Friday, 30 September 2016
Parsing Fantasy - Friday Flash
At first I thought you might be casing the joint. But returning day after day after day, I realised you were studying me. What could you possibly want with me? What in my life, my being, is of such interest that you devote all this attention to me? Don’t you have a life of your own? Patently not if you can waste this amount of time rubbernecking.
What do you imagine observing my actions through the window pane? It must be like watching a mime show? Or the frustration of witnessing someone else on the telephone, hearing their responses but not those of their inquisitor down the line? I’ve no idea what your bag is, dogging my every move. I won’t yield you whatever it is you’re after. Not that I actually merit any such scrutiny. You must have noticed that I lead an utterly unremarkable life.
I know you’re there. I’ve caught glimpses of movement in my peripheral vision. When I’m stood at my sink washing up, I see flashes of you reflected in the glass. You constantly walk through my mind. Trespassing. Leaving your trail. The spoor of you. The same as you do outside. The lawn grass trodden down, although there is no footprint. Each time I hear the leaves rustle, but there isn’t any wind. That confoundedly perennial clicking. You probably know my name, while I don’t know yours, but I shall christen you ‘Russell’. Since that is the sound I associate with your presence. That and your susurrations. I honestly believe I hear you licking your lips. But you’d have to be virtually stood with your mouth pressed to my ear for me to hear that.
No matter how careful you are, you’ll end up revealing yourself to me. Funny, I have no idea what you look like, yet I have a highly developed mental image of you. I may not know your exact motives, but your character’s coming through loud and clear to me. For all your surveying of me, I reckon I know more about you than you do about me. Not that I want to. Just you are more transparent than me. And I aim to maintain my opacity to you.
The chair’s moved! Infinitesimally but it’s definitely moved off its spot. You’ve been in here haven’t you? Sat there at my table, while I was out. Availing yourself of my, well I’m not sure quite what. But you took up an invitation that was never made to you. It’s all a fantasy in your head. Whatever you conceive of me, I am a figment of your imagination, even if unfortunately you are not one in mine.
So you’ve been in here, had a good look around. Sniffed the air and then the surfaces. You’ve clocked my clothes. Had a nosey in my bathroom medicine cabinet. I bet you scoured the plughole for stray hairs. If you were a policeman you’d be collecting evidence on me. But you’re on the other side of the law, so you’re probably using it to make a voodoo doll impression of me. Well you don’t require any poppet. Your mere presence acts as a needle jabbed into my flesh. I will not cede you any part of me. Not a single piece. You’ve got me collecting up all my parings and offcuts. So they don’t come into your possession. Your fixation can’t be anything based on desire. Since I look an absolute fright. Though I suppose you might celebrate that. The effect you’ve visited on me.
You are little more than a shadow, yet you loom outsized in my imagination. You supposedly have no dimensionality, yet as I shrink and wither under your creeping assault, it is I who lack dimension and you appear to inhabit everything everywhere. My flights of fancy run amok. I dream up way more terrifying persecutions than you could ever inflict on me. Your sickness has infected me, made me take leave of my senses.
Time to shut the curtains on you. Regular as clockwork. A creature of habit. You I mean, not me. I really need a blackout lining sewn into them. Instead of this flimsy tiffany. Anyone could look straight through them and into the heart of this room. Veiling nothing, actually only helping frame everything I do in here. Making me utterly conspicuous for anyone who chooses to gaze in. Like you. Yet no one else seemingly feels the compunction to do it. You force me to sit in the dark with the lights off. But then the colours from the TV screen wash the room and floodlights me further for you. So now I don’t even watch TV anymore. Instead your shadow dances across the blank screen. Maybe I’ll get wooden shutters fitted, a good solid wooden block on you.
What goes on in that head of yours? No you know something, I shouldn’t ask. Or speculate. After all you know nothing about what goes on in my head. And that’s just the way I want to keep it. So the corollary is I inquire or know nothing about you. Seems a fair and reasonable non-exchange. Only there’s nothing fair about this whatsoever. The power is completely lopsided. I’ve changed absolutely everything about my daily routine. Not just to throw you off the scent, but also as I try and work out what it is about me that you’re pursuing. I’ve broken down every facet of my behaviour. I’ve made lists. And then set fire to them. To stop them falling into your hands.
You think you make me march to your tune. Like some marionette you control and manipulate. But in reality you’re a lousy puppet master. You got me all snagged. Snared in my own lines so I can hardly move. So snarled I can’t dance for you. I won’t dance for you. I barely make it out from my bed anymore. No, damn, I don’t want you to be aware of that. But you probably know already don’t you?
You’ve made me install a whole battery of detection devices. Motion sensors and lights. Alarms and tripwires. Closed circuit cameras to close off my house to you. In order to capture any perturbation at all. All to catch you in the act of watching. I may not be able to look you in the eye and face up to you, but all these lenses here can do it on my behalf. While you track every one of my movements, my devices only need to freeze a single one of yours. Get you put behind bars where your goose will be cooked. Roasted in the red glow of my laser cameras.
The triplights constantly illuminating my house like a Christmas tree. Shining a light on to every aspect of my life for you. Having me up and down at every beam like a jack-in-the box. My face lit up in the rays as I pulled back the curtain to see if it was you. Putting myself in the spotlight. In your crosshairs and marked the ‘X’ for you. No not a spotlight, a flaming strobelight. Freezing me in place. Sending me into convulsions. I disconnected the contraptions inside the rooms. Ripped the cabling from their sockets. The wiring is still exposed, drooping from the brackets like jungle tendrils and creepers. Like snakes. The disorder of my formerly orderly house. Of my life. I’m sure you’ve monitored the change. Made full mental note. Recorded in your stalker log. Every time I look up at the ceiling now, I encounter how tangled my mind is. And how you the predator lies in wait above.
Finally a clue in which you announced yourself. You committed your thoughts about me on paper. Well virtually. On a book review site. Not a very flattering impression. And then I realise why you have been stationed in my life, trespassing inside my head. Your sickness means you are so deluded as to regard me as a fictional character constructed from words rather than flesh. That anything you do to me has no effect because it’s not real. I’ll get an injunction. A restraining order against you. Set a precedent. The book which bans readers.