Stories

Escapism Majeure – Adedapo Adeniyi

There is no way to start this, no easing into anything, no plot, no setup, I’m an escapist, a traveler, there is no real person, I get fucked up and go to bed but not really, I go everywhere but to sleep, there is no rest, time is nothing just like I am, time is everything just like… excuse me, this wasn’t the way to start this.

I lay on my bed, phone’s right next to me, it is 12am, long fucking night ahead, I set an alarm to ring in 30 minutes, they usually wake me up instantly usually instantly usually, I close my eyes, everything disappears.

I find myself walking down a hallway, dimly lit and unending, the wall are bare on both sides, my eyes oscillate, I stop and start walking backwards, I close my eyes, I stop, I turn to my left, I open them, there’s a portrait hung on the wall there, I start to stare into it, a figure approaches me, a young woman, she has a smile on her face, she’s sinking her fingernails into her palm, her hair is short and sapphire, she’s barefeet, her toenails are black, I find them rather captivating, I think her feet look cool.

She tells me she thinks my feet look cool, I realize I’m barefeet too, she asks me if I speak French in French, I speak French back to her, she laughs and says I speak it pretty good, I thank her, I’d just spoken utter jargons to her, so either she’s lying too about knowing French or she does know it and just wants to indulge me, I say nothing, my gaze turning back to the painting, she stares at it too. A picture of a man, there are scratches where his eyes are, I wonder if there are eyes under those scratches or if those have been painfully removed too, I contemplate reaching out to touch it when I see a sign right next to it with the words, “please do not contemplate reaching out to touch,” written on it, I relax my arm.

She asks if she can touch me, I say yes, she reaches out and puts her hand on my shirt, on my chest, my heart pulsating under there somewhere for her to take in, I look up from her arm to see that she’s staring into me, I am looking at myself through her, looking at her, looking at myself, ad infinitum.
        She asks if I want to marry her, I ask what she thinks about the painting, she asks what painting I’m talking about, I turn back to the wall and there’s nothing there, she asks if I want to marry her, I say yes, a tear rolls down her cheek, she takes her hand away from my chest and to my face, she cups it.

“Je t’aime,” she says

“Je t’aime, je t’aime, je t’aime,” again and again and again

I look down to her other hand, her fingernails still buried in her palm, it is bleeding now, the floor underneath her filled with blood.

“Je t’aime, je t’aime, je t’aime”

My phone starts to ring

I wake up.

I set an alarm to ring in 15 minutes, I close eyes, inhale exhale, everything disappears.

She’s aggressively head banging, back and forth, earphones in, she’s everywhere at once, the room shifts with her, dancing too, black underwear, blue crop top, thigh high socks, guitar solo, she’s weeping like fuck, empty bottle staring at her from room corner, slow zoom in, she’s everywhere at once, the rapture is happening in slow motion, she drops to the floor and starts doing pushups, this is who I am, she, her, this, bitter, enraged drums, the lead vocalist lets out a shriek, she opens her mouth in obedience, she shrieks with her, she clenches her jaw, stands up and starts hopping around on one foot, crashing down, she picks up the lighter next to her, it gives birth to fire, she kisses her hair with it, ignition, the Holy Spirit came down on the Lord’s disciples and there was fire on their heads, weeping like fuck, everywhere at once, rapture, aggressive head banging, hair fully on fire now, she can hear the song no longer, the song is listening to her now, this is what I am, void of feeling, she hovers around, the bottle at the corner shatters, glass flying everywhere then suspended midair, fucking electric. 

The music has melted into her brain now, dying brain, ungodly hour, this is what God feels like, fucking raging animation, every moment is now, nothing else exists, her skull is tar black, her hair is still on fire, still whipping back and forth, she is dead, this is her heaven, fucking hell!

The ringing starts, our final image, pyromania ritual dance, her eyes never held any life, even now, with them gone, empty sockets, her skull still fucking banging to the song, zero life, but man, they’re still weeping like fuck.

I wake up.

I set an alarm to ring in an hour, I hear echoes in my head of the moment I just lived, fire and aggression and the shriek and the guitar playing over and over, I close my eyes, everything disappears.

