Have you ever watched the world from behind locked doors? Spent the days and nights lost in a drug filled haze? In a murky quiet found absolution from the confession of the soul?
He was a tall man. From the discolored yellow socks to the last wisp of grayed hair he would have stood an impressive seventy five inches if not for a stoop. Years of emotional withdrawal from the world around him had manifested into a passive slumping of the neck and shoulders. The effect gave the watcher the impression of a passive mouse. Nonthreatening in appearance the observer could easily dismiss what they saw as a harmless old man. Someone easily taken as feeble in mind and spirit.
They’d be greatly mistaken.
Only after making contact with his darting green eyes would you truly see the man before you. A spark of other worldly power flowed in them. Dark emerald mixed deeply with a hazelnut burst from some alien nebula. Somehow they expressed both an anger and peace at the same moment.
With a furrowed unkept tangle of eyebrow overshadowing the slumping gaze it was not often an individual could intercept his gaze.
No, the only thing most people would see of the face was an insane grin. A grin that was stretched taught across yellowed teeth, and highlighted by dry cracked lips and the drip of a thick viscous drool.
Even the aperture of the mouth was overhung like the eyes by a disgusting growth of long unruly hair. These though grew out vulgarly from the nostrils, and to the disgust of any curious spectator often dripped with a condensed collection of snot or mucus.
His name was Vincent, and he was insane.
I remember days that lasted weeks. Left alone to many nights at port, to many times on dusty roads.
Mirages appear and disappear like the voices in my brain. Slowly becoming landmarks burned deep into my soul.
Out there somewhere I’m looking for something lost or maybe it’s just something I’ve never seen.
You never know what’s waiting there just beyond what you know.
Crazy ad it is, that’s exactly where I want to go…
The cold winter night
A cloudless star filled sky
Only naked branches on the trees
No wind to rub limbs into a screeching creak or rustle dried leaves under foot
The coyote bark and howl from one hidden den
Over the hill another begins their baying
A chorus takes up position
Navigating the dry rills, bramble filled trenches, and deer worn paths
I can feel them closing the distance
Each twisted trunk
Every darkened hole
The night comes to life with slender shadows
Backlit by the northern constellations
Crescent moon trailed close by Venus
The haunting calls of a predator coming closer in the night
But they know to tread softly across my path
I too have a yearning hunger that calls, and a inner desire to be unleashed
The snow that falls
Lays down its beauty at my feet
Hiding imperfections beneath a frozen cloak
Giving silence to any city scene
Innocence to the tormenting storm
And still the rain do I notice more
With the chilling damp that wets the soul
Leaving colors blurred to gray
Like troubled thoughts on a furrowed brow
Errant drops go rolling down
Pooling into panes of glass
Reflecting back the world above
A high pitch mixing at the upper spectrum of a ringing chime
Sharp tones of metal on metal cutting away through bone and brain
Screams of pain changing over into images of lightening bolts and razor thin daggers
My eyes turn to liquidized jelly
They melt under the constant agony of pulses spuming forth from now empty sockets
The only escape is being walled into a casket six feet down insulated by the solid earth
Until the volume of gnashing and gnawing grows
Louder than before a chorus of beetles and worm devour flesh
In this one last sanctuary of hell the spirit unable to find release from the torment succumbs
Alice sat distracted. A nuthatch was slowly making its way down the trunk of a nearby sapling. It’s funny head-first hopping reminded her of the her own first moments leaping through worlds. As nauseating an experience it had been, Alice was secretly hoping to get the opportunity to do it again. The only thing that was holding her back was the how and when.
Alice had gathered from the many frequent visits of disembodied voices that the portal from here to there ( where something she never knew) was always opening and closing. To use it, one simply needed to be determined and fully willing to accept the next outcome. The concept of outcome being as close to exactly what the event actually meant.
Alice couldn’t quite understand that piece of information either.
She just took it to mean 1+1=2 but to get to four the possibilities increased as well as the path. Everyone understands 2+2, or 1+1+1+1, or 1+1+2, and even 1+3. But doing the possible backwards or even not at all could cause a bit of stress. 0+4, 5-1, and so on into infinite realms could get a person marooned, even completely gone from before, during, and after. As insane as that sounded, Alice was not yet willing to prove anyone’s theorem’s just yet.
Why did everything have to involve math…
Alice could bring herself to accept that it had only been three days. What she couldn’t believe in was the constant transition of the garden outside.
She vaguely remembered the first time looking out of the window. The season had been late spring. The butterflies and hummingbirds fluttering amongst the many wildflowers and well planted rows of perennials. Annuals like irises taking over where daffodil and hyacinth had earlier flowered but now becoming just green leaves and dying stalks.
With later glances outside, Alice noted the crepe myrtles had begun to bloom with deep purples and reds. Their many branched arms spreading outward casting a welcomed shadow from the hot blazing sun.
And today as she gazed upwards in a daydream daze of building castles in the sky, Alice’s distracted eyes watched as oak and maple leaves began drifting down from leaf clogged gutters. The browned yellows and crimson reds slowly sailing down, down, down carpeting the flower beds.
