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The Anti-Delphian- Part One
The Anti-Delphian- Part One
By Tony DeLorger © 2011
The alarm buzzer launched into a zealous, somewhat venomous attack. Its piercing, monotonic sound dragged Anton from the depth of slumber and he instinctively swiped at the snooze button. After several clumsy attempts he connected, and silence once again pervaded the morning.
‘Shit,’ he slurred, rolling over and grunting from the physical expense of the manoeuvre. Finally, as a sense of presence overcame his mental lethargy, Anton half-opened one eye and begrudgingly lifted his head from the pillow, glancing across the room and out of the window. The day stared back with a definite air of disapproval and as his head fell back into the pillow he drew his legs up into a foetal position, unwilling to face anything. Then the phone sealed it, tipped the balance and dragged his muddled thoughts into the stark hard light.
Remaining on his back for a moment, he listened to the beckoning phone and hoped that it would simply stop, but no. It just kept ringing and ringing, so he rolled off the bed into a half-standing position and stumbled toward the hall, none too elegantly.
He fumbled blindly and loosely grasped the phone. ‘Hello?’ he said in a slight voice.
‘It’s ten o’clock, sleepy head.’
‘Oh, hi Rache….Yeah, must have slept in again.’
‘I’m up now though,’ he said, trying to sound brighter and appease.
‘It doesn’t sound much like it.’
‘Ya coming over?’ asked Anton, trying to change the subject, and sound more coherent.
‘We still going shopping?’
‘Cause we are.’
‘Then I’m over in ten.’
‘OK. See ya then.’
Anton hung up the phone and yawned listlessly, surveying his flat with a look of contempt. By himself, Anton was not the best housekeeper, and especially when he was in one of his moods, it was the last consideration. Still, Rachel was on her way over and her view of Anton’s environment was a little different.
He quickly circled the flat with several low passes, picking up lone socks, jeans, CD’s and opened magazines. He fluffed pillows, straightened cushions and collected plates and drink glasses from the coffee-table, spreading them evenly in cupboards, sink and laundry. Rushing to the bathroom, he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the mirror and suddenly stopped dead. He poked inquisitively at his face.
‘Hell,’ he muttered, rubbing his hand across a three-day growth. His eyes penetrated his being, searching for some recognition in the reflection; it was as if someone else stood there, peering back at him. Lately, his features were becoming less and less familiar and this odd feeling was robbing him of his own security.
‘I got to snap out of this,’ he said sternly, reaching for the shaver. Anton tried to ignore himself and went about shaving.
He was a wiry individual, slender but well proportioned. With dark hair and rather piercing blue eyes, he’d never had trouble attracting women, but especially in his earlier years, he’d spent just as much time getting rid of them as gaining them. He captivated the opposite sex; it was his gentleness and sensitivity that were the draw-card. However, these women offered little to Anton- a void within him never being filled.
Rachel on the other hand, had been a Godsend, a light in the darkness of his questioning. She somehow understood him and cared, but now even she was fading into the background and Anton felt more and more lost within his own state of existence. He’d become far too preoccupied with himself and those strange feelings of precognition.
It started harmlessly enough when he was young, with what he thought were pure coincidences. However, in the past twelve months these flashes of ‘pure coincidence’ were happening four or five times a day, and what was worse they were being realized in the physical world with finely detailed accuracy.
After a quick shower and throwing on a semi-clean pair of jeans, Anton brushed his hair and found a clean T-shirt to at least look half-presentable. He’d put the kettle on and was getting a mug from the cupboard when he heard a familiar knock at the door. Rachel was always on time, something that Anton could never achieve.
With a half-hearted attempt at closing the cupboard door, Anton raced to the front door and flung it open, racing straight back to the kitchen to turn off the now whistling kettle.
‘Shit!’ spat Anton, as he removed the overfilled kettle from its electrical connection. ‘Damned switch keeps sticking.’
He turned around to see Rachel standing there all puckered up and feigning the warm embrace from which she’d been deprived.
‘Oh, sorry,’ he said. ‘I’m having a morning.’
