Time out of mind

By Seeker of the Way

Oh God, it's "The Feeling" again, coming down on me. It is as if I am the only person alive in the world. I had to come to give it a name to try to tame its bittersweet bizarreness, but it doesn't take the surreal edge off of it completely. I call it "double déjå vu", or "d.d.v." for short. It is like I feel as if I am suddenly in a situation I have been in before. But, then just as quickly I feel as if I have felt I have been here before before! It is as if time and space have no meaning for me anymore.

I do my best to control the panic, hanging onto the paranoia for dear life. But, every thought I have about the situation or try to explain it away just makes it worse, like succumbing to the temptation to scratch the marks of poison ivy blemishing your skin. Then, something appears in the background of my mind.

What was that? It sounded like a voice, but in my head. It sounded like mine, but it had a different tone to it, more authoritative and desperate? It is almost as if I can feel it in my mind, like a shadow. It seems to be important. I need to concentrate on it.

I let the disjointed feeling recede to the background and try to bring the, I mean my, voice forward. It is so faint! I can only catch a few words at first.

"No … failure … lost … trapped."

Then, it is as if I am in two places at once. Oh God, I have gone insane. I get the feeling of my surroundings in this "other place", I am in a position as if I were sitting, but slightly leaning forward. This is interesting, because I feel this same way whenever I have this d.d.v. feeling. It is all white here, full of white light. I sense other objects around me, but I feel as if I am in some kind of enclosure. I sense movement outside, but, it is in a blur, as if it has happened, is happening, and has yet to happened.

""You have to let me in there to help him, he needs me!" It's a young woman's voice, she sounds so concerned, but it has an edge to it. Not family, more than a friend, but less than a wife of several years. Sounds more like someone that has a crush on me, a lover, a new girlfriend.

"No!" Cold cruel authority. Somebody who is more than a guard or a cog in the machine, this man RUNS the machine!

And I am ripped back to reality before I can get any more scraps than that. Have you ever had a neck muscle seem to get stuck and slowly scrape past your collarbone? Well, that is the only way I can explain it. I felt pulled like taffy from that other place back here. I winced in pain, but I didn't cry out.

What were those voices? Neither of them was mine. The first was definitely female and seemed vaguely familiar. The other was a male, and there was something I both liked and hated about that deep baritone.

"Where were you, honey?" I jump at the hick female voice. It is at once annoying and sexy.

"Sorry, I uh, I have a big presentation tomorrow."

"Well, you sure had a big presentation for ME, sugar!"

"Oh god, I am so sorry. It is not you."

"You're so sweet, it's OK. I am the one who is supposed to say that! It was fun for a while, at least!"

"Yeah, you can have all the money, of course." As soon as I say this I feel like an idiot. It isn't as if I am returning a toaster or anything.

She just smiles at me and thanks me as if I were giving her a nice tip. She puts her clothes back on as if she were moving in reverse.

What am I supposed to say now? My mind goes through a few phrases. I panic and say, "So, I guess you had people to help guys like me when you were on film, huh?" Jesus, what the hell is WRONG with me?

"Uh-huh, we called them 'fluffers'. But really, sweetie, I don't want you to give this another thought. This is not a failure. OK?" And she leans over and kisses me full on the mouth.

At first my brain is still running, then I fall into the moment and I open my mouth and our tongues meet each other like old friends. The next thing I know the hotel door is slamming closed.

"Wait, can I have your number?" I want her to stay so we could talk. Talk about what I suddenly wondered.

I seem to be not that great at sex, and I have hardly done it in my 30 years on this earth. I have these fantasies and strong compunction for certain people and certain sexual events. I can only go so far before I feel strange. It is as if I realize that the girl is just not right somehow. When this happens, that is if I am not having a d.d.v., I feel a kind of nostalgia, longing, but also guilty. Last time it felt as if I was cheating on someone, but I have had no long-term relationships. But, at the same time, it feels as if I am married, God this is almost too much for me!

I sigh deeply. I take off what I still have on and go take a nice warm shower. At the end of it, I hold my ears and listen to the water drum on my balding skull. I rock to the left and right, forward and back. This is one of the few times that all feels right in the world, so I tend to be in the shower for at least half an hour. This time I think it is more like an hour, but I don't know. I have no sense of time.

"I don't know, Reggie; something just doesn't seem right here."

