Saturday, 26 October 2013

Conversations With My Psychiatrist (Part 1)

“Tell me, Damian… why are you here?”

“What?” I remember the bluntness of the question terrifying me, making me sick to my stomach, my hands began to shake, and my brow began to sweat. I had to force myself to swallow the overwhelming mixture of spit and phlegm that was squatting in my mouth, and feel it tumble clumsily down my dry throat. “What sort of question is that?”

The good doctor relieved his nose of the pressure of his glasses, and wiped the immaculate lenses on his bright, white shirt before settling them back, with care, on his face. “I believe it is a fair enough question, you’ve been coming to me for several months now, and I’m yet to understand exactly why you are here, it says here-“ he lifted up some of the papers piled on his desk and briefly glanced at a file somewhere near the bottom of the pile, “yes- it says you checked yourself into therapy, but you did not give a reason, and you haven’t told me anything thus far that would lead me to believe you need to be here.” He straightened out his already creaseless tie and coughed lightly. “I have told you before now, that if you do no provide us with a valid reason, we shall be forced to discharge you, the only reason you are still here now is because you have insisted, but now it is my turn to insist; I would like you to tell me why you are here, so that I can help you, it benefits you to tell me, far more than it does me.”

I remember how heavy my breathing became, I had to close my eyes for a moment, I could feel the anger building inside me, but I didn’t want him to see that… I wanted to confront him, but I couldn’t- I couldn’t bring myself to.

“Maybe there isn’t any definitive reason… but surely, if I feel the need to be here, surely that’s enough… right?”

“It is clear to me that you have some issues, Damian, but until you communicate with me, there is no way I can help you, and so long as you don’t, there is really no need for you to be here.”

I began to panic then. I didn’t want to be discharged, I didn’t want to face everything alone again, I wanted to be there. My mind began to frantically pace the corridors of my anxiety, each of them blending into one another, until there remained just one single idea.

“Okay… I have a problem, a problem with trust, and I find it hard to communicate with people I don’t trust.”

“You can trust me, Damian.”

“You say that… but can I? I have no reason- no reason to, trust- at least to me- trust is earned, not given because it says so on a certificate. I need to be able to trust you.” I remember rambling on like this for a while; I also remember thinking how unusual the word ‘trust’ sounded after some time, until he interrupted me.

“Damian, what can I do, that will make you trust me?” There it was again, how strange, that word: ‘trust’.

“You need to tell me something about yourself.”

“Okay, anything in particular?” He asked, nonchalantly.

“Something you wouldn’t particularly want to share with me, something- something you would have to trust me with.”

“Anything you have in mind?”

“A memory- a bad one- something embarrassing, maybe? Or something painful…”

“I don’t know-“

“It’ll work, trust me-“ I remember that being the first time I had smiled in that office, it was small, but light, largely made of wood; wooden floor, wooden desk, wooden bookshelf. It felt homely. I could tell that the doctor was somewhat apprehensive about sharing with me, but maybe it was the sight of me smiling that caused him to change his mind, it was after all, the first time.

“Fine-“ he paused for some time, and seemed to search for the perfect memory to recite, “a few years ago,” he began, “I was driving back home” he continued, “it was late, and I had just had one of the shittiest days of my entire career, but it was about to get a hell of a lot worse.” He sighed and interlocked his fingers, “I stopped at a set of lights, when all of a sudden this guy- a patient of mine starts banging on my car window, obviously he had recognised the car or something- I don’t know- anyway, he is shouting and screaming and crying at me, telling me I was the worst person he had ever known, telling me that I was a useless psychiatrist and that I hadn’t helped him one bit-“ He sighed again, louder this time, and longer too; he looked to the floor, “now this guy, he had some serious issues, he was bipolar among other things, I won’t go into detail- anyway- like I said, I’d had a shit day, and I just wanted to get home, but this guy, he was basically just rubbing salt into the wound, he sent me over the edge- I didn’t stop to talk to him, I didn’t even wind down my window, I just stuck my middle finger up and drove off.”

I must have looked somewhat shocked, or maybe he thought I should simply be shocked as a natural reaction to his tale, as he began to try and explain further.

“Next week, he didn’t turn up for his session, I wasn’t exactly surprised by that, I wouldn’t have turned up if I was him, but it wasn’t until later that day that I was told that he had killed himself that night,” he took off his glasses one more time, just to be sure every miniscule particle of dust was vacant, and rubbed them against the white fabric of his sleeve, “I’ve had to live with that for some time now, I essentially murdered a man, but if his death can help someone else- if it can help you communicate with me, then he will not have died for nothing.”

“What was his name?” I felt the compulsion to ask, and did so, without thinking, which was extremely uncharacteristic of me.

“I don’t think that is relevant.”

“I’m sorry.”

“That’s fine, Damian, now, is there something you wish to tell me?”

