Distance: Path 2

Path 2: The Siren

I shall not see the evil of past actions, or future ones. There is no evil. There is only me.

For all my time spent hating everything that was, everyone that was, I now feel a very naked and cold feeling of isolation. It sinks into my bones and soul and chills me with words of my pointlessness. That I exist because I do, that I died because I did, and it will have no greater affect on anything, or anyone.

The path starts as a nothing. Only a white trail set among a stillness exists before me, and my steps make no noise, my breathing makes no noise. I am as empty in this place as I feel in my heart. Eventually I notice the pitter patter of my feet return to my senses, and my eyes begin to water as I find focus with them yet again. I emerge from it like a diver begging for air, and far from me I see form, and shape, but a distinct lack of color.

Trees of false shape and structure spike from the ground, making a dense and foreboding wood come before the trail. They are grey and painted like metal, they bear no leaves, and they shine with no color amongst a place with no sunlight. The light from this place is illuminated by the trail only, like a walkway of moonlight among grasping and ill hands. Further in they still reach for the bright thing cutting through them, but they fade away like they arise from emptiness, cast out from gravity and soil.

I tread this place carefully, making sure never to deviate from my course. The dull light at my feet serves as a perpetual reminder of my goal, my cause. Still, the branches that reach for me like a cross between teeth and hands have a strangely alluring quality to them. I see little intention or dark will from them, they to me, seem stranded, as though left for wanting. There is a feeling of community among them, as the wind gently pushes the trees and makes them whisper silently to each other. They tell each other of dark things, of being uprooted by a strange figure. They want all of the soil as their own, they want all of the light as their own, but as the wind makes its way past them, they all find something that unites them in fear and obedience.

My footsteps leave ripples, like a surface covered in a thin layer of water. Branches now try to grace me like fingers, flexing and reaching, and I try to pay mind to them, avoiding them whatever the cost.

The wind gets stronger, more furious, and it pushes first at my back, and then at my face. Some feeling of exposure graces my cheek, and I am knocked to the ground. The path below me seems heavy, and as I begin to stand, leaning into this harsh wind, the trees retreat away from me. It seemed for so long that I was some prize for them to take, and now they want nothing to do with me. Indeed, they recoil away from me in terror, like I am the bolt of light from the weather that strikes this place to flame.

As the wind stops… an eerie calm takes hold, and the trees now say nothing. They are jealous for some strange reason. I can’t guess at how they function, but I know enough that this display is an oddity.

A second light emerges to my left, and it races through the woods so far from me and with such speed that it reminds me of life, and of shooting stars wished upon in the night. It stays near the trail, but not close enough to it for my taste. I depart again with haste, and keep my eye to the left of me, trying to keep this light in focus.

I run at its pace, the ripples left behind me now turning into a violent wake, and I can’t bother myself to look over my shoulder. This twinkle I follow fascinates me.

When I stood in life with devices of splendor around me, I sacrificed them, but was also demanding that I was buried with them. The flood of my life comes back to me as I gaze deeply into this thing.

Shouting, but I don’t remember to whom I was directing my anger. Other times I said nothing, and that seemed to make me far crueler. I was aiming for calm, instead I breed complacency.

Just grab them from me. That was what I wanted, as fast as they came into my life, I would banish them and decry how useless they were as distractions. Pleading like it was a drug, recoil when it was within my grasp. I begged for something to calm my mind, but when I was calm, I was restless, demanding action.

This thing is within my grasp, but a noise drowns it out. I would fear no consequence, but the noise is not something I am avoiding, it is something that gets closer to me the further I run.

Violently the light bursts into the sky, and like a sun at noon I can’t look near it without feeling immense pain. It flashes and the trees whisper things of how it wishes to rob the soil of what they crave so dearly. It pulses four times, and then I notice the trail before me is the only light that remains yet again. I feel almost cheated and horrified, and for a moment I just stand still gazing at the sky, blinking to remove the dots that swim in my vision.

The wake that I was avoiding laps at me and moves forward down the trail. I start to follow it, but gently now. The sound that I heard before remains and it pierces the wood like flame. The sound of tears that have no reason to be shed.

