Before the Cult

       Sandy Masia / Thrillers & Crime
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The sun shone through the windshield as it drowned into the horizon. It rather drown than grace such monstrosities like us with its warmth. That we respected, that we expected. The dirt road was peculiarly bumpy, not shying from expressing its discomfort and dislike. That we detested. Its judgmental and callous attitude rattling our truck to its joints and bolts. That was to be expected from a dirty dirt road, but this afternoon the mood was not that gracious in the truck. It was one accompanied with clenching jaws and flaring nostrils. An atmosphere not fond of intrusion of distraction.
Macxermillio was the agent of its fortification, his hands tightly grasping the wheel. His breathing laborious the more discomfited he became. With the same discomfiture, Macfearson played the clip in a loop desperately hoping he had overlooked something or, even more desperate, that we had not filmed well. The more he watched the more irrefutable the conclusion became. We had failed.
Macfearson sighed and wearily dropped his hands into his lap, his mouth gaping and eyes staring into nothingness. “No,” he mouthed. Seeing defeat on his face was a scary sight because it was rare.
“Maybe we just have to lay low a little or move,” Macxermillio said putting up defences, or maybe he was attempting to convince himself of a different truth. “Avoid being caught, of course.”
Deep into his being he sensed how foul the whole practice was. Not because it was repulsive and malevolent but because it was not solving our problem. The practice was never just a means to an end, it was also an end in itself because it facilitated much-needed pleasure. The kind of pleasure that easily becomes the centre of all our pursuits and aspiration. The malice of it (the sampling) is the merciless drive to erode conscience and rob all the affection the heart has to offer and channel it onto itself. Often by establishing blind loyalty and an incorruptible ignorant will to feed its bottomless desire. A pastime pleasure evolves into a need and then an endpoint in itself. The tragic part is that the practice was also instrumental because so often the line is easily blurred. The line between doing the sampling for the crop or sampling because we just enjoy it. The latter is unhelpful but not easy to give up, so the sampling had to show some validity and results in order for us to feel like we are actually doing something. The lack of any results was disturbing and threatened not only our self-image but could spoil our pleasure as well, because then we would be no different to a lifeling killer. So defending validity of the sampling was important to maintain an unsparing appetite and an image. And learning that we had no reason to continue sampling was unacceptable and indigestible. We were unwilling to accept at the heart, not in the mind.
In moments of emotional tension, my mind would spontaneously play songs in clips as if my subconscious is trying to communicate something to me in a language I can easily comprehend. After all dreams and psychosomatic symptoms are never clear and to the point. Not to say the songs were helpful either but it was a point to begin. The effort to follow the leads and interpret the clips seldom came and I just appreciated this peculiar trend. It was incredibly distracting and sometimes soothing because there was no place like music where I found sanctuary, meaning and felt understood to a degree. And in the car they began rolling:
“If I could find the time to speak…” Evans Blue’s Painted, the vocalist’s voice embedded in profound hurt and despair. “…they never said I’d end up like this…” Marilyn Manson’s Unkillable Monster. “…We finish and wish we can start again…” Hurt’s Fall Apart, the song carries on to say “ So woe is me when all falls apart…”. And then a desperate scream portraying a futile protest for peace in a storm of melody, “No…No More” from Hurt’s Overdose. Then an almost crooning voice in a state of numbness and mental decay, “ …if you were me what would you do? Probably nothing…” from Korn’s Faget. And another one from Korn’s Make Me Bad “ I am watching the rise and fall of my salvation…”. Then with…
Impulsively I uttered, “We gonna end up like Calvin.”
Macxermillio gave me one of his hard to read looks from the driver's seat. Then he shifted his attention to the road as if nothing had been said, or perhaps he did not even have the energy to react. In the meantime, my words awkwardly hung in the air, troubling me.
After a few moments of silence Macfearson gave a weary snorted laugh, his eyes fixed on the dashboard. “You never knew him?” he murmured.
“What?”
"Calvin," He said. "You never knew him."
