Don Beukes has been published in six poetry anthologies and various literary journals and magazines. His poetry has also been translated into Albanian and he hopes to publish his debut poetry collection soon with Creative Talents Unleashed. He is originally from Cape Town, South Africa currently residing in France.
Here comes that red mist again. Lingering in the crevices of my failing being. I need to remember to control my breathing, if just for a fraction longer than the last time.
It's thickening now. Swirling around my head like a bubbling lava couldron, spitting fiery embers each time I attempt to escape through it – I cannot fail again. If I am ever going to get her out of my head, I will just have to get though this and stop doubting myself.
''Shut up, stop trying to read my empty thoughts. I will not let you in!''
Damn her, just as I was begining to gather the strength and willpower to bury her deeper than ever before, I allowed her serpent voice to make me question myself yet again. This is not good at all. No, something will have to change drastically if I am to leave this ivory fortress. The sudden crack in my head must be the voice again.
''Attention, all lights will be switched off sooner than you think. If anyone even as much as breathe discontent or vile revolutionary thoughts; you will spend the night in the oval.''
Not again. Not now. Not when I've worked so hard to convince my minder guarding my exit that he and his loved ones will not be safe unless I leave this hell-fest tonight. I can manage to fight off the two of them from last night but I have felt another brave tormentor wanting to break through the red dust scattered in my head. My defenses are weakening. I fear that lack of sleep will be the death of me this time but it is vital for me to keep her at bay tonight.
''Stop that grinding metallic croak of yours! I am willing to destroy you tonight. Your occupation of me is not welcome anymore – Get out, get out!''
This is not good. The liquid walls are bending inwards. This time I will surely drown in this abyss. How did I allow myself to disintegrate like this? This brittle vacuous shell is all that's left of my former self. Even my murky memories are splintered, warped – vacant.
I can hear a familiar tapping somewhere between the walls or is it eminating from the pipes underneath the floor? I need to lie down. My breathing is slowing down – But how can I? This will be my only chance. Even 'the oval' will be a generous end compared to where she will banish me to if I don't get out of here tonight. Wait, was that a key in the lock?
''No, I'm not ready. This is not what I've planned. I refuse!''
It's me, Em. I am engulfed by ruby cauliflowers pricking my every nerve. It took me a while to find you again but your calm echo found me. I'm so tired, too many layers to burn through. There's kindness here with you. No creatures to mock and sneer. I must admit, I miss you terribly; so much so that my tears burn deep scars down my face, missing your loving understanding embrace. I sometimes faintly hear you from your deep dungeon where she banished you to, weeping for us. How I long for the day we will be reunited once again, this time to ensure victory, the final slain.
I can see through the red mist but only briefly. Promise me you will find the key. Let us prepare for her final hour, her rotting reverie. I will meet you soon.
It's almost time…
With languishing love,
'' Welcome Mr and Mrs Lemarchel. Is this your daughter? I'm sure we can get her confidence back. My team does groundbreaking work in the oval. You will not regret this...''
I cannot remember the last time I was allowed out of this house. They tried to explain it all to me but it does not make any sense.
I might be just a normal looking ten year old girl but I know there is something about me; who I really am, who I am meant to be. For a long time my thoughts have not been my own. It all started with that wretched red mist clouding my vision; choking my thinking, questioning my very essence. I realised something was wrong when my foster parents burst into my locked room and found me strangling myself. They had to break a finger or two to prevent me from suffocating.
''Em, it's time to go darling. You don't want to keep her waiting.''
I guess I don't have a choice. I need answers too. Apparently the director of this facility has made special arrangements for me. Despite the uneasy silence in the car, my head was clogged with conflicting visions, contemplating my own personal mission.
As we drove through the main gates, I caught a glimpse of a small group of children being led on a curving path by a peculiar looking woman who stopped to greet us with a robotic smile.
The entrance hall smelled over-polished, with piercing self-portraits staring at us from every angle. Each step reverberated throughout, announcing our arrival. The heavy, ornate oak doors swung open, revealing a dishrevaled-looking lady stretching out her bony hand to welcome us.
''Welcome Mr and Mrs Lemarchel. Is this her? I'm sure we can get her confidence back. My team is doing ground-breaking work in The Oval. You will not regret this.''
As she turned to me, I could feel her black pearl-eyes burning right through me; trying to find me but I did not let her in, not yet. I still have my doubts if she will make my ruby cloud disappear. ''What is your name dear child?'' she asked inquisitively.
''My name is Em'' as I felt her grip tighten around my wrist.
The next time I saw her was on that winding path, leading down to a secure underground facility, along with four others about my age. I must have lost track of time after the welcome drink she gave me.
''Where are you taking us?'' I asked defiantly.
''Shut up!'' I will not tolerate any rebellious resistence in The Oval. You will be punished for this!''
I woke up to a peculiar tapping from within the walls. Luckily I studied Morse code at cadet school. ''Whatever happens, don't allow her into your head'' I found myself whisper.
Suddenly her voice cracked in my mind. ''Em, this is for the best. I can help you, if you let me. Do not resist me.''
As I drowned in the red mist engulfing me, I felt a sharp pain in my chest.
''I refuse to submit to you''!
''It's me, Em. Are you there?
My Name is Em
It’s dark in here. Even the ivory, liquid walls have become eerily translucent. The red mist is starting to disintegrate. I am more aware of my surroundings. It’s been so long since you’ve guided me. ‘Are you there?’
My nails are bare from scratching the days, months and years on these doomed walls in this backstreet maze of my mind. Each pathetic attempt to escape the oval since I arrived as a child has been futile. It took some time to realise that I have been kept at bay in a vacuum with six corners. Only her serpent voice could be heard insie my head; instructing me, mocking me, preparing me. Over time I realised that my prison world was suspended above the ground; held up by a powerful magnetic force.
I’ve given up trying to make sense of the peculiar tapping from within the far corner of my ivory prison. I’ve long suspected that I might not be the only one held captive here. All I could manage over the years was to use my cognitive abilities to try and reach the trapped mind beyond these walls. I’m positive that I’ve made a connection once; a long time ago, warning her to prevent the oracle from entering her consciousness. Even then, I sensed a strange familiarity with whoever is on the other side.
I’ve become immune to the excrutiating pain caused by the nano gamdroelas unleased upon my body each indigo night; entering through these walls to penetrate my brain, hoping to dim my inner light – The source of my mental power to connect to other minds. It is this ability which allowed me to find an imperfect version of me at the age of ten. I had no option but to make her end her life through self-strangulation. I am now confident that she did not succeed, as it is she who I sense through these walls.
Her existence fuels my persistence to eradicate the light within her, as she is the reason why I’m getting weaker. As long as she prevents the oracle from controlling her, I have a chance to end her and rejuvenate my core being.
I must have passed out again. They’ve come back to torment me. That wretched red mist engulfing me, allowing the gamdroelas to continue their sole objective; my permanent annihilation. Unfortunately for them, I have managed to harness their mercurial power to reignite my core. It’s time. This has to end here. Their power will allow me to penetrate these walls.
It happened in a split second. The red mist has cleared. I can see her clearly now after disintegrating the membrane seperating us.
‘Are you the voice in these walls? My eternal tormentor? But you are me!’
I had no sympathy for her, as I will live by ending her.
‘It will be painless. I’ve waited a lifetime for this. Don’t you recognise me?’
‘It’s me. My name is Em...’
Copyright © Don Beukes 2016