Wellington Street http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet In which we take a stroll down a very strange lane. en-us Wed, 22 Aug 2018 05:08:49 +0000 http://sett.com Sett RSS Generator Building 8 "It's in the Sand" http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-8-its-in-the-sand Went to a concert. I took the blue line in. Wires lined the walls of the train tunnel. They were like veins. Maybe they were. They looked like veins. Looked organic. As the train moved it swayed back and forth. Motion like that always makes me sick if I focus on it.

Was alone in the car. Stayed that way most of the trip.

Train picked up speed. Got louder as it went. A harsh shrieking sound hurt my ears. Got louder and louder as the train got faster. Covered my ears. Just got louder. Like it was angry I didn't want to listen. I wanted to scream.

I did scream. It hurt so much. My throat was raw.

Felt thirsty. And the train got louder and louder. Was sure we would go off the rails. Was going to fast...

Train stopped and more people got on.

One with a suitcase sat down in front of me, placing their bag in the seat closest to the window.

Couldn't see beyond that.

Looked out the window. There was hair flipping in the wind. Long stringy hair. Assumed it was just a reflection. From the seat in front of me. But there was no one there with long stringy hair.

Whoever it was, clung to the outside of the train while in the tunnels.

Disappeared when we reached daylight...

Was a nice concert. Relaxed people. Was alone. Left early...

I took Loyd to the vet. He has gained ten pounds. Vet was confused. Said a cat of his type and his approximate age shouldn't be growing at this rate. Would be concerned about the excess weight, but for a cat his size he is still normal, even after all the gains.

Talked to Margaret on the phone. Said she was planning on heading home by the end of the week.

Said she missed me.

Been trying to make it right. To focus on what I did to make her go away. I dumped out my bottles again. Cheap stuff. Wasn't that hard. Used to drink more expensive things. Long ago. Neighbors probably won't mind if I don't drink when I am over. Never see them drink anyway...

I want to scream.

I have the radio on. Local station. Talking about the coming of autumn. Its supposed to be a bad winter this year. Lots of snow. Don't like thinking about it. It's too early to think about it.

Something about winter fills me with dread.

I used to love the holidays. They are still a ways off. But something about last Christmas has stuck with me. That thing with the long arms. Present wrapped in gold...

The scalpel. It wanted her to have it.

It was hot today. Spent some time outside, working on the garden.

My dad liked to garden.

I always kill the things I plant. But I guess there is always another chance. No one can really stop me from doing it each year. Don't know why I do it. Could just have plastic plants. Call it a day. Look like they are alive even if they aren't. But I prefer to try again. To plant again.

Margaret always likes the flowers. At least as long as they last.

She hates cut flowers.

Every time I try to plant a garden I make a mess.

Heat reminds me of the war. Reporting on it. Trying to anyway.

Was always so hot out there. Sand was everywhere.

Sort of heat that makes you dream. Seems I only started dreaming...remembering my dreams when I was out there.

First dream I could recall. A desert in a storm. Rain falling in heaps from a black sky. Could mistaken it for night in the city.

Black pyramids and a terribly large thing, lumbering forward. A black shape, fur dripping with rain. With a smile of blades...

The Lyld

Eyes burning in the dark.

Like a dead man's.

The rot is returning. Can smell it whenever I leave the house.

Not enough rain. The leafs are baking through. Leaves holes in their surfaces.

Lots of holes.

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Mon, 20 Aug 2018 18:18:29 +0000 http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-8-its-in-the-sand
Building 8 "The Dead World" http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-8-the-dead-world “I don't know how I got here...I've kept a record of how long...Three weeks...Probably a month... Didn't keep a record at first...Hard to tell time...It is always foggy...There is no one else here... I am completely alone...I don't need to eat...no need to sleep...skin is blackening...I want to go home...No life left...I need to bring more here...No longer alone...

It travels...those that can...escape...

Can't be stopped...just ran from...

Temporarily...

It always finds...ones that got away....No matter what time...No matter...the dimension...no escaping...

The Consumer...of Reality...”

