Friday, October 05, 2007
Some day I will find a way to prove I’m not crazy. It’s here again. The anniversary of…that night. I don’t want to think about it, dream about it or relive it but IT lives through me and so I cannot stop it.
It was All Hollow’s Eve six years ago. When I shut my eyes I can still smell the salty air, see the creamy moon—beautiful, swollen and glowing like a pregnant woman—and feel the fluttering in my chest as I take the dare and climb the lighthouse stairs alone.
The first thing I noticed that night as I stepped through the doorway was the chill--a dry-ice kind of cold that made me shiver so hard, I swear I could hear my bones clinking. Despite this, I moved slowly to the foot of the stairs, looked up into their spiraling underbelly, and swept my flash light over the few steps I could see. I was shocked to see my own breath on such a balmy night. I moved forward anyway. My first mistake.
Climbing higher and higher, one step at a time, up the spine of this man made creature, I steadied myself with one hand on the rough brick wall. The flash light shook in my other hand. My heart was beating so fiercely, I could hear it in my ears, even above the crashing waves outside. I began to question why I had been so sure there was nothing to fear. Why I had been so eager to prove I was the brave one. My legs began to ache with fatigue and stress. As I took the next curve, light fell on my shoulders. I collapsed against the wall with a start. When I could breathe again, I let myself lean forward and look up. Of course, I had just gotten high enough to see the moonlight coming in the top window, right? Of course. I shook my head and continued.
Finally reaching the top, I froze.
Amidst the decaying floorboards sat a lone carved pumpkin. Its grin flickered eerily, as someone had placed a candle in its gutted belly. It was a feeble glow in the moonlight. That is…at first.
I began to relax as I realized that only my friends could have done this. They had set me up for some Halloween practical joke.
I planned on waving to them from the window but as I approached the pumpkin, the fire within jumped. Crackled. Whooooshed. The slanted eyes and toothy grin were set ablaze.
The hairs on my arms stood up. I began backing up slowly toward the stairs, keeping my eye on the burning jack o lantern. That was my second mistake.
As I stared into its eyes, pictures poured into my head, images of death—burned, twisted metal hugging a tree; a woman with a blue, bloated face; open wounds still smoking from gunshots; thousands of them flooded in until--in some distant place--I heard my own screams matching those of the people dying in my head.
They say they found me like this. Sitting on the floor, screaming. They say there was no jack o lantern and no fire. Only the people who have looked into my eyes since then on All Hallow’s Eve know the truth. Most of them were nurses on the psych ward. I say were, because no one will tell me what happened to them. I feel the fire rising in me again. The restraints are tight this year. I’ve ask them to bring me water.
She enters my room with a clear, plastic pitcher and a distracted smile. I return the smile, only it’s not me. I am being silenced within.
Some people never learn.