A few minutes ago, I lay down to sleep. As I quieted my breathing and coaxed my eyes to embrace as one, the land of now started to fade away. There is a poison that rests within me. It’s always there, even if not always venomous. As I drifted further and further from what surrounds me, the dark ink of pained memory seeped forth from the shadowy corners of a beleaguered mind. I began to see tortured faces of the lost and damned… I began to see the dead.
Horrid, shrill screams accompanied these woeful demons. I saw the pumpkin man, or what was left of his head and face, anyway. When his likeness began to melt from view, the waterlogged complexion of the Jumper cast forward. Followed by the boy, then the girl in the tub, succeeded by that of ruby red—the young woman whose last note was written with red lipstick. If you read these names and they mean nothing to you, just know this: these are the descriptors that I have bestowed upon those souls of which I could not save when asked to do so during my time as a paramedic. I found them this way, dead in all sorts of manner.
Now, many years later, they find me… they return to me in the form of nocturnal specters that crawl across the backs of my eyes. They pull me from sanity into a world that feels as real as the one that you and I know so well. There was a time that this world was real, the world of death. But instead of residing in the past where it belongs, it invades the sanctity of my present, obfuscating the two realities for me.
As the dream took hold, my ability to break free from it diminished. I was now in a piteous freefall, gifted to me by my fractured medic’s mind. More and more of the iniquitous coursed through me. I remembered the cold steel of Boomer’s casket; I felt it slap the left side of my face, it’s cold steel biting into my flesh. Then, the rattle. Dancing bones within a coffin.
I felt my face grimace and protest, but to no avail. Eventually, I found myself stood within a bathroom. At my feet lain a body. I could feel the weight of a cardiac monitor pull at my shoulder. I placed the machine down and reached over to the slain person that rested on cold tile. When I reached into check for a pulse, it was my heart that slammed to a halt. Revealed to me by proximity was a face of someone I knew… my mother. My mother was the dead figure on the floor, inches from my now tear stained face. I started chest compressions while muttering the words… ”come on, mum… come on… breathe. Breathe, God damn you!” But she never did. I was now frozen in place, staring at the frightful image of my poor mum.
My ears pulled back against my skull as the sound of sirens began to wail from the ethereal unknown. I could no longer breathe. The sirens pierced through the air, getting louder and louder until finally it felt as though they were right behind me. For the first time since discovering my dead mother at my feet, I was able to look away and peer over my shoulder to where I thought an ambulance might be. But to my surprise, there was nothing in front of me but a darkened wall. My bedroom wall. Confused and alone, I began to search for all that I had just seen. My mother was gone, there was no body. The boy… the pumpkin man… ruby red, all gone. Replaced by the stationary objects of my apartment. I was now awake. One thing remained, one thing really had been behind me… a passing ambulance along my street from outside my window. I was now awake and aware at where I had just been—Hell.
I had lay down to go to sleep and instead I had unwittingly purchased a ticket to Perdition. All aboard the slumber express… next stop: Fucking Nightmareville.
I began to sob. I had been doing CPR on my pillow again. I hate when this happens. I feel so disjointed afterwards. Disjointed and horribly sore. As the adrenaline wears off, my muscles lament in remembrance of their twisted contort during the unsanctioned ballet. My small apartment can seem rather large and empty in these moments.
I am writing this as my bedding is in the laundry, stained by sweat. Some time has passed and I have become more aware of what happened. Nightmares are truly an abhorrent thing. I can wish and wish and wish upon a shooting star not to be like this, but I am. I was once just a boy who learned early that the world was a broken place… I spent the better part of my life simply trying to put a little piece of it back together again, cutting myself on the shards of humanity. I now live with a lingering infection of remembrance.
It has been told to me that I will one day get better. And I trust in those that tell me this, I do. It is just hard not to become impatient when living with ghosts. Like a houseguest that overstays their welcome, all the while having never been invited over to begin with.
My body is sore. My eyes are heavy and red. My skin is damp and my thoughts are soaked in sadness. This is my now. It will pass, sure… but that’s later, so for now, this blog and these words are all I have. Each keystroke is a passage of time. One heinously slow crawl away from the now.
I suppose instead of talking to you folks (you’re all great by the way), I could Google images of Scarlett Johansson as a way of alleviating the burdensome stencils of the dead that remain… but I am not convinced that even she could help me now.
The only thing I can do is: wait for my laundry, remake my bed, and try again. Who knows, maybe this time when I close my eyes, I will dream of that better day. The day when world and I are less broken, less sharp and more whole. Or, maybe I’ll dream of Johansson…?
Be right back, gotta go speed up the dryer! *cheeky wink*
Goodnight, everyone. Let’s try this again…