will likely serve you to have experienced in its context. Keep it in your mind for that Time.”

“You don’t know, or you won’t tell me, again?”

“Both. I’ve ever remained an advocate for learning by experience.”

Recognizing that further inquiry had yet to get me anywhere with the man, I rewound the unpleasant event in my head to commit to memory. In my rumination I found myself looking at the clock again- of which remained frozen at 3o’clock. Surmising it was broken, I queried as to the time-mindful of where I would be attempting to sleep.

 

p.14

“I think your clock is broken?” I looked up at the steadfast hands, still pointing to the 3 and twelve. “I arrived here an hour or so ago, and the Sun was getting low, so it must have been roughly 6 in the evening then.”

“I don’t need a clock- it’s of no consequence to me. it’s always 3o’clock in my mind, is that not also the case in yours?”

“No…I don’t follow.” All I had heard of any implication was that 3 in the morning was held by some as the easiest hour to shift between the physical, astral, and other planes.

“Regardless, Time does not pass in the way you likely believe it to. You’ll find in this place- in particular and hereafter- that the Sun rarely rises or sets at the Time you would expect, or hope. Neither does the Moon any longer chase the Sun or follow in its “proper” path. Even I’ve seen daylight last for a week straight, and darkness for months. There is no prediction nor observation of Time’s manner of passing; in most places you’ll find it three times as fast, and in a few- just half. So there’s no keeping track of Time; it simply goes as it wills, with or without us- and stops for very few.”

I stared back incredulously.
“Is this belief why you previously thought that I had been walking for days- because it had only been less than one. I was just exhausted when I started…”

“I’m not here to convince anyone, and if I were- well, I wouldn’t.”

The man was clearly either insane, speaking in riddles, or both. Harmlessly so, but in the same.
But in fairness, he also seemed to know things for which I could not account for. I picked up another seed from the table, a light green one. I decided that whatever I saw next would determine for- deciding between the two- which he was. I reminded myself of all the different ways in which I had already died, in order to quell my anxiety, and gulped it down.

This time I immediately noticed the shift, and was conscious of the fact that I was quickly overcome with drowsiness. I opened my eyes to find myself lying on my back, squinting up into a grey torrent of rainfall. Rising, I beheld that familiar low sky of heavy clouds, feigning a black pitch. I stood in a vast glade against the trees, of which was a field of mostly dead grasses up to my knees. The rain poured down in angled sheets, silencing every other sound or thought. I thought to bring to mind where I was, but I could not remember how I had gotten there or where I had been before, and my mind seemingly could behold no tangible thought.

I brought my eyes back up from the dirt to notice a very distant break in the abyss of clouds, through which a single ray of sunlight broke through, shining down upon what, I did not know. Looking back out across the field, I then noticed someone sitting down in the grass, their back to me. My inquisitive nature brought me to tread forward through the muted grasses, mixed with all measures of thorns that had been rendered dull in the rainfall.

Slowly drawing nearer, I made out long, wavy hair of a shade impossibly undecided between red and black, or simply the coexistence of both. I made my way around to the side, standing silently, but she did not avert her eyes from her fixed forward gaze, as though too looking off into the distance at the peculiar beam of light.

The Lesser Darkness p.5-6

p.5

Unsure of where I ought to head next, I figured my best bet for finding anything useful was to turn back around to go up over the mountain, where I knew at one point was an older established town. There would also most certainly be some water caught in the hollowed rocks after the recent uncharacteristic storms. Yet even the thought of such a great distance caused my head to throb even worse. I knew the rock faces of the mountain continued up for miles, then dropped off into various valleys in between each, meaning even a manageable looking distance would take exceedingly longer than anticipated.

