20:10… I’ll have to use the back door, all the others should be locked by this time; fucking director. The feeling is a nutty mixture of many things, but with respect to the test, I’m like a lab rat at this moment. We would like to know if the money and effort on you are in vain. Yeah, right. Strangely enough, I scored pretty great on all the subjects, essay and interview; the deal is up and I’ll keep the full scholarship. I’m less tired now than when I woke up, but so hungrier. Don’t remember the last time I saw the school at night, usually, I’m the first person to go home; sometimes don’t even bother to show up. Well, if it was always like it is now, I would gladly be here every single night. Some loud, droll noises dripping from the outdated drinking fountains along broken fuses here and there, making the lights fail — give that dense atmosphere to the place — and the element of surprise, some awkward chanting and singing between corridors — probably janitors. What else could someone like me desire? The perfect school isn’t a matter of location nor personnel, but timing. If it wasn’t for the grunts of my stomach, I would spend hours meddling with the locked places of this building. Better to get going, though. If anyone dares to poke my shoulder or speak with me again I swear to god… too much for a day.
The secondary gate is open, nice. This is where the teachers and employees park their cars. Here’s also the place people dump trash, very organized; distant from the entrance and vehicles area. Open air, at last. I’m compelled to inhale deeply; it’s pleasurable, way over odd to a hikikomori like myself. No hurry, even though my belly cries. The sky looks nice this evening, full of stars… maybe I should observe them when home.
Just what the fuck could this be now? This day can’t get weirder, please. As I cross by the side of some big trash boxes, it continues “Oh, ruru, ha!” Similar to a daxophone. There it is, a funny figure; almost cartoonish. In the center of the parking lot, jumps and crouches, exploring the place with these noises, searching for something. I keep watching, behind a box. Didn’t seem to notice me. Illuminated by a bunch of failing light posts, some clumsy turns and shifts reveal a long braid, which under the yellow fading lights seems pink, losing color to a pale yellow. Wait… boy or girl? The clothes are unisex: jeans jacket over a black shirt, not showing much; loose pants and a black straight flap cap with some white engraving. Ops, he/she is looking in this direction. I’ll have to do this…
“Hey, what are you doing here at this time?” I ask, getting closer. Hands up not to scare the person. Today I learned nothing about suspicious persons in suspicious places. Closer now, I grasp dimensions by intuition: A little shorter than me, about 1,67m I would say, very thin. Sharp eyes, head rotated towards me, like an owl.
“You answered my call!” Pop-eyed, gleaming. Dilated pupils, ecstatic smile; playing with both hands in the air. High, maybe?
“Are you high?” The words just slip; hope doesn’t offen–
“Of course I am!” Fast answer, jumping over to a hug. “How else would I be capable of performing so grandiose a ritual?” Speaking in a low tone, mouth close to my ear. It tingles. Releases me and starts to make pirouettes, like a dancer — disjointed one. Two crazy events in one day. The person, then, shifting glances between me, the lights and cars, starts, again, to make noises.
“These noises,” I ask, a bit hypnotized by the strangeness and cuteness “are part of the enchantment?”
“Ritual, silly.” Fisting my chest, no much effort put in the punch. “They’re my sonorous sigils. You should know that.” I can’t leave this person here…
“What’s your name?” I ask, regretting already.
“You can call me Eli. Curf.” Staring at me with big wasted eyes while playing with my hands. Physically weak smile printed on face, but the effect of it on me, emotionally, is not so weak.
“Ok, Eli, do you have something to eat?” Had to try, I’m famished.
“Of course, silly. I brought a bag of snacks, just for you. They’re in my backpack, somewhere. Take it all.” Well, at least now I can escort this person with my tummy sated. I reach my arms, picking it up. It’s a panda backpack, fluffy and full of stuff. Appetizers, jellybeans… all sorts of non-nutritional food. Will have to do for now. Eli stares at me, smiling, can’t stay put; making shapes with the arms.
