Saturday, January 28, 2012

forty-sixth night

i cremated him and spread his ashes in the ocean.

the police had questions, questions i could not answer, but i told the truth when i could and lied when i had to. his death was ruled as an accident.

i dreamed about paul last night. he was telling me a story:
once upon a time, there was a tiger who was so large that it was nine feet between its lungs. its roar could tumble walls and knock out teeth. its name is tigris. it is not your enemy.
he smiled at me and then looked up into the air and said:
your enemy is bar-yuchnei, the bird whose wings can blot out the sun. it will crash around you and pull you away. you must not go. don't let go, sherry. don't let go.

i'm not letting go. i am back.

and there are more nights to come.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

twenty-sixth night (Deus Ex Machina)

I met him in an alleyway. I was waiting for him. The buildings to each side of me were empty. The alleyway was lined with explosive. In my hand was the detonator switch. One flick and boom.

He appeared at the end of the alleyway. "I can feel it, Sherry," he said. "I can feel it inside me."

"Of course you can," I said to him. "It's always inside you. It is you. But I can make it stop. I can stop the pain for both of us."

I flicked the switch.

Nothing happened.

Perhaps it was the interference of the Golem, some electromagnetic field it radiated, or perhaps the trigger for the explosives was just shoddy and didn't work (I couldn't exactly test it before). But the Golem in my brother walked forward, his legs moving strangely, independently of one another. "Sherry," he said. "I can feel it, Sherry. I can feel it inside me. I can feel it, Sherry. Sherry. Sherry, I can feel it."

I cried. The Golem had taken my brother and now it would take me. I was unafraid of death, but I wanted it to mean something. I wanted to take down the Golem with me. I wanted to martyr myself.

What a stupid idea.

The Golem came forward and grabbed me. I...I do not know what came over me then. I knew I was still crying, but I had gained some conviction, something like a resolve. An anger that boiled over inside me.

I reached into the wound in my brother's chest and grabbed the Golem and I pulled. I pulled it out of his chest, this thing that had been living inside him for months, this hideous monster of metal and bone, and I dashed it against the wall. I dashed it over and over again. It was shredding my hand and yet I did not stop until it was in bits.

At last, I looked down and saw that my brother no longer moved. I knelt by him and took his hand. Perhaps I thought I could bring him back to life with my touch, but he was dead. He had been dead for months. He had just been a wind-up toy and now I had broken him. But now I could bury him.

Behind me, I heard movement. I turned and saw the pieces of the Golem reassembling themselves. They climbed up the side of the wall and I saw it cut away a bit of reality and slip through. It had failed to grow bigger, but it had still gone home. It had gone away.

I had successfully turned the world upside down. I had won.

I disassembled the explosives and packed them away (you never know when you might need them). And then I took my brother's body and I went home.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

twenty-fifth night (The Lord of Misrule)

Two days ago, I met my brother again. But it was not my brother. It was the Golem inside him. He had been following me all this time. There must have been some spark in his brain that told him to find me and not even the Golem could change it.

Two days ago was the Twelfth Night of Christmas. I know it's sort of confusing, because the first night was the night before Christmas. So the Twelfth Night is followed by the Twelfth Day - which is followed by the Feast of the Epiphany.

The Twelfth Night - the eve of the Epiphany - was celebrated a long time ago with a party where the world was turned upside down. The king and those on high would become peasants and vice versa. The one who ruled over the Twelfth Night was called the Lord of Misrule.

Two days ago, I was the Lord of Misrule. I declared that the world would turn upside down. That I would no longer run, that I would turn to face my brother. That I would stand up and fight and probably die.

And some part of me did die. The part of me that still believed my brother was alive. The part of me that had hope he could be brought back. Because he can't.

Tomorrow, I will tell you how he died. And how I lived.

Friday, January 6, 2012

twenty-fourth night (Epiphany)

Hello. My name is Cheryl Pierce. My mother used to call me Scheherazade. My brother called me Sherry.

This is the story of my brother. This is the story of how he died and how a monster took his place. I call this monster the Golem, but in other circles it is called the Manufactured Newborn. It is a monster of machinery, a thing of grinding gears and bone and sinew. It appears out of nowhere, usually as a small toy, and then grows. It adds to itself and gets bigger and bigger until it can rip a hole in reality - and then it goes back to its home, the Towering Realm, where its true form lies.

Four months ago, I saw the Golem for the first time. I had an epiphany. A sudden realization. It was not a good day.

Cats had been disappearing from our neighborhood. My brother, Paul, told me not to worry about it, but I did. We had two cats and I doted on them. One day, however, one of them disappeared and I went to find him - and I found the Golem instead. It wasn't big yet - it had added some bicycle parts to itself, some cat bones, but it was about the size of a raccoon.

