You really got it all wrong, my dear. I am not the monster you believe me to be.
You won’t release me. I am here just for your pleasure.
No, no my dear, I can not release you despite what you think.
You are the god of death, Thanatos.
Yes, I am, but that is what everyone has wrong. The god of death does not actually cause death, does not actually take a life, I am just here for when life is already gone. You, my dear, are the one that does not release yourself. I am always here when you call, am I not? Perhaps you see the wrong one as the monster.
Are you saying he is the monster?
I am not saying anything. I do not know him.
But, he says such sweet things. He always answers when I message. He says we are friends, always, and he will always be there.
Yes, he does. I am always here, too, when you call. Sometimes, even when you do not call, I am here, for you. Is he there when you don’t ask? Does he look for you, want to see you, be with you, even when you do not reach out?
That is all I am saying, my dear. I am always here, for you, because you mean everything to me. I have no control over whether you are released from this world or not, only you do. I will be there after you are released as I am here now.
But you only want me because of my flesh, the beauty, the pleasure you take from my pain.
No, my dear, that is not true. I am here because you make me feel life like no other. You are beautiful, yes, but it is not your physical beauty that I crave. I can have physical beauty from anyone, male, female, young, old, it does not matter. There are beautiful people everywhere. The truly beautiful, like you, have nothing to do with physical beauty. You radiate your pain, your emotions, happy or sad, you radiate so much more than a physical beauty. You care, deeply, you feel, deeply, you simply are breathtaking with the depths of emotions. This world has slowly become devoid of those true, authentic emotions. It has become all about the visual beauty. The aesthetics. The looks being more important than anything else on offer. I take pleasure in you, my dear, your pleasure, your pain, your breath and ache, in you, my dear. I take pleasure in you and I am here now, when you need, I seek you when you don’t need me, I will be there when it is all over, at the end and beyond. I am here, my dear, always.
I… but… that is all I ever wanted, someone to be there, always, for me, whether I’m beautiful or ugly, young or old, in pain or not. I just wanted someone to love me. Are you saying you love me Thanatos?
If you have to ask than I have not shown my love to you properly, my dear. You should feel my love not ask for it. I am sorry for failing you my dear.
But what about him?
What about him?
He is not a god. He is simply a man, here, in this world, like me. Doesn’t he love me?
Do you love him?
It is a simple question, my dear, do you love him?
I don’t know.
So what does it matter if he loves you. Human or god, what does it matter if you do not love in return. You need to love someone and then their love will matter. I would like you to love me, my dear, but even if you do not I will still love you, always. You are the only one that has taken my heart but my words, my thoughts, my feelings, what I do to you and for you does not matter. Only you matter and where you place your love, who you gift it to, that is what matters, my dear. Do you want his love?
I don’t know, I never actually thought about what I wanted. I just, well, if he loved me, if anyone loved me, that was what mattered, right?
No, my dear. You are clearly mistaken on how easily it is to love you. Everyone loves you but you, my dear.
Did you ever break a bone? He asked innocently, trying to make small talk.
I broke my foot once, a few years back, when I lived in a four story walk-up. Moving around with crutches was tough and forget about trying to get up and down stairs with groceries or any other shit. It was impossible and I cursed the lack of elevator every time I had to leave.
Damn, sounds like a pain in the ass.
It was but I’d still rather have a broken foot for the rest of my life and live in that walk-up again if it meant trading away this depression bullshit. She fiddled with the salt shaker in the center of the table as she spoke.
Really? Why? He watched her absentmindedly pour salt on the table then press her finger into the center of the tiny hill as she avoided eye contact.
People came to help me then. They understood the pain of a broken bone, the difficulty to leave the house and added burden trying to do simple tasks. They checked in every day. They asked how I felt and cared for the answer, didn’t get annoyed even as it went on for weeks. They didn’t get frustrated when I said it was too tiring to go out and do anything. I didn’t feel forgotten. She shrugged and licked salt from her finger, dipping it back into the tiny salt hill and repeating.
You feel forgotten? Don’t they keep in touch now?
She laughed. Not mocking, not laughing at him, just a melancholic sort of laugh. Clearly you’ve never had any type of mental illness.
No, I haven’t.
