The Demented World

Clouds / Eden Kupermintz

The Demented World – Part XXI – Clouds

I wish I could say I was regressing. But that would imply that the road behind me still exists. In the clouds now, in the fuzzy in between that I have created for myself, all signs of the present are absent. They’re not gone, for that would imply action on their part. There is only one actor here and he is the clouds. Slowly, they work their arms on the landscape, shaping what once might have been hills, trees, horizons, into an ubiquitous plain of muddled echoes.  Right now, I am lost of my own volition. In the clouds through which I walk I can no longer see myself. What faint light I hoped for, what source of direction that might have been my lighthouse, is swallowed in the body of nearly-solid water. Through this, like a bell whose tongue has been covered in foam, echoes a single realization:

I did this because I’m afraid. I’m so afraid to end this. Inside, I look back at what’s been, still blindingly clear through the clouds. I can easily trace the shimmering railways of the paths I’ve trodden, feel the copper taste of the blood self inflected wounds have drawn. I am filled with awe, somewhere aside from the anger and hate, at the structures I survey. All the more grand in comparison to the mediocre surroundings I now find myself in. If this is the present, an occluded field, devoid of form or shape, what is the future? Nothing remains to rage against. Nothing remains to lean against. My fingers clench and un-clench,  looking to grab some dirt, to strike at something. But all is cloud and striking at clouds is meaningless; all I’m left with is a faint tingling, a soft whisper and a ringing of bells in the distance. I can almost make out the harmony, come to terms with the song. In the background, faint cirrocumulus voices sing, like a choir dismembered across a vast distance. If I try, until the blood is rushing in my ears, I can hear their words:

Turn back. Every sinew of my mind softly beckons for me to turn back. It would have been easier had they shouted. Instead, soft implications, hollow requests, serpentine prayers. Slowly, patiently, worming themselves into my core, like an apple past its picking day. Stumbling, I reach out my hand but encounter only cloud. And so, losing balance, I crash to the soft ground underneath. Gone is the grass, suffocated by too much floating water. Gone is the hill, the tree, the field. All that remains is a colorless, formless mass. Soft beneath my fingers, it offers no resistance. I try to sculpt it, to make something that will last, but it will not take. Sobbing now, I turn to the side, all momentum robbed of me. Looking up, all I can see are clouds. Up and up, for what seems like forever, whiteness. The faint voices still sing, the faint words still somehow resound in the center of all this lost space. My mouth, my thirst slaked, my throat lubricated, forms words. Inquiring, begging, extolling, it says:

“Who. Who will create me again once I am gone. Who. Who will breathe life into me once the clouds come.

Who”.

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