It was dark. Much darker than it should have been. The Earth was still in the midst of rotating fully about its axis, and on Scotland the sun should have been shining. But yet, there was no light. There was only room for shadows, with barely any space for a contrast of dull brightness to allow for the movements of whatever inhabited the dark. In his eyes, everything was moving. The walls, the room, the streets below his window. On the cold windowpane he had lightly placed his pale, bony hand. He could almost feel the drops of rainwater sliding down the glass, sliding and sliding… Reminding him of a luxury he seemed unable to afford. The emotional release of salty water from his eyes.
He was no longer sure if any of this were real. What did it even mean to be alive? He felt dead, if one could feel such a thing. He was cold, he was empty, he was forgotten, he was invisible. And he meant nothing. No matter what he tried to do, what he put his mind to, he just felt like a ghost grabbing for objects from the realm of the living, things he could never touch. His hand would brush against them, yes, but they would not remain in his grasp. So all he could do was sit by this window and stare out at the world that felt so foreign, so desolate, so suffocating, and watch with hollow eyes as the skies wept. What was he even doing with his life? How much longer could he stay here, a prisoner of nothing but a forced delusion of living? What if he stopped doing everything he was supposed to do, what if he allowed himself to be lost, to roam uncharted territory, to be gone for weeks or months as he simply gave in to the madness, the melancholy? What did anything even mean anymore?
Yes, he found comfort in others’ presences, in their words, sometimes. In fact, there were those rare moments when, despite how cold and opaque his home was, this large, crumbling old mansion that was refuge to so much misery, he was happy. And he was grateful to those he held dear. Whenever his own body no longer felt his own he would get an urge to force them all to disappear, but he knew better now. He knew that he cherished them, so much, more than he allowed himself to admit to them, and that he would never let them go. He never thought a day would come when another living being would become as important to him as his books and words and art and science, but yet, it happened. And he was okay with it. In truth, they were one of very few things that could keep him if a little sane.
But sometimes, he could not ask much of them. He had to understand, he had to keep his distance, he had to realise that sometimes, he’s just not wanted around. And that was okay, because that was how life worked. He was okay with it, really. He just hated having to do that on the days when he felt he should simply lie down in a casket and die. As if simply willing himself to cease to exist would work.
But then again, in his mind, on those days, he was already gone. He felt dead, surely. Unrecognised, unacknowledged, he locked himself in the lovely library he put so much of his time and effort into, where no one was allowed to come in. If anyone came knocking, he would say nothing, and they would be met with a locked door. Because, again, to him, he was already dead.
It was surreal. To experience this, to be in complete solitude despite the fact that he could step out of that chamber and be seen as a living thing. That did not matter. He was out of touch with his body, he was emotionally empty, and all he could hear was the storm outside. He looked in the dark and despite the grotesque imagery he witnessed, he felt no fear. By this point nothing scared him, nothing could really hurt him anymore.
What had caused such a man, so full of life, so full of love, so full of wonder to just collapse, to coalesce into the darker part of his mind, becoming a fading flame of black in a room choking on an overabundance of gloom? What was it that shoved its claws into his chest and ripped out his heart? Why was he like this? He felt, to an extent, he could not feel this way while he had such great people around. Whenever he was with them, he felt alive, he felt like he was doing something right, yes. But when he was left alone to the bottomless pit of his mind, the abyss that so sneakily spread out its essence of passing whenever it pleased, he deteriorated into nothing. Was anything even real anymore? He was forever questioning his own existence, and the existence of everything around him. Perhaps he was already dead, and everything he was witnessing was merely an illusion of what came after life. After all, with all that he had been through, that would be no surprise. Was he merely living memories from a future he had erased? What was this world?
And yet, he did not try to find an answer to those questions. He simply sat by that window and gazed out upon the darkening structures as the Earth rotated more and more, sending that portion of the watery planet into the night. Not even streetlights provided much to see by as sheets of rain grew into what felt like tsunamis spilling out of an ocean hidden in the clouds. It was dampening everything, weighing it all down. And it did not seem like it would come to an end any time soon.
He was at peace with this. In all reality, if he did not feel he owed some people some of his time, he would never come out of this. He would accept his thoughts of being dead and simply become no more. He would sit in the dark, silent, sinking into his own mind as time, slow as the most viscous fluid in existence, ticked by. He would sit in the corner and stare into nothing. His mind, cracking, snapping, removing him from reality. Was he finally completely and utterly insane?
No one really knew, not even he. But what would knowing even do? What would, or could, it change? Nothing, nothing at all. No matter the reality his brain chose to inhabit, it would make absolutely no difference. With nothing to hope for, nothing to look forward to, nothing to work on, nothing to feel, nothing to be completely and utterly absorbed by and obsessed with… Nothing really mattered. And it was all right. He accepted the truth. For now, he would join the ghouls and zombies in their realms.
It’s not that he wanted to die. Not at all. He simply was nothing. And all mattered not. That might sound cynical or depressing, but it was not in his grip nor under his control. Truthfully, the man… Thing… Needed some time, some time alone, where he was allowed to be miserable, depressed, mental, silent. He had no more energy left in him, he could no longer spend the precious little pieces of himself on caring for and about others. It was exhausting, it was unlike him. But at least he tried. He really tried. No one really knew how hard it was for him, nor how strange it all was. He was good at pretending to be normal. He was great at suppressing his emotions.
When he was free to love, when he was passionate and impassioned, oh, man, did the gods weep and the stars sing. It was beautiful. He put his all into it, he devoted himself wholly to whomever was lucky enough to grain his affections. He never did anything half-arsedly, thus it was impossible, unthinkable to love without full effort. But it was so often the case that he loved more than he was loved, and it turned him bitter and jaded and closed him off to others with a pulse. He receded into the backdrop of things. He returned to his solitude.
He wondered if anyone he met or would meet truly ever did want to understand him, what he was, who he was. This puzzle, this mess, this multiverse — did anyone feel the desire to unravel every little secret to his being? He was okay with the possibility that, no. No one really would ever want to see all he had to offer. No one really would want to peer past the layers, the act, the facade and see the ugliest, most wretched, deformed and mutated parts of himself. It almost happened a few times. But would anyone ever want him as much as he was able to want another? It was a tornado of questions in his mind that tore him apart from the inside out. And yet, he was at peace with it. Truly, he was. He did not care if that possibility were fact. Maybe, it would happen. Maybe, one day, he would be something, the only thing that someone wanted. Maybe he would be free to love with chaos and fire as immortal as Hell’s flame. No restraints, no restrictions. But until then, he was okay with being insignificant. He found solace in his tales and fiction and the worlds of his imagination. And what he had already was good enough.
He sighed, internally, and pressed his head to the cold window. Another day spent in suspense.