“Come, sitter” Grabbing me by the shirt “I’ll show you where I crash, you can escort me to safety.” Pulls it hard enough to force me to stand up as well. “Go, go.” As of wanting to start a race. Why not? I really didn’t learn anything today.
“Ok,” I answer, biting a piece of licorice candy.
* * *
Each street that we cross, in a maddening pace, gives more input for Eli’s smile, all over the face; almost to tear apart the cheeks.
The wind, strong against my hair opens place to an expression of my own.
“How much time since I laughed this hard?”
“Nothing. Just thinking out loud.”
The lights, increasingly fading, lit up two large bulbs: Eli’s eyes, one brown and the other green; Heterochromia iridum, very rare. My shyness also fades with the surrounding illumination, going to rest early it seems.
Eli’s manner of running is so weird, sideways like a crab, sometimes putting more effort on one leg and even backward. In this last position, there would be more strange noises accompanied by the waving of that long braid; it’s really pink, I see it now.
“Wait!” Says, suddenly stopping. “I’m tired… let’s stop.” Squatting, heavy paused breaths. This person is so contagious, and I mean it in a good way.
Oh, it’s true, I’ve lost notion of how much time we spent running. How am I not tired when the person high on some potent drug is?! Little drops of sweat forms all over Eli’s face. He/she is fanning it with the cap. The hair besides the braid is more blonde-colored; how creative.
I clearly don’t know where we are right now. There are some houses, all old, bleached out, dark; actually, the entire street is pretty obscure. We’re in a neighborhood I’ve never landed a foot before, Eli leads the way.
“Do you ever feel like…” Eli says, still in squat position, “you’re inside a box… that, in some unique moments, seems to open.” When sirens wail in the distance, disturbing the perfect silence.
“What’s happening?” I can’t see anything.
“But then, when you’re out for some time, discovering the new world outside the box…” Completely ignoring me. At this point, the funny little person’s eyes were gleaming, already up and glaring. “You bash your face against the side of something; another box. And this doesn’t seem to end…”
“Like a box inside a box inside a box…?!” I say, not sure why I’m talking like this.
“Sort of. I call it Fortress of Dreams. Do you get it, sitter?” Odd enough, I think I get it. Eli begins to walk again, pulling my hand.
“Similar to something that I used to do when younger.”
“Oh yeah? What? Look out now, the ground here is rigged.”
“Nightmares haunted me, I couldn’t sleep properly…” And Eli’s face lit up even more, curious, attentive skipping puddles of mud and water that seem to form as we notice them. “Some time ago, ten years or so, a long time ago.”
“Not thaaat long.”
“After midnight, alone in my dark room I would cover my entire body with the sheet and imagine a force field around the bed. Sometime after, while the abominations tried to invade my safe space I would create another barrier. Then another… and so on and so forth, until I could fall asleep.” So much time self-absorbed on memories that I didn’t notice: My backpack was open, I just thought the sensation around my shoulder was some playful movement from Eli, but no. He/she picked up my notebook.
“Interesting version of counting sheep.” When helicopter vanes paw the air above us, still distant enough not to startle but flashing over the still puddles. “These are beautiful, what a talent!” Says in awe, a bit louder, looking at the drawings I made of Alice this morning, almost to trip over a crack in the asphalt. Shit.
“These are personal,” I reply a bit louder than expected; taking it from Eli’s hands. “Let’s go, I need to deliver you and go home,” I admit that I may have been a little rude here.
“It’s there, come.” Pulling my sleeve. Morose face, a bit lax too, as someone who’s hurt but not much. I shouldn’t get further involved with a stranger. “It’s that green one there.” I could see it from the distance, humble appearance; probably lives alone. Wait, how will I go home after?
“Don’t fret. I’ll call a taxi for you.” Have answers to everything.
