It was Monday night. As usual Adam sat sullenly at the bar contemplating the dredgery of the daily grind and ruminating the undiscovered horrors that would await him as he travelled further into the large bottle that was becoming his life. The co-workers he would normally have a drink with began to give him looks of disapproval when he invited them out to the tavern. He was often drunk and cursed them for being laymen without creativity, simply because they would not accompany him in his binges. He resented them for being the reason he had to drink alone.
Now and again he would see the fragile brunette sitting by the jukebox. Sometimes she was with men, always good looking enough to turn Adam’s pale green eyes a deep shade of emerald, shiny as the jewel itself. She didn’t always have company, at times engaged in a book of poetry, or some Shakespearian text, calm with her trademark red in hand. Wearing the face of lonliness well, it proved difficult to see her. She acted a fool with men, causing them to believe she was a phenomenal catch, but she would always break free from the hook, leaving without a word when her suitor went to get her another drink. Her beauty was tragic indeed. Her smudged mascara on her left eye from the rain could not be considered a flaw. Such a defect upon a face like hers only added to its perfection. She lived as a doll in a case that nobody was allowed to touch. Terribly afraid of being dropped to a shattering fate, she found contentment in her world of glass.
“I see you here, from time to time. You are always sitting in the same place. As if it was your vocation to be a reliable beauty, that others may admire your elegance.”
“Oh,” blushing, the girl dog-eared a page in her book and proceeded to close it and put it to her side. Adam was entranced by the shadow of the wine glass that fell gracefully upon her book of childish stories. The blood red reflection consumed the cover illustration, turning it’s pale colors into deep shades of damnation.
“I am a pretty puzzle, indeed. I like to have fun and yet indulging in words intrigues me just the same as romance. In fact, I must admit that I am far more dedicated to words than I am to others, men especially. If I were to give my heart to some silly suitor, he would claim to love me at first, but beyond this glamorous façade lies an imprisoned soul. Most men should want to run when they are presented with it’s unpredictable intensity. What person truly cares for another? This Earth and the events that take place upon it are but a movie reel, and it’s inhabitants are a stellar cast indeed! What is the light of God but the light on the projector? And what is Time but a moving illusion? Every moment is a photograph in this grand charade! Emotions and concepts, intellect and ideas; delusions that fade as morning dew dries up in the strength of the afternoon sun. Things stop glistening. People don’t appreciate the rest of the day as it fades into the darkness. They are always waiting for the sun to rise. Nobody knows how to live through the whole day, how to get through the murder scenes, let alone love one another!”
She sighed deeply and sipped her wine, as if it would replace the agony she felt from such a dispirited picture of humanity with the calm apathy of nihilism. Adam was certain that she didn’t really believe such things. He was not as deep into the cave as she was, and was still able to turn around and see the light from the opening he crawled into.
“Haven’t you cared for another?", Adam questioned.
“Oh, I had loved someone once. It was so long ago that the memory has faded like the brightness of the paint on a wall after years of being beaten by the rays of the sun. The moments are dull and motionless in my mind, though I know that I was once alive in the glory of such passions.”
“I am the same as you, indeed, but hearing such an existential disertation from another is disheartening. It attempts to murder the soul!”
“Oh no! It is not existentialist for me to think these things. I am only looking for something real. Perhaps there is a soul out there that is able to live through the day.”
“Perhaps I am a soul that is able to live through the day?”
The brunette laughed heartlessly at Adam’s obviousness. “Oh, perhaps. Perhaps not. Now if you will excuse me, I haven’t the patience for men today, this is why I have the beloved world of fairytales to escape to.”
“In your pursuit of reality you fill your head with idle fairytales? You are a mystery indeed!”
“I assure you, my humble friend, that fairytales are as real as you and I.”
With these words the fabled Dorothy retrieved her book, hiding her face behind a cover illustration of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Adam stared at her for some time as she tried to climb over the rainbow into Oz in an attempt to find the truth.
The old man was now without all five senses. A soft voice came from within him expanding like a wave coming into shore. It seemed to yeild the loud power of an explosion, though it was composed gracefully of notes he was certain did not exist in the waking world. His entire body broke from its stillness, vibrating acutely that he was certain he was experiencing a seizure. This shower of energy that seemed to come from above and travel down to his feet seemed as though it had gotten itself emprisoned in flesh. With great effort it had shaken off the corpse of the old man, taking his consciousness with it.
Sight was restored to him. It was difficult to tell which things he was seeing were real, and which were of the dream world. He knew that he was still in the forest, but from the ground grew strange plants he was unfamiliar with. The only thing noteable about them was their bright red color. The sun shone strongly, causing the canopy of various shades of green to take on a translucent nature. The flowers resided in the shade where there was not a sliver of light to alter their opacity. They were complimentary, as red and green are, but also clashed drastically in the absense of other colors. There was not a trace of yellow nor orange to marry the two opposites, that they may work together in a splendid display of light and shadow. And for this reason the red flowers seemed more like intruders, than guests in the emerald city.
The sun was momentarily tucked tightly behind a large cumulous cloud. In its hiding, the shade’s damp chill provided a desolate, yet charming ambience. Loud, cracking branches, complimented by the soft rustle of leaves, sounded in the distance. The first thing the old man thought of was The Wolf. Desperate to find his companion, he had forgotten the strangeness of all things that were happening to him, and without his body attempted to run far into the trees. Immediately he was transported deep enough into the forest that he could no longer see the edge of his property.
The soft sounds of an animal brushing against growth as it travelled through the forest were more audible now. The old man was certain he heard music faintly asserting it’s presence as a whistling wind whipped itself passionately through the treetops. As he floated closer, now compelled by the commanding nature of the noises which intrigued him, he began to see the source of this cosmic lullabye. Beyond the zephyr that played the wooshing leaves; past the low rhythmic chanting of a nearby brook, was a melody that should have been imprisoned in the past. It was the glue which held together the orchestra of the forest, and the old man had concluded that this was the stuff of the fabled faery music.
What he had seen was not to his liking. He had felt as though a malevolent force had ripped a forgotten image from deep within his psyche, holding it in front of him like a carrot on a stick. Overwhelmed with longing, his heart felt like a once still lake, in which a stone was dropped from the sky. The dull ache that spread out through his being from the initial shock of this unforgivable sadness pulsated like the rings which begin and fade, making room for new rings until the water settles. This phantasm before him was but a romantic poison with a beautiful name, causing a ruthless chaos that would never succumb to order’s reign. The chosen victim of a murderous Time quick to injure and slow to kill, the old man had no choice but to accept this suffering. The red flowers began to grow as the sun became eclipsed by the moon’s shadow.