Month: January 2016

I: Scrawl

Found scrawlings from the inside of my grey and dying mind.

SWALLOW PILLS AS IF THEY’RE PAPER. QUIETLY.
AND DON’T CHOKE IF THEY SLITHER.
PURPLE HANDS CLUTCHING PALE FLAGSTONES. TO BLEED AGAIN.
THE ROTTING GREEN SOUP BENEATH TEETH TURNS RED.
TEETH FALL AND SCATTER LIKE MICE IN THE DARK.
AND THEN THE SPLASH IS WARM AGAINST COLD FINGERS.
A NEW DEAD HOPE WITH SIGH.
ANOTHER SIGH.
A PAINED SIGH.
EVOLVING TO LAUGHTER. HA OVER EXPOSED GUM AS IT BLEEDS AND BLEEDS DOWN.
PALE FLAGSTONES TURN YELLOW.
OCHRE FIELDS TO RUN THROUGH WITH BARE KNEES, TO FALL IN AS THE POISON GRIPS YOU.
FALL.
LAND.
HURT.
LUNGS BURST FROM THE CLAW OF THE BEAST.
POISONED CLAWS ALL IN YOU.
YOU.
IT ALREADY HAS YOU YOU ARE NOTHING YOU ARE NOTHING YOU ARE NOTHING TO ME YOU TOOK THE POISON YOU TOOK IT YOURSELF.
SWALLOW SINK DOWN YOU CANNOT WALK IN YOUR GOLDEN FIELDS.
PALE FLAGSTONES.
OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER FOREVER AND EVER.
CAN YOU FEEL PAPER IN YOUR VEINS?
PICK UP YOUR TEETH.
YOU MIGHT NEED THEM.
AND KISS YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU LIE SO YOU DON’T HATE YOURSELF.
KISS YOURSELF WITH YOUR BLEEDING LIPS AND IGNORE THE STINK FROM YOU POISONED AND ROTTING GUMS.
TO BLEED AGAIN.
TO BLEED A THOUSAND TIMES AND YET YOU STILL HAVE BLOOD TO GIVE AND TEETH TO PICK UP AND GATHER.
GATHER, GATHER, GATHER, AND THEN BLEED.

II: Scrawl

VIII: Moral Hate Circus

I: Moral Hate Circus  II: Moral Hate Circus  III: Moral Hate Circus  IV: Moral Hate Circus
V: Moral Hate Circus  VI: Moral Hate Circus  VII: Moral Hate Circus

 

I grab you and you turn with your red hair following you like a child.

Or a lover.

And I grab you and you turn and you seem surprised of course you do.

I cannot explain I have no breath so I pull you to me and you fall to your knees and I stand and I hold you and I hold you tight and then you have your hands on me and you grip me.

Your hands become claws on my skin and I have to stop you doing that.

You are hurting me.

Please.

I push you away to the floor I must make you stop screaming you have started screaming again.

Please stop screaming.

I am here.

I am here.

Just you and me all alone out here ignore the others searching for me they will be here soon so I must soothe you quickly I must make you stop screaming quickly.

I am on top of you and you are pushing at me with your limbs your hands are on my shoulders and your knees are pushing at me.

So I push at you with my hands shh.

Your neck is warm and my hands are not is that why you are struggling I am trying to get you to stop screaming why must you scream more. It is not okay I must stop you.

Stop screaming.

You push at my face so I push at yours and then there is red on your lip at first I think it’s your hair but it’s your blood your blood is coming out of your nose onto your lips your lips are red with your blood now will you stop screaming.

Stop screaming shh.

My hand hurts.

Do you see what you’ve done to me?

How am I to help you if you remove the things that allow me to help you?

I will fight through the pain for you.

My hand hurts but I ignore it.

I still have one on your neck holding it tight so you will be still soon.

The other hurts.

Why must you be so hard?

So I grab your hair because it is soft and mud is on it making it brown instead and it is not orange anymore I liked it orange why did you change it why did you stroke mud through it? We can make it red again.

So I pull and your screaming gets louder I am trying to help you stop screaming be quiet shut up I am helping I am helping I tug and you push at me but I will not go until I quieten you down I must help you shh shh I am helping I am turning your hair red again I thought you liked it red clearly you didn’t or you wouldn’t have made it brown but I like it red so I will make it red your nose will help I take the blood with my hand and put it on your hair but there is not enough I must recreate you as you were silent and orange and twirling always twirling in my eyes in front of me in my mind you will be must be should be twirling lost and vulnerable but then I know I can help you are you turning now no you are on your back and I am trying to help you but still you push against me leave it stop I am helping you I am helping you stop screaming.

I hear Ema and Ira and Caelan and they are coming around the corner.

They won’t understand what I am trying to do, that I am trying to help I must still help you.

I get off you and I hold your hair with my hands and you try to sit up but I am pulling you away. You must come with me you must stop screaming you are making my ears buzz and if you break them how will I tell if you are screaming so how will I help you stop

screaming?

Your screams change pitch and become harsh and your voice is hurting isn’t it?

You see?

You’re hurting me and you. If you would just stop screaming then we could be okay and you would be fine you must stop.

I move backwards with your muddy hair between my fingers and you try to stand but I drag you and drag you and drag you and I see Caelan and I drag you faster and he begins running.

He is on me in an instant and I will not let go of you you try to get away I will not let you go until I help you stop screaming Caelan is grabbing me and trying to pull my hand away from you but I won’t let you go I must keep you with me I am keeping you and your blood and your hair.

I push Caelan away and I am surprised I managed it but then I am on you again to stop you from running from me and I see I am slowly making your hair red again your scalp is bleeding I am glad your  hair is red again I missed the red I rake my hands through hair and I spread the blood and the blood is too red and I am upset but at least it is red. And it must be redder still so I drag you and I drag you and I pull blood through your hair and I laugh because it is red but still you scream I am making you back into you why do you keep making that noise I pull you away out of the way of Caelan and suddenly we are feet and feet away and he is on the ground and he is holding his head and he looks up at me but he was looking down and he cries out as he looks up at me and he looks up at me and I see his nose pumping blood and I look down at you as he looks up at me and I see that your face is starting to stain red at least it is red and it is going in your mouth and you are coughing and blood comes down your chin and I look up when I see this and Caelan is getting up and you are screaming and struggling against me again and it is far too loud and Caelan is looking at me and his eyes are hell and then I look round behind me and I hear others and I see others and I see Ema and Ira and they are my enemies I hiss at them and pull you up and into my arms where you will be safe from them you are surprised and you can’t react and you can’t push me away and I know you won’t because you know I am trying to help you to save you and Caelan is getting up and he is nothing but a red monster and blood is on his skin and his clothes are red and his hands are red and he is yelling my name and Ema is yelling my name and Ira is yelling my name and I can feel them closing in on me on us on me and I run away so fast they can’t catch me I am faster than the wind I am faster and I am stronger and you are with me I am going to help you and for a second you stop screaming but your hands are at your head and you are crying loudly and your face is getting wet with your tears and your blood is on your hands and in your hair making it red so red I like it red why did you try and make it brown but I hear them behind me again so I run faster and suddenly you are heavy but they are miles away and I

trip

over a stone

and for a second I stumble but I think I regain myself only when I look down you are not there so I have to turn and look for you and the sky is opaque when I turn and I cannot see my hands when I turn for a second I am blind I think but I see the moon somewhere and it shines on me and I know I am watched over and then I turn and there you are on the ground why are you on the ground I jump on you and you try and struggle but I keep you still can’t you see I will help you I raise my hand because I want to stroke your lips to get the blood off so you can breathe

but I am roaring really loudly and it is not you screaming anymore it is

me

I am the one screaming now but that is okay I am The Screamer I scream I scream louder than a jet plane I scream louder than 100 baby howler monkeys at birth I am The Screamer and it is my job to scream not yours and you must not scream it makes me sad and it makes me angry and I want to take it from you

so I open your mouth and keep it open with a hand and then with both I push down on your jaw and you try to bite me but I keep doing it and I force your head back with one hand and push with the other until I feel the hinge straining against me.