* * *
As promised, fulfilled. 22:50, hope mom’s not mad. She lies naked on the clammy bed, half of the body pending almost to fall. A big smile of satisfaction and bliss stamped on face accompanied by deep snores. As for me, only hunger… famished as always. I righten her position looking at the veranda. Dozens of half-naked — some even fully — bodies dancing in and outside the large swimming pool at the sound of… generic dubstep and trap music. Is this my world now or it already was?! Something calls my attention, forcing me to get dressed again, and fast. Wait. I think, spotting the figure. Double-breasted coat, very large of a deep, muddy green color. Military boots, or could it be snow boots? Ski goggles as a tiara on the upper forehead… Eli? The masterfully entangled braid coming from the top of the head is there. No doubts. Eli’s head rotates towards me, like an owl, can see me for sure. A really big smile tatter Eli’s face, creepy, eerie… a wave of hand, showing something to me. What’s that? With little effort I can see the cover of the notebook, my notebook. That son of a bitch…
“Trevor is going to jump!” Someone screams from below, excited. I’m on the verge of diving. “Jump! Jump! Jump!” In unison, doesn’t last long. The water disperses after the anticlimactic splash. Everybody shouts in admiration as I swim towards Eli, the only quiet person besides myself.
“Let’s go.” Standing up, seizing Eli’s wrist.
“Ah! The party just started…” Replies, ironic; almost as much as the irony of this encounter.
“You owe me dry clothes, come on. I’ll catch a cold.” Just uttering whatever raggedy excuse crosses my mind as I drag Eli by the arm. “How did you know I was here?” I ask, observing every subtle detail in facial expressions. Some blinks, wide awake eyes; nothing much to say.
“Easy.” Waving the braid side to side “I have my contacts… Hemlock?! What a cool name.” Devilish smile, fooling with my face. Must have peeped out the entirety of my poems and drawings. We’re crossing some lawns from the vicinities; suburbian people sure go to sleep early; some light posts illuminate the way, but the light of the houses is off already.
“The world makes me feel
These feels make the world unbearable
These feels of mine that the world makes me feel
are like a fountain
One day, this fountain of unbearable feels will
flood over the world
When my fountain of feels floods the world
the drowning world will feel
Everything is unbearable
An unbearable flood of unbearable feels
over an unbearable world
The world of the unbearable self
That floods itself, drowning in feels.
Making gestures, reciting my poem… making a fool of me. “Good flow but you miss something, I think it needs more feeling or… emotion?!” Laughing at my face, cheerful. I feel oddly comfortable, almost smiling.
“It’s a ghazal” I interrupt “and yes, Hemlock is my first name. Trevor is a surname. Can I have my notebook now, please?” Stopping and trying to reach Eli’s hand.
“No need to stress.” Making a face as of someone who’s trying very hard not to laugh and finally delivering the notebook to me.
“Someone else saw this besides you?” I ask, masking my concern to the maximum, just a casual question. Hope Eli didn’t notice anything strange about Alice’s drawings.
“C’mon, Hemlock. Let’s clean out this smell of bitch that impregnates you, the chlorine is just worsening. Poking my arm and pulling my sleeve. Nothing changed. I think, smiling; hard to admit. Eli walks a bit ahead of me, can’t say if randomly or guiding me one more time. “I suppose that this time, you’ll enter…” without turning around, hands crossed on the back, long and slow steps… seems to be struggling with boots bigger than the feet.
“How are we going?” I ask “do you have a vehicle?”
“Two, actually. Turning around, a soft grin on face. “Do you accept a rematch? Last time doesn’t count, it wasn’t fair, I was tripping.”
I’m tempted to accept the offer. Yet I can’t explain exactly what this person has to offer me besides trouble I really want to go along, it’s not like the ‘force’ that bounded me to do what I did with the blondie moments ago, it’s different… almost like Alice’s presence, that overwhelming attraction. “Why not?!” I answer, quick. “It’s not like you have any chance with those chicken legs of yours…” My mouth, as it’s becoming common now, talks by itself, as of alive. “But, just a moment, I have to do something first.” No matter how fun this might be, I have priorities. Eli nods, giving me some space while I pick up my cell phone. I walk to below a light post, tipping, without looking, my house’s number with one hand as the other signalizes, to Eli, a 1 symbol.