I righted myself east and began the journey, up the introductory rock face I was so familiar with, and struggled to push away the memories playing in my mind like a movie reel I could never shut off. I finally regretted not having taken more time in this life to train myself to scale this old mountain face with the grace and ease I used to watch her leap eagerly ahead with, always beckoning me to climb just a little higher-but I usually preferred to watch and in stillness savor the otherworldly peace of our hiding place. Nearby there was an extensive cave between two horizontal rock faces that had been called the Witch Cave, because when we first discovered it there were candles lining makeshift stone shelves and the uncanny existence of our initials carved into the rock wall. I had already spent so much time out in these summits that I both loved and loathed their heights.        

At one point in the journey of my consciousness I had thought that If there really was heaven or any semblance of it in this world- that that time, that place and presence was it- or as close as I was ever going to be. I foolishly fantasized that some measurable form of peace could be found in what couldn’t possibly last. Born of naivety, I thought that I had finally found a resting place- somewhere safe, understood, and in the sight of familiar eyes. Yet the present always falls away into a lost past and a different life brings different dreams- or nightmares from the recesses of our intimate fears.

I had advanced up and over a few of the ascents and in the thinning fog was able to catch sight of a thin plume of smoke off to the North, less than a mile off. It would take me out of my way, but the chance of resting and refueling somewhere soon was tempting enough to chance the relative detour. I knew I could always try killing something for food, but in my recollection there really weren’t many animals out here anymore, I was a shitty hunter, and foolishly enough always felt some measure of identifying guilt over it. I had done some awful things, but could never bring myself to harm one of the only things that seemed undeserving of suffering. Yet the verocity of the catabolic pain had grown enough to overwhelm any of my hypocritical convictions.

Tracing along an interstice of the mountain gained me some time in light of my rapidly diminishing strength and I stood off from the smoke’s source-which had dissipated shortly after its appearance. I was pleasantly disoriented to see the appearance of some lofty pine trees down along the way- being exceedingly out of sorts for the immediate area. They were multiplying, dotted amidst the starkly viridescent ferns, as I drew nearer. It almost seemed that the terrain was steadily shifting as I went, into that of some place alarmingly unfamiliar and inexplicably eerie.   I peered from behind the cover of a broad fern to distinguish what appeared to be a fairly well-established camp.

It was an unmistakably circular- shaped setup, with what I counted to be twelve chairs near the middle, arranged in another sizeable circle.

There were all sorts of people walking about, each remarkably uninvolved in as much as acknowledging those whom they were ploddingly passing by in monotonous repetition. Most of them were dressed in what appeared to be olden robes and untimely attire of predominantly velvet reds, black, and white with much fewer yellows, green, blue, and purple. upon further examination, what appeared to be twelve chairs were actually all tree stumps that had been cut down, roots still in their place, each inhabited by a person of uncannily straight posture. Most of those going about were walking in a clockwise direction, and those sitting on the “chairs” were each engrossed in some unknown task of apparent urgency, moving their hands about as to emulate counting, typing, folding, or other mechanical motion of a speculatedly task-related nature. Two of the twelve sat motionless and equally straight-backed, simply holding their hands over their eyes, remaining unnaturally still as though dead.

The dying fire in the middle of the chairs was now barely even flickering amidst the ashes, and though night was falling, no one paid mind to its kindling. The outer part of the camp was lined with various clotheslines, woven baskets of linen, and pots containing unknown substance. Beyond the ring of senseless antics was a small circular hut made up of straw and branches, with a deep purple curtain hung in the doorway.

p.6

I remained hidden, watching from behind the fern for some ten minutes or so before deciding that such exceedingly odd behavior strongly recommended that I turn back around- especially considering my inability to spot any mushrooms of the sort lying around. That meant abandoning the idea of finding any refuge or sustenance. The rock catches hadn’t yielded near as much water as I had hoped for. Physically however, I recognized that I didn’t realistically have that choice, unless I wanted to risk collapsing on the way to a place that I didn’t even know was there. I instinctively reached back to check for my buck knife- just in case- to realize that it hadn’t made the jump and I had nothing of any use.

