SHORT STORY
2015
A N - O C C U L T - O B L I G A T I O N

DISCLAIMER:
Don't follow in my footsteps. Only the devil condones these things that I've done.

INTRO

My first memories of self-destruction were around the age of ten, when I was so ashamed of going to school that I faked any sickness just so that I wouldn't have to face another round of self-debasement. One day my mother knew I was utterly full of shit, and she forced me out. However, I was determined to avoid the guaranteed humiliation of my own feeble mind, so I ran around the house and crept back inside where I hid inside a toy chest. All the while my father stomped about with his belt in hand. I remember balling-up my tiny stick-figure within that box full of pointed toys, and suffered through the physical pain no matter how bad. Anything was better than being reminded of how stupid I was. I lay in that box and wished I could disappear, wished I could stay in the dark and never face my failures. It must have been an hour before I dragged myself out. No one had found me, but humiliation was ultimately unavoidable.
-
When I was fifteen, I was walking home from school staring at my feet with the absolute knowledge that there was no way I was ever going to get good enough exam results in order to secure any kind of respectable future. This would have been the first time that I consciously considered suicide as a credible option. I took some comfort in that, for what had I got to lose? If it all turned to shit, I could just end it myself. Seemed logical. Later, I did in fact fail every subject exactly as I had dreaded that I would. But the next year's classes simply continued, despite my prediction for how futile all my efforts were, and knowing full well that I was merely delaying my inevitable demise.
-
Nearly ten years later, early one morning, I was sitting in a park near the house of the girl I was stalking at the time. My professional life was on a steady decline toward poverty, regardless of being the prodigy that everyone had such grandiose hopes for. I sat there in that chilly breeze beneath a steep hill listening to my headphones and resenting how I'd known that it would always fucking come to this. I was doomed from day one. Born an idiot incapable of bettering my situation. Just another talented fucking artist who'd end up starving to death in a ditch. All that fucking potential didn't equal jack-shit. And yet, by the next year, somehow, work worked out – only after my business partner had suffered a breakdown sending us on separate paths, for I always abandoned those closest just to survive. Later, I would look back and justify my cut-throat decisions with hindsight-bias and the instinct to protect the ego.
-
Another five years went by, and there I was lying fetal in my bed. I had been black-listed. I was utterly alone in Berlin with nowhere to turn. I'd caused this new all-time-low and I saw no fucking reason to continue. I had lied to and cheated on the ones I had loved, but no worse than anything they'd done. The insult to injury was when I had in fact tried to 'do the right thing'. Yet in the end, I was the one who had been hung out to dry, leaving me without the slightest desire in seeing another fucking day in that year that would never end. But then, as I lay there, I heard a voice in my head – it wasn't the first time I'd heard him speak. Clear and focused, he asked me a simple question: what would I do if I didn't fucking die right now? How much more trouble could I cause to this world of meaningless shit? Challenge accepted! I jumped straight out of bed and immediately began work on my intricate plans of malicious sabotage.

ACT I
THE EXPOSITION
(TRIANGULATING THE SACRIFICE)

Six years later, during the year of our Lord 2014, while I was writing my trilogy of books, Bark, I had cut myself off from most people in order to focus completely. But the book was a two-way mirror. As the story reflected parts of myself, so too I invoked the will of Bark into this plane of conscious reality. And in the first week of August, I found myself in the south of France with a research assignment to test a Holy document written in the fifteenth century. I may have refused female contact on my celibate dedication to my sacrilegious art, but that didn't mean I had ever stopped fucking with them.
I was staying in a very nice hotel in Bordeaux where I had no intention of wasting my time. On the 3rd of August, the train east took only a couple of hours. Ah, summer in France, how very fucking romantic. There was sun on the green hills while I was listening to the cute accent from the young lovers sitting across from me. The view over the vineyards was pretty as a fucking picture, but I was far too preoccupied with reading The Book Of Sacred Magic, to care about the triviality of sightseeing.

The train pulled into that small town in the late afternoon, and I knew immediately I had come to the right place as I glanced out my window, up the hillside at that quaint stone steeple that had been calling me. I'd never been to this place before but I knew it intimately, for you don't obsessively stalk a female, perform a blasphemous ritual, and provoke the elemental forces of Pandemonium without months of fucking preparation.

First I took a casual stroll up the narrow road to that chapel. I was quite surprised to find that it only took me five minutes before I reached the locked front gates. Turning my back on the church, I looked down over the township stretched out and baking in the sun. So I was finally here, and I watched as another young couple drove past and parked their convertible. They were obviously heading to a dinner party at one of those large houses on the hill. Both of them stared back at me as I nodded my head from where I stood dressed all in black: a suit jacket, jeans, shirt, Wayfarers, and Chuck Taylors. No shit, I wasn't from around these parts, and no one I knew was aware that I'd just arrived. Don't you love having complete anonymity in a sweet little spot on the map under a scorcher of a brilliant fucking day?

Down the hill I went, knowing I'd return to that chapel soon enough, once the correct lunar darkness fell. Into the town I went. To the left of the train station, I followed the street and past some modern apartment buildings. I decided not to take the most direct route, and cut down the skinny old streets, but then, within moments, I came out on the main road that turned to that desired destination. I ignored it and headed around the adjacent road, only to come out immediately at the other end of that street. For fuck's sake, this town truly was fucking tiny! So I strode down that Rue without further delay. In the shade of that gently curved road, I found myself standing outside a three-story apartment building. When using Google Maps Street-View to familiarize yourself with a distant city, it does nothing for depth-perception. On a digital screen, even in a 3D virtual world, this place had seemed at least twice the size. Experience first-hand is so much more right up in your fucking face. My own two feet had walked this place much faster than my fingers ever had. Charming. But what irritated the shit out of me, was the fact that this front door only had a lock with a digital-pad – no door bells. How motherfucking bothersome is that shit?

So I walked away from that building, continued my merry little stroll down the street, back onto that main stretch that twisted and then turned right toward the train station. It was a miniature village with old alleys and tiled roofs, but also had plenty of new stores with expensive shoes and beauty products on display. This was France after all. I'd already attained the knowledge that my subject was visiting her mother and sister in the next township, so I figured I had some time to kill, and ordered dinner at a big new restaurant near the designer train station. There must have been something relatively important about this geographical location (other than my obsessions) to explain the cash-injection that had been fairly recently shoved down the throat of this community. But who gives a fuck, the steak was decent and the evening air was warm after the heat of the day as I sat outside and ordered another coffee. And just then, as I stirred in my five sugars while leaning back comfortably in my sunglasses, there Amelia came walking from the train station. I couldn't help but smirk as I continued stirring my coffee, watching her approach absolutely oblivious to my insidious little eyes. I had no intention of gaining her attention, quite the opposite. I wanted to see if I could come this close without her even noticing me. And then, like all good kids of this zeitgeist, she pulled out her iPhone and started tapping away as she passed by within ten-feet of me. And I watched her go. Watched her ass in those tight jeans. Watched and let her go. This was not the time or the place. Not just yet.

Savoring my coffee, I soon caught the train back to Bordeaux for a good night's sleep. Everything was going according to plan, and I smiled as I listened to The Negative One, for the first time that evening.
-
Less than 24 hours later, I got the train back to that quaint township, during which I finished reading The Third Book Of Sacred Magic. I arrived to discover that the little church was now lit up all golden and full of insinuations. I had some time till midnight, so I crossed the pedestrian overpass above the train tracks and stood on the road beneath that hillside. Scowling at the moon, I counted the minutes as random cars passed on by. No one confronted or questioned this stranger lurking out in the open. No one ever stopped me.

I began outside her front door with a box of chalk in my hand, and then drew a small circle on the doorstep.
I then walked straight toward the church – a patrol car slowly passed me by, they circled around near the train station and passed me a second time, but I never saw them again – I made it to the church on the hill in less that fifteen minutes. Drew a circle on the asphalt around the letter 'A'.
Back to her front door. Drew an upside down triangle crossed-out below the circle.
Walked to the next point on the pentagram, into a courtyard near a shopping area. Drew an upside down triangle crossed-out over the letter 'M'.
Back to her front door. Drew a triangle crossed-out below the upside down triangle crossed-out.
Walked to the next point, outside a large school building. Drew a triangle crossed-out over the letter 'E'.
Back to her front door. Drew a triangle below the triangle crossed-out .
Walked to the next point, a quiet suburban neighborhood. Drew a triangle around the letter 'L'.
Back to her front door. Drew an upside down triangle below the triangle.
Walked to the fifth point, a parking lot in front of a hotel. Drew an upside down triangle around the letter 'I'.
Back to Amelia's front door where I crossed-out the first circle, and then I heard someone moan. Looking up in the dim lamp light, I pictured Amelia in pain.

I returned one last time to that chapel on the hill where I completed the encircling pentagram and crossed-out the first circle over the letter 'A' and wrote a second 'A' below.

No one stopped me. It had taken a couple of hours to walk this town and mark out my territory while reciting my invocations, and yet no one at all had asked me what the fuck I was doing? The jailers of men had even seen me, but here I was, back on that little hill overlooking what I'd just performed in those small hours. No one had fucking stopped me. The masses sleep, while the unbridled freedom society grants us all, allows villains to desecrate your doorsteps. But who gives a fuck? I was merely walking in circles around the public streets of small town in France. There was nothing suspicions about my behavior. Nothing suspicions at all. Don't you feel fucking reassured now?

Impatient though, I looked further up the hill. Continuing past the church, where the road thinned even more, I was led between fields of enormous sunflowers lit by the amber of the last lamppost beneath the sheer black of that beckoning sky. Seriously, how fucking surreal could this shit really get? And where the fuck was Lucifer? I was speaking directly to him but no Morning Star gave me a sign. Motherfucker, why have you forsaken me? So I just followed the path laid out before me. Onward I went. Over a slight rise to where the gravel road forked. Ain't this so very fucking appropriate. Two farm roads that both stretched into absolute darkness. Decisions, de-fucking-cisions. Well, shit. I was never right, so let's go left.

