“The Black Sleep”
by: Thadd Presley
I can only tell this once and, in all honesty, would like to keep silent on this account completely; except for the children that might follow my direction and possibly choose a destructive path such as I’ve taken, I would indeed find a way to keep my life’s decisions a dark secret and work towards erasing all record of myself from the Earth, in hopes of turning every eye from my business forever, and a happy man it would make me; to see the end of this thing called fame, I would do all this, but it’s impossible to put the smoke back into the pipe, after it’s been enjoyed, and while this knowledge saddens me, I will forever more be saddened most by every child who looks at my life’s work as something to be desired and at myself as a role model to be emulated.
Obviously, not realizing, or perhaps pretending they don’t see, that I rose to these delirious heights, accumulated rare treasures, and achieved such glamorous proportions by turning against my upbringing, by throwing aside the wise words of my faithful fathers and goodly mothers, and most of all by disgracing this very special vessel I was born into; believe me, ou must, when I tell you, it is with a heavy heart, for I would like to not face this, nor make any mention of it at all, but if ever I am to have any sense of humanity again, I must admit that by attaining greatness in the sight of others, I forfeited the invisible part of myself, which is the part that matters most, and I am afraid of what awaits me on the other side of this life; that is, if there’s anything at all, I wish, with all my being, that I could trade back all that I have for that single thing I once thought didn’t exist.
I have often wished for Death, but not because I don’t enjoy life, I wish for Death to be what I most need it to be: a black sleep, a darker, much deeper sleep than the hellish, thin nights of dreams I wake from each morning and fall back to each eve.
However, the wishes made in life quickly recede in the light of truth and the very moment I imagine anything more than the darkness my Death needs to be, a cold sweat dowses my brow and the velvet blackness begins to pulsate until a bright sliver appears and cracks splinter the horizon just enough for my eyes to adjust to the sharp, crisp dagger of light reflecting off the waves churning below in the inky, limitless sea of pitch.
In the distance, I see dashes of swooping through the sky, all differing sizes, gleefully thrusting pitchforks into men and women. These tortured people cry silently and ball their fists into their eyes and mouths, some pull at their hair and claw the skin from their faces. Each trying someway to ignore the pain brought on by their decisions and actions before falling to the Black Sleep.
I see many small devils attack a thin, pale, naked man and lift him into the air under the power of their muscled wings. A scream fills my head, but his mouth doesn’t move. Alongside a background of sucking and smacking waves, which is how that sea of hot tar sounds to my human ears, I hear a dark chorus of cellos and violins, and a hundred different voices calling out to the souls who still live in the Universe of Free-Will. Joined in a deafening choir, each voice pleads in it’s own words, for those who still have the strength and can, to turn from wickedness and accept the truth by faith alone.
These voices, crying together as a choir pray, and lament, and scream in torment; and for a moment I wonder, perhaps I even ask aloud: Am I the only one who hears them? Am I the only one who knows the truth of this Darkness crawling under a black sky? And, if I am, who will believe me?
Sadness, as I’ve never known it, fills me and I want so much not to be a liar, and a thief, and a braggart, and a lover of Earthly desires; only, so people might believe me when I tell them that the fame and fortune I have attained, nor the great wealth and perfect health I enjoy, compares to the eternal spirit I place in peril with every action and thought, and that beyond the thin veil that separates life from The Black Sleep, Time does not exist.
I know, in that moment; that, everything worth knowing was a single, simple truth, that forgetting everything I’d learned before made me a genius, and a legend, and immortal, and rich, and healthy, and capable of super-human feats yet seen by mankind.
I know when I wake from the sleep, I will give it all away and walk with the lost, be with the homeless, eat with the hungry, drink with the thirsty, and live with the dying. I will do this because the dreams of my Black Sleep depend on it.
A will bring this great message to the world:
Do not feed the hungry, eat with them.
Do not house the homeless, live with them.
Do not give water to the thirsty, drink with them.
I realize everything now.
As soon as the choir stops screaming and lamenting, and praying; when the cellos and violins quiet, and the black, crawling sea of tar stops sucking and churning below; as soon as my eyes adjust to the dim light on the horizon and I wake up from this Black Sleep, I will change my life.
Copyright Thadd Presley — All Rights Reserved
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.