Requital for Suffering This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 24, 2011
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Every night that I stare at these same blank walls staring right back, I feel more and more less grounded. I start to believe if it weren’t for this place then I wouldn’t be insane, but being clinically diagnosed everyone sees that you must be locked up for your safety, how would they know what it’s like? Are they constantly judged? Even without words the all-seeing stares could pierce through you they’re so sharp, always watching, always following your every move, just waiting for you to screw up. They think they know what’s best for you when they really know nothing about you, and that’s what makes me insane. It isn’t a disease I possess, it is a bottomless pit residing in the center of my soul that never misses a meal to finish eating away all sanity I have left.
I wish I could tell you this is a happy story, like the cinematical portrayal through a 70s rock montage and such fictionally perfect plots to give an audience a feel good experience, but this is not. I will take you on this journey, but I must warn you, things will get hectic and you will soon find it to be a strenuous task to keep attached to my soul as I guide you, so sit back, relax, look ahead, listen carefully, and have an open mind. It all starts like this; there is not only 1 but 2 monsters that I must face on my journey. They are individuals but together they are the same, and you must first get acquainted with each of them before you can see them as a whole. The less deadly of the 2, but still coherently evil, is he who walks the realm of reality, a physical adversary, those who persecute my soul, locking me in this place while they roam freely. The second is the most evil I have ever faced, that which lies in my own mind, the battle I’ve fought years upon years for the sanctity of my never ending, always expanding mind. In order to defeat either of them as well as both of them, I must take myself through a journey I’ve hid in the entirety of my life from everyone else, and I must accept it as this truth, a battle to the death in order for my life to be saved. This journey is through mind and body, and nothing restricts what happens to me in this realm, so I must overcome all obstacles without flaw, and I must not fail. All you have to do is follow my guidance, for you must join me to understand me, so take my hand; this is my story.
I’m driving on a cold and lonely road in the midst of nowhere. Black entanglements of forestry lay on each side of me, trapping me in a dark nutshell. Dim, yellow streetlights, having no business being there, line each side, stretching infinitely into the blackness and creating a hazy layer over the narrow black walls. Over the refraction of yellow light upon the tree line I see shadows of thin, tall figures walking about, but I pay no attention to them, instead I keep looking forward upon the smooth asphalt…I feel as if I’m one with the road, and nothing but an obstacle ahead can take me away. Lightning flashes above and beams down across the branches, creating thin, shadowy, soulless arms flooding across the darkness below.

I put my hand to the shifter to try and squeeze out the anxiety this place was bringing me, and there the cold fingers of a woman’s hand entwined with mine, and instantly I pulled back from not that of fear, but just this strange feeling of discomfort. In my mind though, I knew that I would find the most comfort with this outreached hand, but for some reason I couldn’t come to wrap my head around this wonderful contingency, instead I ignored it like everything else and stuck with the only other friend I possessed, the path that lay ahead of me.
“I find it very, very easy to be true
I find myself alone when each day is through…I walk the line,” (Johnny Cash, 1956)

It was the one thing I knew best, and what you know best is the easiest thing to do without too much feeling. When you have feeling, that creates emotions, most that you don’t want to possess, so I avoid them, for they are what put these empty walls around me. They deceive you; fueled by the demons to make you think like you shouldn’t, do like you shouldn’t, feel like you shouldn’t, so now I am numb. Most can tame them, but mine run rampant, and there is no way for me to lasso them back in. Since it is the standard that everyone else is able to manage, they think I should be able to just as well, but when the cages have been withered to a nothingness, and you’re out of material to rebuild so that you can keep the demons in, you do what I do. This is why I took my hand back, and once I did the fingers shut tight on the palm and transformed back to normal. One single tear trickled down my cold cheek and dripped for miles down to my lap.

