Friday, June 17, 2011


I woke up, my muscles screaming with tension, my mouth dry and salty with caked blood, sounds of the ocean rushing through my ears. I was in a small white room with Spartan decorating: a window overlooking a dirty little beach and a single wooden chair, which naturally, I was strapped to. I tried to stand up, but my legs were tucked neatly between the seat and the bracing support between the two front legs, each one individually tied. I’m…moderately lithe, but I’m no Houdini, and these guys had really thought this out: I didn’t bother trying to escape. Call it learned helplessness: I felt like one of Seligman and Maier’s dogs, trapped in a harness, waiting for the shock. Apparently this thought manifested itself in action; I could hear myself whimper a little. Shut up, that’s not going to help either. I looked around the room further, noting only one piece of decoration: a single artist’s easel with a white canvas and…that symbol on it, from the basement all that time ago. Though it was a little different this time. I made the connection: It was the Crying Man’s eye. Big Brother is watching.

I contemplated my available actions, and decided that there was no point waiting around: this was an inescapable situation. At least on my own. So I tried to change it up a little. Let’s see if he really IS watching.

I shifted my weight forward in the chair a little, prepared myself, then flung my body back, knocking the chair clean over and knocking my head on the hard wood floor: a clatter on the outside, but in my mind it sounded like a sickening ‘crunch’. Ignoring the beating pain, I swung around to the left, trying to prop myself up on one side, facing the eye. I didn’t have a master plan here, I just wanted to test my boundaries. I eventually manage, and found that while my legs were still securely bound, I could slip one shoulder back down through the ropes, and then the other, until they were constricting my neck. I tried to pull my arms away, but this pulled the ropes around my neck tighter, like a noose, until I couldn’t breathe particularly clearly. I laughed a little at my own ineptitude, but then the laughter slipped away as it dawned on me that I was seriously in trouble, in this tangle of rope; if I moved my arms any more, I’d run the risk of cutting off breathing entirely…

Then the masked men came in, practically barging their way through the door with their shoulders. My fucking saviours. They grabbed the ropes around my neck and pulled my chair to its feet, de-restricting my airways at the same time. The ropes on my arms slipped off. I coughed briefly, then winked at the painting of the eye. Not that I expected it to wink back or anything, I was just glad my theory had panned out, but realized that the conclusions I could make from my test…were just as troubling. He wants you alive.

Why does he want you alive?

”Doctor, if you cannot be conscious for more than a minute without trying to kill yourself, are you certain you should be a practicing counsellor?” That cold feminine voice was back. I looked up, massaging my throat, and there he was, business suit looking rather immaculate. “What friend ties another friend up?” I asked, defiance clear in my eyes despite my rampant headache and my mouth tasting like shit. “Curious way of showing your friendship, buddy.”
”I apologise, it was for your own protection. The driver hates you very much, it is not your fault. Roël can be silly sometimes, he is young. He does not speak much anymore, otherwise I would make him say sorry.” I blinked, having not heard that name in a long while. “When did Roël stop speaking?”

”Oh, sometime around his initiation. The first one we’ve ever had in this city, in fact. He made…a sacrifice, shall we say? Jason and himself were our first fresh recruits.”

Another familiar name. Troubling. I didn’t speak.

”You are wondering why you are here, yes?”
”Do you have unicorn magic? However could you have guessed that?” I tried to be the sarcastic wall, though that might not have turned out as well as I could have hoped.
”Doctor, there are things beyond the mind. Beyond your mind, beyond my mind. Slivers of another reality, manifest in our world. Another, darker reality, one which none of us could possibly comprehend, let alone exist in a semi-natural state.”
”We still talking about unicorns here? I really hope we are.” I was trying to cut down all his melodramatic posturing, and my mind was still a little off, I make no apologies for any of my actions.

Not that it did any good.

”I posit that you already know about some of these…slivers, so to speak. You have done enough research into it, judging from your little blog. Change your password sometime, by the way. ‘bandura7’, while elegant, was easy to guess.”
“We were talking about slivers, not my internet security.” I consciously put on a poker face, reticent. Let’s play a game, you fuck. “You are talking about those blogs?”
”Yes, yes. These, incidents shall we say, these anomalies in our dimension…while each possessing some similarity, always have an element of difference to them. A mouth. Different clothing. Different, modus operandi. Different symbolism. Why is that?”
”Dramatic licence, I suppose.”
”You’ve hit the nail on the head, haven’t you Rivers? Dramatic licence.” He clapped politely, his hooded head still staring intently at me. “…You have a headache, do you not?'”
”I suppose.”
”Get the good Doctor some asprin.” He clicked, and one of his masked men left the room, only to come back a few moments later with two white pills and a glass of water. I took them both from him gladly, and took the pills.

Not likely. I watched Marble Hornets, didn’t I? I stashed them beneath my tongue, and took a long drink of water. I only planned to take a sip, but it made my mouth feel so much cleaner, hydrating and cooling my throbbing tongue, so I finished the entire glass. I passed it back to the masked servant and wiped my mouth, spitting out the pills into my hand as it glided past.

