Chapter 1: I am become
I wasn’t always this unhinged. My life used to resemble something that was somewhat normal. My world was what you could call a vacuum of controlled chaos. The universe and I developed a dysfunctional, but mutually understandable relationship. One in which it would try to fuck me and I would refuse to let it.
Preventing those uncomfortable soul penetrating incidences was very rarely successful, but I at least had a predictable range on how far left things could go and an idea of how to fix them. That was before I dug into the wrong section of life’s fuck me box and managed to unearthed something I never should have.
My world has since gone from one filled with copious amounts of blood and gore, to one where senile gypsy witches exist. I mean, who in the levitating fuck still puts curses on people? What are we, barbarians? I wish she had just tried to kill me like a normal person.
Anyway, let me try to explain how I got… here. It’s a complicated story, so I think I’ll start from the beginning.
Well this is something completely new. He must be seeing the end for himself to open up like this. Isaac has never been what you would call the sharing type. As a matter of fact, he has become an expert at compartmentalizing. An unrivaled genius at keeping what he feels to himself, ever since watching the two people that he loved the most in the world erased with no explanation.
Not many people could live an ordinary life after witnessing something that traumatizing at such a young age. I’m actually impressed that we have kept it together for this long. I guess we’ll see how long that holds up.
His tragedy is one that a person hears about but wishes never to experience. Even by association. Seeing a life taken in front of you leaves a stain on the soul that’s not easy to erase. Watching every horrifying moment of your parents being sadistically carved alive shatters the soul into pieces even the best puzzle masters would find hard to reassemble.
Some people would call it luck that he survived. He would tell you that it’s a fate worse than a thousand deaths. One that is saved for only the most vile and putrid souls in the darkest caverns of hell. Not for an innocent young boy who has barely seen or experienced the joys of life.
The story begins
He never seems to recall much of the night while he’s awake. But the second his head hits his pillow, that day plays back like an old drive-in movie he’s seeing for the very first time. A nightmare that replays itself over and over again, each time leaving him with more questions, and soaked sheets drenched from a night of terrors.
I’ve seen it play out more times than I can count. Always starting from the same point with no details changed, but somehow becoming more terrifying each time you see it.
It suddenly begins and he’s back to the morning of that day. Unaware of the hundreds of times that he has re-lived every vivid moment, his mind completely free of any memories of how dark the day ends.
It starts the way normal days should…
His cat annoyingly scratching at his room door begging to be let in. The soft beats of reggae traveling throughout the house, bouncing back and forth between it’s walls. The sound of his mom and dad loudly giggling from a distance while they go through their weird weekend morning ritual of breakfast and dancing. Then him, wearing his superman jammies and frantically searching for his second sock, lost during a night of restless tossing. Rushing to get to the kitchen in time for some of what smelt like a cholesterol tsunami of bacon and fried dumplings, and porridge. All of which would have been in grave danger once his dad was finished dancing.
He gets to the kitchen in time to catch them halfway through their dance. Bobbing their heads and slowly rocking to Bob Marley’s “Jammin” that played on the boost stereo sitting on the kitchen counter.
He runs into the kitchen like a bat out of hell wearing a jet pack, still only wearing one sock, his sights locked on to the contents of the kitchen table. Suddenly being snatched up by the waist, hoisted and placed in the middle of a family circle on an improvised dance floor.
They dance for a few minutes, lost in the bliss of the moment…. and then suddenly they’re at the breakfast table. His dad and him racing to see who eats the most strips of bacon, while mom sits back reading a few pages of her favorite book, Immortality by Milan Kundera, and drinking a large cup of peppermint tea.
The morning gets more beautiful each time we relive it.
Being back there with them, laughing and eating breakfast the way they did most Saturday mornings. Completely free of shadows, the rays of the sun pouring in through the slats of the window blinds. Not a single trace of any ominous sensations or thoughts. Just the three of them eating and laughing, completely free and happy in the moment.
Each time we are tortured with this rendition of what was, I can feel him smiling. Remembering a part of himself that he has spent the last two decades drifting further away from. Feeling what he felt, before I came to be. The feeling of untainted happiness. It’s a funny feeling.
And smiling… I don’t think I understand the feeling behind the action. Not when it’s not smeared in blood. That’s the only time I remember us ever really smiling from a place that gave us some joy.
Maybe that’s what he felt when he was with them.
Our never ending looped reverie suddenly jumps, like dreams usually do, and pauses with us sitting in grandma’s living room. Spoon in hand staring down a giant banana split, made just the way grandma knows he likes it. Gummy bears planted throughout and warm chocolate drizzled all over, powdered gram crackers sprinkled on top, with a glob of whipped cream and a cherry on top to make it heaven.
Enjoying one of our most favorite things in the world to do, sitting with grandma on our favorite old ottoman, a little dingy and slightly stained from our many accidents, watching a Murder She Wrote marathon. Grandma, sitting to my right, cuddled into her favorite chair wrapped tightly in her navy blue throw and fuzzy bed slippers, her glasses sitting purposefully on the bridge of her nose for optimum viewing. Rocking back and forth, occasionally putting herself to sleep.