Received this when listening to a receiver in my basement. Become fascinated with space.

Signals.

I have never found anything. Not until today. They seem genuinely alone. Frustrated. I felt so tired afterwards. I don't like to think about the dreams I had.

Makes my head hurt...

Margaret is at her parents still. We talk every night. She hasn't told me when she is coming back. I stopped asking. Seemed to be annoying her.

Not sure what to do to keep her around. Usually turns out fine.

Need to focus on finding him.

Loyd is getting bigger. Must be all the hunting he has been doing. Keeps bringing dead things to the back door. Slimy, oily things. Don't look natural, but don't seem to hurt him. I weighed him yesterday. He has gained five pounds. Doesn't seem like he is getting fat...just bigger.

The things he brings smell like battery acid and something else. Had to buy chemical bags. Corpses kept burning through the other ones.

Went over to my neighbors house. The one with the messed up face. Have to give his wife credit. Keeps flowers all over the house. Really pungent but nice. Maybe I should get a plant. Supposed to be good for you somehow.

Has a nice downstairs area. Pool table. Bar. I intended to do something with our basement. Have gotten distracted by things.

Nice bar. Old stools. Says he grabbed them from an estate sale. We sat around. Played pool.

Drank. I think I drank too much.

Been drinking too much.

Lights flicker a lot in his house. Says the wiring is crap. Don't remember the previous owner having that problem. We weren't really close.

Tried to bring Loyd with. Their daughter must not have a lot of friends looking like that. Loyd threw a fit. Starting hissing and clawing at them. Scratched the kid. Thought he got her good but didn't seem to bleed. Had to drop him off at home. They were understanding...

Good cooking. Woman says she is on a diet. Man said he already ate. That was fine.

Haven't talked about therapy in a while. I don't think I have gone in months.

Losing track of things. Just focused on him.

The Surgeon.

Work called. Said I needed to come in.

Long shift. No one talked about him. Tried to start a conversation. No one wanted to talk. Used to be good at this.

Been years. Lots of...changes.

They ask about Margaret. Don't like to tell them she is at her parents. Starting to feel weird. Been too long. They give me looks. Stupid looks. Like they are judging. See something I don't want to see. What the hell do they know.

She will come back. Always does.

One way or another.

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Fri, 27 Jul 2018 19:11:56 +0000 http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-8-the-dead-world
Building 8 "Mold in the Walls" http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-8-mold-in-the-walls “It smells in here like mold and concrete. By law they have to keep this place cleaner than that, but that's only when they come around. Things have gotten better over the years, but you can't get rid of that smell. It's in the walls of this place. Everything is in the walls.

My old bunk mate used to complain about it all the time. You would think over time that he would get used to it. That any of us would. I suppose he was right to complain. Mold does terrible things to sick people. I am not sure if it was just the pneumonia that killed him, but an asylum is the sort of place that likes to help people along.

Have to make room for new arrivals.

They don't put anyone with me anymore. They say it is because I am good. I am even allowed a desk in here. The edges are sanded down of course. And I get to write all the letters I want.

They say that it is because I have been good, but I think they just don't trust me with people anymore. And I imagine they are running out of room.

In the summer the smell gets worse. Gets sour. The visitors, what few there are, tend to complain. But nothing is ever done. They just turn up the air conditioning and hope for the best. I suppose there are more honest options. Could have it cleaned out. The whole place. Search for the source of the smell. But if they did that then the place would get shut down.

They don't put people with me anymore.

Don't let me out much either. Except when inspectors come. Sometimes I consider making a scene. Making things hard for them. But really I can't think of how that would benefit me. I like this place. Gotten used to it. And within the walls I am safe. The walls made for a king.

I don't mind the isolation. Not really. Oh, I am sure it used to get to me. But I get to send out my letters, and that is enough for me. Play chess by mail with more than a few. Helps distract me from the whispers. Also allows me to remain in communication with my court.

Any day they will come and get me.

Even in here, they cannot rob me of my right. My right to rule. My subjects surround me. I imagine if they admitted to that, then I wouldn't be the only one in trouble. That make me happy.