I feel the strength of your jaw and it calms me. I know you are not screaming anymore and all I can hear is the sigh of the wind in the trees and the rustle of the leaves as they watch me.

The moon above shines light onto half of your face, illuminating it and the blood shimmers. It has got into your eye, and your eyes stare up at me.

They are like mine, I think. I suppose they are. They are definitely green.

Juxtaposed with the colour of the blood and hair around your face they stand out and shimmer at me in the darkness and I see fear in them.

I know I am helping you because why would you let me on top of you if I weren’t?

Your shoulders are taut, up by your jawline which is soft and smooth and I look at it now. The moon makes it silver through leaves which hang on trees as they watch me.

Your eyelashes are stuck together and tears like diamonds glitter at me so I lean down closer to you never moving my hands. I stretch out my tongue and I press it to your eyelashes and I taste the salt of your tears and I lick it up.

And the noise you make is not screaming but whimpering and it is quiet and it is what I want. You will be silent soon because I will soothe you.

Shh, and I push your jaw again, slowly. The leaves don’t move above me. Below you is the ground. Coming at me from the side are my three enemies, one red, one yellow and one brown and they have no shape because I am not looking at them.

I am looking at you and your red hair.

I am looking at you and your lighted cheeks.

I am looking at you and your green eyes.

I am looking at you and your silver jawline.

I am looking at your and my hands. One hand heel holding your upper jaw. One with soft fingers pushing your lower jaw down. And each finger. The ones in your mouth are wet. Your tongue is under them and I feel it pulsing gently against my fingers. There is blood on my wrist from your nose where it has run over your lip and onto me. I hold you slowly like this. My enemies are coming. But it is okay. You have stopped screaming.

You have stopped screaming.

You will never scream again as long as I stay here.

I must hold your jaw open forever.

I will do this.

You cannot scream then and you never should for I am here.

I am here not to protect you.

Not ever to love you.

But just to stop you from screaming.

 

IX: Moral Hate Circus  X: Moral Hate Circus (Final)

Luna

Perhaps it was too tempting for me to resist, but looking back I still cannot believe I did that. I have no regrets, no sorrow, no emotion. You’re allowed to think I’m a monster, a tyrant in need of a sedative so deep I never wake up. I wash my hands in warm water, immediately imagining the warmth is viscera and the water is blood. I am transported back, and each time I expect to feel the hopeless awareness of guilt pushing at my brain until I cannot take anymore, but I feel nothing. I wish I did, because then I could at least perceive myself human.

I feel nothing now you’ve asked me, either, what I did. Surely I should have a pain in my throat, tears in my eyes, a knot in my guts, but I have nothing. My mind is clear, pure, indifferent to this topic.

I should have no difficulty in telling you.

Once I killed a cat. It wasn’t my enemy’s cat (I have no enemy), it wasn’t a cat I had taken a dislike to prior to this event, it wasn’t a cat of any significance. I knew of it before I found it though, but only from a Missing Cat poster. Its name, Luna. Like the Moon’s name. Missing. Call this number if you see it. We want her back. Thank you.

I found it though. The world is too loud for me during the day, but I decided I needed the air on this particular day. Coincidentally, the moon was out. Luna was smiling down on me. I don’t believe in fate. Not at all. That’s just a convenient excuse people use when they need a reason to do something, or to not do something. The moon was useful to me though, that is certain. A spotlight, pointing down only on me, as I was the only one outside at the time. It was silent, save for my footsteps. I had strayed from any path; I felt much safer, much more comfortable dragging my ankles through brambles and my hands over tall nettles. No nettles stung me though. I touched them confidently, didn’t give them a chance to overpower me.

I was in complete and total control.

And I never lost control either, I want you to remember that. I was always thinking, always there, never losing control to some outside urge or repeated prompt. It was me, the one who killed the cat, all me. I am the one who saw it, I am the one who went towards it, I am the one who grabbed its neck. I am the one who gave it a much longer death than it deserved. I could have killed it quicker, in a mostly painless way, but I didn’t. Not because something made me drag out its death, but because I didn’t allow it to die quickly.

Here. We’re here now. I will not digress again. I’ll start right here. The park. Dark, dull olive greens, sparked silver with the moonlight, an orange tinge from streetlamps along the pavement, my white shoes between brambles, breath creating haze in front of me. Some musty smell rising from wet dead leaves below me and a crisp freshness nipping my face. My head was clear, my mind a blank slate. No sound pollution from the throats of others, no one was around. Just a hiss from high above me in the trees. I could breathe, and breathe easily. My chest felt loose, looser than it ever had that day. I was able to smile. A genuine grin parted my lips. Peace.

I walked on, eager to find a place I could not just smile but laugh. A proper happy laugh instead of just the façade chuckle I let people hear. The moon was behind me, and I had a clearly outlined shadow on the leaves. Sharp, black. Roots trying to ensnare my feet I stepped over as if I had travelled this path many times before. I could feel the park around me, growing, fighting for space. A silent warzone, a thousand lives being born and taken away every second.

And one of these lives I was about take away.

It started with a sound. Something I thought I misheard. I didn’t let it slip from my mind, and I stepped back onto the grass to locate the originator of the sound. Just as I thought my brain was tricking me yet again, I heard it louder. I scanned the surroundings again, looking for any inconsistency that I had not seen before. She stepped out into the moonlight then. Luna into Luna. Her eyes, sparkling at me.

I remembered her from the poster, a tortoiseshell cat with lighter brown around its eyes. Light yellow eyes. Dark paws. Pink tongue touching its nose. Cautious of me, but not scared. Then, my mind had no death-related thoughts running through it. No voice whispering at me to kill, kill, kill. I merely crouched down where I was. I usually would do no such thing, but then I did. It came towards me, quickly, wanting my attention. I stretched out my hand, it rubbed its head against my palm, and I grabbed its neck. Immediately, its legs leaped and it twisted, trying to free itself, wanting to struggle away, but I simply held it there, its neck between my thumb and fingers, feeling the muscles in its neck bulge with effort. It stopped after a few moments, testing to see if I’d let it go if it was still, but then it started again, this time stronger, this time more panicked. And I did nothing but hold its neck to the ground, a feeling of immense power rising from within me.

My next course of action was to push its body down. It fought with every inch I pushed it, but I leaned on it, calmly, its tail and hind legs thrashing, front paws struggling for purchase on my flesh. I let it have no such thing. I grabbed its hind legs, pulled them towards me and it lurched, trying not to fall. Fall. Fall now. I moved my hand from its neck to its muzzle, my palm to its mouth, ignoring how its teeth, pointed little daggers, stabbed right through the skin.

I felt no inclination to take revenge, only a deep desire to hold it down, to make it submissive, for me to feel power and authority over it. And it was only a cat. I had all that already.

I didn’t stop, didn’t let it go, just held it while it continuously struggled and swallowed my blood. Staring. The moon, the silver glow on the fur of the cat, the man holding the cat to the floor, it would have made a beautiful artwork. I raised my head and felt the pain and saw the mist of my breath as I took in the moment. Copper in the air and a rough softness under my fingers.

As I told you before, I was in control. Do not forget that. My mind was clear, a straight path with no shortcuts, no diversions. Just a path towards the inevitable death of this creature. There was no other alternative for me at this stage.

The ground was firmer than usual, the cold sting of the winter evenings freezing the soil. It made my job easier and the cat’s existence much harder. I took the scruff of its neck in one hand, and pressed down on its body with my knee. Then I lifted its head slowly. Euphoria flooded me as I pounded its skull into the earth. No smile formed on my lips, no frown corrugated my brow. Only a huge burst of pleasure as I felt the impact resonate through its neck. Again. Again, again, again. Again.

