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Let me first begin by saying that I’ve little idea as to why I’m penning these words. I once read— or heard, maybe, that writing things such as this embellishes them in mankind’s history for eternity. If I am to be lost to myself, I shall like to have the remaining fragments held upon by another.
My name is Benjamin Reid. At least, that’s what they told me. I never bothered remembering such a trivial detail. I was institutionalized some time ago after an unfortunate incident involving my work and my husband… I think. It may have been my wife. I’ve always been uncertain when regarding the matter. For the purposes of telling my tale, let us say I worked with steel. No, I fancy the colors of the arts; perhaps I was a marbler. It hardly matters now. In whatever career I chose for myself, I sustained a head injury of sorts. Dreadful thing I’m told, I was bedridden long enough to necessitate a sampling of my blood to determine my likelihood of continued existence.
It was my husband or wife (as I’ve said before, I’m really not sure) who manned the syringe which plunged within the monument of my flesh. Andy was the name, short for either Andrew or Andrea; but once again, it hardly matters now.
Now let me rid you of a potential misconception: I do not fault Andy with what happened. Whoever they were to me, husband or wife, I loved them with every fiber of my aching, bloodied vessel, and they loved me the same. That much I am certain. My partner, a nurse, had been in charge of my health. I wanted nobody else but my beloved with the Sun’s touch, and my partner wanted nobody else to play part in my healing. This is how I know with the utmost certainty that a monster is what possessed the device Andy unknowingly thrust into my veins.
Forgive me if my hand shakes while crafting these words. The mere thought of these bringers of pain and how they submerged me into temporary oblivion is enough to run my blood cold. Consciousness had never slipped me before until I felt the first push of that device buried inside me, burning a never-ending fire lit by gasoline. I never experienced such gut-wrenching fear as I did when I awoke from the slumber my darling accidentally put me under. And I had never seen such panic strike my dear’s pale face.
The incident with the syringe, they say, is what led to my being chained behind these asylum walls. Whatever demon filled the vial that was injected into me changed me, sharpening my perception while creating the holes which would slowly fragment my mind. I became aware. I could see the demons within the syringes. I knew only monsters—aside from my Andy—would dare to hold them. I also knew that the institution of which I’d been placed was of another reality; one only I could see. Andy cried… perhaps yelled when I asked if she saw what I did. It is quite likely he felt guilt for delivering the Devil’s antidote to me while under his influence. I told them not to worry, but guilt is a fickle thing.
I have no recollection of when it was that I discovered the reality I was introduced to. Bits and pieces of the event are all I have available to me as of now. It’s a puzzle which I lack the means of assembling. Daily I would walk from my cage into the asylum’s halls. I’m sure I was accompanied on occasions and left on others. Quite honestly, I’ve no idea what drove me to leave my nightmare-driven sanctuary. Claiming fear seems far too cliché, but making the claim that I left for a lovely walk seems a bit far off. Really, I don’t know, and overall I don’t believe it holds any relevance to my story.
As I was saying, daily I strolled along the hospital for a reason I cannot remember. Before my vision cracked, it appeared as what I’m assuming every hospital does. How it looked doesn’t matter, what does is that it looked a certain way, and I knew it looked a certain way. Why else would I be telling you all this if I hadn’t known there were differences?
I cannot recall when it was that my vision first shifted, only that it occurred during one of my strolls. I had been walking, to or from the sanctuary in which I was jailed, to do what I’m not quite sure. It was during this particular stroll that I noticed things were different than they had been before. It was minuscule at first. Chips of paint altered in coloration, decorations lining the walls shifted half an inch to the left. Whatever blurred faces I could find who’d been or cared for the institutionalized had not noticed the minutia of it all. I hadn’t expected them to; my senses—my perception had been heightened since darling sunk that syringe into me.
Forgive me, I tend to digress more than I once had. I’m sure it was Andy who told me that I had once been a quiet man with nothing but a gentle tremor to my voice. Then again, I can’t recall exactly who it was. A doctor maybe—my children, maybe. Assuming I had children; I do not know. But I am getting ahead of myself. The point is, I was a quiet man and now I am not… Actually, no, that’s not what my point was, is it? What were we discussing again…
Oh, yes! My changing reality. I can’t believe I’d nearly forgotten; I seem to be doing that a lot recently… but I digress. Anyhoo, the minuscule differences were nothing too troubling for the cavern within the slot for which my soul has been designated. It didn’t irk me, merely left a few hairs along my neck standing above the others. But alas, the holes in my reality rippled, increasing in multitude over time until my vision was so distorted that I could no longer view but a torn part of my world.
