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02/23/17 at 10:53 pm
There is nothing to me now. I am nothing without you but a wailing package of sallow flesh and insidious despair. I can feel the hole you have left behind. I can feel the jagged edges tear into my body and soul, spreading, spreading... The way poison disperses throughout the body, encouraged- no, forced- by the heart. The heart that beats its slow, consistent rhythm; it is the cadence of time and of pain, the bearer of sorrow, and the ever-present reminder of the harsh reality that is all that remains now that you have gone.
So many mistakes. I have made so many mistakes. I have hurt you, and I have hurt myself. I have lived without thinking, without considering, without caring, and without loving. I have lived without realising the significance that is you, without understanding the dire necessity of your presense and of your love. How could I have been so blind? How did I never realise? How could I let this happen?
"You never wanted him."
This voice is mine; I recognize it. But it is dark, and it is frightening. Despite the softness of these words I feel such anger, such malice shadowing them. It is almost a rumbling, almost.. a growl. I look around in fear, desperate to locate it's source, terrified that this heartache has driven me beyond the surface of sanity. A scream bubbles behind my clenched teeth, and can but seethe through bared fangs in a pathetic sound.
"Please," I beg aloud, warm tears streaming down my face and neck, soaking into my clothing. "Please stop. Please don't."
A horrifying cackle ensues. The sound is as barbed as the misery tearing me apart from the inside out, and with it comes a fear unlike any I have ever known. I curl myself together, trying to hold on to my body as my insides attempt to writhe and squirm away. I feel as though I am breaking. As though I am being ripped apart by my own organs. My heart races, playing a dreadful song for my world to hear. I cannot see past the tears, and the sound of myself screaming is a hideous and unfamiliar accompaniment.
"What a pitiful excuse you are."
Pain. Bright and blinding. It cuts through my body like the wicked edge of a knife. From my legs and through my torso it enters my mind and shatters all conscious thought. I cannot think, cannot speak, cannot even scream. My eyes are squeezed so tightly shut that I do not believe they will ever open again. I will be blind for what life remains. With this pain.. This pain.. I pray that life does not last long.
Hours pass and I lay in torment. I can feel the world slipping away, all thoughts, all memory is replaced by the pain. My soul thrashes as if it imagines itself a wild animal bound by cage. It crashes against thick bars, over and over, beating itself bloody until finally it breaks within this confinement. Physical and emotional agony seeps into the very fabric of my existence until all that is left is a dull throbbing of the shell I have become.
"I can make it stop."
The voice is different now, soothing. I feel a calmness take hold of me, though somewhere in the back of my mind I recognize the faintest sense of accomplishment. The pain has subsided, but I know that it lingers in waiting. I don't want to speak, I don't want to move. If anything changes, the pain returns. I know this. I can feel it hovering.
Despite my best efforts, I begin to feel it bubble over, to surround and encapsulate me. I can hear myself screaming as if from a distance. As if I am underwater, and that water is anguish. Its waves beat against my fragile body, breaking bones and shattering my structure. I am so wholly broken.
"I can take away the pain."
Though still soft, the voice slices through my mind with such clarity that it seems the only other truth to this torturous reality. My broken body shudders as my eyes seem compelled to open, forced to face the impossible sight before me:
The eyes. Cold and hard and terrifying. They shine with a sick, malicious light, and seem to look upon me with both disgust and a strange sense of resignation.. And they are furious. This is my anger. This is my hate. This is my self-loathing. This is my monster.
I cannot gather the strength to scream. The fear chokes me, and it is all I can do to gasp for breath as the eyes draw nearer. I watch them narrow, a slow, deliberate movement. The pain returns in all of its petrifying glory, and I am forced to watch as amused animus glints from above. The terror. The pain. I will do anything to make it stop.
"Give yourself to me."
I don't know if I manage to shake my head, but a terrible snarl rips through my conscience. My head reels, a physical blow sending reality spinning. My cheeks feel warm as rivers of blood colour my pale face and neck, let loose by the strike of razor sharp claws. I can see myself, as if the eyes above are now mine. I can feel an intense loathing, but also a sickening desperation.