This is always the point that he suspects that he has been here before. He gets an eerie feeling that crawls over his shoulder and down his spine. One that feels like he has already seen and experienced this in some form. But it never causes him to pause, each time shrugging it off as an unexplainable feeling of Déjà vu.
Grandma jumps up suddenly from another of her mini-naps and looks at her phone with exclaimed surprise.
“Oh shit, it’s 8 already?
Oops, close your ears Isa. Come on baby, you have to go home.”
“Tell your parents I’ll see them tomorrow. OK baby”?
“I will Nana B. I love you”
Leaving grandma’s house with the intent of heading straight home, Isaac’s curiosity and love for adventure assumes control of him and takes him on a detour. His intended destination–the neighbors back yard.
Next door was a little boardwalk behind the neighbor’s house, perfectly hanging over the lake that always had a slaughter of Iguanas lounging on and around it. He liked going there every chance he got to see them, and to skip rocks across the moss colored waters.
It was a place that brought him comfort and calm. Maybe it was the cool wind that always seemed to blow across the lake’s surface at just the right moments, with just the right chill, that could sooth any heavy thought. Or maybe it was the wild but calm nature of the iguanas that pulled him in, observing them and how they moves in their creepy reptilian magnificence.
His pit stop that night was simply to check in on his scaled friends to see if the group had grown since the last time he visited. It had.
There was a large bright yellow albino iguana that captivated him so much that he simply laid there staring at it. Swinging back and forth on the hammock that was tied between two beams outside the neighbors back porch, in view of the boardwalk.
Like clock work
He gets the feeling for a second time. This time it’s a bit more intense, hitting him like a heavy hand on the chest, jolting his heart. He feels something, and he knows something is terribly wrong.
“What is that?”
“Why does it feel so familiar?”
He whispers to himself. In a glazed daze, his observing view of the iguana turns into a piercing stare that goes through the reptile into a void of wonder.
He starts to get anxious and confused about what he’s feeling and why. His chest tightening, tremors of palpitations vibrating throughout. Breathing getting shallow. His mind racing, remembering things he couldn’t possibly know.
The iguana suddenly sprinting off, diving into the lake.
The neighbor shouting through the screen door telling him to go home, his mom was calling.
Something telling him that he should go up the tree that grew outside his window, to get into his room. Instead of going through the front door…
“Isaac, go home. Your mom called looking for you earlier”
A little freaked out, he rushes around the side and bumps into the fence, scratching the back of his right hand. Narrowly missing being tripped by the water hose curled up and tossed to the side of the house.
He darts through the small gate, granting him his exit. Then he goes around and hops up the old oak tree by the side of his house. Slowly and carefully scaling the large course limbs, like a little George of the jungle, he makes it up the tree and crawls across and makes it in through his bedroom window.
A feeling telling him to turn back, and a voice screaming for him to stop. Still he goes on, moving toward the light coming through the cracked door that was right across from his parent’s room.
He walks up slowly, the balled up feeling of fear and recalled pain slowly building in his chest like a geyser about to blow. It moves up and wraps around his neck, making it harder and harder for him to breath, the closer he walked to the light.
He hears a noise but he’s unable to make out what it is. Something that sounded like metal being sharpened. He can hear scared inaudible voices heavy with anxiety and trembling with fear, getting louder the closer he gets.
There is an unfamiliar voice saying something in another language. He’s not exactly sure what, but the calm sinister voice sends chills all throughout his body.
“What is going on….”
As his vision focuses through the crack in his room door, and he sees his dad conspicuously signaling him to remain quiet- it all comes rushing back to him. A flood of pain grips his heart, the memories of what he’s about to witness hitting him like a shotgun blast to the chest. The adrenaline in his body spiking, sending his heart into hyper-drive.
He watches in horror, his heart breaking all over again. As if it was possible to shatter grains of sand into even smaller broken pieces.
He watches as the masked stranger commands his dad to tie his mom to the beam at the head of the bed, gun pressed against the side of his skull. Afterwards tying my dad towards the other end so they are in full view of each other.
Then like a butcher in a meat market cutting up cattle, he makes his first cut. Then a second. And then a third.
He pauses for a second and looks back at dad, grinding his teeth with angry tears streaming down his face, telling the masked man to stop, or else. The two looked deep into each others eyes, locked in a hate fueled murderous stare. The man smiles, looks back around and then begins to peel the skin from the left leg of his mom, her screams of pain magnifying into horrifying squeals.
Frozen in fear and scared mute, like he did on that night, he just kneels there and stares in disbelief as his mom’s flesh is stripped from her body. Blood pooling beneath her legs onto the bed. His dad watching on in agony, pleading for him to stop and take him instead.
That was the moment that I came to be.
Born of pain, a witness to darkness, and death’s muse. But you can call me Ahriman.
I remember a snake tattoo being the first thing that I saw. A cobra wrapped around the thumb on the right hand, stained red, blood dripping from his fingers.
Stuck in a state of stasis, tears streaming down his cheeks, I could feel our body becoming numb the more we watched the nightmare. His young mind being stripped of its innocence and replaced by a growing dark void. Unable to do anything other than screaming inside, feeling helpless. Stuck in a fear triggered paralysis, wondering just how long it would continue. And after, what would become of him?!
To be continued….