I was gasping at this point. My body had given way to emotions and I was shaking. Adrenaline overflowed in my sweat as crimson stained the silver grass. My tongue was heavy, head floating. Eyes invaded by exploding dots at the power in my arms. I grew more violent, thudding its head down, crashing down with my knee, each time feeling something inside the helpless body weaken and give under my weight, allowing my body to force it and mould it. It wasn’t dead, it kept making sounds, its voice weak, throat husk with the blood in it. Paws twitching, and I noticed. I took my hands away, confident it would never move, and snatched up the paws in my own animalistic hands, pushing my hands together, twisting the limb, pushing it the wrong way, straining against the bones and tendons, forcing it to first fracture then, with a final shove, break, and the sharp shards piercing the skin caused more blood to flow until I couldn’t tell what was my blood and its blood. I did this with two more of its limbs, and the last one I just raised up and smashed my bootheel into.

Finally, maimed beyond repair, it sighed its last. A muttered half-mewl into the moonlight. And me, crouched above it. Staring at my handiwork. Slowly returning to the feeling of indifference I had beforehand. I had no panicked feelings about knowing I’d just killed someone’s pet. I had no guilt that I had taken away a life, either. Just a slowly fading ecstasy. I straighted and exhaled. The last of my excitement left my body, the shaking stopped just after, and my heart returned to a trot.

I didn’t regain control. Because I never lost it. I always had my hand on the rudder, always was part of the grand scheme. But in that moment my mind wandered and it was directed to the poem ‘The Cat and the Moon’. In my case, both with the same name.

Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?

I stared at the moon.
I wandered.
Luna should have warned you, cat.
Your blood on my hands.
You will never run in the grass again.
Your feet are apart from your legs.
Dance. Just try to. Dance. Luna. Now.

VII: Moral Hate Circus

I: Moral Hate Circus  II: Moral Hate Circus  III: Moral Hate Circus  IV: Moral Hate Circus
V: Moral Hate Circus  VI: Moral Hate Circus

 

Nothing.

Nothing!

Caelan’s voice remains steady but I hear screaming and his mouth is not open enough and his accent is gone and I cannot understand. It is not my screaming I know it is not my screaming this is not my voice I taste no blood I hear nothing I understand nothing I comprehend nothing I hear the voice and I hear it Loud I look around at Ema but she is not screaming I look around at Ira but he is not screaming I hear it Loud and I look at Caelan and he is not screaming and I look at me and I am not screaming but still I hear it Loud.

My sweat is salty and I taste it and I know I am not screaming and I know I am not crying and I know I am trying to hear Caelan but he is not screaming.

I wish he would scream because then I would know I am hearing him but I cannot hear him I just hear the scream loud and loud and Loud.

There is nothing screaming no one screaming Ira and Ema and Caelan don’t react they cannot hear the screaming why can I hear the screaming I am not screaming they don’t react they don’t move they don’t help why can’t they hear the screaming why can’t they hear it Loud why cant they hear the pain why cant they feel what I feel why cant they see what i see i am the screamer and i hear screaming i am not screaming it is not me

I see the girl.

With red hair.

Twirling.

Her hair following her.

Like a child.

Or a lover.

I see her.

Spinning.

In front of my eyes.

Blocking out Caelan.

And she is screaming it is her she is screaming and I hear her she is screaming and I must stop her screaming because it hurts and it is too Loud and I must stop her before she breaks me but I can’t I don’t know where she is she left I wish I could find her I wish I had spoken to Ira to tell him I wanted her because then I would know that it is her screaming and I could stop her and I could not break and I could silence her once and for all I could make her quiet I could soothe her I must have her near me stop screaming it is too Loud stop screaming it doesn’t suit you let the only Loud thing about you be your hair why must you scream why must you hurt me why must you I helped you I need you to stop to be quiet to shut up why must you keep being Loud.

I move and I feel myself moving.

I move fast.

I move past Ema.

I move past Ira.

I move past Caelan.

I move everywhere and nowhere all at once.

I move over the earth and it crumbles beneath me.

I look at Caelan, Ira and Ema all at once.

I look at nothing also.

I can hear all and see all and hear nothing and hear nothing.

I feel my soul wrench.

Ira’s hand on mine.

I have moved.

I am getting away.

I shake him off and it feels like I am moving underwater.

I try to move, legs through water.

I breathe and it is cold.

I move past the tent fabric into the cold air where it is cold inside me too.

I must find her.

She is screaming and I hear it in my head and I must stop her from screaming.

I must soothe her.

My hands raise in front of me and I grope for where I remember she once was.

She stood there.

I grab onto nothing but I feel her.

And I follow the feeling of her.

And my hands get colder.

And my breath gets colder.

And my steps get shorter.

The floor meets me.

My face to the grass and I begin crawling. I must find her.

One hand in front of the other. One knee in front of the other.

One hand.

One knee.

One hand.

One knee.

One hand.

One knee.

Past the portaloo.

She has been here I feel her.

One hand.

One knee.

One hand.

One knee.

I focus on the ground beneath me as my vision slips into blurred shapes. I must not fall here. I have not found her yet.

I search for orange on the landscape but the darkness hides any colour and it is all dark greens.

I hear my name called from behind me, they must not catch me and pull me away.

One hand one knee one hand one knee one hand one knee one hand one knee.

One hand one knee one hand one knee one hand one knee one hand one knee.

One hand one knee one hand one knee one hand one knee one hand one knee.

You won’t touch me.

You won’t catch me.

I am faster than you.

You should give up.

You know you should give up.

Give up.

Don’t follow me.

Don’t find me.

Don’t catch me.

Give up.

Don’t look for me.

Give up.

Give up.

Stop following me.

Stop hurting me.

Stop stopping me.

Give up!

Leave me!

One hand!

One knee!

Crawl, Screamer, crawl, crawl away, Screamer, crawl away, run away, Screamer, run away run run run run run run

Run to the girl with the red hair I see her now I see her Screamer run I run I am running Screamer runs I run I see her and I run I stop crawling and I get up and I run and Screamer saw her Screamer got up and Screamer ran I run I begin running I feel my hands wet with mud and I run and my knees hurt and I start running and Screamer falls again.

I get up again because I have to get to her let me get to her.

She is still screaming and I hear it.

I cannot shout to her to tell her I’m coming I cannot do anything apart from run.

Soothe you.

I will soothe you.

Come here.

Come to me.

Let me help you.

Let me help you stop screaming!

 

VIII: Moral Hate Circus  IX: Moral Hate Circus  X: Moral Hate Circus (Final)

VI: Moral Hate Circus

I: Moral Hate Circus  II: Moral Hate Circus  III: Moral Hate Circus  IV: Moral Hate Circus
V: Moral Hate Circus

 

-Screamer.

My trance is broken, but not my body.

Still taut.

Painful now.

Ema is speaking to me.

Caelan’s jaw is still moving, but I only hear Ema’s voice from behind me.

-Don’t listen, Screamer, it wasn’t your fault.

I’m not listening.

It’s just your voice, Ema, in my head. Are you even speaking?

-Do you hate right now?

Do I hate? Oh, yes.

-What do you hate? Who do you hate?

I hate Ira.

And I hate Caelan.

And I hate being treated wrong,

differently,

like I’m a fragile doll or a three-legged puppy.

And I hate you for not standing up for me.

But standing back.

Behind me.

And I hate you for that, Ema.

-I am standing up for you. I am right here. I am taking your mind off Caelan am I not? Off Ira?

You don’t tell them about me.

-No.

You should tell them how I hate this.

-No. You should tell them how you hate this. Or else I’ll be giving you special treatment. I know you can do it yourself. So why should I do it for you?

Touché.

-Open your damn mouth, Screamer, and tell them. Make sure they hear it, too.

 

Caelan is still taking.

His voice is muffled and instead of the firm and solid tone his throat is holding, I hear only a shriek, rage-fuelled, angry and hideous, aimed right at me. Bring it to me, let it hit me, yell at me, Caelan, do this for me, do this one thing for me, treat me as I should be, shout at me because I’ve done something wrong, because I’ve done something you told me not to do, you’ve ordered me not to walk around my own circus and go where I want, but shout at me because you’re right, scream at me, don’t keep it silent so I hear it echoed and amplified in my mind, Caelan, Caelan yell at me.

