Calcium deposit. That’s what the doctor told me. She said the lump on the right side of my abdomen was nothing to worry about. She said it isn’t anything to worry about. She said it is normal. Well, I don’t believe her. It’s getting harder to walk, and harder to sleep, and harder to sit— it feels like it’s growing, moving. And now I have these thoughts that aren’t mine. It’s as if somebody is thinking for me, or competing for thought space, if that makes sense. It doesn’t. It doesn’t make any sense. I need to stop thinking so much. I always dream up the worst possible scenarios: parasite, cancer, death. Damn these irrationalities of mine.
My day is over. I’m going home, and when I get home, I take my clothes off. All the dirty clothes. I strip down. I leave them on the floor of my closet.
I’m in my bedroom. I live alone in a small apartment, in a small town called Griffith. The town is rumored to be named after a demon king.
I’m in my bedroom. The air that has been keeping my place cool during these hot summer days just turned off, and now I’m focusing on the silence. I hear my every step. STEP. STEP. STEP. Across the room. I hear the tenants above me as they STEP, STEP. I wonder what it is they’re doing upstairs. Maybe they’re listening to me as I move around the room.
I’m in my bedroom, searching my dresser for a pair of athletic shorts and a tank-top. I find them and put them on, and I STEP, STEP, STEP over to my light-switch, turning it from the ‘on’ position to the ‘off’ position.
I’m in a dark room. I can no longer tell it’s my bedroom. I can’t see the beige carpet, though I feel it brushing against my toes. I can’t see the empty, eggshell-colored walls. I can’t see my old, wooden desk. I can’t see my nightstand, or my closet, or my dresser. So I cautiously wander in the direction of where I know my bed to be, reaching out with my hands, hoping to find it with ease, and my fingers do eventually graze the edge of my comforter. I’m comforted. My bed is still where it always is. This is still my bedroom.
I’m following the contour of my sheets and locate my pillow, where I then rest my head upon it, laying down as a slight shock surges through my body from the cool temperature of a bed that’s been in a dormant, air conditioned home for the past 9 hours.
My eyes can’t adjust in this darkness. The one window across the room to my left has a curtain draped over it that doesn’t let in light. I’m looking straight ahead at the ceiling, at where the ceiling ought to be, and my mind is showered with images from the day— a skateboard with red wheels, a green table, purple benches, black strollers, and a yellow bicycle. I think of a young man attempting to proselytize me as I sit and read a book, in peace, at a park.
“Do you have any pain in your hand?” he asks.
“No.” I say.
“No?” he says, now unsure of himself. “You don’t have any pain in your body at all?”
“Nope.” I say, thinking of the calcium deposit in my side.
“Have a nice day. Jesus loves you.” he says.
And I’m left there wondering what this young man is thinking as he walks away. Does he feel accomplished? Did this interaction serve to strengthen his faith? Will he realize I see his evangelistic methods as agenda-ridden? How will he ever know he’s pushed me further from faith unless I say something?
So as he is walking away, I call out to him. He turns to face me. And his face looks different, his face is blurred.
Whatever I was going to say has now left my mind. I’m trying to see his face, and I think I hear him talking to me. It’s muffled. His voice is barely perceptible, but I know he’s trying to ask me more questions, and before long he disappears— the ground is breaking beneath my feet. I’m falling.
I’m falling in darkness. I’m cold, spinning out of control. I hit the ground, unable to breathe. It’s hard. The ground is hard, jagged, and I’m unable to do anything but look straight ahead as I lay in the dark. I feel like I’m in my room, but I’m not. My gaze is fixed on the ceiling in a room that’s dimly lit.
I see the shape of a body pressing towards me as if the ceiling were made of elastic. And then I see it: a demon forms above me. It’s body is bloody-red, and it’s eyes as white as snow.
“It’s time.” it says.
And out of the right side of my abdomen rips forth a set of claws.
I scream. I flail. The demon smiles.
I wake. I run to my light-switch- STEP, STEP, STEP— and flip it ‘on’. I look about my room. Everything is fine. Everything is fine. I grab at my side, and the calcium deposit is gone.
©Alchemy & Elegy 2020