From Apiary 2.
Sleepwalk with the Blackmonks at an early age. Empathize with the armadillo lizard. We can’t ever have anything nice in this house, said the broken old man. But curly-haired knowitalls go nowhere thinking in triangles, as a cloven-hoofed hypotenuse is formed through the power of suggestion. Good shepherds gone bad in two shakes of a lamb’s tail (heavy fall the footsteps of the handbasket bearer toward the bearer of his young, bearing down with a bareknuckled fist for the Breaking Ritual). Take everything you know, little knowitall, and throw it out the window. A hand raised to God and the crowd falls silent upon deaf ears on the second story. Their sequel, set in stone, watches silent films by the handrail, white as a ghost, as the nightmare continues. This doesn’t leave this house, said the broken old man. Baseball bat in the umbrellastand for rainy days, perhaps, or just such an occasion. As autumn’s evening chill burns through his nostrils, turning turbinate bones to chalkdust behind the eyes, mother’s tears well and whisper his secret identity, screaming hysterically for the daily listener to please, turn that dial. Or so the story goes.
The old man makes for the umbrellastand. The child makes for the solace of the nightlight in his bedroom.
Feet locked tightly at the foot of the bed when all falls silent. When the possibilities of shattered glass diminish to historical context, left with only sweaty pajamacollars and a flickering nightlight, trying to escape for you. As a child can do nothing but wait and cover his ears, more is destroyed than can fill a rowhome.
Consumed by the silence, the boy’s imagination makes for a more horrible outcome, and prayers for violent voices to return. At the least, the violence downstairs means everyone is still alive and there will be breakfast with a family in the morning. In the wake of breakage, the silence leaves uncertainty.
The nightlight burns out finally and he is left with a mind in pitch darkness, for hours, left to wonder if such things as hours exist. The moonlight reveals another life. The life existing outside these walls, outside former planes of experience. From his bed, the boy can only see outside the window. Through this brief window the boy will escape; out of bed, to his feet, to the window, up on the windowsill, onto the ledge, up through the sky, into infinity. He will drift out into space until he’s too far to hear downstairs. Too far for the volatile world below to reach for him, as the boy reaches for distant suns, holding one in his fist to throw it like a baseball.
The threefoot child towering over his cowering self selflessly as his own guardian angel, tolling bells of angelus for Pagans once beat to Hell like screwdriver pulp, drawn through straws like drugs for nicht as beatniks draw straws against Hell’s Angels, fixed and drugged by nacht for naught. So nightly, he lay tightly covered under a comforter, something unable to live up to its name, and the boy could only pray he’d be unable to live up to his own; some cold and beautifully violent inheritance that was given to him before he could ponder the existence of hours, or clench the stars without throwing like a girl, or develop complex cocoons from which he’d someday flourish and fly away fearlessly, floating on warm updrafts, flaunting his freedom. But for now, he is unable. For this child knows true terror like a statue, chiseled as a monument to the Faun, knows it could never’ve been chiseled by an idle nor alien hand.
But for now, for the boy, there is nothing but his bedroom before sunrise.
Back to bed you go now, boy.
Witches watch through his window as the boy’s frightened shadow slips in through his skin, snapping him out of nearly napping, still, wrapped tightly, at the foot, feet crossed ready for the final nail. He felt frail, physically; a testament to the power of panic, when, with a flash in the pan, the Beast of Placebo can foster an unparalleled pandemic, leaving the mind petrified, paralyzing the body, a face flushed pallid, devoid of precious porcelain, now poison through the plush of his pillow, now pressed into his palm like the mortar into pestle. In the throes of hypnagogia, the slightest tap against the pane by waning winds guides the child’s eyes toward the window. There, a silhouette.
Eigenlicht antichrist risen from the dustbowl, dressed accordingly. Pontiff staring through the glass, unbroken, pries open welded palpabrae, providing a pulpit from which to deliver more palpable a prophecy. Playing dead to predators, a primal pantomime in the face of dark fathers, may fool the fox, but not the phantom. Eyes, though invisible, stare through the child as children stare through windows. And through this brief window, two stories up, silent and motionless, as the boy himself was, at some point in the evening, or earlier in life, at an early age, the man in silhouette. The Man in Shadows.
