Chervelle Fryer, Illustator based in UK

The Becoming

You know when you have this weird feeling like you forgot something? When you’re walking — just walking, trying to figure out what’s that little itch on the back of your hands (the kind of itch you scratch and it just gets worse)? You know when you’re inside your head and there’s only this sinking feeling for a split second as you fall into an invisible hole? Then you hit your head before you realize you’re falling down and as the pain sets in, you don’t know if maybe you landed on your fours, cracking everything; leaving you a touch away from crumbling or if maybe your heart broke as the cold cement stopped you. It’s too soon to tell.

Invisible holes are timeless, vast and obscures. You need your very own bright eyes to guide you through the nothingness. But isn’t it scary when it’s just you down there? Isn’t it scary to be alone with yourself, inside your head, in a dark place that brings out the worst of you?

And even knowing it’s completely dark, you try to look at your hands — the numbness setting itself on the tip of your fingers, but there were only the memories of what they’ve done. And you swear you feel your knuckles changing grotesquely, you can hear the snapping sounds of your bones bending under your skin.

And you fall down on your knees when you feel a sharp, burning stab coming from inside your head, like a branding iron breaking through your skull as deformed, curled black bones start growing out of your scalp. The sound of ripping flesh almost doesn’t enter your ears for your screams are deafening.

You touch your horns fearfully; you feel the dentures, the curves, the warm blood dripping down, the base from where they came out, like they were always there, like they were supposed to be there. And you feel the pain easing slowly as the smell of burnt hair impregnates your lungs, sickening your weak stomach, oozing the taste of bile in your mouth, with tones of blood, war and fresh rage.

And you remember the bad things you’ve done, the somber things you wished upon others, the disturbing thoughts you enjoyed… You remember it all. You feel a sad, small acceptance bloom in your stomach. It’s trying to tell you she’s been waiting to grow her roots all over your guts, waiting for the day she can slip some of her needle-thin vines into your veins.

You try to look inside you and there is hatred and its embers clumped altogether, ready to set you on fire. There is disgust all over the walls, there’s shame lurking like a predator, there’s manipulation hiding on the corners, there’s jealousy gnawing on your entrails, there’s an immense amount of guilt spilled on the floor, there’s pitch flowing inside your veins — thicker, viscous, darker than your old salty blood.

“Just blow your embers into fire,” she says, “you already have the smoke overflowing your lungs. What good wouldn’t it do to you?”

Then you remember that night you spilled tears in that clouded bathroom. You remember you were standing in front of the mirror, looking at the wounds on your knuckles from punching walls. Red eyes, blurred vision, nails about to rip out your beating heart.

“Tell me you know you belong here.” She whispers “Tell me you know what you are, tell me you know what darkness can do. Say goodbye.”

And you remember that million dollar question: “Isn’t it scary to be alone with yourself?”

It is. It absolutely is and you hate yourself.

But how could you get out after finding out how deeply corrupted you are? Can you? Should you? Will you go back to the surface only to hurt those who embraced your bitterness again and again and again?

“Hide away, stay here.” She whispers sadly, empathy echoing in her voice. “It’s not fair to them.”

A last glance inside yourself and you let it bloom.

“Just blow your embers into fire.” She says.