He raced over and gave her a lasting kiss after which she groaned with a hint of forgiveness.
‘Better,’ she assessed, with a mischievous grin. ‘So, you ready?’
Anton gave her a bear like hug followed by a child-like expression. ‘Can I have coffee first?’
‘Go on then,’ she replied reluctantly, heading for the lounge and grabbing a magazine from the coffee-table on the way.
Anton infused himself with the black, life-giving liquid, and by the end of it felt awake enough to greet the world on its terms. So without saying a word, he grabbed Rachel by the hand and they were off.
Rachel bounced along by his side, happy just to be with him and trying not to think of Anton’s ongoing mental problems. She was always open to a ‘deep and meaningful’ but it was fast getting to the point of boredom.
She was a beautiful girl, slim but well-rounded with a pretty face and straight long blonde hair. Always faultlessly dressed, on time and forever in control, she was like a beacon of hope to Anton, who could well have been thought her diametrically opposed twin. His dress ranged up to acceptable, he was never on time and as far as being in control, well…he had written it down as a long-term goal. Nobody’s perfect.
Not much later Anton suddenly felt that oppressing feeling in his head again, and winced a little. A few intermittent flashes of light came from passers-by, and if he focused, the lights would grow larger until they consumed the person entirely. Anton tried to ignore them and the feelings that would slowly overcome him if he let them.
‘Where do you want to go?’ he asked, trying to rise above the feelings and maintain normality.
‘Markets, I think. I want to buy a handbag for that charity night next week.’
‘Fine,’ he replied.
As they turned and stepped onto a pedestrian crossing, Anton felt a blinding pain in his head that had him hunched over where he stood.
‘What’s wrong?’ cried Rachel worriedly, trying to support his weight.
Anton was writhing with the pain and unable to speak. He clutched at his chest and groaned, a bright light now blinding him.
‘My God! Someone help us!’ Rachel shouted, as Anton fell to his knees on the road, one hand clutching at his clothes over his chest. The traffic lights had now changed and a crowd gathered around, blocking one traffic lane. Cars were beeping and trying desperately to drive around the blockage.
From within this blinding white light, Anton suddenly saw a middle-aged woman waiting at a crossing. She was wearing a pale blue floral dress and was red in the face, perspiration trickling down her cheeks. Without warning she twitched and dropped to the gutter, her eyes wide and in shock at first, and then lifeless.
‘No!’ shrieked Anton, as his mind instantly freed itself from the pain and returned to the present.
‘Anton, are you right?’ asked Rachel, close to panic. Anton rolled back on to his haunches and looked up.
‘I think I am,’ he replied, disoriented.
Rachel crouched down, reached over and placed her hand over his chest. ‘Is it your heart?’
Anton rubbed his chest tentatively. ‘I don’t think so.’
A moment later a siren echoed in the street. Someone had the presence of mind to call an ambulance, the station only a block away. As it approached Rachel helped Anton to his feet, expecting the ambulance to pull over, but it didn’t and flew past them at great speed. A few bystanders chased it, screaming and waving their arms about. It simply disappeared around the corner, the unnerving whine of the siren eventually swallowed up by the noisy city streets.
Rachel looked at Anton, horrified.
‘I’m all right. Really.’ he said.
He looked at the crowd around him with a forced, embarrassed smile. ‘I’ll be fine. Thank you. Just need to get home. Excuse me,’ he said, rather flustered, stepping back onto the footpath.
The crowd slowly dispersed, just as confused as Rachel was.
‘I don’t understand,’ she said. ‘I thought you were having a… heart attack.’
‘So did I,’ Anton replied. ‘But it just stopped, just like that.’
Rachel helped Anton walk slowly back to the flat and then eased him down on the couch to rest. She sat on its edge, placed an extra pillow behind his head and caressed his forehead, not understanding what had happened. Instinctively, she took his wrist and felt for his pulse. It was strong and steady.
‘God, you’re as fit as anyone, I don’t get it,’ she muttered.
Anton hesitantly looked up at her, not wanting to tell the truth. ‘It was another vision,’ he said, rather gingerly.