When you have a mental illness people forget you. They stop checking on you. They get annoyed that you aren’t… she went silent for a moment searching for the words and poured another small pile of salt as she thought. They aren’t as understanding. A broken bone they understand, they don’t understand a broken mind. They get annoyed that you aren’t normal as though I chose this, as though I want to live like this, as though I enjoy barely being able to function most days. Then they are annoyed when you put on a mask because you aren’t being genuine but I’m just trying to make it from one moment to the next without completely falling apart and… she stopped talking mid-thought again. She finally raised her eyes and looked at him.
He sat silent, looking into her deep green eyes, seeing the water along the edges never quite becoming tears. He saw the pain in them; the desire for understanding while expecting none. Is that what you want, to be remembered?
Yes. She responded softly, immediately, without any hesitation.
Sitting on the exam table the thin paper crinkles with the slightest movement.
Do you think of self-harm?
(Are you asking if I want to live?)
No plans to kill yourself?
(Do you care that I don’t want to live?)
You need to take these the same time every day, can you do that?
(This isn’t really to help me but make it easier for others to pretend everything is just peachy, isn’t it?)
See the receptionist on your way out to set a follow-up in one month.
(But will it fix me?)
Lying on the kitchen floor in a fetal position she prays to a god she doesn’t believe in between heaving sobs and jagged breaths.
Please let me die. Why does this torture never end? Please, make it stop.
Do you think of self-harm?
Will this finally end when I die? I just want this to end and I don’t know how to make it go away.
No plans to kill yourself?
I take the pills every day but I still feel the same. I just want someone to lie and tell me this will end.
Don’t cry in public, or at work, or around others. It makes them uncomfortable.
Please, god, kill me already, I will see the receptionist on the way down, just kill me.
That will be a twenty-dollar co-pay. Thank you.
Thanatos leans against the kitchen counter holding a glass of bourbon.
Please, god, how much longer will you torture me?
I am not god.
Thanatos, let me die, please, I can’t endure anymore.
Oh, my love, my love, I need you.
I hate you.
I love you.
Thanatos holds out the bourbon. She swallows the deep amber liquid feeling the heat sear her esophagus and her vision blurs attempting to focus on the label, Woodford Reserve. Her mind holds on to the thread of words, the white font on clear bottle, feeling the pressure of tiles against her knees. She feels his hands on her shoulders, lifting her from her knees, despite her inward protestations. She wants to stay fetal, prone, begging for release, weeping with incomprehensible sadness but his loving hands lift her up and pulls her to his chest. She feels his heartbeat like an ache. A thrum vibrating as his desire rises. She falls into that vibration, that dark love, that void of emptiness taking solace that her pain releases him briefly from an unending existence of mundanity.
And in that embrace, feeling his vibration, she breaks apart. However briefly, he releases her from the pain, the darkness, the sadness that shatters her tentative grasp on a depressing reality and lets her dance along a fantasy of love and light. He takes her out to the universe, dancing along the inhuman pulses of supernovas and shows her what she knows; being free and wild beyond her skin that begs from a god she doesn’t believe. Lifting her up beyond her despair feeds his own implosion. He wishes he could make her understand that he can not touch those stars, dance along the comet’s tail, drink the supernova without her. Without her he is a husk broken and fetal. If he granted the release she begs for he’d be left alone to walk eternity never tasting the aether. With her he weaved a tapestry of dark matter expanding and exploding the universe.
Sitting on the exam table the thin paper crinkles with the slightest movement.
Do you think of self-harm?
(I have not seen Thanatos for weeks.)
No plans to kill yourself?
(I am out of Woodford Reserve.)
So you’re feeling better?
(I have a larger gray cubicle at work since I stopped crying all the time.)
See the receptionist on your way out to set a follow-up in one month.
(I guess I’m fixed?)
There are many myths, falsehoods, misunderstandings and outright lies mixed with truth about who I am. Some believe I’m the devil. Some believe I’m the grim reaper. There are myths surrounding what I do, how I usher souls from one realm to another, that I actively participate or just wait idly until I get a message, like some number at a deli counter and I help the next in line. Some think I’m a god or a demon.
I was not born or created. I exist, nothing more, nothing less. I walk this realm for millennia. I feel the darkness, I do not control it. I feed off emotions but they do not sustain me. I sip them, like fine wines or butterfly dipping their proboscis to sip nectar. Human emotions are like cocaine, or heroin, or alcohol or any addiction; once you touch the depths and see the universe within you chase it forever. I do not need anything to survive. However, the delicious, deleterious nature of a vessel so gloriously sensitive to the emotional vibrations of the membrane between worlds is a rare find that I crave it as if it is life itself. I am not meant to interfere with the choice of death’s time. I have, on occasion, interfered and prevented or prolonged the time of death for particular jewels.
