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“We can be like they are. Come on, baby... don't fear the reaper. Baby, take my hand... don't fear the reaper. We'll be able to fly... don't fear the reaper.” - (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, Agents of Fortune, Blue Oyster Cult Time passed, the sun pushing across the sky and changing the position of shadows where things beyond time lurked and shifted to stay in ever changeless shadow, folded from sight, sniffing the movement of blood and oxygen. Video recording heads spun, impersonal in the magnetic recording of story and song and wounded hearts. The world tilted on its axis imperceptibly. Somewhere, souls passed from this life, across some threshold and into the next, into the waiting maw of time-filled eternity, an eternity whose first greeting might be one of them. I told my story, at first matching the black plastic casing and reflection-less lens of the video camera, but becoming more animated as the story gained momentum and purpose and truth, and working my way up to the weird “prove you love me episode.” I wondered if the camera was adding pounds to my face, or washing the color out of my skin, as if color ran in my skin anymore, but a part of my mind being the observer and sensing the absurdity of their life and my death joined for the moment in this room like sun and shadow are joined at the edge of a building. What was their fate for being here and receiving me? It was not my concern. Soon enough, in my telling, I came to the night that I knew she was ‘not one of us,’ as they say. They didn’t know the truth of it, though. She was an outsider, surely, and someone not of this world, or perhaps we were actually on her world – perhaps….perhaps that was something to think through but I would not tell them, not yet, at any rate. More important at the moment, for their purposes and mine, was to relate the night that made me realize a hazy and terrible truth. For my memory now recalled one night in particular, and laid it bare and warm and bleeding for the world. 1
I woke up, blinking. The room encircling me was dark, quiet, and preternatural, as a night that has used all its energy and now waits, laying low, silent and black, for the energy and transition of dawn. In this darkness my head tried swimming to the surface. Waves which at first stayed close and thick and blanketing eventually cleared. I became aware, the first awareness, the first lesson of the night being learned, a slow path to an enlightenment perhaps best avoided. Something was there, in the fog that was clearing. It moved ever so gently, and in that gentling, a menace roared in silence and traveled like a knife slicing up my back. I tensed, froze, listened with eyes as wide as a terrified horse before a predator. Something then resolved into a head and my heart began to beat faster. Who was this above me? Who sniffed, snuffled, and peered…then I relaxed. It was Morganna. Leaning over, with a simple smile on her face. A smile that sort of gave me the willies, if I was honest with myself. But I was only beginning to face honesty. Only beginning to admit what was. Who could blame me? Who had ever heard of such a thing? Her hair framed her face in a mocking dark halo, and brushed my cheeks, a deadly tickle tensing the muscles beyond where they were. “Ahh, you wake up, from the sleep of the dead, eh?” She purred, leaned over me, and sniffed again, and then her tongue was on my throat, slowly gliding down the middle of my chest to between my pectoral muscles. “Yes….” I tried to answer…as my head was beginning to clear all the way, oddly causing a disequilibrium to occur between its clearing and the murk of the air and the heaviness of my body. “Is something wrong? What time is it?” She lifted her head, her tongue flicking and licking her lips. “Time.” She canted her head slightly. “Perhaps. I thought it might be, but I think I was a bit early.” ”Early for what?” I tried to look at a clock but found I couldn’t move my neck. “What…” I tried to move my hand to feel my neck, but found my hand couldn’t move, either. “Morganna…what’s wrong with me?” I couldn’t feel ropes, or restraints, but perhaps some soft material…? She smiled. “What’s wrong with you? Well, it’s not time, that is what is wrong with you.” She shook her head. I tried to understand her meaning, but I could not grab onto it. Trying again, I said, “I mean, I can’t move…why can’t I move?” I felt my heart in my chest beating fast. It was the only thing I could feel; that and the oppression of the air. I thought then of the worst of fates, despairing of understanding, wondering if I was still asleep, but knowing that