I swallowed the sorrow and flushed away the tear soaking into my pant leg. It was gone and I wasn’t about to remember the pain of it ever being there, besides, I had more important things to fear. Death with his cruel intentions was undermining the opportune moment to sweep me away into his dark corner, almost as dark as the other in the back of my mind. These dark intentions were expressed through malicious ways as I continued along this lonely road. The only light I had left was suddenly ripped from me while I was still vulnerable, the lamps above bursting into flame and raining down into my face through the absent protection of a windshield. It only obstructed my vision for a split second, but from that split second passing a new obstacle arose, this time directly in my narrow, inescapable path. There was no avoiding the figure, appearing to be some kind of supernatural being with a grotesque aura in movement and in self, truly foul as it tiptoed across the plain of darkness with pure evil motivation. Thin, long, lanky body mounted on wobbling sapling legs and curly toes as black as the road they crept on. His dangling arms swung like a noose in the night, inspiring wickedness with every sway as it crumpled its long, pointy fingers. I threw the wheel in a full 360 to break free, but the best of piloting couldn’t have saved me, and there I went in a golden blaze and clash of shredded metal and wood.

From there I went someplace else, someplace new, someplace fresh, but someplace just as terrifying. A memory I tapped into unconsciously, one of the worst I possessed in the bank, and like the dark place I had just came from there was no escaping it. Past love, hatred, bitter romance, and betrayal above all. Her promiscuity was amBIGuous to say the least, and she had failed the “test” of faithfulness. There she was, clear as day, thrust by thrust, I had found the fountain of eternal lust, instead of finding love and trust. After that, I banished it for eternity, vowing to never speak its bitter name again. A deadly sin took over my soul, and I thought of murder just about everyday in everyway, and also about putting myself out of the misery it caused and more to come, but I wasn’t going to sacrifice myself for something untrue for someone equally untrue.

At this point my mind was even being untrue, and no matter how hard I focused I could not locate myself in the dark. I was traveling in the blackest night and I didn’t know where I was going to end up next. I was a lone soldier, a cowboy, and “on a steal horse I road” into the night. Where I ended up was the polar opposite of the last, happy and fulfilling in many a sort of ways, a place that could make me smile, maybe even find true happiness. What a change of pace, what a place. It wasn’t anything specific, almost indescribable, like a delightful child with blocks and a creative mind I could make it whatever I wanted it to be. In my presence appeared a manly being, but far from it. Thick and tall but simple, and with simplicity he also expressed the purity of God’s working hands through the most perfection a human form can be. Even so perfect, he looked down upon me as if were an equal to him.

“Son, you look at me with wonder, wonder of who I am, but your wonder has misguided you before.”

“But will you tell me, let me know who I am speaking with so that I can use you as inspiration”, I replied.