I hear the ringing

I wake up.

Uneventful, I might as well have just blinked my eyes.

I set an alarm to ring in 30 minutes, I close my eyes, I sink under, poisonous lullaby, jet fuel, everything disappears.

It is midnight, cold, solitary midnight, I’m walking somewhere I don’t even know, I should be somewhere now, I’m late, I’m running late, I can’t run, I get to a corner and turn, my friend joins me, he describes a nightmare he had to me, I nod as I listen, still walking, unsure still as to where I’m supposed to be, he describes the nightmare monster, his voice is muffled, I hear him in my head though, he tells me he’s going to draw, he is gone. I am walking, I’m late, I’m late, I get to a corner and turn, I see my friend, the monster a couple feet away from him, he’s excited, he shows it to me, tells me we’re in his nightmare, the monster looks at him, I see him through the beast’s eyes, and me through my friend’s eyes and both of them through my eyes at the same time, I am excited and hungry and terrified at the same time, I don’t have time for this.

I’m late.

I get to a house, the door swings open before I can knock and I’m ushered in, even before I get to the festivities, I can smell the sweat and the semen and the blood and saliva already, I know what I’m walking into. I take off my clothes, my dick is still limp, blood’s rushing into my head. Before my eyes, sodomy and filth, an unending orgy, passion will be the end of us, bodies colliding, becoming one with each other, with every melting into self, there’s fucking again, legions fucking legions fucking legions, all is one, all fucks all, I’m overstimulated, my dick’s still limp, the hair on my arms are erect though, I stand at the corner and take my clothes off, eyes wandering, I start to walk around, the rooms are never ending, I take my time standing at doors, watching everyone, my brain simultaneously filled with excitement and boredom, the thrill the apathy, I can feel all of them fuck but I cannot feel them, they’re not there, nobody is, the fucking is all there is, I walk in, I have no plans to have sex with anyone but I am still an explorer.

I see a chick at the corner of the room with red braids and a septum piercing, her eyes are closed and she’s finger bombing herself, I strut over to her, crouch and take her out of herself, I put one finger in, she opens her eyes, they start to wander, she’s not there, I put two fingers in, three, she can’t feel anything, I watch her roll her eyes, she can’t even look me in the face, I take my second hand and grab her face, her neck stiffens and I have to force her to look at me, she closes her eyes, I start to laugh, still fucking her with my fingers, still flaccid, she opens her eyes, staring right into mine and then she reaches down and takes my hand away, stands up and walks out of the room, I sit there, bare butt on the cold floor, alone in an orgy.

I walk around rooms, helping chicks who thought they were sufficient enough to help themselves, putting my fingers in, their eyes wandering, them taking my hand away and leaving, one of them yawns, one of them slaps me, one spits in my face and licks my fingers when she takes my hand away, I even try to go under with my tongue, she closes her legs and both her knees hit my head, bare butt, cold floor, I walk to the corner and stand there, I am still not physically aroused, and I can make no one feel any pleasure, I should probably just watch. She walks up to me, grabs my neck and pushes my head down to where her tits are, I start to suck on them, she grabs my penis and starts to jerk it, it hardens, finally, she keeps jerking it, stroking the hair on my head as she does, I see from her eyes, looking at myself then looking around, the room is empty, we’re the only ones here, she looks around for a while, I can feel inside her, the hollowness, the hunger, I can feel through her hands, myself, hard and warm, her slow breathing, time passes, the people surrounding us engrossed in the art of fuck, the room simultaneously filled and empty, the absence to her, the overpresence to me, I wonder if she can see everything from my eyes too, if she is me as I am her.

She jerks and jerks and jerks and night becomes night and night becomes night again and years pass and she’s still jerking, both of our eyes still wandering around, her feeling nothing in the emptiness, me feeling nothing in the overstimulation, I start to hurt but I cannot tell her to stop, I do not want to, her tit still in my mouth, hard nipples, she feels nothing, her body is a liar, mine too, what are we doing?
        There’s a dude getting his dick sucked by a blind chick, her vision ruined by ejaculate, he pulls out of her mouth and comes in her eyes, two dudes buttfucking each other, two strokes, change positions, now you fuck me, two strokes, change again, two chicks eating each other out, wait they’re three, wait there’s four of them, wait there’s only one chick eating herself out, on the ceiling, there’s a couple fucking, everytime he thrusts, she takes a shit, I watch it drop down to the mouth of a guy just standing under them, aggressively jerking off and chewing, swallowing, opening his mouth again, she’s still jerking, why haven’t I come yet? I ask myself, maybe I’m just hearing her ask herself in her head, she just keeps jerking and jerking and jerking and jerking.

