...and decided to dust off and bring into the light.
For this darkness, though of deepest obscurity, is yet radiantly clear...
-Dionysius the Areopagite
At the touch of the Fire Qadosh the earth melted into a liquor clear as water.
At the touch of the Fire Qadosh the water smoked into a lucid air.
At the touch of the Fire Qadosh the air ignited, and became Fire.
it begins with the blood. a single drop. loosed from its coursing torrent with the prick of a sharpened blade. the point enters flesh. the desire to push deeper, to release more blood is great, fair to overwhelming. but one drop is all that is required, so one drop is all that is drawn.
it is carried on the tip of the knife, carefully. once the designated place is reached, the blade is turned. the drop falls to the chosen spot. words are spoken and the air shimmers.
a figure appears. faint at first, barely discernible. it starts to take shape, apparently drawing substance from the blood. a torso forms, then arms, legs. finally a head. the head is featureless except for a pair of glistening eyes. they coruscate, changing color, appearance: golden with cat-eye slits; all black, with several tiny white pupils; finally blue, completely blue, with silver, split irises that swing from side to side, seeing everything.
* * *
Tuesday morning: What time is it? He rolled over and opened his eyes, turned his head until he could focus on the display of his alarm clock. It was 5:45 am, two hours before he had to get up. He closed his eyes and drifted back off to sleep. And dreamt.
There were clouds, thousands upon thousands of them; commingling yet still individually discernible. The sky was blue but it was on fire. There was no heat, no smoke, only light: blinding, brilliant, incandescent light. It burned his eyes. He turned his head, closed and covered his eyes, but he could not shut it out.
And there were voices. A hundred voices, a thousand voices, a million voices. A mad, cacophonous chorus, crying, shouting, screaming – singing. Singing out a single word, over and over and over. “Qadosh, qadosh, qadosh.” The song filled his ears, filled his head to bursting. He opened his mouth to cry out and the sound entered him. And the light entered him. And he was consumed.
He awoke with a start, leaned his head over the edge of the bed and vomited onto the floor. His body shook as he went through the convulsions. Then it was over. He leaned back, breathing heavily, wiping his mouth, not seeing the traces of blood in the dark. He glanced over at the clock. It was 5:45 am.
* * *
it begins with the blood; a single drop of blood. your blood.
you pick up the knife, freshly sharpened, and hold it poised, point-down above your wrist. a smile spreads across your face. you lower the knife slowly until it rests against your flesh. then you start to press. your flesh dimples, then breaks. the knifepoint sinks in. your smile grows wider. you withdraw the knife, turning your wrist and the knife to catch the drop on the knifetip. you carry it to the designated spot and watch as the drop falls to the floor. laughter echoes in the darkened room. still smiling, you move back and wait.
you realize the knife is still in your hand. it’s time to play. you think of a letter. “t.” what starts with “t”? thigh! the blade caresses your naked thigh, back and forth. slowly at first, then faster. and faster. back and forth and back and forth, like a razor on a strop. you look down and see that you’ve shaved a layer of skin off your leg. more laughter. louder this time. whose is it? yours? you hold the knife firmly by the hilt. again the point is facing down. you grimace as it penetrates your newly-skinned thigh. you push. harder this time. the blade sinks in. one inch. two. three. you howl in ecstasy.
your cry ceases as you hear a sound. faint at first, it grows rapidly, until you recognize it: the beating of wings. you have succeeded again.
* * *
Wednesday afternoon: Well, it’s finally happened. I’m officially crazy. He walked out of his doctor’s office and down the hall to the pharmacy and rang the bell. The pharmacist appeared. He handed over the prescription and waited. I wonder what this stuff is going to do to me. He frowned as he recalled the list of “possible side effects”. The pharmacist returned with the medication. He paid, pocketed the bottle of pills and left.
He walked back to work, openly staring at the people on the sidewalk around him. I wonder if they can tell. I wonder if they can see it, just by looking at me. He concentrated on their faces, scrutinizing each one as he passed, scowling as he did so. People started to move away, giving him a wide berth. Some crossed to the other side of the street, one woman almost getting hit by a car in her haste. Stupid bitch! Serve her right to get hit. Hmmm, I guess this means that they can tell. He tore his gaze away from the people surrounding him Bastards! Freaks! and focused on his shoes, not looking up until he was in front of his building.
Finally back at his desk, he took the bottle out of his pocket and held it, contemplating its contents. He took out a pill and placed it on his desktop, focusing on it to the exclusion of all else: his ringing phone, his inquisitive co-worker, his angry supervisor. For a moment, he turned a flat, empty stare upon the phone; the ringing stopped. He turned it upon his co-worker; the inquiring stopped. He turned it upon his supervisor; the yelling stopped. He turned back, in silence, to the pill.
* * *
it begins with the blood, gallons and gallons of blood: from drunken youths who foolishly followed you home; from homeless men seeking food in exchange for ‘work’; from the bored housewife next door, wanting attention and validation; from her horny husband, looking for excitement and thrills; from the silly little girl scout, desperate to unload her last box of thin mints. foolish, trusting, easy prey. and so full of blood.
you revel in it: smeared on your face, dripping off your chin, clotted in your hair. painted on your body – your very own Renaissance Masterpiece. you use it, one drop at a time, to bring them down to you, hoping that they will be find you worthy and take you among them.
* * *
Thursday evening: So far so good. No real side effects apart from a little nausea. Could be worse I suppose. He sat in the subway car, seemingly staring off into the middle distance – apparently lulled by the gentle swaying of the train – yet surreptitiously watching his fellow passengers: the girl directly across from him, wearing headphones yet playing her music loud enough to disturb all the people around her; the man sitting across the aisle talking incessantly on his cell phone; the young couple behind him unable to stop their baby from crying; the homeless woman wearing a construction worker’s hardhat, talking and singing to herself. He felt nothing. No anger, no hatred, no disgust. No desires of any kind. I guess this stuff really is working.
The train began to slow; it was nearing his stop. He stood and moved towards the doors
glad that he was done with his day and almost home. As the train lurched to a halt, he lost his balance and fell forward onto a young man standing in front of him. The young man reached out to steady him and their eyes met. Five minutes later, the young man was with him, riding in the passenger seat of his car. Five minutes after that, the young man was lying on the floor, in the dark, slowly bleeding to death
* * *
it begins with the blood; it always begins with the blood. and then the sounds: ripping and tearing, like great sails whipping back and forth in a storm. sounds like wings – enormous wings, thousands of them – beating back and forth. coming closer, drawn to the blood. demanding the blood.
* * *
Friday night: He stood in the doorway, knife dangling at his side in a loose grip, surveying his handiwork. His doctor was dead. Well, he did say that I would no longer feel like killing myself! He smiled at that thought, and brought the knife up to his face, tapping the point against his teeth, ignoring the blood that still ran down the blade. He looked to his right; they were still there, watching him. They seemed displeased. He shrugged and smiled wider as he knelt and began to prepare the doctor’s body. One of them moved towards him, shuffling and dragging itself forward. He looked up at it and it stopped. It shuddered violently for a moment, then its head leaned back and its jaw fell open. A voice issued forth:
to be continued…