The trail goes upwards now, and the wake of my feet falls from me quickly, it retreats further down the light, far away from where I intend to go. No time is left for me to spend in the annals of regret. I’ve tried to span this place a million times over, and I’ve always failed.

Trees vanish from sight, and I feel that I’m climbing some sort of hill, but with such a lack of light, I can only tell this by the feel I get from my legs, telling me how much they are exerting themselves. At the peak of this, the light goes over the side, and for some reason, it becomes brighter. I cannot recall this ever being part of the path before, but the wake of where I’ve been has retreated from me. This is something wild and new.

I race to the top, so furious are my steps that the world around me retreats and grows. The trees climb the hill and rush towards me, in defiance of all that tries to keep them rooted and still. Their branches try to grab at me and claw at me, begging me to stop my pursuit. I will not yield, and I follow the sound.

I bring myself to the apex, and I’m standing in an ornate stone platform. Pillars reside around it on five sides, each glowing softly to bring further illumination as the trail is split by this place. In the center is a large and flat platform, and sitting on it facing away from me is what looks to be a woman in fine dress.

The sound I have been chasing has been that of her tears.

I walk around the platform, and I sit near her and for a long span of time, I say absolutely nothing. I remain transfixed in an odd and penitent way… that I should offer her some solace, yet my speaking would be some form of heresy. As I remain in this odd paradoxical state, she stops, and turns to look at me.

Through her sorrow I see only wonder. She stares at me in confusion, and moves closer, asking for my name. I tell her that I have no name to give.

She asks again, and I tell her that I do not remember it, nor do I wish to know what it was. I realize quite suddenly after speaking that I am honest in my words. The name I carried in life escapes me, and I could not care less as to what it was.

She looks up, even though there is nothing to look up into, and tells me that the air whispered of my arrival. She says that she is of the path, and was born of water. She says that I have only found it, and that I was born of air. She calls me a raven, and calls herself Pisces. I spend a small while with her trying to point out the inanity of keeping titles when we are now beyond life and ownership, but she is having none of it. A bit of cheer can be seen within her, and her watery eyes now seem less mournful, and more in a state of wanting. Though I am trying to argue a very valid point, I cannot help myself but to be brought into her mood, and I think I begin to smile as well, even though I’m still arguing with her.

She stands and motions for me to look at where this place has split the trail. Looking over the hill, I see the path before me has vanished. She smiles, and takes my hand into her own, and says that this is the end of things, and that this is where she will stay.

I tell her that I am not finished, and that I yet know nothing of my end. She sits back on the stone slab, and motions for me to sit next to her. I comply. She mentions the name she gave to me again. She questions why I despise it so much, yet finds it ironic that I wish to know more of my life, and more of my death. I find this to be a very valid criticism, and for some reason, I am utterly captivated by the convergence of our clashing ideals.

Whispering into my ear, she tells me that contentment need not come from knowledge alone. Part of me desperately wants to agree, but now that the path has left me, I feel restless, and without any sense of hope. I tell her this, for seemingly no reason, and fear creeps across her brow. She holds her hand out and graces my face, and says that she worries for me. That she has sat here for so long awaiting me. That were I to turn away now, she would fade, and cease to be.

In my single-mindedness, I ask for her to follow me down the trail. Her reply is that she can find no path, that I am the end for her. Her hands feel cold.

It seems a kindness offered to me, it seems a terrible thing offered to me. The light that signaled the trail for me starts to dim. I scream, saying that I must be on my way, that I need to follow this path to whatever end awaits me. She grabs my arm, and with surprising force, I am held at bay. The light keeps fading, and she yells at me not to leave. Her hands feel cold on me. What I see in her face isn’t anger, but something else, something very wrong. I tug at my arms, and I find both of them numb. I look to where the trail should be. I want so badly to leave. I turn to look back at her, and she smiles now, while her eyes watch me with fierce menace. My spirit suddenly seems renewed.

I pull my hands away from her, and I shove her to the ground violently. I turn and try to spy the path again from this peak, and the forest around us seems to be hiding it. I try to position myself to the direction I think I need to be heading to find the trail again, and she lunges at me and slams into my back.