"Look, it's going to be OK. We are monitoring him; we all knew there would be minor complications that could come up. Let us see what is happening calmly, coolly, rationally."

"Didn't you see him, he was WRITHING! I can't believe you – "

"Now, please, Dr. Elson."

"Don't you patronize me, Reggie, because –"

"Mary, please. This does not help the project. This does not help him."

"You're right, of course, it's just …"

"Look, we all care for him. He is my best friend for god sakes. You both are. So, as your best friend, will you honor our friendship and get some rest?"

"Ugh, fine! But –"

"No buts! Just go to your room and rest, OK? It will be all right."

She sighs and resigns herself to doing as she is told.

Except it's a bluff! She swings back around and socks him good in the jaw. He looks shocked but it doesn't look like he's going down. Well, she thinks to herself, I guess all those movies DID have it wrong, then. So with an audible whishing sound, her other arm rises up to give him an uppercut. This time, it does the trick, and he collapses in a heap.

She walks into the white room with purpose, almost angry, but so many different emotions cross her eyes it's hard to name them all. She comes to a quiet, loving pause as she slowly lowers herself to sit next to the writhing man.

For incalculable moments, she just runs her fingers along his arm, light as a whisper. Then she starts to speak, it is the kind of soft loving voice that makes the eyes want to well up with tears and the breath catch in the mouth.

"I suppose I should be cursing that stupid TV show right now for inspiring this, huh? Everybody thought you were a fool to want to make science fiction scientific fact! But, here you are, but also there you are."

"End of the line, rise and shine, just be glad I'm not a thief here to rob you blind!"

These words enter my ears and I open my eyes slowly to view the intruder into my field of dreams. I look at him, blinking; he looks back, eyes wide with a smile that could calm even the fiercest of enemies.


"This train stops here, soon the tracks will be lowered and the train will go underground where it will be inspected and moved off track if repairs are needed. In its place, another train just like it will take its place on the tracks if this one is in need of repair. It's pretty ingenious if you ask me!"

"Uh-huh," he yawns with the disinterest brought on by napping.

"But, no unauthorized personnel are allowed on the train when this happens. Therefore, you must exit the train, if you please, Sir."

"Oh, OK. Thanks for waking me."

"Oh, you're not really awake, I just got you "up and at 'em," as my mother used to call it."

I look into his eyes that were so black I couldn't tell where the pupil ended and the iris began, trying to figure out this riddle. Still, these map-less eyes seemed to dance with a light that seemed to speak of the kind of wisdom that was indistinguishable from love. They lit up his Asian face that almost made it glow from within.

He does this fun little "come-on" gesture, while mouthing those very words and his smile seemed to somehow brighten even more, and I felt a child's glee and followed his quiet order.

I stand there in the station, waiting for him to come outside with me. I could really use a kind person like this to talk to. So, I stand there like a child waiting for his father to get the two mitts and the glove after being out of town for a week.

But he doesn't come out. I blink at him. My lips start to reject my smile as if it was an organ foreign to me.

"I'm sorry. I cannot go with you. Besides, there are already too many with you as it is."

I feel as if my stomach were weightless as my lower jaw is loosed to follow gravity as far as it can. "What do you mean?"

"Two people talking to each other, too." That's the last words I hear as the doors to the train slide closed. I want to move, but I cannot. I feel paralyzed as I watch the train tracks do just as he had foretold: bend down to become a ramp so the train could continue it's trip along a different line, merging with a place where it can continue it's journey or be replaced by a doppelganger, nobody else the wiser.

As the train starts to move forward into this new area, I find I cannot breathe for some reason! I am paralyzed AND NOW I cannot breathe either! Fear and panic become the two rings of handcuffs, they arrest me. I raise my hands by my face, for some reason; do I think I can pick the lock with my teeth or something?

And then my eyes open to my bedroom, and I manage to find my breath, but my relief is strangely short. "Who was that man, the conductor?" I ask this to the sunlight streaming from my window. I remind myself that I must type this dream in my notebook-computer. I bought it as soon as I realized to not record these odd d.d.v.'s and dreams (that felt more than just normal dreams) was to cause insanity faster and more complete than if I tried to ignore them and hope they went away.

"Honey, I will try to be your conductor!"

