What was the song? In a raintown rain falls down, or something like this. Never heard it then, but now, after everything is over someone told me that there really was a song about this unreal city.
There were so many loose ends – and the most important, most urgent question still not answered. Why? Their dark father still at large, perhaps hiding somewhere in the Highlands, perhaps he even had found the promenade after tuning up the broken ocean of glass in some lost and forgotten village.
And Brent – was he really dead as all, who could escape the massacre at the villa said? Where were the others, the fucked-up freaks? And still the most troubling thought, what if this is also not real? What if everything of this is just the creation of somebody from another universe. What if there is no end, just an eternal chain of nested universes? But you will never answer this question – you can only believe that there is some answer or experience it.
Some of the freaks had told that they had wandered as spirits after returning from RainTown, seeking their RealTime bodies – and the similarities to Ethereals were far too strong. What if I can leave my body and pass into another universe, lodging myself within somebody else, whispering in his mind, becoming his secret friend? Will I then be what Tide was?
Crantham showed that this universe can be altered, but when this is real how can this be altered, unless this universe, too, is just an illusion. The definition of reality, after all, is that it is unalterable because it is the source. Because it is.
“Thinking about tuning?”
I swirl around only to find the room empty, the windows dirty, rain streaming perpetually against the panes, a few books lying scattered on the couch and on the floor in front. The low table littered with used plates, crusted with dried food, used glasses, emptied cans of beer and two empty bottles of Talisker, a half empty bottle of Glenmorangie standing on the floor besides the table.
Why must I live through all of this only to end up alone and insane, hearing voices, in a dirty rat-hole in Scotland?
“Are you insane?”
“Yes, quite”, whispering the answer, smirking, “after all I’m speaking to a voice inside my head. I’d say that makes me at least a bit weird if not schizophrenic.”
“What do you want?”
“What I want? To help you. To help the man I love, of course.”
I begin to laugh.
“Why are you laughing?”
But I laugh only louder. What an irony: to desperately cling to sanity in an unreality only to loose it in reality, speaking to the woman I dreamt up in the unreality. The woman I longed for so long and the woman I created to love me at least in my dreams. And now she speaks to me. If the others are as fucked-up as I am?
“You are unsure, of course – after all that you have seen, but please let me help you.”
“Help me? With what?”
“I don’t need to understand. I know everything.”
“But some seconds ago, you had so many questions. Let me answer some of them.”
I hesitate. “Like?”
“That this is not real. That you are real and that I am unreal.”
“Spare me. My dreams were full of this reality shit and now you want to tell me that it’s not over?”
She is silent for a moment. “Remember. Remember Brent and Tide. Tide was not original – Brent created it and thus he made it real.”
“Are you telling me that I am not insane, because I hear the voice of somebody I made up in my mind? That’s bullshit.”
“But what’s the alternative?”
“The truth. That I was comitted in an insane asylum and escaped with the other inmates who could free themselves after suffering from a group psychosis or some weird hallucination. And do you know why this is the probable answer? Because in that hallucination we acted out our inferiority complex by making us gods in our illusion. Hey look, I could dream up an entire universe and I could do anything I wanted. I had power. And in the end I even used my power here.”
She is silent. “That’s part of the problem. Can’t you see?”
“No. I woke up. Right now, I have perhaps the first clear moment for years. And you made me see clear. I must thank you for this – hey, perhaps all of this is just my mind giving me a last escape.”
“You want proof.”
“No, fuck. I don’t want proof. I want a life.”
I feel a crawling sensation around my neck. “Then wake up. You are still dreaming. Can you feel this?”
Something tickling on my cheek. “I just kissed you. You don’t remember me, but I cared for you while you dreamt. And I loved you from the moment you were comitted to the institute. And you love me. So, please, wake up.”
“What are you telling me?”
“My name is Alice. I am a nurse.”
“You are inside a last illusion of Crantham’s. His last defense should his plan fail and all of you find your way back to RainTown. This is a trap. He created another universe between RainTown and RealTime. The universe you are in right now. He determined that your little fight at his villa would be successful in this reality, so that you think that you are free now, but instead you are still captured.”
“This is bullshit. If he is afraid of us, why doesn’t he pull the plugs?”
