( I. )
“Let me in . . ..” My eyes slowly open, the eerie voice fades as I awaken. I sat stirring, as I look around myself wondering how I came into this curious position. An empty room with an old green couch that was ripped with cottons spilling, is where I found myself sitting. A stained pillow upon my lap and an old splintered table in front of me is where I was positioned. A notepad and a pen is all I had in my possession.
A half emptied glass sat atop of the table, accompanied by a crystal flask of brown liquor. Clink. The glass wobble as the ice wilted. The sudden sound commands an urge for me to have another drink to raise my spirit. I fill the cup with the brown liquid from the crystal and quickly knocking back the icy drink. The back of my throat numbs from the fluid and burned its way through my stomach, filling my blood with a pleasurable feeling.
My eyes roam toward a single window. Darkness hinders me from any visibility to the outside world. I shuffle forward and peer through the empty void. Suddenly, I hear a soft scratching.
There is a tree to the side of the building, with its long arm filled with branches that reaches toward the single window. Those tiny branches appear like bony fingers gently tapping, scratching on the glass window. The howling wind blew against the skeleton-like arm of that tree branch, manipulating its movement like a puppet on a string. It waves toward my location.
I hear the sound of the wind moaning like the dead, and through the howling I thought I heard a faint voice whispering, “Let me in.”
The floorboard creaking brought my attention back into the room. I slumped back onto the raggedy old couch with a hard thump and reaching once again for another flaming quench. I knock back the glass of liquid fire, too quickly as the flame licked at my face.
I wipe at the drops rolling down my chin, and suddenly my eyes return to the single window where a gentle rapping was heard caused by the bony branches. A fluttering of wings follows the gentle rapping and through the blackness, a shape emerge of a bird, blacker than night. The bony branch swaying upon the intruder’s weight as the scratching before, became rapping. The dark bird staggering, with its wings flapping, steadying itself on a single branch.
The black bird steady on the branch finally, and peering through the window with its beady eyes setting in my direction. Upon where I sat by the wooden table, I stared back cautiously leering at the curious happening from outside the dark glass. Our eyes connecting from far across our positions, and the dark bird stares accusingly at my situation.
“Go away, you!” I croaked at the dark bird, with my voice raspy from the liquor that burnt my throat.
Again, I thought I heard a faint voice whispering, “Let me in.”
The bird bopping its head and leering with one bead of its dark eyes, mocking. It puffs out its chest and spread its oily-black wings, rocking the bony branch. And as if it wasn’t enough of an annoyance, it brought its beak toward the glass and began Tapping.
A pounding now, inside my head from the wretched noise and the alcohol that have gone straight to my brain. I pinch at my temple with two fingers and was unaware of a groan that escaped my throat. My eyes watering and my vision blurring. My nose stuffing with congestions. Yet the sound invades my tranquility once again.
That awful Tapping.
I hear the wind howling through the tapping. And now a small voice, I can hear calling, “Let me in.”
I stood suddenly and began pacing. Trying to walk off the headache, building. This somewhat causes the bird to stop its tapping. Curious to my action, it watches with tiny beads of eyes, leering. I too leered so secretly, glimpsing at the creature that sits upon that bony branch, waving.
“Let me in…” I muttered to myself, mainly just to hear myself talking.
TAP. CRACK! The bird attacked the glass window with its beak. The sound whips through the glass. Grabbing a nearby vase, I flung the object at the window where it shatters upon impact. CRASH!
The bird flutters away, leaving the bony branch waving in farewell. I return to the couch with tired annoyance, my head resting upon my knuckles. Leering once again at that dark window, I watch the bony fingers of the branch sway in the wind, still waving to me. Then, it steadies and now its twig-fingers began scratching against the glass.
The sound of the gently scratching was soothing against the windy howling. No longer there is any tapping. Staring out at the black screen, I dared the bird to return. But there is only that pale bony arm of the branch, scratch-scratching.
I had an urge to scratch at my bony chin. I return to the couch instead, where the crystal glass with its liquid fire commands my thirst.
( II. )
I sat there for a while, a daze swimming. From the glass of brown liquor, I took pleasurable sipping. And from the blank notepad, I stared with blurring vision. Already, I felt my face numbing. My head spinning and I could feel the heat rising. My bony fingers caressing the pen that I held, but writing nothing.
Slowly, so slowly, as time went by with the crystal glass emptied of its brown liquid and the rocks the only thing remaining. I turned my attention back to the window revealing its blackness of night. The bony arm of the branch had somehow stopped waving; stopped its scratching.
My eyes fell upon the broken shards of the vase I had thrown at the annoying bird. Oh how I missed him already. The sharp piece glistering from an unknown source of light, inviting me to feel its prickling tip. It brought a memory from so long ago when I was a child.
