“We’re waiting for you.”
I close my eyes. How long has it been since I’ve gone to this place? How long has it been since I decided to show someone else the new interior of my mind? The theater is rebuilt. It’s been sitting here in the dust, gathering the shadows once more. But these are not outer demons which walk the halls. No, these are my own.
Which means I have everything to fear.
A person who is aware of their destructive element is twice as dangerous as the man who walks unaware. The man who is unaware doesn’t know the potential he has. He has never thought about the power he can unleash. But the aware man has. He has considered all the sadistically creative possibilities which exist within him. All it takes is a slight slip of his morals… and he can make a mistake; the transition into darkness.
I have been in the dark. I have created demons, destroyed men and women alike. I can be cruel, cold, efficient. There is a place in my heart that holds ice. Ice is unyielding, bitter, methodical in structure. It is cold. I feel the coldness. I feel her though she was left in stone amongst the burned remains of the theatre. Samara lives still inside my soul.
“Who are you?”
The shadows form her body; supple, yet hard muscle flows her through confident steps. Green eyes bore into me. She is not merciful; she remembers all faults. My own included. Payment comes through pain. She prowls, creating the smoking black circle amongst the ash of the Fields of Desolation.
“Exactly who you are, but not as dark,” I answer her. I walk my own circle amongst the ash, allowing my toes to kick up a small gray cloud against the sticky shadows.
Sardonically, she smiles. “There’s your first lie. I am you. You made me.”
“I did. I also put you away.” Blue against green. White against black. Light against dark. But there are similarities. The pale skin. The stride. The tilting of the lips, the intelligence which sometimes becomes arrogance. And above all, the defiance.
She pauses in her stride, standing across from me. Idly, she considers her new black body suit. It sticks to her body like latex but I know its consistency is more like Kevlar and nylon. “No. I let myself out when you decided to deny your darker qualities once again. We both know how well that worked last time.”
“Things were different then.”
“Things are always different with time. The situation seems remarkably similar. Unkept promises, unhappy loved onces, disappointment waiting to happen…. Come on Ciara how naïve are you?” She laughs bitterly. It sounds surprisingly light for one so cold. “Always clinging to the people in your life as though somehow you won’t get infected by their demons… It’s no wonder you can’t make friends.”
She wants me angry. Anger makes her powerful; it clouds my logic. No. I will not give into that rage despite how her words sting. Humming along to a lullaby forgotten, I smile at her. “Naively hopeful, always,” I muse. “I know my gifts.”
“Secrets.” She spits distastefully.
“Information,” I counter. “They tell me of their own free will. They give me their demons-”
“Though some would argue you take them-“
“-because I am the only one strong enough to keep them in chains,” I finish firmly. “It’s always been this way. We’re not meant to speak. We’re meant to heal as a burdened soul. To take on what might kill someone else.”
Samara tilts her head, eyes narrowed thoughtfully. The scene around us swirls to be replaced by a black marble chamber beneath the earth. Old antique mirrors stand on all sides. Many have a sheet draped to hide the reflective glass. “Not all of these are our secrets,” she states softly, seeking confirmation with a glance as she walks between them.
“No.” My admission is reluctant. Some of these secrets are old. Nearly ten years. Fifteen… There was never a point people did not choose to give me their poisonous secrets. The secrets they could not hold in their mental libraries without bursting became a collection in mine. The Hall of Mirrors. The place beneath my library of memories where the repressed are placed to be forgotten. Erased by time. Held locked in my soul.
Green eyes flash to me as her fingers find one of the covered frames. The canvas is tugged away. This mirror holds no memory yet. Nothing is coming out of its shadows. All I see is my reflection in the dusty glass. She stands beside me… then with a step, she melds to me. I feel her beneath the surface of my skin; the green eyes which stare back in the mirror. Ready or not…
I am standing in a peachy pink room. Lace curtains, white blinds, and dark oak furniture are in the room. There is a large pile of stuffed animals on the white bedspread. Fairies stare from the dresser out the window. A white door separates me from the rest of this house. The house I grew up in.
Voices are screaming at each other. My parents and my brother… but I banish that memory into smoke. I will not give in to fear or anger in my current state. Or it will fester inside of me, become a war I am not ready to fight. An older dog walks up and sits between my legs. It would be easy to mistake her for a border collie, but I know that she’s an Australian Shepard.
Keilo…. The loving dog with no tail. My mama on four legs. She whines, resting her head on my knee. The little stump wiggles in greeting as I scratch behind her ears. She whines again, nudging me. I follow her to the living room, lying on the floor beneath the white popcorn ceiling. Even in my mind, I am tired. Driving back the powerful anger has drained me. But I am still here, successful. With the dog’s warmth beside me, I fall into the quite nothingness of sleep without dreams.