“Inspiration is a big word son, it is not needed by my name, but by what lies inside of you. You have the best knowledge of who you are so let you define yourself with God’s and my guidance. Take it, and harness this unstable horse. It’s time to get down to the true grit and get over all of the b.s. Most importantly use the best weapon you possess so that you can defeat the most evil enemy, both in the same, both in you. Fight son, fight”, such beautiful words, I took them and stored them in the unbreakable cavity where my heart lie.
Almost crawling free from the hole of unconsciousness, I could see the top a few feet away. I could see, but nothing else, senses of the body nowhere in sight, but senses of the mind never more present. I still knew that the creature lurked about, lingering like the foulest of stenches, but I had mental protection now. A bolt of lightning so powerful, quick and bright tore through the roof, took me by the arms, and put a surge of life into me like a guiding hand. It burst through every square inch of my body, and I felt more awake than I had ever before. I dismissed the blood releasing from each and every orifice. I spat out a mouthful and took the rest across my sleeve. My headlights were tangled through the endless bounty of trees in front of me. A heavy roll of fog became acquainted with the already present thick fear prowling around me. Together the concoction called for disaster, and I wasn’t about to wait for it to find me.
There was a short branch lodged in my passenger seat that appeared to be a well-rounded weapon, so I took it from its hole and took myself from mine. Getting out of this compacted car was a task in itself, forcing myself out through lodged clumps of metal and scrap. After intense work and a mixed coat of sweat and blood, I finally pulled myself free, but far from safety. I dug my fingers into blood and mud, trying to shun the raining fear beginning to flood. It washed blackness across my skin, and I knew that that certain evil was nearing dear. I had to shout at myself to “move! Just move!” for the moment had shadowed me, and once a moment has done so, you have to look hard for that ray of light big or small, and you have to let it pull you free. My feet finally started chugging through the slosh, starting to move almost as fast as my heart, back and forth, back and forth, until I’d finally escaped the pit. Upon the wet asphalt I slid, the loose gravel below my feet I swiveled my body back and forth for any site of the monster. Lightning illuminated my surroundings and time slowed to a stand still as the light shimmered through the millions of drops on the black plain.
Suddenly a quick, enormous shadow swallowed my feet, but once I looked up the light dispersed and the rain drenched my face. I whipped it clear of my eyes and clenched the branch tight in my fists. Then, out of nowhere another burst of light engulfed my body, but this one was different, not so bright but just as prominent, and this time it was coming from the side. My eyes like a deer in the headlights, there behind those bright beams was a large, old scrap of bus, that which belonged in a junkyard. I was surprised to be even seeing it run it was so old and ugly, but its dazzling lights attracted me like a fly. My feet circled around the front with a mind of their own, my mind itself absent in space. A swooshing noise awoke my brain, and a dark ascend into an even darker place lie in front of me. A man in the shadows sat looking down on me, a man with some type of fiery glow, but a man that didn’t sit well in the pit of my stomach. It wasn’t his appearance but more of his soul, as if I could see through him like a window, and what lied in side was far worse than anything I’d ever seen.
He smiled, and through that smile, that glow was as attractive as the lights that lay in front of him, a sweet serenity torn by fear and evil. I didn’t want it, but I wanted it. That smile promised me goods beyond my wildest dreams, and the thought of residing in the ghost town of Abandonment feared me into crawling up those steps into the warmth. As soon as those doors swooshed back closed I regretted my decision, but the man with a sweet voice said, “come child, come out of the rain for it’s warm in this place, and you will never be alone”, and by appearance he was correct. The bodies of souls filled each seat, and they were welcoming with gentle faces and clean selves, yet like the man there was something beneath that, dark intentions to manipulate me. I felt trapped, that leaving was no option, and the welcoming friendship of these people seemed so intriguing, it drew me down the isle, and my feet’s mind were running the show once again. Their blank stares seemed so wrong and deceitful, but before I knew it was at the back of the bus and falling into the black cushion of a torn leather seat. The back of their heads were as blank as the front, and my heart started to jump, jump, jump out of submission, the lock I had on it was broken and I was lost once again. The jolt of the bus threw me back, lodging me further into the seat, sinking into its cold darkness. Something wasn’t right, no something was terribly wrong. I tried grasping something to pull me free but the slick leather supplied no hold, and my mind was slipping with my cold hands.
“Help”, I could only whisper, for my voice was rasping under heavy breathing, heart pounding and loudly sounding. Through endless efforts of trying to shout something finally came out, “Stop! Stop!” but no stop was to come, for this bus had no stops, it was just an endless route into the darkness. My soul was heating like a kettle and my blood boiling, angrier I yelled out “Stop! I want off of this thing now!” But still no answer, my voice just carried into nothingness.
“Stop!” I yelled louder than ever before, and finally a movement, recognition that I’d been heard, but seeing this I wish I wouldn’t have. The blank heads like a river ahead started turning around, completely around, and smiles like the driver’s, deceiving and expressing passionate hatred underneath, and at the sight of this I knew I had to escape myself for there was no other way to get off of this bus.

Expelling all the strength I had left from trying to pull myself out of this pit, I finally found release and fell to the floor. The people began standing, and edging their dark wet feet towards me. I had to rip myself from the shadow once more, and finally took off of the floor, back to the end of the bus where lay a door. I kicked it open with a channeling of adrenaline into my leg and my body released into numbness as it fell to the cold wet ground, back to where I was before.