Dry gravel underfoot and crickets in the humid breeze. I hadn't thought it necessary to study the map this far from my goal, so I didn't have any clue as to where this road might head, but I was curious to see what the almighty fucking indifference of the universe would send my way. The road soon leveled out and twisted around and about with the trees thickening above. Slowly stars started to emerge once I'd escaped the reaches of the civilized world. I could only hear the rustle of trees, there wasn't anything else out here. Fucking typical. Pissed off, I turned around – and then my frustration grew contorted as I found three fucking roads behind me. It was utterly impossible to tell which one I had just come from. Fucking fantastic. Turning around again, I noticed I was standing in some dusty field surrounded by nothing. I didn't fuck around, and took the first road back. I have no idea which one I actually picked in the end, I just walked down whichever I was facing at the fucking time. Fate shall fuck me one more time if it pleases. Almost immediately, I knew I hadn't come this way. It went up and down, up and down, like I was crawling over the very spine of the great Thanatos. Soon, I heard animals either side. I assumed they were cattle, big and lumbering, snorting at me as I passed by. I stopped there and thought about that female. The objectified subject. The meat personification of all my blame, the individual deemed the most worthy of being the epitome of so much of my fucking disgust. I thought of her small apartment that I'd seen during our Skype conversations. Remembered how I had gained her home address with the mock-notion that I wanted to post her a birthday card. Why do people trust me? It's a dangerous world out there full of sickfucks who will fucking find you at any cost. But it's not nearly enough to simply just find her. That was elementary. I wanted her suffering – in every possible way!
The cattle then went silent as I saw those other forms creep through that obscurity out there. Slowly turning where I stood, I watched them surround me. Figures amongst the trees. An unknown number. Standing in a wide circle all around. The breeze smelt sweet with a hint of fresh hay, and those things didn't come any closer. They never did. Only ever here to watch. Watching whatever spite my greedy heart might dig out of my desolate mind. They wanted to know what I wanted. They knew me well, and I could hear the lesser of them circling on all fours, hungry to feed off of my visions. But when disembodied fiends confront you, you stand your fucking ground!
What did I want?
I wanted to defile her!
They wanted specifics.
How exactly would I do this?
They needed to see it as I fucking saw it –
I was then back at Amelia's front door. A black duffel bag in my left hand. I stood in the middle of that meek alley and craned my head slowly from side to side. No one was around at this ungodly hour of the morning. So I stood patiently, belittling the very fucking idea of a chance-witness. A cat scampered across the distant intersection as I reached into my bag and removed a small foot-long crow-bar. The glass of the locked front door to the building was solid, but nothing a half decent yank couldn't break loose. Up the stairs I went and those translucent hordes followed upon their invisible feet with their featureless shadows. They were already hunched and waiting at the end of that second floor corridor as I moved quietly in the dark and found what had to be Amelia's door. I don't have a photographic memory, but my ability to create architectural models and theoretical concepts of environments has always served me well when in foreign lands and strange girls' homes. The corridor light then came on for no reason, and I glanced aside, watching those devils fade a fraction of a moment later. I didn't press the door bell, but it rang anyway, and then I heard them whisper as they shoved the back of my shoulder. Those motherfuckers could be real fucking pricks at times. I slipped the crow-bar into my back pocket as the doorbell rang again, rang from the hand of those unseen fucking assholes. I just stood back in that claustrophobic corridor, waiting while the doorbell persisted. Over and over until there came movement from within the apartment. I had never heard Amelia's voice until then – she'd always refused to speak on Skype, claiming to be too shy. I really hate language insecurities. I don't give a fuck if your pronunciation isn't perfect, just say my fucking name!
"It's me, Bruce," I muttered, standing in the bull's-eye of Amelia's peep-hole.
There was an elongated pause as my eyes stared askew.
Then the lock slowly turned and the door was gently pulled inward. Amelia stood in black cotton panties and a skimpy pink singlet. Holding the door hesitantly, she stared at me with her long chestnut hair coyly framing her glistening eyes. She was shocked by my unexpected appearance right there on her doorstep, but with that charming confidence below my conceited glare, I smirked, "Come to daddy."
Smiling, Amelia exhaled, opening the door just enough for my lust to roam down her honey-chic thighs. "What are you doing here?"
I lied to her with ease, and she welcomed me in. Her front door opened directly into the kitchen, the bathroom lay to my right, and she then backed up to the doorway into the main room of her small apartment. A lamp near her bed glowed around the curve of her rounded hips where she stood, and I closed her door behind me. I didn't bother locking it. I was in. Nothing could stop me now –
Looking up, I was suddenly back on that hill in the clearing beneath the stars. I heard grunting sounds as those intolerant creatures in the circle snorted and came a little closer. I could see them more vividly now. Their disfigured bodies both humanoid and insectile. Heads with unidentifiable outlines with tails like great lizards. One approached side-on, and I turned toward it. Its whole armored skull flared up when it smelt the air as if gauging the validity of my convictions from where it crouched only a few feet away. The fingers of both my hands opened and I wanted nothing more than for that fucking thing to tear out my fucking sternum. Tilting its blackened posture, the creature sneered vilely as something like tar ran out of its fanged snout. The stench was like burnt plastic, and made me want to break its fucking neck –
Glancing to my left, I was back in Amelia's apartment. I heard scratching at the door behind me, so I lunged at her! She flinched as my arms smoothly slipped around her back, her face only an inch in front my mine. Her lips opened, and after a moment of lingering in her big round eyes, we kissed, and her hands pressed against my back, pulling me closer. The sounds from those things outside her door became irritatingly fucking loud, so I twisted Amelia and shoved her face-first into the fucking wall! She bounced off, stunned as I grabbed the back of her fucking skull, and then pounded her head again into the wall! She yanked away, so I drove her back into the main room where she slammed onto the floor next to her bed. Grabbing her long hair, I pulled her head up. Gagging and about to scream, she then found her bed sheet being rammed into her gaping orifice, before I punched that meat directly in her gut! She buckled, unable to breathe, and collapsed onto her side. It sounded like a dozen hungry dogs outside the apartment door, but as I rose up I only reached for my duffel bag –
Yet I was still standing in the middle of that woodland road. The wind began to pick up and I could see the gravel getting moist. Oily fluid like spit was seeping right out of the face of the Earth. I could see enormous worms and headless serpents crawling up from the damp soil and writhing over each other. Soon, all the visible landscape became a slithering mess of tendrils undulating like the surface of an infested sea. The ground beneath my feet felt like a swamp, but I stood still as some kind of fifty-foot centipede with a massive bird-skull-like head slowly emerged from the surrounding trees. Even in the dark, I could see the pig-sized parasites chewing on its back. That heavily breathing beast slowly coiled behind me until I found giant tentacles extending from its rear. Barbed tentacles with hundreds of mouths snapping all the way down to a hooked talon at each end. It was fucking magnificent. I'd love to take that fucker for a ride –
Then I was opening Amelia's door and about to leave, when a rush of movement forced itself inside as a stampede of eel-like things bolted above and swarm across the ceiling into the bedroom. The light in the corridor wasn't on anymore but I could still make out the shape of a skinned lion as it passed me by. Clinging to its fleshy hide was what might have been an infant human, if its head wasn't like that of a leeching worm that sneered at me. I shut the door without listening to whatever the fuck it was about to say, and I walked back into the bedroom. Amelia then suddenly ran at me, swinging a small stool at my head! I grabbed the thin metal with one hand while my other jabbed straight into her windpipe! It's a shame, I'd really wanted to hear her moan. Dropping to her knees, she gasped for air. I however, just watched that hive of creatures consume the entire ceiling, staining everything they touched. Amelia rolled onto her back, and I reached for the Gerber multi-tool on the back of mybelt –
To my growing annoyance, I looked up and found I was back on that fucking hill again –
I focused on where I wanted to be, and then I was instantly dragging Amelia by her hair into the bathroom. Switching on the light, I watched her legs kick out. Slamming the door shut, she knocked over a free-standing case packed full of beauty products. Punching her in the kidney, I felt her go limp on the floor. Then I got undressed. As soon as I was naked, I ripped her panties and singlet away. She could barely breathe as I picked her up by the hair again. I made her kneel toward her shower cubical as I reached around with my knife and then slit her slender throat wide open! All the while, I glared only at that plump ass of hers as blood sprayed right across the shower walls. She then suddenly lurched clean out of my grip. Dumping my knife in the nearby sink, I took her under her armpits with both of my hands. Lifting Amelia's convulsing body up, I then joined her in the shower. The curtain whipped shut, and I spun this pretty meat around so that her bloody paws could slap all over my fascinated face. That's right, darling, bleed the fuck all over me –
I blinked and then discovered the woods upon that hill were now teeming with hundreds of those silhouettes all standing just a few feet from me. Among those motionless individuals were more inhuman entities that attacked each other, shrieking as if they were bathed in acid –
Looking down, I stared at Amelia's blood soaked feet between mine. I scanned over her twitching body that I still held in my arms, and I sneered at that scent of iron that I've always found so fucking distasteful. Her arms hung loose at my sides while her matted hair curled about the dark splatter covering her little tits. I glanced only briefly at her teary eyes, but couldn't resist the sight of her slashed thorax. That four-inch laceration in her throat bubbled as it vaguely continued pumping out the last of her shattered homeostasis that her heart could muster. Her inner flesh was so fucking black despite the bleaching neon light. Then her chest heaved again before one final slurping noise welled up out of her severed trachea. Her crooked neck was bent on such a thoroughly unnatural angle that the more her head hung back the wider her mortal wound stretched open, and the more it reminded me of prying open a girls thighs, labia, and deeper into her menstruating cunt. But this penetration was so much more arousing –
The next time I looked around the woods on the hill, there were these towering columns like massive rib bones arching above and gradually rising further. Webbed entrails and other effluent fluids dripped from those looming structures that reached up, blotting out the dwindling stars so that they might seal me in –
And then I turned the shower on. The steaming water burnt that female's blood from my face, while I held her feet lovingly against my fucking chest. Amelia's body was postured upside down now, her arms lying awkwardly about my wide feet as she rested on her shoulders, allowing the last dregs of her hemoglobin to drain out of her, just like I did as a kid with those slaughtered animals. My erection was rubbing against her knees, and I wanted to reach down and –
And I reached down and picked up a rough handful of grit and stones. Crouching on that farm road, I was once again completely alone. The woods were quiet as I passed the gravel between my pale hands beneath the distant moon light. There was nothing out there anymore. The ground was unmoved and I'd never set foot in Amelia's home – yet I could still smell her wet hair.
Why had I stopped? There was so much more I wanted to do to her fucking meat. So much more. The ritual was right there and waiting for my completion. So why the fuck had I stopped just after it had started to get good? 'Cause the time wasn't right! I had to be systematic. You shouldn't rush these things. I must remember what I was aiming to achieve. Don't ruin the cake by opening the oven before it's done. Standing on that insignificant road in the middle of fuck-knows-where, I was then suddenly filled with a calm sense of faith. A certainty that my irreverence would be rewarded. That this hard work would pay off. I've done the necessary deeds, but I must be patient and let the water freeze so that the ice could crack open what was hidden within. I then recalled what I'd been reading on the train by Abra-Melin the Mage, "Their rage is so great and their grief so poignant, that there is in the world no evil which they be not ready to work, if God were to permit them, they being always attracted by the idea of the destruction of the Human Race."
I turned and walked back the way I'd come. Without a second thought, my unconscious led me straight out of the woods, down the hill, and then past that church with no regard. I went directly for the train station and I caught my ride back to Bordeaux at 4am that curious fucking morning.
I liked this place. I'd see it again soon.
But if you're asking yourself, what the fuck has this French-Connection got to do with my self-destruction? Well, shit adds up. Everything accrues. One step up the ladder that we can't even see or feel. Everything leads to one great big fall. And we're all here wondering when the fuck this shit's going to drop out from under our stupid fucking feet. Yet if you'll never know until it fucking happens, then why not take the grotesque neutrality of fate into your own fucking hands and choke it into something of significance!
-
Not long after I'd returned to Berlin in order to finish Part 3 of Bark, Amelia got in touch with me again out of the blue. It's pretty fucking interesting to see how the dynamics between individual bodies of chemicals can react counter-intuitively depending on the subtle catalyst. She was now a changed person and suddenly needed my council, so I confessed my short trip through her township, and she was then sparked with excitement by the idea of seeing me in the flesh. Instantly I knew those voices on the hill had been right all along. The Spells I'd invoked had worked. Amelia was now caught in my gravitational pull, and she didn't even know it. It's always been amusing to witness a formerly coy female about-face and become openly willing to strip herself of her own pride and panties once the devil crosses her transcendental threshold of last-minute-resistance.

ACT II
A SUPPOSITION
(RECITING THE NEGATIVE CONFESSIONS)

A couple of months later, another female, Mara, left the threshold of my apartment crying. Then, after a pointless back and forth with text messages, I eventually ignored her and crawled into bed at 2am on the morning of the 11th of December – until I was awoken at 4am by my fucking phone. Seriously, I'm trying to fucking sleep here! So like anyone with an intolerance for rude awakenings, I slapped my phone silent. Yet it continued to vibrate as if I gave a fuck. Until my doorbell soon rang. You've got to be fucking kidding! The things girls do when you reject them. Half asleep and reconsidering how much I really wanted to fuck this chick, I stumbled out of bed and buzzed her in. The instant I did so, I fucking regretted it. I was too fucking exhausted and had too much to do in the next days to sympathy-fuck anyone's brains out. So I left my door locked, closed the inner door from my entrance, and then went back to fucking bed. A moment later my doorbell began an epic campaign of ringing the shit out of my life.
Now believe me, I've had many crying females come sobbing at my doorstep, but once you let them in, getting them the fuck back out is infinity harder than removing a Lyme-diseased tick from your scrotum. I've said the most insulting, petty, and vulgar of things to the face of lovers in the attempt to get them to leave me the fuck alone. However, the best solution was simply not to let them in in the first fucking place. Look, I knew it was an obnoxious stunt to pull, especially after I had just buzzed her in through the downstairs front door, but I was thinking of the greater good. I was a motherfucking saint. Saint Piece Of Shit.
So the doorbell rang and rang, but you should keep in mind that I once lived in an apartment in the inner city where there was a Drum 'n' Bass club in the basement. At least once every two months some dropkick would flip the fire-alarm, and then I'd have to evacuate the fucking building just to escape the piercing alarm. On occasions though, I was known to say fuck it, and bury my fucking head under a pillow and ignore that god-awful noise. Yet this time, my doorbell just kept ringing over and over: the alarm-clock from hell. My phone also continued humming away, but all this shit just pissed me off even more, so if I opened the fucking door now, chances are I'd just sodomize the bitch whether she liked it or not. I chose the lesser of two evils and got up, turned on some Wo Fat, The Conjuring, and made myself a cup of coffee. The ringing disappeared behind the riffs, and I finished writing my last diary entry. The stress and celebrations of completing my trilogy of books, Bark, had subsequently been replaced promptly with a shit-load of other tasks in preparation for my upcoming secret expedition. Less than a week ago, on the 5th of December, I'd successfully hosted my book release party, Barkland.

It was an exhibition of my artwork where I read from my trilogy and sold all the per-ordered copies. Ten years had passed since I'd begun the first draft of Bark, and I felt of all my creations this was my motherfucking magnum opus.

