Box Clever

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There is just enough light, here in the extreme corner of my little box, to look at my reflection in the pool of piss I keep in place of a mirror. As always, I apply my make-up meticulously, with extreme care. Some days it can take me hours, some days it can take days. It makes little difference as far as I am concerned, there's not much else for me to do in here.

Each delicate line, each angle, each curve, all must be drawn with perfect precision with the little knot of hair I use as my brush. You used to say I didn't pay enough attention to my appearance, back when you still cared enough to notice. If only you could see me now, you would be so, so proud! I only ever wanted you to be proud, I craved your approval.

I pause briefly in my ministrations to admire the exquisite vision before me, the delicate filigree of my own excrement tracing stylised, rancidly abstract patterns on the skin of my face, my chest and my arms and legs. Wicked! I only wish I could reach my back, then I feel certain the enchantment would be complete and your hex would be lifted. But I cast such defeatist thoughts from my mind just as soon as their cowardly seed is planted. There can be no room for doubt in my domain, in this, my chapel of misery, my cathedral of woe.

The gently glowing source of my reflection gives my skin a lurid, urine-tinged hue that I find quite fetching, exciting even. I grin roguishly at the handsome likeness and strike a majestic pose. My broken and loosening yellow teeth, reflected as a deep sepia, leer back at me hungrily. Soon, my children, I hiss, it has to be soon or not at all. And we must give no consideration to not at all. Dare not. I absolutely refuse to entertain despair.

Satisfied finally with my efforts, I retire to my dark nook to rest. The stench of my faecal toxins fills my nostrils, enervating me and triggering a bout of sublime vomiting. Purged, I arise to my full height, naked and erect, my body pulsating and throbbing, and howl like a wolf at the moon. Bastard Extant.

I begin to strut around the perimeter of the box, as is my habit, looking for any new flaw or imperfection in its walls, any sign that your hate is finally waning. Here and there cracks and dents are visible where I have hurled myself at a particular part of the barrier, when I have sensed it yielding, you softening. But you have always shored it up from outside, made it secure, strengthened your resolve and shut me out of your thoughts, your heart, your life.

I reach the point where I have beaten most often at the wall, where I have come so close, so often, to breaking through, to finding that infinitesimally small chink in your armour that will let me back inside you. I call it the children's wall. Tracing the delicate web of cracks and fissures with the calloused tips of my fingers I can see pictures, like those we used to see when we were lovers, laying on our backs in the fields and looking up at the metamorphosing clouds. I see faces, for the most part, your face and the faces of my children. Our children. Your children now, I guess. When they have bad dreams in the night they still call out "Daddy, daddy," and another crack opens up in the wall. I could never, would never wish bad dreams upon my innocent little angels, but I feel such a rush of warm gratitude when it happens... and then the guilt washes the warmth away and I'm left with just being me, cold and alone.

A vague impression of movement at the periphery of my vision distracts me, drags my attention reluctantly from my investigations. A shimmering, iridescent bundle that I have never seen before, tucked unobtrusively pulsating, into a corner. As I draw closer it becomes apparent that the glistening is actually light reflecting off the moist backs of numberless writhing maggots. I assume that they are feasting on some discarded part of me, and brushing them carefully aside I do indeed see the foetid, gnawed remnants of my soul. Absently, I scoop a couple of handfuls of the grubs into my mouth and bite down on them, relishing the little explosions of acid-flavour as each little body bursts between my teeth. Their pulpy, yielding flesh will make a welcome change to my diet, and they are welcome to my soul. I never did have much use for the moral strait-jacket that came with it. But you could never understand that, I realise that finally now, now that it's all too late. That was always the trouble - the schism between what you needed and what I could offer was just too vast, a canyon too wide to be bridged.

Refreshed and energised by my small snack I resume my examination of the wall, running my hands over the rough bricks of your scorn. I am, as ever, looking for any weakness, the faintest sign of forgiveness or trust. But I am forgetting myself - look to the high ceiling! There hangs Trust, her neck broken and a knife plunged savagely into her back for good measure. Her bloated tongue lolls lazily from her mouth, dry and purple, attracting flies. I did that to her. Such is my power in this dark dank place, such is my dominance, I murdered her without so much as a thought, without even comprehending what I had done. These are the depths to which I can stoop, not even realising I'm there until I'm clawing my way back out again. Her heart I have cut out, naturally. I keep it wrapped in rags in my sleeping corner for safety, protecting it from the rats and the maggots as best I can. I have to retain it because it is broken, and as soon as I can figure out how, I'll fix it. Really I will, like I promised you so many times before you shut me in here alone, before I realised just how damaged it was.

I interrupt my tour once more to tend to my rat trap. With my teeth I reopen an infected old wound in my wrist, as I have many times before. I suck deeply, spit out a mouthful of green before the blood runs sluggishly into the trap. It's the only bait I have, but it works well enough. Rats are my staple diet, but with a fresh supply of maggots I can eat like a king tonight! I lap absently at the wound as I resume my survey.

The fruitless search takes me, in time, back around to my pool of piss. I am always careful not to stand in it - I have always been afraid to make waves - and skirt around its circumference whilst checking my appearance once again. I look good, really good. I know if you would just look at me I could win you back. Did we not swear vows, promise our eternal undying love?

I am convinced that the light is dimmer today, and I look up to its source. It is indeed as I thought. The window of doubt, high up and out of my reach, is closing  imperceptibly slowly. Soon, a few days at most, I will be left in complete darkness, and then what is to become of me?

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