4.29 free write

I keep on holding my breath just to keep the tears away, no word, no sound, no truth, only lies now, tripped up once and falling on the ground

I’ve been pretending for so long though, the only evidence of the truth are the songs on the radio, don’t think I’ll ever know another, maybe we don’t even really know each other

But it comes as no surprise, seems most of us are locked up in our own minds, it’s okay if you don’t want to look at the truth, I don’t want to right along with you

I know we are all crazy in our own ways, I just don’t want you to see, want to be alone today, but we are all hiding our something, but how far does it have to go before we cut our ties with all the lies of a better time

Tomorrow’s past is growing cold, today’s the last chance of a miracle, went all the way out there just to find that we are all scared, now I can’t help thinking maybe it is better to just believe whichever lie makes you feel alive again, tell me real hope didn’t just die, right along with what’s been lost inside

See me today and I’m not sure that I could tell you the difference either, but we do know something’s changed, and today will probably never go away, But hate to admit that I am more afraid

I’m just not convinced which is the truth or a lie that I’ve sold, and now the only evidence I find are the songs on the radio, and I’m holding my breath again.

4.28 free write

Thought that I knew what I was supposed to do, but just can’t seem to find the words to, trying to hear what’s the next move, but I’ve never felt so far away from You

But I know that You are here, holding me up and counting my fears, but all I can hold is my breath from here, show me where to go next, though I don’t know if I’ve the strength left

Never thought I’d get this far, but neither thought it would be so hard, just when I think I know, there’s nowhere left to even go

What is it I’m still searching for, in this world of so much nothing more, speak all the words in all the world and still feel alone, I know You are all I really need, so why do I still feel so hungry?

I know You hear all these thoughts so faded, and the silence that’s singing me to sleep now, maybe if I can write them down in these spaces, I’ll find a way to say them somehow

Im struggling to recognize amidst the sea of voices, when I fuck it all up given my own choices, I’m not hoping, but keep on going, of no reason I can see, a common thing of such familiarity

Ever scratching right beneath the skin, push it back down just to breathe in, we all have a silent scream trapped inside, as a distraction, part of the divide

I don’t really care for make believe games anymore, can’t even seem to find a conversation not so vapid and bored, so what is it I’m still searching for, in this world of so much nothing more, speak all the words in all the world and still feel alone, I know there’s nothing more I really need, so why do I still feel so hungry?

4.18

Child of the Devil, blind where I’m headed, yeah I’ll give you the second, but now in hurt my mind is on fire, all these words so long I’ve held inside

You say I’ve got to learn to use some of this anger that I can, all that I’ve got when it seems no one understands, criticize everything I do and all I am, while I’m trying so hard just to appease you, too tired to gain the upper hand

Seems I know exactly where I belong, hiding right beneath and all alone, pick me apart and watch me fall, but now I can see you never knew my heart at all

Sorry that I can’t be like you, I don’t know how to forget, how to feel what you say is the truth, but unconventionality permissible too, but only when most convenient to you

I don’t believe anymore, tomorrow’s gone too far, only further into the nightmare, so let’s erase the middle and burn out at the start

Now I know right where I belong, beneath everything you deny to keep the fear from rising, I remain one to the end of time.

The Lesser Darkness p.17-18

17

I was deeply conflicted but this was messing with my head again; I knew that if I stayed any longer that I would later regret it. I rose from the grass and looked past the clearing into the saturated darkness beyond the trees. I began to walk toward where I had come but briefly hesitated beside her. I bent down and faintly kissed her forehead, surprised to find the sensation that she didn’t feel as the illusion I had assumed. I worked my way back through the grassy thorns and into the trees. I shivered under their thick cover, and opened my eyes to the Scarlet table.

This time I more quickly regained my composure and orientation, “How long was I gone for,?” I almost instinctively queried.

“Again, I can’t tell you exactly how long-as I keep no Time- but I can say that I perceived you to have fallen asleep for only a few short moments.”

“Alright, let’s get this last one done with,” as stoically as I could feign.
The crimson vial caught my eye from the candle in front of me.

“But before I forget; I saw an old friend- a particularly dear one I suppose-” I again downplayed my recount, while reaching for the vial and holding it up against the dimmed light. “She held this, emptied in her hands. What is it- or should I ask what it means?”

“A wise question,” he tipped back in his chair with a creak. ”
“The seemingly inert substance you hold in your hands has the capacity to entirely eliminate the need- and reduce the craving for- sustenance, of any kind. Take it and you will no longer hunger, thirst, nor die of lack. But deprivation, it can well teach one progressive discipline and an increasingly heightened resistance to all pain-”

“If what you say is true, I’ll take it,” I interrupted with a laugh.

“To never be of want or it’s chains is indeed of value…” he continued. “Yet, as you know trying to force Death’s hand has its consequences, as does trying to cheat it. I rarely mention the option, as few would agree to forego something so oddly, yet universally deified; I had an inkling however, that you would not hesitate at even such a weighty decision.”

