prose

Phantasma

There is a phantom that makes his home in the dust and cobwebs of my bedroom, a poltergeist flitting in and out of sunbeams and bumping in the dark. I can hear him sigh my name in the back of my mind every day at noon; I can feel him ease down onto the arm of my chair to read over my shoulder the newspaper, and I know the door opens just a little too quickly every evening when I come home. When the pages of my book refuse to stay open, when all my houseplants begin to wither and die, or the cat goes galloping down the hallway in a random panic, I know that he is restless. His presence lingers around me, heavy like an uninvited guest, but he always welcomes me home with the open arms of an old friend.

He keeps me awake at night when he cries, terrible, awful, heaving cries, coming from the darkest corners of my bedroom. Some nights, I can feel his salt tears on my cheeks, leaving cool colourless trails down my hot heartbeat skin, whispering like autumn winds past, or his fingers trailing across the bony bumps of my hips, turning once-rosy skin blue and rotting, deadening under his airy gray touch. He sings sweet nothings of a time long ago to me in the dark hours of the morning, his voice soft as cold September rains. When I close my eyes I dream of him, his face flush with colour and the sun dancing through his eyelashes, his smile a night terror I can no longer start at. I awake, and there too is his face, grinning out of the darkness and relishing the circles of purple he puts beneath my eyes. On hot midsummer nights, he slips a knife between my shoulder blades, a sharp sliver of cold biting between my vertebrae, popping them apart and relaxing all my muscles, stinging and burning where his poison fingers probe my wounds for my bloody essence that he seeks to make his own. I wake with bruised flesh, hues of purples and blues and browns, where his hungry hands have grabbed and pulled at my limbs in an attempt to make me his.

He lives in dismal grayscale, and I in ghastly technicolour. He cannot find his place within my watercolour world. He begs me to recall his name when his hands gently caress my shoulders while I make breakfast, three syllables that tumble across the tongue in shades of red and orange. He queries after the colour of his hair while I brush my teeth in the bathroom mirror, toying with once-black tousled curls now white and streaked a grey translucence. He asks me desperately to remind him what colour was his favourite when he still lived as I change out burnt lamp lightbulbs, staring at me with empty eye sockets where once eyes so dark a brown they glittered black resided, deeper than the deepest outer space. I remember falling into those eyes for the first time, drowning in them, feeling that I could both know everything about him and yet leave him a sparkling enigma all at once if I just let them wash over me like a gentle deep-ocean wave. I floated content in the great voiding depth of those eyes, never once suspecting that they hid a raging riptide, a famished black hole, that they had trapped me as a pitcher plant traps a beetle, feeding off it for days.

On my bad days, I ignore him, and he screams at me, a terrifyingly loud and angry bass, like an upset child with the voice of a man, and he opens floodgates that force me to remember everything I push down deep inside. Our play at contented coexistence comes to a screaming halt, giving out a dying gasp of sad summer air that ushers in the cold of autumn with it. On those days, my hair turns white and falls out in clumps, more fine lines around my eyes crease, and I become older and slower and quieter while he stays young and powerful and angry. Later, the colour returns to me cheeks and lips, but I feel a little more tired inside, and in the bathroom mirror I mark the growing transparency of my own skin, knowing I will join him soon and render him content. He cannot give up his living past, and I cannot reconcile what he once was with the thing he has become. It will be the death of me.

The saturated colour of my eyes, the eyes he always loved so dear, dulls every time his fingertips trail my face, never to return. What he touches, he ruins, just as I once ruined him. And I want to leave, I want to, I want to, I want to run away and never look back and never be found and never relive his horrors again—but he is forever bound to me, holding on to that pre-summer bliss of our childhood, when we were two imperfect souls finding perfect solace in one another, reveling in what we were, what we could have been, what we planned to be.

I can bury his skeleton in my closet, but I can never outrun his ghost.

***

PLAYLIST:

The Best Idea I Ever Had—Sew Intricate
Heaven in Hiding—Halsey
I Knew You Were Trouble—Taylor Swift
Somewhere Else—Artist VS. Poet
Million Dreams—The Greatest Showman soundtrack
Unbreakable—Artist VS Poet
Summertime Sadness (cover)—Megan Davies
Edge of Seventeen
I’m Not Dead—P!nk
Saviour—Rise Against
Devil’s Backbone—The Civil Wars
Everybody’s Fool–Evanescence
Apologize—One Republic
Dancing with a Wolf—All Time Low
This Means War—Marianas Trench
Ordinary World—Joy Williams
Man Overboard—Blink-182
Erase This—Evanescence
Ghost—Ingrid Michaelson
Outlines—All Time Low
Oceans—Evanescence
Dearly Departed—Marianas Trench
B-Team—Marianas Trench
Young and Menace—Fall Out Boy
Eyes Like Yours–Shakira
Amnesia—5 Seconds of Summer
Nina—Ed Sheeran
Down—Blink-182
Grand Theft Autumn/Where is your Boy Tonight—FOB
One More Night—Maroon 5
Outer Space/Carry On—5 Seconds of Summer
Dark Side of your Room—All Time Low
Rhythm of your Heart—Marianas Trench
I Miss You—Blink-182
Daddy Lessons—Beyonce
Don’t—Ed Sheeran
A Drop in the Ocean–Elenyi
Nightmares—All Time Low
Call Me When You’re Sober—Evanescence
End of an Era—Marianas Trench
.
(BONUS: The Patron Saint of Liars and Fakes—Fall Out Boy)

