I see darkness in my dreams.
The darkness hints at a sense of peace just beyond the tips of my outstretched fingers. But it is never truly reachable, like a woman for whom you bare your soul but she refuses to give yours even the slightest of glances. It is a short-lived respite and I welcome its frigid embrace for the quickening moment that I am allowed; for I will soon wake up, and that is never pleasant. This brief moment of darkness–this gentle kiss from the Night Mother–is all I now await; all I now desire; all I now portend.
It is always the chair I first notice when the darkness begins to recede. Then my hands. I can never move my hands. The chair is my seat and my arms are bound to its arms and my legs are bound to its legs; though I cannot seem to feel my feet. Why is it her face that I always see when I open my eyes? Why can’t I open my eyes to some other sight, just the once? Her face is full of hatred and malice and revenge. Deservedly so.
How many times must I endure this?
Once upon a time, I had a bit of a bottle problem, or that’s one way to put it. I had a numbness, well really the numbness was all I experienced any longer, and the bottles made it less so, at least for a while. I was lost in a sea of the past when time was my artistry was worth something. A time that seems so long ago. A time before the destitute wretchedness my life had become. A time when a brush in my hand and a palette of color in the other was my sorcery; my true magic. A wave of my hands could record the very essence of all emotion, and the results were coveted more than gold and jewels, more than the elation and proclamations exclaimed at the height of erotic passion, more than the temporary powers granted a victorious election. But, that was a time long past, if ever it truly existed in anything more than my imagination.
My bottle problem was less of a problem for me so much as it was a problem with the self-proclaimed and self-entitled aristocracy permeating this damned society. It’s like a disease with no cure. Bottles are easy to come by and I needed little else. Not thinking myself a burden on society, other than my apparent insult of having to be looked upon when the occasion arose that one of those pretentious haughty pompous supercilious cane-toting trolls happened to walk by, I simply awaited my death whilst numbing my numbness with the bottles.
This woman was not a troll. She found pity when she looked at me and decided to act upon her pity. She did this, not only for me, but for a great many others, in spite of herself, and with little regard for her own well-being. In fact, despite the wrath unfolding before me, I believe she is a good woman still, and always has been; the epitome of goodness if there is such a thing. She is a woman that can bend your own desires to coalesce with her own before you even realize what had happened; and after the realization hits you, you are glad that it happened. She wasn’t particularly pleasant on the eyes, in fact, she was a bit plainer than most and her figure reminded me more of a wooden box than the luscious curvature you envision when you think of a typical woman–well, it was more of a rectangle, but it doesn’t matter. She was kind and gentle and patient and wise and all the good things that entice you trust a person. And trust her I did.
She convinced me to give up my bottles, and for a short while, I chose to help her in whatever way I could. And for a moment, I think I felt something beyond the usual numbness, though I can no longer recall what that something was beyond the hollow space of love I once felt for her. In addition to helping wretched old souls like myself, she also ran an orphanage, and I was good with the children. I think I truly loved them in my own way, but it was for her that I took care of them. It was for her that I taught them to express their artistry. It was for her that I helped them learn their letters. It was for her that I read them bedtime stories. I loved her. She loved me. She told me as much on many an occasion. We shared a bed. We shared a life for a while. The numbness was abated.
But it did not last.
The numbness never really leaves you once it has taken hold. Thus, I began to consult my old bottles on the occasions that she would not notice, mostly in the dead of night during the sleeping hours. It is strangely difficult to sleep when you feel nothing at all, and the bottles numbed the numbness if ever so slightly. It was one of these occasions that I committed the worst sin of my wretched existence.
The bottles not only numbed the numbness, but also the senses. And, on one of those nights, I accidentally (at least I think it was an accident) tipped over a candlestick, which tipped over another, which tipped over a third. The dry wood of the orphanage burned rather well and I was powerless to stop it.
She managed to save five of the twelve children before the orphanage collapsed on itself. Half her uncomely face was burned beyond recognition. I managed to stumble outside before getting injured.
So here I sit in this chair. Strapped to it. Offering no resistance. I shall never offer resistance no matter how many times this repeats. In point of fact, I lost count quite some time ago.
Tears and snot and all the fluids of despair stream down her face as she screams at me. “WHY!?” she screams. Occasionally it descends into some desperate wail or a sullen sob. Sometimes it is a whisper. Sometimes she can not speak it aloud, but her eyes scream it louder than her voice is even capable.
I offer no answer. I will not offer an answer. I have no answer. She deserves this bit of vengeance.
Eventually, she comes close to me and gently presses her knife through my chest. Everything she does is gentle. She is a gentle soul. The last thing I hear before descending into darkness is her whisper through her tears, “I love you.” Thus ends this cycle.
I see darkness in my dreams.