But now that Bark was done, I had to wrap up my life and focus on another personal discipline that had been building up for over a year. It had always been in the back of my mind while I worked on Bark. Yet the seed had been planted earlier, ever since I wrote the Third Spell for my series of artwork, Antimother Of God. But then again, that was the product of a prior engagement from the years beforehand. Everything leads to something else. It's practically impossible to discover exactly what's the initial cause that sends any single event in motion. We are the sum of our past actions regardless of if we consciously decided our choices or not. So much of life just happens and we react with minimal preplanned thought, the reptile brain just kicks in and we get swept along with our unconscious responding to given stimuli. So I might say I've been led here by Bark, yet the vast complexities that gave birth to Bark are beyond my cognitive capacity to comprehend. We exist here in the present tense, claiming it's from our own engineering, but that's mostly a fucking lie we tell ourselves to support the hope that ultimately we're in control of our insignificant little fucking lives. The intricacies that brought me here were immense, however, we humans seek an easy narrative and like to simplify everything into: 'Y' led to 'Z', 'X' led to 'Y', and of course 'W' was the only reason that we arrived at 'X'. But causality is never that fucking spelled out. We all stand on the shoulders of unrecognized giants that we can hardly even perceive. My whole life has led me to this current situation. It was inevitable. It is fate. I had no choice whether I want to continue down this path or not. Time will force me and had bought me here so far. Just like it had with everyone. The only shift in my thinking this last year has been: I have accepted my optimum-trajectory. I want to know where this time-line will lead me. I need to know. I have to push the envelope till I find myself face to face with –
BAM!
I paused.
BAM! BAM!
Sitting still, I turned from my desk toward my locked door and reached for a hammer lying nearby.
BOOOOOOM!
It was like a fucking canon going off in my fucking room! Fuck yeah! Fucking brutal! I would have been impressed if I wasn't so fucking sleep-deprived. Two firemen, four cops, and two medics burst into my apartment as I sat leaning back in my desk chair, placing my coffee down as I spoke calmly, "Can I help you?!"
A blonde female police officer approached through the bewildered big men in thick winter uniforms, and she proceeded to ask if I was okay?
Honestly, I'm fucking amazed at how restrained I was when I answered her with a question, "Do I look okay to you?!"
A few minutes of interrogating my assumed suicidal intentions, and I finished my coffee and was then 'invited' to come with them to a hospital. My only concern though, was for who the fuck was going to fix my destroyed front door? I ignored Mara and another friend, Burroughs, who appeared out of nowhere, and I was led outside. When the powers-that-be bust through your front door with all the civilized authority of righteous intent, the notion of resistance was unnecessary. They were just one-dimensional grunts for The Man. Their might was right, so like always, my only weapon was my wit. After all, they have to answer to someone, so take me to your fucking leader, and watch me out smart that son of a bitch! Never underestimate the ego when it's been forced into a corner with only two hours sleep. I left my building surrounded by cops, and walked onto my street filled with red and blue flashing lights – I always knew this day would come.
The ambulance ride was quiet, and I relaxed while the medic chatted with the youngest cop about fußball, or currywurst, or whatever German emergency workers fucking shoot the breeze about. I wished they'd forced me into handcuffs and then shoved me into the back of their patrol car. I've never been arrested and I clearly wasn't now either. You must pay attention to your environment when you're in the hands of your jailers, and keep track of what the score was at all times.
At the hospital the twenty-two-year-old cop was met by his partner, the blonde thirty-three-year-old female (we made polite small-talk about our ages later), and I was then led to a doktor's office. Sitting next to a desk, at about 5am, I stared at two framed painting on the wall in front of me, when a young unshaven guy in a white coat came in, shook my hand, and then took a seat. Introducing Doktor Nice-Guy. First off, he asked straight out if I had any suicidal thoughts.
Tilting my head, I stared directly in front of me and nodded, "The artwork on your walls totally makes me want to fucking kill myself, if that's what you mean."
The two cops couldn't help sniggering. The doktor also smiled. But I was serious, what fucking retarded blind five-year-old cunt painted that shit? It was extreme in its fucking hideousness.
The next line of questions were very much your run-of-the-mill, "Do you know why you're here? Did you mean what you said to your friend? And are you aware that there are people who care deeply about you, blah, blah, fucking bullshit."
When faced with a cross-examination looking to incriminate you, you have to remember every word out of your fucking mouth must be laced with figurative speech and nonspecific examples of other vague situations to back up your circular word-games. Never volunteer personal details, and always bitterly mock the allegations that brought you here. Accuse the accuser. Deflection and transference are your friends, and never, under any circumstances, ever fucking smile. I have been wronged. I didn't ask to be brought here. I wasn't crying for help. I was calm, rational, and in complete control of my hatred. Or was my hostility in charge of me at that point? Either way, I trusted my hatred more than those motherfuckers with the keys to my suppression. And yet you must befriend your prosecutors. Engage in idle chit-chat and relate to them about how hard their job must be. Yes, I have to admit this whole situation was rather intriguing and I had more than a few of my own questions about the process – like any sane person would concede as an act of empathy in order to gain trust. You must seem interested, actively involved in resolving this awkward misunderstanding. And remember, constantly maintain eye-contact. I would not be intimidated or back down from this challenge of dialectic conflict.
However, you might be thinking to yourself: shit Bruce, you're taking this a bit fucking far. Just be honest and you'll be fine. If you have nothing to hide then it'll all work out in the end... Are you fucking stupid?! Its freedom vs. control! I was only there 'cause external forces sought to fucking control me! The arrogance of others has deemed me incapable of making decisions for myself, like I'm a fucking invalid! If you care as little about your own personal freedom as to put your unquestioning faith in the justice or the health system, then you're a sweetly naive little catamite who deserves to be treated like the fucking bitch you are! I fucking refused to surrender my base instinct to govern my own well-being.
Doktor Nice-Guy then wanted to talk with my two friends who had originally called the cops, so I was asked to sit in the waiting room. That was the first time I'd ever had an armed escort watch me as I took a piss, before we then took a seat in the waiting room. There I smooth-talked the two young cops. The dude seriously looked like a school kid dressed in a bullet-proof-vest – which I asked him about, and he kindly took it off and handed it over to me. Not so heavy. The blonde cop looked tired and rather cute, I do love a girl in a uniform. So I reminisced with her about the old green German police uniforms, before they changed to blue. I've met several cops socially, and I recommend it as the best way to destroy the facade of unconditional respect that they like to command, for then you just see them as just normal everyday people. People who are as just as pathetic as everyone else. None of them are holier than thou. These people aren't moral philosophers or overall good at heart. They cheat on lovers, seek better pay, and have just as many biases as any old fucking bigot. Cops are just doing whatever dirty work they're fucking told to do. Individually, they're nothing more than conduits redirecting the mundane manure of human existence away from the pretty delusions of the status-quo stables. You don't need to be a genius to become a cop, you don't even need to be much older than a child, yet we civilians must obey their tone of voice or suffer the fucking consequences...
Or suffer the consequences...
The consequences...
So these are the consequences of my actions...
How intriguing...
I then wondered what the blonde looked like when she was bent over and on all fours.
Was I wrong to be thinking about such things when I was in that kind of situation?
No! I wasn't under arrest. I asked straight out and they confessed that it's not an actual crime to kill yourself in this country – only once you're dead does the location become a crime scene, due to the fact there's some rotting bio-waste contaminating a residential area. So I'd broken no laws. I'd done nothing wrong. I'd merely been harassed by a rejected female who'd made rash assumptions based on text messages taken out of fucking context.
I would talk my way out of there and no one would ever fucking stop me.
But when I saw Doktor Nice-Guy again, he shrugged and said that my two friends believed that I'd say anything in order to get out of there. How very motherfucking perceptive of you, cunt! Then came the kicker: I had the 'choice' of staying here of my own free-will so that his superiors could make a more thorough evaluation of my condition. Or they would force me to stay... Oh, so many options. How could I decide? Either I stay or, hmm, I stay. How the world was my fucking oyster! So if I refused the offer, the two cops would finally get to earn their fucking paycheck and they would drag my ass away, and then, at some unknown date, a judge from the courts would come along and make a whole new assessment of my predicament – and that means the question of my supposed-sanity would already be shit all over. So I smiled callously at Doktor Nice-Guy and said, "Well, shit. Let's go with the so-called illusion of free-fucking-will and free me from making the choices that I never had, ever since you guys kicked in my door. Right then, kids, let's go and lock me away. As we all know, without a lawyer I'm as guilty as fuck until I alone can prove myself innocent. Oh, wait. Crazy people don't get a lawyer."
While I was led to the elevators with the two cops marching behind, Doktor Nice-Guy tried to reassure me that I really, truly, honest-to-god did have a liberal, serious, and literal 'choice' about my situation. As we walked down the corridor we passed another cluster of armed cops surrounding some young guy slouching on a stretcher, and my reaction toward him was one of condemnation. My eyes then glazed over as we continued down the passageways, and I realized that that's exactly how any third-person would also see me. But my anger reminded me of my past experiences in hospitals, and I piped-up, "It's getting cold in here, I can't wait till I get my very own straitjacket."
"You're really sarcastic, aren't you," the blonde smiled next to me.
"Not at all."
"Here, this is for you," she said, handing me a sheet of paper with my case number and the address of a police station where I could pick up the keys to the new lock on my front door.
"I think you've forgotten something," I frowned, examining the front and back of that single piece of paper. "Where's your cellphone number?"
The blonde grinned and glanced out the windows at the morning's first light. Then we all rode the lift up to the third floor. There, I was introduced to Shaggy, the scruffy male nurse. And then I watched them lock that thick metal ward door and seal me in. Welcome to German psychiatric facilities 101. Shaggy was a soft-spoken chap who sat me down in an office, all the while a fifty-year-old balding guy with wild hair and constantly mumbling to himself, peered around the door frame at me. I was given the run-down of the ward and what would happen next: sometime before 10am I'd speak to the senior staff and it was they who would then decide my future. Shaggy soon took my blood-pressure, which was a little high. I told him it was 'cause I'm so damn thrilled about that smell of lemon-scented disinfectant that didn't quite mask the subtle aroma of bile and diarrhea. I soon handed over my personal property, after all, we don't want to find Bruce hanging from his scarf in the toilets, or slitting his wrist with his multi-tool in what was meant to be a secure environment. I asked if they'd be putting me in a padded-cell. Shaggy smiled and said they didn't do that anymore, as padded-cells don't actually stop people from hurting themselves. Gesturing to the lounge at the end of the corridor, Shaggy said I was allowed to roam about the locked ward, as if I still had a scrap of freedom to play with. The lounge was walled with windows looking out over the swans in the Kreuzberg canal. It reminded me of the view from an old ex's place who once lived not far from there. And as I took a seat, I found I was finally left to gather my thoughts without any fucking escort. Left alone till they came to collect me. That was until the freaks slowly wandered in for breakfast. Fortunately however, I kept my MP3 player, so I sat watching the sunrise over the rooftops of Berlin as one by one, more and more demented fucks came over to inspect the fresh meat. My only acknowledgment of those approaching patients was a scowl of building impertinence, the unspoken universal language for, back the fuck off, cunt! But then a moment of clarity came over me: these were my people. The imbeciles, the psychotics, and the deranged fucking lunatics. These are my equals. This was where I belonged, locked up and out of sight. I have finally found my place in the world. Treated like a fuck-up and not expected to do anything but whittle my fucking time away. It wasn't so bad. Who needs free-expression, when you have a roof over your head, a clean bed, and three warm meals a day? What more could any battery-hen require in order to produce those golden eggs of cherished servitude? To make demands of entitlement was an elitist hubris with unrealistic presumptions about one's own worth. You must be grateful for simply being allowed to stay in such fine lodgings. You must give thanks to those all-powerful doktor-gods who giveth shelter but who could just as easily take it all away, like they did with your privileges of liberty. Or were they still trying to reassure me that free-will wasn't an illusion? Who fucking knew at that point.
I was sitting at a table, staring out the window as the sun rose over the chimneys, when some Turkish guy with the eyes of an inbred bovine sat across from me. He proceeded to butter a bun with chocolate pudding. Is that what passes as a healthy breakfast in the medical establishment these days? Then I noticed the metal cutlery. So they took my multi-tool for fear of my safety, and yet they handed out serrated knifes along with pointy forks for the crazies to shovel down those revolting looking mushy peas. Who wants to make a prison-shank with me? Anyone?
Shaggy soon appeared and asked why I wasn't eating. I restrained the impulse to roll my fucking eyes, so I just got up and made myself a cup of gourmet hospital fucking coffee. At the drink-stand I meet a dumpy giant in your classic open bathrobe with half his hair missing in random patches. His thick mustache made me think that he might have once been the respectable Dean from some classy private school. That was of course before the stress of being surrounded by underage girls in pleated mini-skirts drove him right over the fucking edge of sexual frustration. He then drank half a liter of paint-thinner just to silence the relentless underage-porno-flashes that haunted his third ruined marriage. Now however, he struggled to decide whether to use the table or teaspoon to stir his coffee which had already gone cold. Jumping in, I grabbed what-the-fuck-ever was closest to dredge my five sugars.
Making my way back to the lounge, I noticed that most of the patients were huddled in an adjacent smoking room. A group with hunched shoulders peered at my vile sneer as I returned to the emptier of the rooms. I passed an elderly gypsy-like woman with half her teeth missing and wrapped in a ragged shawl. She limped aside, and I expected her inner thighs were laced with a myriad of self-inflicted lacerations after a lifetime on the streets and suffering the knuckles of her brother who had taken out his drunken lust upon her face for how repulsed he was by her aged features. She didn't get in my way though, and I took a seat while admiring the golden clouds. I would be in Scotland this time next week, and I wondered if the skies over the loch would be as clear as this.
Then that Turkish dipshit returns to his plate and began mimicking how I was sitting with my fingers steepled in front of my mouth. Crossing my arms, I turned my chair away from that motherfucker, toward another fucking window. In the smoking room, I saw mingling forms slowly move about waiting for their meds to come along and blissfully sweep them away from this tedious fucking routine of conscious arousal. My eyes had dried the fuck out from my lack of sleep, and those uncomfortable chairs made me want to smash my fucking way through the windows. I then paid close attention to the window frames. Securely sealed, just like that one and only entrance into this ward. Whatever happened to emergency exits? If there was a fire in here, we would all fucked. And if those fucks aimed to keep me locked up for longer than the next interrogation, then I would have to find my own fucking way out of that clinical cul-de-sac. The front door wasn't going to budge, but on the east wing, the building dropped away in terraces, one level at a time. If I could break a window over there, I could make a run for it, maybe out through the smoking lounge windows or one of the other rooms I hadn't yet seen. If so, I'd have to be quick before they tried to dope me up and numb my senses, so it would have to be today. But fuck knows, the glass might be reinforced. I might simply be fucking trapped. So then if these cunts did enforce their agenda and make me stay, I'd make their accommodating hospitality a fucking nightmare they'd soon regret. I'd systematically destroy anything I could get my fucking hands on. Bruce becomes that asshole cat on the internet who deliberately knocks over cups just 'cause he fucking can. Calm and quietly, I'd turn this fucking ward upside down. If I had no free-will, then I was willing to free my inner fucking psychopath. Just give me a fucking excuse.
Suddenly some towering meat-head stepped up next to me with what appeared to be a pregnant gut bulging out of his tiny t-shirt and bathrobe. Where the fuck do they find these fucking mongoloids? I went to ignore this cunt, but his finger then poked my right shoulder like I was a steaming pile of dogshit. I raised an eye at this mono-brow, buck-toothed fuck, and instantly he retreated –
A vision then crossed my mind, where I pictured this idiot abruptly grabbing a butter-knife and hacking out my throat where I sat! I could see him tearing at my jugular while he howled like a bloated baboon. I would crash to the floor on my back with blood pooling in my eye-sockets, yet I could still see him ripping my fucking windpipe apart and silencing my voice that apparently was never worth a fucking damn –
But none of that happened. That fatass just cowered as he wobbled away, leading my pupils toward a younger girl sitting to my left. She didn't look too messed up, apart from her ridiculous science experiment of a hair style. And then I noticed Nurse Shaggy again. He needed to take some of my blood. 'Cause why? Were they hoping to give me a prefrontal lobotomy while everyone sings the chorus to their theme song, No, it's for the best! It's for the best! The best you'll ever beeeeeeeee!
I met young Doktor Unknown-Middle-Eastern-Ethnicity, and I took off my jacket and hoody while some other patient was being injected with some-fucking-thing from a young Doktor Nerdy-Girl. I must be getting old, everyone on the staff looked like a bunch of fucking interns who should, more appropriately, be frothing a latte in a Starbucks rather than deducing the state of my mental fucking health. Anyway, Doktor Unknown-Middle-Eastern-Ethnicity took some blood, and I had to ask, "Yeah, and what's that for exactly?"
Doktor Unknown-Middle-Eastern-Ethnicity looked at me like I'd just pulled out a measuring stick to prove that my dick was bigger than his.
"I mean, I already told Doktor Nice-Guy that I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs. Is this just to prove if I'm lying? Or is there some new test now that can tell precisely how fucking crazy you are without even having to talk about your mother and all your suppressed juvenile cliches? Is Freud really obsolete these days?"
Nurse Shaggy looked amused from where he stood in the doorway.
Shortly, I was left alone with Doktor Nerdy-Girl, and I heard her say, "You don't seem to trust anyone."
"What? I love it here," I said, staring out into the corridor. "It's just like a spontaneous vacation – but without any of that, you know, extraneous fun."
"Your expression doesn't look like you trust anyone."
Tilting my head toward that female, I leaned back in my chair, still holding the cotton wool upon the vein in my elbow, I replied, "This expression you so aptly deciphered, is what I look like when I only get two fucking hours of sleep, and then find myself locked in this dump like I'm a common fucking criminal!"
Doktor Nerdy-Girl nodded her head and kept quiet. I bet she looks fucking hot in nothing but that white coat and knee-high socks.
Soon I run into that normal-looking girl coming out of the bathroom after she'd just showered.
"Be careful, it's wet in there," she said in a French accent, and I read between the lines as I watched her hips walk on by. Her depressive tone made me wonder if she had officially been presumed to have secret ambitions to castrate her daddy after he suddenly found her coming-of-age so he came all over her pretty ordinary fucking face. But what the fuck would I know? Don't you love it how our knee-jerk prejudices mechanically label everyone we come across based on appearance, context, and one's own past experiences. The environment we find ourselves in changes everything – just like conversely – the mood we happen to be in changes everything too. The external in relation to the internal. No one lives in a vacuum. Even people in a coma are subject to their very fleshy trappings. And there I was. And fuck that place! I could look and behave like a good little lamb, but now that I was in here, my opinion was even more irrelevant than ever! The insane are automatically dismissed as deplorable and placated into easily categorized pigeonholes. Now that I was in there, I was looked down upon and spoken to like a child who must answer to the delegated father-figures of society. The confirmation-bias of others was inevitable once the reputation was cast in doubt, and the nail in my intellectual-coffin was hammered down with every doktor's subjective diagnoses. Now that I was in there, everyone I would ever interact with would act as if they themselves had suddenly suffered from some kind of fucking brain damage, like how adults talk gibberish to an adorable little puppy that they stumble across in a park. I have become the puppy – the puppy that wants to eat your fucking face while you're asleep, you fucking cunt! But this only reflected what I saw. This was not an objective evaluation of my circumstances. This whole recollection says more about me as a human-filter than it did about those actual conditions. I was inseparable from my predisposed temperament. My past has made me this way and directed me on a doomed course to something that I had slim-to-no-chance of evading. But I still knew exactly where I was going. You can't escape yourself, even with your eyes wide open. I hate this fucking place!
-
Another hour of brooding on my own and my ego-defenses had solidified into a knuckle-white lock-down. Given a little time to assess the morning's events, the best persona I decided to proceed with was not to enact victim-thinking, but to wear the underdog-attitude. For if I was to elude the guilty verdict from my jailers, then I must play the part of the kicked-wasp's-nest. I had my story straight and my fucking game-face on. Abra-Melin the Mage was on my mind, "Also do not familiarise thyself with them; for they be not little pet dogs. Adopt a serious tone and an air of authority, make them obey thee, and be well ware of accepting the least offer which they shall make unto thee of themselves; and treat them as their Master." Listen, motherfuckers, I've been dragged out of my home by the cops for nothing more than a misconstrued text message erroneously interpreted by an hysterical fucking female! I must play the part of the innocent wasp, there to plead my case and get the fuck out of this joint. Show no quarter. I'd face my inquisition with spite, and I'd fucking manipulate those jailers like the stereotypes everyone in that fucking institution aspired to become. It was a fucking challenge to everything I stood for. Either I'm free or I'm not. And if I couldn't out smartass those cunts, then fuck it, I deserved to have my good-for-nothing brains lobotomized till my cerebellum dripped out of my nostrils like runny fucking eggs.
Nurse Shaggy came to collect me, saying that there were three doktors waiting for me, and he himself would also be in the room.
"How disappointing," I stated, cracking my neck from side to side. "I'd hoped it'd take at least ten of your finest to judge me unfit to wipe my own asshole."
I was seated at a table in another office, and there I asked each of my prosecutors for their names as I looked them right in the fucking eye. I was fucking ready for a shit-fight. Let's get the fuck on with it! Sitting at another desk and taking notes on a computer was Doktor Unknown-Middle-Eastern-Ethnicity. Sitting directly in front of me was Doktor Nerdy-Girl. Nurse Shaggy sat to my right. But it was Doktor Mother-Of-All-Cunts who sat to my left and did all of the talking with her apex-predator bedside-manner. She was about fifty and sat rigidly as I wanted to ask her if someone had taken a shit on her tits this morning?
"So why are you here?" she barked.
"I'm still waiting to find that out for myself!" I snapped back with equal belligerence. "What exactly am I fucking being accused of?!"
Shaggy looked quite shocked at my vicious hostility as opposed to my cool bitterness from earlier.
"You know exactly why!" Doktor Mother-Of-All-Cunts sneered.
"Then why the fuck are you asking something you already fucking know?!"
We proceed back and forth, repeating everything already said by Doktor Nice-Guy, until snot-nosed Doktor Mother-Of-All-Cunts slapped the table top, "If you don't stop yelling, and start having a rational conversation with me, then there is nothing more to say!"
I took breath and smiled. "You'll forgive my miserable attitude, but I have a tendency to become a tad bit grizzly if I lack the minimum daily amount of sleep that any adult human being requires. But you know, I didn't really have much choice in the matter, did I."
Doktor Mother-Of-All-Cunts wasn't interested in hearing my off-topic-deposition, instead she demanded more answers from me as if she'd just found out that her own daughter had been raped by someone fitting my exact description. I did my best to metaphorically explain the context of the situation, but she impatiently belittled 'context' as completely unrelated. Well, shit. I know Nietzsche said, God is dead, but did she just suggest that Einstein's dead too? I guess her own infallible fiat was all she needed to prove his Theory Of General Relativity as irrelevant. So therefore, if context didn't matter, then did that mean Leonardo DiCaprio really is the fucking King Of The World? But Doktor Mother-Of-All-Cunts wasn't going to tolerate a word of my facetious insolence, and she yapped, "If you're not going to help yourself, then there is little point in continuing!"
I shook my head at her fucking one-liners, and then glared at Doktor Nerdy-Girl, and then at Nurse Shaggy like the subservient fucking subordinates they timidly played so fucking perfectly, and I said, "Don't you guys just love how fucking condescending she is?"
There was nothing so empowering as standing up to the face of authority and seeing for myself how easily rattled that Doktor Mother-Of-All-Cunts could become by simply refusing to treat her like anything more than the fucking bureaucrat she really fucking was. Respect that? Get the fuck out of here!
It all took only about five minutes before I paused in all that tension and said, "As an artist I'll always talk about subjects at the extreme end of the spectrum. If you can't even talk about these things without fear of reprisals, then how are you free to think about anything? Art is an abstract environment that should be safe to explore these concepts no matter how uncomfortable or threatening they may seem. Art is above the law. I've really enjoyed my time in this country, but there are some subjects you can't even fucking talk about without being locked up in a place like this and having your very fucking sanity put on question! Am I supposed to fucking thank you for this shit?"
"That's it! Get out!" Doktor Mother-Of-All-Cunts snarled, slamming her notebook shut on the table. "Don't say anything more! Get out!"
I blinked. Glanced at Shaggy. "That's it? I'm free to go?"
"Yes! Get out!"
"Thank you very much!" I got straight up and instantly followed Shaggy out of that office. He looked confused as he slowly led me back to the front desk to collect my belongings. I was initially suspicious and checked the surrounding doors just in case other nurses jumped me with that legendary straitjacket before dragging me away to that mythical padded-cell. But Shaggy just got out his keys and opened the ward door.
"Hey. If you need to, you can always come back," he kindly offered.
"Yeah, I don't fucking think so," and I walked the fuck out of there.
Moon-walked into the elevator.
And then waved down the first taxi I saw.
On the taxi ride, I grinned to myself as Mel Gibson then came to mind, fucking "FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDOM!"
As I watched the damp winter streets scratch on by, I imagined Doktor Mother-Of-All-Cunts muttering to those ass-kissing little clones, "What a fucking piece of shit he was!"
-
I picked up the new key from the police station and then wandered through the cold wind toward home. Thinking about how I'd spoken to those doktors, I considered if I'd over-reacted. Bruce, chill the fuck out. Those guys weren't out to fuck you over, they only wanted to help... Help? Help?! Do I look like I need anyone's fucking help, motherfucker?! I rely on none but myself! I won my fucking liberty without the fucking help of anyone else! But then the pressing question arose: who the fuck actually knows about this indiscreet little incident? I've spent this whole fucking year carefully avoided disclosure about my personal plans – but this situation had blown everything totally out of proportion. How fucking irritating and yet ironic. There may have been moments in the past when I needed someone to confide in, yet when I finally wanted time alone to focus and get the fuck out of there, I'm forced to explain myself to a motherfucking committee like they expected to fucking understand anything I was attempting to achieve?! Fucking meat! They only gave a fuck when it was convenient for them! None of what I've done had been a cry for help! I didn't want any psychiatric advice or even anyone's short-lived fucking attention-span! It was all a fucking year too late for that fucking bullshit! Only the vast apathy of this realm of chaos had come to me and my insomnia. None of those fucks were ever there when I needed guidance – and I never fucking needed direction! I rely on myself! "And I won't stop 'cause I know the power of the question," then sang loud and clear through my head.
-
I stumbled up my stairs and found that the hole in my front door had been temporarily patched and pad-locked shut – cheap job, but better than nothing. First thing I did was check that my equipment was still all there, items of ritualistic significance that the layman and average cop would have never fucking noticed. Then I made sure no one had interfered with my diaries – but of course not, or else I'd be facing a whole litany of other infringements upon my state of mind.