was simply a stupid explanation. Then, at this low point, as if a pinpoint of light shone from a distance, but a pinpoint that was enough to allow focus, form somewhere an acoustic guitar started to play, and in my head I saw an old wooden wagon on wooden spoked wheels. There were white horses tied to a white tree, orange firelight reflecting off the red cloth covering, and what I took to be a gypsy playing an acoustic dark wood guitar, with others in rapt attention to the fire and music. The tune that was played carried the air to me, and me to the air of the night, and the room began to melt, disappeared in a haze, and in it’s place I saw a future that was grey, slow-motion, and wispy. In this future I moved again, momentarily reveling in the ability to move, but moving in a black night-garden of soft low grass, heavy vines, and big green leaves that shadowed the moon’s light and hid a figure in the background. I swam thru the air, reaching for the featureless leaves that hid this figure. As I got closer the shapeless mass began to resolve to a woman, and quickly bright lantern eyes began to shine, dappling the leaves in front with the bloodless light of the night. I moved closer, stubborn inches traveled seeming like endless miles, time moving slower than in a dream of slow-motion, until finally I was able to place my fingers on the set of leaves that hid the rest of the face. I hesitated, breath held, my mind trying to calculate the risk, and then I pulled the leaves back and beheld a face with open jaws displaying rows of pointed teeth, picking up the skeleton-white light of the dark garden as the jaws advanced on me soundlessly. I screamed, and threw my hands up in front of me. Or tried to. Suddenly my hands were once again heavy, stiff, and not under my control, perhaps tied down but in any case, I was defenseless, feeling naked to danger, and the soundless maw was upon me at the top of my head, chomping down. I regressed to a child’s mind, unable to comprehend the situation, especially unable to comprehend the terror. Waves of revulsion shimmied down my body. I felt pain but no blood, and my vision stayed clear, horribly clear, to see the helplessness of a man unable to defend his own life and the life slowly under attack. Then the maw was off, pulling back, and licking its lips with a serpent tongue, bits of grey dripping from between the teeth, sticking to a lip. Regrettably, the face was now clear. The face was now familiar. I wished it were not so. It was the face of Morganna. I had control of myself again suddenly and without warning so that I was off-balance and in shock. I involuntarily rushed backwards, my arms pinwheeling suddenly in the air, grasping at help which was not available. I landed on my backside, bruised, eyes wide at this…woman-thing threatening the night between us. She canted her head. I screamed. She smiled a smile that one expected of a sated cannibal. “Come now…that wasn’t so bad. You’ve been through this before. Do you forget, my pet? Such a memory problem you are developing. Come now, be that man your kind so likes to talk about. Stand up and take it like a man! A pitiful, weak man that can’t face the truth of why they live and why they die. Pffft! Please stop your babbling. It’s degrading. Try and think and you will remember that you are fine by morning. No need for this childishness!!” She shook her head at me and opened her robes. Her voice became warm silk on a cold night. “Do you need some comfort?” I didn’t respond. I only stared without comprehension and without response. Her eyes rolled. Her robes flew shut and her voice became like that of a slave master. “Fine. If it is to be that way tonight, then let’s look on your charges. Come along, now.” She came to me
and I was unable to retreat…coming at me, gliding it seemed…and grabbed my hand. I felt my body leave the ground, and it seemed she made me fly with her in some mock, terrible, perverse Peter Pan reversal, she The Pan and I her Wendy, leaving the security of…well, I no longer had security to leave behind. With her ahead and above me, dragging my arm, my body limp below, we flew through the leaves of the garden, leaves slapping my vision and sense of humanity until we cleared the garden and stopped at the edge of a field. I threw up. “Oh, you’re SO cute.” She let go of my hand and I landed on my side on the ground. “Now, get to them,” she yelled. “Before the night is done, if you will.” She narrowed her eyes which seemed to cause the air around me to take on threatening electricity, a smell of metal burning now filling my nostrils with a new urge to throw up. I got up as commanded and turned to the field, using every muscle I had to hold back my insides from hurling the very air they had onto the ground at my feet; indeed, to hold back my very insides from coming up and through my mouth themselves. Water dripped off my cheek, landing like lonely first raindrops on a weed in a garden. Only this garden grew not wide leaves and comforting petals. Instead, in front of me, and rising above me and out as far as I could see, were rows and columns and diagonals of black and rugged crosses, rising thirty or forty feet into the air, towering over the open