SHE THAT IS I

 

(A Romantic Horror Story)

 

 

Happy ending is she isn’t dead yet. Nor I. Yet. There is a death. Deaths. Death-in-life not merely a metaphorical expression. There is a ghost, ghosts. The living-dead not just some fanciful notion. And yes, there is a hell, hells. Waking nightmares more than a form of words.

You have been warned: this is horror story.

Why tell and how?

Truth to tell has to be told. No telling how.

Recollected in tranquility?

Understand this much: there are shards of glass, the pane shattered. Handle with care.

It is an everyday story: of suicide, incest, sex, schizophrenia, heroin, AIDS, and somewhere in there in the darkness I-love-you-words amid the shivers....

I put on an old tape, one we used to listen to, dance to. Listen, it begins to play:

‘This is the End.... my only friend.... the End.... beautiful friend.... I’ll never look into your eyes again.... and all the children are insane....’

Doors open. Come in, come into infernal trauma, come in, come in. Abandon hope all ye that enter.

Call her by initial ‘I’ for anonymity’s sake and there but for grace.

It is an everyday story of a man and a woman.

At first sight she on steps busking looks Peruvian in hat singing playing guitar. I give no coin but go back that way for second sight. No vision of future together.

Week later see her in pub amid the crowd. I say famous first words ‘hello’, ‘I saw you busking’ et cetera , she tells me she is born in Scotland not Peru.

But she is Indian Princess golden-skinned. No way not to fall in love with India and golden skin. In love with birth in Scotland and Peruvian hat singing playing guitar on steps in summer sunlight. After minutes she says first farewell, leaves, runs off. I leave to follow but she is gone.

Then later soon listening to music in another pub suddenly she is standing next to me. Talk words and pints strong-in-alcohol and look into eyes at nightingale time one half in love with easeful alcohol sees another and one thing leads to another and she’s coming home with me tho I don’t know her from Eve.

I half in love have met her and in each others’ eyes we see half in love with death.

Indian Princess in bed golden skin between sheets I say I-love-you-words we fuck and join two halves in love with death and she begins to tell.

Know then it is love-to-death.

All of a summer night new dawn rising shining in golden skin and eyes dazzle. How can I see the weals-of-scars on wrist, see anything but golden skin?

She stays. We walk in summer sunlight, holding hands. And we are in the room, standing fully-dressed, and I and ‘I’ merging in and out of one another, my arms melting into her body, snake coils of legs intertwined and we are moving round the room dissolving in and out of each other on the floor against the wall floating up to the ceiling going round and round and in and out. I don’t know what’s happening. It’s not drugs. I haven’t taken any. Must be magic of some kind. Inexplicable magic.

This is how I know we are one down to the bone. Why I call her Indian Princess my ever Queen of Space. Why she calls me her eternal King of Stars.

Indian Princess drinks pints of snakebite strong-in-alcohol. We drink and fuck. As if there is no tomorrow. Then born in Scotland drinks whisky strong-in-alcohol again. I do too. Want to be in same space as her.

I think we drink strong-in-alcohol because of summer sunlight and to celebrate we are in love and everything perfect. One half in love with easeful has found other half. Story could end there but continues.

She sings to me with nightingale voice songs from old tapes and her own. In summer sunlight there are shadows. She shows a bottle of little blue tablets the Doctor gave.

Little blue tablets are scattered over the floor. She picks up a handful and washes down with whisky strong-in-alcohol. I take a few too because I think I’m one with her. Want to be in same space.

Put on another tape. Turn up the music. She says ‘music is my life.’

Between her lips she takes me into her mouth I come like Milky Way in black space inside her head.

It is an everyday story of desire and passion.

After handful-of-blues and pints strong-in-alcohol in pub called ‘Blues Basement’ out-of-bound back room amid junk empty bottles lying on floor we fuck past caring.

Understand this much: fuck with Indian Princess is worship at temple of Venus, joining two halves, Heaven and Earth.

Golden skin late-at-night I-love-you-words and she ‘I do love you.’

Out busking again, I with her, on steps down to station, she sings plays guitar nightingale songs from old tapes. Starts one, breaks off, starts another, never finishes, cuts short, but collects coins from passers-by in summer sunlight shadows.

