Estimated reading time — 8 minutes
I can see them. I could always see them. I don’t think they have yet noticed me, noticing them. They are everywhere. They follow us at work. They sit with us on the city bus or on the subway. They are there when we eat, watch t.v., sleep, even when we fuck! They whisper to us. They whisper, and we hear them. We believe we are experiencing random thoughts or having nervous breakdowns, or simply going insane, but it is them. They are watching, whispering, waiting.
When I was a kid, I kept all this very “hush hush”, as my mom would say. I told my very closest friends, but never my parents. No one ever really believed me. Why should they? I mean, really, formless black clouds hovering alongside people, whispering evil thoughts into their subconscious minds as they go through their daily routines? Sounds like a Stephen King movie right?
I have learned through these long dark years that some, like myself, hear them very well. They don’t see them, as I do, but they sense them and hear their evil suggestions. These people are the Ed Gein’s and Jeffrey Dahmer’s of the world. Others hardly recognize their presence. They may succumb to the less evil suggestions like petty theft, sodomy, promiscuity, but they don’t hear the more vile suggestions. Some, it seems, don’t hear them at all or have learned to ignore them. How I envy those few. Always have and always will.
When they whisper to me, it hurts. My mind struggles with their subliminal injections. My conscious mind is fully aware of what is happening while my subconscious insists that these thoughts are my own deepest desires. Sometimes when they suggest things that are beyond mere human evils, I have explosive migraines and nosebleeds. Yet, somehow, they seem not to notice. These days, I think they choose not to.
Whatever the case, I can’t live like this anymore. Watching the world fall apart around me, knowing the cause, yet unable to stop it. I am writing this because I have decided to end it all. I am hopeful that there may be others like me. Others who may, in time, devise a way to stop them. Maybe even eradicate them. I dream of a world without their influence, and it is that which has driven me to this point. Goodbye world, may you fair better than I.
I slide my chair away from the desk. Sighing heavily, I head to the kitchen for one last shot of bourbon. Man, am I going to miss this taste. Knowing my immediate future, I decide that another one, two, even three shots isn’t such a bad idea. They go down smooth, full of flavor, and with that slight bite that I love. As the bourbon slowly slips into my bloodstream, I can feel the buzz stirring and growing in my head. It is a welcome feeling, calming and steadying my nerves for the work ahead of me. I glance one last time at my computer screen, scanning over what is to become my “Last Will and Testament.” I shrug as I turn away and head to the stairs, toward my bedroom, my gun cabinet, my sweet, long-awaited release from this madness that has become my life. As I reach into my pocket for the key to the cabinet, I pause, arguing with myself.
“It doesn’t have to be this way,” I think to myself, “You could go on living just fine. You just ignore the state of the world like everyone else.” These arguments were valid, but I can’t abide. I know better. I may be able to live that way for a few more years, but the more I see, the less I feel like living. “It has to be this way,” I say aloud, taking the cabinet key from my pocket, “This is the only way,” I think, as I turn the key a single tear slides down my cheek. I pick up my .45, watching the light bouncing off of the metal, so beautiful. I drop the clip, ensuring that it is indeed loaded. As I slide the clip back into place, the true gravity of the situation starts to sink in, but I push it aside. With the loaded gun in hand, I sit down on the edge of my bed. My heart begins to race, my hands slightly shaking as I place the barrel against my temple. I draw in a deep breath and release it in a heavy sigh as I squeeze the trigger.
Darkness, all around me, I’m falling. As I sink into the darkness a loud, thunderous voice pierces my thoughts. It speaks directly into my mind and I begin to understand my situation.
“Mark. Mark Pinkerton. How I did weep at having to remove your name from The Book of Life. You have broken my heart Mark, but you knew what you were doing, and I must take action. You have committed the one sin that cannot be forgiven. Because of this, not only can I not accept you into My Kingdom, but Hell has a special place for you now Mark. Goodbye My son.”
As I fall, I begin to sob. I had never even imagined that God was there, that He was in fact watching me, or even that an afterlife existed. Had I known then, what I know now, my life would not have been what it was or what it is. Suddenly I land, smashing into a surface that feels like concrete or asphalt. Pain courses through my body from my head to my feet. Dazed, in pain, and beyond confused I push myself into a sitting position. I groan groggily, my brain still trying to comprehend what is happening as my eyes adjust to the darkness to a degree I would never have dreamed possible. That’s when I see them. They are here. How could they be here, is it not their job to influence the living? They glide just above the floor, formless black clouds churning and roiling like the sea. I can’t move, frozen in place by sheer terror as I realize that now, they can see me.
