dreams and visions

Unlike Our Waking Lives – The Final


The mention of that name, “The UnBe”, took capture my meager concentration; I felt much like a freeway rubbernecker, casting glare upon the scene of a wreck I instinctually knew was rife with carnage and loss, but my nature would not allow me to look away. I didn’t want to know more, but I had to.

The UnBe – a loathsome name. A cutting, smashing, consuming, savage name. The UnBe did not refer to some meddlesome prowler or displaced wild animal in search of blood. No, the UnBe had the sound of someone who existed simply for the sake of striking out existence. Anything called the UnBe must be a hater of anyone who lives and anything produced by life – eternal, wondrous, inexplicable shadows of thoughts that become ideas that become music and words and inventions poured from created beings. Oh, how the UnBe must hate those created things, just as he hates the waste – the souls’ excrement, cast off by humanity, and this he must use as justification for his warpath.

The floor I kneeled upon shook with an intensity that told me he was in the room, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the cardboard boxes – the ones closest to the door – were moving. He was near, couldn’t have been more than a few paces from us. I smelled his breath as I heard him exhale; it was the scent of something rotten that you become used to and fail to notice after being around it for a time, but you recover your sense of it when you go away and come back. It was an awful and familiar stench.

I turned my head from the pallid face of the boy and looked directly at the paper barricade. Boxes were falling, one by one, from the top of the wall. This UnBe, essence of devastation he was, could have blown through the entire stack with no effort at all, but he did not. He didn’t need to. He knew we were here, and he was in no rush. I carried out my consequent actions robotically. I scooped up the halo child, heard his breath leave him. His lack of weight was surprising and reminded me of the fact that he was such a young boy, and I winced a moment over the way I’d allowed myself to become repelled by his stature. The child’s head became buried against my chest; he was small enough to nearly disappear against me, and I was on my feet, rushing from the barricade, where the UnBe had cleared more than enough space to lay his ugly stare on us. I did not need to see him. I knew. I’d met him before – been here before. Been here.

An evil, hateful figure in black; he owns no face, because he is nothing and he is anything. He is Bigfoot; he is the Boogie Man; he is the Dark Angel of hell; he is the thing that robs sleep and so terrorizes dreams that you carry the burden of his image and memory throughout your waking life; he breaks into your peace of mind as easily as bricks of cardboard.
Many nights and days have I forsaken to run and hide from him. Many blessed dreams have I exchanged for his besetting horror. Much love have I refused from Creator and creation because I’ve busied myself with the evasion of his grip.

For this boy – halo child in my arms – for him, it will be different.

The back end of the cluttered room found me huddled, face to the wall, hugging the small child tightly to my body. Even as the echo of the Jericho wall’s collapse reached my ears, I reaffirmed my covering of the boy. Now I will be his barricade. Hot slobber escaped his mouth in droves as he sobbed in fear; my shirt became soaked in his fluid. A tiny, trembling hand reached beyond the cocoon I’d hastily formed with my own body. Hand of the halo child took feeble grip of my thumb and forefinger. His touch, repellant just moments prior, now felt oddly familiar, or it had been so all along, and now it was in a better way, and I was compelled to comfort the boy.

Distant memory of a sacred melody surfaced in my mind, and I found myself singing without effort. I felt I was not alone in singing.

“Devil’s on the outside; God is on the inside.”
Words were barely intelligible through the shaking in my voice. Was there someone else? Someone who used to sing this to me?

A breeze wafted against the back of my neck – air displaced when the pile of boxes fully collapsed before the UnBe. I sealed shut my eyes, tightened my hold on the boy.

“Devil’s on the outside; God is on the inside.”
The pressing of the subfloor beneath my knees – the shift against something large and weighty.

The halo child stopped crying, but I knew his eyes must have been cinched closed as mine were.

“Devil’s on the outside; God is on the inside.”
An inaudible, psionic wave from behind, to my mind as breath like a polar wind across my spine. His message – I know who you are!

The choice was solidified in my mind – no matter how menacing, how palpable, how immediate the doom wrought by the UnBe, I would not open my eyes nor turn to him. Were the shallow night’s remaining hours exhausted with his foul, icy breath chilling my skin, I would not shift from my position. The halo child would not be alone this time.

Devil’s on the outside; God is on the inside.
Thread of a feminine voice laced inside the melody.

Devil’s on the outside; God is on the inside.
The grip of something unrecognizable on my shoulders.

Devil’s on the outside; God is on the inside.
No longer me singing.

Devil’s on the outside; God is.

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