Even the quiet mind, even the most disciplined, hears voices of doubt, of fear, of uncertainty. Margo’s is neither. Black rain seeps into her skin, cold as icicles. It settles in that fine space between dermis and muscle, an inner armour of darkness. Margo hasn’t asked for this, she doesn’t know why it’s happening. And the voices within, whose only reason for expression is to challenge her strength, to try and dismantle it, are crying out in unison.
The power she took from Solomon is such a burden, like the darkness she borrowed from the Mother, who is as much a receptacle as Margo. Her price was beauty. Margo’s is peace. To carry this double burden is to never know peace again, and the voices within, whose sole purpose is to drown her, to make her doubt her own ability to survive, shout so loud she can barely hear the world for their clamour.
In a life that seems distant, unreal to her now, she’d devised so many defences against her voices, so many means of blocking them out. The pound and pump of music, the bottom of a bottle, the halo of forgetfulness found in pills and powders, the all-consuming hunger of sex, leaving little room for anything else. Shouting the voices down with sweat, the heat of another body, the flex of muscles and organs, the pulse of orgasm. Such futile weapons even then.
But ignorance was her true bliss, her one true weapon. When Solomon made her into a creature like himself she lost it, because she could no longer hide from the truth. She wasn’t meant to be this. She wasn’t meant to be anything she’s been. That’s the centre of her lack of peace. Finally knowing. A life of questions, a life in question, leading to this one point, wherein the answer comes too late, causing only unbearable pain. And her old escape routes are closed to her. No hiding these truths, no hiding from them.
There was a Margo who could have been, a Margo who might. Lost so many years ago, before the voices came. And the voices came because it was she who turned away from herself, rejecting the Margo she could have been. All unknowing she kept fighting herself, giving the voices all they needed to grow loud and strong, to drown her out. All those years trying to hide from voices born from her own stupidity. Such a waste. Such a horrible waste. Her life has been nothing but an endless round of chasing mirages in the desert.
When the monsters first came and she learned of her gift, Margo thought that, much like everything else, it was a game. She wasn’t the only one. All her beautiful misfits gradually gathered together as though magnetised from across the city, and all of them delighted in their new game. Treated it like just another crazy night out that didn’t stop. Mere months they’ve all known one another in truth, all but she and Rolf, who’ve known each other forever, and yet it seems she’s known them all for a lifetime. Such horror holds them together, binding them with scar tissues that can never heal.
After her first encounter with the Mother, newly burdened by darkness so profound it was as though her soul were buried in the spaces between stars, the dark matter of the universe, hidden from light, denied it, she felt unspeakably lost. Not as one who has strayed from the path, more like a child taken from home and comfort and stranded in the depths of the forest, alone, and helpless. Abandoned. That was the first time she wondered whether they’d sacrificed too much, whether it was worth it.
How she would have laughed at such navel-gazing, such sentimental bullshit, in her lifeless life before this one. How little she knew. Now, burdened not once but twice, altered to something she should not be, and armoured on the inside by darkness, Margo travels once again to face the Mother. But she isn’t afraid of her anymore. Nor is she afraid of what’s inside her as she was after that first time they battled, because there’s worse than what’s inside that old bitch loose in this world.
It calls itself the friend of angels. But it is a friend to no one. It stole the Mother’s beauty and her sanity, and only the seed of darkness rested within her, sleeping in the bower of her innermost self, kept her alive, brought her back to some form of sanity. The Mother thinks that seed makes her powerful and it does, oh it does indeed. But it is only the shadow of what comes. A shadow cast by light. A shadow that light will swallow whole. And Margo has learned something new, something too terrible to bear. A burden that steals her peace more than any other burden she carries.
Sometimes it’s the light that you need to be afraid of.
© Ren Warom 2013
Art: Lost in Light by Susanne Bettina Armberger / Austria (2011)