The room's four walls seemed to race from me and a blinding whiteness replaced them, I felt a presence just to the right of me. So warm, so nurturing. I want to reach out my hand to her, but though she is close, she seems so far away, and I might as well be trying to make the alarm clock on the end table lift up and move to the closet.

And then, as if on cue, I am pulled from the whiteness and I helplessly watch as my alarm clock is lifted by an invisible hand and placed neatly on the floor in the closet! "Did you see that, darling?" But that warm woman is gone; she is replaced by the cold on my naked skin as the vent turns back on, startling me a bit.

Ah, I feel so much better after that shower. I dry and dress, in between is when I do my ablations. I find myself sitting in front of the computer, typing in the dream and the strange white room and the oddity that occurred afterward. Of course, I went back to the closet, and sure enough the alarm clock sat there, it's cord miraculously long enough to reach the closet so it kept it's time.

All I see written in this log are the bizarre moments. Where are the mundane ones? I try to remember what I do all day, do I go to work, where then do I get my money, do I live in a mansion? No, I am in a hotel room. But, it is different from the one I was in the last time I remember with Corrie, the former porn star who tried to go legit but lost that battle and instead became a freelance hooker in Vegas.

OF COURSE! THAT is where that hotel was, Las Vegas, Nevada! But the desert swallowed up that town decades ago by a surprise fault. No it isn't, why do you say that? Because it happened. No it didn't I was just there, and it was fine. That's impossible, what wasn't swallowed or looted was wiped clean, because to try to rebuild or keep any thing there would be to admit it had succumbed to nature itself and Sin City would rather completely erase itself than have any more broken memories of itself.

Oh God, why do you hate me so? How can you allow me to succumb to such vagaries of my mind? I slam my forehead onto the desk but it doesn't hurt because it's the place where you could hit a soccer ball in for a goal for example. But, there IS an odd sensation when my head hit the plastic writing mat that was there on the desk. There was a lump there! I look at the mat, but I don't see the lump, I cannot feel it with my hand either!

Curiosity will not be assuaged by common sense as my hand obeys the former instead of the later and reaches under the mat. My hand feels a rather large object that I guess is like a diary. I pull it out, and it is a small book! It is just short of the length of my open palm, and the spine is about as thick as my pinkie finger. It is just wider than my longest finger. I use all these organic implements to open this book.

It's a diary all right! It feels weird, as if it is there but my fingers feel numb to it. I open the pages, seeing words I do and do not remember writing, words I feel I wrote in the recent past but also I feel I have read before in the distant future

"I didn't know how I felt about you until now, really. And, I know that isn't fair to either of us, but it is the movies and the novels that lie to us about fairness. Is it fair that your experiment should turn you from a voyeur into a prisoner in an ancestor of yours? Is it fair to Reggie that I had to take a moment from you to kill him before he could regain consciousness and stop me, is it fair now that I am seriously considering ending your pain and suffering?

"Oh Orion, if only you could see your way from that world back to me in this one! You are trapped in the coffin of your ancestor's body, and the two of you are trying to share one body with two souls. Why didn't we consider this possibility? Funny how obvious it seems now."

"But, maybe it would have helped if we had found this diary before you had gone on with this experiment. I found it in your ancestor's things when I again forced myself from your side; having the sudden urge to once again go through the boxes we had managed to collect from him. So hard to find anything from that time, but your ancestor was as clever as you and for some reason felt fated to place his things in a safe place that you were then able to discover. In it, you found his fan-fiction based on a TV show he adored, and one he also had on a primitive medium which we were able to access from a primitive player, after getting Reggie to figure out how to get power to it.

"But, it's odd. I thought you had been through everything, how could you miss this diary which was placed in such an obvious place? I've been reading it, and it is strange and disjointed, telling of a boring life interrupted of a traveling salesman that seems so alone. This diary could have helped you know the mind you so wanted to enter so we may finally know unadulterated facts (as much as that is possible, for all observers color what they observe) of what life was like before those in power abused it so horrifically. Such a clever way to time travel, for we are connected to our ancestors by a continuing genetic blood line and thus it should be possible to go forwards and backwards along this line. A line through time and space, what a genius you are!

"As I hold this deadly needle in my shaking hand that I must still when I make my decision, I wonder about a lot of things. I wonder about the brief dream you had in an earlier experiment when you said you felt as if you had jumped into a near future, but you didn't see Reggie. You felt …"

The diary told of the life I had missed. The events I didn't recall. It started out as the mundane life of a lonely traveling salesman who did things not with joy or evil intent, but not really caring. Soon, the passages became more disjointed and spoke of odd feelings of lost memory but also memories that were not his except they felt connected to him for some reason.

