-August 24, 1987- one minute remains-
They say that there is no harder word to say than goodbye. But I say that’s bullshit. Goodbye is a perfectly simple word when you know that it’s only for a little while.
Goodbye forever? That’s another story.
I stood in front of the house with the packet of matches in my hand, turning them over and over.
Striking the first one was the hardest thing I had ever done.
When the pack was empty, I threw it on the ground and walked away.
The world seemed to be surreal as I moved down the vacated streets towards my house. My mind was still with Alyssa, still in that house. I was still hoping (In vain, of course) that I would wake up and this would all be some perverse nightmare.
When I got to my house I went straight up the stairs and crawled into bed. Sleep would be the only way to stop this madness, this spiraling web of thoughts and memories and pains that were streaking through my brain at hydro-speed.
I crashed into unconsciousness immediately. It was almost frighteningly easy.
-August 13, 1987-
The sun was blindingly bright when I awoke. The clock beside my bed read nine-something. My head was pounding.
I sat up and rubbed the sleep from my eyes, trying to make sense of the disorientation I was experiencing. My heart was racing much too fast, considering I had just woken up.
Ignoring the nauseous feelings rising up in me, I rose from my bed and trudged out of my room.
Madness is a funny thing, though insatiably tantalizing. It pulls and pulls us in, drowning us in the black abyss of chaos. It’s positively delicious, and impossible to escape. To some degree, everyone is a little mad.
Insanity, on the other hand, is merely a higher, deeper, more complex level of intelligence that the simplistic human mind cannot comprehend.
Someday I would be called mad. Someday I would be called insane.
And maybe I was. Maybe I was.
Elizabeth was in the living room, yelling at the television as usual. Damn politics always got her riled up. I myself couldn’t have cared less.
“What’s up?” she asked when she saw me. I shrugged her question off, plopping onto the couch beside her. “Sleep well?” she pressed on.
I knit my brows as I thought back to the previous night. I don’t believe I had ever slept that deeply.
At last, I spoke. “I had this dream… it was…”
“…In more local news, an unexplainable fire broke out last night, completely destroying a house and everything in it.”
My words were cut off by the television as the voice of the reporter sliced through my concentration. My pale blue eyes flickered to the screen.
I recognized the house instantly. It had been abandoned for some time, but it had been one of my favorite places to draw. There was something there, some unseen force that moved and pulled and then vanished, leaving the rest of the godforsaken world behind.
“Firefighters say that the house was abandoned and that no human remains were found. Police have not ruled out arson as the start of the fire. The arsonist would be facing fines of up to three thousand dollars and possibly some jail time. I’m Jessie baker, reporting live.”
I snorted in laughter. “You’d have to be pretty fucked up to burn down a house for no reason whatsoever.”
Elizabeth shrugged. “Huh. Guess there are some crazy people loose in Middlesex.” She looked over at me and we both started to laugh.
Mad world we were living in.
I stood up and headed into the kitchen to get something to drink. For one reason or another I couldn’t get the images of that house out of my head. I could laugh all I wanted but something about it scared me. disturbed me.
Whatever. It wasn’t my problem.
I pulled out a glass and filled it to the top with water, chugging it down in a single sip. When the cup was in the sink, I reached down to dry my hands on my pants.
I think now that subconsciously I knew it was there even before I felt it. With a frown of utter confusion, I reached down into my pocket, extracting the smooth silver bracelet.
And I knew, but I didn’t know. And I remembered, but I didn’t remember. And there was something that felt so right in that moment that I knew was wrong.
I did not know where the bracelet had come from. I did not know what led the police to my front door the very next day, claiming that I had been the one to burn down the house. And I never, never remembered the name Alyssa Hamilton.
At least, not in the conscious, sane part of my mind. But insanity is merely a higher, deeper, more complex level of intelligence that the simplistic human mind cannot comprehend.
Someday they would call me insane. And maybe I was.