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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

'Light', Ch 21: Songs and Demons

To read more of the online novel, Light, click here.

Chapter 21: Songs and Demons

When I got back to my room I turned off my mobile, curled up in bed and slept for two days. This is not an exaggeration. I felt so utterly disgusted with myself that I couldn’t face the prospect of getting out of bed and looking at myself in the mirror. It was as if a great hand has inserted itself inside my chest and was pulling at some great musical string that existed there. And the tune that it was playing was self-loathing, on a droning, never-ending loop.

Of course it wasn’t all about the shame of having slept with some stray hussy from the bar just days after having started going out with Amanda. It was also the fact that sheer physical exhaustion had caught up with me. Just two weeks before I lain on Merewether Beach half dead, and I had not even stopped to let the enormity of that event sink in. I was on high-octane fast-forward and now I had completely burnt out.

As I lay there I tried my best to block everything out of my mind, but the messages just kept coming through into my dull head. On the first day, the words to one very annoying Depeche Mode song played over and over and over in my mind.

I just can’t get, I just can’t get enough, I just can’t get enough…

I tossed and turned, and it kept floating through space and into my brain. The song was trying to tell me something. Could it be that no matter how much we have, we always want more. And that ‘more’ may not always be better? It might even be worse? Strangely, as soon as I’d thought about that, the song went away.

But there was no respite. The next time I awoke, my CD-player brain was at it again. This time it was playing the 90s.

In the morning, sunlight shining
The face in the mirror knows the crime
Voices cry from the darkness
A broken promise one more time 
You say you believe in love
And still you run
You only believe in God when you come undone 
So here you are
You brought everything on yourself
So easy to fall
When you're all alone by yourself 
Hell, I didn’t even like that song. Journey wasn’t really my cup of tea.

It was a dream that actually made me get out of bed, and it was probably the most disturbing dream I’d ever had. As I slept I suddenly felt someone on top of me. Then she came into clear vision. It was Angela, the girl from the bar. She was naked, her body thin and emaciated, like a homeless waif. She was grinding against my pelvis, rapaciously, violently. Her hair was wet, tussled, falling over her eyes and face, a nightmarish visage from a Korean horror movie. There was something almost satanic about her. The hair parted and I looked into dark, red eyes. They were angry, raging. Her words came not so much as a voice, but as the hissing of a demon.

“You did this to me!”

Then she was gone. Shaking, I took a deep breath. What was happening to me? Was I going insane? I sat there for a few moments, then got up and paced backwards and forwards in my tiny room. What was that all about? There was only one answer I could come up with - that is, besides the insanity hypothesis. It was my guilt. Yes, that was it.

I pulled my curtain open and the sunlight stung my eyes. I had been ‘out’ for two days, and had missed half a dozen uni lectures. My eyes stared blankly at the footpath in the distance, where uni students were making their way to and from classes. It was then that my mobile came into focus, and I switched it on. There were three messages from Amanda, and one from Paul. The real world of people and time had returned.

Hey Dude. How was she? You da man!

Shit. He knew. For the life of me I couldn’t remember how. I knew I had left Fannys with Angela at some point. I supposed I must have said goodbye to Paul. A stiffening paranoia filled me. Who else had seen me leave with Angela? I just hoped to hell there was nobody there who knew Amanda.

Hey darling. What’s up? Give me a call.

Then twenty-four hours later.

I sent you a message. Why is your phone off? Why don’t you answer?

The final message was only a couple of hours old.

going to Sydney for th weekend. nice talking to u

She was pissed. I could tell. Not that I could blame her. I’d had my phone off for two days. I dialed her number, but it just rang through. Yep. She was pissed.

As soon as I put the phone down it rang. What was I going to say to her? But it was Paul’s voice on the other end of the line.

“Hey Casanova, what’s up?”

I found my breath holding in my chest.

“Not much. Still recovering.”

“She that good, huh?”

“Shit, I was drunk. I don’t remember what happened.”

“Sure you do.”

“Okay, okay. I remember. I just don’t remember how the hell I ended up at her place.”

“Huh, you must have been even drunker than you looked. We all got in the cab. We dropped you off at her place.”


“Yeah. Me and Cynthia. You know. The hot chick I got with. The one with the legs all the way up to her ears. She’s coming over tonight again.”

I was shaking my head. “I’m never drinking again.”

“Sure, dude. By the way, did you speak to Amanda? She was trying to get in touch with you?”

My mind spun. “Amanda? But you don’t know Amanda.”

“I do now. I bumped into her yesterday at uni. She recognised me from the meditation group. We chatted for a while. Quite a while actually. You’re a lucky guy. She’s a real catch.”

The wave of paranoia was now a raging tsunami.

“What the fuck? You didn’t tell her anything, did you?”

“Relax, dude. What kind of friend do you think I am? She just wanted to know where you were. That’s all. I just said we went out for drinks, and that you had a few too many. That’s probably why she’s worried.”

My head was in freeze mode. I just didn’t want to talk anymore. After telling Paul I had to work on an assignment, we said goodbye and I hung up.

This was bad. Real bad. I was now a man with secrets. Secrets that my best friend knew about.

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