Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lies and Reflection

there's something in the closet

In the flickering light, the chaos was hard not to appreciate. The sheer ferocity of the damage around him was perfect in its devastating beauty. Cracked mirrors cackled from within its myriad of horrifying images. Amongst the roaring, tumbling sea of destruction, a man sat in the relative safe harbor of a wooden chair. He cradled his shotgun, even as the blood rolling down his wrist stained the trigger a drying red.

As he huddled over, his broad shoulders trembled and shook as he whimpered and wept, but no sound escaped his lips and his eyes ran dry.

He wept, all the same.

I quietly knocked as I slipped open the door. My smile, replaced by a frown as I saw her crying quietly into her pillow. I rushed to her side, stepping over dolls with vacant smiles and stuffed animals with dead eyes. She sobbed even as I put my arms around her and told her that I would never let anything happen to her.


The fell stench filled the air again now. He jerked out of his reverie as the air grew dank,as he felt the cold enter his bones again.

Her tiny frame trembled in my arms as her tears were soaked by my shirt. I felt the fear only a parent could feel for a threatened child, as my heart pounded in my chest, as I sought to find what would scare her like this, what would steal her smile and sow disharmony in its place. No matter what I did, I couldn't bring her back to me, I couldn't find my little girl, in the middle of her own room, in the bed she slept. I wasn't a good father, I knew that. I drank too much and too often. Sometimes I came home and brought my own frustrations and anger to bear upon my family. Sometimes ,in the murky waters of my mind, I drowned. Sometimes I swung before I could think. There had been some bad nights. But for the life of me, I loved my family.

I picked a strand of hair off of her forehead, even as the sweat clung on to it, and wiped eyes dry. I told her how much I loved her, how I would never let anyone hurt her.

Finally she lifted her arm and pointed a trembling finger.

There's something in the closet, she said.

I laughed out loud as I felt the hold on my heart being lifted. Even the irrational can be justified in the mind of a child, as long the spark of terror existed. A spark that can stoke the fire. But even as my voice filled the air, there was something lurking underneath it. An emptiness. I had almost laughed a little too loud, almost as if I was trying to convince myself. I tossed her on the bed in mock rage and strode to the door, determined to prove her wrong.

Each step got heavier, as I dragged my feet to the door. The smile on my face seemed blank, etched on my some macabre artist. But I wore it still, like I would a mask at a party. It wasn't mine, it didn't belong to me. I wore it all the same. The icy grip sneaked its way in, caressing ever so lightly, a lovers touch. As the tips of my fingers touched the slightly cold handle, I paused for a moment. I hesitated, as I saw how much my hands were trembling, how afraid I really was. Was it really that crazy? Schrödinger's cat could be alive and dead at the same time, but worse still, it might not be there at all. Was it really that insane to let whatever fear she had, whatever she thought was hiding behind this door, to let it fester inside by itself, undisturbed, rather than let it out and face the consequences?

What was wrong with me?

I grabbed the handle and pulled it open with so much force, the door almost came off the hinges. The flotsam of every childs closet awaited me, clothes, toys,books and miscellaneous nothings. I pretended to ruffle around through her belongings as common sense took over me and I called out to her.

See! Nothing in here except your own imagination!

The cold, high laugh of a child rung out around the room...



I spun around to look at her, only to see no smile on her face. No smile at all. Fear and horror, as she raised a finger again, at the door, at the mirror on the inside of the door. I faced the mirror and the version of myself staring back at me, smiling at me in the most unnatural fashion. I watched in horror as the smile widened, and then kept on widening, till it spread from ear to ear, like a caricature, like a fairytale animal, like no human at all. There was not a trace of humanity in that smile.

The door slammed against me with blinding force, and as I was thrown off my feet, her screams filled the air. And I watched as it rushed to her, grabbed her, snapped her tiny neck.

As it ran from room to room, a rushing force, dragging behind and destroying everything in its path, like a possessed gale. Hands around my wife's neck and staring as the life ebbed out of her eyes. Stabbing my teenage son till his blood soaked the walls and the floor and the very foundations of our house.

I watched.

And I screamed.

A light tap, almost as if to not wake the occupants inside the house. A gentle and courteous knock.

The man jumped to his feet, fear scarring his face. He brought the barrel of the gun to bear on the door.

He opened his mouth to ask who was out there, but he already knew.

The tapping had been replaced by dull thuds now. The window panes began to rattle in earnest, joining in and forming a symphony of destructive sounds. With each beat, the sound of the door being beaten down grew louder and louder, as time drew to a close.

He slipped his shoes off, sat back in the chair and looked around his home, at the blood of his family splattered all around and over him. He cocked the gun and placed the butt on the ground. The banging grew louder, the very earth around him shook now. Whatever little of the house and its contents remained intact, prepared to break now. He placed the barrel in his mouth and slipped his over the trigger. The cold, wet feel of blood on his bare foot sent a shudder through him.

There was almost no fear, there was only the quiet between each bang. A quite that lasted only a moment, and an infinity. Peace in the chaos.

The door shattered in front of him, debris flying across the room.

there's something in the closet

The fear was back. As he watched the figure lurking in the darkness beyond step into the flickering radiance of his devastated home. As he watched himself smile.

The glory of a childs imagination. The fear of reality, of an abusive father.

nothing in here except your own imagination

That's all it took.

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