I was reading ‘The Story of O’ by the lamp late one night when the darkness beyond the light at the far end of the building called out to me.
“Come here.” It said. I immediately recognized her voice. Reluctantly, though employed by curiosity I began to wander in the direction from where it came, stopping just outside of being consumed by complete darkness. It was such a large factory floor of which I was the sole inhabitant save for the lost souls that wandered through from time to time and most of it was kept in total darkness -all of it actually except for the small area that I had made my home. I did not trust the dark, not since it rained blood on me in the kitchen then drained all of mine in the star room. I did not feel that it was a part of me and feared it still for good reason. But when you were as alone as I was any contact, any spark of companionship brought you out and made you brave. You did things because you longed for someone else and because you felt trapped you fell easily into any trap.
“Come closer. Come into me.” She pleaded. “It’s safe. I would never hurt you.”
As I moved forward entering into the darkness the light behind me vanished completely as though I were once again walking through the sheet of blackness that Michael had used to transport me from the cellar of my home on the night that I had lost everything. There was no sound as though it were a vacuum until her voice came from right beside me.
“I love you.” She said and her fingers dug like metal across the side of my torso immediately afterwards. Pain shot through me like fire as her laughter rang through my ears. It was all I could hear, all that I could feel and it was pure terror. I spun around trying to locate where she could be but I saw only darkness and heard nothing until once again her voice breathed out onto my face from right in front of me as if she were leaning in for a kiss.
“I love you.” Once again her nails tore at the flesh across my chest where my heart was stationed. It hurt enough that the skin felt split. I cried out and swung wildly in reflex, hitting only black air.
“I will never leave you.” She whispered from behind me, so close as though she were holding me and breathing into my ear before the nails came down my back like impossibly sharpened stones.
“Stop this!” I cried as I turned and threw my fists out into the place where she had just been. “Stop tormenting me! Please!”
“We will always be together.” She replied instead as her fingers clawed down my cheek. This time instead of fighting back I sprinted off not knowing if it was in the proper direction with laughter following close behind me the whole way until after a while of running in sheer panic I saw the lamp where I had been before all this had started and it gave me the breath to go faster toward it until I was there again, on the ground looking back at the darkness that was her home.
Sure enough her voice called out to me again, sweet in tone and full of promise as though nothing had happened. “Come to me.” She pleaded. “It’s safe. I will never hurt you.”
I crumpled under the weight of her words and the memory of her taunts, her nails. It drove Bethany back right into the foreground of my mind -me standing out in the cold as battered as any man could possibly be as she looked back at me like she didn’t even know me before getting into the limo. God, what kind of person would do that to somebody they were suppose to love? What kind of dark animal would treat someone so badly when they needed them the most? I didn’t understand it. I still don’t. It has haunted me ever since because it hurt me so badly and I never wanted to feel that again because it was all that I could see for so long and that was enough to break me down into the shell that I once was. And now this comes only as a spit in my face of the pain that I lived.
You win, I thought to myself as I buried my face in my hands and screamed out in anguish. There was no release, no respite, no reason -there was only her and her pain -the pain that she brought to me with a smile and it was too much to bear because time after time all that she was, all that she became was hurt and now it’s all that I had and maybe it was all that I would ever be to anyone.
“I can’t…I can’t fucking do this anymore.” I heaved, clutching at my wounds and sobbing as I brought my head down to the cold factory floor waiting for tears but no tears came. Not one.
You are most vulnerable while you are sleeping and it is for this reason that I give my bedroom a thorough inspection before I am satisfied with my surroundings enough to lay down to rest and this is after the routine perimeter check of the household to ensure that all possible entrances are firmly secured:
I will turn over the pillows
to make sure there is nothing living under there
check under the bed with a flashlight
for God knows what
open the closet doors quickly
in order to surprise what may be lurking inside
and also look behind the drapes
because you just never know.
They say that you grow out of things.
That’s a lie
although granted maybe some things you should
but my imagination
has never been my friend
and it begins to question me as soon as the lights go out
as to whether
something might crawl into my ear
to lay eggs in my brain
at some point during the night
or whether I would open my eyes in the midst of sleep
to find myself
staring into the harrowing face
of a dead child
or entombed under a blanket of frenzied spiders
perhaps buried alive in a wooden coffin
in some field nobody goes to anymore
or duct-taped to a wooden chair
slowly regaining consciousness
to the sound of a maniac’s chainsaw.
Late at night
these become valid questions
and I believe that my methods
may have proven effective thus far
as I have never awakened to find myself
strapped to a metallic table with
aliens clinically examining my genitals
with missing limbs
or fully encased in Jell-O
and so every morning once I realize
that I am intact and unmolested
I will go about my routine
like an absolute hero
knowing that I am safe for another day
as nothing horrifying had happened to me
in my most vulnerable state of sleep.