“Hello?” The sweetest voice possible asks on the other side of the line.
“Liv?! Where’s mom?” Almost 23:30 and she’s still awake…
“Hi, Hemlock. Mommy fell asleep some hours ago.”
“Why are you up, then?”
“I have trouble sleeping, you know it… I’m watching some cartoons waiting for the Sandman to come for me.” Everything seems ok there.
“Ok, Liv, but don’t overdo, ok?”
“Check the doors and windows before going to bed. I’m coming home late, I have the keys, don’t worry.”
“What, tiny thingy?”
“Love you.” She hangs up. My shy little thingy, I know how hard it is for her to display this kind of affection so openly. Well, now I don’t have to worry.
“What a kind brother!” Slinking behind my back. “Done?” Poking my shoulder. The light of the post is failing, no one’s around… perfect to kill someone; I doubt anyone would notice Eli’s disappearance.
“You can kill me if you can catch me!” Starting to run, as disjointed and clumsy as last time, so it wasn’t the drugs. What is wrong with me? Why am I enjoying this so much? Unrelated to this, each stride on the ground, with this new pair of legs, bolts me forward with a level of ease I’ve never experienced before. There’s no way I would lose to someone like Eli, still… I don’t know the way, so I guess I already lost. Eli tries so hard, so much effort that almost seems like doesn’t know that this isn’t a real match, but that expression is legit, having true fun there.
In the end, Eli lost route and became quite tired of running. Called a taxi cab in the middle of nowhere and, with a shameless smile, asked me for money to pay it… I already expected something in those lines anyways.
“One more time we encounter ourselves in the same situation and at the same place, destiny is giving you a second chance. Don’t waste it.” Thrusting bare-handed the various pockets of the big-ass jacket, in search for a key, I think. The front of the house is of a simple appearance, deep green walls with a big black door; or maybe a brown dark color, can’t say because of the meager illumination. The perfect contrast to the place we were before, this seems like a very bad neighborhood. Dogs fighting on the streets, strong wind… everywhere is dark and silent, with exception of some noises, mainly produced by angry dogs.
“Ah. Here it is.” Pulling a single key. “But before…” What now? The running practically dried out my soaked clothes, only a little moisty now. “You’ll have to swallow this.” Holding a pill or crystal between two fingers, close to the green eye that shimmers in the reflection of the feeble light.
“What exactly is this?” I ask, taking the thing to inspect, shaking it softly.
“My Red Pill. I’ll be your sitter today, ok? Doesn’t seem only fair for you?” Joining legs together and crossing arms over the pelvis; displaying a puppy pleading face that would crack even the colder of the hearts.
“Just tell me what it is…”
“Molly, lame head.” Turning around to the door, opening it. I swallow dry, hope it doesn’t stick in my throat. “Happy?” I say, Ironic, both hands up. No answer. Eli enters the place, turning on the lights.
“First box.” Declares in a low tone as I cross the gate stepping onto the carpet. The interior is bigger than it seems by the looks of the outside area. I close the door while Eli drops the boots off with the feet. “Make yourself comfortable.” Adds, turning on more lights. “Accept something to drink?” The smell of toe jam almost took form as Eli stares at me, I try to ignore it.
“Yeah, I accept whatever you’re planning to drink yourself.” Watching Eli going to what I suppose is the kitchen, scratching one foot with the other and taking off the ski goggles.
“Feel at home, really. There’s a bedroom and a bathroom there, you can change and do whatever else you want. I’ll be right back.” Tiptoe skipping. Ok, then. The floor is composed of black and white tiles, disposed like a chess board. I can’t see a window, not even an air exit. Various bookshelves filled with a large collection of books, vinyl, graphic novels… didn’t expect something so cult; even though this can be all stolen or illegal shit for all I know. Whistling noise coming from the kitchen, probably making tea. I pass my eyes on one of the shelves, everything alphabetically organized, by the side, though, there are piles of clothes: socks, shirts, shorts… everything except underwear. Drawings on the walls, not so many but they seem to follow a pattern.
