Yes, yes I know… I hardly share what’s going on with me creatively on here. I blame school, sickness (oh man…) and reaching out for publications, not too sure if they like things previously posted online or not. BUT anyways, I want to share a story for once. I may post a few poems later this week, but I opened a previous half-done story from… 2011? that I have yet to finish last night because I didn’t want it to die. Your know that feeling if you’ve tried writing before, you start something, it’s the best idea ever, and then after a little while the flame just dies out (mine just lessened for it though, switched to the back-burner for, once again, school! Enough of that though, and on with the story. I wrote it back in September with Halloween in mind, my favourite holiday. I feel a lot of people like the appeal of a darker side, something unusual, but will never harm us as it’s ‘make-believe’… or is it?
Sharing the Shadows
It’s almost time for me to go to bed. I can feel my body lean forward, and I begin to slouch as the energy built up during the day gives up its cause and dissolves into the air. It becomes harder to keep myself warm. I crave the small bed only a few feet away, to flop down like a rag doll and cuddle into the sheets for the night. It isn’t a very comfortable bed, but when the urge to sleep takes hold, anything that resembles what could be a comfortable area looks so much better than sitting in an office chair.
Something holds me back. The bedroom is a small room, only large enough for a bed, desk and dresser to fit comfortably, but the space behind the desk, behind me, is wide enough for many to stand in. And I feel as though it’s occupied.
It started a long time back as a glimpse out of the corner of my eye, a shadow that I rationalized away as my own, and that I was only being paranoid about the empty air. The cat of my house is especially sneaky as well, and creeps up on me many times throughout the day. I only notice him from these glimpses because he’s so silent. Alex is his name, named after the great Alexanders of the ages. He’s a black American cat that is barely out of his kitten year. He isn’t my own pet, but my roommate’s, though I feel as though he is the house cat. The three of us love him as our own, in all his demonized glory (what kitten isn’t a terror is something I would like to figure out).
Even Alex, normally a cuddler when one of us is alone, began to avoid the space. Throughout the day, everywhere within the small house is his territory where he marches around proudly, but at night… I don’t think that the space is mine anymore, let alone the cat’s space.
When the sun sets and the world begins to dim, the overhead light is turned on. It’s a habit, to create light when it’s still needed for anything. In this case, the burdens of a university student take over the urge to sleep and the light flickers to life for a guide to read by. This time is fine; every detail of the room is expanded and scrutinized by the fluorescent glow, and the only places left to hide are the places unseen.
Then that light becomes too much for me. The darkening of the day opens up the primal ebb to my eyes, and they requested the light be dimmed as my body gets tired. I agree, hoping to keep my eyes in shape a little while longer before the prescription eyeglasses take precedent over my normal, unsheathed vision, and turn on the dimmed lamps placed around my room. The glow from the two small lamps is very comforting and envelops the room in warmth that my body can’t feel anymore, though my mind can perceive it.
And that is where the predicament I am in now begins.
The ambience of the room should be inviting, allowing me to relax, but my entire being tenses in anticipation. The shadows are undefined, spreading and reaching around the room. They claw into the small crevices that I could see easily moments before, and with the lack of decisive lighting my eyes grow weak to find their origins.
Alex is nowhere to be seen. The stuffed elephant he normally steals from under my computer monitor has vanished with him.
Over the months, the kitten wore into a mature cat, and he would stare for hours at me like a scientist studies his subjects, considering, until the energy crept back into his still-young mind and he darted off to do God only knows what. Mainly, he would bring from my room a small stuffed elephant that was about his size as a newborn, the grey, floppy ears hanging out of his mouth as the beady black eyes staring out in front of Alex’s path. He wouldn’t play with it though, only bring it to me and scurry away once I grabbed the stuffed toy out of his mouth. Curious little bugger. And an annoying one, too. That elephant is the one thing I would depend on, the one ounce of my childhood I brought with me when moving out, and the inanimate toy’s absence now pushes my fear forward.
There is something behind me. I can feel it.
I rationalize that it’s only paranoia of an empty space, and that nothing can possibly be in the house, let alone the room. I’m alone for the weekend, everyone else has left for their boyfriends, or a retreat somewhere; I’m not sure. All I know is Alex is downstairs, Adrianne and Nicki are gone, and there is something else there.
