Chapter I: Requiem Aeternam - Third Instalment
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING STORY CONTAINS THE DEPICTION OF VIOLENT SCENES AND ALSO ADULT LANGUAGE. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
This is the continuation of Madness Serial: The Hand of Madness Chapter I: Requiem Aeternam Fourth Instalment
Hello, again. Have you seen it? That shining and blinding radiance I see every morning poking through the window, it perfectly complements the emptiness I daily feel within me. It’s everything I witness when I wake up. It’s there as a reminder of this ordeal rooted in my being, which roots slowly absorb my existence by feeding on it.
I heard you howling. That loud but muted sound nobody else can listen to. The everlasting and desperate roar woken me up.
Remember it’s you who trapped us in this perpetual state that only evokes claustrophobia. Let’s not forget only I exist. You don’t. Never lose sight of that fact.
For you, loneliness never meant a problem. You are wild, sharp, and always enjoy the rawest violence. Your howls aren’t due to anything but your wrathful desire for freedom and to emerge from me to satisfy your voracious and sadistic appetite. Of course, you can't do it because we made an unspoken covenant that pursues to keep us inside this same body without hurting each other. That’s how this duality works. That’s what constraints any of us from taking real control. You don’t cancel my will, and I don’t cancel yours. That’s the balance should never be broken.
I squandered my whole life looking for something so banal and simple for many like finding rapport with someone. Someone capable of understanding me. Someone who offers me his outright complicity. Someone real able to seeing you living inside of me without fear.
You know me. You understand me. You were there, present on the Day of Wrath. You witnessed how both of us became lonely creatures wandering in this strange world, which we will never belong to.
Although most of us consider themselves unique and different from the rest, I must say, I really am. That's what made me partially what I am now. A furtive and wandering wolf moving among the shadows of the Darkest Night of loneliness. I’m a nomad roaming along with his inseparable and insufferable intimacy.
This day is just like any other. Such fiddling routine that I could asseverate even my own thoughts remain the same of yesterday and the day before yesterday. My own thoughts? Am I the true thinker of my thoughts? I’m languished to live in this everlasting loop with no beginning and no end.
We, you and I, are wild animals locked in our own cages of routine. Invisibles, but not least oppressive. We live this quasi-Faustian and paradoxical duplicity which makes us both equal and different. That ideal balance allows us to become inherent; thus, we are one individual with two natures contained within. You find contentment in your exile while you wander lonely looking for freedom and running away from crowds and men while, on the contrary, I’ve always longed for the faintest sense of belonging which is a contradiction since the fact I’m unhuman.
I’m face to face before this shining void, and like every morning, I'm about to repeat the same cycle.
I wake up.
I think about how isolated I am.
I go to my gallery.
I return home.
I realise I’m still isolated.
Repeat the cycle.
Right now, I am captive among the walls of this house with vast and murky crimson corridors that not only lead to the most splendid, light and high rooms filled with art, knowledge, and all glorious things, but also to those tombs that remain sealed and dark which I reserve for my worst nightmares that should never be opened. This enormous palace is filled with the emptiness and muted echoes of those who are dead but are not really dead. Those who dwell with me, keeping me company. From my studio to the dining room, each wall of this house serves as a support for the most exquisite paintings. Tableaus whose artful scenes range from Leviathan being destroyed by the sword of God, to the image of that Bacchus full of youth with half-naked torso who accompanies me nightly to dinner, which looks at me with seductive liquid-eyes inviting me to taste from his bloody goblet the red nectar of his frenzy.
I’m trapped in this infinite loop tediously starts with a cold and mournful morning and ends with the inscrutable and eternal darkness of each night. I stand in front of the mirror, and it’s not my face what I conceive, but the fragmented reflection of what’s under this man's suit. That caged oddity that I can’t allow myself to be, even if that could mean the freedom from this confinement because it would contradict the code my father instilled in me. The Wolf is for me a reminder of my father's teachings. It is there to recall me of the first of his commandments: no man is trustworthy.
What does this day hold for me? At my 31 years of age, I have lost all trace of hope. I buried all my expectations because whenever these are unfulfilled, only broken illusions are left, leading it to suffer and despair. That despondency prevents me from all that. There's no way I can feel disappointed because I don’t expect anything from life or the people around me anymore.
Each day, this barren and inhospitable oblivion in which I find myself in, turns more unbearable and drags me to that vortex from which it's impossible to escape. I find myself needing to struggle against this flow that attracts me with sudden violence. I'm desperate to quarrel against my loneliness and to put an end to the unanswered question my life is.
I can’t stand to see around and realise there's nobody near who makes me feel real. Someone who strips me from this attire of invisibility which I continuously wear. The caustic irony is I find impossible to establish a connection with mankind and simultaneously, I find insufferable the very idea of disconnection.
The pang slowly killing me of which I’m a slave since my brush with death on the Darkest Night feels like a dagger I carry embedded in my being. From time to time, this is screwed inside of me with sadism and fierceness. Like a grievous injury that has never meant to be healed. That sharp weapon that hasn’t been extirpated is killing me a bit more each day.