My head crashes violently into the tiled floor, and for a moment I’m dazed and confused, with no sense of myself, or what’s happening. Everything rockets into sudden jarring images of different faces and places. They coalesce in a very odd way. She shouts the name she’s given to me, and brings my face to look at hers. It’s filled with malice and lust, it looks different. I try to recoil in fear as I see her shift into something dangerous. Her nails are clawing at me as she shifts restlessly against my skin. I fight to get away from her, and finally remove myself from her grasp.

Standing to face her, I come across a terrible memory within my heart. The reason she is left grasping for me, like some terror reaching for prey. We share too deep an understanding of one another. We have met, we have parted, and now she seeks to do in death what she could not do in life. For a brief moment I’m watching her cry alone, swearing my name like it summons evil with it. Cursing me for what I’ve done to her. I had a far different prospective. She is the terror, not I. She is the monster. I had to escape.

The distance between us shelters images of water and sky, clouds obscuring light and offering eternal shade. Her head rests on my shoulders and she says she’s been waiting for me. I speak to her very honestly. I do this with no one. My honesty speaks of the terrors that plague my thoughts. She says that she understands it all. She says that she knows what I am dealing with.

Too heavily is that contrasted with what I know now.

On my knees and I can’t see. She stands shuttering with joy as I bring my hands to my face, and feel my palm go sticky with a great deal of blood clinging to it. I open my eyes and it hurts so much. The pain reaches around me in strange ways, and I’m feeling my way across the floor, trying to find where she stands, laughing at me. I feel the blood drip onto the back of my hands, on my arms.

Standing in front of me now, her hair and eyes are fire, her skin is ice, there is nothing giving or welcoming about this frame. This is a different face. This is a terrible thing.

We are tangled, and she seems complacent. I’m doing what I think is right, but it’s the opposite of what she needs. Slamming my face against the wall, demanding conflict, but I resist. I grow impatient, though. She knows this. She’s playing me like a violin. I can’t tell what is bringing about the tears, but afterwards, she assures me it was a wonderful thing I did. I try to see visions of myself as an empty vessel, to understand the evils I languish in.

Monster!

The things flashing through my mind make me reach out instinctively. There is something that I missed, and I feel I need to know what it was. For my sake, or for hers, I doubt it matters.

I’m resting on my knees, so tired and beaten. Too worried I can’t see what’s real and not. What have I done? What was it I meant to do? I’m stuck with the intentions getting crossed with the emotions. She’s smiling, and pulls my chin up to meet her gaze. She’s holding a knife, and she swipes it across my face. Everything goes red, and then it all fades away.

I am in pain, and I am very angry. Wrath spills with my blood, horrible things said and done, and I can’t see her smile.

I saw an explosion of thought burst forth from us both as our fingers touch again. In this shattered perception of events I see angles and prospective previously not afforded to me. My brain burns with hate and a sick sense of guilt cast at my self. I walk away, and she is left weeping. I want to comfort her, I want to make it all better… but in doing so, she would destroy me. Was it brighter where I stood, or where she lay to rest? Such seems lost now. Her whimpering was a song that would lead me astray. It would drag me to the depths of my own mind, to places that have been tormenting me for an eternity. I want desperately to believe those things aren’t within me. I’m not like that! Sheltered things I couldn’t let the world see, fragments of something so awful I can’t believe it’s a part of me. Lock it away, I am not this!

It was always on my mind when I was near her.

In my reckless youth and limited understanding, I find her smile captivating. Someone to guide me, watch me, point out everything that I was. As we walk and gaze into the water our hands connect, and the overwhelming warmth is profound, and it makes me think of things I’m not really feeling. I blind myself, because I know so little. She shelters the horrible thoughts I’ve been keeping to myself, she whispers that she can remove them. She wishes to be safety in a sea of chaos. We will both be free of these foul thoughts. Freedom however, was terrifying to me.

