I step onto the curb and see a window pane. It’s nearly full with writing. Scribbled bits of advertisement and promotion. Outdated and new posters stuck up on the door, the whole thing rimmed with pealing red paint. There are paintings leaning in the window that seem to pulse with hidden fire. I can’t make out anything behind the shining glass. Blinding me. I try to walk by, wrought iron pieces dance through my memory and I can’t remember where I saw them before. Where they are in my disorientation.
I stumble over a metal dog, sitting staring across the street, intently focused on something. It’s eyes seem to pulse with the same fire. As I hit the door it falls open and envelopes me. I can’t seem to catch my balance and I fall for what seems for ages. I hit the floor only a second later, its color is somewhere between red, brown, and gray. Indiscernible and not able to be comprehended. Colors flow around me and the scents that touch my nostrils are confusing; burning and swelling in my lungs.
I can taste sweat and coffee, old paint and mildewed wood. The scent of long dead couches still in use sends a shiver down my spine. Incense burns my throat and eyes.
I can see the red walls, the yellow walls. I see the couches, covered in doodles. I see paintings with no end and no beginning on the wall. Graffiti style legs and arms twist around me, forcing me to look at terrifying images. Images from troubled imaginations. Angst and terror. Old computers hang from the walls as if they stopped trying to stop the insanity that seeps up through the floors and from the couches. The paintings wrap around me, twisting and turning my mind and senses beyond recognition.
The couches would sink forever if you sat, wondering where they’ve been before. What’s been done on them. Sweat, blood, spilled drinks. Covered now, with drawings. Writing in a language and font you could never understand. Leering down at me are so many twisted faces. So many muscles and bones dangling from loose jaws and anorexic chests.
My eyes water and my nose runs. I try to swipe them with my sleeve, and the world tilts. I miss and nearly blacken my eye as I roll onto my back, lying flat on the floor and looking straight up at the wall that was now at my right. It bends over me, flashing disturbing images from maudlin minds that flutter by as I stare in horrified fascination.
Out of the deep, oozing red paint, comes a painting. Three pigs fit the canvas, backdropped with black, drips and swirls of paint with no order or shape. No form. Amorphous. I dread it nearing.
The three faces that look down at me from their side wall sneer, their lips rippling with the effort. Cigarette loll at the edges, as ships roll on a turbulent sea. Their pupils are dark red, burning with hate, searing with disgust, and smeared with glassy impatience, lack of intelligence. The shapes their eyes take make me shake to the core. Some moment wide and terrifying, next instant narrowed, snarling. Some times both. Their eye lashes wipe about as their eyes snap open and shut in a beating rhythm. Their looks dart and flick. The teeth rot out of their mouths as I watch, they fall beside me in a macabre tempo of death trap metal music. Shrieking lyrics are mangled.
I try to stand again. I get only to my knees, before a winged angel dives toward me, in the last instant morphing into a deadly devil with winged sandals, holding fresh skeletons from the talons extending as finger from the first knuckles.
I close my eyes and try to shut out the noise. Try to block away the pain from the scrapes and scars. I crawl, an infant once more, towards a rectangle of sanity. I push pathetically on the door as tears roll down my cheeks.
I fall down, my elbows folding into the spongy floor. The door crumbles under my weight and I collapse out onto the street. Plain gray concrete, a tree nearby swaying slightly while a crow prowls around the base. The bird sends me a knowing look as I lie on my stomach, trying to fight the nausea and the questioning stares of passing people, before it flies off over the old Victorian buildings.
I catch my breath and my sanity. I stand shakily, wiping the tears from my eyes.
I straighten my suit and glance back at the beckoning, shimmering doors. I turn firmly away.
I straighten my tie one more time and take the first step away from the odd place. A smile curves my lips. A single phrase whispers from me.
“Not my world.” I murmur, striding away, never again to come back.
This piece was first published in Olympic College’s Literary Magazine “Blended” in 2015.