We Do Not Like Her
My eyes flutter open to the sounds of a whining squeak; a single light illuminates the room I am sitting in. The sway allowed me to make out more of the room; I watched to see if there was something I could use to cut through the rope that was binding me to a rather uncomfortable seat. As far as I could see, the room was empty; not only that, but I could not see a single wall. The light was slowly beginning to stop its crooked sway; my body was starting to shake with the fear that I was not alone. I could feel my chest move in and out as far as the ropes would allow it, my arms vigorously moving on their own, trying to slip the binds I had.
“We invite you into our home, and you seek help to leave; you are getting a glimpse at the future, a chance that few get.” These words echoed through the room I was in; I could feel them vibrating across the walls before returning to my ears.
“Who are you? Where am I? Why am I…” Before I could finish, he interrupted me.
“Well, I am a part of you; as for the others, they are your creations. You are to be our deity, and yet you try to sabotage your anointing.”
My eyes strain as I try to make out any shapes in the black; the light in the center of the room dulled my low light senses, making me blind to all but the light.
“Do you not see me? I am right here in front of you, standing just outside of the light, just outside of your reach. I am but a fragment of the glory that is you, and yet I am the one that can see far beyond you.”
A long arm reached from out of the black, slamming into the light, forcing it to sway uncontrollably.
The tone of the voice changed into a thunderous rage.
“You were meant to be chaos and night; you are our beacon of blight in this eternal light. We need you to cast your shadow onto Hollow so that we might prosper and flourish in this disgusting Eternaverse. We adore you, we fear you, we respect you, they just want to change you. So why do you hate us?
I sat in silence; shocked would be an understatement.
“I do not even know who you are.”
A freakishly tall man emerged from the black and stood in the light, his fine suit tattered, his posture poor, and his face adorned with a look of utter defeat.
“Have you forgotten us already?”
“Are you the conductor?”
A small grin started to appear on his face, “So, do you want us again? Will you come once again back to us?”
“I can’t.” His face soured once again. “You are tearing me apart; I can’t tell what is real when you visit; I can’t function. You steal sleep away from me, I can’t work right, I become useless.”
The Conductor stood tall; adjusting his bow tie, he moved back out of my sight.
“If I cannot convince you, I will show you.”
My binds fell from me, a light illuminated past the first, then another. The lights started to make a path for me to follow, the furthest light illuminating the forward stride of the Conductor. I followed, curious about where this path would lead.
The path had a calming curve, curving ever so slightly to the right. The Conductor was always one step ahead of the lights; as the next one would pop up, all I would catch was his back leg moving forward.
“Where are you going?”
“You say you, but really we mean we. We are one; I am a part of you. Would you consider your hand to be another person or a part of you? I am your hand, your fist. I deliver your swift judgment. As for where we are going, we are going to see you.”
I remained silent, waiting for his riddle to reveal itself. Unfortunately, it was no riddle; the lights stopped moving. Standing ahead of me was the Conductor, and sitting in front of him was me, in a robe. I looked content, sitting on my throne of vines.
“This is you now; you are calm. You will live in a world of luscious green.” The vines started to turn, and thorns grew, stabbing into my body’s double body. Nightshade flowers started bloomed around the base of the darkened vine throne. “Here is how your world could look if you follow me now. A world that hurts moves, poisons, cheats, lies, and most importantly of all, everyone hates you.”
I stared at this new me, the one with ten-centimetre thorns stabbing into him. The one that looked uncomfortable and pained. Every inch of my body was telling me that this was wrong and that the first image was what I wanted, yet I was drawn to this new image.
“Why would I want that? I see nothing but pain and discomfort; no one would want that.”
I held a straight face as I lied through my teeth, but I could see that I had not fooled him.
“We want this, do not lie to us. There is something ever so alluring about pain and chaos, something we crave deep down.”
I went to protest, but I knew that he would outsmart me. So instead, we stood staring at each other, all the while the thorny throne writhed in the background.
“So if you, why do I… What does lack of sleep have to do with any of this?”
“Why we hate sleep; trust me, once your body adjusts, you will thrive.”
“No. I will collapse due to exhaustion, I will hallucinate, not to mention slowly losing my mind.”
“Losing your mind or finding another? Your doctors will tell you that you are broken; we say we are beyond whole. We have our birth mind then the mind of another; you have more than one soul; just let them move in.”
The Conductor lit up with glee. “YES, ANODYNE. That voice you hear whenever you should be angry, but let it slide, that voice you hear that tells you to leave all those so-called friends behind, that voice that tells you this life is not worth living. Do not get him wrong, though; he needs you to survive. If he is to survive, he needs you to live past twenty-four. But don’t think you can just end it then; Ompti does not like suicide; you need to die a natural death.”
I started to take steps back towards the initial room, and the Conductor pressed towards me.
“Anodyne is the better part of you; he is your strength. Let him take over, and your life will become infinitely better. Unlike you, he is strong, smart, and dedicated, and he is willing to hurt those who get in the way. You have been hurt, Nick, but you always let it slide; you always let them go because you are good both deep down and on the surface. If you let Anodyne out, he can hurt those who have hurt you; you will be granted the fear that you deserve.”
I started to run back towards the original room; the Conductor stayed by the throne shouting at me as I ran away.
“RUN, run back to where you feel safe. He is smarter than you; we shall rise.”
As I returned to the first room, he was standing there, standing tall at attention, Anodyne.
“I am tired; I am going back to my chair so I might sleep.”
I walked past Anodyne returning to my chair, closing my eyes to try and fall back to sleep. Anodyne turned to face me; he walked up to me and punched me swiftly in the nose. I fell from my chair, clutching my nose.
“You sleep when I feel that we need sleep. You have wasted your talents and fallen into the trap of being human. I will bring us from your pitiful existence and give us a godly purpose.”
“I want to sleep; I need to sleep. You are not a god; you don’t even exist. You can’t stop me if I don’t let you.”
I returned to my seat, this time no punch. “Finally,” I smiled as I attempted to sleep once more. With a terrible crack, my chair tipped me onto the ground; Anodyne had kicked out one of the legs. Much as the Conductor was before, Anodyne started to yell.
“Do you think that this is a fucking game? I am not something you can wish away. We are one; we cannot be whole till we die at the appropriate time. To ensure your safe, I am going to drive you to insanity. I will take you away from all the hassles of life and lock you up in a padded cell. You are mine, and soon you will be me, so do not think I am leaving. I am going to break you till you drive away all who love you; you are mine and no one else’s.”
Anodyne placed a hand over my throat, holding me to the ground.
“I hate sleeping. So, if you get so much as even a wink of it, I will start cutting into your flesh till you crave the pain. As for the doctors, we will get rid of them; we do not like her, we do not like him, we do not like any of them.”