When enough coins, we descend steps to station bar and drink strong-in-alcohol. There is an accident. Her guitar falls or is pushed. The neck breaks. It hurts. Music is her life. I say it can be mended.

A handful-of-blues and strong-in-alcohol helps to forget.

Indian Princess has lots of clothes. We spend hours dressing up, trying different combinations. I try on some of her clothes and they fit. Naked, between costume changes, we fuck. Our bodies fit each other.

She puts make-up on my eyes, I on hers, kohl-black lines on the lids. I, afraid. Eyes are vulnerable. Trust is necessary. She wears thick make-up. Make-up is protective face-mask, death-pale but gold round eyes.

We fuck before we go to bars and parties, dressed-up, I in her clothes, both in eye make-up, we dance to old tapes with handful-of-blues strong-in-alcohol and after we fuck.

We’re on wild spree, endless bender, burning candle both ends, living dangerously as if no tomorrow. Voice inside says we can’t go on like this we’ll die. I feel half-dead already. We live late-at-night in dark and artificial bright lights. Sleep late next day more of same to continue. Summer sunlight shadows. Doesn’t talk much to others. I do the talking. Late-at-night talks a little to me and begins to tell....

Story comes out slowly in fragments, shards of glass. Piece together into pain. Handle with care.

She shows weals-of-scars on wrist. Think that’s past not to repeat. Old cuts have healed. Don’t probe. Says she has something terrible has to be told. She tells me smack. But that’s past. Now only a handful-of-blues.

Guitar has been mended. Something else has broken.

Everyday story of penetration and withdrawal. Truth to tell has to be told. You have been warned. Understand this much: blood runs thru this, blood-in-syringe, blood dripping from wrist, blood down walls, blood on carpet, blood on sheets, bloody mess flushed down toilet. Blood spills out like an action painting. That still to come. Early days yet.

Last handful-of-blues is gone. When in pain, take pain-killers. Dissolve 50 codeine in hot water, strain thru black tights for morphine content. Drink stained-black liquid, sink Lethe-wards, turn into living-dead and sleep a day. She tells me not the first time. Says not as good as smack. She repeats ‘I’m stuck’. Homage to catatonia.

She goes to Doctor’s. Doctor gives prescription. Summer sunlight gone, shadows remain, in autumn haze we go holding hands to chemist’s for blues. I take no more but need strong-in-alcohol to steady nerves. She needs both. She says handful-of-blues and strong-in-alcohol not as good as smack.

Something terrible to tell. Has to be told. She tells me prostitution. In sauna hot men sugar-daddies come with money. Must wear condom and no kissing. No I-love-you-words. Money buys smack.

And scenes in bars, one after another, the same. Pints strong-in-alcohol, one after another, the same. ‘I’ running away, I following, one after another, the same.

She not all there. In my room is on-another-planet.

She comes and goes now. We phone and meet. She doesn’t like to make arrangements. ‘I’ phoning now. Background noise. She’s phoning from a pub. Would I like to come and meet her?

I do. Hours later we are back in this room. She is wearing lots of layers. She pulls up her sleeve to reveal what has been there for hours.

Cut wrist dripping blood on carpet red wine stains. Bleeding, she giggles. I, ‘Quick, the bathroom’, leading her by other wrist, bathe wound under running tap, torrents of watered-down wine. Cut.

First cut is the deepest. Old tape.

She runs off bleeding into the night, I try to catch her but fail.

Some scenes have to be cut.

Cut under plaster heals to form weal-of-scar.

Light on light off. She switches. On off. And again on. She switches. I say stop but she switches. On and off.

Indian Princess born Scotland. Hong Kong as kid. Age 6. Hong Kong girl tells childhood. Little wild monkeys there on the balcony. What happened in Hong Kong? Something terrible. Daddy did something he shouldn’t have in Hong Kong. It hurt hurt-child. Everyday-story. Smacked girl a handful.

Chinese whispers distort messages in her mind.

Hurt-child has ghosts in her past. She is mixed up & cut. Truth to tell no telling has to be told. Daddy raped her. Penetration and withdrawal.

She shows me little ballerina photo in tutu before hurt-child. Giggling party girl 16 she shows me long hair photo before smack before living dead. Even after smack is still Indian Princess. Am I raj?