He doesn’t yell at me.

Even when I order him to.

Explicitly.

Caelan!

So I yell at him instead.

I use my talent.

My pure and raw talent.

The reason this circus exists.

I scream.

Long.

Loud.

Hard.

Raw.

Red.

Hurt.

Cause.

Noise.

Sight.

Flick.

Glitch.

Round.

Start.

Hold.

Bad.

Bad.

Bad.

Look at me now!

Look at me now           !

Look

at

me

now!

I have scared off my sweet Isolation!

I have frightened away my backup!

I have shocked my tormentors into silence!

I have ridded myself of my obstacles!

I have prepared an empty path!

I have nothing to show for it, only a bleeding throat!

Look at me now!

I need my sweet Isolation!

I need my backup!

I need my tormentors to be loud!

I need my obstacles to overcome!

I need my crowded path!

I need something apart from my blood to show!

Look at me now!

Give me my sweet Isolation!

Give me my backup!

Give me my tormentors!

Give me my obstacles!

Give me my path!

Give me something to show!

Look

at

me

now!

 

VII: Moral Hate Circus  VIII: Moral Hate Circus  IX: Moral Hate Circus  X: Moral Hate Circus (Final)

VII: Can I make it Snow on the Inside of my Heart?

I forget your name. What was it? I cannot read. Cannot speak. Oxygen mask in the way of my words. They are swallowed and shot right back at me, my own musty breath into my nose and into my lungs. It is like being inside an old library book. I have half an hour here, then half an hour outside, then another half an hour here, then another half an hour outside. I am a gazebo. Put me up for half an hour. Pull me down for half an hour because my joints are hurting badly and my temper is fraying at the edges. I am dressed in a green gown, after all. I feel like awning.

Well, I cannot actually feel anything at the moment. All the feeling I have in my body is confined to the first and third fingers on my left hand. I cannot even feel my lips, and I am usually able to do that. It is the drugs. The drugs they pump into me to stop me from turning. I do not know what they mean. I have always been like this.

My shoulder was fixed. I do not know what happened, but it is fixed now. Of course, I cannot move it, and it hurts. Or it would if I could feel it at all, which I cannot. I kind of wish I could, because then I could lie on my side all I wanted before nurses came and rolled me back. Even when they touch me it feels like a tonne on my side. I feel pressure on my body, but nothing more. Right now, lying here, I can explore the world with two of my ten fingers. Uncomfortably slippery bedsheets stretched tight over a bed coated with what feels like varnish.

On my back I can see a ceiling. It is not particularly interesting, but it is white, and that gives my eyes a chance to play. Any blip or spark I see within my eye is projected onto the white canvas above me. I should take up painting when I get better.

My sanity ebbs, I know that. Ebbs and flows. That would be a great band name. I find it particularly hard to focus on any one thing in my head. I can think I am awake, but as soon as I try to move my leg, I become fully awake and whatever I was thinking about is gone forever from my brain. That is normal. I am glad that is normal. It means I am.

I have a new counsellor. He is okay and he makes me talk. He leaves me having to say something, rather than not wanting to say something, like my previous two. So I told him everything. I told him how it started and I told him how it ended. I told him how my monstrosity started. I don’t understand. Was I really a monster? I am pure and good. I am golden-hearted. Maybe that heart has corroded a little, though, revealing oxidised iron that represents my jealously. I am jealous.

According to my counsellor, admitting it is the first step on the way to defeating it. But I don’t want to defeat it, I want to relocate it. I want to take it out of my head and put it in my body, so that my body feels so jealous of other people’s walking and working bodies that mine starts to strive to want to be human again, instead of a vegetable, which is what it is. Impossible. Yes, I know. But it’s how I feel and how I feel is jealous.

My half an hour away from the maddeningly sanitised curtained off room starts now. Disconnected from the oxygen tanks and drips, but still closely monitored. Sitting a few feet away from me is the person watching me. I do not mind this at all. In my head, I am the only one on the grass. I take a single step. My fractured ankle has nearly mended. The physiotherapist said I had to keep moving and strengthening it, so that is what I am going to do. I want to be strong again. I want my bones to be able to withstand a tank falling on them. I want my muscles to ripple with energy and brim with power. I want to feel strong. Strength. It is what I desire most now. Strength with keep the monster inside me, if I can supress it. Mental and physical. If I can prevent the creature from taking me over, I do not have to stop it, but if I can’t do that, I will have to try to physically restrain myself somehow. Maybe building up my body is the wrong thing to do. If the creature takes me over, becomes me, then…

Sorry, I mean if I become the monster, I will use that strength I built up over the hours of exercise. I will have to talk that over with myself. My counsellor will be no help here. This is not something he can help me with.

The grass. The grass. Soft. Silky. Cool. All the sod’s cruel coolness had gone. Replaced with sympathetic coolness instead. The parts in the sun are even warm, but I do not intend to go there. Who knows, I might faint if I go there. The heat could rise and rise, through my legs and up through my torso to my head, boiling my blood and dehydrating my brain. I am not going to risk that.

I stay in the shade, sensitivity gradually returning to my body, working upwards from the soles of my feet. It is a good feeling. I can feel. I can sense again. I walk around the tree that offers the darkness of the shade and raise my right hand to its trunk to feel its bark. It is rough, grooved, trenched as it should be and not just neutral, like everything else I can feel when I am lying down.

My nostrils flare as I breathe in deep, deeper than I have ever breathed before, it feels like, and my lungs fill to the brim. I notice the sensation, hold my breath for a few seconds before letting it out through my mouth. The breath is not musty anymore. I can taste the nature of it. That might come from the fact that it is becoming winter, and summer freshness is making one last effort especially for me before it cradles down into the soil to make way for its brother, the winter freshness. But the winter’s freshness is not the same. It stings and it glimmers, inviting children to play on its blank slate. As I child, I liked to take slow steps, thinking, hearing the compression of the snow beneath my wellies. Compression was the right word. I used to look behind me, seeing the once-fluffy snow crushed into the shape of the tread of my wellies. Some people say the snow ‘crunched’ underfoot. Some say the snow ‘gave way’ underfoot. Snow does not do either of those things, unless it is not snow but frost, or if the person is suddenly walking on an overhang of pure snow without realizing, then falling to their freezing deaths.

Like you did.

Well, you did not take a tumble off a precipice, or slide yourself to death on ice by breaking your skull open. To be honest, how you died has been shut off. It was cold. I know that. It was cold when we held your funeral. I say ‘we’… I was not invited. Why was I not invited? I can demand an answer from you for all eternity, only to be faced with your silence, but I still blame you for not inviting me. Was it your family? Did you turn them against me? What did I do wrong? Tell me! Tell me!

Oops. Did I take a fall onto the ground? Turns out I did. I face the dappled tree leaves. The word they always use is ‘dappled’. I guess I know why. The light is dappled. Yes, I face the dappled tree leaves, lying once more on my back in the shade. I wave my hand and try to laugh my predicament off. I just fell, I just tripped is all. They still insist on examining my shoulder, which is plastered in place so that all I can move is my lower left arm. They examine my ankle more closely though. I understand that, too. I took a fall, and it would have been my ankle to bear the brunt. Nothing had broken though. Life has some mercies at least. They decide to take me back in, but I try to argue, say I’ll sit down against the tree and won’t try to walk.

They agree to let me sit on the bench with my minder. At least I get to stay outside. Optimism. They said I should try to use it.

My minder asks me if I want to talk, but I shake my head. I have things to think about. However, he has different plans and starts blathering. Rather annoying. I nod occasionally. Shrug occasionally. After a while, he must be able to sense I don’t want to talk at all, and falls silent once again. My head wants to fall to the left, onto my aching shoulder. I make it, force it, to fall onto the other side, trying to make it look natural. I do not want to use any of my body muscles that are not necessary. I want to relive our time together. I want to ponder. Maybe think of what it would have been like if we had not split so soon. Could we have held hands more? Could we have actually kissed? Could we have actually made physical contact while lying in the same bed? Not that we ever lay in the same bed, but maybe that would have happened too. We lay side-by-side once. Once. And I was so happy. So very happy that night. Five days later, it was clear to me that we would never do that again. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that, but I kept trying. I kept trying for two more years to get close enough to you so that you would ask me the fateful question, ‘do you want to go out with me?’