space like giant limbs, rising from a grave that held horror upon horror. The shadows of the first row of crosses were in front of me crossing my wavering body, tattooing it in a hellish pattern that claimed me to some weirding event. I gaped, open-mouthed, with no sound being emitted, for on these crosses writhed body after naked, cursed, body. Pale forms, as bone-thin and emaciated as the dead bodies at a concentration camp, only these bodies lived, a telltale excruciating twitch seen here, and there. The moon spotlighting a bone sticking through paper-dry and shredded skin now and then seen, peeling away like life ebbing from the shore. Male, female, it did not matter. They were all there and in living deadly pain, all in inhuman pain. None had open eyes, and none had open mouths. Although some were without eyelids, the socket pulsing to the pull of the moon. On some, a flap of peeling skin blew in the wind to the rhythm of the accusing trees beyond. Still, the silent pain in the field gathered as one in my brain and exploded, a scream louder more than a full choir could have made at the largest funeral. My ears rang, singed, and I was sure they were bleeding. I looked at the ground again, some memory coming into play…and saw a wooden bucket on the ground, with what might be water inside, its surface tension vibrating with circles crossing and criss-crossing and lapping at the sides. I picked up the bucket mechanically remembering with some sort of muscle-memory coming to the forefront, walked to the base of the first cross, and began pouring some of the water at the base of that cross. I proceeded to the next cross, repeating the action, and the one after that and after that, each cross watered. I never looked up, seeing only the beam of wood reaching up from the ground, feeling only the shadow cursing my back and vision, smelling my fear mixed with that of those countless souls in the meadow. Somewhere, I knew she –
no, it – was watching. Carefully watching, evaluating if it needed to come in and 'help me'. I did my chore through the night, the moon making my shadow change its course, as I continued watering tens and tens of crosses in hundreds of rows. For hours, walk to the base of a cross, tip the bucket, watch a pool of water form in the moonlight, stop watering, and move to the next cross. I have to repeat, I never looked up. Never thinking about what was above me. After all the crosses had water, I put the bucket down at the base of the last cross, knowing it would get to the first cross somehow by tomorrow night, and I wandered to a live real tree at the edge of this field, and sat down to rest, putting my sore and hurting back against a tree trunk. The bark is rough. I lean back nonetheless and close my eyes, tipping my head as far back as I can, but only because my eyes were closed. There it was I suspect I got my second enlightenment. Under the tree I begin to see Morganna’s face, and although it has a terrible beauty, even at this moment, I see that there is vile danger there. Malice and hunger fought to be seen through her eyes and her smile. She smelled of death. It was on her breath. Even so, there under the tree, I slept, and received the image. I wake up in my bed. Dawn has made the bedroom grey, throwing the curtains of the nightmare experience open to be seen. The cotton curtains at the window gently blow in from a breeze that carried the night’s innocence to my nose. I turn my head to my right, pivoting it on the white pillow, and find an empty bed. However, I shudder, remembering the field of crosses from the night before, not from a dream, but from the night before. I am not sure I want to get out of bed. She – it – will be out there, outside of this room, somewhere. Waiting for me? Will she be smiling and waiting for me as if nothing happened? Or will she look at me and smile to tell me “I know you know. Come to your fate!” How do I face her after seeing the things I have seen from what I am sure was a future? Was it my future? Was all of it solid and actual, or was there some part or most part dream? Did I have a dream within a dream? Questions racked my brain and sacked my energy even upon waking, and I tried to recall the guitar as a focusing point to stop the movement. I decided I could not lay in bed forever. Lessons from my parents across all these years coming to the surface and guiding me. Even now at this inopportune time, the lessons perhaps leading me to a death from the hand of a being from beyond this life, even now the lessons unavoidable, and my response as sure as the sun crawling above the horizon each and every day. I needed to figure out how to leave. I got out of bed and didn’t walk far before stopping. I found her in the bathroom, in front of the mirror, leaning in close to get a better view of her mouth and getting something out from between her teeth. She arched an eyebrow at me in the mirror, pausing for a small second. “Sleep well?”
