Estimated reading time — 7 minutes
I do not know where to start. Usually, this would not be written for someone to read. However, I cannot trust my own judgement. What I write here is for you to discern. I will not have sufficient time to thoroughly document everything, nor is the true intention for this to be a piece of entertainment. I am only interested in understanding myself, through your eyes.
However, I will provide the most succinct but nondescript introduction to myself; a young lady, surnamed with Zoro. Although not indicative of my actual name, it will be a substitute because of its anonymous connotations. I graduated recently, currently without a job, and staying in a small apartment with mother. Around me really is the most ordinary life, and that is why I tend to excite this cycle with new habits. I would sometimes learn the most bizarre skills, isolate myself for a day (which is a form of meditation), and literally anything to do with science. I am unsure whether it is worth mentioning that I used to play volleyball? Nonetheless, such personalities are still considered ordinary. The most peculiar would be the occasional seclusion, but activities such as playing video games for a day is no different and is prominent in Japan. The word for it I believe is ‘Hikikomori’. In my defence, my life was no different to anyone else’s, and none of the such I mentioned, should be a reason to be considered as odd.
One important fact I recall was that I possessed a hefty, aspen white, wooden box storing the valuables of my life. The container would fit my jewellery, small sculptures, a yatagan switchblade, amongst other stray artefacts. The knife was bequeathed without notice, lacking an explanation too. The rich sable handle, dense with power and antiquity. Insignificant pieces were renounced to less transportable cardboard boxes, omitting the shovel. The gardening tool was too protrusive to be enclosed, and an eyesore anywhere that was luridly visible. Instead, typically tessellated into the cramp kitchen to access a passage for walking.
My parents had separated, just recently too. Into respective apartments, and auctioning the longstanding home. They partitioned the possessions to detach the dying reminiscence. Father was determined to immigrate, and mother would remain. Having not yet flown the coop, I could only reside with one. I loved them both dearly, but I will not disclose reasons for my verdict. Circumstances currently mean that the apartment will be a short duration drive from the former home. Ideally, I wished to live with both of my parents and never depart our old home.
The reality of the situation, however, was grim with misfortune. The possibility of a miraculous happy ending was a child’s fantasy. Repressing my depression evolved the habit, fostering my isolation into my addiction. I can carelessly admit that it is an addiction as I confess this to strangers, but addressing this to people I know is a terrifying notion. Which is why I want to be alone. There is a particular quote by Pythagoras, where ‘Silence is better than unmeaning words’. It is ironic, however, that the quietest people will eventually become the least meaningful. Because the quietest people are dead. Although, if his quote could come true, family dinners would have been much quieter.
I will continue the remainder of this recount as events that followed from the first night of moving out. The day’s proceedings were unexpectedly disappointing and unproductive. Father insisted a well-rested night in the old home. Father resided the master, mother in the guest and myself in my original bedroom. Before sleep, I maintain a routine to journal the thoughts and experiences of the day. Often this could occupy up to an hour due to becoming so immersed. The reason is not for producing a dear diary, but to develop a lucid dream state. I become the author of my own reality, building a consciousness to instinctively seize awareness. They are rare, the lucid dreams. Sometimes residing somewhere in the chasm between reality, a very sharp reality, but outside of my control. These were the hybrid dreams, waking from a world so surreal that you become depersonalized. However, as rare as they are, successful lucid dreams are worth the endeavour.
I succumbed to my sleep after an excess of hours had overtaken midnight. But my mind could not help but overthink the situation, urging a lucid dream while straining to relax. My concentration to ease myself always backfires, causing my hearing to become acute and uncontrollably diverge on every inconsistent sound. That night, the noise that stood out was a barely audible, but steady thud outside my room. I could only comprehend the sound as the dampened and cautious creeping of one of my parents. Who was it? What were they doing this late? Where were they going? Generally, I can differentiate between mother and father by the personality in the walk. I focused hard on the pace, the weight, and the resonance of what type of shoe it was. I would presume majority are able to identify their parents likewise. But it is impossible when the culprit consciously masks their footsteps.
The footsteps halted with the cautious squeaking of a doorhandle twisting, following the coarse brush between the door and the frame. The air surrounding me cooled as goosebumps swelled, the front door welcoming in the breeze. The struggle to sleep beyond this point was intolerable. I recall straining the effort in rising from my bed. Despite the chill, I would never wear my slippers from bed. Past creeping experience educated me that the bare foot causes the least noise. I investigated outside my room, wheezing more gust through my door. The front door was ajar.
I silently trotted to the door, giving it a shut and lock. I remember a creeping sense of panic suddenly, the fear of something supernatural. I returned to my room more hastily than I came, burrowing under quilts before I could realize. The delayed adrenaline rush, whispering visions from the darkness to my ear. My toes had been cursed by the cold, adamantly far from reaches of my protection and skimming the empty shadows. I wrenched the blankets tight, waiting until the fear became numb. There were no dreams that night.
