Night Cries Part 3
Time seemed to stop for Erik. Before him stood a visage of death, poised to end his very existence. Erik’s mind and body was moving in slow motion. Everything grew still and it looked to Erik that even she stood frozen in a block of cold, poisoned silence. Despite all his efforts and safeguards, she remained, she existed, she was here…and she was intent on ending him. She was a mistake.
Of all the technological achievements and modern marvels that flourished on Cold World, no one really understood. No one foresaw what such extreme emotional isolation was doing to the souls of men. With so many emotional connections severed and with society fully engaged in the practice of Divestiture, no one was paying attention to the after effects. She was an after effect. She was a malignant reflection of the darkest aspects of Erik’s soul. She represented all the demented and savage lusts of Eriks heart and soul unbounded and unchecked. With no emotional anchor or cage, she was set free from the inner most sanctums of Erik’s soul. She was a birth defect of his soul.
She first manifested in Erik’s dreams, dreams that grew steadily more macabre, darker and vivid. Erik, so exhausted from his daily ruminations and rituals, never gave the dreams a second thought. They were unimportant to him since they added nothing to the discoveries he sought in advanced theories about Cold World and the planets above. But one night, the dreams stopped. The nightmares became blank echoes in his mind. He ceased dreaming. He could not even recall the slightest remembrance or piece of his night thoughts from the night.
Erik was not too troubled by this. After all, his inventions waited. He had more than enough preoccupations to busy himself with. He brushed it off. But then it happened. Erik cried. Tears rushed down his cheeks like a ravenous beast starved far too long. In the middle of his laboratory, Erik found himself balling like a baby, his face blank in confusion but his heart singing out with pain like none he had ever experienced before. What was happening to him? What was the meaning of these tears? How was this even possible his thoughts exploded?
Erik rushed to his bathroom and stared in the mirror. The tears were real. His head was starting to spin and he staggered out of the bathroom seeking a place to sit, no, lie down. The cold of the lab floor embraced him and Erik lie there staring up at the ceiling. His mind was awash with questions. This was his saving grace. His mind. He would focus his genius on discovering the nature of this event. He doubted the divestiture failed. He was beyond committed. So what just happened? As his mind searched for answers his pulse calmed and he started feeling more like himself. Erik rose from the floor and walked over to his lab bench. A reflection in the tech screen caught his eye. It wasn’t the look on his face that he noticed as he stared into the screen. It was the murderous eyes that blinked back at him that sent chills up his spine. They weren’t his eyes. They were the eyes of a woman, a woman insane with rage and hatred. Today was a first for Erik. Today was the first time in his life he felt what he would later describe as fear.
Erik stepped away from the screen and sought a quiet corner in his lab. He needed to gather his thoughts and assess the situation. Erik looked around the room and then found the screen again. She was gone. Had he just imagined it all? Maybe he was overworked he thought to himself. Perhaps a brief walk in the midday sun would help him gain clarity and clear his mind. Erik headed to the sky walk and waved his hand over the floor direction indicator. Once inside the doors closed silently and with a low hum the sky walk began its descent. Inside the sky walk the lights flickered briefly and the front door panels shimmered and almost bowed upon themselves. The doors glimmered with the visage of a woman silently screaming bloody rage and intent at Erik. There was no sound but Erik could feel her rage. In a fit of panic Erik started screaming and the doors of the skywalk swung open. The ground level had been reached and a crowd stood outside in the campus sunlight staring blankly at Erik’s sweat drenched hair and face. Erik choked and coughed roughly in an attempt to gather his wits and step outside. His pulse was racing and pounding in his ears.
Julia stepped quickly to Erik’s side and asked, “Are you ok Erik”?
Erik was shaking like a leaf in the autumn wind and replied with a small weak voice, “I…I don’t know”.
“We heard screaming from inside the skywalk”, Julia offered. She peered inside the skywalk’s travel box to see if anyone else was inside. There was no one. Other people started conversing and re-engaging in conversation with their voice printers having been interrupted by Erik’s screaming. No one save Julia seemed the least bit curious by all the screaming and went about their tasks as though nothing had happened.
“Julia”, Erik rasped. “Something is happening that…that…,” Erik paused, “I can’t explain”. The words were so alien to his ears.
Julia responded with a look of mild curiosity. “There was screaming coming from the skywalk Erik. Was that you?”
“I believe so Julia”, Erik said. “But I don’t really understand why I was screaming” he lied. “I think I need to just get some rest. It will become clear to me later why my body did that. Please don’t concern yourself with it.”
“I was not concerning myself Erik. I simply wanted to know why there was screaming coming from the skywalk and why you looked so, so…afraid or something. It was very odd and completely out of character. Were you experimenting with the void bugs again? You know what kind of hallucinogenic effect they can have on the nervous system”, Julia said flatly.
Erik hesitated before saying, “No, it wasn’t that. I use full precautions now. I never leave things to chance. I just think my mental state was, uhh, I failed to achieve synchronicity with my divestiture programming”, Erik stammered. “I will have it all in order soon so don’t worry about me.”
Julia looked puzzled. “What do you mean worry Erik? I don’t think that’s possible. Don’t you recall, I’m at 45% divestiture now? Worrying is a vague concept to me now. My curiosity was merely peaked by the unusual sounds you were making.”
Erik just stared at her.
“Ok, so you will regain synchronicity and explain the source of the noise you were making later”, Julia asked.
“Yes, yes, of course Julia. I have got to go now, but I will be in touch”.
With that Erik turned and walked off, not looking back, not wanting to see what might have been reflecting on the doors of the skywalk. His palms were wet with perspiration. His legs felt like rubber. He needed to sit down or he was going to collapse in the street. He needed answers and the thought occurred to him that there might be one place, one person who might be able to provide some.
To be continued…