Shortly, I heard a knocking and found an ex-girlfriend cautiously inching through the unlocked atrocity that was my ruined front door. She looked like she'd just run a four-minute-mile and found me sitting at my desk sipping on a coffee, much like when the cops had burst in not long ago. I wondered why she looked so freaked out, as I spitefully told her about the previous small hours. It wasn't until a few days later that I learned that she too was at the hospital with Burroughs, Mara, and another. Who the fuck knows what others were already gossiping about. But fuck them! They could think whatever they liked, I still had plausible-deniability on my side, and as long as I avoided prying vultures before my departure, then I'd stay on track.
-
Later that day, another ex-girlfriend showed up at my place to discuss how she'd be taking over administration of bark-the-book.com once I had left Berlin. Again I told of the misadventures from the morning; before she then phoned the cops, my landlord, and arranged to have a locksmith come over. And then I found out that my home-insurance probably wouldn't even cover any of this shit. Awesome. No one ever considers the clean-up needed after the cops smash their way into a citizen's home. Like a shit one-night-stand: the authorities take you for a joy-ride, date-rape you, and then leave you with the fucking bill for dinner. Danke-fucking-schön! The more I thought about this nuisance of a fucking mess, the more it filled me with the bitter resolve that I've been fucking right all along. Abra-Melin the Mage then spoke to me, "If aforetime you have been a wicked, debauched, avaricious, luxurious and proud man, leave and flee from all these Vices. Consider that this was one of the principal reasons why Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, John, and other holy men retired into desert places, until that they had acquired this Holy Science and Magic; because where there are many people, many scandals do arise; and where scandal is, Sin cometh; the which at length offendeth and driveth away the Angel of God, and the Way which leadeth unto Wisdom becometh closed unto ye. Fly as far as you can the conversation of men, and especially of such as in the past have been the companions of your debauches; or who have led you into sin. Ye shall therefore seek retirement as far as possible; until that ye shall have received that Grace of the Lord which ye ask." So fuck this farce of meddling do-gooders and their whimsical altruism! That Doktor Mother-Of-All-Cunts made me want to take my fucking baseball bat and finish what the fireman's ax had started. I wanted to fucking destroy my entire fucking apartment. Throw furniture into the walls. Shatter every fucking window. Burn this whole fucking building to its World War II foundations. Who the fuck did those bell-curve-mediators think they were to judge me upon first impressions? I absolutely repudiated their very fucking claim to dominion over my fucking true-will. Especially now that I'd just walked out of their fucking incarceration, after lying straight to their gullible fucking grimaces. Fuck their bullshit mantra of, "It's for the best." Fuck off! Fuck all their rational assessments if I could so easily fool them in less than five fucking minutes! How was I meant to fucking respect any those fucking puppets when I could twist every word used against me and then piss on the loop-holes in even the harshest fucking threats of retaliation that they had thrown down? Was that the fucking best they could do? Those fucks would never fucking stop me!
The more I dwelled throughout the day, the more resentment coated my gums with the bile of my contempt. And after dinner, I finally looked at my phone and found a plethora of ignored messages from Mara and others. Staring out at the wet streets, I wondered what was the worst fucking thing I could say to Mara right at that point?
"Come over."
And she did.
Once you've made a pact with the devil, dealing with people in the most powerful positions means little more than telling them exactly whatever horseshit they needed to hear. Cops, doktors, and females have no affect on you once you've accepted that there were much worse things waiting beneath the waters and tempting you closer with every hour. If you aren't willing to put your very fucking life on the scales to test your Negative Confessions, then you truly have no faith in yourself and you're already erased from both The Book Of Life and your own fucking Book Of The Dead.