“Well how long does it last for? I would love to no longer worry myself of the imposition.” I thought of the ravenous pain in my muscles during imposed fasts and arduous treks. “Does it simultaneously reduce the pain of starvation?” I deeply coveted the notion of no longer suffering for the fact that I had not had enough food in many years. It never got any easier to make those ends meet.

“I don’t know how long it lasts- beyond the decades or if it’s forever; I’ve never again seen any one of its few partakers. I’ve a strong suspicion that it’s forever- or until you come back wishing to enjoy the carnal things of the world again. I’m still working on the formulation of its undoing…but that’s just one of my many projects, and I can make no promises at this time of its fruition.” he stared off towards the messy table, as if he had just remembered a thing long forgotten.

“so what are these downsides you so cryptically speak of?” I could not veil a slightly patronizing intonation.

“well despite the obvious forgoing of food and drink, you would become violently ill, should you attempt to do so again. You could still drink very sparingly, but it would be of no reason nor quenching. Many count food and wine amongst life’s pleasures, but you’ve apparently no firm attachment to such…” ending with the air of a question, of which he then appeared to withhold.

18

” I’d still like to take you up on your offer…” I hesitated, “and I apologize for my previously curt behavior, I was fairly worked up coming out of that first vision.”

“Think nothing of it, but help yourself if you so please.” he gestured to the vial, pushed back his chair and went to rifle through two mahogany bookshelves across the way.

I uncorked the vial, met by an oddly metallic scent, and tentatively put a few drops on my tongue. It was of a pleasant honey taste, but in swallowing it down immediately caused my stomach to wrench at the suddenly revolting taste lingering in my mouth; of which was remarkably reminiscent of blood. I allayed inquiring to be of no consequence, and quickly gulped down its contents. My vision blurred slightly as my stomach convulsed violently to empty itself of the menial remainder of its contents; of which, much to the rug’s relief was again merely a false threat.

Originating in a dull stab at the base of my skull, a sensation as though ice were filling every individual vein spread throughout at a disconcertingly slow pace.
The man stood still casually paging through a few dusty books, again entirely unphased. Picking up another couple hefty tomes he produced a modestly sized dagger from the hollow space in an encyclopedia of herbal lore. I sat frozen, consciously focused on his limited movements to attempt distraction from the increasingly heavy feeling embracing my slowed heart and lungs. I was suddenly gripped by the regret of the foolishly implicit trust I had placed in this stranger.

I sat wordless, anticipating either the feeling’s diminishment or final consequence. He returned to the table, placing the knife inside the satchel with the scroll.

 

3.21 free write

It’s true, but they likely won’t tell you, that living’s the most painful thing you’ll ever have to do, and it’s true, it never gets any easier to make it through

Though everyone may leave you all alone, you’ll always have this melody to hold, lift your eyes to the horizon and know, I never would have let you go

What are we even searching for, I can’t take this hurt anymore, time will lie to you, your eyes will cry unto the very end, but I will be waiting back at the start, until after the stars turn dark

I will not lie to you, we’re all headed down into the bitter truth, and for the pain in any line I will ever write, it’s multiplied a thousand times, the words were never any good you see, not to you, not to me

Though everyone leaves you all alone, you’ll always have this song to hold, lift your eyes to the horizon and know, I never would have let you go

What are we even searching for, I can’t take this hurt anymore, time will lie to you, your eyes will cry unto the very end, but I will be waiting back at the start, until after the stars turn dark

but the time will lie to you, will it be too dark to see the ending.

The Lesser Darkness p.7-8

p.7

She spun about sprightly and headed back toward the hut, practically skipping as she went. I remained for a few seconds, still taking in the bizarre array of antics all those around were thusly absorbed in. Not a single other person as much as raised their eyes from their business as I emerged from the trees into the starkly unnatural circular clearing. Of the diversity of people around, the girl was clearly the youngest amidst them. I was puzzled momentarily as to why she was the only one who seemed awake. She was standing with one hand on her hip, motioned for me to follow, and gave another exasperated sigh. I obliged, quickening my pace across what was now sand beneath my feet, until we came to the purple curtain.

“I can tell you haven’t been here very long- have you. But have they?” I pointed as discreetly as I could muster at the others, ever engrossed in whatever each took fancy to.

“Nope,” she chimed, “my parents just finally brought me out here for the first time, after my 12th birthday this last April. Just like they-”

“And you’re not the least bit weirded out?” I interjected.

I can tell you ask too many questions.”

I couldn’t help but allow a glimpse of amusement to cross my countenance at her tone- like a chiding parent, in a squeaky little voice.

“Go on, go in and talk to him! “she gestured again toward the entrance.

I hesitated still. Equivalent to my inclination to simply barge in, was my desire to even be there- much less to get at all involved. I already had more than enough confusion in my life. Despite finding her feisty spirit refreshing- I was still reasonably uncomfortable about the whole scene. I looked back over at her, and back at the doorway, which at a closer vantage was interwoven with shining gold thread. I instinctively recognized a small, metallic sound resonating from up above us, and glanced up to see a tiny red-throated hummingbird glaring back down, scarlet chest glinting in the dying light. Chirping in such a manner that I guessed he may have been reciting avian profanity; I had always wondered why it was generally accepted that hummingbirds were of docile nature, I knew firsthand that they could be little devils if in a mood.