“Almost done!” Shouts from the kitchen. Better stop fucking around and change already. I walk exact 3 steps to the left, there’s the door, ajar. A soft push, dark. I put my head inside, searching for a button; ah, here it is. One click and the whole thing is clear. More piles of clothes, on the floor, on the bed… everywhere, really. Am I supposed to choose any of these? Let’s try and improvise some underpants.
“Waiting here, take your time!” Roars from the living room, from neutral to excited. I put old sweatpants, tracksuit and socks; improvised pajamas.
“Looking good,” Eli says, sitting on a funny little chair as I walk off the room, turning off the lights as well. I almost let slip a cringy laughter sighting the table of ‘doll-house’ proportions with some very organized plates, cups, and teapot.
“Seems that you like my Wonderland style, sit down. Take a sip.” Shakesperian gestures, legs crossed.
“Beautiful,” I answered, smirking. Decided to enter the game. I take a sip, as suggested, arranging my butt on the minuscule chair that almost doesn’t support my weight. Delicious. “This is very good,” I add. “What’s it?” The seat menaces to crumble, squeezing my ass.
“Psychedelic tea, secret recipe. I’ll give you a hint: there’s liquid, high purity solution of LSD-25 in large amounts there.” Opening that fat creepy smile. Oh fuck… “Did you ever candyflip before?” Asks, standing up to walk in the bookshelves direction.
“Nope.” I know, you expected a different reaction from my part. But I entered the game, this is Eli’s dominion and… why not?! Fuck it. How could this go worse? Last time was with Alice and I have to say: because of that, I’m having the greatest month of my life — not that this is much, though.
“Do you like music?” Eli asks, sitting on the floor with some equipment. A notebook connected to a midi controller and a sound system that I forgot to mention to you: big boxes and sub-woofers fixed on the space between the walls and the ceiling, four in total.
“I love. More than food and almost like sex.” I respond. Forehead starting to form bubbles of sweat, dry mouth. It’s the molly starting to hit.
“I read a lot of your poems and saw a lot of your drawings. Only fair for you to cross my personal space, right?! Come here.” Patting the ground, wanting me to sit by his/her side. My jaw is clicking again. Eli presses a button as I sit by the side. A single note rips the silence, followed by strange beats and hi-hats that overflows over the whole living room. I look at the curious energetic face and begins to understand the real density of this person. A heavy bass bursts my body, forcing me to lean back on the wall; I’m starting to hyperventilate.
“Just relax…” Eli says, looking at me “you’re candyflipping for the first time, the acid is still to kick in. Let it flow with the music.” Patting my shoulder. In the strange song, there are two voices: One is pretty lo-fi, low pitched and slow; almost like the voice of a very big creature. The other is the actual opposite, clean, high-pitched and soft. Both sing at the same time in some parts, at others, however, they alternate verses; some rare times the entities almost seem to engage in sexual intercourse, fights and a lot of unimaginable stuff. No distinction between harmony, rhythm, and tempo. The beat is marvelous, never on second plan, they’re like some industrial ambient at times.
“I have a guitar now
she arrived my guitar
extension of my body now
my soul will be put on
my efforts of my life
I have it now
Some books and notes
A lot of stuff really
It arrived a little out
of time but still
Cloud my judgement
condense my thoughts
snaring my body
to the ground
but wait where are
my headphones (?)
out of time as well
but still the
of my guitar alone
can maybe fill this void”
My favorite section… the distorted notion of time impairs me to tell the duration of this piece — or pieces –, they blend in together like a single song but I have the feeling that they’re not just one. I lay my head on Eli’s shoulder, this genderless magician of sounds.
