T H E M O R P H I S T
by Silva Noir
Chapter 6 : suicide
This is David Xilvrin.
I don’t know if you care or not that it is. I’m here. I need to talk… well, no not talk. Scribble with this pen and paper in my room. Watch the slick glossy ink flow from the nub like Xilvrin from under fingernails. Form feeble sentences between faded cerulean not-quite-straight lines.
I don’t often write things down about my own life. Part of that has to do with what Ruth has told me. I don’t want to be noticed or leave any record of my existence. That could prove dangerous. Who knows what THEY might do with the information. According to Ruth, that is. Know what? I’m beginning in to think THEY don’t exist. So screw it all. Right now I’m in pain and Melanie says its better for me to write it out. It doesn’t do any good to keep emotions bottled up. They’ll only choke me with their poison.
When I came to, Melanie and Kristen were standing over me. They didn’t see that I was awake. Well, I’m not sure if I was awake. Rather, it was though I was a poor sailor on a fastly sinking ship drifting on the seas of consciousness and struggling to keep my psyche afloat. I was drowning in my own personal nightmare. They were arguing whether or not to take me to a hospital. I twitched my fingers to let them know I was ok and waited to regain full mobility. Pushing a cold wet washcloth off my forehead I slowly sat up to face them. That would account for my dreams of the ocean, I suppose. They waited for an explanation for my actions… or, lack of action… but I had none that I was willing to share.
I had been hoping to fall asleep without ever awakening again, to go peacefully in the hands of good friends. I let my eyes focus in the room. It was unbelievably pink with all available space lined with stuffed animals and band posters… had to be Kristen’s.
I remember all of it, the chill of the night, the cool of the glass, the emptiness of my being, everything. I stumbled to the window and leaned against it. My breath left a soft cloud of mist against its surface. My head ached and the air was damp. The springtime is full of rain. The sun had gone down; there was no light or warmth. So this was the kind of shower you wouldn’t want to be out in. It was just like a few days ago, I thought to myself as I watched cars go by on the street below between tangled spindly limbs of blackened oaks, and its just like seven years ago, it will always be this way. Nothing will ever change until I put an end to it.
The self-loathing was a disease festering inside of me, all because of… this… this… Xilvrin. My namesake. My disease. What was it anyway? I had analyzed it myself, or attempted to, countless times. It didn’t match any known substances on earth yet comprised so much of what I was.
Seeing myself curved and ghosted in the reflections of their wide innocent eyes I felt vile. There was entirely too much of me in the world.
I didn’t care about the sound spewing from their mouths that were being drowned out by the quiet wind. I wasn’t listening. I refused all they offered. Didn’t they see that was the problem, my selfishness of living on? I didn’t want to touch or have anything anymore. All I did was bring pain and suffering and worries. I don’t know what the hell I am, but I knew I didn’t belong there. ‘There’ being this planet. Kristen was hyperventilating with all she spoke. Melanie stopped and looked at me. That goddamn look could have brought me to tears. She just sat there. Staring. So calm and collected like she wasn’t even her own age… like she was ageless. So still and yet she moved about the room around me. Her spirit, whatever you want to call it. I couldn’t stand to look at her. She was watching me, holding me with her gaze.
I broke it. I BROKE. I got up away from the window seat and went to the bathroom. I looked up and down for anything I could use. Searched for anything that could cure the sickness inside of me.
They were beautiful, so beautiful. My existence, my being around them would only ruin them. I needed to protect them by getting rid of me. Don’t you understand? How wonderful those girls are. Human girls. They come in so many shapes and sizes and colors. Even then I wondered if one could ever find it in her heart to love me as I wished her to.
But that’s a useless dream, a dream like so many others that will never come true. If it’s what’s on the inside that counts, if actions speak louder than words, then I am truly a monster. I never make anything of beauty. I can’t create anything except armor around myself. All I can make is a barrier between society and myself, not connections. As if there aren’t enough walls up as it is. I wanted to tear it all down. I wanted to tear myself apart. I’m not human. I’m disgusting. Evil. And it’s your fault. Yours, Xilvrin. I wanted you out of me.
I could taste the wealth of hate in me. I tossed objects from the medicine cabinet, causing bottles of pills, toothpaste, and other various meaningless items for personal hygiene to tumble in a waterfall of a rattling clamor. Something sharp pricked my fingertip. I knew I had found what I desired for self-surgery. There in my grasp was a fresh shining pair of stainless steel scissors. Along with it was a small box of pins that were used to dig out splinters.
I glanced at my eyes in the mirrored sliding cabinet door. They were full of fright, insanity, and disgust. I glowered at myself, silently throwing the other me a message to mind its own business. Tears gathered in those jellied black, gray and white marbles that served as my vision. The saltwater drops spilled of their own volition. Everything was distorted then. My arm shook. I ran the tap hot enough to sterilize my tools and fill the sink.
