Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Awake Chronicles: Sleeper

72 down. 6 Letters. To seek to attain or accomplish a specific goal. First letter A. Last letter E. The airplane has just banked hard to the left with a slightly noticeable dip in altitude as I take my seat. The man next to me is working on the NY times Sunday crossword puzzle.  I can see him looking out the window instead of working on the puzzle. It’s Wednesday as the last line in the puzzle remains unfinished. The more I stare down at his incomplete task I begin to feel things turning inward while the plane continues sharper into the fall.

Ever wonder where the dream ends and reality begins? Have a dream so vivid that you mistook it for something real? What if it wasn’t a dream?

I just woke in a room without a window. There are IVs in both my arms. IVs that come from nothing in the walls. Walls that seem to move around me when I can’t move my head without catching a brace on either side. The light beneath cupboards shines on the walls where there should be windows and it seems to break through in small lines. Further attention demonstrates that there are windows and that the panes have been blacked out. Behind the blackened panes is nothing. Nothing but a bricked in wall with artificial light. Walled in dead end. Dead set against escape.

Day 1. 1:30am.
There’s two people sitting across from me eating Pinkberry and a man with a bag from Barney’s just exited the all night train. From the corner of my eye I can see the holy man walking up the stairs of the rear platform getting ready to make a move. He turns and I’ve already fired. I can’t feel my face when he’s lying on the ground bleeding out. There are two quick flashes of light and I’m back in my bed. I don’t know if it was real, but I’m sure that it’s so cold I can’t feel my face.


Where does the dream end and reality begin?

I’m awake. I think been awake. It’s not clear. Thin veil has been lifted. There’s someone outside this darkened room. I can hear him. There’s no windows. No escape. Small illumination comes from beneath a bank of cupboards. In the bluish hue both of my hands are black. Streaks of black trail up my arms ending in these distinct marks. Open wounds. Repeated strains of use from needles. My face is freshly wet. Dried tears pull tight at the skin on my face.

Day1. 4am.
My eyes are closed and my face is cold. The cold on my face reminds me of sitting outside. Sitting outside on the corner of a train crossing watching a plume of smoke jump into the early morning sky. There’s no light of dawn against the horizon. No light to deepen the shadows on the twisted metal resting upon the tracks. No light to brighten the scattered bodies bleeding in the wreckage. My eyes are open and there’s no bed. Only smoke and darkness in front of my cold face.

WAKE UP!” yells the unseen voice across the void of inner and outer. There’s a storage bin outside of the dark shadows of the room where a thin strip of light illuminates the floor. The voice echoing across the room sounds more like a radio announcer than a person standing outside. In between the exterior din I’m hearing the constant sobbing of someone unknown. I can feel the soreness of the fresh wounds in my arms. My bare skin feels the coolness of the night and I’m struggling with the knowledge of my surroundings. My body’s fatigue is noticeable as my muscles tremor. I’m uncertain if I need a fix or simply dying. Either way the tears are still coming as I realize the sobbing is me.

Day2. 12am.
I’ve finished cutting through three bodies to find the doorway to freedom and a set of filing cabinets. These cabinets contain documents that I need to retrieve. The three bodies are of no consequence. They are faceless. In the dreams they are always faceless. Is this the dream or did I just kill three people? Three faceless people. It’s of no consequence. There’s a voice in my head that says ‘keep moving’ and I do. The documents are blank. The faces are blank.

There’s no one sitting outside the room. Sounds are from a speaker that is somewhere in the room. I’m finding my bearings although I can’t find a pair of pants that fit inside the storage bin. I can’t seem to find a key for the door. There are no other openings in this room. Nothing to get in or out of the room. Nothing but artificial light and sound from sources other than life.

Day 2. 7pm
Is it day or night? Light eludes me in these places. The ones where someone is dying and I’m the one taking the life. Today I’ve stunned a woman and two children after shooting a man in the head. He wasn’t doing anything. Anything but watching the road. The road from Gregor and waiting for help. There’s a paper in the glove box that I’m retrieving before I’m shooting another woman in the hand because she tried to stop me. I don’t want to shoot her, but I need the paper and she wants to stop me. Is this where I get to wake up?

WAKE UP!” the man yells out through the little box in the corner of the room for the fifth time. I can’t seem to forget the difficulty of the last memory. I try to think about the small pieces that came before the dreams of this life. This life that feels a lot less like the reality of a dream than the dream of reality. The small pieces remind me of childhood with sunlit meadows and tree branches for climbing. Sometimes there’s a rope swing and a kitten with soft orange hair. But then there’s the man with the hole in his face. His blank face that’s behind sucked out from behind.

Day3. 3am.
Twenty-five minutes until I’m supposed to shut off the valve on the rear fuel container. I can’t remember if the mark is sitting on the left side or the right. I’ll check the manifest again before I sit down. The faceless keep going on like nothing is wrong. Eating their food without openings and talking without words. No one will be there to watch me do it. No wandering eyes to witness the switch. There are two people dead in the aft cargo hold. I can’t remember shooting them, but they’re all I can focus on other than the time. One has a hole in his head. The other has bled out from a wound in his gut. How long have I been waiting here? It’s now twenty minutes until shut off.

It’s time.” A voice finds me in the darkness. Quietly a voice from the only opening emergent in the darkness and I’m walking towards it. Moving towards the exterior sounds in the darkness with a dress instead of pants. Wiping the wetness off my skin and moving towards the light. In the light finally seeing the truth of the pain and wounds and moving through it. Quickly moving to prepare for what comes next without knowing what came before.

Day3. 6am.
The man is concerned with the wing of the plane as it continues to bank sharply to the left. He’s not watching the puzzle or my hands. Those final 6 letters. I have a sense of urgency to share the solution to the puzzle. He must be curious about the final piece. My hands that are reaching over and slicing into his neck with a small sharp knife. It looks like I’m a concerned lover that is calming my companion’s worries about the descending craft. His blood spills slowly and his breathing grows shallow. I can see him looking out the window instead of turning to me. He must have known on some level that he was going to go soon. I whisper slowly into his ear. 72 down. Aspire. To seek to attain or accomplish a specific goal. The plane adjusts its altitude and banks slightly to the right to balance out and I wake up.

Awake. 72 down. Tonight. I’m writing/typing sideways… all the way on my side with the computer turned for reasons unexplained to you. Rule #1: You don’t talk about Fight Club. Ah-ah-ah, there’s no fighting over here yet I am reminded of Fight Club while listening to yet another movie about a book that I read last year and making the best of something uncomfortable, headache. Not complaining at all while there is a lovely Joy Division song about love tearing people apart going on at the moment. It’s an odd song that I love and a bit ironic because it’s not the love that tears them apart.  Anyway part of this idea is from last week when I was supposed to be taking 72 hours down to concentrate on working on the material for the book. The majority of this is nearly four months old. It is one of the first pieces from ‘AWAKE’ and there is more to come. For the moment this feels appropriate since I’ve taken 72 almost 73 down between things. And how in control is anyone? Enjoy. kisses. sideways. m.

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