My mother warned me not to look directly at the sun, for it would surely blind me. It was such a beautiful sunny day. Such simple things we take for granted when we were young. We view the world differently when time passed. Surely in this present, I am never able to see the sun again due to my current illness.
Loneliness seeping in my heart and the chamber where I sit started to feel brooding. The wind had stopped howling, oh for only a few minute. The chamber had stopped groaning, pausing. My lonesome self isolating from any attentions. I feel the anger rising, as from the heated fire. And I ponder how I came to this current condition.
My attention now focusing at the sharp piece, thinking about forcing the shard into my wrist and opening up my body to drain away this cursed disease. More thoughts and memories flooding me and I suddenly realizing how I got to this chamber with it’s blacken window and dim lit candles.
And thus, I begin to write my confession.
There was once a young girl who drew me a picture of a playground she always loved. The picture itself was creative as she used so many colors to paint a memory. It in itself was filled with Life and Beauty!
The grass was a vibrant green. I could smell the blades of each grass. The water, a shimmering blue so vivid that I could hear the sound of water trickling in its stream. She drew the sun so extraordinary with its round disk of yellow and squiggly lines indicating the rays of the sun. The sun that I am never able to witness! I have forgotten the warmth of its Love.
Oh but she was missing an important color. She used white for the clouds. She used pink and green and violets for the many fields of flowers in her drawing. She used brown for the critters, grey for the ‘gulls. Orange for the swings!
But she was missing that one important color that is Life…
I came back again from that memory, still sitting in a buzz and working into a craze. I remember now how I came to be in this chamber. Every waking moment, I have sat in this same chair in front of this table, drinking away the memories and listening to the horrid wind that is now picking up.
I staggered to the huge double door of my chamber to find not surprisingly that it is locked. I am locked in, alone in this room with the black windows and the candles lit for my reading purpose. I am a prisoner here and always have been. The notepad and quills waiting for me to write down my admission.
But no. I don’t think I was wrong, was I? If it was not me, then it would have been someone else. I’ve played my part, haven’t I? Why am I being punished? Where is the justification?
I grew angry with alcohol-fueled rage. I paced around the table, growing angry at myself. No! Not me, at them! They who had locked me away to keep me to myself. Alone!
Angry, I grew. Angry, I paced. I cursed! I yelled, I growled in frustration. I ROARED! I threw things and broke many more vases. I grabbed the crystal that I drank my sorrow with and flung it at the door. It did not shattered, but dropped heavily onto the thick aged carpet.
Tired and exhausted, I dropped heavily onto the chair and rested my head again on my knuckles. I continue writing.
I am alone, Alone. Madness etching its imprints into my thoughts. I suddenly desire another drink. I push myself off from the chair and sauntering to pick up the crystal I had thrown at the door. It breaks upon my grip, the broken piece sliding right away from my fingers.
Feeling a prickly itch, I bring my fingers up to my face and noticing the crimson liquid seeping from the cut. Oh my! What a sight! How long ago have I set my eyes on this exceptional outcome? When I sat back down, the last flickering of frustration passes from my face.
I searched for a rag but could not find none. But suddenly, a sudden urge propelled me to do something I detested. Unable to resist myself, I did it…
My thoughts revisiting to the little girl and her drawings. It was beautiful and filled with Life! But it was still empty without the color of Red. Her innocence and youth have never experienced the wonders of Red. But Red is the most beautiful color there is! It is the color of Life!
And so, in the end, her beautiful drawing was drenched in the crimson color. The Red started to engulf all the other colors in the drawing, proving that it is more powerful. The yellow sun became an orange ball. The blue sky became an evening twilight. And the green grass became wet with Blood!
I feel giddy! I giggled. Just the thought of that memory brought a thrill into my spirit. Now I understand why they call liquor, spirits! It is the drink that raises me. Or perhaps it was the memory of that other drink that did me. The drink of Life from that little girl and her drawing…
Hark! A pounding at the chamber door. A loud knock. A Banging! Knock-Knock. BANG! It echoes within the walls. The wind having picked up again and begin its howling. And the whispering, now “Let me In!”
A feeling of dread. Fear! Who knocks at this ungodly hour? And why am I hesitant to answer its call? If I could, I wouldn’t. Who knows what lies beyond the chamber door in which I reside in this quiet sanctuary of mine? Thus proving I am a prisoner of my own conscious.
I am sitting upon my cushion, not daring to answer. But no longer does the chamber door knocks, but a tapping resumes by the dark window.
“Let me In!”
The bird is back! Staring at me with its tiny eyes and sitting upon that bony branch. When did it returned? Has it sat there awhile, listening and observing my curious action? Listening in on my memories? Had I revealed my sins to this creature?