You never did, and, fair enough. I understand that perfectly. I cannot try anymore. No way would your corpse rise up to ask me something like that. You have more important things on your mind. Like… death and being dead. What do you think about when you die? Do you just stop? Or is there more? Do you get another life? Do you get another body, another life to live? If you did, I would hunt for you. You would probably not remember me. And if I found you, you would probably be a baby-child or something, therefore what I wanted to do would be rendered illegal.

Best I don’t find you.

VI: Can I Make it Snow on the Inside of my Heart?

Twelve months have passed and they say now that I am healthy enough to live on my own again. They have had me under surveillance ever since I turned into that monster thing. It seems like a distant dream now; I cannot believe that thing was me. I have had two counsellors, both of whom I never spoke a word to. I am afraid to speak. My body was left to rot in the sun and snow while my mind remained sharp. If I speak out, they will know my intentions. I do not want them to know. I only wish to tell you, my dear.

A living-death experience, they called it. I was alive against all sane probability; a temperature of 55oc, malnourished, sick in the head. Apparently my ankle was fractured. They made me come back to the hospital with them. I refused, screaming, because I wanted to come and find you.

I can live on my own again. Freedom, finally.

I sit at a café table, trying to focus my eyes on my hand that is resting on the table to my right. My eyes refuse to work together. They point outwards, I can feel it, rather than pointing at my hand together. I can see my hand in two places, overlapping in the middle. I lift it and both hands I see distort and lift. It is a different feeling than being drunk, though.

I close my eyes, press my thumbs to them, pressing them into my skull slightly. It hurts, but, when I open them again, I can focus happily, despite the headache that is coming on. I see a couple walking hand-in-hand across the road. They pass by the red brick houses. For a moment, my view is obscured as a truck passes, but there they are again, and the woman is laughing. I should not be able to hear her; the café is so dreadfully loud, but the world is utterly silent for me, and all I can hear is her laugh, on repeat, replaying again and again as she walks on by. The boyfriend points something out to her and there is that same laugh echoing. They turn a corner and the world rushes to normal. My mind and sanity is crystal clear, a weight has fallen away. I am not resentful of the relationship I witnessed only for a brief second or two at all. Not jealous. Not envious. I know that love ends eventually. Love ended for me when your spirit left your body and the planet but, as soon as that love’s river ran dry, a new one for you has kindled. It grew and I mistakenly urged it to build. Now you are my only goal.

You may think that, since I have almost lost my mind, I will not love you anymore. No, I love you more. More than I ever have before. I feel like I have said that before, but it is true.

Blinking. I am blinking. So fast that the world is just a reel of photographs. Each one is blurrier than the last: tears are obscuring my view and there is rushing wind in my ears. None of the trees are moving. The wind is in my head, so I shake it. I shake it back and forth, trying to clear the gust and the rain.

I am seeing in sepia. Something else has gone wrong. A man comes over to me. I can hear him clearly enough now that the world is back making its noises, but I can only hear out of one ear. The left one. Fortunately, he is standing on my left side. I stand and quietly reply that I am fine, it was just a fly near to my face. He laughs. Says how much of a problem they are at this time of year. Fascinating, really. Not really. I agree half-heartedly, not caring. My vision is still in that strange brown colour, and I take the opportunity to explore the world through what seems to be old camera film. Tree leaves are brown. A woman’s scarf, which used to be red, is brown. The pale skin of a child is pale brown.

I realize that everyone around me, in one hundred years, will be dead. I do not feel that death will take me, though. Not for at least one hundred years. Perhaps longer. Perhaps never. Maybe in my desperation to get to you, I have created an immortality, a place where I will stay, unable to live normally, unable to die.

I died when you left. I died then. I died when I realized your hand would never be in mine again. I died when I realized you would never hold me in your arms again. I died when you died, is what I am saying. When you were alive, at least I could hold onto hope that I might, somehow, be able to win you back.

Clearly, you would rather be in the arms of death than be in mine. Necrophilia, my sweet? Really?

The man is staring at me. Oh yes, I am still at the café. I smile, feel my cheeks crack with the effort, but I smile. He smiles back, but there is worry there. He questions me more. I delicately shrug, tell him that I have been through something in hospital and it might take me a long time to recover. Well, it’s not a lie. He seems to want to know what. But what can I say? I know that if I describe how I saw myself, he will never believe me. I simply say I don’t want to talk about it much. I would have thought that that would be enough to deter him from interrogating me more, but he insists, pushing me for an answer. Gently, though. Sly. He is not asking me directly. He is asking me questions that would, in a matter of minutes, lead him to discover everything.

I am panicking now. I try to answer his questions as vaguely as I can, but he demands more information. He is pressing me, pressuring me. I take one step back, and feel the seat of my chair meet the inside of my knee. I draw forwards, then kick out my back leg, scattering the chair across the ground. Then I twist around, sweating, seeing the path spread for me as fellow café-goers rise from their own seats to see what is happening.

I see the gap and I take it, moving past the people as if they were cardboard cut-outs. They all move so slowly. I am at waist-height somehow. I must have dropped to my hands and knees. I take a leap over the chair I struck, and land on the pavement on my hands. However, they do not hold me up as I would have like them to, and I collapse. The man is right behind me. Who is he? Why does he follow me?

I have to be human. I pick myself up as quickly as I can, onto my legs only, jamming my hands into my armpits so I cannot revert to my horrific running once again. I stagger a few steps, feel the ghost of the man’s hand on my left shoulder before he grabs me. His grip is hard and my bones are brittle. He squeezes ever so lightly and pulls me back, reflexes making my arms fly out. My left shoulder disintegrates, breaking under so little force. I let out a scream. It is painful, but I scream because I know that if I do, he will let go.

He does, pulling his hands away as if I was poisonous. My left arm hangs uselessly by my side, and I press it to my chest, holding it in one position so that no pain will shoot through me when it moves. I take off again, and he does not chase me. In less than a second, it seems, I am gone, scrabbling down the pavement towards the pond again. You do not call to me this time. Even if you did, I would not go to you. Not this time, sweetheart – you have caused enough problems for me.

Somehow, though, I always seem willing to solve them.

There is bruising on the inside of my left shoulder now. The broken fragments of bone must have ripped blood vessels. What was I thinking, running from them like that? Now they will be looking for me, wondering why, wondering how my shoulder shattered so easily.

I bet I could rupture my whole body if I concentrated hard enough. I bet I could. I could break all my bones into three-thousand plus pieces, and I could make them tear through my skin, I could make them pull at my organs, piercing them, puncturing the puncturable, ripping the rippable, blocking the blockable. I bet I could. I bet I could make my intestines move, folding in on themselves and working up my body, through my stomach, breaking free of my insides through my mouth, bringing my stomach and windpipe with it. Appendix? What is that for? I bet I could make it explode, scattering flesh like ball bearings out onto the grass.

Yes, I’m not in the water just yet. I sit at our bench, holding my arm tight. I have not lost it. It is still able to be saved. There is warmth at my core, despite the cold autumnal winds. My skin is shivering, but in the middle of my torso, there is a light and there is heat. When I fold up my body slightly, the light burns brighter. I don’t know what it is burning on, I don’t know what is feeding the fire, but it is lit and it is smouldering.

It is still not enough. Still not enough to worm through the ice to the left slightly. My heart. It is encased. Ice. A shooting pain as an icicle grows. All the water from the pond has frozen around my heart. Proof I went into the pond, really. I am glad it is still there.

The ice must be grimy and full of dirt. In all the pictures, ice is so perfect, so beautiful, and it always glints and shines. My ice probably does not. My sanity is the glittering beauty, though. Like the clearest diamond crystal, like the freshest water, I can see through all problems, getting through, sane in body and mind. Monstrous blips are nothing. They are merely my sanity adjusting to my body after a long vacation away.

