The First Day Back (Part I)
Rayan rubs his eyes as he groggily looks over at the alarm clock. Work… that’s right. He had a job. So much had happened over the past few days that he had almost forgotten about his life before the incident – the amnesia or fugue or whatever had happened – that started it all. While he was in the hospital he had contacted the school and was given a few days off after his injury – an injury he graciously was allowed to barely explain – but he had class today. It had been a whirlwind, but he needed to get back to his life eventually. He had responsibilities.
He swung his legs out of bed. Why was he so tired? He was usually such a morning person. At least the splitting pain in his head had finally subsided – for the past four days it had been like a drum, a primal urge that came with every interaction, every word, every thought. He knew it had to do with this change in him, but it was not until the meeting with the Stone people that he understood what it was. Hunger. It was not until yesterday that he understood why, or how to sate it.Out late last night. That’s right. He was out late…
Rayan almost gasped when he looked down. There was blood all over the sheets. All over himself. Briefly, there was panic has he pulled himself out to check for his wounds when he realized with relief and horror that the blood was not his. John Buckner. He comically shock his head as if trying to shake away the cobwebs of the evening. He had given in to the monster in his soul, and It had feasted.
He got out of bed completely. He wore only his pants – his shirt was probably laying in a corner somewhere over an impossible stain. He mindlessly put the sheets in the hamper and walked to the small bathroom and turned the water on for a shower. Some of the blood had dried on him, soaking through his shirt before it was taken off. He stripped and stepped in to the hot water. As it came down he realized, momentarily embarrassed, that he didn’t seem to care very much about the blood beyond the inconvienance. A man had been hurt. Badly. That’s not right. That’s not good. Good. Right. Abstract Concepts. Mechanisms our civilization has used for millenia to make it all work. Foundations for culture that tell us how to act, and how not to act. Ultimately, lies. A facade, but perhaps a necessary one. Once.
What was he thinking? He didn’t really believe that, or did he? His mind seemed at odds with itself, his experiences and humanity fighting and debating against something alien but inexplicably, and certainly, him. Maybe it just took time to adapt to this new reality.
He turned off the water, grabbed a towel and quickly dressed. Jeans, a tan long sleeve crew neck shirt. Working Today. Right. He tucked his shirt in and grabbed a brown belt, and while buckling returned to the bathroom. The mirror was fogged up, like the dream that had haunted him for so many years. He had a feeling that dream would never haunt him again. Ultimately, he had seen the reflection in the mirror. In the end, It wasn’t something to fear, It was just himself. It was just the truth. He wiped away the fog and looked at himself.
His eyes remained red, but it was nice to no longer have the bandages over his face. He looked closer. Woah. There were specks in his eyes – a hair or something must have gotten .. nope. It WAS his eye. His fingers touched the mirror, tracing his own face. Instinctively he thought of yesterday. He had done a similar thing when he was in his ‘lair’, but the reflection was not him – It was something different, but it was also him all the same – another part of him he did not realize. That self was an enigma yet also familiar and confidant. It was him, and it was becoming difficult to differentiate when his thoughts came from.
Looking at the face in the mirror – his face – he finally saw what had happened to him. There were scars around the top of his eye sockets, straight lines right over his eye. His left eye had a faint, opaque white line going vertically through his right eye, partially covering his iris. Other white specks surrounded it, and a few were in his left eye as well. It was pretty severe scaring, and even with just a few years of medical school, he knew he shouldn’t be able to see, at least not out of his right eye. He put his hand over his left eye, but he still saw clearly, although admittedly some of the colors seemed dull (not that there was much to see in his sparse bathroom – gray subway tiles and a white porcelian sink. There was a razer and toothbrush, but that was about it). Well, he knew that already. It seemed that this was part of the package. He could see in complete darkness, and he could also blend in with them. There was truth to the found in the shadows. That’s how he was able to move so easily within that house last night, and how It was able to catch the physically larger Buckner so unaware. Yes. He remembered John Buckner on the floor. Pleading, begging. Confessing his crimes, his lies. He had cheated his wife, he had beaten her. The sound of his hands crushed and crunching beneath his shoe as it came down, stomping on them in turn. Mangling them. There was a euphoria as his ribs caved in as he was kicked again and again. It felt so satisfying. Ugh, he would have to check his shoes. They’re probably ruined.
The fact is, his punishment had nothing to do with his wife, but the lies he told there made it all the more deserving, and sweet. He had so many lies, he did not know which ones to confess to. He sighed, clearly it shouldn’t have stopped the lesson – Buckner had more to learn, after all. Everyone lies. That’s not the point. You need to accept yourself and your lies for what they are, and what you are. If you do not control your lies, your lies control you, and for that, you must be made to see the truth. For John, however, that was not the worst crime, no – the absolutely unforgivable one – to accuse another. John had stolen the truth, and that must be punished. It was hard enough to see through the Lies, and your own lies – for someone to falsely build a truth around another was a sin so absolutely unforgivable. It grieved that he left with John wheezing and sputtering up blood, for the lesson was incomplete. Maybe he died, Maybe he lived. He should have made sure John Buckner Learned.
Well, you know what the Christian Bible says, right? ‘Let he without sin throw the first stone?’ Wrong. Let US throw the first stone, the second stone, the last stone. For we have seen the truth, and we understand the Lie.
Rayan shook his head again, to himself. Honestly, whether it be disagreement or simply not wanting to debate with himself anymore – he could not know for himself. He sighed audibly and looked in the mirror. He was a good person. Right? That’s a lie. But it’s a lie he still wanted to tell himself. Everyone lies. You just need to understand that they are lies. He would afford himself this one… at least for now.
Rayan grabbed his brown corduroy jacket and glasses. He looked over to his kitchen counter and saw the sunglasses from the previous day. Best to have them. Less questions. He put his regular glasses in his breast pocket, and put on the sunglasses, and walked out the door.