The whispering twists, fades, and re-emerges to wrap itself around and through my ears. Nails on a chalkboard, they taunt and tease. Voices I know, voices I’ve never heard but always dreaded, all pulsate and pound in my mind. The shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t and won’t pile up, dead-falls waiting to collapse.
The laughing, low and sour, or high and mocking, tumbles past my ears, down my throat, to land hard and sickeningly heavy in my stomach. There, it churns and burns, burying my own mirth in leagues of acid sea. The acrid odor of memories long buried sting my nose, bringing tidal waves of tears pouring from my eyes.
Chills and fevers alike burn my face, my arms. Logic flees, flinging its arguments aside, to lay leaden and ineffective against the gnawing, starving beast of perceived failure. Flaccid pride simpers and wails against the rhetoric of mindful knowledge.
The beast rears its head, reveling in its victory, the crushing mire that overwhelms my being. It undulates in satisfaction at my immobility, my passive, silent surrender. The beast has won.
But still, unknown to the beast’s salivating hunger, a flame lies hidden. Biding time until the beast is quiescent, slovenly arrogant in its supremacy. The fires still burn, joyfully preparing for the next cycle, the coming time of its ascendancy.