Abyss of the Mind

"My mind is the battlefield, my mind is the prize. But no matter how much I train...he is always the victor." A collection of short stories and poems representing my deepest secrets, thoughts, and anecdotes, wrapped in poetic metaphor.

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8. Labyrinth

Monday, June 13, 2016

 

Labyrinth

His eyes are like big orbs of black fire that suck me into the abyss of his—no, my mind. In them, my reflection withers and shrinks away with uncertain inferiority. Do I seriously look that pitiful in front of him?

 

“Not today,” comes that hoarse, weak whisper that forces its way through my throat, as our eyes lock themselves in a territorial battle. My mind is the battlefield, my mind is the prize. But no matter how much I train...he is always the victor.

 

Not today.

 

I shake my head and shut my eyes, praying that when I open them, he’s gone. That he’s just playing mind games. No one hears my prayers.

 

Not today, please.

 

But for him, time’s a wastin’. So he steals mine. No games. No trickery. He goes straight for the kill—for the blood, the glory.

 

Not today. Come back tomorrow. I’ll definitely be ready for you, tomorrow.  

 

His gaze pierces me like a blade through the most sensitive spots. His voice is like the scraping of teeth on bones. He knows my weaknesses. I know only his strengths.

 

A smile plays at his lips; they twist in the ugliest manner. He lays down his first attack. Quietly, quickly, and painfully. My defenses crumble instantly. He has none; he doesn’t need any. Even in his netherworld, he strikes with the fiercest of weapons. The glass barrier seems like a mere fabrication of my heart as a desperate, last resort. Not even plan C or D. By now, I’ve completed the alphabet.

 

Nothing is impossible for him. The only thing impossible is impossibility.

 

His vile laughter echoes in the labyrinth of my soul—the dungeon of twisted and interconnected hallways, that stretch beyond the infinity of space. It shakes me, to the point where the world spins tauntingly, and my knees buckle under all the weight. The weight of my guilt. The weight of my sins. The weight of my past. They bare their sharp teeth at me, gnawing and tearing at my soul, under his command, since the day he came into existence. Since the day I came into existence. My existence alone is a weight that outweighs them all. This is my destiny. This is what’s meant to be. To have eyes and not see. To be alive and not be. My conscience is like a tap that leaks water, dripping itself away into oblivion.

 

How can a dead man breathe? How can a dead heart beat?

 

He’s the epitome of a sore winner. He taunts and mocks me with his presence alone. I’m full of him. It’s sickening. What am I becoming? He’s not the monster underneath my bed. The monster is me. I don’t fear him. It’s the thought of becoming him that I fear.

 

He’s got a special treat, he says. He replays the memory, like a special edition horror movie. He’s kept it safe, just for me. It’s only seven seconds. Seven, long seconds for which I must suffer. His final attack.

 

3...2...1...scene.

 

The film rolls. It can’t be stopped. Just seven seconds. Seven. I see her smiling face. It glows softly like an angel’s. Her cheeks are rosy like pale cherry blossoms in the sunlight. Her laughter rings out like a bird’s sweet spring song. Six. But it fades away into the distance, a distance greater than the seas have ever known. I reach out to touch her, to relish the feel of my salvation, my redemption, right at my fingertips, but I’m too late, and I can’t see her. Five. I speak up to talk to her, to tell her I want to hear her voice just one more time, but I’m too late, and she can’t hear me. Four. Her shining eyes grow in bewilderment as I stagger toward her like a bloodthirsty drunkard. Three. The next moment, a flash of red—two—and the light in her eyes is gone. The same light that illuminated the blackest corners of my heart.

 

...one.

 

Boom.

 

The ashes fall around me more beautifully than the leaves of an autumn tree. The smoke is like a misty veil that covers the nakedness of a newborn. He is born. I am reborn.

 

I feel a blade run through as sharp breaths leave my lungs, joining with her last ones. But my heart can’t feel—it is numb.  

 

Her eyes never closed.

 

But the curtains did. He was alone in the audience, but he gave more applause than a full audience could. The show is over. At least, for now.

 

What have I done?

 

What have you done?

 

What the hell have you done to me?

 

Every last nerve in my body ruptures, until the hot red surges alarmingly throughout like volcanic rivers. The sound of my blood boiling is enough to drown out even his thunderous, maniacal laughter in my ears. In a flash, my balled fist launches forth. But it’s useless.

 

His work is done. He congratulates himself. His voice echoes once again. See you in hell.

 

I’ve had enough! Get out of my head, you sick bastard!

 

Tears spill down my cheeks. I’m surprised I even had any left. Why? Why do I keep fighting a war that’s already been won? I’m stuck in a loop, and I’ve driven myself mad trying to find the loophole. I have to stop this now. Hasn’t he gotten bored? No, this is exactly what feeds his amusement.

 

Bright red trickles down my knuckles. He laughs. He’s enjoying this way more than that movie. The broken shards of my past lay scattered before me on the bathroom floor. He’s still there. And he’ll never leave. Because he’s permanently ingrained in the sands of time, the only time I possess in this cursed life. He’s not only my past. He is my future. I’ve been running away from the past, but it doesn’t matter where I’m running to, because no matter how far I go, I’m back where I started. Over and over and over...

 

My body shakes, but this time in fear.

 

“Run, you idiot,” Practicality urges.

 

“Face the truth, you coward,” Rationality insists.

 

Rationality wins. It’s about time.

 

I pick up a mirror shard. That barrier that separated us is now broken in my hands. It’s all in my hands. But I still don’t have the wheel. I stare down at him. He looks up at me. He’s won again. But this time, I’ve betrayed myself.

 

What have I done?

 

He isn’t gone, and he never will be. Because I need him...and he needs me. That’s the truth. But it doesn’t set me free. It only tightens the shackles binding me to him. Defeat surges through my veins...and relief.

 

I look down at him once more. Our eyes meet, and in his I see my reflection. My eyes are like big orbs of black fire and, when fueled, it burns a passageway to the deep abyss of my mind—the very place that he lives. I realize it now. I don’t fear him because he is a figment of my darkest imagination. I fear him because our connection runs deeper than that: We are branches of one tree. We are leaves of one branch. We are veins of one leaf. A slowly withering leaf that will never fall to a peaceful death.

 

Our eyes connect again and our fires merge into one. His chilling laughter haunts the room. I break.

 

I speak my last words—the last words I’ll say to him until we meet again.

 

You sick bastard, look what you’ve done. I’ll see you in the pits of hell.

 

A new feeling overflows within me. I know it all too well.


I turn to him, and my lips twitch into a smile.

 

 

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