A stranger's memory, a daydream
I hate you. Never have I felt such joy. Everything glows, everything burns, everything is black as coal and a thousand different colours. I soar, I breath the flames, I am a dragon, I am the tide. I touch every shore. I break every cloud. Run from me, can't you see the fire in my eyes?
They are all blind. They can't smell the smoke. They won't sense the fire until their skin is scorched by the flames, until their flesh falls from their bones, charred and burned. Would it surprise me if they denied it still? I laugh as I walk past them. I am death, yet they see right through me. What is life, really, but forced oblivion? What would be left, if you acknowledged the prospect of imminent death? They do not want to see me for what I am. It would ruin more than their day. It would stop life.
The hate swells up in me again. Blind fools. They do not deserve their blissful oblivion. I want to cut off their eyelids and force them to see. But what would it bring? They can't handle the truth. There is no life, you dancing little monkeys. You can't run forever. The tide stops for no one.
I can feel my smile slip from my face as I realise someone is talking to me. Act the part, act the part, they are not ready yet. You are not ready yet.
"Yes, thank you, my wife is very well." My own voice rings in my ears, and there's a taste on my tongue, like every lie has its own distinct, bitter aftertaste. My wife. It does no good to dwell on it. I am death. I am the dragon. The tide stops for no man.
I force a smile back on my face and feel sweat beading on my brow as I try to remember the man's name, or some kind of trivial information about him that would be worth comment, just to show I know him. But I am not even sure if I do know him. I can feel my lips start to shake, a drop of sweat runs down my neck.
The man smiles back, reassuringly, and lifts one hand as if to touch my back while the other points down the hall. I start moving in that direction before his hand can touch me, and hope it was not too quick. That he did not see me flinch. He chats as we walk. The sweat runs down my back as I struggle to find the appropriate phrases.
I could never understand small talk, even before I opened my eyes to the sun. Why talk small when life and death is forever right before your eyes, when all you need to do to touch eternity is close them and listen to the silence? Silence is eternal, infinity silent, it is what we all will be one day. But they fear it, like they do everything else. The routine is all that keeps life in place, and they dare not let it go for a second, lest oblivion slips and they suddenly find themselves staring right into the face of death.
Not too soon, they would not wish to know him too soon.
"Ah.. No, I do not think so." My answers are coming too slow. He knows. Was there suspicion in his eyes just now? He chats on, he's okay. Life goes on, their eyes stay closed, I used to be good at this. I used to be blind, like them. Now I am awake, but am I happier for it? Of course not. Happiness is another part of the lie that is life, and I am death now. I have no need of happiness. The tide, the tide stops for no one.
The man halts in front of a door with a name painted on it, in neat, black letters. I thank him, he smiles and opens the door for me. When I enter I feel a chill, a wavering in my inner flame. Strange. Is death as fickle as life?
"Hello," I say and smile, but the man gives no reply. I know that I know him. Him I have known all my life, he is my friend. My life? I have no life anymore. I know no one, because no one knows me.
"Sit down, Harris." His voice is cold, and I realise the chill I felt comes from him. It feels like a long time since I studied someone's face and tried to read the expression there. A man of death has no time for such. Now, I give it a try. My guess is that he looks tired. Or perhaps disappointed, in something, or someone. He sighs. In me?
He grimaces, his jaw works as he searches for the right words. Or words at all, he seems to be having a hard time making a single sound. Is that disgust in his eyes? A smile creeps its way onto my face, pulling my lips into a grin. Disgust? That's wonderful! That's one of the first steps towards awakening. Does he see me? Does he know? He stares at me, shocked, it would seem. Old friend, were you always this slow? I wonder how we could ever have thought we knew each other. Finally, he finds his words.
"It's over, Harry." His voice is thick, and his eyes glisten with tears. "Oh God, what have you done?" And here I was, thinking he was about to wake up, when he is further from death than ever. God? I try to stop myself, but I can't help it. Laughter bursts from my lips like a river of sound, filling the room with the glow of my flame, the fire of the dragon. Laughter is not retained for those who choose life, in truth laughter belongs more to death. In the end death gets the last laugh, does it not? Death gets everything in the end, just like I will.