There were only a couple of sickly golden lights in the distance, several miles from the house I was staying. Up here in the foothills of The Applachians, neigbhors were sparse. The coal black sky was filled with stars though, and a ghastly pale moon.
I wished for a cigarette, years after quitting, years after feeling any desire for them. My hands were jittery, my mind fillled with an agiated bedlam. A cigarette with it’s harsh pleasure and rote action would distract from that.
It was late summer, the begining of September. Summer was still hot and humid and the wetness of the air made you sweat even still, even in the night. But there was already a harshness in the warmth that signaling the coming autumn and winter. Things would die off, and the dead season would come. But no respite or sleep would come with it.
I came in from the night, closed the door behind me, sat in the too bright room with it’s garish, ’70s era wallpaper and paneling, the rundown, cigarette burned furniture, the inane blanting of the radio.
On said radio a preacher was talking about the end times and Jesus coming back and the glorious elect been given their heavenly reward. I had it on, because even though I had no faith in a greater, supernatural power, and no love for anger, it soothed me to hear another human’s voice.
I sat in a hard easy chair, watching the ceiling fan spin and spin, the light chasing thin shadows on the peeling white ceiling.
I fell asleep, knowing it was coming.
I saw her again. In a sundress, standing in a meadow, the soft, warm sunlight flitting through her long, black hair as the wind blew around her. She was looking away from me, down at the ground, but I could see the sad look in her blue eyes I knew so well. The madness that would eventually take her, the madness that I would make my own.
Her arms were crossed over her chest, like she was hugging herself. My heart ached to reach her, to hold her again, to feel her warmth, her softness, to smell the strawberry scented shampoo in her hair and the lilac smell of her skin. I ached to kiss those lips and tell her it was all going to be alright and perfect again.
I never make it to her. It can’t be better again. She is already gone.
It is then I awaken, feeling a gauging shock in my brain. I cry out and my muscles jerk at once and I’m out of the chair and flung by my own body onto the floor. I cry out in aguish, as the thing in my brain is rooting around trying to find where I’ve hidden her soul inside my mind, so they can take her from me forever.
I close my eyes tight, my fists clenched against the sides of my head, as I regroup to fight off the demons that have come for her, the things that drove her to take her own life and leave us all behind. The demons that destroyed her will not turn loose, even after death.
I make it onto my knees, screaming my throat raw as I focus my energy to fight back against the demons, to keep them away from her, to not let them take her to damnation. The demons fight back and dig into my mind and thoughts like an Eagle digging into the flesh of it’s living prey. I am in tears and even my muscles and very skin is on fire as I fight them off, a duel of wills in the dead of night.
Finally, they are pushed back for a moment, their high shreaking squeels fading out as I lay exhausted on the floor, sobbing and bodily wiped out, my mind a hive of static and noise and fire. I weep for a long time.
At some point, I fall asleep, and I fade in and out of conciousness and dreams, between the waking and the dreaming, between the living and the dead.
She is there, still sad eyed and distant, still in her sundress. She is laying upon her side, looking at me, her head on her folded hands. She is crying. She is sorry and hurting. I try to tell her, not that it’s okay, but that I lover, and will always love her, and that I will find away for all these things to turn loose of her, and that she’ll walk in golden fields one day.
Again, we are in the meadow. The wind is a warm wind of early June, and everything is green and alive and all the birds and creatures are singing. We are drinking wine, sitting on a blanket. I ache to her hear voice again, that girlish, lilting laugh she had.
In this dream, or vision, or wish, I put my hands upon hers, and lean forward and kiss her cheek, which is soft and tastes of salt.
There is water flowing. A clear creek clear and silver and cold. If she could only drink that water now.
It’s the edge of dawn. My breath is ragged and I’m out of breath and my muscles ache and my head pounds like the fist of God upon the world. My eyes and tired and red and sore. My heart is squeezed inside a vice.
I feel her light though, in that secret place for her I keep safe, keep so her light will not go out. It soft and warm and only a pinprick in the darkness. It’s all I need to keep fighting. I hear a song in the wind of her voice.
I crawl to the flat, hard and uncomofortable couch to sleep. I pull the smoke stained throw pillow over my face. Sleep, for what rest I can find will be sorely needed. They keep coming and coming for her. I cannot find the clear and silver water for her. I cannot yet send her to golden fields, where those demons can never touch her again.
In the depths of my mind, where I keep her safe, her star’s binary light flashes out:
“I love you. I’m sorry.”
“Some are born into sweet delight. Some are born into endless night.”—William Blake