‘A vision? Visions don’t give you heart attacks!’ she replied, with a tinge of anger.
Anton swallowed and looked down. ‘I’ve never had that before…it was real pain. I felt it completely.’
‘That was obvious, but why?’ replied Rachel, her nerves getting the better of her.
Anton looked up at her confused expression. ‘I honestly don’t know, Rache.’
Rachel leant forward and cradled her head with both hands for a long moment, the experience having obviously overwhelmed her.
‘I’m sorry, Babe. I’ve got no control over this. Honest,’ added Anton.
‘I don’t know. I’m not sure I can deal with this right now. I just want a normal life, Anton… that’s all,’ Rachel explained.
‘You’re OK now, so I’m going to go home and you can get some rest. I’ll call you tomorrow, I promise.’
Rachel rose to her feet and bent over and kissed Anton on the forehead, then grabbed her bag and hurriedly left the flat. Anton just sat there, not knowing what to say. These experiences weren’t much fun for him either, and this latest episode with pain was hardly something he would do intentionally. Why was this happening? He’d done nothing that he knew of to bring on any of this, and didn’t need to further complicate his life.
Anton thought it best to try to forget what had happened, so he closed his eyes and moments later fell fast asleep, exhausted from the ordeal.
Some hours passed and he awoke to find the day all but gone and the sun already set with the loungeroom in virtual darkness. He yawned, turned on a side lamp then reached for the remote on the coffee-table and turned on the TV.
‘And now the news… A woman’s life was miraculously saved today when an ambulance overshot the call-out address and arrived just after the woman had collapsed at the corner of Beaumont and Bryant Streets, city. In her midfifties, Marie Tiler suffered a massive heart attack and without the paramedic’s immediate response, would certainly have died. She is now in a serious but stable condition in Royal Adelaide Hospital.
A second ambulance called out to address the original call, found no-one at the scene and paramedics commented that it must have been Mrs Tiler’s lucky day.’
Anton sat up on the couch, staring at the TV with his mouth gaping, looking at the woman he’d seen in his vision being placed on to a stretcher and into an ambulance. His mind was muddled with thoughts all coming to him at once. How did that happen? Why did it happen? And, why him, what did he have to do with this woman?
There were no answers to the questions- they just promoted more questions. Anton lay back down on the couch and held his hands up, turning them over and studying them. Again they seemed hardly recognisable, strangely unfamiliar. That odd disoriented feeling was with him nearly all the time now. It felt like his eyes were in the back of his head, like having a temperature or the flu. Strange thoughts would just pop into his head, thoughts that were illogical and fantastic.
The previous night he’d got out of bed to go to the toilet and found himself floating down the hallway. He looked down and saw that his legs were walking, but his feet weren’t touching the ground. When he arrived at the bathroom and switched on the light he was standing on the cold tiles, so he rubbed his face, thinking that he was dreaming. The previous week he was lying in bed looking up at the ceiling when something hit him on the forehead. He turned the sidelight on and found a heavy silver ring on the blankets next to him. It was intricately carved with a blue stone at its centre. He looked up to the ceiling and could in no way fathom the possibility, so he placed the ring into the drawer of his bedside table and deliberately hadn’t looked at it since.
Anton was fast deciding that he was losing his mind. How could he talk to Rachel about this? She’d just about had enough to begin with and if she learnt what else he was experiencing, she’d be off for sure.
Anton rolled over on the couch and closed his eyes, trying to escape the monotony of his questioning, but to no avail. He scratched his face and momentarily looked at his hand. At the tips of his fingers he noticed luminescent blue spots of light, with touches of gold-like sparks around them. As he focused the blue increased until it haloed his entire hand, the little flashes of gold radiating out like little bursts of energy. He studied it with increased curiosity, noting how the colours rippled and moved with life. From his hand his eyes moved around the room and suddenly he noticed the doorjamb seemed like it was moving. He sat up and realised that streams of energy were moving along its surface, like billions of ants streaming from a hive. He saw similarly on the walls, with energy rippling across the surface and collecting in the corners, some energy moving faster than others. Looking around him he saw movement in everything, on every surface, streaming relentlessly with unlimited power. He saw that shapes determined how the energy moved and at what speed and the ground was like the receptor and power behind the surges. It was his body alone that emanated that blue and gold, so distinctive amid the rest.