She takes her tit out of my mouth with her other hand, pushes my chin up so I’m looking directly at her, she opens her mouth and I hear ringing coming out of it, it goes on forever, she doesn’t blink, there’s saliva drooping from my mouth, she’s still jerking.

I wake up.

My body is numb, I have a painful erection, my hands shiver, I set an alarm to ring in 15, put my hands in my pants and reposition, I close my eyes, I go in slowly, let me tell you something.

I do not know my name, age has taken many things from me, who I am is one of those things, or who I was, if I do not have an identity then maybe I am not, under my sweater, my breasts shrink in the cold, I cannot feel my toes, my dog is with me, big and old too, for when my eyes finally die, he is in front of me, we are walking towards the light, we get there and enter, the bar is empty, midnights are like this these days, I take a seat, so does the man who I’m supposed to be responsible for, the dog isn’t here, I do not bother to look for him, he will be here when he will be here. We both want drinks, something warm sir, we are in our final days, I watch the bartender, in his excitement, he’s making a cup out of paper, he pours the drinks in it and does a trick, the drink pours out of the cup, the paper is weak, he is still in his excitement, he decides to make a bigger cup, we watch him, I look to the old man next to me, his eyes are blank again, I want to squeeze his hands but I fear that he’ll feel nothing, I even fear that I’ll feel nothing, I wonder to myself which is the greater fear, I look back to the bartender, there’s paper all over the floor, shaped like unsuccessful cups, the floors wet everywhere with beer too, is the grin superglued to his face? There is something very large in front of him, a bowl the size of a bathtub, perhaps twice the size, what is my name? He pours the drink into it until it is full and then he attempts to carry it, he succeeds, and then he attempts to carry it to us, he fails, falling face first, flooding the bar, all hope is lost, my throat is dry, my insides are ice, I stand up and walk out, the man follows me, I look back and the bartender is still smiling, I spit on the floor.

The floor is covered with snow, the dog is in front of me, we are walking somewhere, I don’t know where, my gloves are old and torn, what is my name? My hair covers my eyes, I raise my hand to brush it away and I realize I can’t feel my fingers either, my body groans, how far did I walk before I turned back and realized the man hadn’t been following me? I don’t know, where is he? no no no fear is the worst emotion to mix with this weather, I turn and start to retrace my steps, I can still hear the dog, I need to find the man, who was he? Sometimes I think my husband, I know that’s not true, I know they brought him to me, those young people, they told me to take care of him, to stay with him at all times, to take him everywhere with me, I know they meant I should take him so he doesn’t die alone.

My knees give and I fall, I must find him, a bark behind me, white snow surrounds me, the floor is cold like death, is it time? Almost? Okay then, what is my name?
        I must find him, I start to crawl, I can feel him, hear him breathe, he knows too, we’re too close to not fulfil what was asked of us now, it gets harder the closer I get, he’s reaching out to me, I still can’t find him, bark right next to me, the air is cold like death, what is my name?

My lungs seize, I can’t breathe anymore, eyesight finally passing away, I see less, I see even lesser, I see nothing, bark in front of me, bark in front of me, I follow, I cough and something warm makes its way into my mouth from my throat, from inside me, is it blood? what is my name? I can hear his breathing, I can’t hear mine, my body is collapsing, he’s wheezing, bark in front of me, bark isn’t moving anymore, I reach out, snow, I crawl with the last of my strength, I reach out, wool, his sweater, I grab it, barking stops, I stretch forward my other hand, I hear my heart stop.

What is my name?
I remember now, it doesn’t matter anymore.
I hold his hand, it is warm.