Alice even noticed amongst the brown blades of overgrown grasses the aster and goldenrod turning to seed. The planting of daylilies she must have confused for irises being nothing but withered yellow and brown mulch piles beside dried stalks of gladiolas.
No. Though she was not a naturalist or expert at gardening, Alice knew the changing seasons without the need of flocking geese or migrant fish swimming up stream. Without a doubt, and without need of the old sage explaining things, Alice knew she was sitting in the middle of 0+1 or something very close to it.
Across the room the sage let out a humourous chortle.
To Alice the old man always seemed to take great interest and enjoyment during her most confused moments. It’s was almost like he knew her mind, and saw all the outcomes before she did, and thought her ignorant.
Along the waters edge where sand and ocean meet
The worlds first words are spoken
By the soft and whispering breeze
It speaks of the many kingdoms
and of ageless palaces carved of stone
All the chambers filled with musical laughter far below in the surging sea
The echoing ripples flowing
Splashing playfully upon the distant shores above
Alas the people of the land no longer remember the beauty
Nor can they walk the halls
Time since it has passed deep beneath a sea foam gray
Softly the wind summons back the memory
As the crabs solemnly standing guard lament
And flying high overhead seabirds call out a sullen praise
There at the waters edge where sand and ocean meet
Pull me from the darkness, lift me back into the light
Fill this empty vessel, fill this hole I have inside
Am I worth forgiveness, I can’t make myself believe
Show me that you’re listening and tear this devil out of me
Words had become unwelcome aliens to him. During the long, lonesome days of summer verbal expression was of little importance. Even the occasional jotting of notes and poetry had all but disappeared from the watcher’s daily habit.
The absence of human company had begun to void all progress socially made in the early spring months. The warming heat and longer days allowed the once tight knit group of vagabonds to expand out into newer territories. Though beneficial for the group it only drew Pat deeper into isolation mentally and physically. Soon the weak feelings of trust, compassion, and fellowship would all be forgotten. Replaced by an insane anger and hate for the world as a whole.
Change was what the watcher hated most. Wether it was the sun, the season, a simple object out of place, any altering to the system was to be avoided. Only hunger and the need of shelter could drive him back into society, and force a change to the routine.
If only they knew or understood the danger. The thing they felt most at ease with had died a very long time ago. That person had laid buried in some shallow grave for more than two decades, a victim of some forgotten war. The only protection he could give to them and himself was a wall of apathy. Any attempt to break through would almost certainly unleashing the daemons within.
Enoch knew first hand what now walked the earth. The thin cloak of flesh and bone did little to conceal the seething hate and rage boiling within. It is to Enoch that the watcher often thought of. Not since the desecration of Babel, the rise of the Sumer and Olmec ziggurat, and the cataclysmic drift of landmasses had the host of legions been at peace with what he was.
Ah the good old days. Before Moses and his big ten, and the writing of the lesser others, “Pat” had beta tested every one of them with a few still in need of repeating.
How had the worm turned. Robbed of the freedom of the æther. Imprisoned to never touch the quintessence. Left to lay dormant beneath the ever increasing weight of invisible chains. The punishment was fair enough. The watcher knew he was given a very lenient sentence. After all eternity and infinity were going to be a very long wait anywhere he could be placed. This bit of community service on Ki wasn’t without it’s pleasures. The irony was because of those pleasures he was being chastised…
Pat sat waiting.
The clock on the wall had long since died, and now forever marked it’s death at one twenty-three.
It was post meridiem. The watcher knew because he had watched that last hesitant movement on August 5th as he had witnessed the first energetic second back on June 3rd one and two-thirds year ago. The time then was five seventeen post meridiem.
The uselessness of keeping “time” was as pointless as having two heads attached to one heart. When the “time” came both would get there at the same moment.
(Somewhere a small chuckle could be heard. Though the sage only wrote the story as it unfolded a turn of a phrase by his own hand could make him still giggle.)
(Old men often laugh at their own jokes while the rest of the world looks puzzled. – editor note by the author)
Left undisturbed the clock on the wall would never grow old, never change. Though the dust of ages piles up upon it face, and the corrosion of the batteries spreads to eat away within. The clock would never know or feel the changing hour
Pat was very much the same. Forever stuck at one twenty-three p.m. Physically corrupted, mentally deranged, but for the spirit always the same. Time had stopped. The movie that he saw was forever set on a loop. The actors in it always moving along, developing their character, then when the plot line needed a twist a new star would appear as the older one faded from scene.
It mattered little. The movie was set upon a continuous loop. The stage would reset, the actors would take their marks, and somewhere stage right a voice would be heard saying “Action”.
As many loops and layers of film and tape were to be used, a good actor could always improve his skill. In that one hope both the author and watcher had learned to count upon. They both had witnessed enough footage left behind in the cutting room floor.
Even now Pat knew it was time to splice, exit stage left, and in the following drop of the curtains listen to the sounds from behind the props.
Echoing footsteps upon a wooden stage.