This story is a dedication for Totidem Verbis.
I love her stories and the last one shot she wrote inspired me to do so. So this goes out to you :)
"It's impossible, we can't be the only ones. So many movies, countless words on paper describing other worlds, other creatures. Ghosts, apparitions to some, demons to others."
My friend wrinkled hernose and rolled her eyes putting down her phone.
"What is it now? A dream, a book you read, a movie?" I knew it by the tone of her voice she did not agree to the gloomy side of my writing. Or the fiction in it maybe? Who knew at this point in time.
"It's just something that came to me one morning over coffee."
My mind slipped back to the times I have so vividly entrapped in my head. Quickly interrupted, my eyes darted to her and she tapped the lighter on the glass coffee terrace table.
"Look, you're a good writer, brilliant at times, you can come up with stories out of thin air, but I don't think demons are something the readers want."
She frowned as I raised the glass of whiskey and pushed it to my lips while holding my breath. My forehead creased as the disgust crawled up my skin. It made me feel sick to my stomach in an instant.
"What are you doing? You hate whiskey."
"Experimenting." My eyes averted from her suspicious gaze.
"At 11 in the morning?" true to her look, her voice signaled the same thing I dreaded.
"I'm on annual leave." She ignored me taking the glass from my hand and pouring some in her coffee.
"How's sleep?" she asked finally lighting up the cigarette that has been hanging between her fingers for the last minutes.
My mind worked better with less sleep to rely on or so I thought. My dreams did at least and that's where my comfort resided. Not in a meaningless, vacant eight hour sleep. But dreams were not present in any state and if so they were forgotten in the back of my head if there at all. I knew the narcotics could not flush them out, I tried.
There was once a man who after a business trip and who suffered from jet lag finally managed to go to sleep and did so for 15 damn hours. During that time he dreamt an entire life, school, family, friends. He would even do the normal things we all do, eat, sleep and he would dream inside the dream. When waking up he was so distraught when he realized it was all a dream and yet it all felt so real.
Why did I go out today?
Was it to try and act as a normal friend would?
To get some inspiration from the dozen of nameless faces encountered on the streets?
But they don't provide me anything. I don't outline stories about how I think their lives are. All their chatter is just white noise to me. And my mind is stripped by the stardust that once surrounded it.
There is a story/legend/something, forgot who told it or where I read about it, but it goes like this. We all have a guardian angel and their purpose is to protect us from the demons roaming the earth. We know it's them, our protectors, by the shadows we see in the corner of our eyes. That glimpse that distracts us making us look to the left so we would ignore the stare of the demon trying to lure us in. But today I looked to the right as the street light turned from red to green, as I passed the street. A shadow caught my attention yet my head went to the right looking up at a passing pedestrian. His eyes went wide as our gaze met for a second when we passed each other. I glanced behind and he turned to look back at me. Such beautiful eyes. Maybe I will remember him. Maybe my mind will consider him important and my subconscious will draw him out.
But that didn't happen. Why would my brain decide to show me a random passing stranger? Yet I woke up in the middle of a street minutes after my head hit the pillow. Was I that tired? Would it be a meaningless dream? Another void in my head? A fleeting shadow?
Looking around I ran both my hands through my hair gripping on the strands. It was a lucid dream, yet I felt empty. All I wanted was to wake up.
Arms grabbed me, a strong embrace trapping me and I turned caressing his hair, arms frantically holding onto him. How long has it been since I last saw him? Held him? Weeks? Months?
I stared into those enchanting orbs and whispered "I missed you" fearing that the sound of my own voice would wake me up. He pulled me closer once more and I could smell the warmth of his skin. He asked in my ear where I've been, what took me so long to come back. With trembling lips I kissed him. How could I possibly explain to him we were worlds apart if not further than that? That he was made out of neuron synapses and I was flesh and bones? He wasn't bound by the gravity that allowed me to be chained to the world I lived in. Yet he felt so real to the touch, made from the same material as me. I could taste him on my tongue, I would feel his skin under my fingertips. All the scars he had from battles fought. I could grip and wrinkled the clothes on his body, I could take them off and feel his breath on my skin while doing so. Then why if he felt so real did I still wake up to the same cold bed?
I cursed out loud into the night as the happy sleep left my body in an instant. It was all slipping through my fingers. The older I got, the colder I became. I was losing touch and I would soon become one of those faceless, nameless pedestrians I could never remember. Forgotten by myself.
Another day, another coffee to go, another walk around town. Same street light.
A shadow caught my attention.
Again the left side.
It was either I was imagining things or I was losing my mind entirely. I have lost it. But why look to my left? There was nothing there. Never ever. I took a step forward and came to a halt. Feeling pressure on my right hand I turned.
"Careful, it's still red." He pointed out to the street light. Funny I didn't even look to my right, but my feet went on ahead without my consent. Looking up at my savior I stared into a pair of gorgeous eyes.
"Are you feeling well, you look pale?"
Was he the one from yesterday? And why was he still holding onto me?
"Have we met before?" he smiled looking up beyond the roof tops.
"Who knows? This town is small." The pause between those sentences felt longer than it should have been. I did feel dizzy though, like I was dreaming with eyes wide open.
"It's green, you can pass now."
No, not today.
I would turn around from him and take a different path. The pedestrian walk perhaps as to avoid cars. I felt they were not my friends today. I couldn't shake it off. This gut feeling. This hazy state. The feeling that someone was watching me.
Sitting down at a terrace I rummaged through my purse in search for pain killers, pushing two in my mouth, washing them down with some water that I just ordered. Water? Really? I held my head pretending to look down at my phone. Maybe I am going mad. Perhaps I should stop and ignore all of this. All those fleeting moments when I see and believe what I want to. All those moments when I feel connected to something more than this. This inapt world. Scared. Lost in a haze of work and meaningless phone conversations, pictures to be posted to assure others they are living perfectly yet they struggle. I shivered slightly and closed my eyes enjoying the darkness behind my lids. Calming. There was where my escape was. But I was outside, on a terrace, trying to grasp my own reality.
My eyes opened and my mouth did as well.
"I give up."
I could feel tears creeping up on me. My chest felt tight as I breathed in.
"I give up."
My voice sounded louder and I pressed the phone to my ear as tears streamed down my cheeks and yelled out once more.
"I GIVE UP!"
At least that way people won't think I am crazy. They'd presume I am fighting with someone, crying because someone broke my heart. If that. Most of the people I know go around ignoring what happens around them as long as it's not in their interest portfolio.
I trembled as another shadow caught shape in the corner of my eye and I whispered once more.
"I give up."
Putting down my phone with shaky hands I would not look felt. I would not look right. I would just stare out in front, across the roof tops and cry. Let them stare, let them judge. I didn't need an angel who would never show his face. I didn't need a demon to lure me in. I don't need an apparition. I don't need anything right now.
Shadows from left and right in a simultaneous dance crept up on me as more tears fell from my eyes. As two hands wrapped around my shoulders and a warm body pressed against my back, nose nuzzled in my hair.
"You can't give up."
The palm of his hand covered my eyes before I could look behind me and a soft whisper played in my ear.
"I need a bit more time."
The same taste on my tongue, the same warm skin.
So I would not look left for I did not need an angel. I would not look right for I don't need a demon. I would look forward for he is both good and bad.
Aren't we all in the end?