“No.” I stood in the doorway, looking at her. Remembering the loss of will, the loss of ability to move, afraid of its return. Was being restrained in terror, unseen, the worse horror there was? Or was there a worse fate for me yet to come? I needed to figure out how to leave. For me, I considered this as I stood there, looking at her, with vacant eyes and a twitch to my eyelid. “Poor baby.” She clucked and turned back to the mirror, examining something as her head swiveled slightly this way, then away. “Bad dreams?” She didn’t even look at me. The questioner was confident. The outcome was not hidden from her. “I think so,” my stammering voice, quiet; my reply barely rising above the water now coming out of the faucet. She leaned away from the mirror and shrugged, then walked past me out of the bathroom. Again, not looking at me, instead brusquely and imperiously moving past me. She needed perfume this morning. I felt down the urge to gag and did not allow my eyes to follow her progress to wherever it was she went now.
I stopped telling my story at this point and took a long drink of water, my eyes closed. Roine said, “Wow. This woman is PSYcho! Major league terror to play house with!” He looked at his partner. “David…if this story is to be believed, hypothesize. Do you think she is something not quite of the same DNA as you and I and…well, our guest here formerly was before he became ‘not one of us’, you know, the living? What do you think?” His eyes were wild with excitement. What a fool, I thought him to be. Did he not listen? Did he really want his life’s curiosity sated with this thing I had just told him about, and the worst yet to come? Did he not suspect why I would kill myself to escape her? I put down my glass, purposely missing the coaster on the wooden table. David nodded thoughtfully. His eyes didn’t leave me. “I think there is little doubt of this. This dream…I assume it was more than a dream? Without making you step too far ahead of yourself in the story, if you don’t mind?” I shrugged. “Certainly not. It was far more than a dream. What I am not sure of is the guitar music. Where did that come from?” Roine leaned forward. “Yes, I agree, I think that is a key to something that bears some investigation. But this dream. Real, you say. If so, your mind…it must have reeled in horror for days! I…” he looked down. “I am sorry for your pain. Sorry that you even remember that.”
I shrugged. “From what I have told you so far, before I go on, do you think you know of something that will help me to understand her, what she is? Help me to determine how I might kill her? Only then will I be released from her cold, stone, embrace.” The two of them breathed deep. David looked to the floor, considering. Roine looked at David. Outside I heard a car door, a bird song, a basketball bouncing. Inside I heard a beep. Roine clicked off the camera and took out the DVD and put in a new blank one. David looked up. “I believe I do remember something in one of our books. An old tale which once was known among some, so it was said, and a newer telling of a tale by a victim a few years ago which caused the old tale to be retold and written down. Also, it would explain, I believe, a gentleman we once met, Roine. In the Padre’s stone congregation. Do you remember?” Roine’s eyes opened wide. “I believe that gentleman needs to be found.” David looked at me. I smiled and nodded. Good. I needed to find people who could really help me.
