Skindark

hello I am here AGAIN omg!

Sometimes the darkness and I wear many skins.

The pig is still oinking, somewhere behind us. The darkness says, why’d you bark for, you idiot, and it says that now the pig will oink until the end of this universe.

I notice how it says “this universe”. So this is not Reality.

But I am beginning to think that maybe that’s the point.

The streetlights shine on the empty streets.

I want to talk to the darkness. I want to ask if the point is that everything is a skin, that it’s skins all the way down, but I am afraid that it will say yes and that then the streetlights will go out, one by one, and I will go dark.

I look at my skin, at the freckles and the hairs and the tiny wrinkles. What is inside my skin? Blood. Muscles. Bones. Lots of water. Me.

I look at the darkness, at its smooth hard bones. If those bones had been inside the gatorskin, it would have fallen from the tree, maybe. But they weren’t, and it didn’t.

The trees in this place wear a different skin than those trees did. Or the trees that came later, the ones that waved goodbye. I looked at my skin then too. But I don’t think it was the same skin as the one I have now.

I look up at the streetlights.

One of them goes out.

I have been reading about pretentiousness today, with a turn to literary pretentiousness later in the day

Sometimes the darkness and I consist of pain and beauty.

I am the pain, and the darkness is the beauty.

I sit on a wall and dangle my legs down towards the water below. In the distance, beyond a fence, stacks of red freight containers shimmer in the sun. I wonder what is in them.

“All your hopes and dreams”, the darkness answers. It sits on the wall beside me.

I ask it if there are winged kittens here. It says no, that they are not in this iteration of the universe.

I swing my legs a bit. I look at them, trying to decide if they are my legs. They seem familiar, but there is something a little bit off.

What are my hopes and dreams?

Considering the question frightens me, and I decide to not think about that right now. I think about the fence instead.

I ask the darkness, “Have you ever worn a fenceskin?”

It looks at me. Its bones are clearly gray in this light. It reaches out with a skeletal arm, and I feel its finger bones against my forehead.

“I’m not sick”, I say.

Its hand drops. It kicks its feet, and I watch the turquoise water swirl around the gray bones.

It says that it has never worn a fenceskin. I think I hear a sadness in its voice, a grief for the forms of existence that it has not yet experienced.

Or maybe that’s just me.

A sudden breeze carries a whiff of barbecue with it, and I wonder how the giant blue pig is doing. I am sorry that I barked at it and so now it has to oink until the end of this universe.

If my hopes and dreams are in the red containers, I think maybe the white warehouse next to them holds my regrets.

I am very glad for the existence of the fence.

So at dinner I asked the spousal person if Surreal Darkness is pretentious

Sometimes the darkness and I pretend to be something other than what we are.

I say that I want to be a bird, that I want to be free and to fly and to eat worms and to not have to worry about human things like barbed wire fences and smokestacks and hate.

The darkness says that it wore a birdskin once, and that worms don’t actually taste very good.

I don’t care. I still want to be a bird.

The darkness says that it wants to be human, that it wants to feel the pricking of the barbed wire against its humanskin, to glow red with hate, to send the ashes of its enemies curling upwards into the sky. It says that it wants to know blood and spit and sweat and pain.

I look at it, at the expression in its eyes, and I cross my arms in front of myself.

I just want to be a bird.

Because it is all abstract and conceptual and everything

Sometimes the darkness and I go to the town garden at night. We discuss the value of knowledge and death, and the taste of apples.

The darkness says that it is better to be ignorant and to live forever than to know Reality and to die, and that apples are too sweet for its taste.

I say “You know Reality, and you live forever.”

The darkness looks at me. I cannot read the depths of its glowing red eyes. It hisses “Do you think that I am alive?”

I look at the apple tree, at the yellow light from the streetlight falling through its leaves. The apples look ripe and juicy, and I have always liked sweet things. My stomach rumbles.

I don’t know anything, and I am dying anyway.

he said that people who didn't know me and/or didn't get my sense of humor would think that it was pretentious

Sometimes the darkness and I are still sitting in the garden when the sun rises.

I stand up and turn around. I look out across the road, at the trees and the houses and, far off in the distance, the empty flat skyscrapers.

If I went over to the apple tree and pulled off an apple and ate it, would I become like the darkness? A void that has to wear the skins of other lives?

Would it be worth it to know Reality?

I am so hungry.

The darkness says that its bones are weary. I wonder if it means that it’s tired of wearing its boneskin, and if it will find a new skin soon. Maybe if you know everything it is easy to get tired of skins, to become bored with all the lives that you try.

I ask, “What is it like to know Reality?”

The darkness sits on the bench, which does look rather uncomfortable when all you are is bones, and it does not reply. Not for a long time. I turn back towards the garden, and I sit back down next to it.

Finally, it hisses an answer.

“It is like being a skeleton sitting on a wooden bench. There is no comfort, no support, and you are utterly alone in the emptiness.”