My stomach heaves as another blow fractures what little remains of my form. I can both feel and see my life's blood oozing from new gashes, and am momentarily overcome by the horrific approach of death...
"Give yourself to me."
Everything stops. The agony. The terror. The ache remains as the memories return, as my understanding of what I have lost comes back to me. The heartache alone seems too much to bear, but I nod my acceptance as new tears warm the lids of my eyes.
"When will it stop?" I ask, quiet and frightened. "When will the pain go away?"
A new warmth touches my face, and brings with it an almost motherly comfort. Now that I have given up control, given up my soul, new steps must be taken. Her response brings serenity and solace.
My body is so tired.. I feel an unbelievable ache in my muscles and a jarring pain in my joints as if I have been running downhill at full speed for several hours. I realize slowly that I am not yet awake, and consider attributing the strange feelings and even stranger event I have recently experienced to a dreamy state of unconsciousness. Memories return even more slowly, and I am reminded of the ignorance of my decisions, the pain of my loss, and the eyes of my nightmare. These recollections strike fear into my soul and renewed grief into my heart. I do not wish to wake.
A rhythmic pounding draws me to consciousness; it is soothing in a way, but also foreign and a little frightening. There is an echo of danger to the sound, accompanied by a peculiar sense of predation. I listen for quite some time, allowing the steady beat and rocking motion to lull me in and out of attention. Seconds, minutes, hours pass. I really cannot tell. But the more I listen, the more aware I become of the fatigue of my body. Only it does not feel like my body. Something is not quite normal, not quite right. I cannot pinpoint the difference.
The sounds and motions stop quite suddenly, and momentarily I feel overcome by my own weariness. What is going on? My body lowers itself to the ground and I can feel my belly touch the floor. How strange, I think as I open my eyes.
Confusion hits me somewhat dully as I struggle to understand the state of my body. My breath comes in deep bursts. I know that I have been moving, but I don't know where I am. On the ground, for a certainty, simply lying there on my stomach feeling as though the muscles in my neck are too tired to even lift my head. I opt for rolling onto my side- a significant effort- and attempt to look around. I find that I am outside. Somewhere. There are trees nearby. Not many close by. It appears as though I have just breached the edge of a forest, though I have no idea which one. There are not many nearby my home, as I recall.
The sound of a man's voice cuts into my awareness and I realise that he has called out several times. With an exhausted arm I tip myself over onto my back and allow the entirety of my body to sink into the cool earth beneath me. From the corner of my eye I see him, running towards me impossibly quickly. It seems as though his long strides close the distance several meters at a time, and for a moment I am afraid. He reaches me quickly and kneels to the ground beside me, his hands reaching out to take hold of me. I do not know this man, and despite its complete expenditure of energy my body tenses in panic.
"Mercy! Oh, Mercy..!"
Curiously, a well of emotions flood my mind: safety, relief, trust. My fear is not gone, but is overcome by foreign sensations so intense that they threaten to overtake my mind completely. My confusion is lost, my panic forgotten, as I find myself in the arms of a man that I do not recognize but know to be, and love as, a brother. He lifts me effortlessly from where I lay and holds me protectively against his frame before beginning to walk back in the direction from which he had come. He does not say another word, and yet this silence is accompanied by the most bizarre feeling that I am conversing with him. I cannot hear the words. I cannot understand them all. But somehow I am talking to him.
I feel... such sorrow. I am telling him of my despair, of my loss. I can think of nothing else, can speak of nothing else. It all comes out in a rush of emotion without a single word uttered between us. He listens patiently, takes it all in without much of a response. Absently I am aware of the tears streaming down my cold cheeks, but when the man takes note as well he seems shocked, as if he does not understand the relationship between my anguish and my physical display of heartache. This puzzles me, and creates a clear division between the sentiments I am sharing with him and a returning sense of absolute confusion.
Confusion wins out and I pull myself away from the "conversation" as best I can. I can still feel it, as though my mind is volunteering information without my consent. But I no longer feel it. I focus instead on my body: how icily cold my skin feels, how tired my limbs are. The chill is not pleasant, but it is not intolerable. The exhaustion, however, causes me discomfort, and I allow my mind to sink into the lassitude that plagues my body. It does not take long to drift back into unconsciousness.