I’m sitting on the edge of the bed, and I feel like a monster. Something cast aside that no one wanted, and as I struggle to find relevance amongst myself and my new surroundings, the only thing there to offer me any solace, is something I feel responsible for in a strange way. The words offered to me, the things I meant to say, somehow they mix into the same thing and I’m not quite sure if that’s good or bad. I just know that I feel guilty, and I want it to stop.

Turning, and she smiles.

Turning around, I find I’m bound to a tree. Shackles across my wrists rooted so deep into the trunk that it seems like they were born of it, and whilst I see nothing around me, I hear everything. Talk that they all knew. I hear a different version of what I think happened, and I am so far removed from what I’ve done, that I can’t be sure which side is right. I never spoke a word, like a terrible thing I needed no one else to know. Into death, my horrors would never be spoken of. After I died though… what happens then?

What returns is less a figment of memory, but rather an interpretation on a dream, as though some vague form that, while nocuous, has a great amount of appeal to it. She plays with my bindings, and laughs, telling me that she’ll be my opposite for eternity. I sense this as a means of confrontation, something I need to fight away. She sees it as a means to remain with me forever. She’ll always be standing there in the dark corners of my self, telling me of her dreams and fears, ripping at me while she moans and smiles. The taste, the scent, my eyes widen, and I scream that none of it should happen. I am too complicit, and my words are betrayed by my thoughts.

Is that one face? It splits into many, and the voices are all different. I let this happen… many times over. An idiot too giving of his self and what I am trying to satisfy becomes a confusing blur.

Are those my fears? Do I see the world as she does? Are we really as similar as I fear? I want to be nothing like her. She can’t discern between her suffering and her joy. Both are intermingled into something ugly… like us, in all our incarnations. One guise needs to hurt, needs to be reminded of reality, another guise stares at me with black thoughts of the whole world. Still another just looks at me, and cries.

She seems to think that I enjoy what she does to me at this moment. Physical reaction seems to be all she has left to confuse my intentions. I yell, I scream, I kick and struggle against my chains. The trees circle around us, like people would gather to look over a corpse lying in the street. My petulance is amusing to her. It is also in vain.

This time they see the display. As I try to break from where she keeps me locked away. I bite and scratch and yell, my hands wrap around her throat, and I want to hear nothing she has to say. I am lost in that haze. Something surging through me speaks of what was buried, a thing that should never surface. She goads me, does everything she can to drag it out. I give in too easily. Never wanted this… I never wanted this!

She reaches a climax, and with it, light appears in the empty place that could be confused for a sky. For the brief moment I’m blinded by it, it is so harsh. She scratches me with her nails until I bleed in an ornate fashion. She laughs and moves away from me, and all sense of guilt and anguish is gone from me. I can’t even lie down. I’m left shackled and bleeding, whimpering as the confusion in my mind switches between my sorrow and my anger. The possibility of what I could do seems far more terrible than anything else. My blood demands more, my hands tense, and as I look at her, I try to lunge forward, testing my bindings. I clench my teeth and begin to ponder what I will do to her. The thoughts of her ruin are powerful and intoxicating. This is the thing she wishes to see? This is what she would expose to the world? I scream now as I see the reaction and the face itself change. I understand now. Leaving me in nothing more than a pile of my own shame as I tend to my wounds, my flesh carries her forever, and I am revolted. My fingers trace over memory, and now I understand.

She is not keeping me bound so that I may not flee. She is keeping me bound so I will not destroy her. I understand that now.

Trees lined the road, she offered me dinner. Quite older, but I loved the attention, in this group that I don’t quite belong in, my timid nature shows far too much. I am cautious with these people. I am quiet. For whatever reason, she seeks me out because of this. She says that she shares my fears, enjoys our conversations. She doesn’t like to think of the end of anything, not her life, not of us. I share the sentiment. My brain at that point is so filled with static and a loss of self. The universe itself like some cruel joke… and out of the darkness a woman emerges and offers her hand. Calm amongst the turbulent tide, someone to confide in.

