Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Hollow Wing: The Man with the Red Eye

And so the haunted cells that laid between the nefarious concrete monolith known as J Block, and the Administration offices, claimed yet another soul. The bricks that made up the squat rooms smelt of poisoned blood, and they reverberated with the crying of anguished maniacs. And there was the sense of hunger there. Hunger of something colossal, abnormal and monstrous that was sated by the ecstatic release of a tortured souls. The Hollow Wing.
And so the Man with the Bloody Eye rested there for the night. Dreaming of nothing and resting completely untroubled.
The Doctors didn't understand him. He had been a normal man once , He had a wife, parents, siblings, children, pets and neighbours who loved him and filled him, nourished him with purpose. He did everything in his life for them. Laboured tirelessly to please them. And each day he fell down in bed exhausted, he always knew he hadn't done enough for them, and rent at his mind with a secret shame.
 He had tried pills to quash this festering anxiety, saw all the best specialists, reached out hopelessly to strangers in an effort to fill this abyss in him. But every night he'd hear the words not good enough over and over. It became his mantra. And he'd sing it to himself every day to himself when he was alone.
One day, after a wearisome day of work. After he had taken a handful of bitter tablets to settle his nerves, and listened to the oblivious voices of his family, he blanched in privacy, and fell into a final fit that he would never awaken from.
He started to shudder, quivering in a quiet corner of the house, gibbering the familiar phrase he always chanted at times like there. Not good enough. Round and round in circles. Unexpectedly though, his limbs began to spasm in a mangled dervish, a tornado of flailing appendages, his back arched with tempestuous agony, and he thought that he would die from the way that he felt.
In truth, it was a kind of death. But only one of certainty.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH. The words that were a void in his soul. Except this time, instead of trying to bury it,  or cover it up, he finally surrendered himself to it. A journey into his own abyss. And in the dark, the light of truth gleams ever bright.
He was never good enough for the people around him that made him feel so loved, so needed, so purposeful. He couldn't ever do enough or be enough to pay back the way they made him feel. Their love for him, and his own for them had somehow toxified  his own love for himself.
The Doctors said that this was a minor stroke brought on by an epileptic fit. Certain blood vessels had burst like crimson fireworks in his left, sinister, eye. It had also brought about a complete shut-down in his empathy-centre. He would never feel another emotion again in his life that wasn't about himself. A sociopath in mere seconds.
The suicides and murder-suicides that followed in the surrounding months were noted by the media and the police. His distraught parents drowning themselves in the nearby dam. Two neighbours houses yielded freshly carbon-monoxide-ed cadavers. His wife's poisoning the children's school lunches before jumping off a bridge. The newspapers said that his sister burnt herself alive and they never found his brother's body.
They even said when they came for the Man, that they found his cat starved itself to death and his goldfish suffocated by forcing themselves up out of their water.
When asked why he thought all his loved ones killed themselves, the man spoke sincerely, but briefly, "I finally made them feel the same way I felt for all those years." And when asked if he felt sad about their passing, he uttered with an upturned lip, "Do you think this eye could still shed a tear?"
No-one ever visits him, no-one ever speaks to him. The nurses only stay as quickly as they can. Guards whisper superstitious mutterings about the horrible deaths that happen to those that feel the slightest hint of emotion for him.
The Man with the Red Eye sleeps content, or at least, in peace. Feeling nothing, and hearing only silence as he falls asleep.

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