I could see the veins and arteries under the curtain of pale skin of my wrists. There they were: little tunnels pumping and transporting my life’s vital liquids through me. They could have been sewer drains full of bilge for all I cared. I pressed my thumb down where I planned to dissect, letting the pressure be the only way of numbing in my warped operation. I released, took the edge of the blade, and sliced in. The sting was sweet. I howled in well-deserved pain and triumph.
Teeth were clenched so tight the porcelain was on the verge of shattering. The swarming daze of that willfully induced agony was the closest I had ever felt to God… no, to BEING a god. Maneuvering the scissors proved difficult. I willed my right hand not to tremble as it committed unspeakable offenses against its partner. It became so that the pain was so great and constant that I no longer felt it. I peeled back the flap of skin that I had been slicing away and stuck the points of the pins to hold it in place while I dug into ruby flesh. Blood, which had been oozing before now flowed freely. It ran down in crimson brooks to my elbow where it paused, gathered, and then splattered onto the lip of the sink. From there it slithered and slipped into warm water and dissolved in rings fascinating and feathery. Those gave way to a muddy clouding of a murky stomach-turning red that I no longer wanted to study.
Muscles and tendons in my arm appeared normal. They were the same as any other average human beings should be. The veins and arteries however did not match what I’d looked at in anatomy graphs. Let’s forget the fact that much of the outside of me didn’t match the anatomy graphs either. I was hoping although the surface varied, the interior would be as expected. No such luck. I was sideshow material inside and out. Come one, come all, witness the amazing lead blooded boy.
Against my will some of the Xilvrin was burbling up and gushing over form the ends of my fingers. On some deeper level the instinct of self-preservation was kicking in. Whenever anyone or anything had posed a threat, I morphed. The danger had never come directly from me, however.
My left appendage now looked like it had been either mauled by a bear or mangled in a car accident. Car accident! I laughed at that thought. I cried. I screamed. I shivered. My knees gave out and I feel unceremoniously on the plush mint green bathmat, continuing to rip myself inside out emotionally and physically. I wanted to destroy me. Destroy the sin of existing as I did. My breath was heaved and gurgled as I discovered my prize. There, the treasure lay; a few thick and spider webbed shimmering battleship gray wire-like roots that matched the color of my eyes. All I needed to do was sever them and it would all be over. Done with. Whether it would cure of kill me, so be it.
Was that me, who am I? Was that my name? Had someone really shouted it? I didn’t recognize the distressed call until a russet toned hand grabbed the scissors away before I could complete the deed. Fury was held in Melanie’s face. My own was contorted and tearful.
“This is a SIN!” she scolded while shaking my silver drizzled and red drenched arm.
“I know. That’s why I was removing it.”
She growled “No. SUICIDE. You go to hell for that. Think you’re suffering in this life? How does the sound of your immortal soul burning in the bowls of the underworld for the rest of eternity strike you?”
Hell? That was that Christian thing, that RELIGION thing. I continued to laugh at her. It got me a hard slap across the face.
Nearly foaming at the mouth like a rabid bulldog she barked, “I’m not joking around!” She dropped my hand and looked at the sticky parts of me that left a trail on her. She poked curiously at the silvery goo, “What’s this? Did you try and poison yourself too, you idiot? Wasn’t it enough to slit your wrist? Why would anyone want to die before their time?”
“I was getting it out of me, why would I put toxins in? Its been a part of my body since birth... well see for yourself,” I demonstrated with my good hand the effects of the Xilvrin as a liquid armor.
“Damn,” was all she could say, “That’s not normal.”
“No shit,” I wasn’t in the best or most gentlemanly mood. “And no, before you ask, doctors can’t fix it. Ruth, my mother,” there was yet another slip of me admitting the truth. I’m a terrible lair and even worse for keeping secrets, “She’s tried for years. She contacted the best in their respective fields. She is... was… the most brilliant chemist in this country. I guess it’s like the saying goes: If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. So that’s what I was attempting to do, fix everything.”
Melanie glared colder than I thought possible from her. “Do you really think you can put all your trust in science? No wonder you’re depressed. You don’t have faith.” Then she did an amazing thing. She hugged me. She wrapped her arms around me. She held me. It may not be amazing to anyone else, but this was my very first hug. “You poor lost soul…”
“W ... what?” I was pleased with the feeling of… the feeling of ... comfort. Yes, comfort. But also puzzled by her change of mood.