“Because he learns from your dreams. He studies you and perfects his art. Please, ” her voice begging, “please wake up. I cannot stand it any longer to see you waste away. Help me. Help yourself. And help the others.”
“What … what can I do?”
“Create me. Show me your dream. Make me real.”
“I can lead you to the exit. I know where it is. And it is faster if I am inside your dream. Someone might see me here, whispering into your ear and he might get suspicious.”
“Okay, but how?”
“Trust your feelings.”
Okay, if this is not real, then I am not here. Nothing is here and I am still dreaming. Nothing – is – here. Nothing, but you.
A sensation at my cheek. “Pull me through. Take my hand.”
She strokes me on the other side, but here she is outside, her hair long and red and her body slim, completely drenched in rain she is running up the street from the harbour below, carrying a paper bag with cheese and bread she bought at the supermarket. And soon she will open the door and say–
“Thank you,” the voice directly next to me, familiar in its low whisper.
I turn around and face Deception, Shard Angel and lover of Bitterness, its face distorted, pale and glistening, the snout opening, inhaling air, its feline eyes glistening in yellow, the arms a twisted mass of muscle, the wings torn. A far cry from the seductive woman I knew in the World of Progress, the woman who wanted to seduce me to the other side.
“Aw, come on, accept it. You lost this game.”
I jump to my feet and across the table, grab for a whisky bottle and shatter it on the table. “Don’t come closer.”
It’s face changes, takes the shape of the woman she was on Mort. “Oh, please. You don’t want to hurt me.”
Silently she begins to laugh. “You can’t shake it away. I am here. I am real.”
I stop shaking my head, and she is still there, her naked body glistening with pearls of sweat, her breasts heaving with her heavy breath, her eyes half-closed, lids heavy, her mouth opened, the tip of her tongue toying with her upper teeth.
“Come to me,” her voice a seductive purr I cannot resist.
Her warm breath against my cheek, I feel the motion of her hips, but before I can even touch her leg, she grabs both my shoulders and pulls me towards her, closing her mouth with my lips. Our tongues meet with an electrifying sensation but suddenly there is salty, mouldy slime everywhere, her muscles tighten and I feel her legs transforming into her true form and she laughs while she presses me deeper against her, contracting her muscles. And then there is the sea and I can breathe and everywhere is slime and she is sitting next to me, her claw stroking my hair, her nails scratching the skin of my head.
I can only stammer.
“What happened, you ask? Oh, my poor, disturbed love. This is not a dream, I am afraid. This is real. And I will kill you.”
“Ah, you were such a bright boy there and here you are a wreck. You opened the gate for me. You gave me a shape here, a shape to corrupt.”
“What do you want?”
She laughs and then I hear the voice inside my head, her voice, her commanding voice and I no longer feel my arm, only a dead weight at my side and then there is pain in my throat and I see blood splattering the table, flowing down my chest, streaming over the couch. And I feel it rushing out of my slashed throat.
“Poor boy, you should not play with glass. But if it’s any consolation to you, you won’t be the last. You destroyed my love and so I will destroy you.”
Everything begins to fade, colours dimming, distances blurring.
“You can’t do this … you are not real …”
Pity in her deep eyes, she looks down on me, “If you knew who we are, you would have killed yourself earlier. The circle never stops and there is no beginning and no end, only layer upon layer. You should be glad, now. After all, I just answered your most urgent question.”
I want to speak, but there is only liquid in my mouth.
“Tide came from another universe. As did I. Originally. Most were dreamt up by the Walker, but some were there before. We travel through the realities, looking.”
I want to ask her for what, but everything dims, her voice silenced by the fall of night. I should have seen it, the inconsistencies in her lies. Why there were others like me in this assumed trap, why she said her name was Alice, why–
Suddenly the chill breath of november Highlands.
I don’t want to die.
This is not real.
And I open my eyes, lids heavy like iron bars and pain in my throat and I look at the broken bottle in my hand and all the blood on my shirt and she is not there and while the blood streams out of my slashed throat I begin to realize that there was never anybody else besides myself in that room, only a voice in my head, an urge in my mind and a bottle in my hand.
What a fucking way to die.
© 1999 by dnotice.de