Titans (from Ch 14 of Mythic Creatures) by Jesse S. Mitchell
Leah guided me to bed last night and left. I do not know where she went but none of this is really about her anyway. So tired, I fell down into the mattress, and faded into the dim light all around me. I awoke this morning a million little specks of being, not entirely held together. I awoke this morning alone. I awoke a spirit unfleshed. I am clothed. I am a bit of everything. I am an old familiar song. I am a sound drifting through the floor. I am a flickering light behind your eye. A specter gliding through the walls. My eyes and my ears and my fingers numb and wobbly and barely conscious. My mind lost, completely lost now. Beset on all sides by madness, a special madness, my madness. I walk outside and the sun burns bright and high in the sky, like a blazing fire, burning me. I stare up into the air and watch the fire burn…watch the sun fire burn…hot…hot and dazzling…hot and brilliant. The clouds, like shadows, gather round and shade the light so provocatively. Little balls of dust and seeds and leaves and things float by me in the soft breeze. I cannot be sure as to the solidness of my surroundings. I feel ethereal. I feel like an angel. I feel like a ghost. I feel like a monster. I am a human being. I am human but a human…a human smiling at heaven as if he knows it…knows all of its tricks. I do. I do know all of the tricks. The blood ran so red. The blood ran so free and red so many years ago…the blood…so much blood that now when I think of home all I can think of is red red red…all I can think of is blood, bloody blood. I look at the sky and let my eyes burn. I let my eyes be burned by the orb of air consuming fire. Burn them out. Burn them right out of my head. Burn them out. I can still see. My curse. I will always see. I am cursed, you see. Madness and lucidity. Quiet. Quiet. Silent the streets are today. I look back down at the Earth spinning, revolving below my feet. I can see into the windows of the buildings along the street.
Breathing this air is like breathing in poison, hot gas, molten iron. Breathing this air makes me choke. Like everything is filled with ice, little shards of broken frozen ice, the air cuts me and fills me up like concrete. The sunlight burns me. The heat makes me feel coated in drying mud…cracks all over. Everything surrounds me and pulls in close on me. Like Yggdrasil surrounds the trunk and gnaws the roots of the tree of life, the serpent waits and constricts around me in all this natural air and glowing red-hot sunlight. I burn all over…this is a sign of something…it is the way it happens that makes me think this is a sign…a message to me. I am not meant to live like this. I step (it feels like a stomp) out onto the street and make my way through the maze of grey-faced building fronts staring at me with their greasy window eyes, frowning their wrought iron doorway warnings at me, standing up so high behind the running human mob. The castrated Uranus and all the other bloodied titans grimacing at me from behind our movements and bicycle riding passers-by. I cannot walk through this maze. I am filled with concrete and steel and wooden legs and bloody lungs and twisting mind and fear from warning and cold things…I am filled and dying. My feet land hard on the ground as I walk past the shoppers and workers. My face is twisted up in confusion and pain. I cannot seem to move quietly any more. I am loud. And Heavy. I am loud and heavy. I ripple when I walk and shake in and out of all this dream or reality or whichever one it is…I am much too heavy and the look of my face draws away the eye. No one can see me now. I am much too… No one can eye me out here. Dare not to speak my name. Bu I do speak it…over and over in my head…a constant chorus, a refrain, a repeating mantra praying its hot-breathed sighs to a heaven frozen under and over…hard as glass. I speak my name to myself, all alone in my mind…echoing as I walk…I say it because it soothes me. I am uncomfortable alone. I am uncomfortable with others. I need peace. So I calm myself as I walk through the monsters and the graveyards of monsters…a grey tomb etched out of the sky looming dark over me…casting shadows I can never hope to see through. The world surrounds me. I breathe hard. Lines and words wrapped around me like a band of leather…like strings and strips wrapped around my arm…like tefillin…all up my arm. Place before my eyes…in the center…a box of heaven…open it up and let the law scroll out and read back to me the word…line by line…the case against me. Oh strapped and cut and twirled in string and reeled in, caught in this net…I made this thing I am trapped in, I made it with your eyes…with my hands and your eyes and words words words.
And you shall love the lord your God with all your heart
With all your soul
With all your might.
The little red car that nearly crushed my left foot rushed by so fast…so fast…I was almost knocked flat by the wind. My hair blew and bounced. My face felt so tight and dry in the wind. I walked to the closest window to look at myself but I swear I could not see me…I could almost…almost…catch a glimpse but the light would change and the background noise would ripple the whole scene and distort…just distort…I swear I could not make out my face. I rolled my feet over the soft rocks, the smooth tiny stones at the edge of buildings. I stood straight and quiet. I waited in the open air but nothing happened…so afraid of not moving…cannot hit a moving target but nothing happened there for a minute but best not to take chances…to take those kinds of chances…test the fates…got to get moving.
The lines of everything seem out of place and stunted. Nothing seems as settled as it did the last night or the night before that…what is coming of the world? Why the spaces so strained? Everything flogged and fogged up and boxed in and turned around. I walk down through the maze, the wilderness, my fingertips gliding along the limestone cement walls of these mad buildings. My fingertips dusty, leaving trails, leaving trails so that I can find my way out of the labyrinth…fight my monster and follow my chalky bread crumb hand prints out…oh to my peace and freedom.
I turn the corner to a familiar street. My pace quickens and my heart flutters its last flutter and the beating beat of my rapid pulse slows. The cool iron rail, ribbed, spines, wrought iron, bolted into the side of the revolving Earth, feels good under my palm. All the beauty in this world right below my hands, like words, words raining down from the golden clouds, raining sleets of steel glass, puncture holes in my skin, dotting with red blood, with words all in lines…perfectly lined up lines…straight as sticks in row rows rows.
I pull madly at my hair. It hurts. I do it again. I pull it up in places just so I can smooth it back down. All this awful rushing around. The sight of blurred insanity, the smell of the terrible coming apart…coming apart at the seams…at the weakest spots. The only way to destroy a thing is to get right at it in the weakest spots and tear and pull and yank and torture and torment. I toss a loose bit of crumb-covered paper in a wastebasket. The sun glows red through the hell of a sky above me. The glass in the windows reflects the ugly heat back at my pinched, pulled skin. I cannot stand the way I feel. The sweat comes rolling down my brow like water, waves and waves of hot sick water…the tides…my tides…ruled by the moon…some heavenly body too far out of my reach to petition, I cannot make a case for myself to any heaven...too far away...held too far away...the distance...the distance makes me a monster. A wounded animal biting at the world in rough frustration. Too many horrible years terrifically piled one on top of the other…high up to the watchful hands of that which damns me…dirty things and awful days piled up up up to make a great scene…a great stink…a tower…a tower of Babel. Disperse me, confuse me, make my ways undone, make all these things my hands have done come to naught…don’t let me build build build. The laughter I hide deep inside myself comes bubbling up. My face cracks wide open. I know that this is all there is as I pull my hair…hard…I pull my hair winching and laughing as all these lunatics skitter around me. Breaking like waves of water on a stony beach. I walk in strides too large and almost falling over, my hands all twisted up in my hair and pockets. I am Nimrod, builder, hero, hunter. I will shoot my arrow into the sky. I will make my mark in your stars. The laughter is too much for me. My feet can’t carry me along.