It chased after me on its needle-like legs. I ran. I ran back inside our home and I ran into our kitchen. It followed. Somehow (I don't quite remember), I was able to push it inside the microwave oven and turned it on high. Perhaps it was the microwaves that did it - it seemed sluggish after that. But it was still alive.

My brother, having heard me yell, took that moment to run inside. The Golem turned and pounced on him. It was sluggish, but strong. It's mouth was a drill and I watched as it drilled into my brother's chest. Perhaps it was seeking more materials to grow, but instead it grew inside him. I watched as he convulsed and collapsed. "I can feel it, Sherry," he said as blood dripped from his mouth. "I can feel it inside me." His last words, now the only thing his mouth can say.

I'm afraid I wasn't strong enough then to end his pain. I did not have the conviction to burn him.

I do now.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

twenty-third night


it is the twelfth night. tomorrow is the epiphany, january 6.

tonight, i turn and face my fears.

come on, big brother. let's have a family reunion.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

twenty-second night

endings. when do you end a story? with the big climax? when the denouement? with every single plot thread tied away? but this is life and not a story. there is no tying up of plot threads.
there is a story in grimm's fairy tales. it is called "the golden key." in it, a boy wishes to light a fire to warm himself. he finds a golden key under some snow. the golden key is to a iron box. the story ends by saying that it will continue when the boy opens the box. 
that is where it ends. so the boy never opened the box. there was no climax - just the promise of whatever treasure or horror was waiting inside the box, but it will be waiting forever, since it was never opened. the box stayed close and the story ended. 
this is called an anti-climax.

i'm tired of running.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

twenty-first night

names are important. some of the names we give our nightmares are bad - they empower the nightmares - but some take power away.
once upon a time, there was a miller who, to improve his status, declared that his daughter could spin straw into gold. the king, having heard this, took the miller's daughter and insisted she spin a roomful of straw into gold for three nights or else she would be killed. instead of revealing that her father was a liar, she instead cried and cried until an imp appeared and offered to spin the straw into gold for her. on the first night, she paid the imp with her necklace. on the second night, she paid him with her ring. on the third night, she had nothing to pay him with, so agreed to give him her first born child. 
and so, after the miller's daughter and the king were wed and she gave birth to a prince, the imp came back and demanded his payment. the queen pleaded with him to spare her child, so the imp gave her another chance: three chances, to be exact, three nights to guess his name and if they could guess, the deal was voided. 
you know how it ends. someone overhears the imp saying his name, the queen tells rumpelstiltskin (because that is his name), and his tears himself in two. his name, when unknown, gave him power. when known, it made him powerless.

do they have names? i call it the golem, because i refuse to acknowledge it was ever a newborn.


Monday, January 2, 2012

twentieth night

four more nights until the feast of the epiphany.
epiphany is often called theophany, "vision of god." a divine appearance of a god to a mortal. the burning bush. the pillar of cloud and fire by night.  
one tale of theophany concerns semele, a priestess of zeus, who slaughtered bulls for him. one day, zeus looked and saw her swimming in the river to clean the blood from her body and fell in love with her. he appeared to her as an eagle and impregnated her. the ever-jealous hera convinced semele that it might not have been zeus, though, so semele requested a boon from him. zeus stood on the river styx and declared that he would give anything to her - so she requested to see his true form. zeus was forced to reveal himself and the thunder and lightning of his body incinerated her when she looked. 
and we celebrate the appearance of god. the vision of god. something so incomprehensible that if we were to see its true appearance, we would burn away.
during the time of dying cats, when my brother was still my brother, i saw the golem when it was small. it was growing bigger and it managed to open a small tear to babel. it was too small to go through, but i could still see it: the true form of the golem, the vision of god.

i did not burn away. i saw it and did not burn. perhaps i did not see all of it, but it was enough for me to now how small i was. but i did not burn. i hope that means something.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

nineteenth night

every time i look into the mirror, i see her. why am i remembering her now? i can't remember, not with him following me.
once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess trapped in a tower. and then a prince came along and rescued her. but they did not live happily ever after. no, they had two children, a boy and a girl, and they tried to live as best they could, one day at a time. they both worked jobs they did not care for to feed their children, until one day the handsome prince could not take it anymore and left. 
and the beautiful princess was once again trapped in the tower, but this time it was with her son and daughter, so she did not mind. she told them stories every single night until they slept and then she would go to work all night and morning and then it would start over again. until the day a sickness crept into her and she could tell no more stories to her children and the tower crumbled around her.
he is coming and i am busy remembering. but the past will not be lost. it will be made into stories and told to children. perhaps someday someone will make my life into a story.

i hope it will end before my death.