ACT III
THE SUBSTANTIATION
(THE END OF THE SILVER AGE)

The train to Inverness ran late and I missed the last bus, so I had to catch a taxi all the way down to the Glenmoriston Arms Hotel – it was only some thirty-fucking-miles away. As the old-timer cabbie cruised off from the train station, I plugged in my headphones and watched the morbid streets from the back seat. Nothing like planes, trains, and automobiles by yourself to make you appreciate good music on miserable fucking nights. I glared out the left-hand-side of the taxi, knowing very well that the loch would soon be coming up out there amongst all that nothingness beneath so much pouring rain. Only the white center-lines and their cat-eyes stood out ahead as the window-wipers dealt with the deluge. I didn't need to see Loch Ness to know when it was finally right next to me. The road ran all the way parallel to that great abyss, a deepening darkness from a chasm made of a sheer absence of everything. I could see the obsidian ridge on the other side of the glen below that overcast ebony of the storm, but out here was a great serpent that ate all the faint remnants of light and not a single reflection could escape its jaws. Shit was black as fuck that inhospitable evening in the north of the Fatherland where the devil was waiting.
I'd made it back to Loch Ness, even though little had gone to plan in those last days since that morning at the hospital. Undenied, by Portishead was playing when a line that I'd written in my diary during the first quarter of this year then came to mind. That classic self-doubt and crisis of faith that stands upon the heads of all personal dilemmas: what if I'm wrong? If things had gone differently, if things had gone as I'd predicted them to go during this final week, then my convictions would've been validated and I would've simply gone through the motions as laid out according to my goals. But what had actually happened? I'd invited Mara over. When events come at you out of left-field, that's when things start to get really interesting. And yet there I was, alone in a taxi heading south through all that wilderness. I had to. My true-will needed to know what was out there.
Forty-five minutes later, I was greeted by the nice old lady opening the front door to the hotel. I remembered her from last year. After she showed me to my room, she too recalled my face from my first visit. It was too late for the kitchen but I had a pot of Earl Grey in the empty lounge and stared out the window. I was the only guest at the hotel that evening. I'd been advised that at this time of the year the loch pretty much shut down. That suited me just fine. The less people around the better. Not that there was anything much to do out there even in the summer. I'd brought a book with me, The Great Archaeologists, and I flicked through the black & white photos of ancient stone monoliths and esteemed European scholars. The picture of Sir Henry Rawlinson on the rock of Behistun (1846), caught my attention. He was standing on the top rung of a ladder upon a slither of a ledge on a sheer cliff face carved with Cuneiform inscriptions. A river stretches away in the background vista, while Rawlinson's own head was positioned above the already high set horizon. He had the whole world sprawled out behind him where he was so precariously perched, and yet all his focus was on that archaic text chiseled out of the solid stone. Ah, that tendency we have to get lost in our work which seems so very fucking important at the time, can leave us negligent to the bigger picture. But you have to concentrate despite the difficulties if you ever want to achieve something. However, what does any of it matter if you end up naked and exposed to the elements. I found myself examining that image for a long time. I've been so fucking busy shut away and conspiring by myself that I'd forgotten to take time and appreciate the little guy holding the ladder in place. We may be alone, but we're not. Rawlinson had his man-servant, just as I had the old lady making me pots of tea. How much credit can I take for arriving here, when I hadn't driven the taxi or even built the roads that brought me to this isolated spot? But if I alone hadn't made the effort to travel, then I wouldn't be drinking that Earl Grey right then. I was responsible for my actions and yet my unconscious was in control of me. The paradox that inflamed frustration, and yet, admittedly, also inspiration. But then suddenly, all I knew was, I missed Mara. I fucking missed her. This wasn't how I had planned this to go. I wasn't fucking meant to miss anyone. How had everything change so very fucking suddenly?

-
The next morning I woke in that king-size bed and it took a moment for me to realize where the fuck I was. Opening the curtains, I was greeted by the snow-crowned view of that Holy Mountain Of Pigs, and in my gut my fatalism knew exactly what needed to be done in those final twenty-four hours. It was truly fucking beautiful there.

When I opened my suitcase I found Mara's pajama shirt that she'd given me, and there I paused. Picking it up, I buried my face in the scent of her flesh – just as my compass slipped out of the folds. The symbolism was blatant.

However, once I went for my morning pot of tea, and sat on the chilly front porch, I discovered the crescent moon was watching me from above the summit of the southern mountain. It too had remembered me. Remembered that I still owed it a debt. I'd never found time to venture up that side of the glen last year. Now the moon demanded I pay tribute.

A car then pulled into the parking lot and a small human strolled up into the hotel. He soon joined me out on the porch and struck up a polite conversation about driving up from Glasgow to get away from it all. He was just passing through, and I was fucking glad of it. I didn't need to humor strangers with idle small-talk – and then that thing happened again, when I stare at a person and wonder what the fuck I'm actually looking at? These pasty fucking creatures with beady eyes and dull senses. Am I supposed to fucking relate to this fucking meat-sculpture? Worse yet, I'm in fact trapped in the very shoes of one of these fucking biped cunts shuffling about as little more than an evolutionary bi-product. Jesus-fucking-Christ, just look at that pale skin sagging off its toneless muscles barely clinging to a framework of bones no more special than a bag of branches that would burn on a bonfire with its sizzling fat melting all over the coals of this rancid fucking landscape... He then shook my hand, and I wished him a safe journey as I finished my tea. I needed to see the loch. So I wandered back up the highway that I'd come from last night, past that petite graveyard, and all the way to those two stone pillars either side of that private driveway leading down to the water's edge – but I denied the direct route and continued along the road. Random traffic hurtled by as I stared to my right and found the loch emerging through the thick woods. And finally, out of the low clouds came the day's first direct sunlight.

Suddenly, I left the road and went straight down the hillside into all those skinny trees. I was a couple hundred yards from the loch, but I knew there was a small rowboat down there just waiting for me. I had to see it again with my own fucking eyes. But upon climbing through the thicket, I came across an overgrown farm road running parallel to the loch. Dead leafs were one with the mud, and I stopped still in those woods. Staring down through the contorted trunks, I knew I had to be patient. All my instruments for the ritual were still at the hotel. This was not the time to face that beckoning point of no return. Not now. Not just yet. Not till tomorrow. Turning to my left, I slowly followed the path till I came to a crumbling stone wall coated in so much of that moss that blanketed that land regardless of the season. The highway was on the other side of the wall, and reluctantly I looked up at that looming mountain. I was determined to climb that motherfucker before the day was out, so I headed back toward it's feet. I passed the hotel and crossed the bridge over the river till I came to a drain in the curb. The drizzling rain echoed up from that hole in the asphalt, and after a few minutes I found myself transfixed by the voices speaking to me from down there. Faces just under the surface peered back up. This fixation for murky waters was really beginning to get the better of me. Off the road I went, down a gravel driveway on the south-side of the river. No one lived over there. I wasn't going to be bothered by any other humans. Though, through the trees I could see that big white manor on the north bank, and I knew amongst the dense forest on the hillside above, was hidden The Old Grahams house. Like foreplay, you don't always go straight for the clit, until suddenly I was right at the water's edge. Dropping to my knees, both my hands sunk into that pristine water. Palms down, I stretched my fingers wide beneath the small lapping waves. Feeling that frozen purity sink into my nervous system. Cleansing me. Coursing through my veins and washing me free of my sins. I had never felt so welcome in all my entire fucking life. It was calling me to come in. And I was overcome by an innate desire to walk right out into the loch and never turn back. There was a gravity on my back pushing me forward. An invisible tide drawing me in, despite the wind in my face. No. This was not the time. And I stood up. Such intense fucking contradictions swirled throughout my chest. Like that time I was at a Japanese girl's apartment, just after I'd had her strip naked and bend over on all fours, even though I was still fully dressed. My hand had cupped her vulva from behind as I leaned over her shoulders and whispered into her ear, "I told you, I'm not going to fuck you tonight." Then I had gotten up and walked out. Nothing like teasing the temptress. Needless to say, I was sodomizing her the next week and loved how she moaned in pain... I took a seat on the rocky shoreline and listened to that song by Ken Mode, Romeo Must Never Know. Those lyrics repeating, "But this won't end. But this won't end. But this won't end. But this won't end." Damn right, I couldn't escape this fucking bullshit that fucked my skull every single fucking day. Still, I let my eyes drift across those ruins of an ancient glacier and focused on nothing, just let my mind do its thing, until I heard the line, "But don't quit."

Stepping up to the tip of that tiny peninsula, I looked north beyond the mouth of the river, and then turned to the two boat sheds nestled within the bush. Standing on the steps that led to the first shed, I recalled last year when I stood here and had my first real look into the steep depth of the water and how uneasy it made me feel at the time. Now however, it looked calm. The crystal water faded immediately into a sharp darkness – that suddenly screamed at me with a mindless noise that I could scarcely believe! No, that deafening shriek came from above. I glanced upward just as a gray fighter jet roared overhead and flew straight up the glen following the river. I remained still and looked back into those bottomless waters at my feet where a swarm of submerged faces leered at me with cataract eyes and rotten teeth. Countless emaciated bodies writhed against one another as some great undertow then dragged them all a few feet deeper where the sunlight couldn't penetrate. Suddenly, one wretched hand upon a boney arm surged up toward my ankle – but the forces below swallowed it up just before its fingertips could breach the surface. Those ugly cunts looked more like how I felt than my own worthless reflection did. I stood there for a moment longer, examining the lock on the boat shed, and contemplated how hard it would be to break into with my hammer if Plan-A happened to fail. Glaring up at the mountain, I watched the mist roll over its icy cliffs as I made my way back through the thorns. In this changeable climate, the sun came and went within minutes while I watched that convocation of opaque figures following me in the woods on the other side of the river.

Then I saw a vehicle pull up to the distant gate and someone came walking toward me. I nodded my head at the approaching stranger and he returned the common courtesy. He wore a council workman's wet weather gear and must have been heading to check on the small hydro-electrical facility. He didn't question me and I didn't bother him. I belonged there. Yet while wandering back to the hotel for a lunchtime pot of Earl Grey, as I reached the bridge, I noticed a narrow gap between the rocks just before the river itself. Barely a trickle of water inched its way down there, but it was home to an assortment of trash swept off the street over the years. Plenty of branches, tourist litter, and a few lost hubcaps. All it was missing was a collection of naked dead girls lying broken and discarded upon those wet stones. Their hair streaked across their bashed-in faces while their anemic limbs became more blue than pink as bones extended from their torn skin of once soft youth. I could see them down there in that shadowy crack in this rigid earth looking back up at me. All their white bodies seemed to glow against the tar-like sheen of that little gorge. Their lips parted and their dead mouths murmured for me to join them. One of them was lying on a jagged section of rock, her bloody fingers were rubbing a huge gash on her inner thigh. Fingers slipping into all that exposed muscle and running slowly up toward her cunt – a Mack truck then roared past just a few feet from my shoulder-blades, and I knew that I really needed a cup of tea. The cold was beginning to seep under my scarf.

-
While I sat in the lounge warming myself, I reflected over that night after the hospital. I had text Mara to come over to my place after I'd been out at dinner, and just as I was unlocking my front door, I saw her walking down the street. I stepped back onto the footpath as she marched straight up to me like a freight train and slammed her arms right around my body, hugging me for dear life! Her head pressed hard against my chest as I squeezed her tight. I'd never assumed she was capable of such visceral interaction. She was known more for her introversion as opposed to engaging in any kind of physical contact with other human beings. The next days with Mara, however, were an acceleration of intimacy that were as unexpected as they were pretty fucking intense. Of course the rumors of my hospitalization had run hog-fucking-wild. I'd heard from people saying some of the most out-there fucking ideas about what had happened to me. So naturally I led them all astray, and spared them the juicy details of the truth. Ex-girlfriends took me aside and hinted at things they were already aware of, and I responded to their vague allegations by confirming and denying nothing. Mara stayed with me every night until the day of my departure. That morning I still had to pack my bags in my near empty apartment. I'd done a thorough job of getting rid of most everything except for my bed, sofa, and desk. She'd woken up first and laid on top of me as we listened to the quiet piano and violin of, Arvo Pärt, Spiegel im Spiegel. It's those little moments of skin on skin without saying a word that can mean the most. Since my adult life, I have never broken down and cried in the company of anyone as much as I had with her that week. You shouldn't underestimate the power of simply being there for someone when they need it. Eventually we got out of bed. Mara phoned her office and told them she would be coming in late, and then, while I was kneeling next to my suitcase, she grabbed and shoved me onto the floor, pinning me down, not wanting to let me leave. I honestly tried to lift her off, she was only little, but I found it impossible to move her, like my very own strength was unwilling to push her away. 'Cause I didn't want to let her go! But all things must end, and she reluctantly walked me to the train station. Yet there she asked if she could come all the way to the airport. So she phoned for a taxi and then called her secretary again and told them she wouldn't be coming in to work at all that day. In the taxi she took a bunch of cute selfies with me, and as I was sitting there I couldn't help wondering what the fucking hell I was doing? Why the fuck was I leaving her? But I was trapped on a course I couldn't escape at that point. Events had been set in motion that I was unable and unwilling to reset. My true-will was on autopilot and I was merely a passenger enjoying all the torment of this sudden emotional connection despite my best defenses. Abra-Melin the Mage then rang through my head, "Ponder the matter then well before commencing, and only begin this Operation with the firm intention of carrying it out unto the end, for no man can make a mock of the Lord with impunity."

I'd anticipated spending this last week in absolute solitude, concentrating my mind and finalizing some fucked-up ceremonies in my apartment. I was planning to tear up all the carpet and paint upon the floor a grand version of the hermetic symbols tattooed on my back. There I could sit in the center of my pentagram and meditate on the profane invocations I was preparing to perform. I was to mutilate chunks of raw meat while desecrating holy words and calling unto those things unseen. But instead, I'd invited this female over... She watched me from behind the glass walls as I went through the security at the airport. The moment I turned up the stairs and out of her sight, I plugged in my MP3 player and listened to Slipknot, The Devil In I. The line, "Some of us are destined to be outlived," resonated as I drifted through Duty Free and barely made it to my flight on time. The cunt at the departure gate looked at me with a feverish impatience until my glare of disgust made her shut the fuck up. That was not a day that you wanted to fuck with me on, bitch. The flight was a blur of both: what the fuck was I doing? And: I must remember I am the architect of my own fate! The train from the Christmas-light-covered Edinburgh station left late, and there I finally pulled out the handmade paperback book that an ex-girlfriend had made just two days before. It was full of last minute farewells from friends who had suddenly learned of my leaving the country. One had written how she'd thought I would probably think this was a lame thing to do, but I didn't think that at all. In fact, I recalled what Christopher Hitchens had said in one of his last interviews, "If you ever wonder whether to write to anyone, always do, because you'd be surprised by how much of a difference it can make. I regret, here's a regret, I regret not doing it more often myself."

-
Looking at the clock, it was precisely 1:45pm when I marched straight out of the front door of the hotel and toward that mountain now silhouetted by a fresh blue sky. It didn't look so threatening from down there, and I had calculated that it should only take about an hour to stroll up to the top, giving me plenty of time to get back down before it got dark at 4pm. Not a problem... Famous last words.

Across the bridge I went and followed a single lane country road that travelled off to the right from the highway. According to the map that I'd picked up from the hotel, this road would stretch around the mountain and snake its way up to the summit. But it wasn't until I continued along that road that I realized just how wide that fucking slab of frosted rock really fucking was.

Still, I was in no rush. The woods were quiet. I had the steep forest to my left, the river to my right. I past a couple of little cabins near the highway, but after them the asphalt on the road soon thinned. Huge swamp-like puddles consumed dips in the path, though it was those barely visible patches of ice that were the most hazardous.

I walked past dozens of slender waterfalls and tiny creeks coming down the woods, draining off the damp ambiance of this entire place. Some streams were significantly larger, and after a time, I came to a small bridge over a pouring torrent where fallen trees crisscrossed each other. I saw on the map that the gravel road finally led away from the river and at last went up into the mountain. Until then I hadn't elevated in the slightest of altitude. If I hadn't had that map on me, I'd have doubted that this road would have ever led up to anything.