I close my eyes. The sepia, the sepia. I close my ears. The deafness, the deafness.

When I open both again, I can see and I can hear. I can hear what you cannot hear through your empty ear holes, the call of a lone swan, slowly dying as their partner has not yet returned. I can see what you cannot see through your empty eye sockets, the bluish pond, the khaki grass, the chain-grey sky, even the mauve bruise, in clear, glorious technicolour.

What?

Yes, of course I am sane.

V: Can I Make it Snow on the Inside of my Heart?

Only recently. Only recently have I realize that, no, I was not dead. In one part of my brain, I felt disappointed; perhaps I am jealous of the fact that you are something I am not, but perhaps I am annoyed at the fact that I may not meet you in Heaven, if such a place does indeed exist for a bit longer.

I am starved. God knows how long I stayed in the same place. Apparently, I never went into the pond. Apparently, I never touched the water. But I remember it all; the feeling of the water around me and its coolness as it prickled my lungs. I remember it all. The swans, they parted and made space for me to join them. Maybe I was wrong. I do not know what happened. I can recall it as clearly as I can recall the feeling of a young man, sandy blond with worried brown eyes, putting me in the recovery position. He already touched me more than you did, dearest, and I don’t even know his name. I don’t know yours. I cannot remember anything.

He never spoke or, if he did, it was not directly to me. When my eyes adjusted suitably enough to let me see, I saw the face, the eyes, the hair, and I heard his voice in his head. I am not sure, he may have spoken and the voice burned onto my conscious, but I cannot recall his vocal sounds. But I could hear them, low and deep inside me, his kindly tone with worry stitched into it, and the stiff instructions he must have given.

Ambulances don’t just arrive by themselves, you know. They have to be summoned. Clearly, this young man must have summoned it up. Such a kind-hearted, warm-spirited gesture that would, undoubtedly, go to waste. I may not have made it to the pond that time, but one day I will.

My lips are still dry, my eyes still glassy, my skin still waxy and pale. How do I know? I can see myself, sweetie. I float above myself, trying not to go too far, but I am angled in such a way that I am hovering over myself, turning over slowly in the breeze that tip-toes through the window. The hospital workers decided that a window would be best for someone with my ‘condition’. I don’t know what they were saying. Something to do with a psychological disorder, probably. I am not… I don’t believe. Schizophrenia… Depression… Madness… people write endless books about them, countless and countless pages on the causes for, reasons why, and how comes. I do not believe this is right. I do not believe I have a psychological disease. If I do, the last thing I want is people knowing about it.

If I do, I am going to be another statistic, and I am going to be another case study for psychology students to use in their A-level work. Fuck that. I am not crazy, I am not mad, I am not insane.

I turn again, and I am facing the window. I try to whistle, but my mouth does not seem to want to move. I try to look down to see myself, but I cannot see suddenly. The world is black. I thrash out and cry, but no one hears. A flash of white, and my vision is back, and I see the wax figure below me, eyes wide and sweating. It thrashes and cries. I thrash and cry with it. It is not me, anymore. The last time I looked in the mirror, I saw a much different person. I saw a human. Now, I am seeing an animal. Someone rushes over, tries to calm the monster. I remain calm, still rotating slowly. There is no point in me panicking. I have figured it out; I must not try to move; I must not try to see; I must not try to hear. Anything that happens in this bubble of calm around myself, I must submit to.

I have twisted enough to see the ward. The crying of that monster is faint, and sounds like a snarl now. I cannot understand why it is so inhuman now. It is me. I am it. I do not understand…

Maybe I was lying beside the pond for weeks. Maybe I died and came back to life. Maybe for a moment, I blacked out and moved of my own accord.

I need to see the figure again, so I turn my head to the right. White hot pain and blue sorrow slashes through my neck. I don’t know why, but it feels as if my head has been pulled off. But I can see the monster lying on the bed, its head facing to the right and it is screaming, but the noise sounds like it is coming through a radio in my brain, hissing. I turn it down, turn it up. I am in control of that part of me. The pain doesn’t bother me, and it is fading.

The momentum of my head turn has changed my rotation from rotating left to rotating right. I spin, looking out of the open window, my head still cemented in the place where I turned it. The thing on the bed has eyes like large marbles, slick and unseeing, and its chest is rising and falling, pale and sweating. It looks like it is going to die. Its mouth opens and a sigh escapes, and, just before it disappears from my view, I see the teeth, yellowing and sharp.

Is that thing me?

I need to return, sort out the body I call my own. The radio becomes less and less fuzzy and suddenly the whole hospital ward explodes with noise in my ears. Even the nurses’ paces on the tiled floor sound like gunshots to me. I fall, screaming, but no noise is coming out of my mouth. I fall into the body, turning around until it is at the same pose as the monster’s and I feel feeling flood into my fingers, my toes, my chest and I am the monster. Again.

I feel so much worse. It is as if my veins are full of black syrup. I can see them under my skin, pumping, rising and falling. There is not enough feeling for me to lift my hand. It hurts so much, though. Not as much as when you walked away from me, love.

Well, enough is enough. The nurse seems to think so, him standing beside me, ramming a needle into my arm in slow motion. There is a dull, sharp pain and I half expect the syrup to explode out of the pinprick. Nothing explodes. A tube is inserted and the fluid pumped into my lifeblood.

I feel human; I feel pinkness returning to my flesh; I feel the syrup dilute into blood; I feel my pupils dilate instantly. The roar stops in my ears.

I don’t want to close my eyes, though, because I might die. Even if I feel so much healthier.

Why am I scared of death now? You died, and you are not afraid. I wanted to join you, so I fell into the pond. Or, apparently, I didn’t fall into the pond. I do not know what happened, but…

I want to be near you, though dying does not feel right enough.

I must go to you instead.

I pull myself up, my body screaming at me to quit what I am doing and lie down. No, I need to move. No one is around, they have left me for a while, possibly to go off and get some more chemicals to pump into my bloodstream. I take one step, feet numb. I look down, and the foot of a monster is there. Pinker, more flesh-like, yes, but definitely not human. My eyes are dry and my lips are cracked, my teeth visible in a grin. I am coming, lovely. I am coming for you.

Now I am on the grass. I don’t know where I am, but I can feel your corpse calling. Maybe not for me. Maybe you want to keep me away. But why should I stay away? I can hear you, so I can find you. However, there is wood in the way, a coffin, but your call is still harsh and shrill, if a little muffled. I keep walking. I am walking on air, it is lifting me up, numbing my whole body and making me cold. A nice cold. It bites into me more than the cold water of the pond did, but I still recognise that coolness.

Now I am on a road, lurching. Feeling has returned to the soles of my feet and one ankle and I feel the agony I will suffer for another seven miles. The sun is gone. Raindrops fall. A pain in my stomach. It is like sorrow and I want to cry. My tear ducts are blocked. I cannot cry. I try to, but I cannot cry.

I am a monster because I cannot cry.

There is light above me, so harsh through the rain, but it is not the sun. I look down. I have no shadow. It is in my head. The light is breaking the clouds and is shining down on me, but it is in my head.

V: Moral Hate Circus

I: Moral Hate Circus  II: Moral Hate Circus  III: Moral Hate Circus  IV: Moral Hate Circus

 

I don’t hear Isolation go, but I hear Ema return.

-Screamer, look at me.

I comply.

Her eyes are green.

-Screamer, would you drink this? And she hands me water.

I take it.

Sit up easily.

Down the glass.

It soothes my throat after singing.

I miss Isolation already.

Ema takes my arm, urges me to get to my feet.

Helps me avoid my sick.

Outside is cold and dark but I sweat instead.

She has my hand and walks me slowly over to the main tent.

There are people I do not recognise.

Customers?

-Hello again.

At first, I think it is Ema speaking, but she looks confused.

So I look around.

Red hair dances around soft shoulders like a child.

Or a lover.

It is the portaloo girl.

-Did you find them alright? I say.

