The Call

Often when I’m bored, I like to wander outside. When I’m depressed, detached, nothing comforts me more than the stars.  Not that there are too many left of them.

The outside has become bleak. Bleaker yet than my own apathy for the things around me. Neon signs and lid-up advertisements and flickering street lamps and house after house drenched and burning in electrical light. Still, I go outside when I hear the call. When it stings in my heart like a treacherous wasp in an innocent baby’s palm.

On such a night, I would wander the infinite streets. I’d creep and throb, as in a trance. As in the pulse of the city challenges me, pushes me, drags me with it. Passers-by, traffic jams, more noise than sense, it all blurs around me. I’d keep walking until the point of no return. The moment when one more step into the unknown could mean I can’t come back. I haven’t dared. Not yet.

Afraid isn’t the right word, I don’t think. Uncertainty, maybe. The call fades as the night slowly vanishes. As if the first cloud-broken sunlight washes away from my heart the longing for something stronger. Something real. It’s blinding, the light, blinding and daunting. Long before the sun grins far above my horizon, I’m back where I started. The place they call home. Where they say your heart is.

Home is where your heart is.

It’s not that I despite the day. I can feel its warmth, its life. Merely, I’m drawn to the night. The dark and unknown. It’s a fix. A rush like the next needle of an addict. Like the sensation of pain, the longing for release of tension, and the utter deny of it. The pleasure in this denial makes me feel free to push on or give in. It’s tantric suffering. I deny myself the final release, the climax of pain, until I’d dare to take the final step. This the call promises. That is why I hear it. Why I follow.

***

It’s been weeks since I’ve remembered anything of importance. The mirrors around me reflect now a darker world. The mundane lights around all but myself reflect in grey and ignorance. There are no distinct shapes or hints of other souls but my own miserable existence present. This I see in the mirror, not the world I observe around me. The world that’s fading with every new step I take out into a night growing stranger every time. Soon, there would be nothing remotely human left to look at. Just two dark holes for eyes. A flickering, dark pulse instead of moving legs and arms. As if this man in the mirror lost his soul in this dark design of his making. A desire for pain so undeniably stronger than his fear of anguish. A mirror filled with fleeting shadows, slithering angels of darkness, and monsters of childish nightmares. Whatever is left of this man in the mirror, he cares for naught but the call.

Again, I’m walking streets covered in a night stranger than before. The bleak and desperate struggle in my mind continues. Just one more step. Dare I find out the true nature of the call? Meet surely not my maker, but the one who has me undone? Not able to recall a way back to where I started, I shivered, trembled with bliss and with blight. I can’t feel my own pulse anymore. My heart left me with the shreds of sanity I stripped myself from.

Before the last step, I dare to look deep into the whole darkness. The light from the world of the living breaks at the surmounting terror before me. The nightmare come true. I peer deep; and whatever thread of soul may be left within this broken shell of dusty bones and rotten flesh, it cowers in dread. The darkness, not an entity or known being, but more a stale stench of eternity peers back into my eyes. The two dark holes absorbing no more light, nor stars, but the stranger things between them. Deeper staring, deeper fearing, I hold my foul breath. I follow the call.

Just one more step. With the last exhale of an escaping soul, when the tantric recoil in my mind at last releases me from my anxious suppression, I see my self one last time falling deep, deep within the mirror.

I am my own undoing.

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