“The world spins out of tune And there’s nothing we can do To save her now.” The Weirding, The Weirding, Astra
After a break during which the supernatural hunting partners – and once again I wondered if they had ever before seen anything supernatural - got food and went to the bathroom, they started recording the rest of my story. Roine started the camera and bit into a brat, ketchup squirting onto his shirt, which he ignored. I leaned back, hands on my knees, face intent on the camera and the blinking red light. I began the rest of the tale, speaking carefully. 7
Days passed in growing fear for me. For long periods of time she would be silent, sitting on the deck, ignoring my questions; sitting at the table and eating, ignoring my questions; passing me in the hall and ignoring my questions. She now seemed to discourage me from leaving the house and was preparing food for me, something she had not previously done. It was good food, certainly, but it seemed to have an effect on me, to make me dull, slow, and full of lethargy. I began to accept her silent periods with a fatalistic shrug. It was coming. The moment when it would all become clear and end. The end, no matter what it was, would be a relief. I looked forward to it one way or the other. At night, she would become a bit more lively as if a purpose invigorated her and she would sometimes hum, and blow her breath on me, a very odd breath that made my head tingle, cause me to see cold stars in the night, and plaster me on the couch as if I had been drinking and now was worn out. I felt something in me changing and would go to bed, listless, my brain shut off, not necessarily caring if I woke up. When I did wake up in the morning, she was never beside me. However, she did seem to grow more and more anxious, excited you could even say. It was an odd thing, but in one sense, it seemed she pampered me, or was fattening me up for something. I grew restless, but had no volition to do anything. I read some, called in sick to work, surfed the internet disinterestedly, ignoring emails and cell phone texts. I became blank and moved through the days in slow motion. One evening, I sat on the deck attached to the house, next to her. The evening had a slight breeze, and thin white clouds were blowing in on an otherwise blue sky that was turning dark. The trees gently swayed on the once in awhile wind gusts, and the sound from the leaves in the wind was hypnotic in its own right. Crows returned from farm fields, their feasting done for the day, ready now to return to city roosts. I smiled; they were like work crews returning home. The day’s events would now be told to all as they stopped in this tree and that tree, telling their tales of who got the most food, who was in a new romance, who played what trick on whom. It was the one thing I did love, to watch them come winging in on the evening light, flocking to one tree or another. And then to raise the cacophony! It was as if they brought a natural magic into the everyday world. I looked from the birds to Morganna. Tonight was a night she would evidently pay some attention to me. She put her arm around me and without pausing leaned over, a smile on her face, her eyes seeming to light up on their own in the growing murk of evening, and she cooed some strange words in my ear. I don’t know if I couldn’t understand them because they were a language I didn’t understand, or if I didn’t even bother to listen. Maybe I couldn’t hear over the crows. Anything was possible. In any case, the words wove lethargy deeper and deeper in me, and my heart grew leaden, seeming to sink down into the core of my body, and wanting to hide. As we sat on the deck, all this chattering of important business from the birds and nonsense from Morganna, I again began to hear some sound growing, picking up volume
just enough for me to identify it as a guitar, and like before, in my mind a vision fired bright all of a sudden, almost blocking out my vision on the deck of the growing evening. Again, I saw the wooden wagon as if from a hundred years ago, the horses white with pride, the fire bright with revelation, the – what I assumed were – gypsies around this fire. The guitar melody stirred then, and wormed into me, pulsing on all my nerves and seeming to wake me just a bit from some waking dream. I turned suddenly to Morganna, and she drew back quickly, surprise and concern in her face. Her eyes went wide, then narrowing she searched my face for something though I do not know what. In that instant, however, a thought came to me. I knew the truth of it immediately. Exactly what it meant I knew not, but I was confident it was a true insight. I know this seems contradictory, but it is all I can do to describe it. She was enslaving me, here and now. And when this enslavement was done, somehow and for some reason she would kill me. This, however, would not be the end of it. No. Somehow, after dying and passing on, I would still belong to her. I would pass on into some other state. Her killing me would enable her to own me somehow in a deeper and more terrible manner than I