“Yes.” I reluctantly agreed, not getting his point. I wanted to say “so what?” But I suspected that would agitate him.
His shoulders slumped and his facial expression became softer and contemplative. He sighed. “You are right. A noose around a neck would do it right now. Perhaps the best thing.” He paused as if he expected a scolding. After prolonged silence he continued, “ I see why he might have gave up. Why he might have felt so alone and in pain that he delivered himself to the unknown.” He paused again to take a deep breath. “Is that not the best thing? The only escape?”
“Out of this mess?”
Macfearson stayed silent for a little while. “The calling has a way of convincing us that suicide is the way that makes complete sense. It distorts reason and instinct. I still hold that to go off to a beautiful lie, if the calling can’t be trusted, is the most peaceful death.”
Apart from dealing with the possibility that the calling might have deceived us about suicide as a transition tool (one of the things the calling whispered in our ears) to home there was the possibility that we were doing something faulty methodically. The other possibility, which intuitively felt unlikely, was the possibility that we had not discovered one more mode of suicide; it started to feel like digging against a rock. Nothing was coming out of it. Something had to be wrong. We were back at doubting that the voices in our head (the calling communicates with feelings and our respective mental voices) truly spun from a place of wisdom and goodwill. We also began to question our perspective on the situation of being stranded in a world we don't belong and the means of transportation.
We were meticulous at carrying out the sampling. Even with that record on our side, we couldn't carry on making people disappear. With every sampling, there was a shred of evidence and clues that were left behind, at this point the accumulation of evidence was becoming really substantial. The town being a small town, suspects were easy to make, connections were easily drawn and the authorities had too much time in their hands. Not too much time, just sufficient and effective. We had given all our best to Jay's sampling. Twenty experiments and no results. In our most logical of places, we knew that either we needed to expand our cognizance on the issue or implement different approaches. Although we despised it, maybe the sampling was not the solution and maybe the calling was never going to help with anything. The pragmatics and engendering a will to change was the overwhelmingly hard part, because we had no one else, but mostly because the weight of this world on our lives’ essence was becoming alarmingly depowering. Pushing us closer to annihilation, leaving no room for sanity and well-being.
With it our minds were becoming leisurely. A leisurely mind has no drive or will. A mind orientated towards leisure alone is a dead mind. Very close to nothingness and death. And soon a dead mind bores itself…and when that happens we end up as Calvin with a noose the only medal and reward for our quest. The scummy smelly butt print on the sofa the only mark you leave behind. A leisurely mind is a given up mind.
Macfearson spoke in a controlled voice with his bellicose frustration shimmering underneath, “You ever had good coffee?With no sugar?”
“Yes?”
“Bitter. And when you’re done you have this tart aftertaste just sitting there in your mouth. Delicate and lasting, enticing you to have another. Calvin was like that," he paused. Then sternly he continued, "He might have gone the way he did, but he never tried to drag anyone down with him. He knew it was over for him, but that is no indication that he did not believe in what we were doing. He was bitter with integrity. Failure is not what tore him up, but the weight of this world twisting and gnawing at his core."
I nervously nodded, uncertain of what kind of response he expected. His eyes were not on me, but I could feel his mind's eye burning me with a concentrated and an indignant gaze. Belligerent energy exuded from his frigid and deceptively disinterested posture. It was enough to turn my insides pale. The conviction that if I uttered a sound I would trigger an explosive quarrel moved me to silence. Inside, a tempest of desolation drowned my thoughts and spirit.
There was bump and then the rattling ceased as the truck turned right into the tar road towards the town. On the horizon lay wealthy outer suburbs where roads were guarded by pine trees and life was tranquil.
With his eyes still fixed on the road, and perhaps tuned into my affliction, Macxermilllio uttered, “We need help!” The unwilling words a weight on his tongue. Because, put simply, we were in too deep.


Chapter 3


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