While listening to Soundgarden, Mailman, I marched up the steep road and began to wonder why I was so insistent on climbing this fucker, when ultimately, I'd come here only to face the waters. Was I running away from my intentions? Was I getting cold feet? No, the water had to wait until tomorrow when all the numbers were in alignment. The challenge of scaling that mountain then soon became more enthralling knowing that there was absolutely no shelter out here if the weather suddenly decided to take a flaming dump all over me.

When I came to that hairpin-bend in the road, it marked the halfway point on the map. But it had already taken me just over an hour to make it that far up the slope and into the snow. From that angle the whole fucking mountain seemed to have doubled in size. Turning 360°, I saw no other evidence of human existence except for that dwindling gravel. I sure was on my own way out here, and the further I went, the more I felt at home.

Once I was trudging through the snow, I nodded my head and conceded the fact that dress shoes were not the most appropriate footwear for climbing mountains. I was wrapped up warmly but looked more like I was off to the ballet rather than hiking barren landscapes without a guide. At least for the most part the road continued upward, yet with every twist in the forest, I hoped to spot the peak, though was only faced with more and more of the same frigid trees. The snow would thin out only to be replaced with that treacherous ice, and I was starting to heat up after all this marching. There were multiple hoof prints in the snow, ranging from tiny clusters, to as big as my open hand. And then I came across a single mark that was either just a random formation in the snow, or a fucking velociraptor footprint. I should have taken a photo, but just I laughed at the fucking idea.

The sky wasn't dark but heavily bruised and completely fucking overcast. If those shrouding woods didn't open up soon, then I was going to miss the sunset long before even reaching the end of that fucking road. That idea just fucking pissed me off, and I moved faster with more perseverance. I remembered once saying to someone just after I'd finished writing Bark, that there's a lot purpose in pressure. I blinked into the surrounding trees and then looked straight ahead, when to my relief and contempt the road turned and opened up to a bleak expanse of rock and snow. I could see a towering antenna station at the peak, but the road mocked me as it zigzagged up the slope. Out there, away from the trees, I was exposed ruthlessly to the howling wind that was rather motherfucking chilly on my frosted fucking eyeballs, to put it nicely.

My breathing had become more vicious as I fought the gales and rough-as-guts road that was anything but civilized for my once polished shoes. But at least there I could watch the fucking sun go down with all its infernal glory.

There was no time to fuck around at that point. I could see the end of the line, and I actually started running right through the particularly deep pockets of snow. I wasn't even slightly fucking tired, when suddenly, I came around one last bend, and there I was, right on the fucking top of this Holy fucking Mountain Of Pigs.

At last I could see Loch Ness stretched out below all those pale crests in this Great Glen vista of a tectonic division. But I still couldn't view that whole body of water. This summit was not the outcropped ridge that I'd seen in the morning with the crescent moon hung above. That was laid out there to the northeast where no man-made path led. If I wanted a better view of the loch in its entirety, then I'd have to leave the end of the road and cross that naked wilderness.

It was exactly 4pm, and the sky should have been a total fucking blackout by then, but for no discernible reason Ra was on my side that evening. If I left now, it would take another two hours just to make it back to the hotel, and I probably really could do with whatever light there was remaining. But I wasn't about to turn back then. I needed to know what was out there beyond that dead end.
-
Nearly an hour later, it was almost pitch black when I finally began stumbling back down the road. Reciting to the gale force winds, I took cues from what was written in The Book Of Sacred Magic, though twisted the ritual to my own ends. First I thanked this Holy Mountain Of Pigs for all the grace in which it had granted me from birth to now. Then I confessed what a sinning piece of shit I'd been my entire life, and humbly asked the Mountain's pardon. Finally I appealed to the Mountain, asking it to guide and reveal unto me that which I could not see, My Unholy Guardian Devil. These words had to be spoken with absolute resolve or else you're just fooling yourself. As Abra-Melin the Mage said, "Know ye that although in the beginning your prayer be but feeble, it will suffice, provided that ye understand how to demand the Grace of the Lord with love and a true heart, whence it must be that such a prayer cometh forth. Also it serveth nothing to speak without devotion, without attention, and without intelligence; nor yet to pronounce it with the mouth alone, without a true intent; nor yet read it as do the ignorant and the impious. But it is absolutely necessary that your prayer should issue from the midst of your heart, because simply setting down prayers in writing, the hearing of them will in no way explain unto you how really to pray." And as I tripped in the dark, treading through the snow, the wind clawed at my shaved skull until I saw those figures slowly rise out of that desolate range. I was half way between the summit and the woods but I kept on walking. More and more of those things crawled upward like slabs of granite out of the snow. They were not the same as my past visions of ethereal horrors. These figures were all very much humanoid, but all draped in long black over-sized burqas that blew like enormous silk flags with blackened shapes beneath. They might not have been the same cunts that I was familiar with, but these fuckers definitely weren't made of flesh and bone. While scanning the ridge, I persisted with my oration and watched hundreds more of those veiled individuals arise and cover the whole slope of mountain, blotting out the earth before the absence of the sun could do its worst. I kept going downhill and listened to all those bitter voices that confronted me without rest. They questioned their own deceptions and inquired further about the unknown conspiracies that I had hid from even their kind. These figures lined the road either side like a huge crowd glaring at my descent with silence, but none stood on that broken path itself. They all wanted to watch me go straight down and hit rock-fucking-bottom face-first like there was no fucking tomorrow. Finally however, I marched into the looming arms of the forest, and never once did I ever look back – until I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks at that singular celestial voice that stated as clearly as if I had uttered those words myself, "You're just being duped by nothing more than the oxytocin!" I had nothing to say to this. The voice was right. Yet I just strode the fuck on down the middle of that snow-clogged road. It was safer to walk through the weeds that grew out of the center-line than to sink into one of the many frozen puddles on both sides of the gravel road. In fact, if it wasn't for the snow on the road to guide my way, the whole environment would've been an utter blackness beneath a ghastly shade of blue that was getting darker by the fucking minute. I'd hoped the downward trek off the mountain would've been faster than the climb, but again this fucking place was vastly more extensive than I had any idea of. There were moments when I saw those things standing on the edge of the road with hideous fingers aching to drag me aside, but more prestigious spirits circled me like buzzards talking with overlapping insinuations about what I had seen back up there. Back out on the ridge. Those voices taunted me with what the crescent moon had led me toward in that last hour. That which was unavoidable. But then they tested me about Mara. "What if she hadn't distracted you? What if you were left to your own devices? What then?" Again I had no answer. "Nothing has changed! Their meat is just as revolting as ever! And you yourself haven't changed at all!" I kept going. Listening, I stumbling on and fucking on through that snow and over uneven ground. I felt like I was barefoot, and I wished this was just some classy advert for Nike tramping boots, and at any moment that Old Spice black dude would leap out of the woods and slap me across the back of my fucking head for wearing such unsuitable fucking footwear. But the reality was unforgiving, there simply wasn't any other option but to keep fucking going. Despite my once cocky attitude about climbing this rock, my energy was now draining at an exponential rate, as if some teenage leech of a school girl was now sucking my balls dry. Going downhill seemed grotesquely worst than my sweet little evening stroll upward into the heart of this self-loathing.
Suddenly I found myself speaking to the woods again, "To say, 'what if,' is irrelevant. These events did happen. To say, 'things would be different if these things hadn't happened,' is living in denial."
Mara's voice then came to me, saying that one little piece of logic that had made all the fucking difference in the world, "You can't let your past dictate how you live now."
What was once is no more. And yet it's still part of you. But if you can't move on, then you're already dead, just like those ghosts that follow you. So live in the now and adapt.
And then ahead, in that clearing on the mountainside, I saw that hairpin turn in the road. Glancing across the valleys under the night, I realized I was alone. None of those veiled figures were anywhere around anymore. I had to face the great below by myself – just the way I'd fucking planned it. But I wasn't out of the fucking cold yet. My stumbling became more like a barely controlled fall as I rambled down the road and at last out of that fucking snow. I needed to stop once I reached that little wooden bridge and catch my breath. Staring up at the stars I pulled out my phone while I stared further down the hill. It was officially night, motherfucker. There, I text Mara. I needed to know that she was still alive. She replied almost instantly. Studying one of the selfies she'd taken on the taxi ride to the airport, that was now the desktop image on my phone, I knew I really wasn't alone. I had all the fucking light I needed to get out of there. And as ridiculously fucking romantic as it may sound, Mara's face literally lit my fucking way out of that sheer darkness. The glow from my phone's screen however, wasn't bright enough to light up those deadly fucking sections of ice. At one point I slipped and found myself right in the fucking middle of a huge area of slick-as-snot bullshit. I was too motherfucking exhausted for this fucking shit. Yet again there weren't any other options but to tread with extreme caution and to just keep fucking going. Walking like a blind man, I stared into the vacant black as I used my peripheral vision to make out the vague shape of the road from my phone's faint illumination. Until suddenly I splashed into a fucking puddle. It was that epic pool that I'd laughed at on my way up the road, back when I could make out those shallow spots that I could jump to and then bound over and out of. Now though, it was one great big mirror shining black on black. Either side of the swamped road, the ditches were flooded. The steep bank up the hill was a fucking dense mesh of branches and thorns, while the downhill slope dropped away into that sniggering river. Well, shit. So it was time to bite the bullet and walk on through. Frozen wet feet, here we come. And then I still had more stumbling along that endless fucking road to come. My pace was slowing the fuck down. Memories of my last night with Mara crossed my mind. We'd watched, Only Lovers Left Alive, from the floor below my sofa – where I rode her bareback till the movie faded into the distance and all I cared about were her lips upon mine. I hadn't felt intimacy like this is a long time. I'd been too much of a wretched fucking whore before this year's celibacy. I'd forgotten how much I liked caring about someone other than just myself. And ultimately, I knew then that intimacy fucking mattered– it mattered to me! Whenever I then thought I was about to reach the highway, the cruelty of my own fatigue would lower my blood pressure upon every bend in the road that led only to more of that same old nothingness.
In the end I checked the clock and it had taken longer to come down off the mountain than to climb it. When I stepped through the hotel's front door, the cheery old manager lady greeted me with a smile, "Oh, I was beginning to worry. Where did you get up to then?"
Slumping into a chair next to the bar, I took a breath and uttered, "Went all the way up to the top of the mountain."
The old lady laughed heartily, "And I thought you were here to relax."
I just stared at my ruined dress shoes, impressed the shredded soles were still intact – mostly.
"You must be starving," the manager said, heading toward the kitchen. "So what did you see up there?"
"I saw The Old Grahams place," I replied as my head rested back against the wall.
The old lady paused in the doorway. Turning her head slightly back toward me, she then whispered, "Impossible."
Watching her continue into the kitchen, I then dragged my ass upstairs so I could get the fuck out of my sodden clothes and shower all that mud off my hands, and bandage the cuts on my legs.
-
After a healthy steak and some warm Christmas pudding, I sat alone in the lounge and stared out the window at the downpour clawing at the glass.
The usually jolly old lady then brought me a fresh pot of Earl Grey with a rather perturbed expression that I had no desire to investigate. However, she couldn't keep it quiet, "How do you know about the Grahams?"
I was feeling much rejuvenated from dinner, but her question left me confused. "I came across it last year, when I went up the hillside behind the hotel. What's her name, the girl who was working here that summer, Rachel, she invited me in."
"Who?"
"Rachel. The little waitress. She was writing some university paper while she was house-sitting The Old Grahams."
"Last summer?"
"Well, not this last summer. Last year's summer. 2013. When I first came here."
"The Old Grahams place?"
"Yeah. So?" I frowned. "Do you know the owners?"
The old manager smiled thinly, and then walked away shaking her head, "Enjoy your tea."