could imagine. I knew, too, that she had done this before, to others, that this was the fate of all she met. I suddenly knew, although I did not understand. I turned from her and saw the setting sunlight start to disappear behind trees. The night was lengthening. The crows began to go silent. I closed my eyes, the vision of wagon, fire, and gypsy returning to the fore, and in my eyes the gypsy pointed at a tree, a great and majestic dark oak. It was on a slight rise and in the middle of a grassy clearing. The grass around it was knee-high and sprouting seeds, waving in the breeze, waving to invite a person in to the tree, almost. I looked at the tree more closely, and in the tree was a rope, tied to a great and old branch, with a noose tied at the end. The noose did not wave in the wind. I looked back to the gypsy. He nodded at me and smiled. “It is the only way,” he said. “It is the right way. You will see. The best of no options. It is a way out, however.” I stared at the gypsy, trying to comprehend. The vision slipped. Suddenly I was pushed into the house. Morganna was cooing over me, her hands on my shoulders. “Now, now, come back to me! There is no sense in being out there tonight, though, is there? Let’s be inside. Let’s play a bit? Would you like some excitement? Come and follow me.” She led me by the hand, down the hallway, and into the bedroom, which was gray and murky since the outside light was failing and she did not turn on the light. She pushed me onto the bed, backwards, and I fell to rest, like a turtle on its back, on the mattress. She undressed and she had her way with me. I let it happen, but stared emptily at the blank ceiling, in my mind seeing only the rope, the noose, and thinking and beginning to understand. The only question was when. When did one enter the rope? It would have to be when she could not stop me. For she would stop me. That much was clear. I needed to figure out when I would have a chance at this alone without being interfered with. The thought of the noose gave me a comfort I was surprise at. A couple nights later, I knew when the time would come. I had my answer and I was quick to take advantage.
Morganna had continued her odd (and getting odder) rituals, and I believe by playing along one night she had thought she had sung me to sleep with her narcotic cooing. Believing this, she left the house and me alone. After hearing the door shut, I waited, gave it a few moments while I counted to 100, and then opened my eyes and rose up from the bed. I went to the garage and found some rope - good, thick natural rope. I looked at in my hand, measuring its strength in my hand. I thought it was suitable rope and would accomplish its purpose. I was on my way to scout out an appropriate spot in the house when a doorbell rang. The doorbell had not been rung in quite a while and it took me a minute to register the meaning of the sound. It eventually “rang a bell” however, and I looked out a window and my body shook. There, at the door, waiting, was my old girlfriend. She must have noticed the light moving in the window, for she turned and looked at me. I was now obligated to answer the door. Of all the times!!! I swore to myself. I wondered how long Morganna would be gone as I opened the door to my ex. It would not be good, I felt, for Morganna to see her here. Frankly, feeling the rope in my hand, it would not be good at all for this to last long. I would have to make this quick, not only in order to accomplish my purpose, but to keep my ex-girlfriend safe. No, she should not be near here. I stood in the door and managed a wan smile. “Hello.” She offered this opening to me in a small voice. Tentative. Her eyes, however, stayed straight on me, solid in establishing a slight hold over me. They were strong eyes at that moment. “Hello yourself.” I thought better of that response too late. But really, did I care? I didn’t want to hurt her, however. “You look nice.” Was that okay to say? “May I come in?” There was hope in the voice. Also, a small pleading was there, underneath the words, unspoken but conveyed nonetheless. I shook my head. Perhaps an honest regret in the shake. “Now is not a good time, really. I am pressed for time. Although, I really would – honest I would – like to talk with you. But…as I said, I am in the middle of something.” I lifted the rope, as if that would explain it all. I hoped it at least made it clear I was about some chore and it couldn’t wait. I then realized how stupid that was, for the rope to explain anything. Her eyes took in the rope and looked back to me. There was a question in them. She left it unasked, but said, “Sometimes we do things we regret. You know? Still, there is always a time to undo things. We can do that. You know?” She didn’t leave the question completely unasked, I guess. If she was saying what I thought she was saying. I thought she was saying a couple things. Oh…if she had come a few weeks ago. Perhaps there would have been another way before it had come to this point, before whatever poison was put in me by Morganna. No, that was wishful thinking, only.
