Addicted to Being Human
Their happiness is everything to me, even though it may be built upon a castle of lies and deceit. My daughter and wife are probably looking for me at this very moment, confused as to why I suddenly ran away, afraid even…
But I cannot tell them, for that would be the end of our happy family; that would be the end of all that matters to me.
The door to the shack creaks as I force it open, and I stumble into my makeshift laboratory. The transformation to my other self is already well underway, and I can feel my body struggling to remain in its human shell. Feet are enlarging, big claws protruding out of them, and my body becomes hairier as the full moon comes closer to the zenith.
In haste, I move towards the wooden box, throwing it open with such force that the hinges almost break under my inhuman strength. With shaky hands, I reach for the syringe, and hurriedly I press the tip of the immaculately clean needle into a big vein on my upper arm. I let out a scream as the human blood cells move in through my bloodstream, fighting against what makes me not human.
How does it feel to fight against what makes me myself? To lie to everyone I hold as dear? It hurts, hurts even more than the immense physical pain caused by the syringe. I grit my teeth and clench the spot where the needle penetrated, god it feels as if I willingly poured boiling water into an open wound. It hurts, but I will do it however many times I can because I am addicted to being human.
Water pours down from heavy clouds, covering the city in a wet embrace.
Thirsty plants rejoice as they greedily amass the water, beseeching, wanting only that the gentle rain caresses them further.
Albeit such may be, others are not likewise pleased.
They desire not the water to be, desires not the water to invade their private space, but it presses on further, causing instead hurt and begrudge.
A man raises a clenched fist to the sky, cursing the rain.
But how can it be that he blames the rain?
The rain only is; it means neither harm nor favor…
And yet so easily misunderstood.
The Hooded Man
The hooded man steps in front of the lamp-post, causing eerie shadows to rise and the path in front of me to darken.
Every fiber in my body speaks to a primal need within, to survival, of running away from this intimidating stranger, but alas, I cannot, for my feet are as good as glued to the damp cobblestone underneath.
A dark hand reaches out from inside the black cloak, and It is as if time stands still. I ready myself for the worst, clenching my fist so hard that nails cut through flesh.
But, his hand reaches not for me, but instead, he uses it to carefully undo the clasp at his neck? The shock that courses through my body is one of relief but also confusion.
The hooded man lowers himself to his knees, removing the cloak to put it over my shivering shoulders.
Behind the hood lurks a man with a kind and amiable visage, but it is in no way a handsome face that unravels, he has a disproportionately large nose and a face ridden with scars. Still, It seems to me that this man carries with him wisdom that goes beyond years and… a sort of genuine empathy.
His demeanor reminds me of the father I have lost, and as my memories catch up to me, tears start streaming down my face. There has been no time to mourn. This whole day has been a mess, a mess that did not allow for the processing of events. And… somehow, this gentle face staring down on me, this tall amiable man, inspires hope within.
The time that stood still has now begun moving again — frozen time being realized and becoming my new reality.
The man moves his hand towards my face, and I step back, hesitating. His lip curls up into a smile, and he motions for me to come closer. The amiable man puts a finger under my eye to wipe away a tear and hugs me tight.
He takes a deep breath, a hint of compassion conspicuous in his kind eyes, and whispers: “I am so sorry for all of this. You are safe now.”
Unexpectedly those few words were enough for me to entrust myself to him, to believe with all that I am that the nightmare has ended, that I truly am safe now.
The man lifts me onto his large back, and I can sense the coming of sleep.
Watcher of the End
He’s just standing there, watching the end, but powerless to do anything about it… what can you do when nature herself wants you dead?
The corrupted moon floats above the man in an ocean of darkness, red blood oozing out through the slit, coalescing as it hits the ground and giving rise to demons — abominations of nature, bodies contorted in ways that should be impossible and with specks of red luster for eyes — creatures well equipped to bring about the end.
He knew that nothing lasts forever, but… this? That the end would come so abruptly and with such horror?
No, he could never have imagined it. Never. His most horrific nightmares pale in comparison to this hell on earth.
The laughter of demons.
He tries to run, attempts to force his eyelids shut so that he sees not the suffering… but when he does, it is as if invisible hands keep him stuck in position, dooming him to remain standing amid the carnage with wide open, bloodshot eyes.
The grip of fear is firm and unforgiving.
Just standing there, watching people he’s known all his life be slaughtered like pigs, all the while knowing his own demise is soon to follow. Life is borrowed from nature, and we all have to return to soil one day; of this, he is well aware, or at least thought he was, for now when the end has come, he cannot stop the feeling of despair from washing over him.
Once the demon finishes devouring the man’s wife, it turns to him, smiling. His time has come. The watcher of the end opens his mouth, releasing an awful cry, the scream a man makes when at the bottom of the pits of despair.
Life for a Life
“Throw it,” says the burly man as he presses the baby chick into my hand.
It lay then in my open palm — newly hatched, innocent, and confused.
I furrow my brows as I turn to search the man’s face. He smirks at me through a bush of unkempt beard.
“Yes, yes, go on then. Down the mountain with the little fella, or if you’d like, I could let you take its place”.
I whispered underneath my breath, “Sorry, it’s you or me,” before heaving my arm back and launching the poor chick down the mountain. She chirps and flaps with her wings, no doubt in a state of absolute terror. Behind me echoes booming laughter.
The heartless man points at the chick. “Look at that stupid bird, what’s it doing eh, can’t even fly, eh.”
I nod my head and smile at the man, but inside I am broken. The burly man pats my shoulder, leading me to stand before the rest of his lowlife comrades.
“Let’s give a round of applause for our newest member!”