Given, I had seen much stranger behavior during my stay in the London asylums. Ironically enough, it was there I encountered a decent number of memorably unique individuals- some even seemingly brilliant to my interpretation- of whom could seem more “sane” than the management body of its facilities. As mentioned, I had seen that every advantage had its disadvantages, every gift had its often steep consequences, and everything has its price. Needless to say, after that I never again broached or entertained conversation of my lives’ experiences. Though the following century gave rise to many inquiring minds for the mystical- it was mostly intangible imaginations of past lives, and never gaining any answers had long left me feeling voicelessly isolated inside- wondering if I was the only one, or if anyone else who had been around the block at least more than once was also fearful to speak of such matters with confidence.

I often passed some of the countless lonely hours pondering or making up stories of where the selected few other humans I had cared about would be now. I liked to think that they conjectured similarly; that they still thought of me, but I was sure they didn’t care as much as I did anyway. Most times I hated caring the way I tended to, long after I was surely forgotten or they were gone- I wanted the feelings to be as dead as the time that killed them all. But I couldn’t, it simply wasn’t in me. In those few cases I cared too much.

A small, biting voice intruded my train of thought, “Just what exactly are you doing hiding there? If you’re going to be creepy, you could at least pick a bigger plant!”

Clearly my hesitation was potentiating trouble for me again. I stood up from my apparently meager cover, mostly surprised that I had even been noticed at all. I didn’t think to say anything but an indecipherable mutter, and stared back at a diminutive girl of about 12. Her sharp eyes pierced impatiently through unkempt, bright blonde hair.

“What are you mute? Well you clearly didn’t come all the way out here just to stare did you?”

I shook off the perplexity of such a young girl all the way out in these mountains.

“I suppose I’m rather… lost? Well- I thought I knew where I was, but it seems like everything is changing…”

“What did you choose the Blue berry and then get lost in the woods? Are you slow? Of course everything is changing- its an unsafe world where you can’t predict or control anything but what you do! The landscape is always changing!” sounding like she was reciting some mantra, she was apparently accustomed to speaking just short of a yell, and her enthusiasm seemed oddly misplaced.

I paused. “I saw the fire and needed somewhere to rest because I’ve been wandering and I don’t know where I am, how I came upon this unfamiliar place, or where I’m going.”

She rolled her eyes, “Oh man, have I heard that one before. Well I guess you’ve stumbled upon just the right place! We at least know what we’re doing here. We have options and choices. We’re free.”

I silenced my many inquisitions and simply returned an untenable smile; disguising my incredulity at such a all-encompassing statement to a subjective end.

Her childish grin yet unforgiving candor was again inscrutably reminiscent of some place familiar. Everything felt like a reminder of some place I’d never been.

1.27 free write

I sit in the pew with my head hung low, surrounded by all these people but I’ve never felt so alone, I swear I’ve heard these words before, I wrote them in my journal just the night before

And I can barely stand as the man recites what I thought he would say, and was most afraid, yeah the illusion I tried to create is falling apart, and I’m terrified every color will forever turn dark

I don’t want to be afraid anymore, but the more I push on my very best, heart sinking like a stone within my chest, I ran so far my wayward years, from everything and one, now all I have to say are tears

No words to exhume from the ocean that just feels like a different tomb, yeah I know just who You’re talking to, I’m not saying that you’re wrong, I just can’t find the motivation to move on

You are good, You are faithful, but my heart is selfish and the truth evokes hate in my soul, perhaps it’s presumptuous, I’m just convinced I’ll never feel anything else again but this

Yeah life is pain I know, and if we’re surviving we’ve already got it made, I just didn’t think when I was a little child that the pain would be the only thing that stayed, and after everything I’ve seen, I don’t know what to believe

I don’t want to talk to anyone, had to break me down slowly for what was to come, I couldn’t properly run my life, now I’m caught between here and the other side

I’m sorry if it sounds like it’s doubt, maybe it is, but I just can’t see what’s to hope for now, though I still hear all sorts of things, there’s nothing I can think to ask the future brings

