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Open Your Eyes

by Edward J Rathke



(page 3 of 7)


He plays there, in a large open room like a barren chapel. His fingers pirouette on the strings and his hand glides gracefully. The notes change when she enters the room into an oscillating melancholic melody. She creeps into the room, watching him play with her knees held to her chest. For me, she thinks, he plays. His eyes are closed, but she knows he is aware of her presence. He must.

He plays for hours, and the notes and smells and sights swirl in her mind. She bites her lip and feels the sound, the smell: the essence of him inside her. Writhing, she gasps for him as he drifts deeper and further inside, filling her. The beat of her heart skips and pounds in time with the echo of his sorrowful strings.

Give yourself to me

The gargoyles follow her while she sleeps and gnaw at the edge of her dreams. Sleep becomes a graveyard of emotion, a birthstone of horror. Bladed teeth fill the dark behind her eyelids. Her dreams collapse into voided space where daemons ravage and devour her. And their eyes, eyes illuminated from an immense self-contained depth—incandescent and savage—incinerate her. She disintegrates beneath their glare only to open her eyes and resurrect with him inside her until she slips once more into the dark, desolated by consuming shadows.



She cries alone in the bed that never feels familiar. The tears fall and fill the room extinguishing the candlelight until he appears.

‘What’s wrong? I’m here.’ His voice penetrates and calms her, like the deep sound of the tide.

‘I can’t remember anything before I woke here.’

‘There was nothing before here.’

‘But where is here?’ Sobbing, she turns her eyes to him.

‘This is my home. I live here.’

‘But where?’ Her voice cracks in desperation.

‘Portland. Be calm, there’s nothing to fear here.’

Her chest gives way in soundless cries and he embraces her.

‘You’re safe with me.’

‘I’m afraid of you.’

‘Don’t be.’

She beats a fist against his chest and screams until he lets go. ‘Get the fuck away from me, you fuck!’ Her tears fall, ‘You can’t keep me here. I’m not a fucking prisoner.’

‘I’m not keeping you here.’

‘But you are. You fucking are.’ Her voice fails and all that comes are wheezed threats through weeping fits. ‘This place is a disease and it’s killing me. I can’t see or think or remember and I feel you inside me and chasing me in my mind trying to swallow me or eat me and take me and bind me like a slave.’ Flakes of snow blizzard in the space of her skull. The image of the room flickers in and out of focus and she wonders if any of it is real. Her mind slips and the walls swell and wave like a puddle brushed by a gale. She bites down on her hand to fight the snow and the collapse.


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About Edward J Rathke


Edward J Rathke is an american living in Ireland who spends his days wandering the wet streets of Dublin or sitting in class learning about your brain.

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