Hands clatter as they applaud, a fake smile plastered to my face, and a fist clenched so hard that nails cut through my skin. Blood flowing in my pocket, blood flowing on the ground far beneath. Life for a life…
Two silhouettes seem but one underneath the setting sun, their hands intertwined as they gaze deep into the eyes of the other.
Shhh says the wind, causing strands of the girl’s soft hair to fall over her face.
He leans to tuck the golden curls back behind her ears, smiling at her with loving affection.
The two silhouettes are now even closer to each other than before, their noses almost touching.
He moves a hand to her cheek and his gaze back to where it belongs. It is curious how soothing it feels, how wonderful…
She moves her fingers tenderly through his mane of auburn hair, losing herself in the bliss of the present.
Moving in unison, they both lean in for a kiss.
And as lips touch, they become a singularity.
What Does It Mean to Love Someone?
Two shadowy figures, one small and one big, sit outside late in the evening, enjoying the company of each other as they regard the starry sky above.
Suddenly the small shadow turns to stare intently into the deep blue eyes of his father.
“Dad, what does it mean to love someone?” The gray-haired man puts an arm around the tiny shoulders of his son, inhaling deeply before returning the gaze.
“Loving someone is the most wonderful thing; it is the feeling of being willing to do anything if it means happiness to the other person.”
His kid’s face takes on a skeptical frown.
The older man lets out a lighthearted chuckle before standing up from the porch and sweeping an arm across the sky.
“Anything. I would travel the night-sky to fetch a star should it bring a smile to your face”.
The Child cocks his head in disbelief. “But da, that is impossible; you cannot bring me a star.”
The father leans down toward his son and hugs him gently. “Maybe I cannot, but I would.”
The son puts his small arms around his father’s broad back, reaching but a third of its full width.
“I love you too, dad.”
“Walk faster,” says the man with a pointy helmet, pressing his cold steel-clad hand against my bare back and forcing me to carry on despite the many cuts and bruises covering my scrawny frame.
I trudge my way along the dark corridor whilst trying not to stumble on my treacherous feet. On the wall dances shadows fed by the light emitted by the guard’s lantern, and as the light reaches the cells, the prisoners inside cover their eyes and whimper. Well, I don’t blame them… It must have been days, perhaps weeks, since they last saw the light, and light reminds them of their mortality; it reminds them of who they once were.
I feel my legs cave in as the guard shoves me, barely managing to stay upright. It baffles me how weak I’ve become. I from before was strong of mind and muscular, once I would not have stood for this humiliation. A mess is what I have become…
I look inside one of the cells we pass. Therein is a man on his knees, smiling and begging for a piece of bread… a mess I’ve become indeed, but there are more layers to hell, and perhaps I will get to explore them too, one day.
My self-loathing is interrupted by the booming voice of the guard.
“We’re here; get inside.”
He pushes me through the cell door with great force, and I fall onto the cold stone floor. The guard turns to leave, but he rotates his head to spit at me beforehand.
“And you are supposed to be the great swordsman of the east; you are nothing but a filthy skeleton,” he smirks and locks the door before leaving me to drown in memories of the past.
One mistake was all it took for the world to turn upside down, or perhaps it started even before all that; well, I have no way of knowing now. Oh, how far I have fallen…
I Am Scared of the Dark
The servant of one highly acclaimed lady sits in front of his sturdy desk — inkwell and feather ready for use, and high-quality parchment waiting patiently for his confession. The man sighs deeply before putting quill to paper.
It is with a heavy heart that I confess, at last. I acknowledge that I am scared of the dark.
My displays of confidence and gallantry were naught but dishonesty in the end. I know how it sounds — you’re right. But please, allow me the chance to clarify; it is not darkness in and of itself that I fear, but instead its inherent property of deluding the mind.
I am under the impression that the road I walk during the day is not the same as during the night, and this realization troubles me greatly, so much indeed that I will not be able to serve you in this nightly venture any longer.
Harmless branches during the day become spindly arms at night, screaming as they rock back and forth in the chilling wind — reaching for me…
The rustling of leaves and the occasional wild rabbit is pleasant enough during the day, but when the same happens at night — when I am unaware of what may hide therein, it induces great fear within.
Yes, I am a coward; I am fully aware of this fact. But you see, my lady, the unknown scares me more than anything, and the dark of the night deludes the mind, making known — unknown.
I am so very sorry, my mistress, I know you had high hopes for me, but you will have to find a new servant — someone who is not a coward. Thanks for all you have done for me. It has been an honor to serve you.
Your humble servant.
Teardrops fall onto the parchment, fading the ink. The man has to wipe his eyes with the cuff of his sweater before, at last, scribbling down his name at the bottom of the parchment.
The Leaf’s Journey
The proverb: “With age comes wisdom” has some truth to it, at the very least to me, being an old brown leaf at the end of my lifespan.
Never could I have imagined there being such a vast world out there, beyond the place of my birth.
I was once green and ignorant of the world, oh I thought that my mother-tree was the world… maybe it was, once.
I still remember that fateful day as vividly as if it had happened yesterday.
It was autumn, and I could feel the tight squeeze on my mother’s hand weakening. Already had many of my brothers and sisters embarked on their journeys. Still, I was reluctant.
I held on to her desperately, shaking due to both the ruthless wind and my misgivings, afraid to discover what lay beyond the sanctuary of my mother’s warm embrace.
The link between my mother and me disjoints, and before I could even cry out, I was already surfing the gales, subject to the powerful winds.
As I watched my mother tree from a distance, I noticed something. There were so many trees out there, thousands of “worlds” surrounding me. And this insight invoked within me a widening of perspective.
I was but a leaf hanging off a tree, puny in the face of it all.
Eagerness to explore, eagerness to understand, exploded within the very essence of my being.
This is the life I was meant to lead; all that was before was but a prelude.