Give coins I turn into hot sugar-daddy. Condom comes off in her hand past caring we kiss in fertile time. I King of Stars come like Milky Way in black Queen of Space. She ‘I do love you.’

There are snakes in the carpet. Look. I see none. I think snakes are hallucinations. I think look at white radiance behind life’s many-coloured glass stains.

Pints of snakebite strong-in-alcohol.

Comes at me with kitchen knife, hatred in eyes. Not pretend. Defend myself to save my life and make her drop it. Get her wrist, the weals-of-scars. Her feet kick. Fingernails claw. Blood flows.

Snake eyes dagger into heart twisting jagged glass. Venom speech from snake’s forked tongue. Gorgon scene. Turn to stone. Numb. Cease upon the midnight with no pain.

She is crazy mixed up mentally-wrong. Says something terrible. She has flushed her mother down the toilet. Truth to tell no telling.

She has moved into outside coal-shed. I not understanding need for withdrawal try to persuade her to come in my room. She says no. She in coal-shed black a spider amid the cobwebs. I hovering like moth am drawn to her give her blanket candle food. She sleeps in hidey-hole a week till wasps come. I tell her honey they sting.

I phone ‘I’s’ Doctor tell Doctor who I am and say worried about ‘I’ her bizarre speech and half-in-love with heroin-death. I say delusion incoherence aggression withdrawal catatonia might add up to schizophrenia-word. Doctor says there is nothing mentally-wrong. I think Doctor is ‘mentally-wrong’.

She is knocking head against wall. Real head real wall. To prove alive. Pain means life. So life means pain. Logic in the lunacy. Good to feel pain when numb no feelings. Pain makes numb feel good. But it’s all mixed up in mentally-wrong.

Smack kills pain. Smack is comfortably numb. Old tape.

She repeats ‘I’m dead’, she repeats ‘I’m stuck’, she repeats ‘I’m a spider, she repeats ‘I’m a snake’, et cetera. She repeats repeating patterns.

Late-at-night fist crashes thru pane window smashes in shower of shards shattered glass jagged daggers crystalline splinters strew carpet blood amid the shivers.

She is cut.

I cry salt tears in wound pain mind numb turned to stone at Gorgon scene.

She with scissors looking at her wrist the weals-of-scars. I with scissors now cutting this up. Cutting, cutting. Some scenes have to be cut. Sight of the gorgon words turn you to stone.

See, snakes again.

Her dead eyes. Eyes that stare at her. Will penetrate shameful guilt. So my eyes looking the other way. She, ‘don’t stare at me’. Burning cigarette jabbed at my face, the eyes.

And where is this month’s menstrual blood? Morning vomit and sore swelling mammy-glands telltale of womb-fruit ripening.

She touches. I am touched, say I-love-you-words.

AIDS test result. We go together on omnibus, the longest journey, holding hands to receive verdict. If positive, or either way, will love her to death. And after longest journey, longest wait for fatal verdict.

And another longest journey, longest wait for Pregnancy Test result. We go together holding hands. Either way, love-to-death.

Verdict: no virus but embryo.

No tears for years. Says she can’t cry. Grief-pain damned-up inside. Cut and let flow out with blood.

She drinks whisky strong-in-alcohol.

Out of dead eyes, first tears after spontaneous abortion.

This mess of blood and tears torn out of me, of her, our firstborn abortion flushed away. Heavy period.

Understand this much, She-that-is-I also called: Heavy-period, Heroin-death, Snake-poison, Hurt-child, Over-21, Free-to-die, Strong-in-alcohol, Handful-of-blues, Handle-with-care, I-love-you-words, Blood-in-syringe, Terminal-pain-killer, Lethe-wards, All-of-a-summer-night, Gorgon-scenes, Broken-glass, Mentally-wrong, On-another-planet, In-this-room, Old-tapes, As-if-no-tomorrow, Everyday-story, et cetera. Truth to tell, some things have to be cut, some mixed up, no telling.

Patterns are repeated like on a carpet. Understand this much: narrative line is chronological development towards disintegration incoherence chaos via cut-up chinese whispers in the mind.

Mind snakes real for mentally-wrong. On another planet real. Dead real.