I say, “Oh, is that all? I’ve been through that already”, and I reach for an apple.

but that they would be wrong, because actually it's hilarious

Sometimes the darkness and I walk through the garden of knowledge and ignorance.

I eat the apple from the apple tree as we walk. Its juice dribbles down my chin. I wonder when the knowledge of all Reality is going to hit. How will it feel? Like an icepick to the eye, maybe, or like an ulcer eating into a vein. I am looking forward to it.

The darkness is still wearing the bones. Its calcaneus bones and metatarsals click on the sidewalk. Its red eyes burn and burn and burn.

It says, “The apples are meaningless. They hold no power. You wish for knowledge, but your humanskin cannot handle it. It would destroy you.”

It says, “You are innocent. You make up illusions because you cannot handle Reality, and you believe in your illusions so much. Like your illusion that an apple has meaning, that an apple can show you the secrets of Reality.”

It says, “I have taken you to Reality, and you still cannot see it. Because you are not meant to see it. You see streetlights and a stream and wild long grass and a meandering walk. You do not see the howling emptiness.”

It says, “I like you as you are.”

It says, “Give me the apple.”

I answer “Too late”, and I swallow the last bite.

The icepick drives right through my eye into my brain, the ulcer eats into my vein, the streetlights and the stream and the wild long grass and the meandering walk disappear, and I howl and howl into the emptiness.

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5 Responses to Skindark

  1. Echo Weaver says:

    The darkness showing the narrator “Reality” in the last chapter seems to have been your transition from Sims 3 to Sims 4.

    The narrator seems less…. frightened? of the darkness in this chapter. He seems to be learning to put up with the darkness’s melodrama :).

    Like

    • medleymisty says:

      Yeah, but actually I don’t think I planned it that way, and it just happened that I got Sims 4 when I was at that point in the story. 😉 And yeah, they’re getting to know each other and be friends. 🙂

      Like

  2. Oh my goodness! This is probably one of my favorite chapters yet. I love the part about the streetlights. I had an obsession with streetlights… actually I still sort-of do – in my writing (and funny it hasn’t come up in my SimLit yet… it should *makes mental note*). I wrote several stories about streetlights – one whimsical, one violent, and a few just random musings. There’s something about artificial light at night on the street that beckons to me and makes me want to write about it which is funny because I don’t like artificial light in my house. (I do use lamps/lights but if I can help it I’d prefer natural lighting or candlelight or a flickering fire in the fireplace. I prefer low lighting because there’s something in the mood and tone it sets be it romantic, relaxing, mysterious, inviting, comforting, even with the shadows lurking or dancing about. I think this is why I like streetlights for some odd reason. I want to dance beneath them.)

    When you mentioned the streetlight going out, it reminded me of a time in college when I used to take late night walks in the neighborhood with one of my best friends. He and I would joke about this one streetlight always going out right as we were about to pass it. At first it were weird, but then it became familiar and comforting in an odd sort of way, almost as if it knew we were coming and called us to enjoy the darkness.

    I liked how the narrator wanted to talk to the darkness but was afraid of the answer. I feel like I’ve done this on numerous occasions. I’ve sat in the dark and asked questions, biting my lip as I waited for a response. My mom always thought it was odd but I liked to eat a bowl of cereal with milk while sitting on the counter late at night in the dark. I found the darkness comforting and it gave me the chance for my mind to wander and to ask questions about life, love, happiness, purpose, pain, etc. I’d wait almost as if expecting an answer from the night. This isn’t something I can do during the day because in the daytime there’s too much noise and clutter and light. But the darkness provides a clarity and an understanding that just doesn’t happen otherwise.

    I loved the part about pain and beauty. I found it interesting you chose to give the darkness beauty and the narrator pain. I have a love/hate relationship with the dark, but I love how there’s beauty even in the shadows, good even in the worst and darkness exemplifies this for me. I thought the stacks of freight carrying hopes and dreams was awesome. Again, this reminds me of a time during college when I’d wander down to the railroad tracks in the woods behind my school with one of my closest friends. He and I would wander along the tracks and find our place beneath the bridge and wait for trains to come. We’d count the cars and wonder where they were headed. I think he wrote a poem personifying the “hopes and dreams” being carried away on the train cars. I remember we’d walk down the tracks further to the dock overlooking the river and sit on the wall above the dam and let our legs dangle over the side, swinging back and forth, as we’d watch the water rush on forever and the trains on the track whistle by. I remember feeling serenity. I remember feeling connected to everything around me. This is what I imagine when I read this scene.

    I think it’s also interesting how the narrator senses a sadness in the darkness, a grief for things not yet experienced. That intrigues me. I’m not sure why. But I like the image. It makes me sympathize with the darkness in a way I haven’t yet. I also thought the white warehouses housing regrets was interesting. The color white is often associated with purity and beauty. However, white can also mean sterile and empty. I think there’s an emptiness in white (and in the light sometimes) that we, in our busy everyday lives with all the clutter and noise, don’t always see or may even intentionally ignore. The acknowledgment of regret in white warehouses seems important and symbolic to me for this reason.