Warmth returns me to the world of the living; it is a sudden change, as if I have transitioned from the cold outdoors to a warm indoors. Groggy lids rise to expose exactly this. The upper frame of the doorway cuts across my vision horizontally as the man carrying me is forced to proceed sideways and allow us both entry. The interior is darkly coloured, almost dreary, but well lit. I attempt to tilt my head from side to side to find the lights, but find instead that my neck is so stiff that it won't cooperate. Realising this, the gentle sway of my body in the man's arms makes me increasingly aware of my continued state of physical exhaustion. I am immobile and I feel trapped, as if caged inside my own flesh. Oddly, this feeling does not cause significant discomfort or alarm. While the presence in my mind has quieted, there remain feelings of relief and trust so deeply ingrained that I cannot help but feel safe, as though all is as it should be.
A mirror on the wall does give me pause. It is a large thing, cumbersome and a little gaudy for my taste, but I simply cannot deny the beauty of its ornamentation. The reflective surface is cradled by a silver enclosure carved and molded with breathtakingly intricate detail. The closer I peer, the better I see that figures, small and large, are depicted both in groups and alone all along the framework of the piece. I can feel the trust and the intimacy shared by the groups- or packs, I should say, as I realise that the majority of these figures are wolves- as they travel together along this argent shell. I can also feel a cavernous sense of loneliness shared by the solitary hunters, as well as the quiet strength and independence necessary to see this difficult choice through to the end. Each of the wolves awakens a new, unique feeling inside me, but when taken together the piece evokes an awe-inspiring sense of majesty and unity. It is as if every sculpture has a part to play, and that the mirror itself could not be complete without each and every one of them.
All this passes through my mind in a fraction of a second as the frame of the mirror slips out of view and is replaced by the mirror itself. The man's arm rests below the curve of my neck, and as such my head is left to droop over the supporting limb. My hair falls almost to the floor. My dark hair, almost black, that used to brush the tips of my shoulder blades now sways in the wind of his movement, the air-resisting curve of each fibre the only thing keeping it from brushing against the ground instead. Confusion deepens as I notice not only the change in length, but the change in colour; there is an uneven but very clear alteration. I can see where my shoulder-length dark hair ends, and where the new, russet strands take over. It is a wild colour, and wholly not my own. I simply do not understand.
Is this me? My eyes shift to the upside down face of the woman being carried. It is gaunt and pallid, but also noticeably sharper and more angular. She looks starved and more than a little crazed, and those deranged eyes examine themselves with a terrified fervor, desperate to find some difference that will determine definitively that this is not my body, that this is not me. It crosses my mind that I do not know which would be worse: discovering that I am trapped in another's body, or recognizing that these changes and this anatomy must be accepted as my own. Fortunately or not, the latter appears to be true as I cannot discern further variances in either my eyes or the general structure of my face. I am far too shaken to appreciate the art of the mirror as the far side of the frame passes before me, and I suffer silently in the man's arms as he presses onward down the hallway. I take some comfort in the gentle sway of my body and the warmth of the being holding it. Regardless of the world around me there seems to be a quiet haven in my mind to return to, a foreign but consistent source of peace and comfort, if only I search for it.
Once I have been given enough time to deny what I have just witnessed and convince myself that exhaustion clouded my vision, the man stops at a doorway. He maneuvers me such that he can grasp the handle, and once more do we pass sideways beneath the frame. I can only see half of the room given the stiffness of my neck: there is a small cot pressed up against the far wall and a desk against the wall close by. It is well lit and a little less uninspiringly colour than the outside hallway. He lays me on the bed, but even the care of this transition is painful to my tired muscles and a pained noise escapes me.
"You're awake..?" He sounds surprised and a little concerned, and averts his eyes as I struggle to sit up, sparing me a portion of my embarrassment. My body hurts so much and I feel tears of frustration welling atop my lids.
"Who are you?" I ask in a weak voice. Now that I am facing him on a more even surface, I get a better look at him. He is tall and quite lean, dressed simply in black pants and a dark sweater. Glancing down as best I can, I see that I am similarly clothed.
