Crystal supergrass he called it.
I couldnít help but laugh at the time. Eric just smiled when I asked what it was, and offered it to me again. He had never steered me wrong before. It had such a silly name, and as naÔve as I was, I couldnít help but take it. The smoke was more acrid than I expected. The other party goers, with their lifeline of alcohol clutched in one hand, cigarette in the other, didnít seem to even bat an eye. It went around the room like the collection plate, only instead of donating, they all took something from it with sly, shifty eyes.
At once, I felt woozy. I was far from a smoker by habit, and no, I was not doing this just to fit in. Other than Eric I could care less for the fodder that inhabited this small house. I had nothing to prove. No, I did what I did because, like all people, I had a bit of darkness in me. That darkness that will push a young boy to steal, push a teenager to pay a street walker to see a bit of milky thigh in the light of the moon, and the darkness that would push a man to try something new, despite his better judgment.
It was that darkness I was staring directly into, in the bathroom I could only think was upstairs. I remember trekking up here as the humming in my head got more and more oppressive. More heavy. The last thing I did was light a candle, as I couldnít seem to remember how to make the lights come on in this little confessionary of a bathroom. Its flames turned my face into a twisted mask of fear and bliss.
I heard them now, though whether they came from me or wafted from downstairs, I did not know. I did not care. What I cared about was that which I saw in the mirror.
That which I saw in me.
It played behind my eyes, devouring my thoughts and drowning out what worries I once had for what I had been given. All of that was unimportant.
What was important was the darkness.
Its eyes were peering through mine, its proximity causing the room to melt and blur around me.
It had to go.
I had to get it out.
My hands moved through air like liquid, leaving burning trails as they search the area around the sink. I knocked over several items I couldnít recognize at the moment. Sighing in exasperation, I looked into the mirror, and smiled. And was shocked.
The smile seemed to chase the darkness away!
I couldnít explain how, I just knew it worked.
My head felt heavy from the invading darkness, and the smile did not stay long. I began to grow terrified. Finally I found something I recognized.
I pulled it close to my eyes, well adjusted now to the flickering light of the candle that lie below, and gazed fondly at my prize. A razor. Not just any razor, either. Eric was a fan of the old, and reflecting it, he had one of the first replaceable blade razors ever made. I remember someone once offering damn near a hundred dollars for it. Now, it was my only salvation.
I fumbled uncomfortably with the screw on top. By the time I had freed what I searched for; my hands were slick with blood from the countless knicks and cuts. I had to hurry. I could see the darkness trying to wrench its way from the wounds I bore, trying to get out into the world.
I traced the blade slowly, and deliberately. First it traveled along the jaw line effortlessly. One side, and then the next. As I took it under my chin and through the soft flesh there, I mused at the sensations it gave me. Somewhere deep beyond the darkness, where I had withdrawn to, seemed to howl that this should hurt. That this was wrong. It tingled at best; giving the feeling one often got if they sat too long in one position.
I dug in harder as the blade whipped wildly from left to right, passing under the nose and grinding against my teeth with the sound of glass on tile. I could see it! I could see the darkness trying to escape. I clawed at the lose flaps of flesh, trying to free that which would chase it away. Grimy hands snatched at slickened strips. Pawing. Ripping.
I had but a moment to view what was underneath before an errant wave of blood extinguished the candle. The red became black, and the moon-like crescent of my smile became soiled. I had not succeeded in getting the darkness out. I had only succeeded in pulling it in farther.
And with that, I screamed.