The sweat on my brow had ceased to exist, and my hands were hardly trembling at all, but I still felt sick, I still had that horrible urge to regurgitate all of the shit I had forced myself to eat. He had done what I had asked of him, and it had made me trust him more, it didn’t erase the fear however, it didn’t stop the fact that once I began to utter the words that were the narrative of my life, that they would solidify and become a part of reality, a reality which I would then be forced to face head on, with no-one to help me, or guide me, or tell me how I should tackle it.

“There are quite a few things I wish to tell you, but they are not things that I really want to speak out loud…”

“Well, let’s try starting with one of the less severe things you want to talk about, and we’ll work our way up from there, and hopefully, you’ll be able to trust me as we go on.”

“I suppose we could do that… okay, well, I think basically, I keep trying… I’m afraid of living.”

“What do you mean by that exactly Damian? Do you mean you are afraid of being alive, or do you mean that you are afraid to live?”

On some level I understood the distinction he was trying to make, but on the surface, that distinction seemed pretty arbitrary and ultimately meaningless, and more simply put; it confused me.

“I don’t know… both I suppose?”

“Okay, so what would you say the main characteristic of your fear is?”

I could break my fear down into many things, the fear of the outside world being one of them, the fear that life was ultimately meaningless and void of anything that could possibly hold any form of meaning was another. Honestly, what was the point? That was what I told him.

“Would you say you fear the outside world, or that you just simply do not like it there?”

It felt too soon to be answering such deep, elaborate questions, but for the sake of our agreement, I tried my best.

“There is nothing in the outside world that I would consider to be good, there are no good people in the world for one, and the world is full of horrors and atrocities that I don’t have the courage to face- but it’s more than that- why I am here, I mean- I am terrified of everything out there, but at the same time-“ I remember laughing in frustration and anger, “this is going to sound ridiculous,” I sighed, “despite hating and fearing the world, I desperately want to be a part of it.”

The doctor studied me for a while, his eyes boring into mine. He picked up the cup of coffee that was sat on his desk and brought it to his lips. I noticed the monotone, rhythmic ticking of the clock at that moment, and began to monitor it as closely as I could.

“Humanity- or at least the majority of humanity- craves human interaction; it is not unusual for you to feel that you want to be a part of the world, if you isolate yourself for long enough, you begin to develop that craving. If anything, I believe this is a good sign, if you told me you had absolutely no desire to be in contact with the community,  I would be led to believe that you were a severe sociopath, as it goes, you are looking more and more human.”

That was a surprise for me.

“I’m not a sociopath?”

“It’s too early to tell for sure, do you believe you are?”

I considered for a moment…

“I don’t see how I am not, I am completely apathetic to everything, I don’t care about anyone or anything anymore.”

“You truly believe that?”

“I do.”

The ticking of the clock was still the same, it ticked at regular intervals, and never sped up or slowed down, but the hands of the clock had moved, and it was almost time for me to leave, a fact that had become apparent to the good doctor.

“Damian, I would like to thank you for opening up to me today, we’ve made some excellent progress, do you think you’ll be able to continue this way in our next session?”

“I’ll try.”

“Good, until next time then…” He held out his hand- he hadn’t done that before- I supposed I should grab it, and shake it, the motion had always confused me however, I was never entirely sure what purpose it served… still, I did it. I turned to leave, but there was one question that was burning at the back of my  mind, and it was something I had to get out now, or I would never mention again, I knew that I wouldn’t…


“Please, call me-“

“No, no, no don’t… please… I was wondering… do you think there is something wrong with me?”
For the final time that afternoon, he removed his glasses, but this time he did not wipe them, he simply placed them next to his coffee mug.

“Damian, you could search the world, meet every person in existence and still not find a single human who doesn’t have something ‘wrong’ with them, you are not an anomaly, you are not a  freak, there is nothing ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ about you, you are simply… you, and dwelling on what you consider to be your flaws is a pointless exercise, one I would consider trying to cut out, at the very least reduce, because you will drive yourself mad if you consider it for too long.”

I considered what he had said, and knew that my answer would have been the same, no matter what words came out of his mouth.

“I think I want there to be something wrong with me…” And then I left.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Silence

...And i'm back!

Apologies for not posting for some time... The move to University hasn't really left me with much free time, and the free time I have had has been used watching Breaking Bad instead of actually doing anything productive, but I shall do my best to get back on schedule... or something.

As recompense for not posting for such an extended period, here is something I produced for a seminar I had last week... be warned, it's pretty depressing, and pretty dark, but isn't most of the stuff I have on here?

The Silence

“I know who you are”
She said;
Lost in a blinding dream.

“I know who you are”
She wailed;
With no air in her lungs to scream.

