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Engrossed in Insanity

Engrossed in Insanity 3608 2308 Jason Stadtlander

I am not insane, not irrational or particularly fatuous. For here, I can look at myself in this dirty mirror, my naked chest, my bosom, the very skin that binds my body and keeps me together. There is dirt and blood and dust upon it, but that does not mean that I am insane. The mirror portrays me this way, the bending of the light in an unnatural way, different from the way the rest of the world should see me. I do not look like those wide, hollow eyes that are staring back at me, that I know do not belong to me, bloodshot. Mine is the mind of a calm, collected, even philosophical intellect.

I know, I too have glanced down at the knife on the vanity, its serrated edge with fragments of flesh upon it, dripping of blood. Mistakes happen. They happen to everyone. That’s all this was, it was a mistake. Mistakes can be fixed.

He did me no wrong, no real wrong. All he did was scream at me, but that was his fault. He never should have screamed at me. He knows what I’m like when I lose my temper. I had told him that I had a bad day. I told him about losing my job, but he ignored my words. They were mere wisps upon the air to him and he did not care to let them in. If anyone is to blame, it is he that should be blamed. I can’t take my eyes off the blade, the blade that still has pieces of him in its teeth. Teeth that not long ago and chewed and torn deep into that chest which I had kissed so many times. I could not kiss it now. There is no breath within it. What was inside, is now outside.

Would you not feel the same? Would you not have simply wanted to silence him?

I reach down and sip the steaming coffee I brewed but minutes ago and took a bite of the fresh toast, smeared with orange marmalade, its chucks of fleshy orange remind me of his own pieces still in the jagged edge of the blade. But these are so much sweeter than he ever was. Homemade goodness upon my crispy bread.

Toast in hand, savoring the bite, I look again toward the mirror and pause. My face. My dear, dirty face. I approach the mirror and can see the smears of his DNA upon it, but I can wash that clean. I can wash that clean just as I can fix this mistake.

Upon washing my hands and my arms and my face, I pause. I stare once again at the face in the mirror. I have washed it. I have cleansed it. Yet it still appears so dirty, so filthy. It can be washed a thousand times, until there is no skin remaining and yet, it will still be dirty. Is this guilt I feel? Now that is insane. How can I possibly feel guilt for something that was not my fault. Not I, I who was not the instigator of this treachery. I am merely a tool, as a hammer is to a carpenter. As an attack dog is to its master.

True, attack dogs are put down when they make a mistake. They are not given a chance to make a mistake again.

The blade in my hand is still dirty, heavy, still disgustingly offensive. It too can be cleaned a thousand times and it too will still remain dirty. Not because it contains particles upon it, but because of the actions that it had performed. Why then do I see myself as dirty? Was it not the blade that did this? Not I. Because I did something just? Because I quieted a beast that had for so long tortured me? Tortured me with love? Tortured me with his endless pleas to hold me? Tormented me with desires to have a family? Do I look  like I want a family?

This blade. This singular blade. It has a strange shape when you look directly at the blade. I shall correct the mistake, I shall rid the filth from my beautiful body, cut it out like a tumor is excised from an otherwise healthy body. My tumor lies within my mind, but it too can be excised. Placing the blade upon the vanity counter, angled up at myself, I thrust my head forward bringing my full weight down upon it and briefly hear a crunch, a strange popcorn sound but no pain. Falling, I’m falling.

Laying upon the floor I have a fleeting thought of how he and I are now laying under the same roof, at rest.

The Walking Dead – About The Living

The Walking Dead – About The Living 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

WARNING: Possible Spoilers

The Walking DeadRecently I started watching “The Walking Dead“. Several friends had recommended it and I admit that I avoided it for a while because, honestly I saw no way that a zombie television series could really captivate anyone for any length of time. Yes, I’ve read the comics and I enjoyed them, but again, zombies… Really?

So there I sat in my living room, having finished Continuum on Netflix and of course Netflix feels that it can recommend a show to you, which half the time I roll my eyes and search for something else. However, for some reason, this time I hit ‘Play’.

I am now on season 2 and although the gore is something I could without (yes, I know… I’m a thriller writer that writes about keeping heads alive, yet I complain about gore). Writing about gore and watching it are two different things – sometimes. Anyway, back to the show; The Walking Dead is surprisingly very well written and the character development completely took me by surprise. I will admit, there are of course some predictable parts at times, but there are also elements that completely took my by surprise.