I am foreign to my body. I feel beside myself. Maybe, on the contrary, I introverted so much I ebbed away in the oceanic void I found inside me. I feel alien to my own skin as if this “me” wasn’t really “me”.
By staying disconnected from my surroundings I drift inside my restless thoughts incapable of reaching nowhere. I’m ethereal. I’m unreal.
—Mads, you all right?!
I hear a voice in the distance, rumbling like a dry thunderstorm amongst the tempest of my head, trying to free me from the prison of my thoughts. I slowly open my eyes. I see a blurred face both unknown and tremendously familiar. He’s there, standing next to my bed. He's dressed in a mandarin-collar-style white shirt of very thin fabric. I feel like I’ve known him forever. His gaze is gentle with a touch of irresistible naivety. He smiles at me as if he was delighted to see me and as if we were friends. He calls me by my name. Do I know him? Does he know me? It must be another of my intricate dreams. That's right, I must be dreaming, but— Why I’m here laying on this bed? It cannot be a dream because I feel entirely sore. Did I try getting rid of this life? Probably that desperate act in search of a way out of this world and its desires would have gone wrong.
—Hiya! —exclaims this young man as he smiles again. Almost like daring me to look directly into his big, rounded, dark eyes. I return the greeting with an instinctive smile barely drawed on my face—. You've finally awakened —he says to me as he gets closer and gives me a firm handshake. This is a first contact so authentic. A remarkably simple ritual. So clumsy. So human. So warm, that although I lack social skills, I can appreciate the beauty that lies in that first and honest connection.
—Hello. Have I? Who are you? —I ask intrigued and incapable of figuring out if I genuinely am awake or if I remain trapped in some of my dream ravings. Maybe I am dead and paradise has turned out to be real. Then, maybe he is an angel welcoming me to this.
After a moment, I realise I am not. Not even in death, I can find the confidence of a friend who liberates me from the oppressive chains of this reality.
—Yes, you are —the young man says nodding and ending my delirium—. Don’t you remember me? —he replies surprised and almost disappointed I don’t—. You saved me. You’re my saviour —he explains next, while I am unable to understand what he's talking about.
—Your saviour? That’s impossible —I answer with a hesitant murmur. I hadn’t noticed how difficult is to speak, and I mean it literally, not only because I'm unused to hearing voices outside my head. I'm a beast. I'm a monster. I'm your worst nightmare. I'm not your saviour.
—Today you saved me. That makes you my saviour —he replies insistently—. You saved me from an illfated destiny. You've bravely taken me from the clutches of death —he says moved once more.
Now I remember, I went to my art gallery located in central New London accompanied by my cloister habit of non-existence; surrounded by people and simultaneously alone. Walking in the middle of a dissonant and customary morning hustle. I don’t feel comfortable travelling surrounded by the faceless crowds abstracted inside their brain-implanted virtualities, They slumber inside the screens of their omniphones being amused by the everyday world’s pageantry. That's why this morning I decided to call an autonomous. Because, although the Hyperloop travels at speeds higher than the speed of sound in those glassducts that go through the continent, I find it a punishment to travel in these surrounded by people. All of them are focused on their micro-worlds. Being distracted. Connected with their devices but disconnected from each other. They’re imprisoned in their cellfishness. Walking like warningless robots who don’t realise in their environment there are others next to them. They’re lost in their digital worlds, chats, and technology. Desperate to communicate with others to avoid being with themselves. They’re a multitude of misanthropes looking to interact with others to feel less isolated. Many of them no longer even walk, because they turned dependent on technology even to move. How will their muscles atrophy due to disuse? I guess the same way their brains atrophied. It's unbelievable how all these "smart" devices have made all these people more obtuse.
The lights in the traffic drone-bots always provide me with the necessary pause to stop thinking a little while I hear them whirring like bees over my head, watching all of us from above like Orwellian Big Brother’s eyes. Furthermore, it allows me to stop to pay attention and observe the behaviours of “normal” people around me. I watched them and with discreet stealth, I sketched their lives inside my mind. I transported myself to these for a fleeting moment wondering, “Are these just as lonely as mine?” The answer was “yes” because I saw in their faces the reflection of diffidence, futility and indolence. I found empathy, and I almost encouraged myself to get my inner misanthrope out to play and find a friend.
The drone-bots’ traffic lights gave way to the passersby, indicating my little recess of rumination and studying human behaviour was over. As always, someone took the first step. On this occasion, was a young man of about twenty, slight build, light brown skin, and straight dark hair that fell on his forehead. I watched him, taking the first step with a relaxed walk seemed contradictory to the context. I was alongside him. We were about five people away and for a fleeting moment, our eyes collided. Then, I took my eyes off him so he wouldn’t realise I watched him. To my surprise, in a matter of seconds, I saw him being struck by a reckless driver who narrowly gets his scythe out of the car’s window. Was this a herald of the death itself? I anticipated the scenario, predicting what would happen to him if he didn’t notice the immediate situation. Meanwhile, I listened to the propaganda of Cassius Price, the Supreme Chancellor of the Great Confederation of United Nations, coming from a surveillance zeppelin with reverberating echo throughout the city until I began to hear it more and more slowed down.
Continues in Fourth Instalment