It smells like mold and concrete, except in the summer when the walls warm up. My walls are a patchwork of old and new concrete. Broken down and put back together. I suggested they try bricks but it would be suspicious.

We are running out of room. The walls are almost full.

A guard here and a guard there. Maybe a patient who gets too close.

I can get anyone to come in here.

I just need to talk to them. And I have so many pencils. Not that I need them. And they wouldn't dare to take them away.

Or take away the members of my court. They surround me.

In the summer I get restless.

The walls smell like them.”

Tired. Work changed my hours. See Margaret less than before. Loyd is always up. Sometimes we sit outside, especially when the moon in out. There are a bunch of old trees lining the back of my property. When the wind blows through them there is the smell of decay. All that green and yet it is decay and earth I smell.

The Surgeon. Haven't seen him since the day at the beach. I have been looking for him. Been carrying a gun just in case. Took a while to get it. Lots of history. Friends in the department made it easier. Those familiar with what happened to Margaret.

What happened to Sarah.

Sometimes I walk alone at night, hoping to draw him out. Make my way to the factory. It's reckless. But I am doing something.

I have to be doing something.

Come home, and when I look past the glass door as I make sure I lock it, I can see my neighbor across the way. Has insomnia too. Not sure what the reason for it is.

Haven't had him or his wife over since the party. It's a shame. Lovely people. Far as I can tell.

I am tired.

Margaret wants to visit her parents again. Just wants to get away. A small break.

Haven't ever felt so distant from her.

I am thinking about the time we went to a barn sale. That small lantern she bought is still in the den. It was before she was attacked. Maybe after. It is hard to remember.

Hard to remember her old face.

Before the Surgeon.

Look at pictures.

The neighbors to the left of us haven't been heard from in weeks.

Smell of mold and decay.

We need some rain.

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Tue, 10 Jul 2018 15:10:41 +0000 http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-8-mold-in-the-walls
The Beach "The Reunion" http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/the-beach-the-reunion “I am coughing in the dark, sitting as the old fan steadily buffets me. And it is dark and I am alone, but I am not alone. Not really. She is in the other room on the bed. It's a bed older than both of us. And I can't stop coughing, and she can't cough anymore. There is nothing I can do except keep it from getting worse. Keep it from getting outside the house.

I have to burn everything. I have to burn it all.”

---

Feels like so long ago. Going to that old beach house. The broken concrete and rebar acting as the shoreline. The water, far too cold for the season. It was over a year ago. A good, solid, happy memory. And every time we talk about going back it simply doesn't end up happening.

We were going to go this weekend. Margaret and I. She wasn't feeling up to it. Insisted I go by myself. No reason for us to both stay home. Tried explaining it to her. Didn't want to go if it wasn't going to be with her.

I relented.

She was right. It would have been a waste of a day.

The weather was better than it was last time. It was hotter. The gloomy chill was gone. I even saw a few families while I was walking the beach.

But it didn't feel the same. I wanted it to feel the same so badly.

It wasn't though.

Can't replicate an experience. You can only make a new experience.
I guess we shouldn't go back. It is just chasing of echos.

Last few days I have been staying in a hotel. Won't say where. Haven't even told Margaret. Tell her I am fine. She is worried. Need to get my head on straight.

Saw him in the water at the the beach...looking at me.

I thought I did. Rushed into the water. Trying to track him down. But he was gone. I dove down...deep into the sea weed. Got tangled twice but got out before it was too late.

Emerged from the water. Sun in my eyes. Water running down my face. Splash of warmth on my skin. Looked out across the water and there he was. By the old beach house. Drying off. Was wearing an old fashioned stripped bathing suit. Like the 1900's. He was drying his hair...the stubble of his hair. The Surgeon looked across the water at me and nodded...thought he was smiling. Couldn't have been smiling. He can't smile. His mouth doesn't move like that.

He headed down the beach towards the water. There was something in his hand...and..I swam away as fast as I could.

All this damn searching just to run away from him.

