Okay, I’m awake—now where the fuck am I?
We’ve all felt it. Maybe you’d gone to sleep, overtired, and found yourself waking in the living room on the couch. Maybe, you’re like my sister. She’s a sleepwalker. She once somnambulated her naked ass right out of the front door of her apartment, a door which locked automatically behind her—so of course she panicked and pounded to wake her fiancé up so he could let her in. The man that answered was not her fiancé. She knew him. He didn’t live on her floor. Unbeknownst to her she’d ridden the elevator too. Me, I’d had a lot to drink last night which accounted for my disorientation…oh, and Richie. All the weird shit is always fuckin something to do with Richie.
Whatever the reason, you know the feeling. You wake up and want to shit yourself because, where the fuck are you?
I hadn’t seen my friend Richie since high school—we’d grown up together, same street, same suburb, three houses apart. It may have been nearly four years since we’d spent any time together, but it was like we hadn’t missed a beat. This was the kind of friendship that just happens organically and no matter how long or far, it always stays with you until the day one of you dies. We’d always had similar interests when we were younger—similar paths—we even both came out around the same time—but we didn’t date—that would have been weird. Like, twins in porn weird. We were like brothers really. That being said, lots of times I hate him like a brother too. He’s a fucking smug bastard.
I was pretty trashed last night, but I remember bits and pieces. It wasn’t a black-out; more of a brown-out. I suppose that’s kind of a private joke between he and I—but maybe you get it.
Here’s a list I made earlier, a little while after I woke up this afternoon. I’d hoped it would help me work through this a little bit, or maybe Richie would. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help me figure out shit. I haven’t seen hide nor hair of Richie either, which is for the best really. Maybe he got away. It’s so frustrating because I can’t seem to find the fucking solution. Anyhow, here’s my list:
I remember the following:
1. Richie’s flight came in and I picked him up around 9:15pm.
2. We went to the liquor store, and then to my condo.
3. I live downtown, so we walked to a bar.
4. I tried to keep up with Richie’s drinking. Bad move.
8. We were home somehow, and we kept drinking.
12. Did we talk to ourselves? Like for a weird amount of time? Maybe?
17. Bedtime. Very strange dreams.
18. WHERE THE FUCK AM I?
19. Richie, who seems to have abandoned me once again, is nowhere to be found.
Now, it is important to note that this is not the same WHERE THE FUCK AM I moment that you can probably identify with. This is a very different moment. This is an exponentially worse and more fucked up WHERE THE FUCK AM I than you have ever experienced…because I know where I am. I am home. I woke up in my bed. IN MY OWN BED. In my room. Only not. I didn’t.
Everything is spun around. Spinned and spun the wrong way. All the wrong way. Things are on the wrong walls. My dresser in the wrong corner. It’s all reversed. Fucking backwards turned around, flipped, all of it. I can type this now because I’m alone. I’m on my phone, hiding in the tub, behind the shower curtain. Something drew me in here. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I came into the bathroom and I was no longer in control from the moment I clicked on the light.
I stepped into the room and that’s when I could feel the strings. Invisible threads. Like some sort of fucked up marionette. Moving around. I didn’t want to. I tried not to.
They were—pulling me.
And I was there, in the mirror. I was smiling. But it wasn’t me. I was smiling. The me that was me was smiling—yes. But I didn’t want to. He made me.
The me that wasn’t me was the one that made me do the things. I pulled on my cheeks and made funny faces. Except I didn’t. Someone else made me did it. Right there on the other side. I watched him make me. Then I was laughing. But not because I wanted to.
He made me do that too.
At one point, the me that wasn’t me lifted my arm and pointed through the mirror, to the toilet behind me. He smiled and waved goodbye. And so help me god, fuck this guy, I didn’t want to, but I also smiled and waved goodbye. And as he left the room and switched off the light, I felt the strings fall slack and my movements were my own once more. I immediately turned the light back on after he left, and the room that the mirror reflected lit up as well.
I don’t know how to describe the look that I had on my face because, well, I couldn’t see it. I feel like I’m gonna lose it because I’ve been having some really fucking insane thoughts. The room was there and I was not.
You haven’t felt fear until you’ve stared into a mirror—a mirror reflecting the room you’re in with perfect clarity…except you’re gone. I’m still gone. Bye-bye. I watched my reflection leave the room. I’m just gone and this book I found resting on the toilet tank on my side of the glass, well it’s not reflected either.
The book is a distinctively old, leather-bound, worn journal. Inside is a single handwritten entry. The pages are aged and hard to make out, but I’ve transcribed it as best I can:
Thy Mirror take thee
by thine hand,
And yank thee into
In dusk shone bright,
and shadowed days,
There bid the nightmares,
“Come to stay.”
“Come play with we,”
They bid to thee,
so faint their cries,
entwine the breeze;
And yet so sharp,
their words, thou hears,
to draw thee near.
“Come share with we
our feast of duck,
And suckle on
Thou friendship is
the coin thee spends
To join in our
But hear my words,
for truth I speak,
Such wonders shall
they promise thee.
So listen not,
the lies they say,
As they beseech thee,
“Come to stay.”
Unto them, thou close thy ears,
And pray aloud, that God may hear,
Thou must resist their desperate plea,
Endeavor to elude their reach…
For in Backwards Land,
If thee ever finds that thou has passed
Into reverse of looking glass,
The unseen chains that thee, shall bind,
Shall hold thee for eternal time.
I warn thee, lest thou fall insane,
No matter what their voices claim:
Don’t frolic in yon vibrant groves.
Naught but rot may grow.
Their smiles full of warmth and glee,
rows of mottled teeth.
The hand of friendship they extend,
its taloned; built to rend.
And of the feast, they bid you sup,
It’s naught but organ,
blood and guts.
A bounty, raw, that spills from thee.
These words are
wrought with certainty.
thee cannot flee.
Bewitchment of thy Vanity.
Beware my son
the thing within.
A wicked thing
in borrowed skin.
For if it ever
yanks you in,
Thee cannot venture
I beseech thee this:
If thou dost value thy eternal soul,
If ever thee should beckon to thyself to
“Come to stay.”
I turned the lights off again after writing the journal entry out. I didn’t want to and I did want to.
I don’t want the light.
Because the light is night.
And bright is bleak.
And waking is sleeping.
And hide is seek.
I can hear its beating heart.
Oh God, or maybe I can’t.
There’s nothing and something in the dark.
Something with claws for hands.
It giggles and cries.
It honestly lies.
And rapidly sighs.
No time and all time
To quickly drive you
Wiggle and squiggle
Right into your brain.
Hours long minutes to play and play
The fuck with you game
‘Till the you that’s you,
That’s really you, goes away.
I might be deaf, but I can still hear the feet slap, slap, slap, slap on the linoleum. That I know for sure. If I could close my mouth, I’d scream and scream and always stop, never forever.
We don’t exist where we belong.
And all is backward.
Black is white and right is wrong.
Topsy fucking turvy town.
Right-side-up is upsidedown.
There it is, I can hear it again.
On the other side of the shower curtain.
Our great divide,
Half a millimeter wide.
A flick of a claw
And the beast is inside.
And I hear its feet pat pat pat or tap tap tap to and fro and high and low…Does it pat on the roof or tap on the floor?
I don’t think I’m sure anymore.
NOPE.NOT ANYMORE. | .EROMYNA TON.EPON
I know you’re in there,
Time to play.
Come out, out, out.
You know the way.
You can’t go now.
The book is clear,
You can’t go back
Once you are here.
So come, come, come,
Come out and play.
For once you’ve come you’ve
Come to stay, stay, stay.