Wednesday, 8 February 2012

~Steele~ Stopping to think.

Ever take a moment after an event in your life to just sit and comprehend? That single heartbeat, where your mind works to catch up to where you are at now.

I’ve been sitting in that moment for this entire year. 2012, a year trapped in its first heartbeat. Do you ever realise how strange your world has become any keener then at the changeover of the year? That moment where you turn back and you see your path laid out behind you, you see how far you’ve come, the distance that separates you from the events which make you who you are, the people who you have been along the way. This year, I’ve sat in my room and looked down the Path, pausing only to resupply. No deliveries, I’ve had enough saved up to just spend on what I consume, sitting, watching…trying to understand.

Two months later, and I still feel like I’m in a Loop. I guess I’ve felt that way for a long time though…enough time in this House and I bore, and my mind wanders back. And the last thing my mind needs is a chance to wander, otherwise it might walk on over to something important. Or maybe back to one who I once was, one of the masks I’ve worn along the way, one of the people I had to become.

How does one fund themselves when on the run from a force not even they themselves truly understand? I don’t think anyone ever stops to think logistics, they just go with what works, what’s been done. Vagrancy and isolation seems to be a way of life with us, we so Afflicted by this looming cloud. Not me, I need the bustle of the streets, and the company of that which isn’t my own mind. And to sustain a lifestyle that allowed me that, I needed cash for accommodation, hedonism and maybe even a tad of vanity. And as my little 17 year old self found out, business ideas that fit me were few and far between. Though there was one that always seemed to work; in every society, there’s a certain denomination of people with specific tastes that went beyond the realms of the socially-acceptable. In the current profession, that can be something simple like a picture of a loved one, a notebook of a fellow Stalked…Or perhaps even a bottle of mysterious Pills.

Well, that last part was more my forte back in the day. Societally unacceptable medications. I was young, and had absolutely nothing to lose except for the clothes on my back, and my borrowed life. A hardass kid with a glint in his eye. The clients who thought they were smart described my eyes as Steely. The dumber ones suggested I describe my prices as a Steele, and the really smart ones realized that I was using a fake name and didn’t inquire further. For why would they need to inquire? They got what they wanted, I got the cash to sustain myself. Hell, and keep me occupied; god knows I could use the direction, instead of just waiting for Death.

And if there were problems? Well, they’d taste my Steele. Some young bloke tried to hold me up for the substances he was supposed to pay me for, one time. Some happy go lucky fucker with an eyeless smile, like the bloody Cheshire Cat. Grinning with the glint of the moonlight playing off his glasses as he pointed the knife to the back of my head, tip digging into my tingling nape, thinking he had it all, the cat with the fucking cream. Telling me to reach into my pocket and hand him his money back.

I reach into my pocket, slow as anything, bending slightly, then further pulling forward as the man kept pushing the knife deeper…I pulled the rightly rolled wad of bills from my pocket, and dropped it on the ground, rolling it back with the heel of my left foot, to land neatly between his legs. He withdrew the hand with the knife for just a split second too long, so I place one supportive hand on the ground and snap backwards with all my might, into the back of his elbow on the arm reaching down to the ground, hearing a satisfying snap as he lost his balance and fell backwards, knife falling from his other hand. The arm I hit looked disfigured as I stood up and pulled the knife up from the ground, placing a foot on it and hearing him squeal. “Shh, not so fast.” I knelt on his chest, pinning his legs neatly. The invasion of personal space always freaks out the druggies, nobody knows what to do when a kid sits on your chest and holds a knife to your eyes. “You know, love…Let me tell you a story. You’re not going anywhere, are you?” I asked, casually dragging the blade across his cheek, as crimson welled up parallel to his tears. “Didn’t think so.” The blubbering was almost soothing as I continued.

”Ever since I was a kid, I knew a very strange Man. He never said anything, He’d just stand in the bushland behind my house and watch me play on my swingset. Ever since I was 6 years old, He was there. I saw my daddy talking to him one day, then every day after that, there He was, pale as the moon.” I said with as cutesy a voice as I could muster, seeing the sinking terror in the man’s face as he finally knew I was insane. If only you knew. “And he was as pale as the moon, no hair on his head. Only pale white, a dome of ivory with sunken, sightless indentations where his eyes should’ve been, and no nose to speak of. No mouth, either. A Man in a black suit, just watching. I asked my sister, who was 8, who he was once, when she was pushing me on the swingset. ‘Daddy’s friend is looking after us.’ My sister, the sage that she was. ‘He’s here for us in case bad people don’t like us. He looks after children.’” I pause with grim satisfaction as I feel a creeping watching sensation, slicing into the other side of the asshole’s face. “And He did look after us when we were children…But we’re not anymore, are we?”

I licked the blade, and the kid whimpered. “No, we’re not. Ten years later, on my sister’s 18th birthday, I woke up to find her hanging from a tree, her eyes seemingly crossed out with a knife…” With my finger I drew an X on my audience’s left eye which flickered closed, just so he knew what I meant, “…her face twisted into an open-mouthed smile, her tongue slit at the end, as if forked…her abdomen hanging wide open, and her entrails hung up in the tree around her, blood dripping from black garbage bags. And there He was, watching as I cried, from the treelines. He protected us when we were children. But we grew past that.” I leaned down, so my breath formed warm condensation on his forehead. “Do you want to meet him? You’re no child, though, but he loves to meet new people. He’s watching us right now, can’t you feel it?”

I paused with an emphatic coughing fit, to punctuate my story. “He’s already got me…But maybe he’d like you too.”
”Are you going to kill me?” He spluttered out. “I’ve got cash, I—“
”…I don’t kill people.” I outright said, getting off his chest and walking away. “He does, though. Have a look around, you might see Him.”

To this day, I don’t know what happened to that man. I never bothered following it up. I’ve moved past that stage of my life, past the violence, past the fear, past the face I had to put on to survive. But I do still wonder about him. I wonder if his life changed that night, two scarred cheeks and a newfound curse. I wonder, I worry. I think.

And I have achieved total apathy. I’m supposed to keep living, Stephen told me that. But what for? For a ghost.

I’m keeping my body breathing.

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