I couldn't help it. I had nothing to defend myself.

Went to the concrete outcroppings. The coarse surface of the old concrete cut into my hand a little. And I waited. I watched.

He never came. Must have given up.

Or wanted me to come to him. On my terms. To find him.

Like he found me.

Not ready. Still not ready.

Hotel has an old pool. Never liked swimming pools. Feels too unnatural.

Should have brought Margaret along.

Safer without me. Maybe safer with me. But I doubt it.

He is looking for me, not her.

Is done working on her.

He is trying to find me. I can feel it. Everywhere I walk it feels like I am being watched. It's possible that I am not being watched. Just feels like it. Maybe I am paranoid. But I just have to be right once for it to matter.

He wants to find me....wants me to find him.

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Fri, 29 Jun 2018 04:46:47 +0000 http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/the-beach-the-reunion
Building 22 "The Thresher" http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-22-the-thresher “My father has a house out in the woods that I lived in most of my life. It's a long, narrow building with a barn connected in the front where we keep the car. In the barn is a thresher. We aren't allowed to touch it. It was my mother's.

I came back yesterday after being gone for some time. Years ago I went to college, and I simply couldn't bring myself to come back. Now I am sitting at the kitchen table, with stains from when my mother was still alive. The moon is full and bright, even with the branches of the woods to break up the light. The things in the woods lurk just outside the screen door. Watching me. They know they are not allowed to come in.

If the path were clear I am certain they would try.

My dad taught my brother and I to shoot...after what happened to our mother. I am a good shot now, even though I am out of practice. Even though I hate guns.

They whisper to me. They tell me I should open the screen door and let them inside.

The smell of the fire, in the pit I sat around with my father so many times, reaches me from the breeze coming in through the mesh of the screen. I smell the fire and the swamp that sits further down the hill. And I smell something else as well. Something I have never been able to put into words.

I see their eyes in the dark, stringy hair pierced by pinpoints of light. They are all dressed in black long coats. They are all smiling.

My brother was supposed to come out to the cabin as well. I talked to him the other day. He refused to come back. When I moved away I always knew there was a possibility that I would eventually come back to this place. At the very least to settle up. Always needed to do that...

He moved away, and that was that. Even with the way things have changed tonight, I highly doubt he will come back. Maybe that is for the best. I don't think he will forgive me for what I have done. And what I will do.

I slide open the screen door only slightly. Stick the tip of my rifle out and take a shot at the leg. The hit my mark, and he moans with pain. They do not descend upon him or me. I pull back the gun and set it back on the table, then close the screen door again. And I watch as they watch. Those things in the dark that are likely more honest than my father ever is.

My father is still next to the fire where I left him, tied up just before sundown.

It is night now, and one of their spent needles, filled with whatever starts the process, is on the ground.

My father chose an interesting way to learn me how to shoot. I am very good at it. And I admit, it is much easier when the target didn't used to be your mother. I imagine he thought if I could kill her, then I wouldn't hesitate to kill any of the rest.

Even from this distance I can see his body reacting to the conditioning. His skin is blackening and he has stopped shivering or reacting to the pain. His eyes are narrowing, taking on the familiar glow.

I think they will do what I want. He is becoming like them, but I think they want him to hurt as bad as I do.

When morning comes I will go to the barn and drag out that thresher. I will bring it out to the fire pit where my father, brother, mother, and I had so many fires. And I will grab what was once my father and put the thresher to good use.

He may have been right. To kill her. Maybe he was even right to have me be the one to do it. After what the conditioning turned her into, I don't blame him for making them his enemy.

But this isn't about being right or wrong.

It isn't about revenge.

It never was.

I just want to put the thresher to good use.

I miss my mom.”

---

Letter was addressed from a house in the woods, not far from where I camped all that time back.

Back when I was drinking.

Went to the house to talk to the person but the home was abandoned. Was a thresher in the back. Black stains. Still smelled something awful.

Needle was gone. Maybe he cleaned up. Maybe they cleaned up.