“I’m sorry,” she cooed. “Do not judge, lest ye be judged. I didn’t have all the facts; I still don’t. I assumed and that was wrong.” She let go of me and sat back. “Lets get you cleaned up and call the hospital before you bleed to death or your battery fluid runs out”
“It's not battery fluid. I’m not a robot. No hospitals, either,” I stated firmly. “They ... the people after me ... at least one man that I know of… will hurt anyone close to me just to get me. I’m sick of hurting others and of being hurt. I wanted to be normal or yes, to die. I wanted ...”
“To protect us? I understand more than you know. I almost died once. It was Kirsten who saved me,” she said rather matter-of-factly. “I can sew okay. It will hurt putting you back together, but it hurt taking you apart and that was entirely your fault. Stay here while I get a needle and sturdy thread. And don’t die.”
“I’ll do my best not to” I held a small towel to the raw open gash. I’d only succeeded in making myself feel sicker than before. It killed when she darned up the flap of skin back to where it had been removed from. She wouldn’t allow the slightest cry of discomfort from me however. It was all I could do to keep form screaming when she applied the antiseptic to the finished stitches.
Pristine white bandages covered my wrist and all evidence of the scene was scrubbed clean. I asked with a sudden odd realization, “A strange guy offers to buy you anything you want, passes out during dinner, and mutilates himself in your best friends bathroom and you’re not scared because…?” Honestly, the whole situation was ridiculous.
“Everything since that day is different. Maybe it will be the same way for you.” She said matter-of-factly, not expanding on her exact meaning.
She led me out the window to the roof to talk further under the solitude of darkness. The shingled ledge was as cold and damp as the evening itself. Kristen was unbelievably quiet about the whole ordeal. She left it up to her more mature friend to handle the situation. Her sole action was to fetch us fleece blankets to wrap around our shoulders to keep us from freezing. After which, she retreated to some lonely recess within her own home.
“So what was that stuff in your wrist?” she hit to the point.
I took only a few seconds to mull over whether to divulge my secrets to her, “Xilvrin.”
“I don’t know. No one does really. If they do, they’re not telling me. It’s a singular element, not a hybrid. It and its properties do not match that of any other recorded substance on Earth.”
“What are you saying?” She looked up at the star dotted sky then back at me, “That you’re an alien from outer space, UFO’s and all that? Or that you’re some sort of mutant or superhero?”
“Do you really believe in those superstitions?”
“The only thing I believe in is this” she drew a chain from under her shirt collar and clutched an ornate filigreed golden cross. “At least, I try to. But sometimes… I have these feelings. They’re more visions, really... no, wait; I guess you’d call them premonitions. So you don’t have to worry about me telling anyone about tonight. They wouldn’t believe me if I did.”
“Care to spill your guts to me? After all I did to you,” I cracked a corny joke and got the expected reaction. I leaned on my knees and let her spin her tale.
“It was summer, I was 12. It was my brother Jim’s birthday party. It was a sunny day so it was a BBQ and pool party. Only, I can’t swim. O one noticed when I got pushed in by accident, elbowed in by one of Jim’s burly buddies. I sank to the bottom with my eyes open. The sunlight glimmered off the water. I remember it vividly. I stayed there, struggling but giving up. I felt as though I shouldn’t bother fighting. The light grew brighter and brighter. They said I was under for three whole minutes, not breathing, lungs filled with water. For those few moments I was legally dead, David. It felt much longer… it felt like I had move don to a better world”
I perked up at that, “What happened?”
“Kristen was there because she was a friend of a friend. She’s a fish in the water, unlike me. She’s even on the swim team. She dove in, brought me up and brought me back. She knew CPR. When I was under I heard voices and songs. I felt divinely loved. I knew it was a miracle. I had come back with a purpose. I swore to always be grateful towards her and keep her safe, and to never ignore anyone in trouble. Which is why I’m not afraid of you. Do you understand? If that Silvery stuff is in you, don’t treat it as a curse. Treat it as a blessing.” She struck a prideful pose and pointed her index finger at my nose “Use it, don’t abuse it!”
“Uh… right. So basically, you’re saying I should use my… superpower... to save the good people of the world?”
“Exactly!” she brightened. “See, you do get it!”
“No costume, especially no tights and cape,” I warned.
“So you’ll try it? Helping others in need?”
“Would it make you happy?” I watched her nod vigorously. “Then, yes, I will”
Although I wasn’t very enthusiastic about the idea that night, after I had gone home and lay down to think about it as well as her advice to document my inner struggles so that I could get a good look at myself, it began to make sense.
So here I am… getting to tired to write anymore. I do feel a bit better for it. Maybe tomorrow I’ll slap a logo on my chest, bear a heroic grin, and try my hand at keeping the peace…
Or maybe not…
Yours truly, Mr. X, signing out.
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