I do not know where I am, I haven’t for a very long time, it feels like I am borrowing the body of this man and living in bits and pieces, dying rather. There’s this woman next to me, with her animal, it is ugly but kind, we are inside somewhere, all I do is go and come back, to a dark where time is only one second, I blink and I return, when I return, there is smell all around me, I am cold, I look down and see liquid everywhere, brown, or is it yellow? Where am I?

I feel warmth, I look down again, piss flowing down my trousers, down to the smell on the floor, I look to the woman next to me but she isn’t looking at me, I want to reach out and squeeze her hands, her gloves are torn, I want to give her mine, I want to give her warmth too, I want to ask her where we are, but I cannot move my arms, or open my mouth, the piss freezes on my pants, I am even colder than before, we are at door, she spits, why?

I thought we were going to dance.

Where are we?
Where are we going?

I am going home.

I am on the floor, it is cold, I cannot see the woman anywhere, where is she? Everything is cold, I remember words, somebody saying take care of her, somebody saying go with her everywhere, was it the woman or the dog? or if it wasn’t them, was whoever it was talking about the woman or the dog? her gloves were torn, I couldn’t move, who was it? what where?

Ugly but kind, where are we?

I hear barking, I don’t know where from, I start to breathe even harder, my body fighting against the cold, I taste blood in my mouth, I can taste that in hers too, why did we leave the light? Why did she spit?
        She’s coming for me, I do not go and come back anymore, this time I stay, I stay and time is very slow, I am going home, she’s in plenty pain, on the floor, I am breathing too much, she not at all, barking, I want to look around but I can’t, I only see the up, the sky is black, so very black that it feels like I have gone again, but I haven’t, this is the final black, there are no stars, tears fall from my eyes but they freeze before they touch the floor, she’s very close, she cannot see me, kind ugly is barking, at my feet, I feel a pull on the sweater, the sweater she gave me, my hand moves first, I stretch it as far as I can, I feel her hand, I hold it, I can feel her, her finger are cold, I feel her feel me, my head turns from the black, slow slow, I see her eyes now, they are blank, they are ice, is this what she sees when she looks at me?

I look around, still holding her hand, breathing for both of us now, trying to register where we are, I don’t know where this is, I look back at her, I know her now, the blankness isn’t all there is anymore, inside them I can see stars, so this is it, so this is how I-

I am dog, that is what she called me one time, we stay together, stay together, I bark, stay together, I bark, light, I bark, stay together.

.

She spit, I bark, stay together, stay together, die together, die together, I bark, stay together die together, white everywhere down, black everywhere up, I bark, die together stay together, stay together die together, I bark, I bark, stay together, stay together, die together, die together, stay together.
Die together.

I wake up crying.

Paralysis persists for minutes, flowing tears, frozen fingers, heat comes in gradually and soon I can move, I stand up and walk over to my wall, still crying, I’d just died twice, thrice probably, I still felt it inside me, I tell myself it was just a dream over and over, I do not believe my own words, I go to the bed and lie back down.

I check my phone thinking I’d slept through the alarm but it hadn’t even rung yet, I woke up a couple minutes before it, the alarm will go off in one minute, I stare at my screen until it does, I turn it off immediately, I set a new alarm for 30 minutes, I close my eyes.

I open them, I can hear screaming, I stand up from my bed and start to walk out of my room in the dark, the screaming gets louder, I walk to the living room, when I draw the curtains, I look to the window, where light is entering into the house from, I trail the light to the center of my oversized living room and see the screaming, a girl, or lady on the floor, screaming and violently jerking on the floor, blood everywhere, her white dress now rose red, there’s even one on the floor next to her, a rose, well at first it is an actual rose, then it’s a knitted rose, then plastic, then paper, then it catches fire and the ashes fade into the blood, there’s a hand stretched out of the darkness, a knife in his hand, it-his hand-moving back and forth.

He’s cutting her, I stand transfixed but it feels like I’m moving closer to them, I am moving closer to them, against my own will, she’s in the light, he’s still in the dark, muttering to himself as he cuts her dead, she’s still screaming, blood everywhere, he looks up to me, his eyes glowing, I am attacked by sounds from everywhere.