Advertisements

The Prison Cell

The skies had quickly become overcast, more quickly than I could have imagined possible. The stars that had burned so brightly, the crescent moon that illuminated the city streets, had all but blinked out, plunging the world into a sudden, impenetrable darkness that the street lamps fought valiantly to overcome.
It was when I was walking through the deserted streets, eyes cast warily to the skies, that I heard it. A jolting bang, a shortened scream. Footsteps rapidly disappearing into the night.
I found her on the corner of seventh and 12th avenue, staring up at the hidden heavens. Serene, quiet, and utterly broken. My hands worked faster than my brain, but I could hardly stem the outpour of blood flowing without precedence from her stomach to the sidewalk. Before I knew what I had gotten myself into, her head was cradled ever so delicately in my lap and my hands aiding hers in pressurizing the wound. It felt like I was walking through a dream.
In the darkness, she looked at me at last. And strangely, smiled—I could not bring myself to smile back.
“It’s you,” she said.
“Yes,” I replied in my trance.

We had never met.
Her frail fingers trailed up my jawline. She laughed, a rasping and gasping laugh riddling with pain and laced with coughing that pushed blood from her lungs to her mouth to her lips.

“You have eyes so deep I feel myself drowning in them,” she said quietly.
I couldn’t reply. My mind grasped at every word in that sentenced.
“The last man I met with eyes like yours, I fell in love with.”
And she laughed again as she painted the cement crimson.
“Don’t worry. Paramedics are coming. You’ll be okay.”
“Your voice is so deep. It’s like a drum, has anyone ever told you that? It just resonates in my chest. Can you sing to me?”
Despite myself, my cheeks flushed. “I can’t really sing. I don’t know any songs.”
Instead of replying, she shuddered in her agony. When her eyes closed, I thought I had lost her. But she opened them again, and swallowing blood stared up at me once more. Her fingers grasped in their frailty at my toque, pulling it from my head. Pre-winter air bit at my ears as one finger curled my hair for a moment before dropping to her chest. She smiled easily, happily, sighing in admiration.
“I see why you’re here now. You’ve come to take me away. Back to God.”
My heart then broke, and I watched her smile one more time before the light left her eyes a clear, unseeing ice blue and her neck lost its strength.
I let myself sit there with her, feeling her body go cold, for a long time, feeling emotion after emotion after intense emotion wash over me in a fictitious warmth I knew did not exist.

The needed someone to blame. I had not a motive, nor a weapon, or any means to speak of. All I had was a heart too big not to care. But he couldn’t be found, nor could the curséd pistol that robbed that girl of her life.
And so that’s how I ended up here, in a prison cell, with tally marks and cold, ice eyes as the only art to decorate my barren walls.
Waiting.

Juxtaposition

He was the definition of juxtaposition. This whole time, he has been both the LORD and The Adversary, the lamb and the serpent. He fought so hard to save me, a mislead child, and raise me to my salvation and a place with his Heavenly Host, all the while damning me to an eternity of fire and suffering. Give and take, give and take. He was an unmerciful God and a merciful demon, all at once, and with one clawed hand he took hold of my heart as another hand, soft and loving, caressed my face with gentle care. While one thumb traced my cheekbone with all the attention of a lover, those malicious claws ripped my forsaken heart from my very chest and squeezed with all the hate of a wronged brother. My blood dripped from between those unearthly fingers as his lips tasted mine.
My salvation.
Just as soon as he now owned what he thought his, he let me go and stole my pathetic, half-beating heart to add to an ever-growing collection. His hands would touch me, one hand burning and scratching and the other cooling and soft as water. His teeth bit into my flesh to taste my blood, and only once he had learned to memorize every valley and every mountain of my body and my mind did that angel leave me. Free falling through a cutting, icy wind he left me, and went along his merry way as I floundered to my demise. He had not even the good nature to sew to my back wings of tar and feathers.
My body hit the ground, but I felt no pain. I was a hollow shell, a hallowed hall, that no longer housed a holy spirit he could attain.
And so this is what I have become–a monster, an unholy being with his name carved into my flesh. One moment I am a calming breeze, and the next I am a raging storm. I love and I hate. I hurt and I don’t. I fall and I fly.
I walk by all the places he is said to be seen every day. I want to force him to see, force him to look at what he has turned me into–a shade, a phantom dark as night and sleek as smoke he cannot touch. An empty temple of a long-forgotten deity, standing piteously lonely and full of vengeful natures, full up of songs and hymns that speak his name in words unknown to him. And he does–that demon, he hurts, but not so much as I. Somewhere, in his care, my faint heart still beats at a distance from me, long since forgotten on a shelf in his mind. He has filled it with pins, ripped it into pieces with his hands, made it a play-thing he may have once found amusement in.
But the monster that came to live under his bed would like to have it back, to cram back into her ragged chest that she may breath again, and become the very thing he fears the most. For it is her turn to conquer him.

The God

It was in the way you spoke and gestured, with all the opulence and passion of your heritage, that gave me thrills. I was swimming in your green eyes, enthralled by the image of your lips. I couldn’t help but wonder if hidden under that jacket was a secret god. And in an instance I thought that if you touched me with those perfect hands, you would and could undo me; mould me to your heart’s desire, pull all my threads loose, and make me yours by giving me the taste of that forbidden fruit that is your kiss.