What if I Like Hell?
When I die to go to hell, will there still be fire? Screaming? Pure agonizing pain? What if I love to stare at flames, feel myself burn and scream in pain? What if I love the heat and how there is no cold touch to it, will it change for me?
When hell comes to me and it's dark and cold and I'm alone with my thoughts, what will happen if I enjoy it? If I enjoy the pure darkness where I can see nothing, what if I like how the cold bites me numb and lets me become warm just to freeze again? What if I like staying with my thoughts alone, nobody to talk to?
Does it vary for every person who goes down there? Or are some in pain while others laugh with joy as they scream and burn, as they freeze and think? I really want to know.
Dissolved in mist and absence
in my chest
i don't know
on the phone
shows the date
in an album
in a frame
on the shelf
of a hug
ever more dim
Dissolved in mist and absence
an absence, light as the skin of a child
There, far away,
Where oblivion dwells.
Cod fish and Bocce Ball.
I never felt anguish when my grandpa died.
I had been buying outfits for my Club Penguin avatar as I had just typed in the code for my monthly membership using my mothers credit card. There were so many rare, seasonal options! I had never had to make such a difficult decision.
"Taryn?" I hear from the doorway. My mother had the door hooked behind her hip, leaning heavily against the door frame which struck me as odd since she knew this was my designated Club Penguin time. She never bothered me during this.
However, I feel something in my stomach coiling tighter with every crick of my neck to face her. When I see the devastation on her face, I swallow against a dry mouth.
"What?" I force out between anxious chitters.
She doesnt posture. Offers me a slight tilt of her head in apology, or honour maybe even. "Grandpa died."
I think whatever coils around my ribs must squeeze and burst. Because the heat of heartbreak flushes through my veins like a saline bag. She means my fathers' father. She hadn't been close to him, though I know she loved him.
I nod, turning back to my penguin with its pair of sneakers adorned that don't seem as valuable as they might have. "Okay." I respond quietly.
She leaves the room after a few minutes, knowing I need to just be alone.
I don't cry. I never have for him, in the decade since. Not out of a lack of love-- but I was too young, only 11. I couldnt comprehend death, or losing a grandparent. Instead, I sat there and paused my game, thinking about the last time I had seen him the year prior.
He ordered fish and chips for his wife and my dad and I-- we each got a fish so insanely sized it still shocks me 10 years later. The fish was double the size of the dinner platter, absolutely revolting in its oil and grease. But I ate it anyway along with the fries more deep-fried batter then potato, and grinned at my grandpa with teeth full of white fish shrapnel as he suggested we play a game of bocce ball.
So, no, I never felt anguish for my grandpa. His memory was far too happy, jovial and kind for that sort of pain to mar his memory.
salmon of the stream.
<>< <>< <><
sweet slow summers,
shy skittish kisses by the swing set,
picking and skipping rocks by the shifting stream.
the soft petals of callow youth fall silently on oblivious grasses.
time has no patience.
how your bloody clock hands are choking me!
now your summers are begging,
and your kisses are begging,
and the stream is crying and burly.
and i beg of u sweet summer water,
let me swim upstream with the spry scarlet salmon,
through the salty blue pacific,
slip by the frothy currents,
and sleep eternally in silky grey sands of innocence.
Chapter 19: Secrets Spilled in Darkness
Finding the doctor wasn't as hard as Gareth had feared. With Wren to guide them, now back in his disguise as Dr. Connors, they found him easily, tied up and gagged in a broom closet, only a few doors away from his office. The bonds were tied up in a sloppy way and it wasn't hard for Gareth to untie him.
Your hands are so big, Olban said. Are all humans in your world so... clunky?
"I'm going to ignore that," Gareth snorted, rolling his eyes. "My hands work just fine."
Only because the bonds are so loose. Wren really is rather incompetent, isn't he?
"Jeez, Eloise, no need to be so rude. Wren's on our side now, and he's helped us so far. Besides, wasn’t taming him your idea?”
Sorry, Eloise said, sounding genuinely remorseful. You’re right.
When the doctor saw Wren behind them, he was stirred into a panic— probably because Wren looked like his doppelgänger.
“Uh, Wren, you might want to shift into a different form. You’re scaring the doctor,” Gareth muttered. “Man, this is gonna be a weird conversation.
“It’s too bad, I kind of like this form. It suits me.”
Dr. Connors moaned his dissent, his eyes rolling to the back of his head.
“Ah well,” he said. As they watched, he changed from Dr. Connors, to a formless monster, and then into a middle aged woman with big ears and greying hair.
“Tina?” Dr. Connors whimpered, the gag finally off his mouth. “Why are you…”
“Relax, dude,” Wren interrupted, his voice now high pitched and feminine. “I’m not actually Tina. I just look like her. My name is Wren.”
“Oh,” Dr. Connors said, gulping so loudly that it sounded as if he’d swallowed his Adam’s apple. “I- I see.”
“Why do you have to be someone he recognizes?” Gareth asked.
“I can only shift into someone I’ve seen before. Currently that list is very short, especially with my memories mostly gone. He’s gonna have to live with Tina.”
“Gareth… what’s going on?” Dr. Connors asked, finally recovering enough consciousness to speak.
“Dr. Connors… we’re here to tell you about magic. Although it seems you’ve already had your first encounter.”