I left before sundown. Just in case. Thought I saw one of them while I was driving away. Thought it waved. Could be seeing things. Stressed mind.

I was unusually cool last night.

Really hot today.

Considered going out to the family farm.

Remembered it doesn't belong to my family anymore.

Thought Loyd was bleeding today.

Wasn't his blood.

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Mon, 28 May 2018 01:40:20 +0000 http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-22-the-thresher
Building 9 "The Old Cassette Tape" http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-9-the-old-casette-tape “I had a dream that my girlfriend died. I had received a card, or maybe discovered a card of condolences, placed on top or added to an old card she had sent to me before on one of our special dates. Or at least, a special date in the dream. I couldn't make out the card. It is hard to read in a dream. But then I was standing outside the hospital with a medical report, and it was telling me that she was dead but not from what.

Then I was in her home, or an emotional approximation. Her mother was there, and she had realized that her daughter was dead. That she had been interacting with a ghost. A memory for weeks. And her daughter told her to let go of the delusion...

I woke up today, and I tried to message her. But I couldn't find her number in my phone. I couldn't find anything about her online. Her mothers number was missing...she is missing. I know that last night I messaged her. She had surgery and I was trying to cheer her up because she was in pain. But I woke up today and it is as if she never existed.

This isn't some dream where you woke up and realized it wasn't real. I have years of memories with her. And I can't imagine I could have made that up. Movies we saw together that I didn't see by myself. Camp grounds she knew about that I didn't. Even restaurants we discovered together...

I've been too scared to ask anyone about it. No one would mention my relationship either way. Not without me mentioning it. And I feel sicker than I have ever felt. And there is an emptiness that seems to just sit in my stomach.

I keep crying like I have lost someone.

And I have found the restaurants we went to together. I found the items on the menu we ate. I found clips from movies we saw. They are different than I remember...Nothing is like I remember.

I have years of memories of her. And I know she is real. Or was real. Because maybe she is dead like in the dream. But I find things...like incomplete erases. Things we did together or things only she would know that are still true. Things I never tried to find out on my own. And it is like someone or something erased her from existence.

I don't know what to do.

I haven't eaten since I woke up. I haven't taken a shower.

If I do I'll be admitting it is real. But I isn't.

I want to wake up again. Not somewhere else. This is somewhere else.

If I wake up again, she will be alive and I will be happy. Because this feels real but it can't be real.

I remember how she kissed.

She doesn't like cut flowers...”

Received an old cassette tape...person on it said the above. Cried over and over again. Had to stop. But was desperate to explain.

Address comes from a home on Wellington Street. Went there. Different person lived there. A woman. Said she didn't want to talk to me. To anyone.

Looked real sad.

Left it alone...

Margaret was here when I woke up. Can imagine how it would feel if she just disappeared. But don't want to think about it. Hurts somewhere deep. And I feel like hell now. Like the tape contained a sickness. Something that spreads.

Been trying all morning to get rid of these emotions. Keep needing to check on Margaret. She is still here...

What the hell was wrong with that kid? Why was the woman sad?

Got the police reports on the various crimes by the Surgeon. Went and saw the first victim. Need to find the Surgeon.

Was having a bad day, but was willing to talk. Could still see the stitches in his skin. Could see where the doctors tried to reattach the flesh to the muscle. Didn't work out that well. Only so much you can do when the skin has been stretched like that. Could have cut off the excess, but there wasn't excess skin. It had just been stretched and sewn. Man looked sick.

Asked him if he ever heard from the man. The Surgeon. Said no. Said he never saw him. Seems to be telling the truth. Was curled up in a ball. Doesn't even seem bothered by it anymore.

I don't want to write anymore today.

Feel sick.

Like I lost someone important. Like I lost Margaret.

Something contagious in that message.

There was a bad thunderstorm last night.

Someone was struck by lightening in the park.

Scorch marks on the grass...

So sick.

