We can only see the horrific cataclysm of our reality when we leave it. That is the last thing Cassie said to me. Well, Lucid Cassie. Now there are aphids between her ears, manning controls they do not understand. That was one constant Cassie now had. The aphids in her head that whispered futures. And I knew I had my work cut out for me when…I had to take the power drill from her. “No! The, aphids, speak, the, messages. I, need to, let, them, out. Tin, is, the, only, metal, the, beast, bows, to”. It broke my heart when I thought of what she said as fortunes of no futures. Was that my destiny caring for her?
She always says a monster gave her the aphids and if you heard what her daddy did to her, you’d say she was right. Trauma can drown what is real in acid. But she always had her loyal loyal John. I’d die before I let her destroy herself. The problem was, she’d destroy herself if the walls told her to.
Then she said something amongst the neurons flaring from broken synapses. “A, green, man, towers, over, a, feast, of, corn”. The green man, she was talking about the Green Giant Sweetcorn! Her visions were real! Not in the way she understood, but if I could show her what she was seeing was just fragments of what she knew and not the will of insects, maybe she could distinguish reality from nightmare.
There is not one can of Green Giant Sweetcorn. But I had a thread of her visions. If I tugged, it would all unravel. So I listened carefully to every sentence of insanity. The Silver owls of flaccid trees, the volcano that points down in the name of time, everything. Until she said it. “The, bath, is, black, from, the, ink, that, pens, the, way, of, the, enemy”. I knew the black bath. Lucid Cassie and I have been to it. And we were going back!
An abandoned institution, as grey as the ghosts rumoured to haunt the place. No one remembers the purpose, just the name. Saint Dymphna’s. All the windows were broken, and the inside was scattered with dust, empty beer cans and syringes. On the second floor, sat a bath tub. And it was half full of oil due to something leaking on the floor above.
“Rats, will, own, all, the, vowels, and…is that the black bath” Cassie asked.
“Yes Cassie, yes” I screamed. “Don’t you see, your mind is just twisting places you’ve been, things you’ve seen, saying they are visions. But this is real”!
“So the aphids are…just in my head, figuratively” asked Cassie returning. All I could do was hold her and cry. Her father be damned, she was better.
“No” she said into my chest and pulled away. “No, this, is, a, vision”.
I was so close. I would not lose her. “No Cassie, this is real. Look, the black bath” I said pointing.
She clutched her head, screamed and ran downstairs. I chased after her until the screaming stopped in a silence as sudden as a car crash. I slowed to a cautious pace, poking my head into a room where I last heard her.
She had fallen onto a window frame face first, and the shard she landed on started to part her hair on the back of her head. She twitched in reluctance of this glass mosses splitting a sea of red.
Then I finally saw it. The, aphids. I, see, everything, now.