a human. for now.
“I’m useless. Not even obsolete. At least if I were obsolete then that would mean at some point I was actually useful. That I served some sort of purpose, but failed to evolve. I have no ability to achieve anything. It’s taken me a long time to reach this sad realization, but I guess the sooner I accept it maybe the less I’ll disappoint myself. My only destiny is failure, that’s the only thing I’m certain of. It appears the universe has already made that decision, but I really wish it would have consulted me on giving me the opportunity to become obsolete first.”
“Are you complaining again?”
“It’s just that nothing comes out of my shitty brain when I want it to. I can’t make it do anything. It’s stuck on fuck off. I didn’t even know that was a real mode till I tried using it. My words and thoughts have no impact or meaning on anyone or anything. I’m a purposeless lump of flesh and bones. Whatever I say or do will matter to no one. I’m useless. It seems like I haven’t even been born yet.”
“Well, how about you try pulling your dick out of me? Maybe you exiting my vaginal cavity will resemble being born. If it makes you happy we can both scream and cry afterwards while you’re covered in blood. ”
“What the fuck? You didn’t tell me you were on your period!”
“Whatever. I tried to. You were too busy complaining.”
“Ugh. This is the shittiest first date ever.”
And that was how I first met Emberlynn Day. What a majestic name that is, unlike Stone Verlee. That name makes me want to puke whenever I say it. My mom was going to name me Carl, but it turns out a Carl raped her when she was young. That’s probably a true story. The part about the rape not about being named Carl. I suppose she assumed my name should match the coldness of her heart. You can see why I hate the name. It’s a lot to explain every time I introduce myself. But Emberlynn never asked for an explanation. Although she may have when I wasn’t paying attention. Those things seemed to have happened quite often. She used to say the craziest things like, “Stone, get out of your head and come back down to Earth.”
She was a crazy one alright. I mean I tried my best to keep her sane. I sure do miss her. Not a day goes by I don’t dream of her. Sometimes I swear I even see her staring back at me in my reflection. Maybe I am crazy after all. I’ve sadly lost track of how long she’s been gone. Not gone as in gone to the other side of life, but just gone. I walk the streets every night looking for her wondering if she would still recognize me. Sometimes I see her. In café windows, in cars driving by, in hippies who smell like a mix of pot and patchouli wearing their sun dresses. However, none of these quite match the image of her burned in my memory. They come close, but never so close as to completely banish the loneliness.
Emberlynn’s biggest fear was being lonely. She was afraid she would start believing all the crazy voices in her head. The ones that as she put it, “make me feel like a monster from Pluto.” I never knew if that was a bad thing or not. Either way, I enjoyed dating a monster from Pluto. I remember when that monster and I were on vacation in Europe and we got stuck at the airport due to an exploding volcano. She told me how she would love, to one day, live inside a volcano and start her own colony. They would start their own civilization off the grid and be the first to encounter alien life forms. Emberlynn’s fascination with aliens convinced her that they played an integral role in forming the Earth’s history. She insisted that extraterrestrials assisted in the construction of many timeless wonders such as: The Pyramids, Stonehenge, the Grand Canyon, even the famous Rocky Balboa scripts I-IV. Had she thrown Rocky V into that mix, then for sure I would have known she were insane.
I checked the classifieds many times but couldn’t find any reasonable volcanoes to occupy. Instead we settled for a one bedroom apartment in the city. The walls were all brick and covered in steel pipes. Not an ounce of carpet anywhere. Just the way I like it. Emberlynn hated it. The cold floor felt like death creeping in every morning, which is funny since the landlord informed us that the previous tenant, a girl in her early twenties, decided to drown herself in an acid bath after a botched plastic surgery procedure. She assured us we would have a new shower and bath installed within a few weeks. After being blown off by the landlord, we eventually came to peace with bathing in a death tub.
I would wake up some nights to Emberlynn staring at nothing. Eyes wide open and never blinking as she sat upright in bed. When I would mention this to her she would look at me with a puzzled face as though I were the one staring into space in the middle of the night. After a while I suppose I got used to her bizarre awakenings. As long as she wasn’t possessed by some disfigured twenty something year old ghost, I didn’t feel like I was in any personal jeopardy. Now, looking back I should have been more concerned for her well-being. I guess I really did spend too much time in my head. Maybe it was just nightmares keeping her up at night. Bad dreams from the stories we heard about that deformed girl. Little did I know then that Emberlynn was listening to someone or something.
She would ask me after falling silent in mid conversation, “Should I go?”
“Go where?” I would ask.
