Long Hard Road Out of Hell


Imagine this. It is bitter-cold yet brittle-dry. The sun beams, an icy illusion, a glassy reflection. You have nowhere to go. You are wandering the streets. Strangers pass you by, their faces blank, no expression, nothing. For you mean nothing to them, they have their own lives. You are invisible to them. If you fell screaming they would keep walking, their blind eyes focused carefully ahead.

You know you’re not dead. You know you’re not dead because you are alive and you want to be dead. The difference between being dead and alive is that if you are dead you would stop wanting to die.

There is an entrance you see, a dark doorway. Perhaps it would provide some relief from the cold. You turn in, and you find that it is a tunnel of some kind, with a light at the end of it. It is not the watery shimmery mirage of the sun, but some other, softer secret glow. It reminds you of some calm warm holy altar. Drawn by the promise of warmth and inner peace, you take your first tentative steps in the darkness.

(1st cut, part of you wonders at the madness of it all, but it all seems so clear, so right. You are strong. You can’t go wrong)

It is dark in the tunnel. It is dark and you are stepping on glass shards in bare feet. The road is winding, the walls are rough and soon your arms are covered in scars, but it is too dark for you to see the extent of the damage. It is worth it, though, at least you have a hope, a motive as you look ahead. Every spurt of pain shooting up your electric nerves reminds you that you are that bit closer to your sanctuary.

Sometimes you look back and think of life outside this tunnel, with the blind blank people, and you wonder if you are the blank blind one and maybe the outside is the real world after all, but you can’t go back. The stinging wind and the whiplash of indifference are too much for you after the safe claustrophobic confines of this tunnel.

(Trying to hide your inner journey under breaking skin. Seams of skin falling apart. Your face is a mask of laughter. Maybe it is a prison, but it feels more like a sanctuary)
You forget a life existed outside the tunnel. In your saner moments you may wonder if there was ever anything before you entered but you dismiss these ideas and keep walking.

(You struggle no more as the darkness overtakes you. You go through life woodenly, but what’s there is in the dark tunnel in the corner of your mind)
The end is near. You break into a run. Your scars, old and new, crackling and splitting, open into rivulets of blood as you inflict yet more on your tired skin, your tired body.
(More and more, the voice in your head compels you. You spend all your time greedily searching for new mine sites to dig on your skin, you’re sure the big treasure is that little blue stream pulsing in your arm)

And. You. Are. Here. You have done it. But instead of being surrounded by softly glowing candles reaching out into empty space, infinity and beyond, there is only one feebly flickering candle, nearing the end of its wick, and as the cry leaves your lips, your breath drowns the flame, and it flutters out.

(The blackness crashes over your head. You cannot call out; the mask is too firmly frozen. Somewhere deep inside, your inner child screams and beats against the walls of your mind.)

You are trapped in this tunnel of yours, collapsed to your knees. Nowhere to go, no way to turn. It’s a long hard road outta hell, honey.