The howls of winds and neighborhood dogs vanish soon after the violent voices vanish. The flesh goes numb as a draft goes unnoticed along the fine hairs of the arms and behind the neck. The child pulls the covers up to his neck, waiting.
It’s never easy when it’s just a boy, still full of awe, in search of everything.
Crawling inside the child was a memory, which he’d swallowed, now crawling his intestine like tapeworm. And here, this man has spent an eternity in search of windows; the windows of the few tired and terrified who cry through their prayers up through the sky into infinity, and will do so for many more to come, as many more have done so before him, doubting the others’ existence. Doubting their own, as their separation was merely an obstruction of light. The identity dies with every individual. The secret is in the wind and delivered through windows by whispering silhouettes. To the scared and sacred they come, destroying dreams as a means of salvation. But it’s never easy when it’s just a boy. They’ve never seen it coming, so it’s hard to take the dark lightly.
Now the child lay tightly wrapped in the throes, not afraid or awake, nor sleeping through a nightmare. Not awake nor sleeping, the cocoon is shed to mattress while parlorgames raise bodies from the living at the fingertips of a slumberparty. In the wind, now poised in the burial position. Now listen for the wind against your skin against the window, now open. Open for questions, now ask the wind a question. Now listen. You can close your eyes and pretend I can’t see you. You can bite your tail and make light of the obvious. You can make for the last ditch, digging ‘til it’s lights out, like a nightlight flickers and dies. Like leaves, drying in the light, make for light like the dying in the Hour of Darkness. But in darkness, the shadow is not so obvious; and the fearful, oblivious. You’ll need your ears now boy, now listen. How small are the moments multiplied by the millions, with an inch of dust for every hour that pass, falling through the hourglass, weighed to the Earth with every other miserable creature; everything under the sun or anything that cast a shadow, or so the story goes. Now listen. You’ll need your eyes now boy, look at me. See now the world with the lights out; trust in whisper. We’ll play a round of Marcopolo around the son, excuse me, the Sun, and sweep the dust into a dustpan. Say goodnight to fascination as a whole. Nothing will ever come to you as a surprise, as there is nothing but this bedroom before sunrise. Look to your left, you are a son, excuse me, the stars and sun you are still in bed, let the stars and the sun speak to the living. We now, boy, are left to the right. Our breath in the night, a visible mist of life for us shattered for magick under the Moon, on speaking terms with Monday. Your fears will not subside. The silence will always frighten you. This is my silhouette. What frightens you, boy, I’ll tell you. When the glass can no longer hold itself together, your world, as only you know it, will soon follow suit. Through your veins will run his coldrunned blood, a broken old man, until that blood lay stagnant in your own broken old body. When all falls silent, you will hear the violent voices below, howling up a wind against sails set to sail off into a vast sea of smooth, unbroken glass. You’ll settle on your little island, you won’t. You’re going where there are no islands, child. No solace in nightlights and crossed feet. You’ll’ve crossed the threshold of light and dark, child, land and sea. And when you see not a shadow, there will be a shadow. And when you hear not a voice, there will be voices violently whispered silently into your ear, from deep within you through a brief window. That which you fear most will live with you forever, and long after you’ve become just a memory. Your shadow will continue, like a nightmare continues into your first waking moments, to bring light on a rainy day or just such an occasion. You tremble, hovering above the covers because you’ve heard my words and understood. You’ve seen through your window the shadows you’ve seen before; in the pinholes of your father’s eyes, in your own eyes in the mirror, in the eyes of all who walk the earth and all that lie beneath it. For as long as there is a sun in the sky, there will be shadows on the ground. And as long as there is mystery, there’ll be a wind to whisper secrets. The wind falls still as I leave you; up through the sky, into infinity. You, child, still just a boy, fall asleep falling to mattress as one jumps awake from the height of a fallingdream.
Now you know the breadth of hours.
Back to bed you go now, boy.
Now breath fills his lungs the way the hours fill the evening. Wide awake the child lie, watching through his window the morning spill over rooftops as the Sun puts the shadows in their place for the day. Light fills the bedroom. The sound of footsteps step lightly up the stairs. The door opens slowly. First, a soft hand, then the child’s mother. It is early, and she is tired. She looks to her son, and smiles.
“Good morning,” she says.
“Go downstairs,” she says. “Breakfast is waiting.”