I get the feeling I might be too cynical. There are times in the cool darkness, when the lights are off and my eyes are closed and I’m listening to the far off sounds of the universe in motion, and people’s thoughts, that I hate everyone and everything God ever made. Even myself. This just makes me normal. At least I’m feeling something. I’m not like those crazy locked up hardcases, so numb they don’t even feel their own bodies anymore. We all need to be better than somebody. Whatever.
I’m in this zone, feeling sound as it vibrates on my ear drums and the door opens. I crack an eye like an alligator.
“Another headache?” Murphy knows me from a long time back. He doesn’t care, like me, and we have a connection, some brotherhood based on common pain and emptiness. We both have spiritual toothaches. I guess we’re each others’ spiritual dentists.
“Yeah.” I can smell him. Cigarettes. He’s the only guy I know who still smokes. I used to. Now when I need a fix I stand downwind from him. Filter-free at no cost. He’s full of questions today. Something is wrong.
“Take a pill?”
“I took several.” I don’t ask him what’s going on. I don’t want to know. I think about the sound of electronic feedback and avoid reading his mind.
The silence in the room bleeds into my open eye and pries open the other one. Two grey men in a grey room.
“I was worried about you.”
“You should be. I’m still not right, but I’m better.”
“Understand, we were only trying to help you.”
“I know. I was far gone when you found me. Thanks.” This again. Okay, I went mad, but long before we ever met. “I’m feeling now. Things are better.”
“It’s not what you think it is.”
What!? I don’t show a reaction, although Murphy knows he’s surprised me. This is new.
“Johnson’s back in the city. He’s got the same thing you had.”
“Alcoholism?” Glib response, defenses up, fits my pattern, this seems to be me.
“A symptom, but something is feeding on him.”
We’re thinking of our scars. We’ve all walked through hell, but for some reason Murphy made it through. And back. Without falling apart, without the mad fractures Johnson and I suffered. Sometimes I think he’s part demon and he enjoys this mess. I know he and Johnson are closer than I am, twin minds, but Johnson and I…we broke down.
“You seen it?” I ask a real question.
“It was at his place, yeah.”
I don’t want to see anything ever again, Johnson or those things. I escaped. Murphy left me there. I saved myself in the end.
“I don’t want to see him.”
“He doesn’t want to see you. Just think about it okay?”
I don’t care, I can’t care. It’s a trick. “I’ll think about it.” I say. There’s no option, he’ll just keep coming back if I say anything else. I wouldn’t trust me either. Damn us both.
Murphy sighs and stands up. He opens the window blind, lets the light in, shines it on my empty room. Before the door clicks shut he shouts “I’ll call later! Take care of yourself buddy!”
He’s gone, and left the sun behind.
I believe in monsters.