Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Night Attacks

He was lying in bed one night because the dark had come and his parents had resolved to sleep. He wasn’t displeased to be lying there, he was simply lying there. Life had recently taken on this inevitable quality for him. Acceptance seemed like the easiest thing to do in almost every instance. This night was no exception.

But thought was never something that could be easily accepted. It was something that rebelled, that flailed, that fought. But on this night, as was too often the case, thought seemed incapable of moving the body. Even when he began to hear the pattering on the roof it didn’t seem like there was a thought in existence that could move him from those blankets. His thoughts still groped and searched for some way to be meaningful, like a fish constantly dying and being reborn over and over again inside the empty blackness that he imagined his mind to be.

We all have our fear. We feel it and we know that something could have happened to someone who heard that noise. Long ago in a cave someone heard that pattering sound and they were devoured by something with teeth larger than their own. But this wasn’t the age of devouring. This was the age of boys who lied safely in their parent’s homes. Or perhaps I should say that this was the country where bodies weren’t devoured anymore. In either case, thought felt inert in the face of the warmth of the moment.

But what if the pattering got more serious? Louder and more aggressive? More certainly a something than a nothing. It turns out that it did.

But how could he possibly feel threatened? What in this world could possibly make this life concerned for its own existence? It didn't matter if he could conceptualize it or not. Because he was scared and that was all that mattered. He looked at the warm white walls all around him. He wondered why the pale blue spirally light bulb made them feel so foreign and mystical. The color of the light made him think of some glowing underground cavern that had one been described in that book he loved. It didn’t help his nerves. Because in that particular book everyone had died a horrible death. He didn’t want that to happen to him. Especially not here.

The pattering stopped for a few minutes and he began to relax. He stopped imagining terrible beasts lightly tapping on the roof. He settled back into his book and he just let himself be again. The fish in his mind still flashed him images he didn’t like to see, but knew he couldn’t control. Why not accept thought? he asked himself. Because thought is not to be accepted, it is to be transformed, his mind immediately replied. Why am I so afraid of something that isn’t there, why do I fear these noises that are so obviously not something coming for me? he asked. Because something is coming for you, his mind immediately replied.

He was drifting into another one of those weird moments where his mind begins to feel like a third party. He poses himself a question and he immediately receives a reply out of the darkness. He begins to ask his mind who it is and it tells him it is someone else. He accidentally tells himself that he is a monster from a different world that knows things about him, wants to make him feel things, wants to take him over. These were always small moments of panic when he knew that he was made up of multiple entities. He just hoped that all of the entities deserved his name, and that none of them were dangerous.

The roof started making sounds again. Now a heavier slamming sound. Not the light and frantic pitter patter of a few minutes ago. But rather a heavy and desperate slamming with clawing spliced in for good measure. He wriggled further into his blankets and immediately laughed at himself for using thin fabric as protection. He knew he was still the child that he always was and that he still simply wanted to cry.

But this modern world has no tolerance for adults who want to be children and he knew it. Suddenly thought came alive again. It filled him with images and with definite guides to action. He knew what he had to do. He had to go outside and stand in the dark and wait for whatever wanted to come after him. He thought that maybe he wanted to die. He knew he wanted to die. He wanted to prove to anything at all that he didn’t care if he died.

He knew he didn’t want to die.

The walk down the stairs was exciting. He felt pleased to have his thoughts finally prompt the movements of his body. Past all the light switches without a care, past all the photographs of his younger body without wondering if the mind had stayed the same. Obviously it had. Getting to the front door was an even better moment. The exhilaration! The pleasure he took in every barefoot step, every moment in which he was the driver, in which he was truly the logos, in which thought was supreme.

But as soon as he opened the front door and went outside his mind became someone else again. Don’t go out there it said. Get back in that bed it said. You aren’t thought he said. You are another being from another place telling me other things. No thanks he said. Tonight I’m the sauce boss he said. He loved to say nonsensical things that affirmed his belief in choice. He really didn’t believe in choice, so he seized on any opportunity in which he could reasonably deceive himself. He was choosing to go outside and face down this thing that was so insistent on disturbing his sleep.

He wanted to die.

As soon as he closed the front door he took five full steps into the dark night without a concern for what he would find. He was hoping to brush into anything physical and warm, preferably something already dying. What he was really hoping for was something that was already dying. He was hoping that all of that scratching was some sort of mythical beast that had been wounded in its fall from the heavens. Then he would find it and finally see a non-human animal utter strange words. He wanted it to tell him how he had been born with a purpose and with a power beyond reckoning. That his arrival had been anticipated, and that others cared. That his life meant something to something. He wanted this creature to have horns and fur caked with blood and dirt and yellow eyes and a voice like his first love. It would look him in the eyes and choke on its own blood. It would smile and cry with pleasure that it got to see him before it died. He secretly fancied himself to be the next messiah. He secretly knew that he was just going to die like everything else.

But what part of his mind kept these things from him? Which was the side of him that craved divinity and which was the side that craved death? Something about Walt Whitman and contradiction. Everyone loved it and no one knew why.

He knew why. Because he openly loathed his desire to find this blood soaked cosmic angel that would cry in his presence. Yet it remained a desire. There was no denying it.

Then he came out of this world of thoughts and remembered all that darkness around him, and realized he could still hear the pattering. It was still on the roof, which was now behind him. He stood with his back to the house listening intently to the fluctuations in the noise. Only something organic could make those noises. Only something with thoughts could make those sounds.

Then his skull was crushed and removed. It turns out he was something divine. But the divine have to die like everyone else. They might even have to die with more force, with more fury, with more violence than anything else.

He was looking at his body from above. He saw exactly what he thought he would see. An indistinct beast caked with blood and dirt. It was devouring his physical body. The body he had so long preened and wept over. He couldn’t deal with its nuance anymore. He couldn’t deal with its imperfections anymore. He was delighted to leave it behind and to finally have confirmation that there was a glowing thing inside of him that had now attained its own freedom. He was so relieved to know that death was simply an end and not the end. And then his brain died and it turned out it was simply the end.

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