My heart was wrenched when Carl was shot and I literally said out loud while I was watching “If they kill him, I swear I will stop watching this show.” It wasn’t that he got shot that hit me so hard, it was the moment in which he got shot. A moment of complete, childhood peace, between him and the deer. Something that I have seen in my own children and have experienced myself.

Obviously I got through that part. The show twists and turns as much as The Steel Van Man, which is exactly what makes it so attractive. The actors (ironically – mostly British) are phenomenal and truly put their heart into the characters. Executive producer and writer Robert Kirkman‘s genius in the creation of the story line and further working with writers Scott Gimple, and Glen Mazzara (who wrote on The Shield) really add quality resonance to the show.

A friend of mine saw a snip-it on my phone while I was watching and commented “Really? Is that what you want to watch? Evil? Death, gore?” At first I was offended as I really like the show a lot, but after further thinking about her comments, I can completely see her perspective and that is almost exactly the reason I chose not to watch it for so long. However, having seen as much as I have – I’ve come to realize that the show isn’t really about the gore, about the dead… It’s about the living. It’s about the struggle, the journey. It’s about what is left behind and how we as humanity prevail, survive and show that despite such atrocities and horror, the human soul can prevail. That love, friendship and loyalty are the strongest and most important parts of our existence.

It’s hard for us to see that in our daily life, going about hum drum jobs, our family routines. It takes extremes, war, famine, plague, struggles to really bring out what makes us human at the core – and what shows the worst of humanity. There is most definitely evil out there in our world, but there is tremendous good in the world as well. As cliche as it sounds, you can’t have one without the other. Otherwise you would never know the good when you saw it.

Where Do The Yuldikars Play?

Where Do The Yuldikars Play? 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

Where do the Yuldikars play when all of the people go away?
What is left in the dark when the lights go out?

We think there is nothing, an empty room or solitude. But silence is peace and the still of the quiet pounds out a rhythm with the thump of each beat of the heart. They wait in silence, in the dark, in the shadows, waiting to see if the people will come back. Once it is decided that the people will not be back, that no one is watching on cameras or microphones, they emerge, one by one.

“Come out!” calls Tinee.
“They’re gone!” barks Feasle

The shadows take form, the harmless black swell of the desk and chair, the corner where the plant sits, dusky cast shapes that move across the room. One at a time the Yuldikars peel from the wall, extrude from the floor, their dark eyes, black holes absorbing all light staring with intent at the world around them. Having watched the people all night, all day, they now have the ability to move and play.

Where do the Yuldikars playTheir play is not innocent, happy and pure, not that of children, but of what can only be described as blackness and glowering. They swoop over the border collie in his bed and hover over him, while he looks around with fear. He knows these beasts, for they always return when his family is not here. The creatures that humans do not know, the darkness that rules the world just out of sight. He knows they can’t harm him, but they stare at him with their tenebrosity overbearing, knowing they would pull the life out of him as they had done to so many people, if only they could. They cannot harm the canine, but he saw what they did to his master’s wife when she was ill.

He sat in the corner watching the woman as she lay in her bed with labored breathing. The man, sat next to her, holding her hand as the children played in another part of the house. The collie had watched the Yuldikars come into the room, unseen by the man. How had he not seen them? Why won’t the humans see the creatures which always come for them? They see them as shadows, as play on light, but they are not. The collie saw as the sinewy creatures of darkness seethed over the woman, moved across her and as the man put his head down on her abdomen and wept with his eyes closed, they moved quickly, entering her mouth, eyes and nose with a rapidity that prevented the man from even seeing. They moved in and extruded, pulling and leeching what life was left in the woman. They consumed her warmth and pulled her soul out through the back of her head. The dog saw as they seethed through the bottom of the bed as if it were nothing but air to them and the pale essence of the woman screaming in silence as she was forcibly absorbed into the wall but several of them.

Why? Why did they take the woman? Why do they take what’s left of the people and disappear with them?

People stand in a room by themselves and talk. They think they are talking to themselves, but the collie knows the truth. They are talking to what they cannot perceive. To what they know is there on a very low level of consciousness. The Yuldikars as they watch, for they are experts in hiding and always watching.

Where do the Yuldikars play when people are away? In the walls, in the corners, in the shadows of the living, in the darkness of existence and just beyond the perception of people. But the collie knows, yes, he knows that all too soon they will all know about the Yulidkars, for they will be forced to play with them in their dark penetralia just out of sight. They will know, but not until it is too late.

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