Sunday, December 18, 2016

Late At Night

PREVIOUS: Part 2 here.

Darkness lingered and mustered in pools of shadow around the soft golden light that faintly illuminated the room and the stuttering icy radiance of the TV that perched above a wooden cabinet at the far end of the lounge. Behind their blinds the windows beheld nothing but the inky abyss of midnight. On a sturdy, ornate wooden couch with cushions of red velvet lay a half-empty plastic tray of crumbs and Toffee-Pops, all sweet chocolate, simple biscuit and smooth honeyed caramel. Just the kind of thing for late night TV watching, especially under the familiar aegis of a blanket. On a shelf stood a glass that had once contained deep red nectar, but had since been depleted (why was the drink always empty?). Somewhere in another room a clock ticked with the undying percussive march of a metronome, only audible when the noise from the TV allowed it to be. Flashing upon the brilliant screen was the weekly episode of Scrubs, or at least one of the two that played consecutively. The Blogger had only recently discovered the show for himself after hearing much about it, but while he had come to find great humour in the hospital staff's bizarre antics, at present he was lost in a maelstrom of dire thoughts and non-digetic background scores.

For it was late, and it was at late hours like these that The Blogger pondered most deeply.

At the moment there was only one thing that the swirling winter darkness of The Blogger's innermost self was focused on utterly, and that was Her. Of course it was, it was always Her. Ever since they had first crossed paths he had been incapable of escaping the memory of her that echoed across his dreams like starlight. Everything about her had been extraordinary, down to the very nature of their meeting, a story which The Blogger would not have imagined even himself capturing - to find what he had been looking for, yet what had always been maddeningly distant, just by a magnificent chance after all these years, right when he wasn't looking, and to then find her again not once but twice, after being separated by gulfs of centuries and worlds, by ways that were so thematically intrinsic to him... the entire narrative fit together with a level of intricacy found only in truly memorable works.

The Blogger was loosing his mind. He had witnessed titanic clashes, strange and terrible creatures, epic quests, valiant heroes, terrifying villains and countless thousands of worlds, and yet in all his travels and adventures he had never encountered anything like her. The first time he ever saw her she had looked at him in a way that no-one else ever had before in his existence. He doubted he would ever forget the sly hint of a cautious smile he swore he could see her wearing.

From the moment he first beheld her he sensed great might and some tremendous significance about her, but that was to be only the beginning, a mere glimpse at what was to come. As soon as he had crossed paths with her again he started to encounter the phenomenal power about her, an immense energy the likes of which he had never known. Simply being near her set his nerves on fire and made something ancient deep inside him sing. Feelings that normally took months or even years to gestate in him she had managed to ignite in mere hours, and they only grew exponentially from there. By the time The Blogger was most recently in her company it was as if every molecule in his being was magnetised towards her, an unstoppable pull as irresistible as gravity, and it was all he could to to preserve him from taking flight then and there. For days afterwards he was unable to do almost anything other than sit and think of her, and his waking dreams were utterly consumed by visions of them together. when he was around her the music that permeated the universe swelled to a roaring crescendo until it was deafening.

And when she smiled at him, something ancient and deep inside him soared.

In just the short while he had known her The Blogger already knew she was an incredible person. In talking with her he had seen a person who was clever, wise, independent, kind, witty, and a litany of other attributes that could fill a book with their praises. He listened to her as she spoke of the daring adventures and arduous trials of her youth and marvelled at her elan and prowess. And in her he saw, perhaps, himself - the best aspects that he had (or thought he might have, at any rate), reflected and exemplified. He saw the kindred spirit he had always longed for, and he yearned to venture with her on all manner of mighty quests and adventures - for there was no doubt that she would be the finest of allies to fight by his side.

But perhaps what was most astonishing of all was how The Blogger responded to such forces. For almost an eternity now The Blogger had, in the end, been a broken soul, Long ago he had been trapped in the most agonising reaches of Hell, which had reduced him to a tortured, feral state from which he had never really fully recovered. While he had certainly made progress in restoring his humanity, he still often found great difficulty in engaging with... well, almost anyone really. This was not helped by his unique ways, values and methods, which only further distanced him from most others. But there was none of that with her. He did not know why, but whenever she was near him things were suddenly simple. There were no doubts, no hesitance, no overthinking. It was as if the sun shone through him and everything was suddenly clear, and despite being simultaneously reduced to a wrecked mass of fried nerves and exoneration The Blogger found he was more coherent, confident and calm than he had felt in aeons. He was more comfortable around her than he had ever really known with anyone in living memory. There was no fear, no horror, just two souls connecting over common ground and enjoying themselves.

Yet none of these things was deliberate on the part of The Blogger. All the reactions, all the thoughts, all of the feelings were happening entirely outside of his control. They were as immediate and automatic as the fusion in a star.

And it was this that horrified The Blogger most of all. From virtually the start of his sad, sorry history of relations romantic in nature he had been told several consistent messages from the wider world, and not least among them was the rightful order of how such feelings should come about - as a gradual process formed by great stretches of repeated contact with the object of one's affections. To form anything even resembling those infamous four letters and the nuclear reaction they caused when properly arranged after anything less than a full rotation around the sun was unnatural and wrong. Given his current predicament, The Blogger could reach only one logical conclusion - that he was truly even more of an abomination than even he had imagined, a wretched cancer and diseased failure for harbouring such weakness. After all, to the best of his knowledge none of the lasting couples he had known had arisen from such circumstances.

Not that it mattered now, of course. Before he was able to tell her anything of how he really felt it had ended the way it always did with The Blogger - she had said she lacked the time for anything of the sort. He could not think of any reason she might have to lie, but it would be far from the first time such a justification had been used as a pretext for unrequited feelings. Either way it left him with a strange and troubling mystery, for it had come entirely without warning or omen - until the dire message came she had shown what seemed to be nothing but interest in him, conveyed in nearly everything from what she said to how she acted. According to all he knew, every sign pointed towards a positive end, and he had taken tremendous pains to do as much right as he could. He had been certain that at long last he had found someone who might understand him, who might actually want him for what he was (perhaps that was his great mistake), and every indication he had seen had led the same way. Of course, The Blogger was no stranger to such things misleading him - indeed, as he had been sure to remind himself for years now, no matter how sure he was that he was right, he was still wrong. He was always wrong.

But then he had heard of a similar happening, and another possibility had occurred to him.He recalled how people could sometimes be afraid, and wondered if perhaps that might have happened here. Maybe when she had more time free he would see more of her. And that was the most damming agony of all, not knowing. Maybe she did like him, maybe she didn't. Maybe he would see her again, maybe she had already been swept away by someone else. Maybe he was wrong, maybe he was right. Maybe she was just frightened, maybe he had read everything wrong. It was this black, nightmarish, venomous splinter in his mind that was driving him ever further towards total insanity: maybe.

Maybe Maybe Maybe Maybe...

It was late now, very late. Infomercials played on the TV, before The Blogger silenced them. The plastic tray was now empty.

At once, the clock ceased, and the noise went out.

Ace Of Clubs

Hi Welcome to the blog of the Mangere Bridge Teen Book Club. We call ourselves Ace of Clubs. We meet once a month, normally on the third Thursday 4.30pm @ Mangere Bridge Library. We talk about books, hang out and have random fun. This blog will tell you what we have been up to, what is coming up and of course lots of stuff about books. All teens are welcome so if you are around come along and join us.