The feelings I felt as I read this diary are simply indescribable. How can you describe it? It was as if I had stepped into the hidden place in between duality. As I read on, I felt with a quiet passionless realization that I was two people at the same time, and in two places and times at once. I felt neither fear nor doubt, ecstasy nor relief. I was between opposing emotions and thus above them.

I flipped to the last page with writing on it, for it seemed there were still blank pages left at the end. It was written here exactly as I had just felt a moment ago and had in my thoughts, word for word, except for a few:

"The feelings I feel as I write this part of my diary are simply indescribable. How can you describe it? It is as if I have stepped into the hidden place in between duality. As I write on, I feel with a quiet passionless realization that I am two people at the same time, and in two places and times at once. I do not feel fear or doubt, ecstasy or relief. I am between opposing emotions and thus above them. I am finally free."

"Looks like my other self is far better at grammar than I am," I say with something between jealousy and laughter. But then the next passage is written and I must read it. How strange that it is in a different handwriting, and I wonder if it is my other self's writing, being that I only remember (before reading this diary, that is) typing my ideas into a laptop I bought one day and I always found in a place I felt compelled to hide it each place I visited. Much like my other self must have felt compelled to buy a diary and write his thoughts into it and hide it as well.

This next entry is written in a more analytical manner, whereas the other's writing was more from the heart. It said, "The first real experiment was partially successful finally, I think. It may have just been a dream but it felt more real than a dream, but judging the comparative realties of dreams is at once absurd and amusing. Anyhow, I felt strangely sure that it was no mere dream.

I feel as if I had jumped into a near future, but I didn't see Reggie. I felt as if I was partially paralyzed in a room bathed in white light, and a warm female presence was very near to me. I wanted to move to change my perspective, because I felt at once enamored and afraid of this presence, whatever it was. I was intrigued because for some reason, I felt these odd emotions, and they were pairs of opposites that somehow lived as one side by side. But, there was one that seemed stronger than all the others. It was more a series of them, I suppose. I felt these crushing ideas! The ideas of …"

"The ideas of 'No … failure … lost … trapped.' I felt another after this that is my last of this dream that felt so real. It was 'dead end'."

Oh, why couldn't I have known that I would fall in love with you before I did! Would you have been less likely to go on this experiment or was it inevitable, as this diary now seems to say? For, how else could this ancestor have had access to a future with no experiment to follow!

Perhaps the future you saw is now the present. This prophecy that I heard from your very lips and now I see written down in a handwriting that now matches your own cannot be an accident. You can only be telling me what I must do now, which part of this duality I must choose, and in the only way you could tell me now.

I take a deep sigh. It's been so hard to think straight! Being trapped down here in this underground bunker, luckily running out of uncontaminated supplies was never a problem. But, I never told you that I had been desperately bored one night as I slept I suppose, for I awoke after sleepwalking and found myself outside. Luckily I wasn't far from the entrance and was able to fix things so the two of you were none the wiser.

You asked me how I was, and I realized after a moment of paranoia that I had never felt before that you were asking the question as an aside, not as a statement of concern as if you noticed something was wrong with me. I feel strange now. I feel as if I am different now. It is as if I am back on the surface where I saw a female figure slumping towards me. It was trapped in the wavering heat mirage, so it must have been a mirage, except I heard her ask me if I was a mirage. I was still asleep at this moment, but I was just coming to, and so I was consciously aware of only the words, but not sure if it was a dream or not.

But, I realized where I was and I didn't want to panic. I remember being warned if I DID have to go to the surface and found for some reason that my protective mask had to be removed to not breath in too deeply or quickly, for the pathogens may use that opportunity to embed themselves in me. I did take one quick deep breath or two, but quickly calmed myself. I did this by seeing that that woman was, and had to be, unreal. So, when it asked me if I was a mirage, I did the only thing I could do. I said, "Yes."

Only now, as I am remembering this event as I contemplate that your fate is in my hands can I recall what happened next. I saw this female's shoulders fall, and I seemed to feel the hope leave her as a soul leaves a body upon death. She spoke again, and this time I realize that the words sounded strange, far away. She said, "then this mask will do me no more good." It is then that I realized that she was just as much a mirage as I was, and that I should take a deep breathe and cry out "DO NOT REMOVE THAT MASK, COME TO ME, YOU ARE SO CLOSE TO SANCTUARY!"