I try to break the shackles again, and she laughs in a perverted way. I yell at her, that she is a figment of my mind that I crafted, but she is resolute, she is real, and for some reason, I can’t deny her. Worse, if she is just a figment, then why is she here? Why am I doing this to myself?  When her hand graces my face, I feel cold and exposed. She traces her fingers over the scars she’s left. If I were not to stay, then she would instill within me a reminder that I could never forget. Shapely wounds across my chest. The shackles break, and now they are restraining her to where I was just kept. Now it is my turn. Now I smile.

I reach my unbound hands, and I’m finding something made of glass and frail intentions, crying as I grace it with dirtied and stained hands. This is just the beginning.

Her dark skin and her hair in her eyes, guided by a smile that seemed filled with danger, rather than joy. My words seemed interesting, but I suppose I did not. I was a distraction. I fought for a place I thought I had earned, but learned quickly that what I was striving for would amount to nothing. Either I was stupid and she knew how everything was going to turn out, or I… I’m not sure. Fury surrounded me when I disappeared that time. Let that smile that captivated me turn into something that could provide me amusement for a change.

Everyone wants me to say something. No one wants me to say anything. The voices I begged for turned, the voices that begged of me, I turned. No one must ever know, no one must see. If I could make it all vanish, I would. They have to stop blaming me at some point… they have to. I am perfectly content to blame myself. I don’t need reminders from outside my head doing the same. I will bury these thoughts. They will never get the better of me!

Different face… different time… and the same results.

A song that chases me and catches me, ensnares me and demands my full attention. Words of one I forgot, before it all went tumbling downwards. I can see the sky part as I’m standing on the sidewalk, going over the events of my day as she clings to me. That laughter, that face…

It all rots away, though. The one time it should have been perfect, the one time I could have made a difference. I fucked it up. I’m always a fuckup.

I suppose I let that mistake poison me… I haven’t a clue why fear was my response. I needed to run away, I couldn’t expose what I really was, not to this person.

My opposite…

An image of perfection that would fade and mock the word I thought I didn’t understand. Melting away from what I desired and exposing me for what I am. My feelings towards it seem remarkably dull now.

Everyone wants me to say something.

So this world that stood before me in ignorance, now asks of me, and I can’t answer. I reach for her, as though she is a treasure I have dug up. She’s crying with a feeling too profound for me to understand. What is happening to me, why did I come to this place, if all I shall do now is grasp at my ignorance and cause so much harm? The branches are hands, and the trunks are bodies, and as they become an amalgamation of those surrounding me, I shelter her, secret her away from them. She wants them to see what I’ve done, what she has done to me, but I won’t stand for any of it.

Why did I torture myself so? I’ve let her take my skin and soul, body and heart. Her pain fueled by something of her that makes her just as broken as me. Together we are a symbol for all that is wrong with people. She wants the world to see how corrupt and evil this is, I want to pretend that things will get better. I run to the fantasies I locked away in my mind to say that it will get better, that we will change, grow… but that is not what happens.

She claws, she bites, and my mind vows to destroy her. Lavish thoughts of her broken and bloodied before me flood my mind, mixed with my own form in a similar position. Everyone that says it will be alright, everyone that begs for stability and understanding. We are their bane, and there is much joy in that. Only for a brief and fleeting moment though. The paradise of the idiot throngs brought to their end, visible only by us as we begin this display yet again.

I leave her to whatever she feels, and I stand amongst the wood, and the wind has died away, whispering nothing now. They stare at me, knowing that what I have partaken of isn’t the loss of love or lust. I’m merely broken, and she is broken too. We can never be whole, not alone, not with others, not with each other. We are drowning in what we are meant to be. So many faces screaming at me, their words united yet chaotic and meaningless. Ill advice and petty thoughts from others too ignorant to know what is transpiring. Frauds that would mock us while hiding their own fears and terrible deeds. Surrounded by a world I was desperately trying to run away from, and I’ve become the center of it. A shining example of how far one soul can fall.

She wants this to be a lie, she wants what they say to mean nothing. She takes my hand and shows me a light that seems so far away from me. It is oddly compelling. She says that we can take it, that we can climb to a peak behind us both, and there she will forget the dark things in her mind, her confusion and anger. There she says I will cause no more harm, that what I think and feel and say will finally align. I don’t look at the same direction, there is something even further away, opposite from where she wants to take me.