Suddenly the sensory overload sent him into a panic and with a jolt this vision simply disappeared and Anton sat there shaking like a leaf, as if someone had just scared the hell out of him.
He leant back and closed his eyes. ‘What the fuck is going on?’ he said, feeling so open and vulnerable. ‘I’m losing it. I’m definitely losing it.’
The following morning Anton woke up early and uncharacteristically shaved and showered. There was something wrong with him and before all of this got out of hand, he was going to see someone about it.
Dave, one of Anton’s schoolmates had been seeing a psychiatrist over his marriage break up, and Anton figured that was as good a place to start as any. He phoned Dave, got the number and made an emergency appointment. It was across town so Anton called a cab and waited downstairs for it to arrive.
No more than a few minutes later Anton’s cab arrived.
‘Where to, Sunshine?’ asked the cab driver, as Anton climbed in the back seat.
‘South Terrace, east-end, thanks,’ replied Anton, obviously preoccupied.
‘You’re the boss.’
The cab made its way into the morning traffic and Anton just sat there starring out of the window, wondering what a professional would make of his rather odd experiences. The cabbie kept looking at him through the rear vision mirror, perhaps looking for an opportunity to start a conversation, but Anton was obviously lost in thought, so the driver kept quiet.
Anton let his head fall back to rest on the seat and closed his eyes for a moment, trying to calm his nerves when that familiar flash of light blinded him and he tensed up, almost rigid.
A vision began to take form and he saw the cab driver let him off from a separate vantage-point. He then moved on to his next pick up. It was as if Anton was in the back of the cab, when another fare climbed into the front seat.
‘Parklands’ replied the man. ‘South-east, last entrance road before Fullarton.’
‘You’re the boss,’ said the driver.
Some time later as the cab rolled into the isolated park, the man turned to the driver.
‘Just stop over there, next to that toilet block,’ he said.
As the car halted, the passenger quickly looked around then pulled a wire from his coat pocket and quickly but calmly wrapped it around the cab driver’s neck. The driver, in complete shock, gasped for breath as the man drew the wire tighter and tighter. At first the driver tried to pull the wire away from his neck and then he tried to attack his assailant, but the man’s leather-clad hands were like two clamps pulling harder and harder on the looped wire. The driver was weakening as the wire began to cut into his neck. Then suddenly his jugular began to pump out blood by the litre and the driver finally went limp, starring vacantly into the air.
The man waited a moment to make sure the cabbie was dead, then wiped the wire on the cab drivers shirt and removed what money there was in the leather bag by the driver’s seat. He switched off the ignition, and then silently disappeared into the park.
Anton returned to reality with a jolt. ‘Shit!’ he gasped.
‘What?’ spat the cabbie, taken by surprise.
Anton sat up, wide-eyed and frightened. ‘You going home after this?’ he snapped.
The driver looked in the rear vision mirror studying Anton’s rather panicked expression.
‘I just started my shift,’ he replied.
‘Look, I think you should go home. There’s some loony out there.’
‘Mate there’s always a loony out there. Comes with the territory,’ added the driver.
‘That’ll be eight fifty, thanks.’
Anton realised the cab had stopped outside his destination and he clumsily pulled out a ten-dollar note. ‘Keep the change. And just don’t take anybody into the parklands, OK?’
‘You’re the boss. Have a nice day.’
Anton got out of the cab shaken, and watched the car slowly turn the corner and disappear out of sight.
‘Fuckin loony’s everywhere all right,’ said the driver with a grin, as he sped off to his next fare.
Anton pulled himself together and made his way into the reception area. It was a plush space with modern leather lounges and trendy original paintings on the walls. The receptionist greeted him with a bland, emotionless smile. He announced himself and was asked to sit down and wait for Dr Melville.
‘Gotta get it together,’ thought Anton, wiping the perspiration from his face. ‘They’ll lock me up for certain.’
