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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Side Project: Letters From Imaginary Characters - Henry

I've got voices in my head. A lot of them.

Sometimes they tell me to burn things.

It's okay tho'... I'm writer.

Apparently in my profession it's entirely encouraged to have imaginary people speak to you or, better yet, through you.

So the concept of my side project is -- whenever they're yelling loud enough -- to give them a bit of space to breathe.

They'll get about a page or so to write an entry and get whatever it is off their minds and out there into the world.

So, first up -- as, well, he's the loudest -- is Henry.


I lie in bed, watching the shapes drift above me.

It’s been dark now for hours, the clock says 3am but I’ve trained myself to not notice. Every ounce of my being focused on the sliver of space between my eyelids; Keeping that perfect balance that allows me to see them.

My Ophthalmologist told me they’re 'just floaters’; Specks of protein ‘floating’ in the vitreous humour of my eye. He was rational and straight forward. He was certain. He knew.

Yet here I lie, in the dark, eyes straining against the abyss, watching translucent horrors dance above me; swimming in the ink like pond water beneath my microscope.

And yes, for the record, I’ve considered the fact that I'm losing my mind.

Annie hadn’t been buried more than a few weeks when I first noticed them -- the night terrors had left me cocooned in our quilt, sweating and whimpering in the silence of our condo.

Through my tears I stared into the darkness above, begging 'God' or 'Allah' or Quantum Physics to make it right. To take me to Heaven or Nirvana or wherever Muslims go.

To be back with her. To go where she went.

But my soul, like my body, remained inert.

Off in the corner of my eye a flicker of movement grabbed my attention. Staring, focusing, my eyes beheld one form and then another; Soon, like a starfield of evil, a host of diaphanous creatures overtook the sky above me.

Some with tendrils and savage spikes, or eyes on stalks or mouths with lancets, I watched them glide above me, silent as a ghost’s whisper – each one different and yet somehow the same; co-existing inside this… ecosystem… above my bed.

Silence overwhelmed me then as lay there mesmerized by their dance.

Oh, I tried to rationalize it. My consciousness clawed inside me, bringing up every mote of pseudo-psychotherapy I'd ever ingested; I was dreaming; I was projecting.

Somehow this was all a product of my unconscious desire… some internal need for a break from reality.

But dreams they were not. And even if they were... it would be a blessing. For my dreams were not dreams. Not anymore. Now twisted and gnarled into the most pitiable and vengeful of sights; Visions that seared me to my core, revealing a pain unlike any I'd ever felt.

Yes, the problem was that my dreams had become all too real.

In them I’d see her: Healthy. Svelte. Long, dark hair full and shimmering, draped over mocha shoulders, warm skin pressed against my own. My heart would pound, struggling, trapped. Her perfume -- long before it would be used to hide the stench of her sores -- threatened to bind me, to hold me down, to drown me.

Every night it was more torture than I could bear, each glance or kiss a jagged shard through my very being.

Yet there was no escape, night after night I discovered that ticklish spot on her thigh or made love on my father's floating dock. Or shared our first chicken curry and remembered the way it –-

No. Awake. Here.

Eyes open.

This... is better.

These things, these ethereal monstrosities -- whatever they are -- instill in me a sense of solace. Of purpose.

I watch them in peace.

Like a fishbowl of nightmares above me, their existence is a reminder that there is more out there than what I know.

And somehow that gives me hope.

I will find you, Annie.

Out there.

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