We could break the universe, and try to bring about displays to say that we are not the only ones like this… but I do not care. If what I see in my mind for myself is merely fantasy, then I shall entertain no other illusion than that one. I will not lie with one side and say to the other that I am truth. I contemplate the hunger that stalks the worst part of my brain, and suddenly I care nothing for it. Dropping the bindings I was playing with, my eyes now visible again, and much confusion reigns. Why did I stop?

I sit her down, and I shackle her to the trees again. I stare at her with a cold face, and say nothing. Each moment she changes, a different face and body for me to remember. All of them shout hateful things to me, and I’m too tired to care. I turn away from the shifting images of my past. I leave them to rot.

One that demands much of me, that I am the only one to understand what went wrong. How could I leave with such knowledge? It’s remarkably easy, actually. One demands that the things I cherish are designed entirely by a foolish society that wants nothing more than limitations on everything and everybody. It’s possible, but the excess does nothing for me. Were my actions meaningless, then why so much anger when I left? Another says nothing, but the eyes convey much.

She screams, she cries, she’s begging me to let her go. Different tones and sounds, almost intoxicating in a way, I think. I have let her go. Rather, it’s more that she hasn’t released me. I find that ironic. I turn and look at her, and she’s no longer some demonic and wild thing, the sense of discovery is gone, and I just look at a broken woman, who is begging for a broken man. I can’t help myself, I can’t help her. I’ve died, and she’s dying, I’ll let it remain that way. Even if this is all merely a fragment of my broken mind, I can’t stand to be submerged in it any longer.

Still… there’s something within that sorrow that seems inviting to me. A welcome hand that speaks to me of the knowledge this pain brings… something relatable and warm. I am distracted from her sight by a soft glow from the corner of my eye. What was that?

I see the path ahead lighting the dark wood, I wonder how I could have forgotten it. Turning again, my sight beholds the same person I chained, but with different figure and form, and a seemingly indifferent face. Another tree holds the same thing again, but it looks at me with an evil grin. All of them are very empty looking. They do not amount a significant number though. For some reason I find that amusing. This is not what I am. I was, but no more. All things considered, if these are the ones to damn me, then I didn’t cause nearly as much damage as I thought. I laugh at that notion briefly.

I’ll give my hatred and insecurity to someone else… or something else. I don’t think it’s wanted here. The corners of my mind I retreat from, no person will ever make them safer places to tread. If they are not safe for me, they never will be. The image I held in my mind of my dire mistakes, and how to correct them, I realize now how foolish it was to entertain that fantasy.

Shouts telling me to stop… I confuse them with the urge to keep going. Wicked smiles cast at me, or is it from me? Can’t really tell, myself. Either way, something clatters to the floor and my mind snaps away from what’s happening. It’s all over very soon. The aftermath and afterglow are filled with very odd emotions, all of them in direct conflict with one another.

Done with it now. No reason to secret away these things now.

I begin to walk back to the trail, and I hear screaming so intense that my form is rendered useless. My body falls to the ground in pieces and I lose control over every function. With great difficulty, I pull myself up, and the glow is so bright that I see the wood as though it were noontime. A stark cloudless white hangs over these gray leafless trees, and then as the screaming stops, it all falls dark again, and the path is my only source of light. I begin to run towards the trail, and as I do, I feel the branches of the trees try to snag at me, ripping at clothing and flesh. A rumble shakes the earth below, and I look behind me, to see a vague shape meant to mock a hand reach down from the sky. The giant limb plucks away a handful of trees, and another soon descends from the heavens to do the same thing.

Begin to run as fast as my weak legs will carry me, trying to avoid the thousands of hands reaching out to try and find me, if that is their purpose. I can’t guess at what they intend, I only know that I must be rid of them. Need to get far away. Need to get back to the path.

I find that I have died before even waking. There is so much left here that I wanted to say, do, retreat from, and as it all tries to envelope me, I find yet again that my reaction is to flee, to be as far away from consequence as possible. Ironic in some ways, I suppose.

