Outside, the world had turned dark and menacing. Within, there was an emptiness born of this darkness, an emptiness that makes the pulses quicken and the imagination race. There he stands, in this emptiness, of a room lighted by coldness and filled with white, sterile air, letting the prickles of fear and the icy fingers of terror run through him and clutch at his heart. He allowed it because he knew he was ultimately safe, beyond the reach of its fiendish acrobatics. So he waits and listens, listening to the secrets of the silence and feeling the numbness of the emptiness. This was a world he knew well, as familiar to him as the steady rhythm of his own breath. This void he had experienced a thousand times before and will experience a thousand more.
Gradually, he will become aware of another presence beside his own. He would hear its heavy and raspy breathing but it will just be the sound of a machine, whirling and buzzing with the incessant and monotonous tone of the unliving. It is a sound much appropriate to this vast chamber, deadened, immaculate, and inhuman. As is the presence beside him. There is something menacing and evil about that unnatural being. He could not see it, but he can sense it, feel it with every vibrating nerve, endless and formless. He knew with long, painful intimacy the aura of meaningless hatred and rage that is ceaselessly emanating from it, pouring from it so fiercely that he could almost drown in it. Still he refuses to be truly afraid though he could not help quivering with horror and loathing at this thing subhuman. He refuses to submit to that limb cramping and soul crushing terror of the mindless because he knew that the hatred was not directed at him alone, and that it was a powerless emotion, incapable of action, of deadly harm.
They both wait. Alone and apart in that chamber of silence, darkly muted lights, and absolute emptiness, they wait. They exist there, day after day, long times fading. They remain there, in an alien world and wait for something not quite comprehensible. Soon the moons will join above their heads. Across the highway bend, in the depth of the night, one will be able to see two celestial bodies afloat instead of one. That is if one look very closely for the second moon always lurks behind the first, nothing but a faint imprint, a slight shadow of the glowing disc. There is something vaguely alien about that moon, something akin to the presence lurking beside him, something equally evil and destructive. Although impotent now, it is waiting for its moment of power. So all who notices hold their breath as the shadow passes the light.
Somehow the meeting of the dark with the light will signify wanton destruction and death. Somehow, the world would come crashing to its end with the joining of the moon, whether through the rage of the nuclear monsters or the inexplicable falling of the sky as the elementals of nature spins topsy-curvy upon this planet, too long left alone. Whatever the twin moons bring when they meet, there will be devastation as never seen and pain and suffering will run like the Styx through the mass of living, caressing all with its cruel fingers before roughly jerking life apart from body. He sensed it, the fear, the grinding fear of those who knew not what and the terrible excitement of the machines. Whirling and waiting patiently for the day when they would inhabit the earth, when their kind would reign supreme, when they can rise and fall as did many others did before. Waiting for the meeting of the twin moons and their chance at life, at history, at immortality.
Ceaseless, endless waiting. Waiting in dreams, in darkness. Waiting in a world that did not exist, a world of the unconscious, a world between the living and the dead and the unborn, a world of dark emotions in swirls and shifting forms, reaching through each other like sand and like time. Waiting, always waiting. Waiting for his like to grasp on with their minds before it all dissipates. Hungering presence waiting to be filled and he emptied. There is no end, no reality, no thought, only the coursing flow of instinctive, animalistic emotion. Panic and fear and helplessness and desperation in the midst of confusion, of the unknown. No, it is not even that. It was not strong enough. He was too apart, too distant, only an observer. There was still enough left to be objective, coldly, heartlessly logical.
Should he impart the tale? The weight of guilt will not fall to him. He wondered how many more are like him, dreaming, knowing, not daring. There were many, he knew, who experienced this unearthly dream. Even those who had chosen to speak and warn without understanding. Their voices were disbelieved and ignored and they are now outcast for their foolish predictions without truth, for it had never come to pass, not in their lifetimes. It is safer to predict much further but equally false. Everything twists as time passes, nothing remains straight. Even he knew that. He wondered how many had chosen to remain silent and was now thankful, for the next minute is always the most uncertain. But none of it mattered now, not for him, the moons will not join, not in his lifetime. Heart safe, he knew he will no longer has to wait.
After the rising of the twin moons, the fears filled the breast. But with the passing of shadow over light, relief came. A selfish relief born not of human goodness but of the need for escape. Should anyone ever ask of that night, there need be no reply. He has chosen to guard closely the dreaming and now it is all past. No longer the endless turmoil within, heart consumed, mind left to wonder if silence would be the cause of destruction, and he one who can overcome it. Relief for having made the right choice, the only choice. No shame from hysterical whispers and warnings and instead the practicality of being no more noticed than before. Still a nonentity, of no importance. The normality of his own identity is once more affirmed and his life can further continue without interruptions. Such nights as this one will happen again, when terror steals from all dreamers their breaths and minds, when nothing matters beyond the mercilessly slow crawling of the dark moon. With no doubt will this happen again, but it will be of no consequence to him for he shall be gone. It will not appear again in this lifetime, perhaps not for many lifetimes to come, and when it comes, it will no longer be his concern. Release from all consequences of the dreaming and with it the shameful relief not for humanity but for self.
Somewhere beyond, the slow grind of the clock is measuring out the course of fortune by its every click. The wheel turns, relentlessly, slowly, pushing into faltering motion the axles, then the gears, more wheels, more machinations. Despite the inopportune creaks and the jarring screeches of metal against metal, it was and will always be as steady as the hand of time, as pitiless as the eternal wheel of Ixion, and as remarkably unyielding as the ever encroaching, ever demanding, and ever louder footsteps of human progress. And there, empty eyes watch with immense interest.
A Day Remembered
The Meeting of the
A Ghost Outside