“What do you think?” Eli asks “do I have a future in this buss?” Smiling, eyes gleaming in different colors, big, so big… like my cat’s… jumping off the orbits like amorphous amoebas.
“Genius,” I answer, talking with some difficulty. My mouth clicks when I open it. It’s heavier than normal.
“It must be the acid kicking in. Just let it flow, you’re in good care. I’m the best sitter anyone could have.” Releasing the braid that unwinds, slowly, in colorful strands of floating hair. More music starts to play, Eli takes me by the hand. “Come, let’s read your destiny with a game!” I love games. Violin strums start scratching the exterior of my lungs, can’t say if what’s being played are strings or human voices. On top of the table, there are some things, Eli points to a deck of cards, releasing my hand and sitting with legs crossed over the knees; strangest way to sit. Starts to shuffle the tarot with one single hand while I make myself more comfortable. The other hand pulls a little sack of pills.
“Adderall,” Says, crushing two of them before opening and pouring the little salts under the tongue. “To keep me condensed, you know?! How are you feeling?” On a tone of voice as warm as a hug.
“…” When I open my mouth to fail in uttering a word.
“This is good. You’re transcending the realms of verbal language and common communication.” Setting the cards on the table. Colors appear stronger, blending in with the music. Invisible filaments, networks… or web-like structures start to show up connecting everything in the room.
“Hemlock.” Powerful, imperative. “This is a game of intention. I will guide you through, you don’t need to do nothing besides paying all your attention to my voice.” I nod, half-awake, half-asleep. Entering full trance state.
“Great. Focus on my eyes while you listen to my voice. Relax all your muscles, find the best position to sit.” Nod staring cat shimmering lightly eyes so many colors. “You have circuits through your body, like a tree filled with phloem and xylem tubes. Valves pump your essence, travelling all the way through you.” True I can feel it. “You can control this flux.” I can. “Do it, then. I want you to focus all this essence in this point of your forehead.” Pointing to forehead with finger numb body numb everything. “Who are you?” Jade bronze blinking. Flaming lips. Tunneling. Kaleidoscope. “Who are you this exact moment?” Only card up the air “The High Priestess.” Closing kaleidoscopes to show woman between black and white pillars to entangle fighting in harmony. Serpents fading card down kaleidoscopes open. “Hemlock, what is this that you most desire in this world?” Tunneling jade and bronze deeper colorful pulses of warm light. “What is it that you most desire in this world right now?” Closing kaleidoscopes to show person with lion. “Strength.”
“A priestess in search for strength… interesting. Now, Hemlock, I want you to focus on your fears. What do you fear?” Same thing third time. “The Magician.” Baphomet positioned young man swords on table. “Ok, very good. Let’s take a break. Just relax and listen to the music. I will be right back.”
Gleaming grids run and hide, jumping Plato’s perfect forms off the sides… You lied to me when I was reflecting upon the intensions of my parabola when the three-lobed burning eye came for me where were you then? You lied H and I let you do this to me. But why the divisions keep and happen all the time H why
“Sorry for the wait. This? It’s only cream for my skin, I don’t remember the last time I saw the sun. For real. Let’s continue, shall we?!” There is a child to watch the sound magician make tricks. Am I a child?! “This time you don’t need to perform any exercise, just choose 3 random cards from the table.” Sound magician smiles to child. A hand reaches cards to pull a number… a head down man with hope nose on leg… an angel to watch naked people from the sky… a lady to hold a sword on a throne.
“Great. The hanged man, Judgment, and Justice, in this order and all head up. Now that we’re done here, come with me, you’re about to peak the experience. Things will get even weirder.”