Rubbing both palms over my face, I looked back at the storm against the window. Out there the mountain was staring back at me, but all I saw was a car pull out of the parking lot. Three old folk had accompanied me in the hotel's restaurant for dinner, and it looked like they were off before the weather really went ballistic. So that left in the hotel: the cook, the old manager, two young local chaps drinking at the bar, and myself. But more headlights appeared down at the crossroads and slowly pulled into the parking lot. A few minutes into sipping my tea with the rain echoing all around, the front door opened and in came a rather short Iranian guy followed by his smoking hot trophy-wife who was only slightly taller. His gold rings and her Louboutin heels made me wonder if there was a Lamborghini Aventador sitting out there in the dark. Listening through the lounge's glass door, I heard the manager welcome those new guests for the night, though I couldn't make out a single quiet word spoken by the couple. I caught the eye of the drop-dead beauty on her way up the staircase, just as the two local lads drunkenly exited the building.
Not long after the cook left for the night, the manager locked up the restaurant and soon asked me to turn out the lights before I went to my room. I watched her little car putter away and then I switched off all the lights except for one lamp next to the door. Sitting in the warm lounge by myself with my feet on the coffee table and the window ahead, I could hear the two new guests walking on the creaky floorboards in the room directly above. I'd have an early start tomorrow, and yet despite my venture up the mountain, I had absolutely no need to sleep. Walking about the woods had reminded me of how much I loved standing in the middle of great landscapes and staring over pale horizons. It made me want to visit other countries that I'd never been to and explore majestic valleys laden with lush forests bathed in dew. A door then slammed shut upstairs, and I blinked myself the fuck out of my wanton day-dreaming. Glancing at the empty staircase, I crossed my arms and lingered on the thought of that Iranian woman. But that only drew my eyes higher still, back up to the mountain –
Once I had decided to leave the road at the summit, I'd found the rough ridge less than easy to traverse. The spot that I'd assumed would look down over the loch seemed only to be a few hundred yards from the end of the road, but like everything on this fucker, it was much further. At this angle, the gusts coming up the mountainside forced me to close my overcoat against the cold and pull up my scarf around my nose. Once I had, I noticed what I thought was a rat run past my feet and up ahead of me. Then another larger thing scurried past. It definitely wasn't a rodent. Their gray flesh and exposed spines lurched across the bleak ridge toward that rise that I too was seeking. More and more of these vile little creatures swarmed by until something to my left caught my eye. Way off across the glen, above the river, amongst the woods on the other hillside, was that stoney block that I remembered all too well: The Old Grahams house. It was the reflection of the setting sun upon its multitude of gaunt windows that had caught my attention, and so I stopped to stare. I'd liked that morbid fucking ruin, but mostly I'd loved all that fornication I'd enjoyed with that cute little Scottish girl, Rachel. For a moment it felt as if I was still over there. That I'd never left. That I was in fact, staring back at myself on this mountain with all those ghosts locked in dusty rooms calling for me to stay. I could still smell the crooked passageways that led in circles. And then another one of those four-legged pests ran by my leg, but when I looked over to the end of the ridge, there was nothing out there. Nothing at all. Just an empty plot of land with cliffs all around. Glancing back at that manor on the other hill, I watched the clouds clot and the reflection of the sun dwindled away. The Old Grahams and indeed that whole forest then went an impenetrable shade of black. Slowly, as I approached the edge of those snowy cliffs, that chasm opened up beneath me. Loch Ness lay spread out in either direction like a perfect laceration in the throat of the Earth. Suddenly the ground under my feet shifted and I wrenched backward, but all those tiny faceless creatures with armored flesh lurched out of the growing shadows and pounced upon my legs! Hundreds of these frenzied little things raced around my feet, their claws digging at my shins, as if I was sinking in quicksand made of skinned cats. That mound of swarming creatures then went tight about my knees and locked my legs steady. Standing there above the cliff face and loch, I was unable to retreat or turn away as the wind calmed down. A putrid silence moved over the mountain just before I heard a faint clatter. That magnificent view across the loch was unrivaled, but the quiet rattle coming from just over the lip of the cliff was more than a little distracting. Those creatures clinging to my legs in a unified mass seemed to be caught in a slow motion spiral, churning gradually around my legs and tightening their grip whenever I went to move. So standing with my legs trapped in those infernal fucking critters, I watched the loch as strange ripples began to appear. Huge waves formed from something just below the surface. Wakes coming from both the north and south ends. Just as those waves neared each other, that clattering noise revealed itself as a modest beast with pointed horns and hair that stank of rotten eggs coming out to play. A black billy goat quietly tip-toed up that impossible cliff until it came trotting my way, though it paid me no never-minds. It turned and stared down at the loch, and while it stood there in front of me, I could clearly see between its two old horns a brutal cavity that was cracked right through into its skull, as if someone had driven a hatchet into its head and now maggots festered within that repugnant gush. I knew the name of my kin, and Azazel knew me by my deeds. We both watched the loch with its unnatural currents, as a great wind suddenly blew up over the cliff –
I was then back at Amelia's front door. Then I was moving up her stairs. Instantly, I was outside the door of her apartment. And then I was naked in her shower, her dead body upside down and in my grasp as every last drop of blood drained out of her slashed throat. Disorientated, I dropped her legs and she slumped awkwardly about the basin of the shower. The hot water scorched my face as I twisted, both my hands clasping at the tiled walls. I was completely off balance and needed to catch my breath. How the fuck was I back in France? These were supposed to be my visions, but it seemed that I was no longer in charge of that clairvoyance anymore. Those things with bigger pictures forced me to be there. Or was this what I wanted all along? Of course it was! So my heart rate eased and I soon adjusted to my situation. Ignoring the carcass at my feet, I proceeded to wash her blood off of my tattooed skin. Using her soap, I casually scrubbed away until I stood peaceful beneath the nozzle and let the heat massage the back of my shoulders. Opening my eyes, I glared contemptuously at Amelia's slaughtered posture, her usually tanned flesh was now almost as white as mine, and then I wanted to know what the exactly fucking color her large intestine was? Drying myself first, I then used a second huge fluffy white towel to wipe down Amelia's limp form. Hardly a pink stain seeped from her slit throat anymore, as I picked her up. She was like a plucked chicken that needed to be cleaned before the roasting. Lifting her up, I sat her flaccid figure upon the washing machine where she slumped forward allowing me to easily dry her long smooth hair. Grabbing a blow-dryer, I finished her off before grasping either side of her face and looking into her drowsy but dead eyes. However, it was her loose jaw and parted lips that drew me inward. Carrying Amelia's body slung over my shoulder into her bedroom, I then ripped her blanket away before dumping her body in the middle of the bed. She bounced clumsily, and I grabbed my duffel bag, removing the hacksaw. Sweeping the messy hair off her pretty face, I couldn't help myself from fingering that huge laceration in her throat. Reaching deep inside, I turned my fingers till I could stroke the back of her tongue. Opening her mouth, I then began kissing her. Using my fingertips to manipulate her tongue, she reciprocated my fucking intentions, even if her dry orifice wasn't exactly warm or welcoming. But then, in a burst of anger, I pulled away, replacing my fingers with the teeth of the hacksaw that immediately started digging through muscle, arteries, and bone. I cut her fucking head off in just a few seconds and it dropped onto the bed like a discarded dumpling – her expression unmoved. That last tether of skin was a bitch to sever, but once I got through it, I sat back on my knees still naked and staring at how bizarre it all seemed to be. Looking at a decapitated girl who lay on her white sheets without a speck of blood anywhere. The canvass seemed somewhat too sterile for my liking. Like she really was made of porcelain, and once broken, her essence simply evaporated without a sign. How idealistic of me. But I knew better. She was nothing but pure filth on the inside. Slamming her head back so that it faced me, I then tore her lightweight body around onto her stomach with the stump of her neck downward and her ass facing up. She'd often spoken about how she was excited by absolutely any kind sexual act – except anal! Glaring at the passive demeanor upon her beheaded face, I then recalled the day that she heard about my hospital incident, and how she suddenly wouldn't stop texting me and sending photos of her crying because she didn't want me to kill myself. Ah, the fervent delusions from the paranoid assumptions based on warped scraps of biased evidence. Her final attempt to gain my attention was the desperate offering of her backdoor-virginity, if only I'd stay. How very fucking tempting. Then staring at her bleached anus, I took her up on that offer and rammed my erection balls-deep down her dead rectum –
Looking up, I was suddenly back on the mountain top. That scapegoat was circling my incarceration within the clutches of those little beasties. But it was the battering wind that drew my eyes down toward those enormous tornadoes made of inky waters that were now stretching upward from the surface of the loch. At first I counted three of those twisting funnels. But as I fought against the gales, I realized the entire loch was breaking apart, spilling forth more and more of those massive tentacles reaching skyward. They weren't tornadoes at all, but the sibling serpents of Apep itself, and coming from below the earth like giant fingers prying open this primeval crack between our worlds. The waves from the loch shattered against both sides of the glen with horrendous detonations that wiped the hillsides clean of trees. Those colossal worms rising from the waters crashed into this mountainside and ripped huge chunks of stone and soil down into the loch! The largest of these tendrils passed above my vantage point and higher still into the storm clouds. I'd never seen red lightning till that moment, like the heavens were made of ash and these gigantic serpents were the burning pillars of a kingdom that every god had forsaken. The thunder that followed was a relentless artillery of both tremendous explosions and the voices of titans loosed to rape this land which they themselves had created –
As I viciously sodomized Amelia's corpse, those screaming devils followed me into that realm too. A hundred-thousand shrieking voices all vomited forth from Amelia's own sweet little mouth. Her severed head was then scowling straight back at me. Despite her mutilation, she was still very much alive as I then ejaculated hatefully into her desecrated meat –
The whole mountain shook when just then that crimson fucking lightning struck all around with immense arcs shredding the ridge! So, as those tentacles reached upward, the lightning slashed back down in return –
Suddenly Amelia's headless body thrashed out. She shoved back and I was cast off the bed and onto the floor. Her body then attacked, claws going for my throat. Grabbing both her wrists, I struggled with her as she pinned me upon my back. Her hands choking me while I grabbed at her moist stump of a neck –
The eruptions in the storm clouds then broke open as monumental slabs of stone fell from the sky! Rocks the size of hills dropped out of the darkness and hailed upon the mountain ranges. And then I realized that the surrounding ground was no longer comprised of mud and stone, but of a million butchered bodies all writhing and tormented. These mountains were made from the damned –
I broke off Amelia's left arm at the elbow! It simply snapped free like she was made of china, and the flesh within looked like jagged glass. She however, persisted to wrestle until I swung her figure around and also ripped her right arm off at the fucking shoulder! This time something like scarlet sand came gushing from that brutal wound –
The whole loch was being utterly destroyed, when I was grabbed from behind. I was caught in the grip of some forty-foot-tall caterpillar-like creature that towered above with a hundred hands holding me still as it continued to crawl up my spine –
Throwing Amelia's dismembered body aside, I spat at her perpetually screaming face of hers, but she just attacked again. Running, her body charged and pounded me against the wall before she kneed me directly in the balls! Collapsing, I was then kicked in the face and stomped on my ribs! She might have just been a torso with two legs, but she sure did whip my fucking ass as she slammed a heel right into my fucking jaw –
That goat was approaching me as more chunks fell from the burning sky. On either side of Azazel, I found a new figure. To his left was a bloody female with a hole right through her face, another hole in her chest, and a third fist-size hole passing straight through her belly. To the goat's right was a boy with arms twice the length of his body and was covered with grotesque parasites that were so many in number that they were a heavy weight upon his shoulders. These malignant growths upon the boy pulsated and spoke with dozens of ugly mouths as he, the whore, and the goat came closer –
I finally grabbed one of Amelia's ankles and yanked it out from under her. But she lurched, leaped, and landed like a spring chicken upon both my palms. Pinning my hands to the floor, she crouched down above my head – just to open up her asshole and shit out an enema's worth of my own cum all over my face –
Azazel then rushed at me, thrusting both horns into my chest like daggers into a cheesecake. The pain was pretty much what you could imagine, like you were a miserable fucking dartboard and someone had just shot a flaming chainsaw at you! The goat then continued bucking and ripped into my ribcage while all those fucking hands on my back held me firm in place. That female came up from my left and grabbed me about the throat just so she could start scalping my fucking head! And if that shit wasn't bad enough, the deformed kid then began eating my right hand several fingers at a fucking time –
After I blinked the cum out of my eyes, I saw Amelia's perfect ass stretch wider than a peach as she gave birth to some pale worm, like she was prolapsing her bowels all over me. This lump of dripping flesh extended from her raw anus like an albino elephant's trunk, and then slithered across my drenched face while I fought to free my trapped fucking hands –
Even as I felt that faceless female skin my skull and tap her fingertips upon the bare bone, I still glared out over the loch as I discovered that the ridge on other side was actually moving further away! The tectonic plates that made-up the fault-line of the loch itself were being wrench apart. The gateway was opening and destroying itself in the process –
As that abominable extremity protruded from Amelia's rectum, it then peeled its own tip back like an infected foreskin, where dozens of needle-like tendrils burst toward my face! I however, finally forced my left foot up between us, and shoved her the fuck away –
The smoke that consumed the entire sky then cleared as the flames of hell itself then broke through! All that was above was one endless mass of explosions, as if the very surface of sun was suddenly only a mile above the loch –
Amelia's disfigured body crawled away as I moved after it. Watching that thick worm retreat back within her orifice, I grabbed her waist and threw her into a wall! She fell upon the floor where I then broke off both her legs at the knees with my bare hands! Her flesh seemed to be made of boiled pumpkin, and soon her limbless body twisted on the bed beneath her then weeping face –
The goat was vomiting upon my chest, as that devil boy continued to eat my right arm, then having it elbow-deep down his swollen throat. That demonic whore however, pressed both her hands against my skull with enough fucking pressure to crack it and slowly grind the splintered bone! The blood in my eyes was all I could see from then on –
Back on Amelia's bed, I punched at her carcass, and her head reacting as if it was still attached. Then, as I plunged my fingers right into her dripping asshole, the French accent of her human voice returned and she begging for me to stop! But I drove on through. Pushing inwards, I got fingers from both my hands into her ass. I wanted what she'd hidden within –
I could feel that relentless fucking whore on my back pick at the bone fragments in my head as she exposed my repugnant fucking brains. Snapping off shards of my skull, she then used those razor-like slithers to stab into my own fucking gray matter! The heat from the sheer volume of flames above scorched everything down there beneath them. Burning the mountains, the beasts, and myself. Yet still somehow, I was completely conscious of everything going on around me –
Locking my hands in place within Amelia's rectum, I arched my back and split her fucking carcass in two! Ripping those human remains apart where I knelt, she broke open down her spine like I was stripping the husk off a fucking coconut. Her bloodless figure tore unevenly down to her lungs, and there that vile worm was spilled upon the bed. It was still trapped inside her entrails and whipped about savagely. The moment I ripped her bowels open, Amelia screamed like never before as the shit from her own sewer soaked my palms. And I splashed her dysentery across my face, washing myself in all of her fucking impurities, until I realized I had suddenly submerged completely within her –
It was a null void, cold and suffocating. I was free-floating in absolute effluence. Yet I opened my eyes in that murmuring disgust, and saw a haze. There was no direction here. No up or down. It was a space without space. Nonexistent shit condensed and crushing me under the pressure of a gravitational force coming from every angle inside and out. And yet I saw a glimmer through all that smothering darkness. The shimmering idea of a possibility. That I wasn't alone. Of all those I had ever loved, it was this unforeseen face that came to me here. The face of the new. And then I realized where I was. I was drowning in the loch. This was all there was: the devils, the damned, and the dead. An infinite abyss consisting of countless atrocities. The very fluid itself that I was trapped in was alive. A ubiquitously mutating substance that devoured itself from all dimensions at once. I was both the water and the one drowning in it. I could see myself from outside while at the same time I also felt the agony tearing down into my corrupted windpipe. The water was dissolving my very meat, while simultaneously rejuvenating my molecules just so they could be torn asunder once again. Eternal self-resurrecting immolation. But then that shimmer glistened off my naked flesh and I immediately understood what had it disclosed unto me: that darkness had merely created light for its perverse amusement! From one hell to another, I was just here as the conduit to give form to the deformed and formless. And there was so much more yet to sully. So I swam upward. Swam toward the light of defilement. Swam toward a reason to live –
I stood back, looking at Amelia's brutalized body on her bed. She finally lay motionless, spread-eagle with her limbs detached and head removed. Instead of blood, her skin was smeared in her own feces as if I had painted every inch of her with my own tongue. This was that pinnacle fucking moment of the sacrifice that I'd always been seeking to create, destroy, and utterly fucking desecrate –
Then I looked aside, past the edge of that Holy Mountain Of Pigs and saw rain clouds gently fade over the southern end of the loch. All was quiet and the night was settling in quickly. I needed to leave immediately if I was ever going to make it back to the hotel alive –
"Can't sleep?" a voice softly spoke from behind. I glanced up at that young Arabian-horse of an Iranian woman leaning against the door frame in a huge woolen jersey.
"Not tonight," I replied, turning my head back to the rain upon the window.
"Were we too loud for you?" she asked, as she eased into the lounge and sat upon another sofa. I had no interest in being the sympathetic ear to this chick's domestic drama, that was, until she said, "Why do we do these things to each other?"
Glaring at her gorgeous lips in the reflection of the window, I replied, "We do these things 'cause they're uncomfortable. We hurt the ones we love in order to better ourselves by expanding our borders. We're constantly in need of gaining new territory or else we stagnant. Only through conflict can we create anything."
That exquisite female stood after a few moments and stepped up behind me. Leaning down next to my head, she then whispered into my left ear, "From the water you were born. To the water you shall return."
She kissed me on the forehead and then pointed out the window to a distant light burning on top of the mountain, but I however, only stared at the tattooed hieroglyphs upon the palm of her hand.
"You know exactly what must be done," she said, crouching behind my sofa, and then held out in front of me a golden dagger that had a slender wavy blade – only to gently stab the center of her left palm till blood coated it. Pulling my shirt off, she then pushed me forward until she pressed her hand flat against the center of the big pentagram tattoo in the middle of my back. The fire on the mountain top instantly vanished, and then that woman walked out. Marching silently back upstairs, she stared at me with murderous eyes before she was gone. I sat topless for a while as I felt the blood on my spine gradually dry. Pulling out my phone, I then text Mara and told her that I'd be returning to Berlin. Her excitement at my statement was only matched by my solidarity about what had to be done. This wasn't over yet, I still had to survive facing my own worst nightmare.
-
A few hours later, when I left the hotel, there were several aluminum shafts protruding from the zipper of my laptop bag that was slung over my left shoulder. It was the morning of the 18th of December. The rain had thinned to nearly nothing, and the sun was approaching but you wouldn't have thought so. With damp shoes and bruised feet, I headed down the road toward those two stone pillars at the entrance to that private driveway. It was pitch black with a chilly breeze, but it still wasn't even close to how freezing that Christ-awful Berlin wind could get the moment you turned the wrong fucking corner. It was a very different kind of cold here, familiar, just like that road that led me without effort through the darkness and straight down toward the loch. It looked as if it could have been midnight, but the first birds soon began to mutter throughout the woods as I followed that narrow path to the left and around the water's edge. There were several small motor boats tied up at the mouth of the river, but they weren't what I was after. The loch lay to my right, a pond to my left, as I quietly walked away from the river and toward that tiny fisherman's shack sitting next to a stone table. This was one of the spots where I'd befouled The Holy Bible last year. Beyond, lay a section of the shoreline that had a stone barrier protecting a small marina from the bigger waves. Only two rowboats were moored there, just as I had anticipated. I stood for a little while facing the loch as I inhaled the morning air, and again I recalled Abra-Melin the Mage, "And we should take the greatest care, and keep ourselves as we would from a deadly poison, from commencing this Operation at all, if we have not made a firm resolution to carry it through to the end." It was strange how I didn't feel any sense of impending doom despite my plans. Everything was so well organized. I'd been preparing for this occasion for over a year now, and I was impressed by how precisely executed I had performed every single task. No detail had been taken for granted. I even had backup routes to every aspect of this morning, but so far it was as if the universe was steering me toward the inevitable once again. We little men like to claim our dominance over the bigger picture, but just because I could witness greater forces at work, didn't mean those fundamental elements were aligned just for me, rather the other way around. The illusion of free-will empowers the ego to assume its own importance as having control over our direction, but objectively, I was merely a piece of shit swirling down the flushing toilet of what would have always happened regardless of my presence in this current present tense. Why fear the preordained? So I opened my bag and grabbed my hammer and a tiny flashlight. After I'd smashed the lock securing that chain-link anchor to the shore, I pulled out my collapsible canoe paddles. Extending them into two individual ores, I pushed the rowboat off from the shore and began rowing quietly away from dry land. That sound of gentle water lapping against the hull of a boat had always been soothing, and I glanced over my shoulder, guiding the bow away from the shallow stone barriers and toward the first light of day. A meek blueish glow that bled above the ridge on the east-side of the loch that I headed straight toward. The further out I went the larger that murky body of water became. The opposite shore grew no closer, but the marina that I'd left soon disappeared into that mass of ebony indifference. The breeze was firm and the waves became rather choppy though nothing that that sturdy little boat couldn't handle. Once I was a decent distance out, I stopped and scanned to my right, away to the north. Then to my left, to the south. Both ends of the loch appeared identical, thinning out toward the horizon. My only guide was the morning star, and so I continued across that vast expanse of death beneath me. Perhaps now was a fair enough time to disclose my inability to swim and my innate childhood dread of being alone on the open water. Yet still, my pulse had only been raised from the effort needed to row this trial of my own making. This was right where I was meant to be. And soon, for no conscious reason, I stopped rowing and pulled in the ores. With the morning light to my back, I began my blasphemous oration. Seriously, you didn't think I came all the way out here just to appease mythical promises of atonement. I only came to commit atrocious sacrilege! How many gods of war can I offend under one crescent moon?
!
-
It took me nearly an hour to conclude my obscene rite out there in the middle of the loch. My repudiation toward the light was my only resilience against cold as I sat naked. I then knelt at the aft of the rowboat and stared down into the obsidian water, through my reflection, and at a sunken fault-line some seven-hundred-feet below. Reaching in, I splashed my face with the water, before I continued to wash my whole body while reciting my hateful incantations. That cocktail of animal blood that I'd used to paint the names of demons upon my skin streaked down my pale body and dripped into the loch. Get the scent in the air and let it sink into the depth below. When one conjures that which one hides from even oneself, one must expect the worst. I can't say what exactly grabbed my arm and pulled me into the water, but I'm pretty sure it was me – the me who'd swam toward the light of defilement –
Spinning, I twisted through all that brown to black water. You know, they aren't fucking kidding when they say falling into frozen water is like being stabbed with a hundred knives all at once. That shit put steam in a man's stride. I had no fucking idea which way was what, but when that thing wrapped itself about my throat, at least it stopped me from twisting in that death-spiral. Instead it choked me like a rag doll, until my own fingers dug into that tense flesh all the way to my fucking knuckles. As I ripped that noose from my neck, I caught a glimpse of it against the light shimmering through the water above. It was that same arm-length worm that had crawled out of Amelia's asshole during my visions. Then suddenly, as I clung to that bleeding creature, something much, much larger swam past. It was impossible to see what it was, though all I really cared about at that point was getting some fucking oxygen. Yet then that shadow moved above and I was lost in total fucking darkness. There was no silhouette of the rowboat or any motherfucking thing anymore. It was as if I had been simply swallowed whole by whatever the fuck I'd finally fucking offended with my profane contempt –
Once more I was back in Amelia's apartment. I knelt over her obliterated carcass spread-eagle, and I slowly reached inside that stench of her gore. Her pelvis was split in two, and I pulled open the stringy membranes that covered her uterus. Glaring at that annihilated corpse that had once be a twenty-year-old girl, I asked myself what the fuck was I doing? Seriously, what the fuck was I really going to do now? Stay here and rot with this fucking corpse; or back out and leave the way I'd come so that I could pretend that none of this had ever happened; or was I going to fucking follow-through with what I truly fucking wanted? But there was nothing other there, nothing back the way I'd come, and nothing further ahead. It was an all-saturating waste of fucking time. What the fuck was wrong with me? I'd given up everything, so what the fuck was left to achieve? I had my naked ass, and whatever the fuck I made of myself. No one else was here to condone or condemn my actions or even my inaction. It was all dependent on little old mister motherfucking me. I'd thrown out my material possession, severed ties with everyone I'd ever known, and gone to the point self-destruction in the name of this art of desecration just to seek knowledge from my Unholy Guardian Devil. But I could very literally sink away within those obsessions and no one would ever even find my insignificant flesh. Or perhaps this was what I needed in order to discover true gratitude from undeserved intimacy that I'd rejected for so long? Could I at last appreciate what little I actually had left? After all, when you're in complete desperation you have to face the hard choices alone, and ultimately you discover what you yourself fucking stand for. So I knelt in absolute isolation, looking down at that chunk of a uterus in my bare hands, and then took a great big fucking bite out of life! Swallowing that rancid meat with a delirious fascination, I instantly fucking choked –
I was drowning in the waters of the loch! Suddenly reaching upward, I grabbed onto an arm, I'm pretty sure it was my arm from the me who'd just been washing off the animal blood at the back of the boat. And the me who dragged himself out of that frigid water was no doubt the other me who'd crawled right through Amelia's butchery and swam through so much of her fucking shit in order to face that which I'd always fucking been. It felt like I was on fire when I sat back on the boat, and I grinned with indignant self-righteousness as I looked toward that pallid sky above the distant ridge. The steep cliffs of black then began to groan. Spitting, I caught my breath and watched as two golden cracks appeared in the huge rocks on the eastern bank. A light came streaming out from within as the fractures in the cliff stretched up and toward each other. The point where those two massive cracks joined was directly below the rising sun, and within that enormous 'A' shaped triangle, the space opened up with a view into a place where devils ruled with impunity! I sat staring through that passageway as that sight affected more than just my retina... And I shall speak to no one of what I saw within...
Rowing naked back to that empty little marina, I watched as the sky gradually lit up and that giant passageway faded from recognition. I wasn't even slightly cold by the time I secured the anchor back to the iron stake on the shoreline where I'd stolen it from. Casually dressing, I was transfixed by that surreptitious water with all its arcane secrets. It seemed like a miracle that this fucking place had even allowed me to leave after what I'd just beheld. But then again, I wondered if that passageway had even noticed that I was there at all, just like I pay no attention to the minute demodex that thrive upon my eyelashes.
Walking back up the private driveway, I watched a white pickup truck then headed toward me. Some uptight motherfucking caretaker behind the wheel started bitching about something. I ignored his unimportant little face and walked away from his rotten meat with a look of disgust on my majesty. I have had both of my blind fucking eyes replaced with the very burning coals that fuel the abysmal fucking pits of Hades! The melodrama and suffering of men is to be laughed at like the menial peasants they all fucking make of themselves!
-
Shortly, I took a scolding hot shower, ordered a fresh pot of Earl Grey, and then I grabbed my bag and left the hotel again, this time heading to the south-side of the river. Mist had settled about the mountain tops as I marched around the highway focused on completing one final ritual. As I crossed the stone bridge, I slowed and found the water below swirling in strange patterns, enticing me closer. But I continued marching around the highway, and then down that overgrown path under the overcast sky, back toward the loch.

