Lae and I were chatting the other day how he got stuck in an uncharted area of DDO that he has still yet to tell me, and he sent me this:
“I stared into the abyss, and the abyss stared back.”
Something about that was SO beautiful and profound to me, and when he told me it was a quote by Nietzche, a German philosopher, I just had to look into it.
The true quote, taken from his work Beyond Good and Evil, goes as follows:
“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”
After doing some quick research on the meaning behind this… I have come to fall in love with this particular philosophy. The abyss doesn’t necessarily represent an endless chasm of good or evil – rather, it is representative of the reader’s truth.
Exploring the theme of monstrosity and humanity is a common one in many of literature, like Geek Love and Frankenstein. When presented with the moral dilemma of fighting for justice, who is to say that you yourself cannot be corrupted? That you become a monster in the process of it all? It’s something I’ve been watching as of lately, a lot of vigilante/war/action TV shows and movies I’ve been watching with War. Especially Dare Devil. The exploration of understanding where that personal line is for you is precisely what the abyss refers to; when you’ve reached a point to where you can see the end of the abyss, is when it “stares” back at you. It is a beautiful, powerful, and eerily evocative statement that tells you, “the only way to find out is to stare – deeply – into the abyss”. An “endless search for truth”, and when you find that the abyss stares back, that’s when you know you’ve hit rock bottom.
The question is, where is that personal limit for you?
Water. The sounds of dripping water reverberated often in Mercer’s head. It would drip into a puddle, sometimes pour out like a fresh pail feeding spring’s floral children. But when Mercer hears her ears fill with water, all she is able to do is to be entranced as she drowns in an endless, wondrous, cosmic ocean of oblivion.
Tonight was one of those nights for her, and Mercer remained still for hours, laying transfixed in bed. She was just about to get ready to wind down for the night, maybe check her schedule for tomorrow’s clients, and then drift off to sleep. As soon as the plinking sound of water started, she was paralyzed with a soft sensation – was it adrenaline? It rushed through her veins like channels of streaming water, and her mind washed away of all thoughts and consciousness.
It was the blaring ringing of her phone that finally snapped Mercer out of trance. She jumped, in a daze, and grabbed her phone to answer the incessant noise.
A nervous voice spoke up after an uncomfortable shuffling moment. “Oh hi Mercer, I was just calling to see if we could actually talk tonight? I finished my project early so I uh, I have the time now.”
Mercer quickly sat up and reached for her compact notebook from the nightstand. “Ohh! Yes, yes of course Cordelia, this is perfect. Then I can meet with Wallace tomorrow evening. How did the paintings go?”
“Well,” Cordelia let out a soft sigh. “It was good, it was good. I’m still adjusting myself to finding that outlet for me, you know? Sometimes I’m filled with thoughts that are always racing, never ending. Like a loop. They just keep on flowing and I don’t quite know how to stop them. So I painted an infinity sign in gold and then I just repeated that pattern. It’s rather hypnotizing Mercer, but today I felt proud. I was able to channel these thoughts into my artwork and it was adorned in this beautiful golden paint I purchased from Joanne’s. It was like, I could engrave my thoughts in each infinite band. Oh and, the other bands were of course other metallic paints I picked out back home.”
Plink. Not now, Mercer thought. She took a quick breath and walked to the kitchen to make herself a small cup of coffee. “That’s wonderful Cordelia. Having that outlet to express your thoughts, it’s one of the best things humanity created as a remedy to our own struggles. Art is, that is. What were some of those thoughts you were having, Cordelia?” She opened the cupboard and started on her black coffee with almond milk.
Cordelia paused for a moment, and then quietly detailed her thoughts. That she was a failure for not graduating college, for having a broken family and a broken heart. Being 25 and unemployed because of her depressive state led her to live with her aunt Terrissa out in the countryside. Cordelia always thought things would get better over there, especially because Terrissa was kind and gentle to her as a child, and the exposure to nature could brighten her mood. Terrissa was rather toxic within the confines of her home; she was constantly pressuring and reminding Cordelia of how much her presence set back Terrissa’s lifestyle of tranquility and remarking on Cordelia’s much changed stature. One day, Cordelia had taken a stroll out back along one of the fences that gated the south pasture, where her favorite mare grazed, and Cordelia saw Terrissa disposing some strange parts. She circled back later that evening and vomited on the spot from what she had seen: Malary, the house cat, was butchered viciously with charred bits and pieces of fur.
“I was just, you know, trying to get some breakfast sorted for me this morning and Terrissa just snapped at me. And then she just started yelling at me about how ungrateful I was to not ask if she was hungry and how I had no manners. She always makes me food and I did feel remorse but I just wasn’t thinking properly when I was so hungry. And honestly I wanted to throw the knife I was using to cut the cucumber at her throat and just, I don’t know, just scar her forever, and make her mute. I wanted to hurt her, Mercer.” Cordelia’s voice quivered.
Mercer took a sip of her coffee, felt a growing sense of trepidation, and drowned it down with more coffee as she clicked her pen to jot more notes. “I know you’ve tried your best. You stay out of her way when possible, and you’ve tried talking, reasoning, heck even bargaining. I want you to consider, possibly, now to change your environment instead of your relationship. You’ve been out of work for a couple years, I want you to prepare a list of potential jobs you see and like for me next week.” Mercer paused as bubbling sounds floated past her ears. “She’s not only toxic as we’ve established – Cordelia, she’s emotionally abusive to you.” A small sniff stuttered from across the line.
