Stories

The Consumption of the Vessel Sarah – Daniel Beauregard

It’s done, and again, it’s as if everything has been made clear, like there was perhaps a skein between our senses and the full multitude of reality. Like the film that builds up upon the eyelids of the completely blind being sliced away. Now I have complete control. The arms. The legs. The smallest fingers do what I tell them to. Quietly, of course. Touch this or that, I think in command, and then they do. They touch it or feel it and finally there’s a way to assess and analyze such data. We’re where the feeling moves up and down and then settles. In front of me shines the booth in which we travel and everything looks hyper-real, nearly blinding and so brilliant we have to hold our hand in front of our eyes to see. After our eyes adjust we soon realize that our blindness is due to an increased ability to see into the depths of things. All the way until the end. To see so profoundly easily banishes any sense of lingering guilt regarding the consumption of the vessel Sarah.

*

Our mother is here and she asks us how we’re feeling. I tell her that Sarah is feeling fine. Sarah is feeling much better than yesterday and we’re sure, we tell her, that tomorrow Sarah will be feeling better than that. This prediction, we think, will likely come to pass, as each passing day brings increased clarity and togetherness. Sarah wants something sweet, we say, and our mother smiles, expecting as much. She reaches into her jacket pocket and extracts a bar of chocolate that we snatch away rapidly to consume. But the taste disgusts us. Our mother has to call to clean it up and I’ve lost complete control. The dirty chocolate looks like shit. Sarah is so very sorry, we say, covering our hands with our face.

*

I’m going to tell you what I told them. There’s not much we can do for her. We’ve run every physical and psychological test that exists and come up empty-handed. But as you can see, there’s certainly something wrong. It’s like all of her joints and muscles contracted simultaneously and locked into place. She’s been curled up like a ball for nearly a week now.

*

It is incredibly exhausting navigating the rocky terrain of the long list of Sarah’s feels. It is at times unbearable for us, constantly being tasked with conjuring up other feels for Sarah strong enough to counteract her more extreme feels. This requires a certain amount of finesse. The landscape of Sarah’s feels stretches out imperceptibly so everything is felt with sharp intent. When Sarah feels, the imagery judders on the horizon like a flame going out. But it’s never enough to see the distant features. Perhaps this is our primary concern in mastering Sarah’s feels: the judder of their hooves.

*

Like immediately after there’s some kind of flash, I don’t know a gun or maybe the Maglite popped, and this cop—sorry deputy—is flying through the air and smacks against the wall on the other side of the room. The other deputy draws his gun and fucking shoots her. I try to pull him back so he doesn’t put another bullet in her. He fucking shoots our little girl and she drops to her knees. Everyone is screaming and my eyes are burning from the gunpowder. Then we all stop screaming at the exact same moment and beneath all that chaos, you could just barely hear the voice of a little girl and she sounded happy. After that I’m not entirely sure what happened. The second officer’s light went out and when the lights came back on they were gone. She kept on shaking her head and saying it was an accident. We made a mistake—that’s what she said, over and over again. Who’s we honey, I asked.

*

I am Sarah. This I know as a matter of fact. I can feel myself even now. But it’s like I’ve been split in half. There is another part of me that’s not quite me, that’s slowly dematerializing but I’m unable to articulate it. When I try to describe it everything I say is utterly imprecise. Can you imagine being haunted by something that defies description? When someone asks Sarah what is wrong, the only reply I can give is I’m an overripe pear. It gets worse every day. I find myself in front of the mirror in a daze without remembering how I got there. When I go to switch off the light I miss and punch a hole into the drywall and it’s blue like punching through an eggshell. I extract my arm and exit without turning to see if it hasn’t dematerialized as well.