Suddenly I turned right, left the trail, and climbed down an embankment. There was something calling me down there. The shoreline was littered with the bones of dead animals that spoke through the trees. This was an ideal altar. I opened my bag and removed a freshly written Spell, along with a compass and square. Taking my other magnetic compass, I found east and aligned the sheet of paper below the two tools upon a flat slab of stone, and then I grabbed a dear skull and forced it to bear witness.

Holding up the photographs of those past eight reigning females in my life, I then proceeded to burn them systematically while recalling deeds I'd done deliberately out of malice to each and every one of them. Dropping the ashes into the water, I saw their pretty faces smolder away as I stared across the loch at that place where the gateway had shown itself to me.

The bondage rope that I'd tied myself with during the rituals upon the rowboat, was then thrown out in the water, discarding that which I had restrained myself with.

I screwed the ores together into one long paddle which I then cast away, expelling the fear which I had faced.

Again I knelt and baptized myself with that cold water. Cleansing my past indiscretions to make room for greater malignity. It was hushed out there on the water's edge. There was no interference from visions or devils, there was just the lulled waves at my feet, and that gentle voice questioning how I'd proceed from this point onward?

Making my way around the shore, I came to the end of that peninsular at the mouth of the river, but I turned and looked back at where I'd just left that final little Spell at the base of the mountain. It seemed that I was still very much alive despite every fate that I'd tempted.

Listening to, Lateralus, from Tool, I considered how suited that song was for the situation. "And following our will and wind we may just go where no one's been.
We'll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one's been. Spiral out. Keep going."
But again, as I stood there, I felt the water calling me stronger than ever. I couldn't turn my head away from the surface of the loch, like something invisible had its vicious hands upon my skull and was pulling me in.

Suddenly, I thought of that bloody handprint on my spine, and I spun away from the water and marched up the hillside. No sooner than I was amongst the woods, I saw those blackened figures standing within the tree-line. They were just standing, lingering, watching. They'll never leave me alone.

I pulled out my phone and text Mara. I'd promised her that if she heard from me before midday on the 18th, then she would see me again. She answered by needing a self-evident selfie for proof of my condition. But these photos are so inadequate at depicting the experience. No one else saw what I'd done in those fucking woods or under all that delicious fucking water. 'Cause none of you were fucking there for me!

-
I was sipping on a cup of tea when that Iranian couple came downstairs to checkout. The woman looked dumbstruck when she spotted me glaring straight back at her in silence. Her husband however, continued outside with the suitcases as she quietly opened the lounge door.
"You're supposed to be dead," she whispered with terror behind her breath.
"Well, you know what they say," I coined,"you can't keep a good horse down."
"This is so fucking wrong," she insisted, backing out and shaking her head all the way.
I watched her standing with crossed arms in the parking lot, while the events from the last twenty-four hours raged through my head, but then I thought of my current two options at hand: head to France and take up Amelia on her offer to take her up the ass. Or head back to Berlin and the one who'd been there when I needed someone the most. Listening to, Down There By The Train, from Tom Waits, I was then without one doubt: Mara was all I needed. "I've never asked forgiveness and I've never said a prayer. I've never given of myself and I've never truly cared. And I've hurt the ones who loved me and I'm still raising Cain. I've taken the low road and if you've done the same,
meet me down there by the train, down there where the train goes slow."

EPILOGUE

On the 23rd of December, I stepped foot back in my old apartment in Berlin. There on the desk was another square and compass lying upon my would-be suicide note. Mara told me she had already read it on the morning of my departure, and said she wanted to burn it.

If all things were equal then what the fuck was I doing back here? I'm supposed to be dead, but fate has other plans aligned for my true-will. Mara then strongly urged me to seek professional therapy about the things I see in my head. But these visions tell me otherwise, I cannot kill that which I am fucking indivisible from.

Bruce

© 2015 BRUCE STIRLING JOHN KNOX