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Thu, 17 May 2018 19:52:28 +0000 http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-9-the-old-casette-tape
Building 8 "The Dinner Date" http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-8-the-dinner-date “People here talk a lot about the legends of this place. I don't give them much thought. At least not consciously. But in my dreams...in my dreams I see something impossibly large coming. Something with hands the size of train cars and teeth the size of railroad ties. And every day, in increments, the thing gets closer. And it whispers to me terrible things. About my birth and my life. About the end of the world. And I honestly find the things it says about my family to be far more disturbing.

Existence will eventually end. I will still need to call my mother tomorrow.

How am I supposed to keep all this inside.

These secrets are driving me insane. It is just too much, and I can't tell anyone. Not because I can't. The thing has made very clear that I should. That it would be in the best interest of us all if we knew what was coming and what it knew.

But I always wondered why our basement in my childhood home smelled weird...I never really expected the answer to be anything pleasant. But...not this...if I had known the answer I never would have let myself wonder.

I wouldn't have asked it.

When it first appeared in my dreams it kept asking me what I wanted to know. At first it was a whisper. Just a lingering moan on the wind. But over weeks I was able to make out what it was saying. And so I thought about what I wanted to know. I thought this thing was just my mind. My own curiosity. But it knows things that I wouldn't know till later. So many, awful things.

And so I decided to ask it something. And though I planned at least three other questions, somehow it knew what I needed to know most.

And now I know what made my basement smell so bad. And I wish I didn't. And the thing is still coming. Still getting closer. And I smell the scent of its coarse, wet hair, carried on the storm winds. And when the lightening flashes I see its eyes the color of blood. And it is getting closer. And it is getting closer.

I know how the world will end.

It is coming closer.

It knows things I didn't want to know.”

---

Margaret and I have been going on walks now that the weather is better. I am screaming less at night. Her rest has been calmed as well. At least sometimes.

We went and got ice cream.

She didn't look at me much the entire time.

I asked her what was wrong. Told me. I'm drinking too much...I'm drinking...I told her I would stop drinking when she came back to me.

When I got home I threw out the beer in the house. I want to be drowsy. To block it all out. But not if it means losing her. Not again. Poured it all down the drain. Loyd watched. He still smells like dirt. I have washed him several times. Still smells like dirt.

He was dead. My cat was dead.

Now he isn't.

I thought I missed the heat, but now that it is here I don't. It is stifling. Every time someone walks into the restaurant...blast of hot air. Throws me off. Maybe dehydrated. Need to drink more water. Need to drink only water.

Invited the neighbors with the strange faces over for dinner.

They brought flowers. Really fragrant. They looked sick but insisted they were okay.

The wife looked off. Not put together. Claimed there had been a fire in their previous home. Was why her and her husband looked like that. Didn't mean for her to notice me looking at the deformed skin on her face. Couldn't help it. Saw skin like that on soldiers.

The soldiers. Deformed. I wrote. Needed pictures too. They were supposed to go home. Couldn't fight in that state.

They came home in pieces even if everything was accounted for.

They brought wine. I had to explain I wasn't drinking. Margaret had me make an exception. It was clear they didn't get out much...neither do we.

Invited them over again. Margaret and the wife...Nancy...got on. Talked to the husband about the war. I thought that was why his skin was like that...lights kept flickering.

Needed to get them looked at.

I keep dreaming of the water. That beach.

Something is in the water.

I wake up and my heart is pounding and I have trouble breathing.

Doctor says its panic attacks.

I don't know what I can do now. Already on medicine. Seeing a therapist.

Sometimes I try not to wake up.

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Thu, 03 May 2018 15:11:30 +0000 http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-8-the-dinner-date
The Beach "The Green of the Water" http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/the-beach-the-green-of-the-water "I watched her dip beneath the waves with the same disinterest I had when my dog ran away. I didn't know what to think at the time. I didn't know how I was supposed to react. Or maybe I did and I just didn't want to think about it. She looked across the green, foamy water at me, and all of a sudden all her panic left her. Because another emotion was overwhelming that fear. Something that had to be terrible to make her stop struggling.

She looked at me, and I saw grief in her eyes.

And then she fell under the water and didn't surface again.

