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Hearing the sound of a siren over music begets a strange kind of fear. Like maybe hearing footsteps. Or a misheard name on a news report. Breath catches and for a moment fear washes everything colour-blind but then it turns out okay. The siren fades. The footsteps belong to a friend. The name is something entirely different. Breathe better and sigh a little, it's not real. At least until the phone call comes, to say the name was indeed different, but also wrong. It was right the first time. The fear comes back and it won't go away. It sticks.
Mood schemes are never quite right. ‘Happy, sad, angry, cranky' just don't cover it. Even the more exotic ‘exanimate, depressed, anxious, ecstatic' come nowhere close to reality. Where's the ‘I need a cigarette' mood icon? The ‘nine inch nails overload' icon? Or the ‘apples smell like life' icon? It's shorthand for emotions the same way porn is shorthand for sex. A pale, commercialised, watered down and lame image pixellated into blurred ‘maybes' and ‘could have beens'. Convincing you that all there is can be contained in teensy little boxes and bad titles. As if it reveals something important or true.
You can get overwhelmed by numbers. Swamped by the stories. It can rip your heart out and pull happiness from you like a wire. Until it thins and breaks, leaving you with the jagged edge of what may have been happiness at some point, what may have been a good thing, cut down to some broken reminder of what could have been, what was, what never will be. A little serrated moment sticking out to remind you that once you were happy. There was a day you cared. A moment to remind you just how far you've fallen. Reminding you.
Keep slipping. Keep on going under. Drown in it, wallow in it, let it fill every fibre of your being and let it cover you. Hold your breath as you go under. Let it go and let it fill your lungs with everything you tried to leave behind. Breathe it in and choke on it. Slip away into it, losing everything but what is filling you. Forget everything but the burn and pressure. Sink deeper and deeper and further beneath the surface. Slip away, slide under and away and beyond. Go down, go under, go ahead. I won't miss you.
Half light, low light, dull light, no light, what the fuck? Darkness isn't the scary part, it's being lost, wandering, unsure and alone save for the sound of your own breath that brings fear.
It's feeling the dark press down like a smothering blanket, like some sort of twisted peace that will drown you in it's pity. Like you're a fire that needs to be put out under a load of dust and sand, trickling down and through until it swallows every part of your soul, niggling in the cracks and deadening the light.
Who is afraid of the dark?
Instructively constructive, destructively obstructive. Play for all it's worth and watch it drop away. Heights you can't get to and the lows you know all too well. Talk about it, tell me all, open yourself and let me in, let me go and give it all to me. Show yourself and all you're worth. Let me judge you know you need it. Be the scapegoat, be the albatross, be the spider spinning webs in my head and the poison in my veins. You need to know, you should be told, you have to see, you have to understand. Restrictive reconstruct.
Twitch and flick and slick sick sweat stinks up the place. Can't sit still, can't stay away, can't keep it in. Let it go, let it flood the house with your scent, your words and space and pain and everything you are or ever were or wanted to be. Drenching, draining words filling the room like stagnant swamp water. Leaving dirty marks of where it was even when it flows away. The stench remains with the stains and it's a permanent reminder of the word-flood that drowned your self-respect, your control and your dignity. A picture painted in wet words.
The world's worst liar spins a web with holes like canyons. So excited, childlike and silly, the need to speak overwhelms the need to protect and the lies flow forth like vomit from the mouths of babes. Spurting dribbles of milk-fed fibs. Misrepresent, vent, repent it's all the same style with the world's worst liar. Glossy inconsistencies, watch the other hand and force it to make sense. The world's worst liar isn't really because the onus is on the listener to let it all make sense. The world's worst liar leads you into the deceit and watches you fool yourself.
Blame it on the others, blame it on the rest, blame it on me.
I'm the insomnia that drives you crazy.
The dirty blood that failed the test.
The itch you scratch until it bleeds.
It is all my fault.
I'm the bitch who never listened.
The jerk who never cared.
The one who went on without you.
I am the one responsible.
I'm the silence in the night.
The noise that never stops.
The voices in your head.
I am the guilty one.
I'm the alcohol.
I'll be your scapegoat, your initial reason, your sacrifice.
You and me. Always has been, my destruction is your delight and I can taste it on my tongue. Watching you fall can almost bring me to my knees. Pulling each other down and along and we rip through the silences, the secrets and the hidden wounds. Making news ones and wallowing in the pain. Show me everything and I'll show you my soul, my bones, my blood and pain. I lick your heart and feed on whatever you give. Swallow the humility, the vulnerability and wounding pride. Nothing like your devotion and my pain and we are almost whole.