Why should I be exempt from giving up all I thought I had? I just didn’t know it would hurt this bad, why am I always bitter, when I have no right to it, all I want is to quit as soon as it begins, because after everywhere I’ve been, I am still far too human

Am I bound in Saturn’s transit, destined to turn to the pages I’ve dreaded, on my knees I’m begging to be locked into the path the seven stars are headed, forever until the end held together

After everything You’ve seen me through, God help me to trust You, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to trust in You to do, when to live is to die and to grow is to lose

Feels like the end, but I guess we all get our time to pretend, now destiny’s calling and I don’t know how to answer, I don’t even want to, they say that we’re born to- God I didn’t know dying hurt more than my conjecture of never having been born at all.

12.12 free write

This night is so silent that it fills my heart with fear, when in so many ways I don’t know where to go from here

So far away from the only things that ever made any sense in life, and all that remains is a fallen pretense and waiting for their ends to arrive

How do we change so much in so short a space in time, how do you go from love to I don’t want you in my life

I’ve always had a heart that was either closed or too far out of reach, just going through the motions like most, not feeling anything

And when you wake up to that .1 percent, it just opens you up to poison and disappointment, is it better to always lose or to stay where you’re used to

It’s not an easy thing to do, to speak in a language without the signals mixed up, you’ll look everywhere and yet it never seems to come

And the silence so strange after such a long way, it’ll almost make you believe in a lie, that it’s all in vain when everything’s changing and it’s all a waste of your time

But I have few to no regrets in this futile life I’ve led, it is better to try and to fall than to never try loving at all, and someday you will see life is more than a memory

Someday I tell you when the years have all begun to unwind and you couldn’t read the signs, once you’ve run all out of time- only then perhaps you’ll see what it means when love is blind.

1.19 free write

This place has grown so empty my footsteps echo back down every barren corridor, these pallid unfeeling walls with every turn look just like the world, exactly the same everywhere you look, now I’ll be just another face amidst the sea of all you mistook

From the inside to my outside face, all I thought I’d be has finally come to change, and I’ll be another soul you won’t recognize because sooner or later we have to realize that tomorrow’s just a dream that every fool will chase for eternity

I just don’t know where to go, there’s got to be someone somewhere who knows how to break this sea of glass, who can take away some of the lonely hours that pass

It’s never coming around, I don’t have time to wait for second guessing now, life slips through the hourglass still standing, throwing around the time that we took all for granted

I’ve only got to get it right once and it’s enough for me to fade, to keep all the right turns to the end of this maze, just once to feel anything real, to find a heart that still knows how to feel

I have to redeem the time, all the impossible, mistakes to rewind, faces will deceive you every time, pretty convenience desired over the ugly truths we hide

The pain you carry inside will never go away, that emptiness we try to fill and it’s all in vain, I’d throw away all my today’s just to feel alive one more time and then never have to die again

I can’t keep up with the lie, trying to show only one side, hearts are messy, ours are in pieces, trying hard to see but sometimes I’d rather believe in anything else outside of my reach

This place is already so dead I cannot bear to stay to the end, but with the long weary road ahead, maybe I really just needed a closer friend.

10.31 free write

What if everyone is wrong, thinking that we know the thoughts of God, what if what they say isn’t true, that you can’t simply choose not to feel the way you do

When we met I saw a field of flowers, far as the eye could see, purple and yellow and every color, each one is somebody

No we can’t confine ourselves to a legacy that belongs to everybody else, I can’t live that life, becoming more evident the more time tells

I dreamt of my field above on the way, in which I toil my share each day, what was dead in this life became vibrant and green, taller than over which that could be seen

I traveled around its every right turn, sunflowers hemming like walls, each one an action so burdensome in this hurt and seeming ever so small

A song rose above as ever they do, a whispered dreaming of being Evergreen with you, to wish that we could run away to a place, where we’d never grow old, never have to die to change