I stop as I see a hand reach in front of me. Ripping away a giant patch of trees, I see corpses left in the hole where it dug. They appear drained of all but skin and their bones, and they’re covered in dirt and small holes that prod into various spots on their skin. I think I can recognize a few of them…

Forcing myself out of my stupor I look again, and see that the trail is close to me. I run around the spots where the hands dig, avoiding them as best I can. The sky is filled with many limbs, and they are all very angry.

At last my feet stand upon the trail again, and I see the comforting ripples my feet make upon it.

As I look back to the wood, I see the trees replaced with people, their bodies stretched and torn to mock the shape of the things torn away from the soil. In the sky swims the thousand hands that tore away the wood, and replaced it with these dead things. They interlock and untangle in a display that would likely be more enchanting were the stars set to illuminate the scene.

The eyes of the dead things are set to look at this sky as well, their hands reaching not for sunlight to nourish their roots, but for what they were torn from. Lower towards the ground, I see other hands, they still reach for me, they still want to claim me. They believe that I still belong amongst the fallen.

The rain is falling, and I’m running under the cover of the mall with other faces, shouting and yelling and laughing. Let this all remind me of what I have faded from! They all laugh and joke while she looks at them nervously. I feel the need to defend her, but I don’t do anything. I let them laugh, because I know that if I stand up for her here, when they all vanish, she’ll turn on me. Letting her rot like this means I’ll face the same punishment, so I guess there’s no way I can win. This way though, I can watch her squirm for a change, instead.

I won’t be the one to let her down, I won’t be the one standing there, I won’t be the one to beat and cut on. I won’t be anything.

It seemed funny at the time, laughing while avoiding the rain. I kept my arm around her, trying to be some form of support, while inside my head, I was screaming.

I’m not going to be there when it all falls down. As everything fades and everyone needs to remember how to breathe, I won’t be there. To pine for the past while I watch them all disappear in single file. I leave the room last, I’ll hit the lights.

Never to yield, never to surrender, I try to remember which direction is forwards, and I begin to walk again. The wind doesn’t help the fake trees to whisper now. Instead it carries their moaning and anguish. Familiar notes strike my ears like a hammer, but I try my damndest to shut it away. I have a direction I am to struggle with; I cannot remember those led astray.

But I was the one to lead them astray… wasn’t I? I understand nothing of what they speak, but there’s an odd sense of belonging in the dead here. They all make so much noise, but the aimlessness and starkness of their forms makes this place feel painfully lonely. For a brief moment, I contemplate returning to the tree I chained them to, to the pinnacle of this place where I was held at bay, where I got this scar on my chest. No… I carried this before death. Didn’t I?

That anger still seethes within me, and on my flesh it threatens to devour me whole. Back into my brain, and I’m shoving a face against the wall. I’m doing something awful, but everyone is smiling like an idiot. The whisper in my ear contradicts what I feel.

Deeper, they’d say. Drive it deeper!

My head is out of a window late in the morning, and in the back seat of the car, laughter, at how I’m so willingly allowing myself to be the butt of a joke. I wasn’t joking though. Pushing it through, the sun was coming through the windows, and I hadn’t slept at all. She sat across from me in the back, and smiled. I tried my best to ignore her. She is not my savior.

Deeper. I don’t want this! I want it out of my brain! I am dead, I don’t need this haunting me.

The trees loom over me again, not as people, but as places, driving their selves into me… deeper. I hear chains dangling far behind me, and I’m running. I think I’m running away from me.

As I am flooded with more memories, I see why this place is so loathsome. What I did upon the peak, what I did… all of it from me, from them. Congealed into a mess, and at the best of times, I’d find only anger in my soul as I try to reflect upon it all. I want it out of me, and it just goes deeper… like I do, when told to stop. Demanding it to end, but my screams go unheard.

Monster!

I look up and knock the smile off my face as I see the hands descend again from the skies, this time in mass.

This time it’s true, this time I’ll be welcomed, but I’ll just lash out in anger again like always. I have become everything I feared I would here, and the faces around me are laughing, or saying nothing.