In the daytime, in the exact same position as I face the draped window and skyline painting hanging on my wall, the fear is nonexistent. On rainy, less lit days, it’s still only a room.
But at night when the darkness easily sneaks into my room, the white is there. I don’t know why it is white, I can’t even turn around to confirm that it is, but I just know.
Just as I know it’s finally starting to move closer.
Days of standing there, watching, are over.
It has been there a while. I don’t recall when exactly that I was alert to the presence, but it grew. At first, it was a small inkling that I could turn around easily, glance at the alarm clock as if that was what I was meaning to do, and continue on with studying once I reaffirmed that I was alone.
Tonight, the most I can bare to look is slightly over my shoulder. The wall next to me is barely in the light from the desk lamp, mainly engulfed in the obscure, and doesn’t offer any comfort. The lamp directly behind me does nothing to ease the panic either; it shines brightly on that side of the room and unimpeded as ever before.
I know that you’re not there, I think to myself in a calming, reassuring thought. And I know that you don’t care. This house has become less like a home with the white presence, and as soon as I knew the roommates were leaving, I became panicked with the thought of being alone this weekend. It grew, it’s powerful enough to do something, and I dread what that something could be.
Is it truly this cold in the house? The thermostat is set to a very comforting temperature from my trip before I withdrew to my room. Even it can’t push away the force of my room’s visitor.
This house isn’t a new one, I was never told how old is actually was when the three of us moved in; could it be the spirits from before our lease? Spirits can’t harm physically, or that’s what I’ve come to believe through hours of scouring the internet for any evidence of the paranormal. None of that has helped with immense sensation of the real thing.
The floor creaks so slightly that I barely catch it. It’s an unmistakable sound in this room. My breath catches as I wait for the next step.
Maybe it’s Alex?
A cat can’t make that sound, and he never has before. My mind is reasoning against logic.
My eyes desperately want to close, but I unwillingly ignore them. My body wants to curl into the covers like so many nights before, and I no longer think it’s an option. They are forced to stay open; I refuse to go down blinded by panic. Or maybe the panic holds the muscles in place. I don’t think I’ve blinked in a few minutes.
A thought grips me so quickly that I almost forget my circumstance; almost, but never enough to fully pull my attention from sensing the uninvited guest.
I know what it looks like. It’s every fear I’ve ever had, the gaping eyes and expressionless face. There’s no colour, only the white, the shadows of its features, and the black. It’s been there forever, and even with this revelation I still can’t turn.
The air moves again, and all sounds are blocked out.
My neck is cold.
All I can see is white.
I’ve overstayed the nighttime hours, and the white is here to take them back.
I realized I have not posted on here in a while… quite a while actually. Writing terms papers does that really, too much writing on one day and BAM, don’t feel like writing anymore for the day. Hence the Metric song title as a blog title (very good song by the way, I love the songs where you like the sound, and then actually listen to the lyrics and enjoy those too). BUT I am back with a nice little poem and maybe a few thoughts somewhere in between. So this poem is a few weeks ago. I have recently began to focus on a workout now that I’m away from the barn so often, I actually need to exercise myself. I took up yoga, Vinyasa style, as it’s offered at my school. Pretty neat eh? I love it, and at the end of each class there is a meditation portion that I thoroughly enjoy. You’re not meant to think about anything in particular, but I make sure to write directly after it to have a record of that session. Sometimes I come up with great ideas, others I just feel really refreshed. But this poem was written as I was walking home from the class:
I feel the hollow
where the ribs hold up my skin
and the muscles pull them upwards
up and up
to breathe deeper
it’s obscure in there
the only light let in
from the life I need
the blood rushing around and through
I feel the vibrations
everything within is moving
but today it holds strong
as far as it can manage.
My toes are cold
the extremities are losing purpose
my body must be in a bad state
I feel them as numb
an odd sensation
when I can still move at will
because I have full control
if I need to be awake
in an instance I will be
and to feel the lack of reason
to feel the limbs fold in
when the most vital needs win the struggle
Where does it stop
do I decide how much is needed
or will it tell me
or never stop until it is all
Do you ever feel the sensation of just being? No focus on the world around, but only on the world running inside you. It’s magnificent; I never realized what I was taking for granted in myself. The way you breathe, the circulation of everything necessary… In this age, we’re so focused on the material, emotional feelings and such around us and I admit, I do it too. The art around me on my walls attests to that easily; the stack of clothing I just unpacked made me very happy at its presence in my hands as my own. But to step back every so often, to just feel this world without judgments, emotions or an inner dialogue really gives the chance to experience it. It’s like a next step from realizing yourself: placing yourself in the world as its not so different from the body’s rhythm. It’s too cold now to just go out an sit in a park (I don’t even know if there is a park nearby), but the few instances that I can, I just observe. In the end, it might not be the best thing to do as you do become ‘outside’ of it all but I feel it can center in a way that I have never been able to experience before. It’s great to get different views every so often, isn’t it?