I can hear a cat’s cry, or cats crying, I can also hear whatever sound it is that elephants make, loud, everywhere, footsteps, scurrying from above the ceiling, from the windows I can make out incantations in melting Yoruba, he’s still looking at me, still muttering words, they get louder and more coherent, he’s still cutting her, she’s still screaming.

“I’m killing myself,” he says

But he’s killing her

“I’m killing myself,” he says

But-

“I can’t die so I’m killing her,” he says

“We’re the same person,” he says

“The bazunga engine is coming,” he says

What?

She’s still screaming, fucking cats, fucking elephants, fucking ringing, fucking incantations, fucking steps from ceiling, his voice is drowning in all of this.

“Killing her, killing myself,” he says

“Same person, killing both of us,” he says

“The bazunga engine is coming,” he says

“Killing you too!” he says, he starts to smile, I can see his teeth out of the black, his evil grin

She’s still screaming, he’s still cutting her hand, with the knife, with the cutlass, with the saw, with the axe, he brings his hand up, still staring at me, the axe firm in his grip, he brings it down, I feel the pain in my arm, I start to scream, I wake up.

My chest is yelling, my arm is numb yet in so much pain, all the noises have been filtered out, all except the incantations, I can still hear them from my room window, I am on my bed unable to move, the incantations start to get louder and louder and louder, the wailing from the girl joins in, it goes on, there is pain all around me, I am shivering, my head is on fire, terror surrounds me, I wake up.

I immediately get up from my bed and after staggering to keep my balance, after staggering from the unrealness surrounding me, I sit back down. Take phone, check time, the alarm went off a while ago, I slept through it, I slept for an hour and 17 minutes, I am still trying to calm my breathing, I start to stretch my arm, the pain is no longer there but the weird sensation remains, I have 13 minutes before I can set the next alarm. I stand up and walk to my living room, thinking back to the dream, the evil eyes, the killing, the screaming, the fucking noises, he said the something engine was coming, what was it? where did it come from?

I do two sets of pushups, 50 for each, I walk around the living room a couple times, looking at the place where I’d seen the procedural killing, in the darkness, the same darkness I am in right now, my arm starts to vibrate, I go back to the room, back to the bed, I lie down, take phone, check time, 4 minutes left, I calm myself, I set an alarm, 1 hour, eventful night so far but it is ending soon.

I hear a voice, it is talking to me, cue warm light from windows, cue noise of feet walking back and forth, cue scene.

“…all the time, just fucking spiraling and spiraling and spiraling,” he’s saying, he’s shirtless, wearing a suit trouser, bald, there’s a cross on his forehead, it is black

“Did you hear what I just said?” he asks, stopping for a second to look at me, I shake my head

“I said at some point, after dreaming again and again, you start to dream even when you’re awake, and it just goes on like that, getting really hard to stay conscious, it just goes on all the time, just fucking spiraling and spiraling and spiraling,” he says, he starts waking again, back and forth the room we’re in

“It’s funny when you think about it, this right there,” he taps his head
“Your brain, it’s fucking god”

I want to ask him what he means

“You want me to tell you what it means?” he asks

I nod

“I won’t,” he says

“I fall in love a lot, a lot a lot, and it’s over the fucking phone a lot too, so we have to talk to each other all the time too, to keep the fire of love going or something, yeah, and so a couple months ago, I fall in love with this chick, and she’s really beautiful, and this is like the second day after we start texting, naturally I’m already in love with her by now, and she tells me about this dream she had, where she’s in a church, and she’s the pastor’s wife, but after some time she realizes that she’s also the pastor, and after some time after that she realizes that she’s the entire congregation too, that she was everyone in that dream, in that church, at the same fucking time, and it made so much sense after she told me about that dream, I never loved her more than I did that day, and she left me to be with a girl, another hot chick I guess, but she got it, in that dream she understood,” he stops to look at me, excitement in his eyes, the largest grin on his face, he continues

“In our dreams, we’re all the same person, or rather, you’re everyone, one is all, all is one, existing simultaneously as everyone, because really, that’s who you are, dreams are the product of our subconscious, and our subconscious belongs to us, so everything in our dreams, even though might have been put together from our preconceived notion of the world, it’s fucking us, everything, you’re God, in there, the dream, it all belongs to you, you’re everything simultaneously, blah blah blah, does this bore you?” he asks, I shake my head, I think he swears too much though

