Memories are hunting horns,
Whose sound dies on winds.
And we forget because we must,
And not because we will.
-Guillaume Apollinaire and Matthew Arnold
I was pulled into a deep abyss as darkness engulfed me. And I just kept falling and falling. Pulled away from reality. The red-eyed creatures with the black fangs kept chasing after me. Their bony and bloodied fingers with long, witch-like nails kept trying to grab my limbs. Their monstrous cackles and ghastly sounds echoing and tormenting me. And they wouldn't stop. Not until I completely surrendered to the darkness. Maybe I would. But not now.
I woke up in cold sweat. My heart accelerating as if it were that of a rabbit being hunted by a predator. Beads of sweat trickling down my forehead to my shoulders. I squat on the ground, trying to make everything slow down, to find something that my body and brain can cope with.
I stared at the lightbulb in the room, the only source of actual light. A moth was trapped in the bulb. I could understand how it felt. Like chains being wrapped around you, you felt as if you had no sense of freedom. A restraint on you.
I was still in the dirty motel, the paint on the walls was chipping off. A few mice were scurrying about here and there. They looked like they were having a fun time.
When was the last time I had some fun?
I didn't know. I didn't remember anything. My mind was a black void of nothingness. Blank.
All I knew was that I woke up to see myself in a puddle of water, with a little blood mixed in it. 'Kill-spot', I called it. Rocks, sand, and gravel scattered all around. Scratches on the tree barks, which didn't look as if they were from an animal. Footprints of large boots on the mud. There was also a white nylon bodysuit and rubber gloves hanging from a tree branch, both splattered and smeared with bright red blood.
A few flashes of what might have happened in there come across my mind, but as soon as I try to make things out, they zap away, leaving a blur of images that are too gruesome to be spoken about.
I ran from the almost slaughterhouse and kept running till I came across this motel. The owner was kind enough to let me stay here for a few days. She seemed petrified on seeing me. Who wouldn't be? I was wearing a bodysuit with a lot of red stains, which sure as hell was not ketchup, and it had a very strong odor. And I was alive and breathing.
It was the fourth day of my staying cooped up in this room. My mind was overflowing with thoughts and questions.
What would happen to me now? Where will I go? Do I have any family? Why was I wearing a bodysuit? The same kind which I saw on the kill-spot...
I felt it would be better for me not to know about what happened before this. It might bring me more trouble. I don't think I would like what I would find if I started thinking about my past.
I stood up and stared at myself in the broken mirror on the wall. A few glass pieces lying about on the floor. I didn't feel the pain when I stepped on them. Ugly bruises, scars, and blemishes covered my whole body.
I looked away and stared at the full moon. It shone down on the crystal and seemed to blaze there. Bathed in the light of the sun, the moon was more beautiful than even the stars around. Everyone liked the moon, I think? At least I did. It was a source of comfort for me.
"The moon graces the sky as if she has some bright idea, something brilliant needed to shine upon the Earth. When you grow up, be like the moon. Share with the world whatever you have. Even just a little bit of kindness or love is more precious than gold. Find meaning. Always. Everything has worth and value."
I remembered someone who used to say this to me when I was young. A teardrop fell down from my left eye, rolling to my cheeks, and on the floor with a soft 'plink'. More teardrops started rushing out of my eyes as my cheeks became moist, and my eyes red.
That person was wrong. Everything does not have value or worth. What value do I have in my life? If I, myself don't understand it, how can I share it? I feel like I am guilty of a heinous crime, and when I accept it, it will be too much to bear.
I wish I could talk to that someone. Fight. argue, anything would work! I just need a little help, a little push in the right direction. I was lost. Lost in a place only I could venture in. Lost in a place only I could control. But if I didn't know who I was, what I was meant for, how could I have power over my mind? Now, slowly, yet steadily, it was beginning to have power over me.
Rubbing my tear-stricken eyes, I walked towards the rusty sink in the bathroom. Icy-cold water came rushing out of the tap. I washed my hands and tried to cleanse the clotted blood over my nails. I looked at my eyes in the mirror. They were void of any emotions, just pain. The light in the bathroom was lacking even a trace of warmth. Imperfections on my skin were shining like a beacon with nowhere to hide.
How can I let go of a past I don't know about? A past that is haunting me day and night. A past which just can't stop torturing or tormenting me. I just need someone, anyone who can understand these emotions. Am I over-reacting?
And why do I feel like I have killed someone? Why do I feel like I have someone's blood on my hands?!
I felt cold. Not the kind where you wear warm clothes and sit in front of a fireplace, but the kind where the coldness reaches into your bones as if your heart were a door left wide open to the icy wind, slamming only to be open again. There was a dark, sullen cloud of negativity and depression shadowing over me, and I couldn't do anything to bring out the sun. All hope and willpower were lost. My mind had become a chaotic mess.
Stumbling and tottering towards the ceramic bathtub, I step into it and lay down as it fills with water, my arms falling limp on the sides of the bathtub. I fade into dullness, everything becomes a foggy illusion. My mind swirls, it's like standing under an everlasting waterfall. I go deeper and deeper. Ever so beautiful, I crave more of it, not caring about my head being underwater. My vision became clouded and dull as if a gray film had been dropped over my eyes. This paradise is heavenly, no tension or worries to bother me, no regret or guilt. What would it be to experience this forever! I can only dream of such joy.
But this moment is only ephemeral. The ghastly monsters follow me in my utopia too. Their ball like red eyes almost surging out of their sockets as they continue cackling and roaring. Their fangs getting sharper and longer. My heart was palpitating with fear and anxiety. This time, they get a hold of my legs, pulling me along with them into the abyss of my mind. My eyes drooped, my body becoming limp, I perish. I lay in the overflowing bathtub like a ghoulish mannequin. Like an empty vessel. I might have killed someone, maybe an innocent. I didn't know. But did I deserve this? Did 'An eye for an eye' suit well with me? Just that, it was 'A life for a life' here.
The paradox of our age is that when we feel the fear we need to educate ourselves about the dangers of a polluted and frightening world, we are pushed down into our primitive brains - the part of us that evolved to deal with immediate danger requiring violent and impulsive solutions. When the fear leaves us, we can access our higher brain, the part of us with logic, empathy, self-control, and steady determination. By this time, however, that feeling of urgent need has passed, biologically we are back in "good times" mode and we fail to act with appropriate urgency. This is the paradox we need to fix. We need to be afraid without being frightened, able to use the higher brain while remembering a sense or feeling of urgency so we make the right choices.
We are all born with a little monster and a little angel within us. We just choose which one to shower with more attention and nurture. Don't forget, they are always here. Watching. Who knows, they'll probably come after you next. I didn't do this to myself. The monsters did. No one kills themselves. It's always someone else inside of them. Because in the end, the person who dies, isn't us. Every yin has a little yang in them. Right?