There are at least a dozen of them floating around me in a circle. Then, suddenly, I feel my wrists and ankles encircled in their freezing cold darkness and I am lifted from the floor. As I hang there, I begin to see another form emerging from the darkness. A face that can only be described as artfully chiseled, framed by long blonde hair, and home to the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen. Within moments I can see that this face is attached to the body of a Greek god. He is the most perfectly built man I have ever seen, but I know that he is not truly a man. As he approaches the black clouds break their circle to allow him passage. He stops a foot in front of me and smiles. “Mark, my dear boy, we’ve been expecting you,” at this he leans in until his nose is almost touching mine and stares deeply into my eyes. He then gently takes my face and turns it left and right. “Ah, yes,” he speaks in a voice as smooth as silk, “you will fit in quite nicely here Mark.” He then turned around and strode off into the darkness.
As soon as he is no longer visible, the black clouds reform their circle, and it begins to close. I black out. When I come to, I am strapped to a chair. It reminds me of “Ol’ Sparky” from “The Green Mile.” My arms and legs are buckled tightly into leather straps, my head restrained as well. One of the black clouds floats towards me now with a long protrusion sticking out of it’s right side. Perhaps an arm, it is holding a device that resembles a soldering iron with a thick black cable plugged into the bottom. The cable stretches off into the darkness where I can faintly hear screaming, crying, and heavy machinery.
In one swift, hardly visible motion, the black cloud pierces my temple with the device and I howl in agony. As I strain against my restraints, my vision blurs and becomes darkness and my hearing dwindles into deafness. I continue to struggle as the soundless black void becomes filled with horrible visions. I am shown the most grotesque and horrendous scenes from mankind’s violent reign of terror upon the Earth. Rape, murder, theft, lying, adultery, if you can imagine it, I am seeing it. I am so immersed that my struggling weakens into twitching of my fingers and toes. My teeth begin to grind and my once sightless eyes dart from place to place. This goes on for what seems like an eternity. I see everything, every vile thing that every person has ever done, and then some. I am shown things that men and women may have dreamt, but could never commit.
Suddenly it stops as I am brought back into the darkness, with them. I see one of them floating away with the device as another approaches. My restraints open and I am once again lifted into the air. Two of them are carrying me into the darkness. I begin to see shapes emerging. They appear to be more people, floating, no, hanging. As I get closer I can see that they are hanging from large hooks suspended by chains that rise into the dark abyss. Their necks are cut from ear to ear, their arms are cut from wrist to elbow, and they are being bled. As realization sinks in, so do the hooks. I am impaled by two large hooks, just under my neck. The two black clouds hover in front of me for a moment and then float off into the darkness. I hang here in agony, awaiting my next punishment. I begin thinking that perhaps this is it. Perhaps this is my eternity. That is when a new face emerges from the darkness. This one however, is twisted, gnarled. It may have been the face of a man at some time in the distant past, but no more. As it approaches I can see that its body is twisted, its joints assembled at odd angles. It has three extra arms, two on the right and one on the left. Its hands are disfigured, with odd numbers of fingers, and in each of them is a blade. They are different shapes and sizes, covered in the blood of its victims, some with small pieces of skin or ligament clinging to them. The creature carefully pokes the tip of a blade into the flesh under my right ear and slowly slips it through my neck the left. I try to scream, but I only gurgle, nearly choking on the blood. It then takes my right hand and turns my arm over, palm up, and again inserts the tip of its blade through the skin, into the vein under my wrist and in one long stroke opens the vein all the way to the elbow. It then repeats this process on the left arm and turns to disappear into the darkness.
I can feel my life’s blood flowing steadily, swiftly down my body. I begin to grow tired and cold as the world slowly slips away again. I am brought to by the screams emanating from the darkness. I lift my head only to see the creature approaching again. At the edges of my vision I can see empty hooks swinging gently. Where are the others? What fate did they meet, and is it the fate that approaches me as well? This time I can see that the creature is approaching me with empty hands, sneering. It reaches out with its extra left hand which is smaller, almost withered, and forces it into my mouth. I can taste the blood from previous victims, smell its stench of death and decay as it forces its wriggling hand down my throat.
As I choke, I can see its elbow approaching my mouth, feeling my insides stretch and tear. Then, it stops and begins groping around, trying to find something. It clamps its hand into a fist and slowly begins to extract its find. As it does, I can see its arm emerging from my mouth and feel my insides pulled upward. Once its hand was free of my mouth I could see it was holding something black and squirming. No, not squirming, shimmering. As it is pulled farther out my vision becomes split. I am simultaneously watching this thing being pulled from my mouth and watching myself being pulled from a lifeless corpse. Within seconds I am free. I am finally free of that horrid sack of meat, its putrescence to be left behind for eternity.
I have finally learned the truth, and the truth…
The truth is…
I’ve got work to do…
Credit: J. Brown