Magician and child crossing the vast spaces of black and white tiles that transfigurates with time, reconfiguring boards; alive. Magic person holds child hand all the time so the little youth survive the walk. Essences, elves of McKenna poke the child, scared… ah… “Here, Hemlock.” Pacifying child from eternal melancholia with a flick on child’s forehead. Sea of grass, all green penetrating the sole of child’s shoes, dendrite-like cells. “This is my backyard. And your second box.” Transmitting exorbitant glistening smiles to child that stares at tendrils on the ground. The shoes are running away, got tired of child. “Look up, Hemlock.” Oh, another sea. A plastic web covered in black rubbery sheets filled with scorching dots. Child tries to reach arms to touch alien oceans. “Hey, Hemlock.” The magician speaks, another flick. “Come to the tree-house. I’ve prepared it specially for you tonight. There’s a gift inside.” Is it Christmas already? What’s Christmas… let’s go, magician. “Careful with the stairs.” Closer and not closer to the alien ocean, where’s gift? “Nitrous Oxide. It’ll bake you even more. Suck it up, hold it inside.” Little house filled with balloons, funny. “Wait, lie down first.” Ok, wizard.
Hey, did you miss me? Who?! I’m Lis… so you already forgot… our little Trevor is too baked and fucked up to continue his narration of the trip right now — he can’t even picture his tree diagrams anymore –, so I’ll be taking charge of it. He lay down, as Eli suggested and sucked up all the gas of the balloon; holding it inside for much more time than normally recommended. If you’re an avid psychonaut or psychedelic connoisseur, you must have an idea of what is happening, what he’s experiencing. The odds, though, are against this probability. What you should know, very basic, is how this combination might affect the user: LSD, as is commonly known, cause some hallucinations and changes the mentality of its user. The molly, also called MDMA or ecstasy, gives an energetic sensation, arousing perception and sexual behavior. When taken together, these two drugs can enhance each other, process called, in slang, candyflipping. The thing is that Nitrous Oxide, also called laughing gas, is a potent anesthetic and dissociative drug… to combine all this together is to ask for an ego death or something very similar. Seems crazy, right?! But hey, a bit of exposition is needed sometimes. You would be completely lost without me and you know that.
Anyways. Our dear delinquent Eli Curf turns off the only light in the tree-house as Trevor lies on the floor. “To enhance the visuals.” Says, leaving the place, slowly not to trigger the baked ‘child’. Whereas his body looks like a trampled animal on the side of the road, his mind, consciousness, soul; call it whatever you want… travels freely. Something almost like the dreamstate from before, only hundreds of times stronger.
Runs from one side to another, confused in the middle of a battlefield. Thousands of people of all shapes, sizes, colors and ages battle. For what is something he really wants to know. Some of them wears masks, some of them have body-mods like piercings and corporal paintings. Bloody scenario under a large moon… and even larger sun; both in the sky at the same time. Animals bail in fear as the people get further and further into the jungle. Northern lights dancing, coming from the ground over the chopped heads rolling everywhere. Our Hemlock runs, confused; without a single idea of what the fuck is happening, who he is and the likes of questions only really fucked up people ask in their minds. Tries to scream but nothing comes out of his mind. Doesn’t understand anything, not even linguistics, yet he tries to scream. All the scene seems out of time but isn’t, after what feels like years to him, Trevor perceives subtle changes in the sky, transitioning faster and faster. The fact that this hell is not eternal or immutable puts a smile on his face who waits, very patient, some change. This may sound cheap or dumb but I’m narrating what I’m seeing, it is not my fault… blame this post-pubescent mind. Oh, something’s happening. It’s accelerating. Animals born and die, snow falls and disappears; time passes. The people still fight but whatever, at least there’s hope now. Masks, tattoos, body-painting and piercings fade as the person strikes the ground dead; no one besides Trevor notice this… guess they’re too busy killing each other to stop and look at things. Seasons changes, the phases of the moon… to a level that makes the scenario almost alien to what it was in the beginning. A river of blood starts to sprout of the ground, quickly turning into a sea as more and more people die. Fish jumps out of it, committing suicide on the borders. Fear and despair are all that Trevor — or this persona — knows besides patience, of course. Yeah, pretty much it… things go on an forth for a while. Until the landscape becomes static and all people fall on the ground, dying. The blood goes the the sea, turning it into an ocean now. Only Trevor and another person are still standing up, alive: a girl, it seems.