There is a freedom in loss and pain. To know you've done the worst you can do. You've failed and lost and everything you worked for is gone and dead. A new start from the ashes of your death, if only you could wash the stench of it away. If only the ash hadn't crept under your skin like a tattoo, like shining ink that proclaims you different and wrong somehow. Creeping up your neck in tendrils, shading your skin grey and cold. Once you've lost it all to the freedom of pain and sorrow you are marked for life.
The ink that sinks in, the ink that seeps through my skin to my bones marking me for life and long and evermore. Bone deep and soul scratched, taking me over and making me more. Symbols of my own that make me more and tell me things in the dark of night. Ink that mingles in my blood and sweat and turns everything blue black with secrets messages and meanings. Pale skin and black lines, white lines, shocking purple and red make me a canvas, something more and less and different. The ink in my skin, sinking through. Sinking in.
Sometimes it's enough to know yourself. To know how you feel. It's enough to love and that's it. No recriminations, expectations, anticipations. To love and let it lie as it will. Sometimes.
Other times it rips through your skin and eyes and lays your heart out on the floor like a pathetic, candle-less birthday cake. It's something that needs to be said, acted upon, rehashed and worked out and on and over.
But for the most part it works it's own way out, seeping from your skin like sweat and pheromones. Showing the world what you're not ready to face.
A history revised, realised, dis-guised, as if it were a mutable thing, a polymer clay creation of your designation, the only destination your thick skull and mine, working it's way through dead-dull ears and eyes and what you say is what I know and what I know is the truth, right, what you say is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you if it's not, so help you if I see the light behind the curtain, if I blunder through the flimsy web you weave and deceive and retrieve each time we conceive anything.
Dates get etched in stone, things we think we should remember, things we can never forget, things that cling, unlovely in the hard light of day. The exact time of day you first realised you're not as good as you thought. The date you lost all sense of grace and became self-conscious to the point of muteness. Dates that come and go and weave a wild tapestry of forgotten times. Even so some dates you never remember, maybe you never knew, just times and places and smells you grasp like a wisp of smoke and tar in the morning light.
Peel apart the layers and pick the bones clean. Find the secrets and mechanisms and what exactly is that ticking? Layer upon layer upon layer of nothingness and dirt, held together with glue that tastes like sweat and tears. Grit between the sheets, between the teeth that tear and shred. Take it all, leave nothing, not even gristle. Eaten alive, wriggling on a pin like some exotic insect gassed to a deathly sleep. The end is a favour, a gift, a blessing of some distant benefactor. All that is left is the bones of what once was. Of what is.
She's a strange beauty, all movement and desire. She's the queen of reinvention, of stripping herself back to what she thinks is real. She's open to introspection and loves the truth like the cigarettes in her back pocket. She settles and sees it through, even when everything says go. Because she needs it as much as she needs him, because she needs something to cling to even if it's a nightmare on a moonless night. Even if it's stripping her back further than she thinks she can stand. Even if it sets her on a path of pain and redemption-never-gained.
People love a good story, a good time. Play it right and you can tell them anything. Spin stories of sugar and light and things that could never be. They will love if you lift them above the muck and make it pretty just for a while. They'll love you even more when they find out the truth and they can drag you through the muck and laugh. When the stories are so thin the holes are too big to ignore, when the truth rips through like a drunken football team. They'll love your fall as much as the rise.
Her eyes are dark and lined and wide in a too pale face. Deep, flashing sockets of inky-dark accusation. I'd give anything to stop her stare, to stop the words, to stop the way she's looking at me. But I can't. I can't so anything but wait for her to say something, do something, anything. But she doesn't. She just stares. She doesn't need to do anything knowing that her gaze will rip me inside out and make me see the error of my ways. My future is in her eyes. My worth is measured in her stare. Her eyes.
She has the blood of snakes, of lizards, of slithering cold things running through her veins. She is dry and almost dusty in her austerity. She sheds her skin again and again, leaving the trappings behind but never changing her patterns, her structure. The delicate swirls on her skin remain dark and brooding, the sway and swing of her hips are still sinuous yet uninviting. She inspires nothing but apathy and boredom, her eyes are bland, reflective. She will hide away and return again, changed but the same, new and unimproved. Different skin, same patterns, covering the same reptilian blood.
Apathy creeps, coming up painfully, slowly covering and smothering and killing me. Growing like a weed up the base of my spine to my brain and pulling me down and so slow and dull and isn't everything just nice? Sort of. Maybe. I just don't know and can't get the strength to find out or care or even move when I could sleep everything away. It creeps over me like sweat and sin staining my skin wet and slippery and I just can't hold onto anything, I've lost my grip; up and over me and swallows everything I ever was.