I groped around for grasp of nothing, ounces of pain like needles spread throughout every inch of my numbing body. My head swaying and my brain fumbling my consciousness all about my skull, it took a cold drop of fear to make the blur fade, then to look around at a sight I’d seen before. A dry road under me, hands and knees scraped with blood, I looked up at dim yellow lights beaming down on me with a certain essence of heat and hopelessness. Recognition was dragging me on its road of twists and turns, whip lash soon becoming a head full of Déjà vu and more pounding pain. Drawn into the depths of this paradox I came out through a sudden source of light in front of me, beams like that of the bus but a different origin behind them. Once the light bounced off of my reflecting cornea, I saw something I couldn’t explain.

Acting as some type of mirror, I saw an equally disturbed, wide-eyed version of me behind that wheel, fear twining both of our souls together. As I thought I was going to be torn into a heap of skin and bone, suddenly the car squealed like a pig and broke from its path toward me, smoke and rubber flying as it slung off of the side of the road. The wind rushed in my face and shuttered my eyelids, and in that split second the car had burst into a golden blaze and scrap of metal and wood. My mind was creating a pathogenic vibration through my body, having to try and balance it on a wobbling pedestal quickly dwindling away into nothingness. I had to try and save it from its topple into the darkness, and in order to do that I had to make confirmation if what I had seen was in fact correct, or just a trick of the eye, a hallucination in this far away place.

Fear was beginning to fall in sheets around me as I took to my feet, leaving a dry print of my hands on the pavement. It was bouncing into millions of tiny spurts of spray while my feet planed across the rising coat of fear spread across the road. Flashing light of the sky burning across my skin and singing my hairs, the illumination through the air letting off a distinctive element, one that could chill your bones. Somehow I knew that this very occurrence was the crux of everything happening here in this place, hidden under this indiscernible cover for so long, and if my soul was in fact lost then I might find it here through some sort of realization. My heart pounding with the thunder, my eyes twitching under the anxiety, blood pumping at an unearthly rate to where I should’ve gone into shock, but my feet kept moving toward the golden glow. After what seemed like miles upon miles of walking, slowly edging toward the revelation of truth, I finally found myself sinking through a muddy slosh into the view of the passenger window.

What lie there in front of me was what I wanted to see, but not what I wanted to believe. I wasn’t hallucinating, it wasn’t a figment of my imagination, there in front of me was me, the dead weight of an unconscious head leaning against the steering wheel and blood releasing from every orifice. I tried to find a grasp on this issue, but there was no resolving it in my head, everything was scrambled. A theory was what seemed proper, for a theory could still be proven wrong, and I hoped to find that true. The theory lied in this, that I caused myself to stray from my path and crash in this spot, because what I had seen as a malignant force from the other perspective behind the wheel was actually a projection of myself. It was the evil being that lye within me, and it was causing me pain and suffering, and to end up in this place I was now. Thinking heavily upon this I didn’t get to disprove this theory or make any sort of conclusion, for what was brought to the table next was far more attractive to my mind. I didn’t want to think about this dark place I was in anymore, I wanted to escape through any portal that lie open, and one specific portal, stronger and brighter than the others was what came first. Looking up to the sky, just above the treetops lye this very portal, glowing in a white brilliance. I knew this was it just by instinct that it was the one to follow, for it persuaded my mind to ignore everything else, so I did, and all focus was directed to this path. I had become narrow minded, and selfish in a way that no others could understand but myself. My conscious had taken a vacation for it fore sought no helping me anytime soon, and I had no time to waste, that portal would close in a matter of seconds and I had to get to it somehow.