“You are the pride, you are the sloth
That has been sent to punish me for living this way.
You are the lust, you are the greed
That has come here to see that I dutifully pay
For my crimes, for my cowardice and for my fear.
You are the glutton, you are the envy
That is here to judge if I am humbly sincere.
You are my own wrath
For leading myself down this foolish path.”

“I know who you are”
She cried;
Her tears impairing her vision.

“I know who you are”
She sobbed;
Sincerely regretting her decision.

And as the darkness took her,
And her pain disappeared into the night
Her senses dulled and crippled,
She uttered with both defeat and defiance:

“I know who you are-
The Silence.”

Glyph. (Part 4)

Isaac rushed into the house and ran up the stairs to grab his coat.

“Mom? Mom! I’m going out!”

His mother appeared in the kitchen doorway.

“What are you talking about? I’ve just made us some dinner, plus you’ve only just got in!”

“Trust me, it’s really important, don’t wait up for me, I’ll give you a text to let you know when I’m coming back!”


“Bye, gotta go, love you!”

“Isaac, get here right now, you aren’t leaving until you tell me where you are going!”

Isaac sighed, knowing what he had to do, but regretting it before it was even done. He walked up to his mother and looked her in the eyes, he erased all worry and concern out of her mind, and made sure she would go to bed at a decent time instead of waiting up for him. He kissed her gently on the cheek. “I’ll see you later, mom.”

She nodded quietly before entering the kitchen again.

“Be safe, Isaac!” she called out just as he left the house. Amazing, even when she isn’t worried or concerned at all, she still says that- it must be instinctive, rather than a product of concern.

He had little time to dwell on it however, he needed to meet P quickly, they had arranged a time and place, and Isaac couldn’t imagine anything good coming of tardiness. There was a bus that would take him into the city centre; from there it was only a few minutes’ walk to the designated meeting point. Turning a corner on the street he could see the bus approaching, and rushed to make it on time.

It turned out to be quite busy at that night. There were only a few seats available, and none of the occupants of the neighbouring seats looked particularly welcoming. Isaac sat at the awkwardly at the back, he refrained from reading anyone’s mind, although he was tempted, his run in with Scorch had left him somewhat shaken. The bus stopped a frustrating great amount of times at the designated stop points to pick up passengers who could no longer sit, so were forced to stand holding onto the bars on the ceiling.

Eventually the bus arrived at Isaac’s stop. Several minutes late, Isaac noted. This meant he now had to rush to the meeting point also. As he exited the bus the enormity of the city dawned on him. He was at the very centre and the buildings towered above him, suddenly he was nervous, he was way out of his depth here, there was too much at stake, he was getting involved in things he had no business being involved in, with people whose names he didn’t even know.

P would be waiting for him. Fearful of getting lost, he checked his phone one more time, looking at the route his map was giving him, it seemed pretty simple: left, left, right, left, left, right, right, right, left, then straight for a while, then left one final time.  Easy… right?

The roads and pavements all blended into one, every street equally as enormous and uniform as the other, somehow however, he found his way into the alley they had agreed to meet in. Just as he had anticipated, she was there, waiting for him.

“You’re late.”

“I’m sorry, the bus driver picked up every single person on the way here…”

“It does not matter, what do you have for us?”

“Earlier today, after we met, I went to a local library, there was a man there, not much older than me, said his name was Scorch, he had…”

“Go on.”

Isaac motioned towards his eye, “markings of some sort, on his eye, he was blind, but he said he could see, see everything-“

“What did these marking look like?”

Isaac became very aware of another man standing directly behind P, and another approaching himself from behind, both of them wearing dark suits, and earpieces.

“It looked like an X, with some embezzlements.”

“I see… and how do you know that this is the man we are looking for exactly?”

“I- I- I don’t, I saw-“

“What did you see?”

Isaac sighed deeply, feeling sick with fear as he felt the presence of the two men edging closer. He knew he had to tell her the truth, otherwise she would never believe.

“This won’t make any sense unless I show you-“

Isaac pulled off his glove and raised his hand so she could see his palm. Almost at the same moment he felt a cold block of metal press against the back of his head- a gun. The man stood beside P was also aiming a gun directly at his head. The man behind him whispered.

“Don’t try anything- lower your hand.”

Isaac did as he was told, shaking slightly

P Smirked, “I knew it.”

“So what, I’ve given you valuable information and you are just going to kill me?”

“Anyone in possession of a Glyph is a danger to all of mankind and must be eliminated, I hope you understand.”

The man stood next to P suddenly changed his stance; he pointed his gun at her head, with a click.

“Jackson, what the hell do you think you are doing?”

“I’m sorry P, he can’t hear you right now, he’s under my control, so you can shoot me if you like, but if I die, he will fire, and he won’t stop firing until you are confirmed dead.”

“Well done Isaac, you have successfully proven my point.”

