Emperor of the Dark, Chapter 7: Noise

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Warning: There is some mildly questionable content this time around (nothing visual). If you’re particularly sensitive, you might want to tread lightly.

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Dear Lilith,

I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve decided to name my journal after you. I just like writing “Dear Lilith” better than “Dear Diary”. Who knows… maybe someday I’ll be able to give this to you, and you’ll finally get to know me. The me I became without you there to hold me together.

I should have started this sooner. There’s so much to catch up on now. It’s a little overwhelming.

I’m back in Pleasantview. What’s left of it, anyway. Back in our childhood home, with mom. If you’ve been watching the news, then you know about dad, but I’ll get to that eventually anyway.

I spend a lot of time in “my” room. It’s more like some generic, anonymous hotel room now, though. They even changed the paint. I try to sleep as much as I can, but the nightmares make it hard to really rest. Sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom and just sit in the bathtub, like we used to do when we were hiding from mom and dad. It’s significantly more lonely and pathetic without you, though. Like, it was special back then, when it was the two of us against the rest of them. Now, I’m just some twenty-seven year old lying in a bathtub, avoiding her mom/life/the past/everything.

I’m in therapy now. Mom’s idea. She thinks I need to talk to someone (not her) after everything that’s happened. All the deaths and sadness. I’m so fragile now.

In case you haven’t been keeping up:

About three months ago, Dad went out for a late night jog. Except not really. He went out for a late night with Kaylynn Langerak (I know you remember her) – she later confirmed this. Mom just kind of brushes it off, dismissing Kaylynn as “fame hungry” and a “slut”.

Maybe. But you knew Dad…

At some point on the way home, he decided to take a detour through the park, where he was killed and partially eaten.

When I first heard about that, I thought of you. I imagined you, being you, bringing that news to its natural conclusion, you leaning in and whispering something terrible and inappropriate, like “My other casket is a pooper scooper”.

I almost laughed. Standing there alone in my half-empty apartment, surrounded by boxes and packing tape and styrofoam peanuts, with the phone in my right hand, and mom’s voice making this weird snuffling, wheezing sound in my ear, telling me over and over that Dad was gone, dead, dead, gone, deadgonedead, and I almost laughed.

The knife in my left hand didn’t even make a sound when I dropped it. Styrofoam peanuts. It caught my bare foot, though, on the way down. That’s the only thing that kept me from losing it right there in the kitchen. That sudden shock of pain and my foot drooling blood, it kind of reset my sanity meter.

I remember that I sat down next to it. Right there on the floor, and I picked it up and I was still thinking that I might, but there was mom’s voice on the phone, begging me to come home.

So I put it in the nearest available box and taped it shut and came home on the train, and she was late picking me up.

But I can’t really be mad about it, can I? I have literally no room to talk here, because Dad died, and I almost laughed.

It eats at me. I feel so bad, because I don’t feel bad enough. He’s dead, I should feel something, even relief, but I don’t. There’s just a lot of nothing where the grief should be. Sometimes I forget all together.

My therapist (Don Lothario – remember him? He’s married to Cassandra now, so I guess we were wrong. I don’t think he remembered me, though) keeps wanting me to tell him about dad, to talk about what happened and how it affected me, but I can’t. Not with him. He wouldn’t understand. And I guess I’m a little ashamed of it – my apathy. My father’s dead. Our father. The man who never held us, never changed our diapers, never fed or bathed us. The man who didn’t really want any part of fatherhood until all the “gross” bits were over, and by then, what did we need him for? Who was he but a pushy stranger mom let yell at us?

I don’t know how to talk about it. I don’t know how to admit to people that he was a shitty, disinterested father who thought he could just step in and take over once all the hard work was done and we were self-sufficient enough to be fun for a while. I don’t know how to admit that I don’t really care that he’s gone.

I wish I could talk to you about this. Shit, I wish I could talk to anyone. The problem is that there isn’t anyone left. The problems I’m having… who would believe me, but you?

– Angela

Emperor Gothic

Originally posted @ my tumblr.

You came back. It wasn’t something you planned. But you’re here now. The doors have closed behind you; the train has left the station. It doesn’t come back. You’re here now.

The ride home is quiet and dark. Your mother is driving, sitting beside you as cold and still as a mannequin. She doesn’t look at you, she doesn’t speak. The radio doesn’t play music; no voices can penetrate the broken, sputtering static. You turn it up, anyhow.

It snowed while you were gone. It didn’t use to do that. Pleasantview was always too warm. You ask your mother when it started, but she just puts another cigarette between her trembling lips and stares out into the wintery wasteland.

Snow has devoured the town, but there are no snowmen, no abandoned imprints of frozen angels. No sleds, no shoveled paths. No children anywhere at all. Not where you can see them, anyway.

Occasionally, if you leave the house early enough, there are little footprints in the yard, and you wonder… but then the snow falls again, and those too, disappear.

You try to watch TV during the day. Options are limited. You watch celebrity chefs flambe themselves; the camera lingers until they stop screaming, and then the next show begins. You watch the weatherman talk about himself. You watch the news talk about Bella Goth.

You’ve heard rumors of a woman in a red dress wandering an isolated desert town, but those are only rumors. You don’t even know where you came across such a tale.

Maybe you heard it on the radio.

At some point, you have to go outside. There isn’t much time. They’ve implemented a curfew; you have to be home before dark. Stragglers are promptly collected. It’s best to be home before dark.

You move slowly across the icy paths, and you don’t look around. You’ve made that mistake before. It would be unwise to make it again.

You pass the park. They’ve put walls around it and closed it up. You can hear voices on the other side of the walls. You can’t go in; they can’t get out.

You pass the town’s only grocery store. The parking lot is full of cars, and the cars are covered in snow. It hasn’t snowed in days. The Caliente sisters watch you from the window. Their mouths move in silent pleas as they try to follow your movements to the exit. They make it halfway to the automated doors, and then veer off, disappearing into the laundry detergent aisle.

You feel oddly bereft at having lost them, but you keep walking.

Somewhere, a dog is barking frantically. It’s been barking on and off for years. A chain jangles, but you can’t tell which direction it’s coming from. There is no answering cries. This is the last one, and it knows it.

You keep walking. There isn’t much time.

Your legs ache and your lungs burn. White houses buried under white snow. You don’t know where you are. You don’t know where you’re going.

You end up back outside of your mother’s house.

You tried to get out. It wasn’t something you planned. But you’re here now.

I’m never going back, the past is in the paaaast…

At some point, I’ll write about Disneyland and how much I hated it and the demon blister it unleashed upon my left foot, the subsequent lancing with a fucking Goofy pin, and the four fucking hour wait to see Anna and Elsa, but I’m still pretty pissed off about the whole ordeal, so not today.

Instead, a sneak peak from Emperor of the Dark, chapter 5: Static:

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