I trudged out of the slosh and back onto the road, peering through the wall of rain to find someway, somehow to get to this portal. The only way that appeared achievable was a climb up a soaked bark tree, but danger and threats couldn’t make contact with my oblivious conscience, for it was absent. I took to it like a wild cat, jumping onto a waterlogged limb but slipping free down to my back, back to the starting line. I had nothing holding me back, so I didn’t fail to try again until I was to finally achieve my goal, and soon enough I was pulling myself up onto the first step upon many ahead. Soaking wet and thin support under my feet, sliding and carving off chunks of melting bark, I took to the next with blackened hands, rough from scars caked with blood and dirt. Taking myself from branch to branch, easing my way up as fast as I could with the shortening portal in shortening sight, nearing by each foot I climbed. About thirty feet down I had to swallow my fear and remind myself of the glorious freedom I was soon to find if I just pushed on, just a few more feet of convincing.
My wet hands in cause of fresh blood and wet mud, I stood upon the top, looking down across the plains below, and finding myself trapped in that golden glow. Suddenly I saw myself plop out like a dead fish, sinking into that puddle of fear, but notice of this occurrence was absent, for where I was now there was no looking back. I edged myself across that last branch, the thinnest of them all, peaking down over the road beneath me. I should’ve been to fearful to take this task on, but to the nature I’d been acquainted to lately nothing could hold me back, it wasn’t the only way out, but the only way to me.
The thinning branch began to wobble below, and if there was anytime to attempt this it was now. Bits of fear were shouting in my ears to stop, sparking from my conscience like the coals of a dying fire. I did not heed their warnings, but instead crushed them in my palm and swallowed everything hazing around my head: fear, sadness, humility, all the pains of life, and at that point, my feet left the branch along with everything else behind.


I found myself floating for a minute, just floating above it all, mind blank and free as a bird in the sky, and that portal so bright ahead, nearing it I felt something. It wasn’t something good, something terrible, regret, remorse, and despicability toward myself for attempting such a sour task, for being misguided so easily. Misunderstood my whole life, and I had fallen to that, such a relentless pain but so insignificant it shouldn’t of mattered, what should’ve mattered was life and all that it offered. Suddenly I once again had a weight dangling from me, and with it I fell into blackness as the portal passed above my head.
It then swallowed up into the darkness and released a blast of light diminishing its existence, and at that time I looked far below where I once again stared into the mirrored image of my face peering up with fearful eyes, mine open as wide caught the beams they projected. Fear rained down around me, the light vanished, and I soared blindly to not only the other side of the road, but the end. I felt an instant, sharp pain in my stomach, my eyes rolling down through a watery lens, and there entering my body was a painful source, sharp and powerful, from what I had leapt last and to what I had entered last.
Who would of thought it would end like this except me, that it could end like this as that pointed branch barged through the tissue, blood and bone, then out the other side. The only thing I face was a dark figure ahead from where this branch projected, my breath running short and heart uncontrollable, slowly sliding down toward that empty darkness ahead. A word and one word alone is what sat on the empty floor of my mind, disaster, I’d caused a true disaster from my selflessness, and now I was open to the darkness to use me, use me like a marionette, strings dangling from each limb under its inconsistent guidance. I’d left that branch and everything behind, and I knew there was no turning back, but turning back was all I wanted to do. Now I was forced to accept the darkness I slowly sunk down into, my pierced lungs slowly contributing to my life as the seconds passed. The bitter taste of blood in my mouth was not the taste that stained my taste buds, but instead the taste of regret. Nothing could be done now, nothing at all, and the pain and sorrow wasn’t healed by this faithless jump, and now I knew that, but it was too late to come to that realization. Breath by breath, I came face to face with the cold, lonely figure, and I lay my head on its wet surface, the only support I had left. I drug my fingers down its rough body, and I felt the disgust that this was the end, blood dripping down my limp hand, the last feelings I had before I finally breathed that last breath and blackness took over.
Wind and whiteness flushed all around me at extraterrestrial speed, and my breathe was lost but my heart strong once again, and as all of this flew by with time ticking away into nonexistence and I found myself in another place I’d been before, a place I knew little of but knew so well. It was a place that imagination had no restrictions on, wondrous and brilliant in all ways possible, true perfection. In this place, there was a figure in front of me, fuzzy from a reflecting mist of the glowing whiteness, and as it slowly passed around the shadow I soon came to realize to whom the figure belonged to. To my recent quintessential awe in all that was happening to me, I was faced with myself once more. Those wide eyes of mine glued to me yet again, but this time I wasn’t so fearful or unsure about the situation, this time I saw an opportunity through this, and maybe that was why I was here facing myself again. This place was the place of second chances, the second chances you could find nowhere across God’s green earth. Under all of this absent-mindedness, I didn’t even realize that I wasn’t only speaking within my mind but directly outward to myself, and through this unorthodox conversation I found myself saying these last few words, “fight son, fight”. In that I fell from this place so incredibly brilliant to a place more down to earth so to speak, a place the world offered me but I had to take the chance to get to know it well instead of on bad terms, instead of despising to go there, a safe place rather than a lethal one. This was the second chance I didn’t have, but out of some miracle I acquired it. Even so, when I came back to this place I found myself staring at these same blank walls as they stared back, but there was something different, something far different.
I felt a warm sensation in the midst of my stomach region, and once I peered down across the plain of my body, seeming to stretch so far down, there lay a shard of glass clenched in my hand and pierced through my abdomen. My head spun with the room, and in sight of the rotations I found focus on the only thing on the only nonempty wall. That was a mirror, now shattered and spread across the floor in hundreds of shards identical to the one in my stomach, yet it possessed so much more significance that the others, for it was the only one inside of me, the one to bring my undoing. Lying in the cushion of my bed soaked with blood, I began to sink deep into this inescapable pit, reaching but nothing was pulling me back out, and like the blackness that I sunk into so did my conscience.