I remember being alone when it first happened. Standing on a platform which magnified that fact. My eyes fell down, and the floor I had been placed upon rose into the air. The walls around me broke, crumbled, collapsed into a pit of of darkened oblivion with no seeming end to it. I cannot recall if I experienced fear the first time. Simply that I was alone. Alone. Alone…
I’ve never enjoyed being alone. I know little, but that is a memory which has graced my mind in a gut-wrenching manner. Never before have I been so alone than when my memory began to shift. Never before had Andy’s eyes burned inside me, scorching my heart—or whatever I have, I suppose. I cannot remember a thing of my partner, not how we met, not how his hand felt against mine, not how she cared for me amongst the other nurses. I loved Andy, that much I know. And I know those eyes. They’re swirls of brown, hazed over like the bark of a tree I swear I’ve once seen. Swirling across them were dashes of hazel, golden hues that could pierce into my soul like a dagger through one’s heart. Those eyes were a lifeboat keeping me from drowning. I was never alone when Andy’s eyes looked upon me; and now… Now those eyes have disappeared, to where I know not.
My apologies, I’m afraid I’ve digressed for the umpteenth time. As I said before—or, I believe I did—I never did digress so much until my accident. Have I explained that to you? Oh well, hardly matters now. The memories of my accident are so diluted that I could tell it differently each time.
There’s monsters. Did you know that? Have I warned you of the monsters yet? They follow me. They chase me. They loom in every shadow cast by my figure.
In their hands are syringes, the very same my beloved was involuntary made to slip within me. They follow me with those treacherous, torturous devices, attempting to fill me with a substance that would plague my very being. I know what the liquid in those vials do. I know it unravels the brain, tangling neurons in miasmatic manners they should never lay in. I know just how it would harm me; I know the monsters want to hurt me.
I know they must be what snatched my beloved Andy away from me. They tore him from me; they swept away the loveliest wife I could ever have ever concocted while utilizing society’s building plans. The loveliest husband…
The monsters crept through the cracks in my vision, sliding in from a reality never witnessed by others. I know not why they determined me their prey. I merely know ever since my vision shattered as glass upon a tiled floor they have been the only beings in my presence. I cannot find a single nurse. I cannot find a doctor. I cannot find a goddamn patient—I am hopelessly and utterly alone. I cannot even remember why I am here or if anyone in my world knows I am here. If I’ve children, do they know of my existence? Have the monsters wiped me from the minds of all life?
These monsters stole my Andy from me. Knowledge of this is what ignites my aching nerves, nursing them to full health. I do not know why it does, but it drives me. I’m fearful. I’m so utterly fearful. I am alone; alone and followed by demons from the other side. I don’t believe I was a bad man. I don’t believe I’ve done anything worth God’s wrath.
Damn him. Damn him damn him damn him. Has the good Lord been who has subjected me to this torment? Has he allowed the Devil to solicit misery of me, to seize who I’ve loved—to punish me for the one I’ve granted my heart the privilege of waltzing for? I have been tainted. A simple syringe forced inside me by my fair love has allowed something sacrilegious to course throughout my veins. Something evil. Evil. Evil. Evil. Evil. Evil—
Alone. I am alone. Trapped alone in a reality between my own and a demonic setting. As I write this I can hear the monsters approaching me. They fly, you know. I hear them sailing towards me as I sit perched above the hellhole I’ve been restrained in. They cannot speak English, it comes out as garbled tongue, like a spell. Or maybe I cannot recall what English even sounds like. That is what I speak, isn’t it? I have been alone so long that I haven’t heard anything but the tongue of the monsters. Alas, they’ve approached me. My doomsday has approached me further. In their shadowy grasps are syringes. Oh how Andy hated those, hated them.
There is no escape this time, but I shall not allow the monsters to be my undoing. My Andy died protecting me. He died for me. He died for us. Andrew Addington died for me. I cannot do him a disservice by falling prey to those which he shed his blood to keep from me. I simply cannot.
Whoever you may be, dear reader of mine, you may never see this. My name is Benjamin Reid. Clasp onto that fact as you would a flame you fear to lose. I am alone. Alone, trapped within a place I have never known—yet a place I know I have known the entirety of my life. I am asking you, dearest reader, to reclaim me. Have me laid alongside my Andy, on the hillside they said he resides upon.
I will not be at the hand of my monsters. You’ll find me at the bottom of oblivion, heart halted and veins swimming with the blackened, melancholic liquid they were forced to inhale.
Andy will be there.
Andy will show you the way.
Up the hillside to Highgate.
in my last breath, i merely wish to remember
to never again be alone