Ten minutes later, a grey-haired doctor appeared. ‘Mr Mellish, this way please.’
Anton gave the man a pained smile and followed him into his office, thankful that he’d had time to at least calm down from the cab ride.
‘Please sit down, Anton...is it? How can I help you?’
Anton sat on a leather armchair and looked around the room nervously, while the doctor sat at his desk and retrieved a pad and pen. He then slowly walked over and sat in a leather chair opposite Anton, crossing his legs and placing his pen with the pad on his lap. He looked at Anton with an expression of ambivalent enquiry.
‘I…I don’t know where to start,’ Anton began.
‘Well, you felt a need to make an urgent appointment. Perhaps you should start with what prompted that.’
Anton rubbed his face, searching for the words. ‘I’ve been having these…well, visions.’
‘Go on,’ replied the doctor, picking up his pen in anticipation.
‘I see lights around people and I know what they’re thinking.’
‘Mm does this happen often?’ asked the doctor.
‘Over the past year, its increased…almost constant now.’
‘Tell me about the visions,’ asked the doctor, busily scribbling away.
‘I see events before they happen, people being hurt. I sometimes feel their pain.’
The doctor looked up and studied Anton’s face. ‘What do you do for a living, Anton?’
‘Nothing at the moment. I received an inheritance from my father’s estate some years back. I’m financially secure.’
‘So, what do you do with yourself?’ asked the doctor.
‘Music, I love music. I collect, listen…you know.’
‘Tell me about your parents.’
‘Mum died when I was young, I don’t remember much. Dad died in a car accident about five years ago. I guess I’ve become a loner since,’ said Anton, now examining his own answers and suddenly feeling a little uncomfortable.
‘You seem nervous. Why is that?’ asked the doctor, his expression remaining neutral.
‘I’m not sure I like digging up things,’ replied Anton. ‘You’re going to tell me that I never got over my father’s death or not having a mother has given me some neuroses.’
‘I didn’t say that. Why are you feeling aggressive? I’m here to help you,’ said the doctor.
‘You know sometimes the mind can play tricks on us, and we’re not the slightest bit aware of it.’
‘You’re saying that these visions are hallucinations, aren’t you?
‘It’s not uncommon Anton, to experience this kind of visual experience. It’s like your subconscious mind enacting a dream to deal with something. Sometimes a traumatic experience can cause the mind to create a ‘dream’ if you like, in a conscious state…like a vision.’
‘Do visions then come true for everyone? ‘Cause mine do,’ added Anton, feeling agitated.
‘Anton, our views of reality can sometimes become distorted. What you see as real may in fact be manufactured. The brain is a complicated instrument.’
‘You’re not getting it. I saw a woman have a heart attack and the ambulance they called for me saved her life. It was on the bloody news. This is not my imagination!'
The doctor felt it wise to curb Anton’s increasing agitation.
‘Look Anton, this was a short appointment and we’ve little time today. I’m going to prescribe you something. I think it will offer some immediate relief.’
Anton stood up, glaring down at the doctor.
‘I don’t need bloody drugs. I want to know why this is happening to me,’ he demanded.
‘And that’s what we’ll do…in therapy. We need to address these problems, in detail.’
‘My problem is that you aren’t listening. My visions are real- they’re true…they actually come true. I know what people are going to do before they do it. I’m seeing death, murder, and heart attacks. I’m no fucking fruitloop! I don’t need drugs to calm down I need to know why this is happening!’ Anton closed his eyes with frustration; it was obvious that he and this doctor were on different wavelengths.
‘Oh, just forget it!’ he finished and stormed out of the doctor’s rooms.
‘But I can help you,’ pleaded the doctor, following him. Anton simply walked through the reception area and out the door, emotional pleas fading behind him.
He walked for over an hour before he calmed down enough to catch a bus back home. He wasn’t going to chance it with another cab. He just didn’t want to know.
Whatever was happening, psychiatry wasn’t the answer and no doctor was going to give him some bullshit about his relationships with his parents being the cause of it. Whatever this was, he would have to deal with it another way.