But, I don't you see. I just stand there, speechless, watching her remove her mask with what little strength she had been reserving simply to continue walking forward towards me. I want to run up and shake her, ask her how she could be so stupid to think a mirage would speak to her and tell her that it was, indeed, not a mirage. I mean, how ridiculous!

No, I remain still, hardly breathing, as I watch her mask fall to the ground. She falls to her knees, and she prays. She prays, oh God I have to hear her prayer! Why couldn't she pray silently and worse why couldn't I have kept this memory blocked from my mind and heart?

"Dear All," this is how she addressed THE LORD, but I knew who she meant. "Dear All, please forgive me for I have failed you and all those who depended on my journey being a success. Perhaps taking off my mask was a mistake. Maybe you could have miraculously increased the air in my bladders to help me survive a return trip as you did for oil in a lamp for my ancestors. But, I couldn't face them with such final unassailable news that they were wrong to believe in me. Isn't it better that they think only I failed instead of hope? Oh, it is so hard to think straight now! Do the pathogens work that fast? I am sure all this heat didn't help, for I can only hope it is true that it is airborne only and cannot enter the skin.

"How could I fail my husband and my children like this? How can I be selfish and think of them when I had so many more who were depending on my foolish idea? But, I was so sure I was right! I pieced together all the information so carefully! Maybe I only thought I had, maybe the pathogens had already found a way inside. There were moments of strange behavior in others, but maybe I have simply gone mad with worry and despair?

"I did hear hyperventilating could bring the pathogens in faster and start a chain reaction to cause a faster death, it was even rumored to be relatively painless and you would be lost in a cloud of insanity so you wouldn't even realize what was really happening. So, with my last calm breaths, I ask you to forgive my failure. I should have stayed with my family, trapped as we were with dwindling supplies and loneliness. I should have stopped my curiosity cold, for I would be with them instead of here, where it feels that I am a mere step from my destination.

"The pathogens must work their magic quickly to have me think such a crazy thought, and believe it. I must let my ego go and simply free myself to go to Your side, All. I gather my remaining sense of self and concentrate on sending it to my soul, which I cannot help but sound egotistical in saying I pray as my final wish that only my mind go insane. Please, All, save my soul to go to you free of deception!"

And with that she started hyperventilating in the most horrific rasping breath, as if breathing in the hot air was ripping her lungs to shreds! I witnessed this, paralyzed! Or, do I repeat myself? No matter. I watched her kill herself, and I felt so dirty to be allowed to witness such a private moment, as if I had just watched her masturbate.

She started to writhe, just as I watched you writhe every once in awhile trapped in between two times and places. That is why I had to come to your side, that is why I had to later kill Reggie, because she writhed for quite awhile spitting out words that seemed to connect but not in any manner that I could fathom as her body seemed to shrink into itself.

I betrayed us all, especially you, by not following protocol and insulating myself in quarantine found just to the right of the tube to the surface. No, instead I took the left door to come back to hide all this from you and myself. For, if it were true, I would be perhaps forever away from you and it was something I could not bare even though I wasn't sure what that idea meant. But, watching you now, as you seem trapped, writhing, way past your proposed return, I couldn't help but think of that mirage that turned out to be flesh and blood.

She too had gone on a journey away from all she knew to get help and hope for those she left behind. She too had gathered so much disparate facts and ideas to create a theory and thus a path to follow to gain knowledge unselfishly. I failed to speak up and stop her, to bring her to safety. I have tried now so desperately to save her in a way by speaking to you now and bringing you back to me. But, perhaps like her, you feel you have gone two far on your journey to ever come back. So, that is why I have this needle, to give you a cleaner death than she had, or even Reggie. I simply used his gun on him, it was messy but it had to be done so I could be here now with you, uninterrupted but by my own foolish journeys to try to find hope for you.

I close the diary, knowing now that there is not much time to loose! I am here but I am also there, in two places at once. I feel for this woman's feelings I had hidden from myself because too long so many others had denied them from me. I wanted to finally tell her that I had found my heart from my ancestor here, and THAT was the true point of the journey! Not looking for evidence of the past, but to find the only way to survive the present! I wanted to say loving words to her, but I had to stop her from killing me first.