The swirl of dark emotions — depression, sadness, longing, grief, loneliness, yearning, regret, shame, rage and all the rest that cause indescribable aches within — are when I’m at my most perverse. I can’t control myself, can’t stop myself from enjoying such suffering. Happiness and all the light emotions are not as powerful. For me, they give but momentary bliss whereas the dark emotions surge an overwhelming rush of ecstasy that lasts far longer.
I try explain all this in a poor attempt to explain why I can not let M go. She electrifies me unlike any creature in all my years. She has a well of darkness inside that swells through every aching crevice and trembles her body like an earthquake ripping the earth asunder and when she releases her pain in racking sobs, well, even thinking about it makes my lips parched like a desert needing water. She gives herself to me both begging for release and needing the power she holds over me. She doesn’t understand what she does to me nor why I can not release her. It is love, perhaps, but oh so much more.
My daily life outwardly appears no different then the millions of others walking this planet. I survive the mundane and yearn for the profound, the profane. I yearn to change the world at the same time wanting to be invisible. I go to a boring office job that pays the bills. I drink with friends, celebrate birthdays, walk the dogs and sip coffee in the morning on the ride to work. And I am in love with death.
I am depressed, as the doctors tell me, and I feel the sadness but it is so much more. In the ordinary world I feel insane because it’s like I feel the fires of the universe, walking a membrane between realms, unable to explain the strange vibration that hums in the back of my thoughts all the time. I can taste the sadness, I can hear the black tar bubbling in that hallow within, I can smell the burnt smoke floating from the fires that I see burning in a dark place that I can not touch. In every day, I survive. I tamp down the sadness, the shame, the anger, the yearning because I can’t explain it. I sit in therapy and listen, wanting to find a way out to the happiness, but I can’t explain why nothing I hear is truth.
My only relationship is with Thanatos. He doesn’t cringe from my drama, doesn’t tire of my tragedy, doesn’t find me retched or reject my darkness expecting me to “lighten up.” It is a rare thing to be accepted so completely. At the same time, it hurts being with him because he has the power to release me from my pain and refuses. So we are stuck in this dance of death. When I am with him, however, to feel his ecstasy, to see the heights he reaches when I fall to my knees, the way he takes my darkness and matches it with such utter, raw, pleasure sends me spinning into orgasmic heights as if I am almost touching a higher realm.
We are addicted to each other. I yearn for death and he yearns for my well of darkness. He loves me but will never say it. I both love and hate him profoundly.
He laid on his stomach, head on his hands, naked. She straddled his waist using his ass as a cushion, knees bent, naked.
In one hand she held an inkwell filled with deep indigo blue ink and in the other a feather quill with a gold nib.
Her hair cascaded down over her shoulders with rippling waves down her back. He felt the spring of her pubic hairs against his flesh.
“What should I write?”
“Whatever you feel.”
“No, that’s too dark. You tell me the story.”
“No, I want your words.”
“I can’t do it then.”
He felt the bed shift with her weight as she leaned over to put the ink and quill back on the nightstand.
“Yes you can. It doesn’t matter what you write, just write from your soul.”
“That’s even worse. No, definitely can’t.”
He sighed. She bent forward, he felt her hair caressing his back and light kisses over his shoulders. He didn’t move.
“Frustrated. I want your words, it’s simple. What are you afraid of? I have your body.”
She sat back. He still didn’t move, only closed his eyes, feeling her breathing. A few heartbeats later, the bed shifted again. She leaned over to take up the quill and ink once more. She started slowly, tentatively, at his upper left shoulder, writing across his back to the other shoulder. He felt the quill, the nib a little rough, dragging across his skin. It was pleasurable, an odd sensation, the ink feeling like blood and the nib needle-like. As she fell into her thoughts, dragging the nib against his flesh, dipping the quill more often than for paper, her pace picked up. By the time she reached his mid-back her writing was frantic. He smiled.
He remained quiet, passive, allowing her to manipulate his body as she required. Quickly writing down his back and over his ass. She spread his legs so she could write on the inside of his thighs. The sensation of her touch, the intensity of her silence pouring thoughts through her ink onto his skin, her breath quickening as emotions crescendo within her, aroused him. If she noticed she made no effort to acknowledge his need.
