Betrayal has substance. It breathes. It approaches as an entity not a thing. A living, calculating, hardhearted energy concealed within a tightly woven fabric of the macabre.
Had I not be imprisoned on this cot, laying here in a panic — in full free-fall mode, in fact — and if I were pressed to define what I sense swiftly approaching, I’d say that betrayal is really both. An entity and a thing.
I breathe hard in my mind. Things are going terribly wrong. I still can’t find my damned body. I flail about mentally in search and then give up the chase because the truth is…I am beyond scared. Beyond scared.
Who cares what it is! I hiss in my mind then somehow force myself to face myself. Disturbingly out of body or not. Laying here in a full on panic that riptides through me and pulls me under, drowning out my cries for help. My ability to think decimated. Pushed down. Twisted. Contorted. Wrapped into fierce submission by the thick limbs of a heavy overwhelming fog coiling me up and into a choke hold, fully blanketing my entire still-nowhere-to-be-found body.
Hyperventilating comes naturally now. Somehow I manage to quiet myself just long enough to listen, to finally listen to whatever hides in the grey-white weightiness that now threatens to smother completely.
When betrayal arrives — when I finally go beyond merely listening to fully embracing the awfulness of it — it still manages to overtake me. Hard and fast and completely by surprise. It takes no prisoners. It has force. It sprays itself out, delivered on the wings of silence. Yet so very aware in that silence, oozing in a sick cold intense pleasure, its breath. One that I suddenly realize travels only a frighteningly small distance now — mere nano seconds in time, mere micro inches in space — before its presence hits me as if it had burst out from a firehose, filling my senses and flooding my very core.
My mind coughs up a puny gasp. Scared shitless…
Context evaporates into the thickening haze, erasing comfort. If I could find myself, I would hide away in the grey-white haze too. But clever body mine…it disappeared and forgot to take me with it. With me here. Alone. Drowning in fear. Searching without sight, unable to penetrate the opaqueness to find anything, unable to see where the danger hides, unable to discover an escape. Unable to know what might come next.
And then I see him. A tall man standing over me. Otherworldly, ghost like. He hovers above me, to the side. His face frozen in time and expression. A stern expression. An unchanging one. His only movement casts his gaze like a military spotlight squarely on the spot where I think I’m floating quite out of my head.
Run, run run but you just can’t hide. Eli’s coming…hide your heart girl.
The song riots my focus before going on a rampage somewhere into this damned space where I can’t seem to find a damned thing. Except now this old man. My mind traces the outline of his image, staying a bit too long in wonder at his three-piece suit, the thick coke bottle glasses, the glint of a chain attached to what I decide must be a timepiece in his vest pocket, a timepiece that he idlely toys at, I decide, with his unusually long fingers on his unusually long and slender hands.
He stares at me as if he knows exactly what I’m thinking and where I am. As if he knows exactly what will come next. I hold my breath hoping that whatever he knows disappears.
Then suddenly a voice from somewhere else booms, “Positive. You are positive.”
My spirit whirls onto the old man, examining his face. Exactly the same. He hadn’t uttered a word. Yet he heard that voice too. I just know it. He slowly lifts his long fingers out of his vest pocket, away from his timepiece and slowly places a long slender even elegant hand near to me. Very close to me in fact, I whisper to myself and gaze up from my body-less spirit to stare at him again. His firm mouth set, his ages-old focus unyielding.
“Positive,” that loud voice from somewhere else and from someone else repeats. And just at that precise moment, the old ghostly man towering over me squeezes my invisible hand in his.
My heart shudders. I know at last.
Betrayal is alive.