How can I do that? Could she have been outside too long and thus been exposed to the pathogens? But, I remember now! I had been secretly checking the logs that the computer kept of the base (even Reggie didn't know these existed or how to access them), and I did it because I didn't tell them I never slept and thus never dreamed. It was an odd condition of mine that didn't make sense, because we know humans have to dream to keep sane. But, perhaps I did sleep and simply forgot my dreams upon waking.

NO MORE TANGENTS, CONCENTRATE! I didn't see any logs listing any tampering with the door to the surface, so nobody from here left and nobody from outside had found the entrance. But, how could she think those things actually happened to her, and how come I am aware of it? Oh, there are too many mysteries for even my mind to understand! I must concentrate on what is important right now!

And that is she has found this diary ... but how? I looked through all of this stuff but didn't … this is so strange. It just doesn't make sense! But, there is no other way to think of it!

I didn't find it before because at the time I hadn't yet decided to make it available! Oh God, my head hurts just trying to work this out! But, my ancestor did not write this diary until I entered into him, and I am in the present that is his future. BUT I am still in my present, so I cannot make the diary available in my present until I make it available!

Except she already has it in her hands and I haven't yet put it in that special place for her to find. But, that is possible because it became possible ONLY when I left my time stream, so I could never have found it because I wasn't here yet, and now that I am it created the ability for me to put it into the future so that with me in two places at once she could now go and find it!

I have to concentrate. I have two things I must do. First, I open the diary again and …

No more thoughts, no more fears, no more tears. Just do it while you still can. There, that's it. Steady your hand and raise it to the best vein. Now, concentrate on jamming it into the skin, there, that's it. All there is left to do is …"

"All there is left to do is to open the diary. Look at the last page, my darling."

WHAT? Did I just imagine that? I must have, for he has never and would never call me "my darling!" I am only trying to stop myself, so I steady my hand and push the plunger.

Suddenly he stops writhing, and his eyes open! "Ah, I see. My message got through, and I was able to get the diary in the proper place just in time! Thank God you looked at the last page before it was too late!"

My heart starts to beat faster as I realize that those words were indeed his and not an illusion of mine.

"I forgive you for killing Reggie. But, we must find out why you think you went to the surface. Perhaps you had a very vivid dream, which is interesting because I cannot … feel anything anymore."

And with that I have to watch his eyes go cold and his body go limp. The needle that had caused this terrible fate falls from my hands and shatters on the floor at my feet in such minuscule pieces it is as if it never existed.

There are only two things left to do. The first being to find out what was written on the last page of the diary. Curiosity and love wants me to honor the last thing this man ever wrote. I quickly flip to the last page.

"Darling, I am sorry it has to be now that I say this, but everything happens for a reason! I had to go back in time to retrieve the heart my ancestor was trying so hard to create for me! Somehow he knew that I would have let mine turn to stone, so he did all he could to keep his charged with love! And, that is why I had to go back to him, not to get answers that would have satisfied my mind, but feelings that would have saved us both. That is … I realize now that I have always loved you. I have to tell you that I loved you at first sight, but I was too afraid to tell you. I cannot wait for you to read these words, for I know that with them you will awaken me! For the only other way to wake me is to kill me, and thus force my soul to come rushing back to the body it truly belongs to so that it may just as quickly be released.

"Damn, why am I writing so MUCH! I am so stupid; I am wasting time! But it is so hard to think straight when you are in love.

"I forgive you no matter how it turns out. I love you so much I find strength in that enough to close this diary, put it in it's proper place, and further have the ability to speak to you in our time."

Now the diary slides from my fingers. For a moment I want to know how he knows I went to the surface, and why he thinks I didn't actually go. It is so hard to think straight, this all feels like a bad dream. Well, since I don't seem to be waking up, I might as well end this dream, since I ended our dream together.

I regret that this was the last of the quick-kill medicine and only one bullet was in Reggie's gun. No, for me a far different death is needed. I remember our first day together, my love, when you caught me from falling into that hole. We couldn't see into it because it was so dark, for the light only penetrated it so far. We wondered what it was for, but all we had were theories. I remember throwing down a piece of broken tile and it took a long time for the sound of its fall, faint though it was, to bounce back to our ears.