When she reached the soles of his feet she began blowing across his skin like trying to cool a bowl of soup. She wanted to make sure the ink was dry before turning him over. He waited motionless until he felt one of her hands gently push at his hip, then he rolled over to his back. She began in reverse, starting at his feet, teasingly sitting on his stomach, his hard-on now aching. He resisted the urge to grab her ass or touch her in any way. Forcing himself to be content with the vision of her bent forward, hair, breath, ink and quill mingling across his skin as she worked her way around the rest of his body. He pressed his head back against the pillow, the agony becoming almost unbearable, when she reached his hips. She held his cock, not stroking it or licking it despite his mind willing her too, but holding it steady to write.
He thought he would explode with the unexpected as she continued to scrawl words around his cock, balls, over his hips and finally working his abdomen. She backed up, rising up, her pussy tantalizing near his face, and her scent made him dizzy. A moan escaped his lips. He closed his eyes. Remaining still becoming a heady, excruciating test of self-control.
She stood up, shy but proud of her creation. He stood before the mirror, his skin stained blue, words gently cascading in swirls from her touch. He touched her face. She stood shivering, tears threatening to spill from her eyes. Pouring her words across his flesh left her emotions roiling inside, the darkness coming alive, clawing its way up, choking her throat, spilling its tarry blackness through every internal crevice. He watched her green eyes darken and took pleasure from her internal pain. He owned her body, easily, taking it when he pleased, she gave it away without resistance. Her soul, her inner self, her mind and emotions, however, she protected fiercely and forcing her to spill her words across his flesh opened the well within her. Watching her struggle with the sorrow that danced inside, seeing her attempt to remain standing, to not fall to her knees, fulfilled a gluttonous desire.
He waited, wiping the tear that finally fell with his thumb, watching her crumble, slowly. Her arms wrapped around herself like a child trying to self-comfort. Her body trembling. Silent tears and the struggle to keep the black dog from shredding her core apart. He waited until she finally fell to her knees, sobbing, shaking uncontrollably, her strength finally breaking under the strain. Her madness burst forth and he listened to her sobbing, drinking in her keening cries. She began rocking herself and his self-control ended. He kissed her breasts, licking her tears, made love to her there on the floor, in front of the mirror. He felt her clinging, her tears dripping down his back mixing with her words causing blue streaks, and with each sob he felt blissful release.
Her breathing became ragged, gasping, feeding his arousal more than her moist pussy or stiff nipples. He became rabid, insatiable, and she scratched his back creating a kaleidoscope of ink, tears and blood. With each thrust she released more darkness, flowing out of her, smoke-filled intensity. He tasted the salt on her cheeks, she clutched him tight, their chests pressed together and heaving, becoming like feral animals. She keened. He moaned. When she felt like she was splitting open, her skin splitting like a cicada breaking free from its cocoon, she stiffened, holding her breath; he shattered with release and she breathed again. Her mind spiraled into silence.
“Thanatos, when will you finally kill me?”
“Never, my love, without you I am nothing but a shadow on the edge of life.”
You make me unsteady
wobbly on my feet
shake my breathing
You scare me
deep to my core
like an imploding supernova
You stepped out of nowhere
a silhouette from the dark
with the dark words my heart needs
You make me smile
like a silly girl
dreaming of hearts and flowers
You make me wet
like the naughty woman
blooming despite barren earth
You make me
you simply make me
unable to breath
unable to speak
unable to dream
You tell me all the right lies
and listen to all my woes
you are still there
But don’t say I did not warn you
the truth is there in the tags
in the words written
late at night
when darkness hits hardest
I am a runner
You make me seek the devil I know
like the neglected child
forlorn and disregarded
You seduce me
physically and mentally
but mostly emotionally
But don’t say you weren’t warned
on the day I disappear
running away before the truth arises
that you are not what you seem
and I will be left in the tall grass
waking from a daze
Don’t say you were not warned
the day I disappear
leaving nothing more
than disturbed earth
and a six foot grave
You, my dear man, make me unsteady
you make me inconsolable
you make my world convulse
and you are not the devil I know
I am a scream without a voice
I am a liar
I am unanswered.
I can not escape this haunting
I can not outrun my mind
I can not die.
You are the arsonist
You set the fire
You burned my corpse.
You started this.
I can not stop this.
Only Hel can end this.