Everyday story. Wants smack again. Asks in street. Old-friend junkies. None going so will go London get smack. I tell her smack is cut. I say not a good idea to go to London no money don’t go.

I say ‘I’, streets are not paved with gold in London. What will you do with nowhere to stay no money to spend? What I fear is prostitution and heroin-death. I say it’s madness to go to London. Fight then flight.

She goes to station, down the steps, I follow. She is on platform with bag of clothes overnight ticket to London no money seeking junkies for heroin-death.

Later she comes back. No smack she says.

With scissors she has cut hair. Did something terrible.

The shaved-head close-cropped skull deep sunken eyes in dark sockets looks like death. She in whisky strong-in-alcohol dead to world. LIfeless but still warm. I stone-cold-sober in cold blood drag her body to bed and lay it to rest. Pull down the black tights and penetrate. Move in and out. No expression on her death-mask face. No kiss of life works. She is wet and wetter wets herself unconscious I come. ‘Come in me’. Come into my fucking death. Abandon hope. I-love-you-words don’t penetrate death. Is necrophilia mentally-wrong? Cover her face. Mine eyes dazzle. She died young.

When she comes back from dead I say I-love-you-words and we fuck she says I-do-love-you.

Hypodermic in her hand, terminal pain-killer, her blood in syringe. To be in same space, I bare my arm, ready to turn into blood-brother-husband-daddy-son. So fucked in love with her in love with death I volunteer virgin vein to viper’s venom vampire. It hurts then is comfortably numb. Old tape. Then Lethe-wards. Turn into living-dead. Turn to stone. Over 21. Nothing mentally-wrong.

On-another-planet eyes stare into space. TV says Venus is dead planet Pluto dead planet. Space eyes stare at dead planet in this room.

Everyday suicide gorgon scenes of eyes no tears repeats ‘stuck’ in blood. Story She-that-is-I recollected in tranquility. Lethe-wards cease upon the midnight.

Dissolve 50 codes in hot water, strain thru frights for morpheme content.

Living-dead no feelings but pain or numb.

I speak to Social Worker, say I’m worried about ‘I’. Social Worker says hurt-child is over-21. Over-21 can choose heroin-death. Over-21 is free to die.

Doctor says over-21 is not hurt-child. Heroin-death is not schizophrenia-word. Repeat there is nothing mentally-wrong. What does schizophrenia-word mean? What do I-love-you-words mean? ‘I’ says ‘I’m going mad.’

Cut wrist, broken glass, cut wrist, broken glass, cigarette jab, cigarette jab. She is stuck in repeating patterns, repeating patterns of speech and behaviour, patterns repeating to death. ‘I’ repeats ‘I’m stuck’. We’ll play old tapes to death.

She, ‘I’, ‘music is my life’, sells guitar, sound system, old tapes for junk money, sings swan-song ‘dead soon.’

Hypodermic hangover vomit. She cleans up own vomit. I clean up blood. She’s clean takes bath after fuck. Clean uses clean needles. No dirty works. Puts on clean clothes after bath after fuck after blood and vomit.

Dirty works inject AIDS with smack. Prick penetration you feel nothing numb. Numb fixes bleach subcutaneously misses vein or dead. It burns. Good to feel pain when numb no feelings. Hurt-child mentally-wrong schizophrenia-word.?

She runs off bleeding into the night. She returns sometimes minutes, sometimes hours, sometimes days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months later no telling. She runs off bleeding. She returns bleeding. On & off. Switching the light. She appears and disappears appears and disappears. She disappears to seek her death. ‘Dead soon’. When reappears relief but dread what next no telling.

She-that-is-I is now missing person presumed living-dead ghost walking night amid mentally-wrong city rapists walking out in front of oncoming death-on-wheels. Over-21 is free to die.

When razor cuts again how soon singing playing guitar on steps in summer sunlight is long ago dead. Fled is that music. Nightingale songs silent. All of a summer night gone and ‘I do love you’ no more. No holding hands below the weals-of-scars. Memories ghosts. Broken glass blood stains on white radiance.

Truth to tell no telling how she is not dead yet living-dead.

She-that-is-I is gone I stay on another planet in this room seeing snake eyes amid withdrawal shivers and old tapes

 

****

(3210 words)

 

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