“Oh fuck you,” he says

He stops pacing about and sits on the floor now, his legs crossed

“A while ago, I had this dream, I mean I’d have called it a nightmare but I didn’t exactly get frightened so I’ll say dream, I had this dream, I woke up and left my room, I was really dark so it must have been really late, and I’m hearing all these noises, and there’s this girl screaming, and I get to my living room, and she’s there, being sawed to death by this dude who the darkness is covering, he tells me his name is Leon, and he keeps saying that the bazunga engine is coming, over and over and over, and that he was killing himself by killing her and it started to feel like it was me he was sawing to death so I woke up, does that sound familiar to you?” he asks

I want to tell him yes, I want to say I had just had that exact same dream, that I felt exactly what he felt, but in my dream, he never told me his name was Leon

“Napoleon actually,” he says

“We dream very differently, very the same too, but very differently, it all comes to me eventually, it always come to me, because it is me,” he says

“The bazunga engine is coming,” he tells me, his index and middle finger together on his forehead

I wake up.

My eyes struggle to open, I give up, I fade back to sleep

I am in a different room now, there is a surrounding familiarity, there are dead birds to my left, blooming gardenias to my right

“Do you know where this is?” he asks, I shake my head

“Goshen,” he tells me

“My home,” he says

“God came to visit me here once, I saw Him in my mirror”

“One time I asked a girl what her body count was, and she told me 12, I thought that was an impressive amount of people to have killed so I told her, then she told me she hadn’t killed anybody, she was just telling me how many people she’d fucked,” he starts to laugh when he says this, just goes on laughing until he starts coughing, it subsides eventually

“Sex and murder, I think sometimes”

“Love and death, that’s why the dead birds and flowers,” he says ‘dead birds’ as ‘ded bords’

“I like dying,” he tells me

“Do you think all this is odd? All this? Where we are, what I’m saying, how I can read your mind, you know where we are, don’t you?” 

Yes, we are in a dream

“And not just any dream, your dream”

And I know what that means?

“And you know what that means?” 

And I know what that means

“We are the same person, you and I, I am you, you are me,” he touches his forehead again and brings his hand to mine, 

“I keep thinking about the bazunga engine”

Me too

“He was killing this girl, and he said he was killing himself by killing her, but he could just have killed himself, unless there was something stopping him, something that wouldn’t let him die, and he had to kill to die, because he knew, just like we do, that one is all.

“He was killing you too, or us, but to have willed that, you must’ve wanted it, it must have rooted itself in your mind from a deep desire, you’re broken, we’re in a Russian doll, it is kintsugi and the gold is starting to melt, we must give in to the entropy, you are escaping from the escape, all is a dream.

“You want to kill yourself, don’t you?” he asks. I say nothing

“That’s why you keep running away, isn’t it?” he asks. I say nothing

“You must really want to fuck”

But I don’t want to 

“But you do, you just can’t”

He starts to punch his own head over and over, his nose starts to bleed

“Fucking crazy, all of us, fucking crazy,” he says

My head starts to hurt

“This is your dream and I am in it, this is my dream and you are in it”

Or this is someone else’s dream and we are in it

“Or”

But we both know that isn’t true

We must be killers.

“You know, one time I called all my friends around and I killed myself in front of them,” he says, we are back in my living room, he is holding rope, putting the noose around his neck

“You have to kill yourself in front of everyone sometimes,” he says, climbing the chair in front of him

“Like suicide in front of a mirror, seeing yourself through all those eyes, feeling everything through all their souls, knowing all their thoughts, we’re all vile people,

“You look into a mirror, and you think you’re looking at yourself, but you aren’t, that person isn’t you, it is a lie, ceci n’est pas une pipe, it is translation, metamorphosis, for every one you are, you are more yourself, with every death, you die,” he says

“All is one,” he says

One is all

“Bazunga,” he says

Gazumba, I say

“Exactly”

He jumps off.

I watch him die.

Everything around collapses, he is no more

I wait for the alarm to ring

It never does.