The next day a stranger came and gave me six seeds, I would’ve rather stayed asleep, but I planted them beneath, and water them with my tears each day that I rise, and over these years I see it is our lesson here to die

And this kind of death hurts so much more than the kind we’re all familiar with from before, like your insides are being torn out, cut up into pieces, and forced back down your throat, it never gets any easier- I can only pray to go

I fear there will be nothing left to love, you see, though at a certain point I knew it wasn’t meant for me, I never knew dying could hurt so fucking much, though the world it hasn’t changed- I’ve just woken up

How much does God really know each of our hearts, because He’s so confusing when ours get torn apart, this bed is the only rest I find, where you fall asleep and pretend to die for the last time

Who am I that You should take notice, when my legs are weak, my stomach revolts, my eyes they fool me, for fear of what is beholden, the world spins about with nothing to hold onto, no way out and no hope enough to make it through

There are bits of air sent just to keep us alive, but 99% of the time I wonder even why, all the world is change, and I know that I can never be the same.

8.16 free write

What can I say to You? My one final act, in my desperation, I built a fire that burned up to heaven just to gain Your attention, and so You came and sat beside me each night, to talk or just sigh with the silence

If I said what I felt, I would scream, I would weep, I would break absolutely everything in front of me, but instead I hold it all inside, because You said You’d give me anything I asked for, except the one thing I want and need to carry on in life

By chance, consequence, or God’s will in some sense, my entire world has gone away, everything’s broken and hope is devastated, I pleaded with tears, I begged with all of me, still the answer was no, oh so let Death follow me

You will tell me wisdom of old or what I may question You, I’ve tested You and resisted You with the unyielding will of a thousand men, until I saw a very glimpse of heaven, just to question You again

And I am awed that You still reply, but can’t You understand that I am ready and begging to die, You have allowed me to lose everything but the dry sustenance that keeps me alive, taken everything that I needed to survive

I’m already dead, I feel cheated, like You deceived me when the initial deal was made, if You know me so well, why keep me alive just for me to suffer these same things I cannot escape

Twelve years I have fought, gone to lengths unheard of, wandering in wonderland where I dare say no one understands, barely finding my next breath, but somehow making it worth it, small glimmers that I did not expect would disappear entirely

But now the war is lost and I can not bear the reality of my life being over, I do not argue my own righteousness but only for a moment of Your attention to end my misery for all time, let me rest where I’m meant and do not delay the destination

Will You bear to sit beside me as I cry for the rest of my short life? What is left when You alone know my heart and mind, how can You love me, why pay attention to the inconsequentials of the fields but skillfully ignore my crying pleas

Surely you do not shut your ears to the truth of my most intimate thoughts, when there is nowhere and no one left to go to of whom I have not, to find that there are no answers, only the ticking time that dismantles like a cancer

Take what is left from me evermore and give it all to the boy on the street corner, of whom there is spark and a will to live, why waste Your heart on someone who wasn’t meant to exist

I’m shown all these photographs of what is or what is past, but I can never go back, You’ve made it very clear a fact, and I know my life’s not so relatively bad, but I in my particular heart can’t live with what it is or has become, my time has run out, why leave me to rot when it’s done

Give to those who want, but why do You instead make the broken carry on while life is denied to those who still have desire, You know me well of old, You know I will be here for the rest of my life and cannot quell this torment of my soul

Oh God forgive me for failing this fight, I swear I really did try, now when people see, they think it’s fine, but that’s the twist, in wonderland everything’s backward from its appearance

Why even cry, for can you wet the ocean in its rising tide? The hours blur by and turn the nightmare into the daytime, can nothing I say change your mind? For no man can answer why the land’s Laws are thusly defied

I do not recognize myself and I can’t remove my skin, oh let me be so far apart and never remember it, how long, how long must we remain shadows of who we were, will we weep in bitterness of soul forever?