“I knew it at heart but you know I can’t leave her. She’s sick, Mercer. And I’m sick.” Her voice was strained, but remarkably held its composure.
Mercer felt her eyes droop with empathy. “Every day is a fight, but you’ll be the one to win the war. Okay? You have to believe in that, that’s the only way it becomes real. You’re sick, so you’ll find that remedy, even if you carry scars as a part of you for life. Heck, maybe even you have it for life but you will manage it. You don’t just stay down, that would have happened 5 years ago and you very well know that.”
More sniffles and a shuddering breath stifles through the feed after a long pause. “Thanks Mercer. I appreciate this tonight, I’m sorry if I took up more time this session than slated but this really helps me and I think I can sleep tonight.”
“Happy to help, darling. That’s what I’m here for. We can correspond over email on confirming the next appointment.”
“Okay, that sounds great Mercer. Thank you again for the kind words tonight, good night.”
“Good night.” Click.
Mercer felt herself slipping in the sofa chair as she clinked her coffee mug with her metal spoon. Clink, clink, plink, clink. Another long night. The therapist is not exactly religious, but Mercer believes in a soul, in spiritual energy. The souls, vessels and conduits, or reservoirs of internal energy is transferred to another soul, or a spiritual body. Perhaps a ki or a chakra of some sort. Cordelia was filled with uncertainty, and thus Mercer felt a growing sense of trepidation. Mercer “knew better” but still allowed – or perhaps, unable to stop – it to happen. These days, the sighs grow longer and wispier.
Soft ethereal sounds of falling water cascaded in her ears again. Mercer closed her eyes and felt a cold wake splash against her temples. It corrupted her, clouded her mind with billowing fog of emptiness. She felt like the hand of a clock, ticking mindlessly, inanimately, in the race of time. This watery sound knew how to render her a kind of stillness she never knew before. She listens, and understands her heart synchronized to the dripping of water. It filled her spiritual body and drowns her, and where dread once resided, there was nothing but solace. Alone in her chair, she sunk to the depths of this oceanic torrent. It was poisoning, and Mercer let it flow through her with a single breath.
Inspired by Matt Nasir – The Last Train
I was an abused young boy. Or maybe a boyish girl. I wasn’t allowed to leave the house, and even though I laid by the pool outside, it was so quiet. I was afraid, sans adrenaline, and it was this strange claustrophobia of being free and not free. Pastor Pete was just next door with his wife and family – they actually possessed the same Incredible family powers. But I couldn’t bring myself to leave because I think, I was paralyzed.
It was tormenting. It must have been a long dream because I was tortured every day, laying by the side of the pool on a sun bathing reclining chair, and this guy, he resembled Wilson Fisk and was supposed to be some sort of sick father figure or something like a groomer, he would come over every day and “prep” me. He would wash my feet tenderly by the pool, but I kept dreaming that he would slice off my toes, maybe even one for each day? It happened so many times I felt numb but that was what I was most afraid of, and this time it wasn’t a numbed fear, it was a very visceral one.
I couldn’t move, but I think his assistant must have felt terrible for me. This man was an oddity in the community and no one knew I was here and if they did, I was unable to interact with them. I just knew this man was evil to his core because I think he had a history of butchering children. But he didn’t kill me because of some particular reason that I couldn’t identify why, and there was this sick feeling or sense that he was also in love with me – no, my body. It was horrifying, but I couldn’t do anything.
The feeling of my toes being butchered was for the most part numb for me. He’d paralyze my feet so I couldn’t run, and so that I wouldn’t scream from pain. His assistant who was just a teenage boy, a very smart one however, would watch over the process with sorrowful eyes. He was the one who told me that I should keep “playing this game”, and he had the voice and role of Sans from Undertale. He kept encouraging me to stay and that this “game” is worth it, but I think he also was the one who told me how to escape. He said I needed to fight the Fisk butcher in an Undertale styled match, and so I did. I did poorly and I remember thinking to myself, did I just expose myself? Am I going to die? Because this “match” turned out to be the real thing I think and it was a representation of my escape of the house/mansion.
Picture frame, stairs, dust. That was all I remembered before I could finally escape that house. I sprinted to Pastor Pete’s house, but in my mind I knew he was at work. I remembered however his wife had the powers of Elastigirl and I needed to ask for her protection because Fisk would snap the necks of anyone who would try to help me, but he wouldn’t be able to snap her neck since she was elastic. This literally unfolded in my mind as I desperately pounded on her door, and
I woke up. 4:47PM on April 3, 2020.
Once again I stare up at the ceiling, devoured by moving shadows. These demons that ever so lurk silently, but there, right before my eyes. Once again, I stir alongside the awakening of these spirits.
They consume me like Midsommar’s fire, silently incinerating my body. But they cannot reach my heart, for it is safe within the grasp of a familiar man; he who lies invisible beside me in my bed. He whose ghostly arms envelop me like a blanket of snow, protecting me always.
Breathing into me, I rest: once again, forevermore.