As It Seems
by Jennifer Stoy
Spoilers: Fifth Season
Summary: Nothing. The visions of a madman.
Disclaimer: 1013 owns them. CC owns them. Yada yada yada.
Come and play in my nightmares.
You with your dark eyes and dark gazes and dark hair, you who hover in the
center of my world with the manner of a shadow and the substance of a brick
wall. Come in and play.
At nights you sob your darkest dreams into me, the ones with the glowing
lights and the shadow men and the bitter emptiness of being alone and
abandoned ever after. I want to scream at you. Alone? You. Are. Not. Alone.
Who’s chasing the conspiracies and the monsters with you in this comic book
reality we’re living? I’m here when the Batsignal summons us forth from that
dark basement cave. I’m here when the demons swarm. Pay attention, because
there will be a quiz later.
This is the stuff you need to pay attention to. Your dreams I know too well.
The light the light the men Samantha the confused and blurred horrors that
have become a litany of example for me. But do you dream my dreams? Do you
understand what horrors I’ve absorbed from you?
There is no light. Do you understand? I wish I could dream your dreams more;
at least I can see and at least I’m in a familiar hell. Come on over, little
boy, and play with me.
You want to hear about my dreams, you know you do. It all starts with music.
Just phrases that bounce about hollowly, echoing in the amphitheatre where
all the world’s a stage and I am the lead player. I hear the notes, one two
three– heavenly shades of night– controlled and directed by his red right–
that’s why I say hey man nice shot, and then, high above the chorus,
children’s voices. The Vienna fucking Boy’s Choir, for all I know.
They’re singing to me, invisible music in the suddenly silent air, and I
recognize it. Kyrie Eleison, God have mercy upon us. Over and over they sing
to me. Christ, have mercy upon us. Over and over I stand alone in the
landscape of my nightmares, the great netherworld. The sweet high voices
whispering it to me–
Kyrie Eleison and then it all falls apart. The images blur, because they move
so fast and I see your light the light the drill the sound the whispers of
the shadow men. I see the stars and hear the cries around me and I’m praying
to God. Kyrie Eleison. Kill me or save me, dear Lord, but not another day of
Sink into me a little deeper, beyond the fringes of almost-memory, beyond
those faulty reconstructions of forgotten realities. I am bleeding for you.
Each drop of blood that falls from my hands, my feet, my side, my back, my
eyes, each drop is yours. You drink and expect more. For I have saved you,
you tell me. These are the images I give to you.
Faces whirl by, almost inconsequential, but I try to apologize and apologize
and apologize. They move too fast and I give chase but I’m not ever going to
catch up with them and I just watch them all pass me by. You know the next
For now, follow me down the path to hell, angel. Are all my despairs and
needs and desires written upon my body? Are they seared into my skin the way
it feels with your tears? Each teardrop that splashes against me burns and
leaves a scar on my soul.
It’s a cold dark place for me, oh dear God. Do you remember Boggs? Do you
remember that? I have waltzed in Hell with the murderers and monsters who
have sought a last confession, a last cleansing communion. But I give
whatever grace I have to you. Follow me down the garden path, deeper and
deeper into the tangles of my nightmares.
The boys choir is singing for mercy, and the children are all dying. A garden
of children, and each one I try to touch withers and dies. I can’t save them.
I can only save you, you, you.
The nightmares drown me, and sometimes I dream of that. I dream of water and
I, in my white nightgown like a little girl’s, white flannel, the sort every
girl has, I find myself by the edge of the sea, my father’s blue Pacific,
salt like the tears shed by we the living.
I find myself at the edge of the sea, looking down at my bare feet and
shell-perfect toenails. The waves swirl and white foam tickles my toes. I look
at the sea, which is restless and cold and absorbing. I surrender.
Into the water, further and further, until that flannel nightgown clings
snugly to my breasts, my thighs, my arms. I wade in, letting the water take
me. When I can no longer touch the sandy bottom, I start to swim, stroke
after stroke. Further. I look back for the shore, and it’s receding away into
nothingness. Unreal City, Unreal Shore. I swim further and when I don’t want
to swim any more, I stop. And I drown. The water fills my lungs and I bubble
like champagne and the sea absorbs me and I dissolve.
In those nightmares, I am glad glad glad that I’ve drowned. I want that cold,
I want that oblivion, I want that final absolution from this role I have
These are not the extent of my nightmares. They are more than the amalgam of
my lost time, my greatest horrors, and a desire for freedom from the sorrows
of my life. I have dreamt of the ouroborous coming to life and strangling me,
but those aren’t really the nightmares I mean. Those are bad dreams, the
psychology and poetry and phantasms mixing over an undigested apple dumpling.
What are dreams, anyway? Controlled outpourings of madness that twist and turn
and tangle in the complex world of sanity and dissolve like spiderwebs upon
waking. Then there are those sorts of dreams that are like tough webs. They
cling in corners, refusing to come down at all.
I live in a house of spiderwebs, all of them ignored like a crazy aunt.
They’re not hurting me, I promise they won’t hurt you– come and play. Come
Listen to me.
Listen to me!
Nightmares, blood, water, drowning– you might have heard, but you don’t
understand. Come here.
Each breath I take is different. Each heartbeat, each moment, I am trying to
live. I am trying not to drown in a river of my shallow regrets. I don’t hate
you. I have chosen what I have chosen and I am who I am. I just want you to
I have a nightmare about fading away like this.
It’s such a simple dream. I am standing in front of a crowd and I’m screaming
the truth to them, everything we’ve ever feared is true and I want to save the
world but nobody’s listening. I don’t understand why, because I’m screaming at
the top of my lungs.
Then I realize it’s because I’m disappearing. They can’t see me. They can’t
hear me. My screaming is only a whisper to these people. I’m not real. I’m
fading– and then there’s you. You just stand there but I realize the reason
I’m not real anymore is because of you.
Does that make any sense? You’re the psychologist. Tell me what it all means.
What’s driving me down this path to where no one recognizes me, not my
friends, not my co-workers, not my family, nobody except you and me?
When I wake up the tears streak my face and dampen my pillow. I am so tired,
so very tired. Can you understand this? The children sing, I dream of horrors
unabated, and what happens when the music stops?
You’re not listening. More than that, you don’t hear. You just stand there
like a marble statue, those dark eyes flat and empty, and when I call your
name, you do not respond. You stare at me like the dead.
I run up to you, furious. I scream. I plead for a little compassion, and at
the last, a little pity, though it hurts me to have to ask for this. Pity. I
never wanted pity from you.
When I reach you, you who I have tried to make understand, I realize you’re
gone, that you’re dissolving into nothingness. I try to hold on to one small
bit of you, but there’s nothing to hold on to. Quintessence of dust. Bags of
sand the weight of a daughter. And not one hair on your head can I keep for
myself, because you were never mine to keep. And soon even the dust is gone
and I am alone as ever and–
With a gasp, I find myself back at square one. My bed. My pillow. I roll over
and pound my fists into the mattress. No no no no! Why can’t I ever reach you?
Why can’t I find the words to tell you?
I realize belatedly why I’m awake. The phone is ringing. I pick up. It is your
voice on the other end. You with your atonal voice, you whose shadowy presence
seeps even into my most private moments. You are here. God have mercy upon me.
And upon you.
Come and play.