“I was backed into a corner, what did you expect me to do? I am not your enemy, the real danger is out there, his name is Scorch, and you are only giving him more time to put his plans into action while you are wasting your time here with me!”

Isaac raised his voice, clearly the situation was getting out of control, but he was unsure exactly how to resolve it. The only thing he could do was try and trump whatever it was she threw his way.

“And what are his plans exactly?”

“Let me go and I might tell you-“

“In case you were not aware Isaac, I can quite easily rid you of your power, of your glyph, if I wanted to, so it is in your best interests to tell me everything you know.”

Her voice, whilst remaining cold was now clearly conveying a tone of anger and frustration. Isaac sensed this woman rarely did not get her own way.

“I think I’ll decide what is in my best interests from now on…”

P glared at Isaac maliciously, her hand twitching, obviously eager to act, but held back by the fear of the guard at her side.

“Do not, push me!”

An old, rusty door at the side of the alley opened abruptly, banging loudly against the wall as it swung open. A bald man appeared in the doorway.

“P, you need to see this!”

“What is it, Franklin?”

“You need to see, some guy named Scorch is on every network, he’s making demands- what is going on here?”

“Never mind! Give us a minute!” P’s face had grown red, and her fists were clenched at her side, “Isaac, it seems you were telling the truth, would you come with me?”

“I want to stop this guy- but I’m not going anywhere with you!”

“I give you my word that no harm shall come to you until we have caught this man, and we have him in our custody.”

Isaac couldn’t read her mind, but he sensed she was telling the truth, plus this was the only way he was going to stop Scorch, he couldn’t do it by himself, he knew that much.


“Thank you.”

The four of them entered the door and found themselves in a vast conspiracy of tunnels, all of them identical to look at, and all of them winding. P however, navigated them expertly and soon they were in a large open area, with wires strewn across the floors and group together, pinned against the walls and ceilings. All of the walls were glass, and there were dozens of workspaces, all with complex looking computer setups, with some equally obscure technology. On the far wall was a large screen, and that was where Scorch’s face was mounted, in HD, and as menacing as ever. His voice rang out through the room.

“I shall repeat this one final time, for those of you who are just joining us, I have taken control of every channel, every frequency and therefore every screen throughout the entire country, I have done this for one reason and one reason alone, and that is to deliver a message directly to you all. This country’s government is a lie. It is corrupt; it is built upon lies and controlled by more lies. Every major corporation and business that you welcome into your home has a puppet and each of these puppets has a chair in government, and together they recreate a giant fucking Punch and Judy show for us all to enjoy in our ignorance. Why should this effect you, I hear you ask? Well, my friends, my brothers, you do not know the extent of this disease that is democracy, you cannot conceive the severity of the cancer that is eating away at our society, it needs to be destroyed. The lies you have been told- the deception- it begs belief. I do not expect you to act upon my word alone however, which is why I intend to reveal to you, every hour, for the next 72 hours, a secret the government does not want you to know. I believe you will find this experience enlightening my brothers, my sisters, my friends, to discover what is being done with your hard earned money, to discover the many, many atrocities that are being covered up daily on our very streets! I promise you, that when we are through, those who evade persecution shall be delivered justice, and all of those who have spent their lives being punished daily- shall find liberty”

Scorch’s passion was so convincing that Isaac could almost believe it, despite knowing, in his heart, he was as apathetic as it was possible to be. The face on the screen did not speak for a moment; instead, it seemed to contemplate something. Scorch appeared to be stalling.

“And I say to those who would stop me, think on your own sins before you act, look amongst yourselves before you trust and then- only then- may you decide which side you wish to choose. Look upon this as enlightenment, and you will see that my cause is just.”

The screen flashed and was then enveloped by darkness. P looked inquisitively at Isaac.

“It would seem Scorch has already put his plan in motion.”

“No- that was not the plan he had in mind when I met him, he has changed his tactics.” Isaac was overcome with indecision. He knew Scorch was bad news, but his words were convincing him otherwise.

What he is saying sounds legitimate- but it can’t be- can it? He is a craze, power hungry, unfeeling dictator. He doesn’t care about liberation of the people, he doesn’t care about justice or equality or… What is it the government is hiding anyway? What could be so bad that the people would-

“He’s going to create chaos! That’s it! The people will rise up against the government, and the government will try and put the people down, and when all the dust settles, everyone will look to him for the solution, he will become the champion of the people, the saviour, and he will rule over everyone with no regard for any of them- no-one but himself.” Isaac shook his head, the ramifications of such a thing were frightening, he couldn’t let it happen, “we have to stop him.”

“Agreed,” stated P, “for now, you’ll be working with us Isaac, we will need your full support in this.”

“I see- and what exactly is my role here?”

P’s mouth curled up into a smile, and her dark eyes glimmered, it was frighteningly unnatural.

“Simple… you’re going to be bait.”