My dog ran away when I was little. I was just becoming a teenager, and that made things different for me. I didn't know how I was supposed to react to things. Was I supposed to be an adult? Was it okay to act like a kid. So looking back, the fact I didn't cry when my dog disappeared wasn't surprising. Because I didn't know how to react. So I figured I would react like a man.

What I thought a man was.

So I didn't cry.

Just like I didn't cry as I watched Beth drown.

We planed the entire weekend together. We went to the beach by the old beach house, the broken pieces of concrete littering the shore. We would stay at a local motel and simply spend the weekend relaxing. Relaxing on the beach until we either got bored or satisfied.

There was a local drive-in that was particularly good. It was made of wood stained a deep brown. We stopped there and each got our favorites. I got a root beer float and a burger.

I can't remember what she got.

I think I have blocked it out. What her favorite was. Isn't that what happens? When you experience a trauma, sometimes you block out aspects of it to help you deal with it. A defense mechanism. But I am only forgetting the parts that are pleasant. The parts that involve her. Except her death. That I remember clearly. So why can't I remember what she got to eat?

Did she not matter that much to me?

We were together a while. Maybe...maybe I just wasn't paying attention that day? Maybe I was distracted by something else I can't remember. Or maybe I am a worse person than I ever imagined I was or am. Which is why I didn't save her, even though I probably could have.

She called out to me. She begged me to help her. Her foot got caught by something...something cold was grabbing onto her from under the water and she couldn't get free. I was on the beach at the time. Just watching her. And I knew instantly that she was in trouble. Just by the look on her face. And it would have only taken maybe thirty seconds to get up to her, but I didn't try.

I just watched.

She was someone I thought I cared for and I watched.

I can hear her screaming. I have heard her screams every night since then. I know people would say that is impossible. That you couldn't have the same dream for fifteen years. But I do, and every night I hear her screams. And I was horrified when I realized I had gotten used to it. Like a smell that has been around for such a long time that you just block it out. And I think that makes me feel worse, if I felt any of it at all.

Because I remember the smell of the water and the feel of the sand. Yet I can't remember her face. Only that she looked at me with grief, once she realized I wasn't going to save her. And to this day I have no idea why I didn't. I just felt frozen. And I couldn't decide what I should do.

I did eventually find my missing dog. He was in the woods. He was already dead. I didn't tell my dad, because I didn't want to touch him. I knew my dad would make me bury him. And so I left my dog in the woods. But I remember what my dog looked like, though I don't remember his name. And I remember her name. I remember Beth's name. But I remember every detail of my dog in the woods. The rain in the air. The musty smell of his skin. The feel of his fur.

I left him. I never forgot him.

I left her. I can't remember her face.

I don't know what it means to be a man. What it means to be an adult. I think all these years I never really found out what it meant to be an adult.

All these years I have just been faking."

---

The brown, shaggy fur. I found the dog in the woods on a rainy day...

When I was little.

It rained today.

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Fri, 20 Apr 2018 18:52:28 +0000 http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/the-beach-the-green-of-the-water
Building 12 "The Broken Window" http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-12-the-broken-window "I was finishing brushing my teeth when I heard the noise. I rushed out into the hall, only to feel myself suddenly frozen to the spot. The thing had found me again.

It was taller than me, but thinner. Its skin was pale and clammy despite the cold, its lips cracked and its naked body covered in sores and wounds.

It stood at the top of the landing, beside a broken window. Watching me. Hating me. I had no more excuses to get around it. No more forms of escape. I was too tired to fight anymore. And honestly, I didn't know how.

"I'm not here anymore. And yet you won't let me go. “the thing said in an empty voice.

It was true. I couldn't let go. Or didn't want to. But part of me did want to let go. This sick feeling I kept having every day. I hated it even more than the loss. Because it was a disturbance in the natural order of my life. And I had no idea how to recover from it.

It leered at me, its cold, glassy eyes set above a wide, simpering grin. It was not happy. But it was a perversion of life. So I wanted to see it happy. But it couldn't feel happy. It didn't want to feel anything. It wanted to be dead. And I didn't know how to kill it.