Oh I need to do another post on my Halloween research, that stuff was interesting… Maybe I’ll post it tomorrow if I have the time, share my horrific and ghoulish findings 🙂
I know I’ve neglected this for a while now, but that’s the life of a student. Ah well, the Poem a Day continues off-screen, and that’s all I need sometimes. Here’s one that came to me in September, plus a painting I just finished about 20 minutes ago.
(mind over matter)
It came back again
in my most vulnerable state
my mind was relaxed
the grass was whispering
against my skin
the trees in the distance
swayed as the current pushed
swirls in the sky
colours moving into themselves.
Then the sky clouded over
the colours dulled to grey
the oscillation held still
and my head turned to the side.
Heartbeat jumped in surprise
it was only a few feet away
staring through a haunting gape
the holes in the face
my pulse rose
but saved when my mind kicked back.
I lifted my hand
and with the wind
through my fingers
I wiped it away
rubbed from existence
erased from my world.
I turned back to the grass
and lay down in its embrace;
I felt the needles grow higher
and overcome me completely.
Well, over the last few weeks I’ve been a mixture of emotions due to grief. So I have been taking it out in my personal journals in rant after rant, not letting it build up to the point of a breakdown of emotions, and was thinking of posting one here when I realized, nah, it’s my own way of getting it all out. Lots of anger and isolation in those, not really the best of me to send out to the inter-world. Instead, I’ve kept up my poem-a-day challenge (where I write at least one poem a day based on the strongest event, feeling or thought of the day, plus anything else that comes to mind) and have decided to post one or two from those.
An artist, a poet,
whatever name you call it
the internal decision, pulsing
urge to put words together
.in my own style
A way to escape, feel the thoughts
.drain onto the page
like a vacuum of creativity
left for all to see
It’s so satisfying
to be empty
No phrases clawing away
characters in a death match of will
influence over my own mind
As the colourful works slip away
.serene, calm, void
.the power of chaos declines.
A delicate balance
beauty and frailty
so quick to fade
when fate prevails.
Another, so powerful and strong
succumbs to a small flaw.
The meadow shines in the sun
the ground glistens with dew
. .awaiting to be touched
. .not with the blood which soaks it now
. .but by excitement, a chance to be free.
This world is not meant for kind hearts
nor fragile bodies in harsh conditions
it’s a test of will
. .to remember, to smile
. .broken hearts, fret not
. .the emerald fields will glisten again.
I’ll put on someone else’s skin
just for a little while
to have different worries than my own
new anxieties, decisions
a change awaits at last
. .in voice, mind, patterns
“We use death to reach the stars”
. .of a mental being, not stopping my heart
No, using my heart to reach those stars
glistering above, forever and always
something to look forward to
I want to change, be another life
even if only for a little while.
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair”
Wisdom of the heart long forgotten
running now on pure theory
and with inner self pushed away
a new face emerges.
One I count on as a protector
it has not failed my fragile heart yet
to be determined, distant and disinterested
all in the name of a future to dream for.
I do not boast anything
. .left wondering, intrigued possibly
as friendliness tempts me into ease
constant reminders of the separation,
. .what could not be undone
and it sits with me like an iron heart
the hardest of all to shed in the end.
Cold exteriors will survive, persist
. .and grow to hate everything around them.
I wrote this in November of last year, hanging out around the Old Town Hall building. It helped the night pass by quicker, and gave me something to think about. It applies to me even now, and rereading half a year later I think I’ve finally taken that first step to success.
