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Chapter 7

Today’s storm arrives quickly – and with ferocity. It starts with the wind – even before the sky darkens – and the wind howls through my ears. As I spin around looking for cover, the wind stays at my face. I squint my eyes – looking in every which direction – but find no cover. Just the vast field of long, beige grasses violently thrashed by the ferocious wind.

The rain starts – and the rain is hard. The rain comes down nearly horizontally as it surfs the wind right into my face – and everything surrounding me. The rain stings when it hits exposed skin – and it’s cold. I can hear the sound of the pointed raindrops smashing into my skin. All my clothes soaked in seconds – and a chill consumes me to the bone.

In the corner of my eye, I see a small imprint in the ground. I run over, lay into the imprint, and huddle tightly to escape the wind and shield my face from the rain. Right next to the imprint is a small dead flower – only a couple pedals left as it died a while before. The remaining petals are such dark purple; they are almost black.

The darkness of the clouds finally falls all around me. Rolling clouds to rolling thunder shudders the air and shakes the ground. The taste of electricity touches my tongue.

My thoughts are blank as the noise is too overwhelming to process anything. The wind whipping the grasses – rain pelting the ground – pelting the grasses and pelting me – rolling thunder filling the darkness from all directions.

I feel deeper wetness on my clothes. Looking down, I see the imprint is filling with water from all the rain. I leap out of the imprint. Not knowing what to do and with the wind at my face, I run into it. I run straight ahead what feels like forever. I look down and see that dead purple flower looking right up at me. I turn the other direction and run straight ahead again – again straight into the wind. I run until exhaustion – and all I can see next to my foot is that damn dead purple flower.

I scream at the top of my lungs – yet I hear nothing. The thunder – the rain – the wind – all conceal my voice. I look around desperately for cover again. Only then does my companion reveal itself. It’s been here the whole time, but I didn’t notice in my panic. Worthlessness is standing right there next to me. I should have known – Worthlessness is the only one that could have brought on this storm. I scream again – it seems to last forever – but I hear nothing – and feel nothing.

I fall into the grass and curl into a ball. I close my eyes as tight as they will go. Visions arise with my closed eyes. Friends at parties for which I am not invited. The friend who betrays me. The friend who is forever silent. The friend who lies behind my back. The friends who talk about everyone – everyone but me. Do I even have any friends? The lover who left due to sheer disappointment. The ex-lover who found their true love right after they left me. The desired lover – really the seemingly never-ending list of desired lovers – who told me I was not attractive enough to warrant their attention. Will I be alone for the rest of my life? Neediness, Ugliness – and the nastiest of all – Suicide – have all joined Worthlessness – all glaring down at me.

I could scream again, but what’s the point. The thunder is now thicker, louder, and more violent. A couple of flashes of lightning hit nearby, sending electric energy through the field – and through me. I barely noticed the electricity as the thunder nearly cracks my eardrums. More visions flash before me. I see the noose hanging in the basement. I see razor blades on the bathroom counter. I see a handgun in the top drawer of my desk. I see the car in the closed garage. I see the bottle of pills in the medicine cabinet. I see the shotgun in the shed. I feel the roughness of the rope wrapping around my neck. I hear the running water in the bathtub. I feel the coolness of the trigger in my hand and the sharpness of the muzzle under my chin. I hear the engine start as I turn the key. I feel the pills pour into my hand. I taste the cold steel and bitter gunpowder of the shotgun as I wrap my lips around its barrel. All the while, I hear Suicide’s haunting but beautifully melodious voice singing enchantments – singing enchantments to me.

But today is not that day. I really don’t know why – there is no reason – it just isn’t. Maybe I am too strong. Likely I am too weak. Whatever it is, Suicide is vanquished and disappears.

Exhausted, rain-soaked, windburned, and deaf. I notice Loneliness has joined the others – taking Suicide’s place. Worthlessness, Neediness, Ugliness, and Loneliness drape themselves on top of me like a blanket – though provide no cover from the storm.

Slowly their embrace enters and fills my entire soul. All I can do is surrender as they devour my existence. I know the storm will pass as the most violent member has been handled. It might take a few hours – a couple of days – even some weeks. I just lay in a ball and cry – cry with no tears – just my body convulsing and shivering uncontrollably – feeling my companions ever-tightening coil throughout me – while I wait for the storm to pass.