There was the familiar break. Her mind shifted from reality, from the monotonous grind of life, to an inexplicable darkness. Alien to most but to her, familiar and comforting; a welcoming escape. She let it fall. She let her mind drift. She let her feelings shift. Her pupils widening as the hit of delirium consumed her. She did not struggle, did not fight in fear; instead choosing to fall into the delusion like a voodoo priestess succumbs to the spirits. She let it lure her, lead her, down, into a deep abyss, like a snake bite draining it’s victim of life.
The rain soaked streets glistened under the street lights as he hustled across the parking lot. Pressing the button on his key fob, his car blinked and beeped in response and he felt a small rush of gratitude. The late October chill filled the night and crept into his bones as he slipped into the drivers seat. Pulling the door closed with a satisfied thud he quickly started the car and turned up the heat. He breathed deep, filling his lungs, and releasing the days tensions as he released his breath in a calming sigh.
The road glistened in the rain, his headlights creating a tunneling effect, as he made his way through the night. Autumn leaves littered the medians, orange and yellow, and barren trees lined the horizon. He squinted in the heavy rains and darkness feeling the tension in his shoulders. Slowly making his way off the exit, meandering down a winding dark road, he clicked on the high beams and suddenly slammed on the breaks as a figure randomly appeared in the center of the road. A dark hooded figure standing stock still shocked his system.
She blinked in the glare of the headlights feeling her heart racing at the sudden shock of a car stopping inches from her. He cursed, opening his door, the rain momentarily ceasing. “What the hell are you doing in the middle of the road? Are you trying to get killed?” He shouted angrily. The hooded figure raised its head slightly revealing a pale face, lips bright red, and green eyes captured by the light of his high beams.
A breeze blew across the road causing a swirl of leaves to dance and the hem of the cape to sway. She ducked her head as if bowing in apology but remained silent. His anger cooled, “Do you need help?” She turned away in response. “Are you okay,” he asked concerned, stepping a little further from his car. She lifted her head again and he saw her deep emerald eyes like a cat staring in the darkness as a chill passed through him.
“No need to fret,” she said softly, almost imperceptible, as the wind blew the leaves again.
He hesitated unsure what to do next when the chill he felt moments earlier turned to a soothing tingle, like the feeling of fingers softly trailed over his skin, and his shoulders released the tension he felt while driving. His mind blurred, thoughts dissipating, but his vision focused on the silhouette that stood before him. Crisp and sharp like a fresh image embedded in his mind and the cat-like green eyes pierced his perceptions of time. He had no idea how long he stood there, motionless and silent, but he felt nothing but a peaceful embrace as he waited for time, and his senses, to recalibrate.
He felt the shift from reality to delusion in that moment and instead of fear or struggle, he let it slip over him like slipping into a warm bath, the water soothing and relaxing instead of bracing. He heard a voice in his mind, embrace delirium, she is gentle. He couldn’t identify where it originated since the figure before him remained motionless and silent. Her lips did not move yet he heard the voice as clearly as if he wore headphones. He asked, “Did you say that?”
“No,” the hooded figure said softly, “but she says the same to me.”
“Can she be trusted?”
“That is for you to decide,” her green eyes blinking slowly like a cat.
“I feel unusual,” he said calmly.
“So did I, the first time,” she responded just as calmly.
She blinked a few times clearing the dryness from her eyes and she slowly shifted back to the mundane. Staring out her office window, she watched a man rush towards his car in the rain. A Cheshire Cat smile lifted her lips as she knew within the hour she’d stand at the crossroads of a dark, windy rain-filled autumn road and discuss delusions with a stranger.