NO! It could not hear my cries before. How could it hear my thoughts? It sits outside upon that bony branch, mocking me with its tiny beads of eyes, tapping at my awareness. This is madness! I will not let it overcome me. I will not let that black bird get to me!
( III )
In the days of the past, I was engulfed in the crimson colour. But in this present, I witness only the muck and the blackness of void. There is no color that is Black. Only the emptiness of the light of the Sun that robs and consumes its influence. It is the Sun that cast its vibrant color of the rainbow. My world have become gray and dark. And that thing outside the window is a reminder of my disability!
TAP! I witness its bobbly head pecking against the glass. Then those eyes are once again on me. “Let me In.”
“Not by the hair on my bony little skin!” I hollered back at the ghostly voice, from that ghastly black bird.
It then starts to Tap furiously now, in rapid rhythm. Like a woodpecker pecking on an old oak tree. Tap-TAPPING!
Tap-TAP…TAP..TAP..TAP..TAP! Tap! BANG BANG!
OH, the pounding at the door!
BANG BANG! TAP-TAP! Scratch-Scratch… The noise continued as I write. BANG BANG! TAP-TAP! Scratch-Scratch…
And then there was silence. An eerie dread engulfing my spine. All was frozen. The only sound I hear now is the pounding inside my head, echoing from my beating heart. On the cushion, I sit breathing and watching, leeringly at the bird who sits upon the glistering pale arm of the tree branch.
The bird is still and frozen. Oh but for a few moment. It cocks its head to one side and staring intently through the black window. A sudden sadness fills me. Loneliness prevailing me.
“Why won’t you let me in?” It was my voice that awoken me.
I cried then with tears flowing into rivers. It is my memory of when I was a child, alone and wandering in the dark street corners. Knocking and tapping against the doors of stranger’s house. Begging to be let in from the cold. Abandoned from a family I love, but never loved me back. My heart became cold like that cold night.
A knock on the chamber door. A rapid knocking made only by mortal hands. Not like the ghostly echo as before. Fear did not raid me this time, as I was eager for some companion. I strode across the room toward the chamber door. Pulling against the heavy frame that was suddenly unlocked and opening toward the long empty hall.
No one was there.
My excitement fell into dread. The shadows ahead sent a tremor of fear in my body. No physical being was in the hallway, yet something lurks in the darkness. An eeriness approaching from the shadows very fast. Quick! It’s almost here! Shut the door. SHUT IT!!
I stand in front of the door, not willing to move. For I am struck petrified with Fear. I could hear the blowing of the wind, OUTSIDE the door! And BANG! Something slammed itself against the heavy wooden structure. The shock and the force of it cause me to stagger backward, almost falling.
“Let me IN!” The ghostly voice is stronger now, and clearer. Not the voice of a child. It sounds like…Me.
BANG BANG! More pounding. The sound coming from inside. Inside! Against the walls of the chamber. Over at the table, a rustling of papers and feathers. What have I done? I have let in a spectral force!
NO! No, it is not possible! Just madness! The knocking continues outside the door. And the tapping, from outside the window, where that little black bird sits upon the bony branch. Multitude of sounds and noise echoing throughout the chamber of this Library.
BANG. KNOCK! TAP! SCRATCH! All around now! Everywhere! Engulfing me. The pounding inside my head, the thumping inside my heart. THUMP THUMP!
“NO! No more!” I cried out in madness, clutching my head. “Never more!”
I run to the dark window in where the black bird is pecking against the glass of the window. Tap Tapping. Behind me, the pounding at the chamber door. Bang Banging! My heart thumping, THUMP THUMP.
I lean down to the bird’s eye level, he continues to mock me tapping again and again.
“You will not torment me, Never more!” I grimaced.
I envisions my bony fingers wrapping around that tiny neck of the bird and snapping, twisting, and biting its head off! Clutching at the window frame, I struggle to lift it. The bird staring at me, challenging me with its eyes and continue pecking even harder than before. Wretched creature!
I grit my teeth and snarling in frustration. I found the lock, and now, I lift the hatch. I swing the window outward, which causes the bird to stagger backward in surprise.
“Let me IN!” The ghostly cries of the wind screeching in my ears.
“Let me OUT!” I hollered, as I hoist my body into the opening. The bird’s wings fluttering, steadying itself atop the bony tree branch.
Outside, it is still black. The blackest of night. The void of daylight. I reach for the bird with two hands stretching forward. My face, a scowl of madness!
The bird cawed. It laughed! And then, flew from my grasp. I leapt toward it. The bird flew farther away, a trail of laughter fading. And I flew also, into the void. Falling. A long way. But the tapping is gone. The pounding has stopped. The wind whistling between my ears. But tormented, I am not. Never more.
© Copyright 2016 Sammy Wang Yang. All rights reserved.
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