I wait for Thanatos
To find me
To save me.
severing the guilt felt
my mission, to destroy your grip
3:23 am: corner booth
She sat alone watching a couple drunk in love; or perhaps just drunk love. She ordered another whiskey and stared out the window. The shadows across the street reminded her of the first time she saw Thanatos.
It was her fourteenth birthday and her parents were arguing, again, in the other room. She could hear her mother yelling while her father’s tone was deeper, a little muffled, but still menacing. The small apartment left little room for escape so she climbed out to the fire escape for a cigarette. Slipping her headphones on, turning the volume up, she watched the darkness unfold on the streets below. In the shadow, across the street, he leaned against the wall, smoking a cigarette, looking up at her.
Her heart slowed with the eerie feeling of someone watching her, a stranger, calmly inhaling when she took a drag of her own cigarette. He took a few steps to stand under the street light. She exhaled slowly, not sure she was seeing as clearly as it seemed. He was tall, dressed in black slacks, a black dress jacket with white shirt, cuffs open and hanging loose accentuating his long fingers. His hair was short, black, a little messy. What she noticed most were his deep blue eyes. Unreal eyes like those in photographs of beautiful boys with microphones and smoke swirling. He didn’t have a beard, but not clean-shaven, and she wasn’t positive but felt he let her study him for several minutes before smiling and walking away.
She met Thanatos a year later. Visiting her cousins upstate, they took her to a party at a house near a lake. The drinks were beer or overly sweet combinations typically involving Coke and cheap spirits. A couple of older boys brought weed, acid and some pills with vague promises that it would make you feel good. Wandering around drunk and high, feeling the usual melancholy, not wanting company, never able to feel connected, she slipped down to the lake with one of the knives her uncle used to gut fish. She vaguely remembered cutting her wrist, slicing down following the trace of her vein. She felt the blood, warm and sticky, dripping around the circumference of her arm. She managed another cut on her other wrist, not as deep, and laid back staring up at the stars.
Her head swam, a mixture of alcohol and drugs, and she felt the pain from the cuts but didn’t move. Instead trying to focus on locating the big dipper, identify Orion’s belt, looking for the North Star. She laughed at her ridiculous dramatics and felt cold despite the warm summer night. The fireflies blinked silently, calling to their loves across the grass, and she heard the occasional splash from a fish or turtle. She smiled feeling life finally slipping away, so close to ending, the pain and darkness within finally about to be distinguished. Vaguely she wondered how long before someone found her. Would it be some fat housewife with her kids going for a morning swim? Maybe one of her cousins would notice her missing and go looking for her. Maybe she’d just rot here all summer, slowly decomposing into the earth until the rain washed her remains into the murky green lake.
She turned her head to the left, to look at the moon reflecting on the calm waters, and instead saw his blue eyes looking into hers. He was kneeling silently next to her. She didn’t know how long he was there, when he showed up, or where he came from. She recognized him from the shadows across the street outside her apartment and she let out a small cry. He gently touched her face, his eyes soft and kind, and took off his jacket to place under her head.
“Who are you?”
“Thanatos. And who are you my love?”
She saw lights blinking, heard voices and static sounds from radios. No, she thought. She looked at Thanatos and felt the black tar boil up into her chest threatening to crack each rib slowly. As she struggled to focus, consciousness barely holding on, she felt pressure on her wrists, being lifted, heard voices all around. Standing off to the side, Thanatos told one of the paramedics he had gone for his nightly walk and found the girl on the beach. They thanked him for most likely saving her life. As they loaded her into the ambulance she saw a black dog sitting across from the lake entrance, panting.
Two days later, at the hospital, her parents sat silently by her bed. Her mother cried. Her father clenched his jaw. She feigned sleep hoping they would disappear for a while to the cafeteria. When they finally left, she touched the bandages around her wrists and cried. The doctors said they could help relieve her from the depression but they didn’t understand the well deep inside that held the bubbling, dark, black sticky tar that gripped not only her psyche but her very core. It was a part of her, she understood that, something that would never disappear no matter how much they medicated or promised.
There was a soft knock on her door. Thanatos stood holding a large bouquet of calla lilies and white lavender. His blue eyes slightly clouded with contrition. He waited until she gave a slight wave with her hand calling him closer.
“I can’t let you go.”
She sighed, her mind snapping back to the present. She still didn’t understand why Thanatos couldn’t let her go.