I wanted to pretend to myself that everything was ok. Then it all fell apart, even as I watched, it all fell apart. The hooded ghost of past horrors took hold of me, and dragged me under, as my flesh was ripped from my back and sides, drawn by the ankles down the rough cliffside to hell. To a new hell. Colder than the one from before. The last hell suited my disposition. I don’t like this one much at all.
The last hell this demon brought me to was a California kind of hell, and I lasted it out. But, of course, that aint half as noble as it sounds. Last hell was a place I can’t describe for you. It was a bundle of things; thoughts, memories, experiences, threads of life, all tangled up like a cat playing with a ball of wool. It was memories of me and her on the bonnet of the car. I kissed her and she kissed me. We made love under the stars. Then her passion would cool, and she’d go cold, her thoughts somewhere, long way away. It was disturbing. It was the start, she dragged me into her own personal realm of fuckedupness and here I am.
The smell of the city permiates everything, the smell of the apartments overpowers it. She lies there, cold and dead, her eyes staring up at the ceiling, her body twisted from her last few drug induced movements. She had writhed, so I see it again and again as the drugs flow through my mind. I’ve been here before. I know the loop I’m stuck in. Look out the window, watch the lights swirl before me, they dance like computer dreams, swirling fractals in the night. I turn and she lies there encased in ice. The room is a temple. The glow of her soul reaches up for the afterlife. I shudder, I’ve been here before. The hands drag me down back into that cold hell. I’ve been here before, both in this instant in time, and in this hell. It’s a different hell, but I can’t get away from this fucking moment in time. Dragged by the ankles down again.
Only as the sun comes up, the room warms, the ice melts, the drugs wear off, the spell is broken, not completely but just enough for me to escape that moment. I look at her, as she lies there in all her frosty beauty, the most beautiful she had ever been, lit in the morning sun. So pale. I watch the rise and fall of her chest, realizing that the drugs had played their part in my grim hallucinations. But even there is some truth in my madness. The last hell was warmer than this.
I walk out and close the door behind me.
I’ll take the California hell of leaving her, than the cold hell of watching her kill herself, and of killing myself along with her. I wasn’t even meant to be here, in this second variant of hell…
By Gregory Alter