There is a darkness that lives.
At the edge of this town,small and forgotten it lives there.
It probably has always been there. Centuries and millenia back in time,before Humans
even, when strange creatures flew over the Earth.
Everyone in our town knows of it but like anything else,some can feel it while for others,
there is only a vestigal awareness.A tingling or a once in awhile shiver.
My Mama always said it was someone walking over your grave...when she saw it happen
to me.A quick,hard shiver, convulsing the head and shoulders.
Someone just walked over your grave,she would say.
I know where my grave will be...in the cemetary,of course,at the edge of town.
With the darkness of course, where else would it be.
There are creatures that live there.I have seen them before...I think of them as animals of sorts.
They have never harmed me perhaps because I am tainted. They survey you with cold eyes
when they see you. Like an ape or a tiger at the zoo looks at you.
They live in the fog or manifest themselves out of the fog. A crystalline mist which gradually
begins to shimmer and then suddenly you can see them.They breathe the fog and you can watch it go into their bodies,replenishing them.
I find it to be quite beautiful.
Perhaps it is my eyes-that I am capable of seeing things that others can't. There are times when I go to a tavern or pub where I meet women and they talk to me and sometimes
they tell me that my eyes are quite remarkable. Quite remarkable...those are the exact
words one woman used. She said she could see things in my eyes.
But she wouldn't tell me what she saw there.
I have been to the darkness many times living next to it as I do.Sometimes I just go to my porch and look down the dim road at it. There are no street lights here. I live far enogh away from the town that we do get such amenities.
Other times I walk down the cracked asphalt road into it.
In the Summer,without snow,you can barely see at all unless the Moon is sharing it's light.
The darkness is cool.
If you part it with your hands at the end of a hot day, you can feel the heat of the road for an
instant and then the coolness moves over it and chills your body again.
If you stray from the road and actually go into the brush,the bush we used to call it,where the
plants and trees are...well, then you are truly in it. A canopy of tree growth is your ceiling
and the sky can be barely glimpsed.
In the daylight,you can see pathways of sorts and if you explore and go deep into the woods,
you will find clearings and even remnants of campfires though I know of no one in this place
that would go so deep at night.Not even me.People in this town respect the woods.
When I was a young man,I went across the globe to fight in a forgotten war and I found the
darkness there.We would crawl into it and wait. At times,slithering quiet and deadly like
venomous snakes, we would hunt our prey in wet silence.
In the jungle,the bush.... That's what we called it-the bush.
Over time, the darkness and I began to become intimate.It seduced me slowly so that I was
never quite sure of it's intentions.It covered and hid me and began to tell me secrets of Life
and Love.I learned many things, mostly about my buddies,the boys I killed with.
Of course the girl I loved, far away, I learned about her too.
She had the most expressive eyes you would ever see and her lips...
Even now, so many years later...if I remember kissing her I will begin to weep.
So I can't do that.
I can't allow that anymore.
My doctor is quite specific about some things and that is one of them.
But the darkness began to love me...tender at first,in hidden ways so no one would ever know.
No marks upon my body...no vacuuous stares of infatuation but in my mind I could feel its touch.
As my stay lengthened and my war continued,our love flourished with more intensity,growing fast and wild...taking me to places...visions,the doctors call it.Other word too but for me they were always actual places.
I went there.
Episodes...what is that?
Like a piece of a story maybe. A chapter I guess.
I only know that the darkness and I became lovers.and I have never known such a love.
My body spasmed so I would have to bury my face in the dirt to muffle my cries.
We coupled in long wet swooshes of power and rage.
My eruptions would last for hours.
In the end,I was never sure I would actually come out of the bush after I went in.
I never could really pin down what would happen to me in there-not talking about being killed.
I was so far beyond that,evolved into a different plane that death had no meaning for me.
Even when others died. I only looked on with a soft incomprehension.
I sometimes did reckless things during fire fights.
Stood up and screamed while blasting my weapon at a tree line.
Sexually aroused,my body would often release itself at such times. Repeatedly.
Maybe I felt that I would become part of the darkness-maybe the jungle itself.
That when morning came and they went to search for me,they would only find my weapon and my supplies.maybe my helmet.
And where I had lain... so patient and quiet like a spent lover only a knarled tree root would be there on the jungle floor. My body gone to a different place...just...away. Gone forever...
My doctor is so patient with me. She is a woman filled with love.I can feel it.
Like I said...sometimes I can be very sensitive to things that others don't notice.
Like myself...she has no mate, no one to love her in a special way
She wants so badly to help me.
And there are times during our little chats when her eyes seem to go away...somewhere and she becomes lost in another world.When this happens, I stop talking and look at her while
stares at me transfixed,hypnotized as if I am telling the most fascinating story that she ever heard. But of course I'm talking about nothing. Maybe how I have been sleeping or if I'm
having any dreams or the last time I had sex. My bowel movements...anything.
Tonight I did not go to the darkness.
I merely sat on my porch and drank a bottle of beer and smoked some cigarettes.
I turned off all the lights in my small home and waited.
The cicadas in the trees around me buzzed an incessant sound of need which seemed to rise
in volume for the hours that I sat there.
I stared for the longest time across my yard and across the road into a field that I could not see. Only dark there.Nothing to see at all.
The Moon was only a pale wisp of muted ivory on clouds high in the sky.
I stared only into blackness never even turning my head to look down the road.
I sensed the darkness moving, coming closer but I didn't care because in the field I could see
long forgotten parts of my life-little scenes blurred at the edges.
Grainy color with no sound I watched snippets of my life-mostly pleasant.
I saw my Mama and my girl,the jungle and the war,school and childhood,dead people and live ones too,of course.
After awhile the cicadas stopped. Only the still night air remained.
In one instant,there was suddenly no more sound.
I knew then that the darkness had completely surrounded my house.
Eventually I went to bed.
Giving the darkness it's life I used no lights but found my way around furniture and down the
hall to my bedroom using only my hands as guides.
Like a blind person.
At my bed,I stripped naked and lowered myself softly to its' comforts
I slept for awhile and awoke suddenly with sweat on my chest and the pillow damp with it.
I propped myself against the headboard and looked around seeing nothing but dark.
I heard the slightest scrape of a fingernail on the wood of my door and looked there.
Again I could see nothing just blackness-the absence of vision.
Or could I?
I wondered if the creatures were there and if they had come for me.
I wondered how they would use me.
If they would love me the way I had once been loved.
I heard my throat make a noise-some kind of noise and I knew I was smiling.
The time was close.
Soon...it would happen soon.
I thought of my doctor, dear woman and what she would say to me if she were there.
"What do you see"? she would ask.
And I would answer,"Why nothing at all silly doctor.There is no light to see anything at all.
I could actually hear the soft sound of the door opening and my last thought,my very last thought...the final one before I left this world and went to another
...was of my doctor and if she were here with me...
Right this moment.
Would she look into my eyes...
And if she did, what would she see there?
What could she possibly see?