The girl was making play fists and rolling her eyes again, so concluding that there would be no knocking, I pushed the curtain aside and furtively stepped inside.

The space was surprisingly large and well-furnished for the base state of everything outside; filled with a warm energy, I saw that the walls were in fact made of rich, sturdy oak logs behind the brittle sticks and straw. There were bookcases both short and lofty, stacked and filled in disorderly array with hundreds of shabby leather- bound, paperback, wooden, and hardcover books. Many were exceedingly thick, with the initial appearance of research and reference documents and journals. I didn’t see or sense anyone at all, and continued to observe the spread of tubes, vials, darkened bottles, syringes, papers, and seemingly plant matter strewn about on two rectangular wooden tables. There was a third table, bright red and only the size of a square end table, with three broad candles exuding a fragrance that brought me to feel of a frustratingly indescribable nature.

Time seemed to be crawling at half speed as I loitered around waiting for someone potentially as disconcerting as the public outside that violet tapestry. I decided to further tarry only long enough to study a staff leaning in the corner. It appeared to be made of a finely smoothed Yew wood, carved as one piece with two snakes encircling its length, heads nearly meeting at the top. I flinched to suddenly sense a hand on my shoulder.

 

p.8

I turned about, looking behind but beheld no one, until I spied the man sitting in a chair at the little red table. Only half veiled in shadow, he was an unshaven man of considerable years. Had he been just sitting watching me? Whose hand grabbed my shoulder? I had been standing back by the door, about to leave after I had been examining the staff; I marveled at how I had missed something so obvious.

“Rather captivating craftsmanship eh?”                                                  “Yes, particularly the eyes of the snakes…”
I was embarrassed by how oblivious I had been but was then also grateful I had not indulged my curiosity to look inside the darkened bottles with various tags on each.

“well it doesn’t mean what it used to to me- that’s for sure. Take a seat if you will?”
“I prefer to stand,” I instinctively countered.
“so be it,” he laughed. “So. No need to explain why you’re here, I would gather for the same reasons as most everyone else…”

“being?”
“Irrelevant-” he said, holding up his hand with an exaggerated emphasis on every syllable. “That is, the past has passed. What can I do for you today?”

“I wouldn’t know. I can’t even figure out what this place is. What the hell is this camp doing here? What’s wrong with all of those people?”

“Ah, straight to the questions- straight to the point. I do like you…” he trailed off, as if carefully measuring his answer.                      “I cannot tell you definitively, but I can tell you that we all come here, and we are all subject to the Laws of this place. Some stay, while others do not- both either content or discontent.”

“I hear a lot of riddles and nonsense.” I replied curtly.

The illuminated half of his face cracked a smile, “Ask better questions.”

My stomach protested loudly in reply.

“Oh yes-” he rose, moving to the tall bookshelf and retrieving a burlap bag. Producing two substantial sheets of dried meat, he placed them on the red table across from the chair, of which he was again seated. I began to feel foolish standing there, unsure of how to hold myself so as to not appear as weary and ill as I felt.

“I should have remembered- you’ve likely been walking a couple days.. Come now, eat. I’ve got better things to do than to poison those who don’t ask for it,” he chuckled, apparently quite pleased with himself. “Eat so we may continue this discourse with no unnecessary ill-will.”                    I acquiesced and divided my attentions to sating the fierce aching in my muscles.
“And do you have a name, or shall I simply call you the Guarded One Who Stands?”
“That works,” I managed between laborsome mouthfuls.

The food was already taking the edge off of my hostile delirium and I paused chewing, realizing it had been a while since anyone had asked that.                                            “I guess I don’t have a name- not yet I suppose.. I usually don’t think about it until someone simply starts calling me something for one reason or another. My name was once Zakuw- I don’t know why, but an old friend of mine way back in the day used to always call me that and then laugh. I never did figure out why or if it even meant anything. Funny how we met, in that day we used to walk the Catacombs at night for kicks. Peaceful place…Why am I even telling you this?..”

I could still hear his trademark laughter ringing in my ears. For the longest time he was the only person I ever spoke to, until he simply disappeared. One night he never showed up to walk along in the dark with me, and I was never any the wiser of where he went. But I eventually understood his disappearance when some decades later I developed the inclination to do the same thing. Friendships and relationships were too risky. Since then, I’ve long preferred to share my secrets with strangers, those of the Asylum who would not remember my name or face, or those I crossed paths with in the Silent Places- but never for long.

The old man wistfully nodded as if he perceived my thoughts.

“Anything in your pockets?” he proposed.

“No, I didn’t bring anything with me but these clothes.”

“Clearly you’ve no others…” he laughed again. “check anyways.”

I reached in my pockets and to my surprise was something, pulling out of the depths of my left pocket a tiny parchment scroll, about the size of a matchbook. I opened it to see only a few indiscernible symbols, appearing as that of a foreign language, and handed it across the table to him.

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.