I smiled. Nodded my head. “You are correct. There is time to undo things, or to put them right. All we can be asked to do is put our own mistakes right.” I nodded and smiled. She looked at the rope again. “Come get coffee with me. I want to talk. Please?” A tear formed in her right eye. A tear formed in my left eye. I blinked. She did not. I cleared my throat. “Tell you what. We will get coffee one day. Tonight though…I honestly have something to do, and you know what drinking coffee this late does to me anyhow.” I laughed. “I would be up at all hours of the night to pee. You know.” I smiled again, hoping she would leave before I lost my nerve. I wondered if I would lose my nerve. Was there another way? She did not leave. “What did I do wrong? What did you need? Please, tell me. Be that nice to me, at least. Be that honest. Help me with that!” I groaned in my head. “Nothing. Nothing! You did nothing. It was all me. All my fault. I got into something way over my head. I was stupid. You deserve more, anyhow.” I closed my eyes. I wanted her to go. This was not going to end right. Please go! “I don’t believe you. We can always do something more.” She was certain, and crying. And starting to make a good case. But I shook my head. “Sometimes not, sometimes maybe. Either way, you did everything right. Don’t ever think anything but that. Okay?” I looked at her and implored her to believe that. It was, after all, the truth. She would see that it was the truth, wouldn’t she? “I’ve seen her, you know. Your new woman.” Matter of fact. “She’s pretty.” She didn’t seem to complain. Just stating something. That made it worse. “Well….” I shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. Look, I really need to go. You can visit me soon. I promise. I’ll call you. For coffee.” I might be lying in a wooden box when she visited me next, but she could cry there, and then be free, and find someone worthwhile to make her happy. I tried to comfort myself with that thought, to make my next steps seem the right thing. The right ending. “Okay. You promise?” Her look was about to completely unnerve me. ”I promise.” I began to shut the door. “So…take care. You’re good. I still love you. Now, I have to go. I promise.” I canted my head. She nodded and started to turn. Before I lost my nerve I quickly shut the front door and went back to looking for somewhere from which to hang this rope, with all the more urgency. Action, and don’t think about what had just been said to me. Don’t think of the past…just the immediate future, the solution.
However, finding a place to hang the rope from was a problem, I was beginning to see. I went from room to room, looking at the ceiling in each. Would I have to go outside? That would not do. No, I didn’t want to do this outside. Still, I saw nothing of assistance for a good old-fashioned hanging of oneself. Damn these modern houses! How was one supposed to properly hang oneself? I had realized there were many things wrong with modern life, but a proper set-up for ending it all by rope in the privacy of one’s home was not one of those things I had thought about. Then I decided, what did it matter? The means to the end were there, just hidden. So I got a hammer and stud-finder, and using the stud-finder I found a joist in the ceiling and took the hammer to knock a hole in the drywall ceiling around it. I made a mess, but that was just one more thing for someone else to clean up. I didn’t have to worry about it. Then I looped the rope over the wood and made a knot. I then made another knot to adjust the rope to the right length for my body from the ceiling. I really didn’t have much room to spare. Finally, I made the noose. The preparations being made – and at this point I made a small prayer to god thanking him that Morganna had not come home, yet – I put the noose around my neck. Before stepping off the stool, I considered all for one last time. If my revelations from the past couple visions were correct, she had to be there at the precise moment of death for her plan to work. Whatever that plan was, she had to be there. Somehow I knew this, and I knew if she was, I would face a lifetime of torment, and she would certainly…well…do something with my soul. This was my escape from that. I don’t think I was mad. I don’t think I was making this up. The confidence in my mind made my body seem to shudder. My knees were getting weak. I realized suddenly it was now or never. I would lose my nerve soon. Become unconvinced in visions and odd days. Perhaps…was there another….no. NO! It had to be this and now. I stepped off the stool. The world went from color to black and white and then to a negative exposure in the blink of a dead eye. In that slow blink I turned and beheld my kicking body and panicked. I should have thought this through more. There was no way I could get the height needed for a quick break of the neck with the noose. What this lack of foresight and thinking had left for me was a slow strangulation. I looked around and