That’s where the conversation would end. I don’t remember being inside her head where the rest of the conversation took place, but again I could be wrong. The experience of being inside another person’s mind may have been so overwhelming that my subconscious blocked it out simply to allow me the pleasure of my day-to-day existence without going mad. Or, most likely, she just went insane. I can’t help but feel that she was somewhere else when she went crazy. Somewhere far away from the both of us. After some time she stopped asking me if I thought she should go, and instead, began telling me that they were demanding her presence. Any inquiry into these statements led to Emberlynn changing the subject or ignoring me all together. Then, she was gone. I awoke one morning to an apartment that was much colder than normal. Her absence pissed all over me before I could even open my eyes. There was no note. I couldn’t stop returning to the death tub to stare at it. I continued staring at that tub waiting for it to confess to the awful crime that it committed, but there was no confession. Death tubs, I learned, are excellent at keeping secrets. I watched the hours tick away pacing around the apartment awaiting her return. The mental exhaustion of trying to imagine her whereabouts sent me back to bed defeated.
As soon as my head hit the pillow I heard her voice. “They’re waiting for us. Inside. Follow me to the sacred mountain.”
I was asleep when she whispered that in my ear. After doing some research, I located the sacred mountain. An upside down volcano in Bugarach, France was my destination. I guess I thought she would be waiting for me when I arrived, and we would laugh about the preposterous nature of the whole thing. Boy, was I naïve. I arrived at the tiny village at the foot of the mountain where I met a shop owner named Jean who immediately recognized I wasn’t a local. Since Bugarach’s population is a mere 200-300 people it makes it easy to spot an outsider such as myself. Fortunately for me, Jean spoke English that he picked up from his years in college studying abroad. Exactly what she looked like, he never did mention. We talked for a while and I told him about Emberlynn and why I had flown all the way to France. I’m sure he thought I was strange, but he was kind enough to keep me in his company for several hours. As he was preparing to close his shop for the night he asked me if I had a place to stay.
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought about that,” I told him.
“Well, I have a spare room back at the house that you’re welcome to. It will be getting dark soon making that mountain a bit more dangerous to climb,” he said. “Better you get a good night’s rest and head up in the morning.”
It was hard to argue with his logic so I accepted his invitation and followed him back to his house where his wife had dinner waiting. Over dinner Jean explained to me the mystique surrounding the sacred mountain. Nothing unusual, just some people who come from around the world and wait at the peak of the mountain for extraterrestrials to take them out of this world and return them to their “home”.
“These aliens,” Jean said, “are believed to inhabit the inside of the mountain. At midnight tonight those people on the mountain top believe the aliens will come out of the mountain and bring them salvation.”
I asked where they would get such an idea. He explained that they all claim an alien godhead in the sky sends them messages in their sleep and directs them to the sacred mountain. I don’t understand how Emberlynn knew about this mysterious place, but I also don’t believe for a minute that some alien god was communicating with her. Jean said he’d witnessed hundreds of people hiking up the mountain over the past several weeks. He handed me some photos he took of hikers.
“It’s slow around here in the winter. These guys, at least, make it a little interesting,” he said.
He was right. These people sure were interesting. Some were climbing up the mountain with their arms crossed in the shape of an X. Some dressed in all white while others were completely naked carrying some sort of orb and a golden ring that dangled by a long thread.
“They’ve been performing strange rituals up there,” Jean said. “Take great caution climbing the peak in the morning.”
Following breakfast, Jean and his wife dropped me off at the base of the mountain and wished me luck. I thanked them for their hospitality and began my hike to the top. The trail was much easier to navigate than I had anticipated. I couldn’t wait to reach the top and reunite with Emberlynn. After two and a half hours I finally arrived at the peak. It was quiet, in fact, a little too quiet for a place that attracted hundreds of people from around the globe. Emberlynn wasn’t there to greet me, nor was anyone else. In all four directions of the mountain top laid hexagrams of burnt candles. Shattered orbs surrounded by blood soaked fabrics sat in the center of each hexagram. I shouted Emberlynn’s name, and a moment later it came back to me. I was heartbroken and confused screaming her name and listening to my hollow echo mock me as I fell apart atop the sacred mountain. I became sick to my stomach and vomited as I turned my back on the mountain and began my descent.
I couldn’t help but feel like I was abandoning Emberlynn with each step I took toward the base. Nothing added up for me. At some point the only reasonable explanation that I chose to accept was that the entire thing was a hoax. And me its biggest victim. I returned home, angry at myself, angry at Emberlynn, and angry at childish pranks. I considered moving out of the apartment, but I stayed knowing that eventually Emberlynn would return home.
Now, the days and weeks come and go and I sit alone complaining to myself in our cold apartment. I walk around in her slippers and try to mimic her voice to keep from being lonely. It may sound sad and pathetic. You would be right. I am a sad, pathetic, waste of flesh. I’m filled with nothing but useless organs that are better suited for someone with a healthy, untainted mind who’s capable of evolving into a superior, loving being that can contribute something, anything, to this world since I certainly can not. I’m not sure how many more surgeries it will take, but, at least, each day is a little easier to get out of bed knowing I look more and more like Emberlynn.