Then, Trevor opens his eyes — real eyes –, recognizing the tree-house ceiling and spotting a funny figure, fuzzy. Covered in sweat and without enough force to stand up, he hears something.
“Finally” It’s Eli’s voice, who’s holding a dagger. “Third box.” In a rapid movement down to Hemlock’s chest.
* * *
‘Te iubesc te ucide’ carved on the dagger that Eli threw in my hands. Two snakes entwined one around the other. Beautiful. I have this sensation like my head is shaking, still seeing some electric interference in the air.
“What does it mean?” I ask
“It’s Romanian. Stands for I love you, I kill you. Or something like that.” Not explaining the absence of the comma.
“I thought you would kill me, for real,” I say, coming back to myself little by little. It’s dawn and the first sunlight rays strike our faces and, naturally, the entire backyard.
“Only an initiation.” Says, stretching a hand to pick up the dagger.
“Why?” I ask, curious. My body feels much lighter.
“Why anything, man?! But tell me what you saw in the ego death experience if you remember anything…”
“I just remember this girl, can’t remember her face, though.” And Eli starts to pay attention, curving legs and sitting in that strange position. Eyes gleaming. “There was a lot of dead bodies, like… a lot, really. She picked me by the hand and we started to morph or something, the sensation was of a very strong gravitational force pulling us together.” Eli’s eyes lit up even more. “and then the sky turned completely dark and filled with stars that descended like a plastic mantle, involving us. The last thing I remember was my own reflection, or, better putting, our own reflection in the ocean of blood before we jumped inside it.”
“The dark is magical, when you shed some light it becomes just clear, normal.” What…?
“Nothing… Seemed like one of Lynch’s movies, this trip of yours I mean…” Playing with the knife, looking down. I just noticed that Eli’s in the sun… because of me…
“Well, I feel like I have the right to ask this now that you scared the shit out of me with illegal drugs and a dagger.”
“What could this be?” Smiling.
“What… are you? I mean, what’s your gender..?”
“So cute, you’re blushing.” Am I? Oh… “So you want to know the story behind these eyes, huh?! It’s quite simple, actually.” Dropping the knife on the grass, getting closer to my face. “I’m a chimera.”
“At some point in my mother’s womb, my body absorbed my twin sibling.” Quite simple my ass. “This green eye…” Opening with two fingers, close to my face. “…was probably theirs.”
“I have two genetic sequences: male and female.” Glancing deep into my eyes. Eli’s smell is so good, as good as Alice’s. “I’m not a he or she… I’m just a me. Does it matter to you?” Asks, without blinking a single time.
“Not at all.” I couldn’t hold myself, kissing Eli in a fast forward dash. Eli kisses me back moments before jumping back, falling with chest to the sky. What happened? My vision is muddy, I touch my face. Dammit! It’s the black gooey fluid coming out of my eyes and mouth. Eli must have ingested it, fuck! He/she contorts on the ground as I hold my composure not to panic, have to think rationally. What should I do?! If the society discovers that I’m an aberration… Eli stops, looking dead as a rock, I don’t know if it would be wise to touch the body.
“Ruuuuuuummmm.” Exclaims, jumping forth. “It was like DMT, so heavy. The most potent trip I’ve ever had!! What time is it???” Seeming very energetic, poking my arms and making strange facial expressions. What the hell…
“How much time has passed??” Poking my chest and face, maniac smile on display.
“30 seconds.” Disconcerted. “Calm down.”
“Wow. It felt like hours…” Drooling, wide open eyes. What the fuck…
Emanuel Magno lives in the region of Cariri, a liminal space and natural reserve in Brazil. He works as a nomad-like type of linguist and does metaphysical research at the Federal University of Cariri. He is part, along with his surname-sharing accomplice, of the AF arts collective.