Her head is on my lap and I can see my reflection in her eyes. Her hair is dark and waving, the scent of bergamot rising up each time I run my hand over her scalp and through the silky-soft strands.
She's so pretty it makes me cry.
She looks at me quizzically and I smile, watching her lips quirk up in response. She shifts slightly and the light hits her eyes, reflecting them pale and blind. Her skin is warm and soft and sweet beneath my fingertips and I brush the hair laying in black tresses over her neck.
I can taste his eagerness on my lips, his desperation and desire and god it tastes like the sweetest wine.
Do you know what it's like? To have such control? Such power? I can make him do anything for my touch and he'll thank me for it.
I can make him do anything I want.
Do you have any idea what that is like? The power is even better than the way he uses his tongue.
It's there the letter stops, torn, crumpled, it's edges blackened and burnt. A scrap of a note. Broken desires and the power of words.
His feet were bare and pale in the dawning light. She watched them from the snuggling warmth of her sleeping bag on the ground. His ankles curved in, surprisingly delicate and unsurprisingly thin. It was almost possible to trace the bones and veins beneath the pale skin and sparse hair, to see through to the vessels and nerves buried deep. To watch his inner workings as he wandered in the early morning chill. To watch everything he kept secret and to have just a little bit all to herself. His feet disappeared for a moment, to return in mismatched socks.
The silence stretches thin and strained and you can see right through it but still it holds, still it smothers and muffles and deadens, even as it gets thinner and thinner and becomes an idea to be upheld, a tradition, a way of doing things. even as it becomes nonsensical, a habit, a problem and an issue, something to be changed and fixed and made somehow better, even as it doesn't really work and words get through, small ones, inoffensive and indistinct except for the background of shining silence, even then the silence holds, stretched thin and straining against you.
Excess flesh, unrestrained, unconstrained and overabundant. Fetid almost. Sticky and unsavoury and unclean. Too much, a glut of over-indulgence and uncontrolled consumption.
The thoughts run through her head on well worn tracks, deep ruts in what was once confidence. She stares and thinks if just this one thing changed everything else would be ok, everything else would change and be happy and perfect and she wouldn't feel like some dumb animal locked into the miasma of life, the stench of food and shit and bodily functions.
She turns and for a moment the curves are perfect. But she doesn't see.
I hate and love what you let me do. I love the way you look at me with tears in your eyes and kiss me still tasting of despair. The way I can do anything to you and you let me, you thank me and I can convince myself for a moment it's all okay, that I love you and you love me and it will all be okay. And then I can taste the fear and sorrow on your lips and all I can do it eat you alive. All I can do is devour you. I love you...
The book was cool beneath her hand, but not cold. It was dry and musty and the scent that rose from the pages was heady and full of closely kept memories. It's pages were still pristine white and the text scattered across the page like grains of sand on a polished floor. They were grit between the pages of her mind and she could never quite get rid of it all. At odd times this wordy grit would crunch and grind and bring everything to a crashing halt with it's niggling annoyances and elusive meanings. She opened the leather-bound cover.
Go down. Go under. It's all you have left, the only thing you can control.
You think it's that easy don't you? To let myself go under like that.
Just let go.
I can't. I won't.
Let it go let everything go and be free for once. Take control.
It isn't. It can't be, I won't let it be.
It's the ultimate control, the ultimate in expression and determination. Let it go.
I won't, I can't. It isn't, it can't be, it won't be.
It can be, if you're strong enough.
I'm not, I never will be.
I hear your voice in my head sometimes, and feel your eyes on me. You hands ghost over my skin and your arms around me like armour. The only way to get through the day sometimes, clinging to a memory of your voice like a beacon of light in the darkness. The nostalgic reference point of a fading bite mark at my neck keeping me centred through noise and frustration eating me like cancer. Remembering the comfort of your arms will draw me back, draw me home, away from the edge of something I can never name. All for you.
Benno liked diving into her pain. Any pain. It's all good, in the fullest sense of the word. When Lindi would leave her, humiliated and embarrassed, alone on the bus she's relish the way her heart would break in two, catalogue each and every prickle of mortified pride, the push of tears against her eyelids, the burn of Lindi's disregard. It made the way she came back, all arrogance and assumed forgiveness, sweeter than anything, this knowledge that she'd suffered, that she'd been found worthy after all. Benno worked through pain like that, diving in and down. Letting it in.
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