*

The banging is becoming louder and more frantic. Sarah is fine, we scream to whoever’s on the other side of the door, Sarah just wants to be left alone. For a moment there is silence, then the banging begins with renewed fervor. We are soaking wet in front of the mirror. Mother screams We only want to help you Sarah and we reply that Sarah doesn’t need your help, or anybody’s. Sarah only wants to practice her movements. We refill the glass and bring it slowly toward our mouth but miss our face again entirely. The water soaks into our shoulders and I’m furious. I move my arm back and with all her strength she resists. After a few seconds we strike the mirror hard with our fist. We watch it darken with our blood and then the moment descends where we have to take control completely. And we do so. We tell our mother we’re not feeling well but it’s alright we’ll be out shortly. This calms her. Our mother leaves a second later and we hear her footsteps echo down the hallway. There are items in the cabinet with which to treat our wounds so we treat them, then unlock the door and slowly find our way down the hall to Sarah’s room. Once inside our legs buckle and we collapse.

*

I swear to god it’s as if I’ve never seen a day so beautiful. There are so many places like this. I mean exactly like this. As if nothing but yourself exists, which is the way I feel right now. Only you and nothing. Even the air is different. Like a painting that’s familiar but indescribable. I want to escape and become a part of everything here, the sidewalk in front of me. How unexpected, I think. Ahead there’s a sort of shimmering in the air that’s beckoning us forwards, drawing us to it.

*

There’s a song sung by them about a ship in troubled waters. Do you know it? You do not know it. Belief is the hardest obstacle—belief in anything—a trick really. The very last of it all—love, desire, friendship, what makes up good and evil—all small battles. Our vessel bobs gently in this diary of annihilation, of failures and triumphs; false experience. At times we wish we didn’t need her. We could just walk her off a bridge into dawn’s crisp air.

*

Sarah we’re very worried about you. Why don’t you let us see? Because it’s not something see mother—inside. That’s exactly how she said it. I don’t understand, what’s inside of you? For a moment, there’s silence, then a low sort of thumping, like footsteps. But the sound—this thumping—doesn’t rise in intensity, come closer like it should; like if our daughter was walking across to the room to open the door. She’s a stomper. The sound stays somewhere inside the wall or thereabouts, like it’s weak and trapped and trying to get out. In another second I give the okay and the deputy goes ahead and breaks the door down. The room is completely dark. I stop to let my eyes to adjust but he throws a Maglite on and there’s our baby girl, in the corner by the bed, slamming her head into the wall over and over like she’s in some sort of trance.

*

It is in some ways like sliding on a glove. Quite simply. Like sliding on a glove. But when there’s a clenched fist, it becomes something else entirely. Like sliding on a glove when there’s a clenched fist, which never goes quite simply. These are all learnings. Or no, learning processes. Yes, we are learning and learning is a process. Another thing like sliding on a glove. But glove, call her Sarah, this glove is a clenched fist. It is the legs of a spider balled up on the windowsill. It is a guarding of something we have yet to discern. A discovery, perhaps, that awaits us, once we’ve locked our fingers in place.

*

I placed a hand over my mouth to stop from screaming. There was a lot of blood already. Sarah honey, one of the deputies says, we need you to stop that. Stop that, she says, in a sweet voice like she has no idea. Her blood’s on the wall and each time she thuds her head against it she hesitates briefly before pulling it away and it makes a sort of wet, peeling noise I can barely hear over the sound of the blood pumping through my ears. One of the deputies approaches slowly and she doesn’t seem to notice. He’s scared, shaking. We all are. He places his hand on her back and she shrugs it off. Then all of a sudden it’s as if time has stopped. Hell, maybe it has, I don’t know. Can they do that? Then, there’s a sort of growl that I’m not sure is coming from Sarah or the officer, like somebody is trying to speak but can’t. Immediately afterwards there’s some kind of flash and the cop is flying through the air to the other side of the room.

*

Ahead there’s a sort of shimmering in the air that’s beckoning us forwards, drawing us to it. Our vision pulses then goes dark. When we regain consciousness, there’s a crowd of people leaning over us and we feel split in half. But the sky has never seemed so beautiful, so blue.