I rose uncomfortably early that morning, contradicting my habit as a midday snoozer. I instinctively invest a few minutes prod my phone, forcibly tuning my eyes to brightness. The events of the previous night would leak into my attention, tugging my curiosity out of bed. Who was it that opened the door last night? I crept to mother’s room, fast before my toes scald from morning floor frostbite. Before the guest room, I knocked politely. After an unanticipated reply, I enter to witness mother sliding frayed paperbacks into corrugated boxes, distorted by the infused petrichor. My question regarding the incident last night returned a denial from mother. Her veiled reddish eyes blushed from hours of anguish. I offered to help but she assured me that help was not needed.
Mother later departed to transport a crowded sedan to the apartment, consigning me the thrilling onus of stuffing a bin liner with scrap. Ultimately, my boredom side-tracked into a nostalgia hunt. Under mattresses, beyond bookshelves, and finally the broom cupboard. My gaze dropped to greet a handle, extending downwards to behold a spade. Was this always here? It struck me as peculiar to forget and misplace obvious belongings. Was this mine? Without a doubt. Adjusting the shovel revealed a chest slotted behind. Jewellery, small sculptures, a yatagan switchblade, amongst other stray artefacts inside. Bizarre. Ambivalent, this was a query for mother or father to resolve. I would later neglect this, chasing treasures and trash instead.
Fatigued by night, I struggled on my lucid dream journal with half a fluttering eye open. Each yawn brushed with opportunity to faint at any moment. A snap shocked me with alert, perhaps a pencil dropped or from outside. I concluded the vain in writing by expending the limited supply of concentration left.
I stretched to switch off the light, bruising the room with patches of shadow and grey. Eyes no longer straining to shade bright reflections, I sought for my bed through flickers of phosphene. A night sky beamed a moment of tranquillity through the pane. It was silent. My heart rate climbed, anxiety. My breathing grew audible, hastening the panic.
I felt dread at that moment, a fervent terror. A terror unlike anything I had ever experienced. I know times where I am frightened by a barking dog or by someone jumping out, but this was different because there was nothing there.
A quote surfaced from my imagination ‘fear is wisdom in the face of danger’. I panicked because where was the danger? Paranoia? Despite being in the safety of my own familiar home, I had never felt so vulnerable.
I collapsed the blinds, bolted the door and threw myself underneath the thin blanket. I have no memory of falling asleep.
But I remember the dream. The clear memory of the surreal reality. I stood in the hear of the living room. I saw my mother, sleeping on the last couch in the barely furnished room. The white chest, beside her arm. The beginning of a ritual.
All details sharpened, my senses honed, aware of the wind’s pulse and the floor’s gravity. The room grew in clarity, breathing fear into my imagination. It sensed my distress, throbbing in reply. The realization of my peril. The present, this state, it was the chasm before the summit of lucid dreams, producing the nightmare that I could not command.
I glanced skyward. An unending depth to the starless sky. Outside. From a third person view, I witnessed myself. I watched myself poised by my mother. Beside us, the wooden chest, the knife, and the shallow hole that was dug. I pressed the knife against her throat. Gently, the blade bore deeper, splitting skin and enveloped by flesh. There was no gush of blood, no hesitation in the hand either. The head jerked. The spine severed. A pause to witness the deafening silence. Nothing stirred. The blade scraped against the cross-section, burnishing the bone from gristle and rutted flesh.
My hand caressed her cheek, watchfully clearing the hair from obscuring the eyes. The stare, peering beyond me, bullishly at heaven dwelling amongst the clouds. One hand supporting behind the crown, the other opening the chest, emptied of its treasure. Mother’s head, now nested in her vindictive prison, lowered gently into the dirt cavern. The body had vanished. It was done.
I peeled open my eyes, staring into where I stopped writing last night. I realized that I was seated upright at my desk. The bedsheets undisturbed upon my bed, having not been used last night. The blinds were not closed, despite my memory of doing so. Eyes damp, scared, recognising only the ache in my heart from exhaustion.
Was it me who opened that door the first night? Did I unconsciously take the shovel and knife? Did I awaken my own Mr Hyde through experimenting with lucid dreams?
From here on, I am writing in the present. I fear everything. I am scared that I can no longer differentiate the real and the imagination. I am afraid of what I have provoked, seeking the escape from reality through dreams. I am scared of myself. I can no longer trust myself.
When I look outside my window, I can see the muddy trench from the dream. It is real.
The box is there too. There is so much blood that it is no longer its former patchy white. It is real.
Am I crazy? What is real?
This journal is almost at its end, anything written past here is meaningless. Father has been knocking on my door. Father is concerned for me, but he does not yet know what I have committed. I plan to run away when I open the door. I will have to open it soon.
He is still pleading with me, talking obliviously about how irresponsible it is to leave my belongings in the broom cupboard, and for me to leave dirty slippers lying around. But he does not know that I murdered my own mother. He wants the door open.
Did I do this? Do you believe me?
Am I crazy?
CREDIT : Timothy Guo