As my eyelids separate to the walls of my sockets a white gleaming rush barges through, and out of this light a lone figure. Immersing blur of illumination hides the figure’s appearance from my attention, but as I pick through the glow of white to find the missing details there stood a woman not only dressed like an angel in white magnificence, but in bodily form she is just as perfect. Her cold touch on my chest as she carefully sews my heart back in place, for the damage of this powerful impalement affected my heart more than anything else, calling for a replacement so that I could start anew.
Her eyes gleam like dewdrops on milky white skin, she smiles and I fire back. A true surprise, not one relative to the “The Eye of the Beholder”, waking up to a grotesque being in my eyes that sees me as the same, but instead together we only see beauty, for if this woman did possess a pig snouted face it wouldn’t of mattered, because at first sight I saw right through the outer beauty into her open portals staring down and took a journey within her to find what beauty truly lied within. If you believe in love at first sight, this is your aid, and if not, this is living proof, for it is in fact possible to feel like you’ve known someone your whole life even when you’ve merely just met.
She does not have to bother bandaging my wounds because she simply heals them. I feel no pain, body numb; mind high, “what medication am I on?” I ask, “none”, she replies with a soft touch like powdered snow, cold and sharp but so gentle. I found a new self in me that night, and it never faltered, for as long as she was by my side then darkness could never take hold of my soul again. The fear sits upon his rock and swindles his finger across the impenetrable walls, waiting for the minute that he will be able to sneak through a crack once more, but he knows as well as me that these walls will never crack as long the seal is present, the seal formed by the hands of love through those of God. I smile at this thought, and I bring myself to a far away place that no one else can intrude, and there I sit all day and night. Can anybody deconstruct the body of happiness I’ve acquired, maybe, but only to find themselves broken and myself rebuilding faster then they tore me down. You think you can do better go ahead and try. A very wise person once told me, “you can’t have testimony without a test first”.
Types of headstones; granite in red, brown, grey, and white, slanted or hearts, funeral arrangements; flowers, caskets, a song to be put away with…it seems like we have more choices after death than we do on the brink of it, but in spite of this we all have one very important choice before we die. Can we keep strength, strength through the last minutes of life and suffering? Can we find ourselves out of all odds and thoughts bombarding you with conformity, telling you to just give up the never-ending fight? The simplicity of it is, through the most challenging time of our life, can we pull ourselves free?





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