wondered if I should help me. Find a gun? I didn’t have one. AH…the hammer. I should hit myself on the head and put that body out of its misery…and make sure it was dead before Morganna returned. Wouldn’t that be the supreme irony? That I would kill myself for her? Do all the work for her and let her reap her reward? SHIT! But then I went slack. The dead me went slack that is. I sighed, laughed, and clapped. I guess because the part that mattered was out here and I had won! I had cheated her. The soul of me was out here with me. Whatever I was now at any rate, if this was the soul. There was nothing in the dead body, at any rate. I was, frankly a bit surprised that I still was. I looked at my hands, at my legs. I was not shaking. I was suddenly a bit
cold. But I was whole and calm in this second new me. I looked back at the old me. What had just occurred? I was a bit confused. Was it this way for everyone? I walked up to the body that had been me and that was now hanging and gave it a push, reacting with a bit of a shudder. The old me did not look at or react to the new me. Good. Touching dead people especially in that first moment creeped me out! There was no need for anymore touching, for which I was glad. I turned to go to the desk and while I turned, I looked in the window and… Something was…no, no, I remembered nothing in the window. Though I remember looking and thinking briefly there was someone there. I paused. Then I told Roine and David the rest of my story leading up to me getting to their house and into this chair, the part of the story of seeing another of these creatures in another house, the diner, the padre, and here. I stopped. Looked at them. I waited. The house didn’t breathe. There was silence. David broke it. “Have you seen this Morganna since?” I shook my head. “No. But I want to find her. I want to put this straight. To do that, though, I need to know what she is. How she exists, and what I can do about that. I think I know where she is.” Roine was amazed. “You don’t know that about her…and you killed yourself? I mean, what if you were…confused? Mistaking everything just a bit. A little stressed out and you imagined some things? And then maybe you just up and killed yourself for no reason! Without any real evidence? I thought you would have some real evidence. Seems like you took a leap of faith in that vision you had. Just saying what’s on my mind, you know. No offense, I mean, here you are dead and all. But what you did, based on some odd things and a vision. Wow, man. You don’t mind taking a risk, huh?” I bristled. “I had all the proof I needed!!! Weird actions, weird feelings. Besides, I turned up dead, didn’t I, as you said? I was right.” I looked back and forth between the two of them. “You all checked me out. So doesn’t that prove it? How many actual walking dead have you seen?” They both looked down. David finally spoke up. “Including you,….well, one.” “So me being here, like this, sort of proves it, right? You really need more proof?” I shook my head and closed my eyes. If they doubted me, what hope was there, and would anyone else believe me and be warned? I settled myself down, though. The Padre had believed, and confirmed it with a story of his own. Again, it was David that spoke up. He held up a hand. “No, no….we need no more proof. No. At any rate, I think we can help you. Both from a book we have to give you
some background, and setting you up to meet someone. I am convinced this person can help you.” “Yes, David’s right. But how will you put it straight? I mean, what result is straight?” It was Roine, and he looked at me, hard. The ketchup stain on his shirt didn’t help me take him seriously. “I think I want to kill her.” I paused. “I know I want to…I HAVE to kill her. Her and every other one of them that I come across.” ”I don’t see,” began Roine, “how that helps you. You may be dead, but…is this the right purpose? To have as a person?” I looked back steadily. “What does purpose matter? Do we really need purpose beyond making sure that those that hurt us hurt no others?” “You hurt your ex.” I nodded, sadly. “And I made sure I would hurt her no more. I can even save her from this fate. I can save YOU from this fate. You know…I think this happens to everyone!” Roine snorted. David waved his hand. “Still…let us find that book and see if this old legend I am thinking of makes sense here. Now. For us. And then to find that man I am thinking of. I think a course of action will appear.” At that moment there was a knock at the door. David looked at Roine. Roine looked back, shrugged and got up to answer the door. A moment later he came back in the room with the Padre following. “Hello again”, the Padre nodded. “I thought you should know…your next door neighbor was found murdered last night. A crime of rage, it appears. I think we know who did that.” Nodding, I looked at them all. “You see now, she must be killed. You know it.” Roine and David looked at each other, then looked back at me. David nodded.