Monday, 4 August 2014

Buried Deep in My Mind

Since that terrible day.

Sleep, it's just a word anymore. I don't sleep, I slide into unconsciousness.
When you sleep dreams are mostly silly or pleasant or about work.
When I'm unconscious I nightmare.
When I am conscious I take the feelings with me through my day.
They will not leave me. It was only dreams but they might have well been real.

They are always different but very similar. One feeling is common to them all. Sometimes I awake screaming and after each nightmare I am covered in sweat.

Let me lay out what those nightmares were like during the last year that I was working.
These came in different forms but happened almost every night. I no longer wanted to sleep.
What follows is the nightmare I remember most because I had it many times. It was a little different each time but the same feelings were there. It drives you to madness. 

Here we go.........

   Dark heavy clouds lower the sky towards the earth threatening to dump all that is miserable on this place. Cold rain falls from the sky in wandering veils of drizzle. The air is chill and promises of the snows to come.
 Then out of nowhere a tornado. It just popped up and headed in our direction. We ran in fear and took shelter in a derelict barn. Am I hoping to hide from it? Maybe. It was still meandering back and forth out there like some hideous troll hunting for us. To vulnerable here, need a safer place.

  All around are open fields dotted with a house or barn. The buildings look like they had born witness to the blitzkriegs of world war two. One building in the distance seems to have the least damage.The tornado has slipped out of sight but I sure it is still searching.

  The stubbed grass field between here and refuge is a long trek and I keep an eye out for that whirling troll. Just to make things worse a November Witch comes shrieking. Her howling breath is filled with ice pellets that rake your face raw. The inadequate clothing lets the wetness from her spittle sink to your skin. The icy blasts tear mercilessly through to the bone. We stay close and struggle to escape her. Stopping next to an old tree I pause and look at their faces. Wet hair, skin pallid, frightened eyes, blue lips all looking to me trusting I will find them shelter.

  I motion toward the building which still seems miles away. Reluctantly they lower their heads and continue on bent against the weather. We stumble in plow ruts filled with water and some of us fall from time to time. I pick them up and we continue on. I see the tears freeze to they're faces. Hands that have touched the watery ruts are reddened and frozen. They tremble violently from the cold. I hope I can make it. I have to get them to shelter.

 Reaching the building we leave the Witch to wail outside. Her screams are quieted by the remaining walls of the building. The shelter gives some relief. We are weary, hungry and cold. I want to sit down and rest but they must rest first. My heart is heavy. We have to start again. Rest can come later.

 Surveying the building reveals a full main floor covered only with planking. Most interior walls are bare to the studding and the corners of the rooms are dark and cold. The exterior walls that are left hold windows with broken glass and some not there at all.
An area added on to the back looks to have taken a direct hit, only a stained and dirty sink with a couple of supply pipes dangling like broken bones give clue to this being the kitchen.

 There is a brick fireplace to provide some heat using the splintered lumber littering the main floor.
Get that going first so they can huddle around it.

  The upstairs is still half there and you can see right through the roof in some spots. At least the rain is slacking off but it will be back. Promising a good soaking all night.
The driest area upstairs is next to the chimney and what was once a bathroom. Part of the exterior wall is missing but I hope to be able to patch that up for the night with some boards from the main floor. An area off to the left still has a small room that has remained untouched. The children will be dry and warm in there.

  Just need to patch up a few things and go on from there. It will come together over time. A shattered home for our shattered lives. Everything we knew is gone, a little piece of each of us died with them. We are no longer the same, how can we be now that some of us are gone. This is fucking hopeless but I'll keep trying anyway. I don't know what else to do.

   Now it is time to find the entrance to the cellar. Just like I do every time. I dread it but I must check. I duck in and immediately I am filled with fear. This is one of It's places. It looks a little different each time. But it lives here. I can't see It but I know. I just have to leave quietly so as not to wake it.

  I have met up with It on many other nights. Sometimes I just swallow my fear and do my work and get out of there real quick. Other times I could sense It searching around in the dark trying to find me as I stand paralyzed with fear then finally break out screaming at the top of my lungs.
  On two occasions It has brushed against me but I managed to escape. But the second time I found the courage to look to see what it was. I wish I hadn't. You see, in the darkness behind me I saw nothing. But It was right there. I could feel It.

  I leave the black hole behind me hair standing up on my neck. Once I'm back upstairs I ask if the children are Ok. She looks at me and says there is only one. I remember there being two with us when we came here. Then I remember, she is right. No more is said.

  The others have fallen to sleep but I still work on stopping leaks upstairs as the rain gets heavier.
I wonder if this time I will wake up and find this has all been a bad dream. But no this is my lot.
On the main floor I stoke the fireplace with more broken boards. The fire is large but for some reason seems to give little heat. A cold fire in this cold existence.

   I find myself back at the cellar entrance. I must check to see if It is awake and aware of me. If It is we leave now, otherwise we will be leaving at daylight. I descend into the half light of the cellar. This one has stone walls for the foundation. The floor is dirt and uneven. A ditch of water runs across the width of the room and ends over in the darkened corner. The air is dank and smells of dirt and decaying wood. Cobwebs hang everywhere but even the spiders have deserted there traps.

 I am drawn back to the corner where the fetid, sluggish mass flows in the ditch away from me. My heart is beating wildly, I am scared, no, terrified. I have experienced such a panic once before. It is unforgettable.

  There is light coming from the corner now. I come a little closer and find that the wall actually stops short of the side wall leaving an opening to the other side.

  Oh no! It's in there. I have never been this close. Oh man, I am way to close. I am frozen with fear. I want to turn and run but I don't. Incredibly I move  closer to the opening. What the fuck am I doing? Get the fuck out now. If there is a hell, even if only for me, then surely this is the way in. The light is getting brighter. The fear and panic is numbing. I scream but nothing comes out. Fear runs through me like lightning when I see It. This cannot be happening. It doesn't make sense. I want to do something but where to start. I wish the carnage away but it will not. I want to help him. I want to save him but I can't. Everything I have is useless to help him. There is obviously no hope.

  I'm so sorry.
I fall to my knees. My mind cannot accept what has just happened and closes up to keep insanity out. All things that are buried eventually find their way to the surface. The monster from the cellar is within me. It must be brought forth carefully or it will surely kill me.

The toxic beast has a name. Self blame.
The beast was born on that terrible day and was suckled at the teats of self pity.
It feeds on my feelings of responsibility and loyalty to others trying to devour me.
It amplifies my perceived inadequacies, whether real or imagined, and paralyzes me.
I must let it go. Banish it to swirl in a back eddy of time. Never to escape.

But how?
I must find a way.
These dreams leave me feeling undeserving of my family. Leave me feeling undeserving of a life.

You, yourself, as much as anyone else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. – Buddha
Good old Buddha, he has all the answers.

thanks for reading
Ken

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