"I have a few names," he smiles almost ruefully as he looks back to me. "You can call me Deimos. That is probably the closest thing to the truth." He pauses, allowing me time to test the strange name. "And you? What is your name?"
I seem about to speak, but the words that would normally come reflexively simply are not there. I am sure I look confused because he breaks the otherwise awkward silence.
"Don't worry about it. This is all normal." Perhaps my confusion deepens, because he smiles at me a little sadly. "I know that you are probably full of questions. It is a hard thing to explain. What has happened to you, I mean. It will take time to process and to adjust. For now I need you to trust me, and to believe that I am here to help you."
He gets up to leave and I am momentarily panicked, but instead of the door he moves to the desk. He opens a drawer from which he procures a small brush and a pair of scissors. I don't know what he intends to do, but this persistent feeling of trust quiets any reservations I may have. He returns to where I lay and helps to prop me up against the wall using a mass of pillow.
"May I?" He extends a hand towards me and grasps at a few of the strands making up my messy mane of new hair. There is no denying it now. It is right in front of me, spilling over my shoulders and down to my waist. I can see the long black tips of the hair I know, and once more do I feel tears in my eyes. He seems to take this as assent, and carefully begins to run the brush through my hair.
"I know it's shocking, especially in the beginning." There is a comforting, familiar pain as the brush pulls through some tangles. "You are sharing your body and mind right now. That is the simplest way to explain it." I can feel my face scrunch in confusion, and the movement feels habitual. He does not give me time to speak. "There would have been a moment. Sometime in the past, but not too long ago. You would have agreed to let her in."
The eyes return to my mind. Cold and angry and hateful. I can feel the fear I felt then, building, building... only to be quelled by her tranquility, by her sense of safety. I realise slowly that I am not in control of my own emotions. The idea is less frightening than one would imagine.
"I see that you remember. I am not sure what the circumstances of transfer were, but I have a feeling they must have been unpleasant." Another tangle, followed by the soft snip of the scissors. I am not paying much attention to his hands.
"I am sorry to say that the next few weeks are going to be very hard for both of you. Your body must change to adapt to her presence. I am sure you have noticed your hair, for one. I can see the change here as well. It will continue to grow quickly until you are... more thoroughly acquainted." Something like a frown mars his otherwise composed features. "You two need to find balance. Right now your body is struggling to accommodate and keep up with the changes. I have never known her to be so forceful, but you will have to be patient and work with her."
"Work with... Mercy? The thing in my head. The woman. Her name is Mercy?" I ask slowly, sounding dim as I try to piece together this information. Deimos nods, though his brow pulls together as I realise that he has taken offense at the word "thing". I apologise for my error out of habit and he accepts the concession with a pleased smile.
"Why is she here? How? How is she in my head?" Many questions follow in my mind, but they all amount to the same thing. I really do not know what to make of this, how to react, or how to cope with the fact that I am presently sharing myself with another being. Why am I like this? Why me? Is this a normal occurrence in the world? Have I known others who have experienced something similar?
"I know that this is a lot to take in. Especially now. I can imagine how tired your body must feel, and how frustrating it is that your mind is wide awake." I nod, oddly comforted by his insight. "There are otherworldly beings," he says uncertainly. "Sometimes they get attached to different aspects of our world: plants, animals, and sometimes humans. I share my mind and body with one of them as well, so don't think that you are alone in this. I will be here and I can answer your questions, but I want you to trust me when I tell you that this will be much easier to understand once you have slept and your body has recovered."
He stands, and reaches towards me once more. When he pulls away I see a small animal's worth of hair in his hands. It is mostly a coppery, chestnut colour, but the tips remain the vestiges of the hair I know and love. He seems to understand my discomfort. "You have to adjust. You can't fight her or the transition, or it will cause you both to suffer. This is just a small step towards healing your bond. I promise that you will feel better when you wake."
With that, he steps away and towards the door. I have so many questions, so much uncertainty. I watch him leave knowing that sleep will never find me, but when I hear to quiet click of the door the light of the world fades from view and I slump against the wall of pillows at my back. As if he has taken my consciousness with him.