Since there are so many mysteries that clouded the brains of all three of us, and since I cannot live alone especially after I most definitely killed my two companions, this is an appropriate fate. To take this light, wear it around my neck, and find out what is at the bottom of that hole just before the light is extinguished.

I step to the edge, taking one last deep breath, and for some reason I am able to execute a perfect dive into the abyss. I find reason to smile through all the pain I have caused and guilt I feel. I laugh like a child at the feeling in my tummy and the light playing off the sides of the tunnel and as far in front of me as it can reach.

I hear a voice. It is asking me why I am laughing. It is asking me to wake. I answer it "Why wake and stop the fall when I can stay asleep and end all my pain for good." And those are my last words as I see the end coming and I am not afraid.

"Darling, wake up now."

"Why wa an sta thufall winican staysleep anend ahmy paiforgud?"

The speaking man looked with a questioning look at the man holding the needle.

"What was that she said?"

"I am not sure, but she needn't awaken for us to see if the cure works, which I must say and risk sounding proud of myself, I am sure it will!"

"Ha! Well, I have faith in you if that matters!"

"Ok, let me just sit here on the bed next to her, and you do know I am doing this to cure her, not to make a pass at your lovely wife."

"It's ok, who can look at her and not fall in love with her at first sight!"

"Well, now I feel better so that I will not need to go to confessional today, ha! It may take a while for her to totally escape her delusional state, just so you know. Now, all I need is to find a good vein and she should be up and at 'em in no time! That's funny."

"What's so funny now?"

The doctor frowns, knowing full well what it means to not find a pulse. He has a moment to feel guilty at his own sense of loss, because he was not only her doctor but also her confidant. And, she was telling him that she wasn't in love with her husband anymore. He felt shame because he had been manipulating what she had left of her mind as the fever started to over take her to convince her that she should indeed divorce her husband. He knew he shouldn't be telling her things made up from rumors and mis-telling the truth, but when he was so close to her as he tried his other ways to cure her, he couldn't help but to wish that she be his instead of with her husband.

He could only guess that he lost the ability to think straight when he fell in love with her like a fool. Perhaps he clears his throat as a way of clearing these memories and ideas from his mind. There are only two things left to do. Tell him the truth, and find a way to get that diary he once watched her write in and hide under her mattress that he was some how sure included his indiscretion.

With the truth having been uttered from the doctor's lips (but only the part stating that she was dead), the man collapsed like a rag doll in his arms, and thus he was totally helpless. Dr. Hatfield recalled his strange consideration that the cure for sweet Eleanor was ironically deadly to anyone else not suffering from her ailment. He ran through his mind and found no evidence that her fool of a husband, foolish to not see how much she loved him and wished he would not drink as much, had any of her symptoms. His anger at his ignorant and selfish continuance of his addiction was causing such harm to this beautiful woman's soul that THAT is what surely made her sick!

Yes, her soul became sick first because of this fiend! Then her body followed as her heart started to loose hope. Perhaps there was one more thing he could do between telling the truth and retrieving the diary?

Unbeknownst to the dead woman's husband, who was totally vulnerable in his grief as his broken heart stole the strength from his body, a deadly needle was poised right above his bare skin. All that was left to do was for the other man to decide. Being not only the doctor but also the only coroner, and thus the only one to investigate wrongful deaths and also being that he was the twin brother of the chief of police certainly did not bode well for this man whose life was literally in his hands. Hopefully for his sake his fate will not match those in Eleanor's fevered dream or her own, when she proved the old wife's tale that says if we fall to our death's in our dreams we die in real life.

One last, my friends. A witness to all of this. Eleanor's nine-year-old daughter is sitting in the closet. Her father knows where she is but the doctor will never know because she knows how to be quiet, she knows how to become invisible. Her name I cannot tell you, nor her description, because hers is the secret life that will save us all.

But what I can tell you is that she can do more than any other has before her. Right now, she is watching things unfold; she knows what is going on both said and unsaid; has-been-done is-being-done and could-be-done. She writes a poem, masking the sound of the scratching pen so as to keep her destiny free from interruption.

Hours and Rooms Un-named But Known

The butterfly's wings are still now

But I felt their whisper pass through me

This is me lounging in the cocoon

This is you longing to fly away home

The pulse of our hearts continues The Play

True Love is the only reality worth knowing

SoundEye vibrating forever more