”I will then posit to you a new theory. Soon, the Storm will come. We have been awaiting it since the New Year. Our events have been set in motion long ago, and now…He comes with the wind.” The Crying Man motioned towards the window, at the darkening sky. “Our reality and His will draw close, just for a second…long enough for a sliver of an idea to emerge. And emerge it will, unformed and fluid. Our perception will solidify it…And because of the rituals we have put in place, the storm will bypass us. We will be in control.”
”Patient’s thought patterns move along lines rather than through logical flow; he is under the delusion that he is a supervillain summoning a dark God into the world. Schizophrenia? I believe so.”
”Psychoanalyse me all you want, doctor. When the house shakes and distorts by His power…you will see the truth in my words.”
”I doubt it.”
”The bigger the skeptic, the stronger the shift in perception when they are proved to be well and truly out of their depth.” He tapped me on the head softly, and then left the room, once again leaving me alone.

I settled down and waited. No matter what happened…the swiftness of the response meant I would not be able to escape until they wanted me to. I looked down at the pills in my hand, noting that they were most definitely not asprin. They looked more like a brand of dopamine antagonists I had had prescribed to a patient of mine a few years back, though I was hardly going to taste-test them and find out. I threw them to the floor in disgust.

And the sky darkened just a bit more

and the sounds of the ocean slipped away, leaving only silence.

Deafening, screeching silence.

I cleared my throat, if only to give myself something to hear.


I tapped my ears experimentally…my sense of hearing had completely faded away.

Sigmund Freud, during his clinical work in Vienna at the turn of the century, found a common theme running throughout many of his patients. In the socially repressed Viennese, 19th century society, he had patients come to him with seemingly biological symptoms, with no apparent biological causes. It had been known as ‘hysteria’ since before Christ, but it wasn’t until Freud that a connection was made between these apparently physical symptoms, and the mind. He called it ‘conversion disorder’, due to his theoretical reasoning that these physical symptoms were not organic at all: but were, in fact, anxieties, distresses and unfulfilled drives converted and manifest in physical symptoms: ‘switching off’ a part of the physical body to protect it from this overarching, repressed anxiety.

I’m not the biggest believer in everything Freud did, and all of his theories, but for the life of me, considering what came next, I can only assume my swirling, dark Id was preparing itself for what was to come, discarding the senses which I would not need, distorting my hearing because what I would be hearing otherwise was just too unfathomable to accept.


  1. ....
    Kind of like a biological static. I have to wonder...
    What is more taxing? Slow, gradual torture, priming from afar, or the more direct route? At least in one you know where you stand...

    Look at me. Comparing methods of this horrible thing we're going through. Maybe I should start comparing notes! Uhg. I'm disgusting myself. Calm, Walter, calmmmmmm...

  2. Fun story I was tossing up on whether or not to post up on Tumblr, in (admittedly tangental) relation to this entry. I might as well tell it here. Seligman and Maier's 1967 experiment, building the foundation for what we now call 'learned helplessness'. The experiment was simple enough, there were three test groups of dogs. Group 1 dogs were placed in harnesses for a while, and then let go. Typical control stuff.

    Group 2 dogs and group 3 dogs underwent a paired study of sorts. These dogs were placed in a harness, with a lever in front of them. They were then subjected to electric shocks. The group 2 dogs could push the lever in front of them, which would stop the electric shocks for them and their paired group 3 dog.

    If the group 3 dog pressed their lever, nothing would happen. The shocks would continue. To them, there was nothing they could do to escape their predicament except ride it out, and (unbeknownst to them) wait for their counterpart to save them.

    The results were, intriguing, if you are a sadist. Group 1 and 2 dogs recovered from their ordeals, and went about life as normal. A statistically significant proportion of group 3 dogs developed symptoms similar to those of clinical depression in humans.

    In the second part of this study, all the dogs were placed in a box, with a low partition along the middle of it. The floor of their side of the box was then electrified.

    The group 1 and 2 dogs quickly learned to jump the fence to escape, however most of the group 3 dogs, having learned that their actions had no consequence, merely lay down and whimpered, even though escape was in sight.

    First thing you should take from this story: Our practice has become more ethical in recent years, we are not all douchebags.

    Second thing you should take from this experiment: I say only /most/ of the group 3 dogs accepted their fate. There was a small portion, about a third, who held onto hope that their fate was not predefined, and managed to jump the fence, to escape. This tendency correlates to human optimism and tenacity.

    Don't lose hope. Don't let the torture get to you, don't lie down, don't wait for the world to take you down. Fight. Fight, and run, and win. That's what we need to hold onto.

    And never let it go.

  3. Of course. What an interesting study. If we ever get out of this mess, I'd love to pour over the findings with you....

    As I've previously stated, to give up is to renounce your state of person-hood, and frankly, I'm not quite prepared to do that just yet. Of course, I logged on this morning to correct my fatalist thinking, and lo and behold, our blog refused to load.

    ... As per usual, troubling events are afoot.

    So thank you for your kind words, Doctor. They did help my mood drastically, but hear this; I have no intention of giving up. Not now, not ever.

    (Though it is nice to know that out there, someone cares.)