"This isn't`t your house," it whispered, almost compassionately. "They aren't your family. Are you really planning on bringing them into this as well?"

I remained silent. I knew what it meant. These people I lived with said they were there for me. But every day I felt tortured. I felt like they were being punished. I was polluting their lives, and no matter how often they tried to reassure me, I always knew the truth.

That they would be happier.

But I fought that back. I reminded myself that they had come to support me willingly. It didn't matter if I was a mess. They were there for me.

"They are not there for you," the thing murmured, reflecting my thoughts back at me. "They support the other you. The lie that they think is you. But you know the truth. You are and always have been a mess. You always will be a mess. And they mock your pain by wanting you to be different."

I closed his eyes. I tried to find their comfort. I tried to find my strength. But they felt a million miles away. And I felt so lonely. Just myself and this thing. This dead thing. Or perhaps something worse. The thing that seemed to follow me everywhere I went. That seemed to hate me more than I imagined possible.

That thing I loved.

I opened my eyes, and the thing was still there. Its eyes were still glassy. Its skin pale and its hair stringy. I was so so tired of fighting. And I didn't want to hurt them anymore. They didn't really know how much I was hurting them.

I stepped forward towards the thing, that hissed upon my approach. It smelled of bad memories. Or sensations I would sooner forget then cherish. But as I got closer the thing opened its arms and held me as I sank to the ground in tears.

"I miss you and you can't miss me," I said through my sobs.

"No," it said, stroking his hair. "No I can't. I don't. But I am all you have."

And I and the thing sat in the wind of the broken window and the moonlight, sprawled on the ornate rug. And I rocked back and forth, as the thing acted as if to console me. Brushing my hair. Rubbing my back. But all the while it whispered.

"I don't love you. They don't love you. Not the real you. You are in great pain. I feel nothing. You are...sick..."

And I sobbed as I felt my fingers pierce the thin flesh of the thing. Something wriggled underneath, but I knew it was no indication of life. For I found no comfort in death. Nor any comfort in living.

Not at the moment.

I heard a noise of someone calling my name. What felt like my name. They came up the stairs. And as they did the thing vanished in a wisp of smoke. But I felt as if it was still wrapped around me, holding me and whispering the most terrible things.

She reached the top of the stairs and looked down at me. I said nothing. I simply felt the fiend around me and the glass under his legs. I felt heavy and frightened and cold. The glass from the broken window in my hand.

And she came over and wrapped her arms around me without a word. And I struggled inside, as something couldn't stand something else holding me. But I tried to fight, though I was so tired. I focused on the feel of their skin and the sound of their voice.

"We love you...we love all of you...you precious and you are alive."

And I cried, in thick, choking gasps as she looked out the window at the moon.

She was tired. It was written on her face But I was precious to her. I was a mess. And it was hard. But I was real to her.

I was real to those who cared about me.

And I knew the thing that haunted me wasn't going to go away. That it would never let go. But that one day I would be okay, living two lives.

Both equally real.

Witnessed by those who so often found their way to me through the broken window."

It has been weeks. It carries on. The weather is changing. It's warm early. And I ache. She loves me. She is scared I think. I heard something calling out to me. Calling out to me. Outside the glass of the porch. It was raining. Thing was calling. Thing that sounded like a cat.

Couldn’t be the cat. It couldn't be a cat. Loyd was dead. Stepped outside. Thing covered in dirt and old blood stared up at me. Rubbed against my legs. It hurt. I looked at the grave. It was unearthed. Empty. Like it had never held a body.

Loyd. Brought him inside. Margaret didn't ask questions. Helped me give him a bath. He normally hates baths. He must have been...

So cold...

Was warm today. Smells like an early spring.

Things are waking up.

Things locked in the snow are beginning to rot again.

--

[i/TRIED fpr weeks/post thjs. Could’t/som]]thng. Wrong]]]\]

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Thu, 29 Mar 2018 22:43:47 +0000 http://sett.com/wellingtonstreet/building-12-the-broken-window