“M-magic? But, Gareth, that’s…”
“I know how it sounds. But you’ve seen Wren. It’s obvious he’s not from our world… and that’s why I’m here. In order to properly do what I need to do, I have to make you understand what’s happening.”
“Why? What’s… what’s going on?”
“You might want to sit down, Wren said with a dry chuckle. I’m sure these travelers have quite a story. After all, if the Nameless One wants them dead, they must hold monumental power.”
“I… I think I’ll sit down,” Dr. Connors agreed.
Is this a good idea? Olban asked. After all, this could be another minion. Wren could be leading us into a trap. Do we really want to reveal everything?
Olban has a point, Eloise says. I hadn’t thought of that.
Maybe just leave out a few key details. And whatever you do, DON’T tell them about the armbands. This kind of power is best kept hidden. Explain as best as you can.
“Jeez, you guys are so paranoid. Whatever, I’ll do it. I see where you’re coming from, anyway.”
“Oh, just talking to myse— haha, wait. No use lying anymore. I guess I’ll start with that. Dr. Connors, I don’t have Dissociative Identity Disorder. The person in my head— well, I guess it’s people now— they are real, and they are both from different universes. Wren is from Olban’s world, and Eloise— she’s the new member— is from a world similar to mine.”
Dr. Connors looked completely confused.
“But… what… how…”
Maybe tell him to save his questions for the end, Eloise suggests. Otherwise we’ll be here all day.
Gareth continued, and soon he’d gotten the whole story out. Well, almost the whole story. Per Olban’s request, Gareth removed a few key details whenever he could, just to be safe. Dr. Connors, understandably, had many questions, and Gareth did his best (with help from Olban and Eloise) to answer. Even so, some confusions would never be cleared up. Dr. Connors, by all accounts a practical man, would never be the same.
And as Gareth and Wren returned to Gareth’s apartment, Dr. Connors got up and did something he hadn’t done in over a decade.
He went to church, and he prayed.
Gareth and Olban slept easily, but Eloise was trapped in some realm between consciousness and sleep. She couldn’t really be awake, because her host body was asleep, but she couldn’t sleep, either. It was a dangerous line, although Eloise had no way of knowing that. And in this blurred realm between dreams and reality, the Nameless One crept silently into her mind.
Do you want to know a secret, little girl? it’s voice asked, shrill and wispy in the fogs of Eloise’s fragile mind.
Who are you? Eloise called out. Olban? Gareth?
They cannot hear you, the Nameless One hissed, horrifying laughter emanating from everywhere at once. You are alone, Eloise, as you will always be.
You’re wrong, Eloise shouted. When this is all over, I’m going to go back to my body and everything will go back to the way it was. To the way it should be. Her voice broke into whispery sobs. All along, she’d been harboring her regrets, nursing her doubt, her anger, her pain. Why did I have to try and kill them? Why couldn’t I have just left it alone?
But are you certain, little girl? Are you certain that you will be allowed to return?
Of course I will! Olban and Gareth are making the rings to transport us all!
She realized her mistake a moment too late, clapping a hand to her mouth.
The damage had been done. The Nameless One now knew what the three of them were up to. And, worse, he knew about the rings.
It seemed to become a great snake in the darkness, curling tighter and tighter around her as it laughed.
Ah Eloise, said the Nameless One, his voice as raspy and dry as a snake’s hiss. Suddenly he sounded so much clearer, as if he were speaking right into her ear. As if he were more real now, more solid. So young, so naive… what are you doing here, in this world of monsters and magic? You don’t belong. You can’t belong.
Leave me alone, Eloise sobbed, her voice suddenly small and insignificant. Please, just leave me alone.
They plan to trap you in Olban’s world. Out of place, out of time. They believe you are a danger to everyone around you. A threat to the universe itself.
Eloise’s breath caught in her throat.
No, that… that can’t be right. You’re lying.
I am not, it said, almost sounding offended at the accusation. Why would I lie to you, when the truth is more damaging than any lie?
I refuse to believe it, Eloise cried. You’re wrong. You’re evil and you’re wrong!
The serpent laughed as it retreated, formless, back into the darkness and the mist.
Think about what I’ve said, little girl. And the next time you are alone and awake in the night, I will return.
Despite the violently churning thoughts in her head, Eloise found herself slipping, falling, into a dark abyss of dreamless sleep. Deeper and almost evil, somehow. The kind of sleep that felt like death.
And from the shadows of a distant void, an ancient evil laughed with scornful glee.
One of Many
Being one of many can make life everlasting.
Always chaos and wrestling,
As your sister's scream is blasting.
Never getting the bathroom
With four rooms one bath.
All trying to eat and catch the bus before your first class.
In school the children seem to be dressed better than you. No money for lunch, so a free lunch will do.
Home from school in the evening, chores need to be done. Do your homework and chores before you have fun.
Same routine until you're grown.
Now it's time to be on your own.
Get an apartment and pay your bills. Find a job that enhance your skills. A career is built on dreams and know-how.
Once you land it,
You will survive some how.
John, Chris, and I had talked about it. We knew what we were doing. We didn't have the chance for questions. We just knew it had to be done. I saw the fear in their eyes, but I was strangely calm. Hoping the outcome to all of this would be what we want. He took a breath and held my hand. Smiled at me before saying, "I hope we dont land." I took my breath before I gave it to grace. And Chris just stood there saying his prayers. We were three people with a death sentence...and off that bridge we jumped, hooked like fishes.