    The bird dream is beautiful too. I like how the darkness tries to discourage the narrator and the narrator gets almost pouty when crossing the arms. “I just want to be a bird.” It’s a beautiful dream. A world without barbed wire fences (painful barriers) and smokestacks (pollution whether real or symbolic) and hate.

    I like how you juxtaposed the taste of apples with knowledge and death. Very Garden of Eden-esque. I can almost taste apples now – crisp juicy first bites… oh darn! Now I want an apple! I like the narrator’s response when the darkness says reality is like a skeleton sitting on a wooden bench without comfort or support and totally alone. It’s as if the narrator is being sarcastic but without being flippant. I don’t know how to explain that in words. It’s more of an emotion. “Oh is that all?” You captured that well. I’m bumbling with my words at the moment. It’s like the narrator is welcoming the pain because reality for the narrator is already painful and there is truth flowing in the pain, truth that is denied in the un-reality. What’s the opposite of reality? No, I like the word un-reality.

    But then the reality of the reality hits and it’s despair and loneliness and pain beyond imagining. Oh! This is so good. I can’t get enough. I seriously must go away now and process and write madly in my journal. I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • medleymisty says:

      Thank you so so so so so so much, like really a lot thank you forever.

      I guess I have a somewhat different view of streetlights. I see what you mean about it, and sometimes I think they’re nice, but I also think that they can be very depressing. Like an isolated road at night with no one on it but it’s all lit up by the streetlights.

      Awwww. 🙂 The spousal person and I walked around campus a lot at night too. I don’t recall any lights going out just as we got to them on a regular basis though. I like the idea of it being an invitation to enjoy the darkness!

      I love the image of you eating cereal in the dark and pondering things. My job means I drive a lot by myself during the day, so I find that driving is a good time for that.

      That seemed to be how the narrator would see it, with the pain and the beauty. Awww, sometimes I want to follow train tracks but I’m scared of a train coming. That’s AWESOME that he wrote about the hopes and dreams in the train cars. And the water too. So I could see how you’d connect that picture. It’s one of my favorites.

      With all the reading about the Holocaust I’ve done since I was nine, that’s one of my main associations with trains, sadly.

      Hmmm – I’ll be interested in how your feelings about the darkness change as the story goes on. And yeah, I can see what you mean about white. A favorite image of mine is the white of empty department store shelves under the fluorescent light.

      The bird pic is from Sims 3. 🙂 It just randomly crept in and I found a place to put it. And again, it goes back to all the reading I’ve done about the Holocaust, with the fences and the smokestacks and the ash curling up into the sky and the hate. I thought about that a lot when I was 9. Which I guess is why my mother signed me up for Big Brother/Big Sister that year. And one of the things that I thought about was what it would be like to be a bird that could fly into the camp and then fly out, and what it would be like to be a prisoner watching that bird that was free to go where it wanted, because it wasn’t a human and so it didn’t have to deal with human things like genocide.

      Yeah, for all the Christian imagery in Surreal Darkness you’d think I grew up around it, but I really didn’t. So I don’t know where it comes from, other than just absorbing it from the general culture. I didn’t plan it that way, but well – garden shots, apple trees in the game…had to run with it, right?

      I get what you mean. That bit was, like much of my work, inspired by my own experiences. I guess I was thinking “Well, I’ve already been through the Bad Times”. And the narrator had been through that moment in the Endarkening when there was nothing there, and then I think the narrator was very alone before the darkness showed up. I guess, like you say, the narrator already knows pain.

      I like unreality too! 🙂 And the idea of truth flowing in the pain. I like that very much.

      And there too, I’ve had an ulcer eat into a vein before, as the culmination of the Bad Times. And that was the worst pain I’d ever felt in my life. Nine weeks of level 7 to 9 chest pain. I’d hyperventilate from the pain sometimes. I couldn’t lie down, because that hurt too much. Driving made it worse, but I had to drive for my job. By the end, before the ulcer hemorrhaged, I was just sitting in the reading chair, stock still and gray-faced and grimacing, unable to sleep but everything was so heavy and pressing down, and I made it through that last night before going to the ER by imagining things that were opposites veering away from each other, which I used in Because Death Would Not Stop For Seth.

      But that’s what it took to get me to see reality.

      Yay I’m glad you liked it so much! 🙂 *hugs* Makes me very excited for you to read future chapters and see what you think of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can understand street lights being depressing – looking down a street and no one around. They can make a street look very lonely.

        We used to walk down the tracks often, but you could see really far in either direction so you could tell when a train was coming. Or hear the rumblings.

        I like what you said about the prisoner and the bird. It’s sad, but moving imagery.

        Ouch! Ulcers are no fun. I’ve never had one, but I’ve known people who have. I can only imagine.

        I’m looking forward to reading more.

        Like

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