I’ve been on the outside for as long as I can recall. Always on the edge, like a shadow, but one that sometimes overlaps on others. Just enough that it’s noticed, one that you can place a game of hide and seek with and always trust to be there, but a shadow nonetheless. Shadow is a very dreary word though, I don’t mean to be depressing about it. I quite like being the shadow; it’s trustworthy, cheeky, never the centre of attention. Though I’ve yet to find what I’m the shadow of. So far I don’t match, haven’t found what I’m supposed to attach on to.
I though I had found it for a short while, but those days were all be incandescent light, not from the natural glow of the sun. I do see something. It’s off in the fog, walking away (or towards other points, depends on how close I feel to being attached again). But then it becomes an unfamiliar face, once it’s close enough to distinguish the features. And then it just keeps walking by, missing me completely, not noticing the wanted shade, a want to become something. I guess I’ll have to go out searching for another.
I’ve cramped up, waiting. It’s painful o be still and lie in wait. I’m sick of it, but instead of diving head first into the fog I weigh my options. I need to; there are so many paths to choose from that I can’t blindly dive into one (very blindly, man you should see this fog, sometimes I can’t even see the buildings beside me). As with any fog, the things closest to you are the easiest to make out, the easiest to decipher and to find a sense of comfort in the familiarity. But then the familiar just becomes that; I know what it is, I’ve learned how it works, studied it long enough to know everything about it. Which is why the other paths are so much more appealing.
One way isn’t as murky and dense as the others. I can see it leads upwards, and can imagine what’s along the way. It seems safe, but I have no idea what’s over the hill; when it does drop (as they all do), what will await on the other side? Will the fog be thicker, pooling in a valley and no way out is found, or clear up in the lower grounds, finally safe and out of the clouds.
Then there’s back the war I’ve come. There’s cover there as well, but I’m very reluctant to backtrack on my own steps. I walked out of it for a reason; do I really need to revisit something I already know pushed me out? The stop lights stay red, but sometimes are an appeasing tint of green, like a beacon to return. Again it’s the question of familiarity. I don’t even need to question it though as the amber lights begin to flash, turning to red once again. The past is just that, and will remain that way; I need to leave that comfort zone and face what’s ahead. Or to the side, another option available.
To one side there is complete and utter whiteness, a fresh slate. It looks well lit as I could continue on, but too dense, too foreign to even get a glimpse of what lies in waiting for me to stride into. It could be glorious, uncharted territory where I could be more than a shadow; I could be the shape the shadow imitates, morphing my way into a solid object. That way is the way of great risk, it could also be worst scenario what I’m sucked into the density, lost forever to the foreign land. The question here is do I dare take the risk, plunge headfirst into the cold air and hope for the warmth to clear it from the earth? Do I dare leave the solid weights around me, turn away from the traffic backed up and the semi-clear path set out ahead to challenge myself? Because it will only be me for a while, I can’t say how long, but until I find my footing in the white, enchanting abyss I will be alone. There may be some along the way to turn me from danger, into destruction or travel with until my destination is clear. It will stay there too until everything lifts.
Baby steps are the only way to begin. Swerving into the bright white lights, or continue forward where the lights are a warm red, choices I need to make. I could wait, but where’s the adrenalin, the feeling of being alive in that. Why dip a toe to test the temperature when instead one can run and dive, the shock of a difference (much colder than though, or pleasantly warm and refreshing).
I can’t answer it now; my options aren’t completely weighed and measured. I take pride in my reasoning, and to change that feels like changing too much of my true self. I proceed cautiously at least, I can;t stay stagnant any longer with my muscles too tense, coiled and ready to be worked and spring to their limits. I don’t have the energy for it now, the night obstructs my view too much to make a conscious decision. I need sleep rather than sprinting halfheartedly into something I could regret, or not able to continue until there is a clearing ahead. I am weighed down by the impulsion I spent earlier on nothing.
So I’ll wait for the dawn, allowing my head to rest and the energy to build for the journey. My muscles will need to relax for a bit, their anxious journey won’t begin just yet.
With time, the fog is worse, the coldness is setting in my comfort area, slowly closing in. Instead of letting fear overtake me I breathe, stretch out my hand and adjust my whole body so I am more at ease. I use my memory to recall what was around me, and it still is even if I can’t see it. I breathe deeper, letting the cold, damp air burn in my lungs and leaves me invigorated from the change. This is my chance. I begin to move, and it clears as I near another wall. Turning a bit I find the light and a clearing. I relax and think, “let’s see where this will lead me,” and don’t regret a second.