-The… yes… she says, -thank you. I heard you collapsed.

-Not really.

Ema is looking at me, ignoring the girl. I think she wants me to hurry up. Her green eyes are urgent.

-Not really. I say again. I eye Ema back.

-How are you feeling? The girl is concerned.

I think.

She touches my arm.

I retract it quickly.

She does the same.

Looks embarrassed.

-I’m fine. I say.

Now Ema is looking around me slightly at where the girl is, but her eyes are darting around.

I look sideways at her.

For a long time.

She eventually meets my eyes.

Ira appears.

-Screamer, he says, how are you?

-I’m… fine?

Why do they keep asking me the

same

questions?

-He’s not. Ema says. Looks at me strangely.

-Hospital? Ira says.

Ema shrugs, -I hope not.

-We probably should. He could have a concussion.

-I don’t.

-You might.

-I think he does. Says Ema.

Stop putting words

in

my

mouth.

I can speak for

myself

thank you Ira and Ema.

I am angry now.

-He’s talking to… Ema says, glancing quickly out of the sides of her eyes at where portaloo girl is.

-I’m… she stumbles and looks at me.

I look at her.

I don’t know what she wants from me.

-I talked to him… she points at me, -earlier.

Ira doesn’t seem to hear her and looks at Ema. They have a conversation.

Not out loud.

But with their eyes.

Portaloo girl looks at me now and I shrug.

-He uh, says portaloo girl, he kind of shouted at me. Is that normal?

-Yes. I say.

Ema and Ira look at me.

Portaloo girl nods.

It is normal. They don’t say it is. They don’t say anything.

Anything at all.

This annoys me more.

For some reason.

Ira nods at me. –Are you sure you’re not concussed?

-Yes. I say. Angrily.

-Would you mind coming to hospital later though, Ema? We might be dealing with… a concussion, Ira says. -You’re good at controlling him.

Ema shrugs and nods.

–I mind.

You mind?

-I. Mind.

-Why, do you want her to stay here?

-Yes.

I don’t really.

I just don’t know which side Ema is on, mine or Ira’s. I don’t know if I want her near me.

I’m confused.

I certainly don’t want Ira with me.

But he’s taking me.

And I don’t know about Ema.

They’re irritating me.

Ira looks at Ema, and she shrugs, but he doesn’t.

He eventually shakes his head.

-I think Ema should come.

I feel portaloo girl’s hair on my arm and touch my arm where it touched me.

-I want her to STAY here. Right HERE.

Portaloo girl jumps. Looks back at the conversation.

-She’s coming, Screamer. Ira glares at me. –She is coming.

I cannot argue. I’m going off to hospital. With Ira. And Ema.

-Apparently I’m going off to hospital. With Ira. And Ema. I inform portaloo girl. –You can’t come with us.

-No? she says. –Well that’s okay. I just… wanted to check on you.

-Go.

She looks at me in surprise. Blinks. Green eyes like mine.

Ema and Ira, beside me, look confused at my new conversation.

But they leave me to it and don’t interrupt.

Have another eye conversation.

-Go. I tell her again.

She nods.

Hesitantly.

But turns to leave.

She leaves.

-Okay now? Ira says, and there is something in his voice I don’t like. –We’ll all three go. But we need to talk to you first.

-No.

Ema sighs. –Screamer, please listen.

Whose side are you on, Miss Director?

-I don’t want to listen. I fold my arms.

-You don’t listen now, you’ll certainly be listening later. Let’s not waste time here. Says Ira.

Ema touches my arm. Her touch is not as soft as portaloo girl’s hair.

I look at her.

Her eyes tell me to listen.

And I can’t find any way to not listen.

I look at Ira.

His eyes are the same as hers.

Violet, instead of green, but certainly with the same glare.

-Listening? He says. Firmly. Dangerously.

I nod.

I growl to myself.

Defeated again.

I hate how they treat me

differently

to how they treat everyone else.

Can I not be the

same

as them?

Ira leads us away, wrapping a strong hand around my arm. He will cut off the blood.

Then maybe my arm will fall off and I can make a big deal of it.

Then how sorry will he feel?

-Screamer, we told you not to come into the tent like that. He says without looking behind him and he sounds angry at me like it’s my fault like I can’t go wherever I want to in my own circus?

Ema follows along behind me, and I don’t know what she’s thinking, whether she is agreeing with her brother or not. She does not seem particularly happy but not in the way Ira isn’t particularly happy, because I think he is angry, but I think she is sad.

I catch her eye as we stop walking, having arrived at the main tent entrance.

She looks at me as I look at her and we don’t say anything to each other.

Then she looks at the floor.

I don’t.

-Screamer, says Ira, look at me. Look at me, Screamer.

I don’t want to.

He makes me though, and his violet eyes are hard. –Why did you come in?

-Ira. Ema puts her hand on him and tries to move him away from me but he doesn’t let her and he comes back close to me.

-You kind of almost ruined the circus. Heckler got really distracted.

-Heckler has cataracts.

-No, Screamer, he doesn’t. Says Ema. Just listen to Ira, okay?

Is she on my side? I can’t really tell.

Ira isn’t though and I can tell he wants to shout at me but he doesn’t want to set me off shaking again. I wish he would just shout at me. He would shout at anyone else. But since it’s me he has to treat me

special,

different from everyone else.

-So why did you come in? Did you do it just to mess up the tone of the show? Do you know how hard the A’Lonzes practiced for that? It all could have gone wrong because you came in. His tone is like a supressed scream and I know he wants to shout at me.

I want to make him so I don’t say anything and just keep looking into his eyes.

-Caelan really wants to speak to you as well.

-Speak to me, I say, or shout at me?

-Not shout at you, says Ira, but he’s lying. Caelan will be doing the same as him, hiding the anger and the shrieking voice inside his body and not showing them to me even though I can see it in his eyes and hear it in the way he says my name as Ira steers me into the tent. Ema follows me, and I think she’s on my side. Though I don’t know. And I don’t know what to think of the look in her eyes.

-Screamer!

Caelan’s anger is harder for him to reign in but he apparently is still determined to treat me like a china teacup. I end up showing my anger more than he does.

I don’t know if Caelan can see it but Ira can.

Ema, behind me, can.

I know I can.

My teeth begin to hurt they are clenched so hard and my nails dig into my palms and I want to let go and relax but my body is taut now and impossible to make loose again. So I stand trembling in front of Caelan as he “speaks” to me.

I don’t even know what he’s saying.

He could be speaking in Finnish for all I know.

I am deaf to him and aware only of the situation.

How much I hate the situation.

How much he hates me.

How much I hate myself for being

like this,

different,

from them.

Why must I be

different

from them?

 

VI: Moral Hate Circus  VII: Moral Hate Circus  VIII: Moral Hate Circus  IX: Moral Hate Circus
X: Moral Hate Circus (Final)

I: Institutionalised

It was the girl, Kacey, who first spoke to me when I walked in. Until then I had been suspicious of everyone; the other teenagers, those superior to me, maybe even myself to an extent, but when Kacey piped up at my side, revealing herself from where she had faded into a dark smudge in the corner of my vision since I walked in, I believed that she was the only one pure of heart and of intention.

 

None of the leaflets I had received had given me much useful information, and no more was divulged to me when I arrived. The whole deal was remarkably vague, something I thought odd when dealing with people like me. I had seen a picture of the place, an old, three-storey Victorian-style hall, with a large lawn and driveway out front, with rolling acres spread in every direction. More than twice I had questioned whether such a place was suitable for what was going to take place here, but I had never voiced these inquiries. There was no point anyway, as I probably would have got incredibly un-specific answers, which would have just frustrated me.

The lady driving me, the one I could have asked, was the sub-co-ordinator of the institution, and was very understanding of my mother’s debilitating shyness. Apparently more so than I was. I had been outside before without being attacked so I didn’t understand her aversion to stepping over the threshold of the door. Of course, she did not want to leave the house to take or even accompany her own son to the institution, and had been more than happy for this stranger, one Miss Rosenhan, to drive me. She did not try to engage me in conversation past asking how I was today, which I was thankful for. I was much more content sitting in the back of the smart black Volkswagen, seething in my own distrust of the woman and anger at my mother’s antisocial tendencies. It was such a cheerful time back there. I tried not to be impolite, but I have little understanding of impoliteness anyway. However, I answered her questions, but didn’t try to tell her anything past what she asked.

