THE DORLEY CYCLE
Siren shrieks and mermaid cries rampaged through my arousal center deep into the skull and my brain sculpted a nightmare so fucked up I hardly noticed a tackle team of doctors trying to restrain my spasmodic body onto the hospital bed. I heard their voices and amongst them a weaker raspy one, crying and I figured that was me. My voice, the one of a frightened boy, sounded distant and it grew weaker as the injection dug forcefully into my vein pumping a sedative up my system. I dozed off quickly.
I could still taste saltines in my mouth when I woke up and whenever I moved a facial muscle the whole thing hurt. My shoulders and waist were bandaged, but under the bandages there were stitches that itched and hurt when I pulled.
Later on, after many hours, or days, I opened my eyes to see Eli standing at the bottom of my bed. There were policeman asking questions and my face hurt so I told them to fuck off with their enquiries. They said I’ve been attacked, kidnaped with a stolen local fisherman’s boat and thrown into the sea, presumed dead until two days ago when I had washed out. Fuck no.
I averted my eyes and followed the ray of sunlight projecting itself on the pale green wall whenever the curtain moved. It was a normal motion happening in such a fragile environment for me; the emerging of noises: the tapping of the shoes outside in the corridor, the sound from the policeman’s dry fingers against the yellow paper of his notepad, the low beeping of the machine.
The police officer gestured with his pen towards me. What had happened?
I killed a mermaid in cold blood and shot my salvation through the head of an ancient siren. I was mad and sick with legends. I wanted sleep.
They issued therapy; traumatic experience causing patient to conceal attackers identity. Was it someone you knew? No. Did you see his/hers/their face? No.
I dreamt of rotting corpses when I thought I was done with it all, and I heard radio stations skip tunes, making way for white noise that transformed with each changed station to a vomiting scream. I started rambling in my wake, speaking of mermaids and how beautiful they were and sirens and how I headshot one with a handmade speargun. I was so terrified I threw a bottle of juice at one of the nurses when she came into the night to check on me.
Eli told the doctors his version of that night, me seeming mad and on the run, asking for his dad’s speargun and they patched a scenario with my ramblings, ending my sorry ass in the madhouse.
Let me tell you, it’s awfully quiet in here at night. Probably because of all the drugs they stuff you up with. At first I kept the pills under my tongue and spat them out right after. But couple of days in here, I started to swallow the suckers. I wasn’t denying being mad. I liked being something that had a certification in Latin, and not the petrified murderer I knew I was.
There’s this small time drug addict slash suicide fail case, in here, and I talk to him when we play chess, partly because no one else can establish a full conversation without freaking me out. I tell him about stories I’ve heard and he tells me about all these satanic rituals he and his buddies were keen on back in his hometown somewhere in Texas.
“We’ve called the Lord Satan man, and he’d come man. Once we gutted a cat and like spread its insides, you know, and this big dog came and ate it. Fuckin’ chewed into it. It was Satan man. He’s a fucking’ evil guy man.”
Really, I’d say, moving my pieces into check. You’ve no idea of evil.
I caught someone singing and my nights were not quiet anymore.
Say, why don’t you just free me, I fear I may be lost, I won’t do you any harm.. But kiss you and sail home
I felt disoriented and not caring and so, so tired and this song was picking brain cells and eating them up. It was when I asked who was singing that the guard pointed at me with his thick finger. I half smiled and stopped taking the pills again. Now I heard myself sing and that didn’t bother me. It was my song after all, and although it didn’t carry the same weight as when the siren sang it, it made my gears grind in a way stronger than when I brought down my hand on the mermaid. It spoke a purpose to me.
They released me under supervision two weeks later for my uncle’s funeral. The grave they had dug for him was on the highest side of the cemetery, a nice view of the horizon. Like he’d care. Eli was not talking to me. The kid looked devastated, and I was in cuffs. We were a dysfunctional family. I had messed up and Eli didn’t deserve my attitude and karma. He threw me a glance after his white fist disposed of the dirt onto the casket and stormed past me.
If I was to make this right and help Eli I had to go away for a while. Mermaids and sirens invaded my mind and I knew that if I looked around, poked enough and probed and lifted every little stone in my way, I’d find more of those, real and breathing in the neck of humans. My jaw clenched.
Dorley was just at the beginning of its cycle. There was another wave coming.
The guard never saw me disappear.