All I can do, is walk further, and try to tell myself that it wasn’t real. Like a dream fading as my mind begins to wake, I’ll be away from these woods, and I’ll find it all to be some cruel trick.

They try to rip the path out from under my feet, but I will have none of it. This is my escape! I must press forward! Branding me whatever they wish, tearing every luminescent brick from the foundation, and my hands get away from me, ripping at everything and putting it all back into place. They struggle to keep their pace, ignoring me, but blinking a few more times, I realize it’s all gone.

I’m standing far away from it all, and I can grab at the bodies and beat on them until all of those beautiful colors emerge. I’ll drive it deeper, as I feel that knot in my throat return, and my head starts to throb in rhythmic fashion. This is a part of me. I’ll use it to get through what I need!

This is all I can do, watching it turn into a giant mess before me, and I want to smile, but I’m coming off of it. I pull myself back, and I grab at my skull trying to understand this ebb and flow. I needed help to get through it… a kind voice to keep me from going astray.

But that wasn’t her place. She wanted it to go deeper. All I can do, this is what I built. This is my path, and I’ll have nothing take it away! The hands are grabbing one another for safety, and my gaze is enough to make them bleed. I derive much from it. Ripping the kindness and unity, exposing the reflection isolation brings. Safety in numbers… ha!

The trees form around me, trying to offer me thanks and regrets, but the wind won’t whisper through them. The path loses its sense of light, and I stand there in a stupor just wanting it all to go away. I want to say that this is not what I was… but I can’t deny that.

I stand alone in the woods, with no path to follow now. I stand alone, trying to remember how to push myself deeper down the trail.

I stand alone, and I feel horrible… guilty… wrong.

From water due rise, from the turbulent tide, a name given, a name stolen, secrets kept like children. From her hair to her feet a dangerous tone emerges, voices seductive and preaching of knowing. That knowledge not well earned, that knowledge taken, and when with it, one is left only to look backwards and take in that knowing is a dire and awful thing.

From the innocence of my eyes to the winds that would blow strong enough to injure my pride, I was taken under the current and dragged away kicking and screaming. Only once it was gone, did I understand that I never wanted to get rid of the things she said she could remove from me.

Something perfect, an incorruptible visage to act like a drug for me. I breathe her in, and she never leaves from that spot. An albatross whispering songs to me, telling me that she’ll remove the ugly marks on my face, telling me that my hair falls differently when she’s around. Without her, everything falls apart. With her, I am bound to a life I never wanted.

She stole the moon from the sky, and now as I stand without its glow, darkness reigns, and if it were to shift, the sun would consume everything. I know I am not first to suffer this, and likely will not be the last. The effects ring across my head for all these years, and I’m left wondering where intent meets with fate.

Walking alone through the night after muting all the cries, I must be strong, and remain above belief and fear; the only sound I shall enjoy is that of my footsteps. I love the rhythm of marching away from this, slowly, or with much haste. She treads through shadow like it’s the evil whispered in story books. I find refuge in it. Here, I am by myself, alone with my thoughts, wandering down the trail as my footsteps click and make a sound that has nothing to echo off of. The excited cries shout once, and then vanish.

Never to return… much like the things I gave away. The few, the many, all that has coalesced here into the horrid corners I wanted to lock away, now they vanish from my sight, from my ears. I suffer no consequence for it now, as I need not to. What would that serve, anyways?

As they would say, I give cheers to oblivion, jumping headlong and stupidly into whatever may await me. I could spend eternity lamenting how empty this part of the trail is, but how would that improve anything? Were I to fill it, all I would do is remake the wood I have just fled from. I will not let myself be bound and humiliated by the sirens of my past. Let them wallow in songs of guilt and my terrible deeds.

I don’t feel anything.

–  –  –  –  –

Am I…
Am I still tough enough?
Feels like I’m wearing down
Is my viciousness losing ground?
Am I taking too much?
Did I cross the line?
I need my role in this
Very clearly defined.

I need your discipline
I need your help.
I need your discipline
You know once I start, I cannot help myself!

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