I recognised the drive up to the house from one of the photographs in the leaflet. A road with trees planted on either side. Obviously they had been manually planted – nature has little to no concept of regularity, and the trees were evenly spaced, giving me an immense feeling of satisfaction. We left the trees behind though as the car climbed the slope up to the house, pulling to a stop in front of the wide stone staircase leading up to the front door. I climbed out and took a few minutes to survey the area, the place I would be staying. The wind was stronger up here, and ruffled my hair, feeling like silken hands on my scalp and making me uneasy. I tried to forget about the wind and focussed instead on the area around the house, which I had already taken a liking to. Rather picturesque, just crying out for a practiced hand to capture its beauty on canvas. Deserving of an oil painting certainly. Perhaps in autumn, where I could pick out the shimmering shades of gold in the fields, where I could capture the healthy force of the river cutting through the terrain. As long as a clear day was picked, free of fog and of clouds, I would be more than happy to paint. That is what I have done with my time for the past eight years – I am an artist. I am unable to call myself more than an amateur as I have yet to sell anything I have done. My eye is talented though, and I learned how to express myself much more freely through paint than I have ever managed to do through words and expressions.

I was reluctant to have to head inside the house, but I realized that disobeying Miss Rosenhan for the third time was rude. I followed. She led me into an entrance hall large enough to be a study. There were a great many paintings on the walls. Some were oils, some of people, some of nature’s finest specimens, such as trees or animals. The oils were very well done, the paint laid on thick in places to bring the subject into the realm of 3D. Juxtaposing these, placed right beside them, were amateurish watercolours of the view I had just been observing. These insulted the oils by even sharing a wall with them. They shouldn’t have been put on a wall. I could practically the stiff and unpractised hand as my eye scanned them, swishing far-too-pale greens, untextured blues and never-found-in-nature yellows onto the thick paper. I was more than happy to walk far away from the watercolours when Miss Rosenhan called me to come into her office again.

Her office, like the watercolours, was an offense to the rest of the house. It was nestled between two staircases and was cramped. I could have forgiven the claustrophobic space if the style of the room had been at least similar, but it felt like walking from an ornate house of Henry VIII into a bright closet of a room that belonged in a clinic that was trying and failing to capture that ‘minimalist’ feeling. Too clean, the colours all wrong. The white walls in here were an artificial mixture of blue and grey, not the same creamy-whites from outside. The floor was linoleum which felt uncomfortably firm under my feet in comparison to the carpets from outside.

While I was struggling with the downright ugliness of this room, she told me to take a seat. I did so, dumbly, and tried to drag my attention back to her. I listened quietly as she explained in still vague terms why I was here, what they would try and do for me while I was here, and what formalities we would need to go over together. Amazingly, this provided me with no new information at all, even though she talked for at least five minutes at me.

“I don’t need to be here,” was all I tried to say, but she calmly pointed out that I had agreed to be put on this programme. She took over the conversation again, and asked me for all my personal information so she could check it against the files. I had to say my name (Rüdiger Giehl), date of birth (15th of August 1997) and current school year (Year 13), as well as hair, eye and skin colour. For the last three, I didn’t know why she couldn’t just look at me and see that I had ginger hair, green eyes and very pale German skin. I was sat opposite her. She wouldn’t even have had to move her head.

Although I wanted to, I didn’t say any of this to her. It probably wouldn’t have been the done thing. I simply went along with the ridiculous charade, right up until when she ordered me to stand up and strip down. I looked at her to make sure I’d heard her right, but she merely smiled and asked me to strip down to my underwear again. My brain had previously been simmering away, not needing to think, but it suddenly began whirring. A thousand suspicions rose, and questions lined themselves up in my head. Before I could ask any, she asked me one.

“If you’re uncomfortable, we can do this later. But it needs to be done.”

If my suspicions had been a living entity, they would have been bouncing off the walls in panic, but I agreed to get this over with now. If it was going to have to happen, there was no point in putting it off. My mind screamed at me as I stood. I kept one eye on her at all times as I did what I was told, draping each piece of clothing over the back of my chair. She wanted to take my measurements, a fact she had neglected to tell me when she had asked me to take my clothes off. I doubt it would have put my mind at rest, but it might have been nice to know.

Armed with a tape measure, she recorded my measurements, ranging from my overall height, (183.6 centimetres) to my weight (67.5 kilograms). My mind started to wander when she measured across my chest. My head turned towards the door, towards where, if I had been outside, I would have been able to see that wonderful view again. I started dreaming about what it would look like if the colours had all been reversed. I had stumbled across an extremely talented painter who had the ability to be able to paint in negatives. The original painting was often hard to make out, but as soon as the colours were reversed, a detailed portrait would appear. I was desperate to do something like this. I wanted to know what it felt like to have that skill. To look at black and see white, to look at blue and see yellow. My artistic skill often goes through phases like this, and, when I am stuck in one, I get obsessed over everything about it. I had been introduced to pointillism which had sparked a two-month-long fixation on being able to learn how to do pointillism, the techniques, the materials. After those two months though the novelty wore of and I reverted back to my oil paints. But while she was wrapping a tape measure around every piece of flesh she could find, my mind was on the negatives artist, Brian Lai. If he had painted that view outside, what would it have looked like originally? Would the greens have been bright reds, the greyish white of the clouds a greyish black?

I was shocked back into the real world by the sound of Miss Rosenhan’s voice. She was curling the tape measure around one of my upper arms, the act of which aroused my suspicions again, and she had asked me… something. I did not reply, so she asked me again.

“How do you get along with other people?”

I looked her in the eye as she removed the tape measure from my arm, “I don’t.”

“I hear your childhood was a very isolated experience.”

“Only if you knew company beforehand.”

Curling it around my thigh, and making me very uncomfortable, she asked what I meant.

I couldn’t supress my sigh of impatience, “How is one to know isolation if one doesn’t know company? You can’t have one without the other.”

Clearly, she didn’t understand. The smile she gave me, warm and kind, told me so. She invited me to sit down, which I did after hastily re-dressing myself. She tried to initiate a comfortable silence as we sat there, her looking at me and me remembering only the closeness of another living thing to myself. I did not know her. I studied her as we sat there, tracing her face, her features, with my eyes, noting her high cheekbones, slender and soft jawline, the marks of mascara around her eyes and the thinness of her lips that she had tried to disguise with lipstick. I find looking at someone as an artist much more calming than looking at someone as a person. It removes the need for social interaction, as they are there to sit, and I am there to paint. Logging away the structure of a face is natural for me, as I have done it so many times before. I saw how the lines around her mouth affected her cheeks. I saw how shallow the lines were on her face, but noted the attempts she had taken to hide other lines which I could clearly see around her eyes, between her eyebrows and on her neck. Her eyes were slightly slanted at the outer edges, emphasized by her make-up, but her eyelashes were short despite the mascara. I deduced within seconds that she was in her late thirties at least.

She broke the silence with another question. Whether she had noticed me studying her or not I could not tell. “How are you at school? We’ve got here that you have had certain problems at times, especially recently. I’d like you to tell me about them.”

That was a soft but firm command, and I couldn’t disobey. Still, I took a few moments to think about it before I reluctantly answered. She was in perfect control of me.

“It’s not my fault,” I said slowly. “It’s them not believing me. I felt the Devil touch me.”

She didn’t react with surprise or concern, “What did the devil do, Rüdiger?”

I felt like a child. A stupid child with an overactive imagination who, even after growing up, is still afraid of the monster in his cupboard. All because he believes that the monster exists, because he gives it power and allows him to control him through fear. I am the stupid child. She made me feel 8, not 18. Her eyes, the kindness in them, patronised me and I began disliking her more.