Here we are again. Another blog blast. The last one was Hollow Man. Told the story of my ex-girlfriends and the impact they had on me. What they turned me into and what I learned from them. But awhile ago, I did a series of blogs called The New Girl. Months ago now, I think, maybe not that long. I’m not gonna look it up. I have my head facing forward. So here we go again, I guess. These are the events that happened after New Girl. These are the things we had to face, Bekah and I, before we could put it together again. And this, in the end, is what caused it to fall apart for a second time. So here we go, the Aftermath of New Girl. I’ll be releasing a blog every two hours and thirty minutes. It’ll take us 40 hours and by the end of it you’ll see what led up to Guardian’s War. You’re probably noticing and frustrated, I’m telling this story all out of order. Guardian’s War, then the Progenitor, but wait first, New Girl, and then Hollow Man, just to slip into the Aftermath of New Girl. I’m doing my best to confuse you, to keep you off-balance and disoriented, because I want you to know what it’s like to live inside a mind like mine, when you can’t really remember the last thing that happened in your life, and you can’t predict the next thing you’ll see. We walk now into the Aftermath of the New Girl. This is what happened directly after I lost my soulmate the first time, and started dating Sapphire.
Well, I finished “Hollow Man” though it took the soul out of me to do it. It did not come without its prices. Since Smear Lord of Ire first showed up, art has been more real than life. When I am writing it’s no different. The story takes over. It always has. It steps into me like a man might walk into smoky room. My life is that room. The story, well, it is the man. It can move around. Take a seat. Drink a beer and pick a fight. The story is real. It always has been.
While I was writing I had a major issue arise that there was no real answer for. I stopped being able to feel my wife. I couldn’t taste her kiss, or feel the sensation of her caress. I was sitting in our house. In our room. In our bed, holding her and could only feel pressure. I could not feel the tickle of her hair or the way her fingers played along my chest as she lay there.
See the story had become more real than the reality, and when I wrote the Corruptor chapter, I lost her. My body began to shut her away and I was lost in a room with the one I loved, unable to reach her and unable touch her.
This ramped up everything. She is everything in the world and when she drifted back, I went into a panic. We both did. I went into fever pitch. Writing as long of hours as I could, hopeful that I would find her again. When I stayed up for over thirty hours, my sleep-deprived body could feel her again. We would make love and I would pass out only to wake up numb to her once again. So, I lived like that. Sleeping fourteen hours, staying awake for over thirty, and all the while writing as if the devil was behind me and breathing fire.
But it wasn’t the devil. It was Smear Lord of Ire breathing fire. It was the Prince of Darkness with a cat-o-nine tails racing behind me. I worked and we fought and I was able to get past it. I was able to write our break up and we got to an end. I thought I was fine. I was ready for rest.
The wife and I decided that I would take the rest of the month off and then move on to other projects. That I would set this manuscript aside for now. Let some rest come to me, and it was a very sound plan. Then the trophy incident.
See after every book we get a trophy. The books we write usually don’t see print for a long time so I know when I am writing them that I won’t see reward or even be able to talk about them for years, so with every book comes a trophy. We went trophy hunting, went to Lebanon, Missouri, right up the road to an outlet mall just to look around. I was looking at the knives on the Buck counter when I heard plain and even in my own voice, “I would like to see that one right there.”
I heard it plain in my head. I asked to see the knife. I knew I wouldn’t buy it. Wouldn’t waste the money or the trophy on it because it was not my kind of knife.
It was black. The blade black, the bottom half of the edge serrated. It had a reinforced tip and was light weight and balanced perfectly. I flipped it open and held it in my hand. I heard myself say, “I would like to feel the weight in both hands.”
I switched the knife to my left hand and felt Assassin come alive. See he is left-handed. None of the rest of us are. He held the knife, looked at the girl behind the counter and said, “I’ll take it.”
This is not allowed. We put the pieces together. All of the jagged bits have been sewn together to form the man who sits at this desk. I run the life. I run everything. After a decade of chaos, I arose champion of all of them. Assassin had crossed a line.
We got out of the store and I told Bekah and she laughed. She said he could have had it if he asked for it. He didn’t have to trick us. But see Assassin gave up his knife and retired in 2004. He has not carried one since. So why now?
We went trophy shopping. Leaving that store and going to another and when we were done with a shopping trip that took us across the state and back, I had bought a pair of boots. Doc Martens, steel toed. Working boots. War boots. But I had not bought them.
I found out that Guardian had. He has long thought that footwear is the mark of a great warrior or soldier. Footwear makes a fighter win or lose. On a battlefield you are worthless without a good pair of boots. So, by the time I got home I found myself with two items meant for war.
But I was taking time off. I didn’t need a war to fight. I was setting Normal Street aside for a while. I was not going to work on it anymore. Time off was what I needed. Then the sleeping thing.
Last night I got four hours of sleep. Woke up exhausted. Took an hour nap but I realized while I was fighting hard to make that hour into two that I was exhausted but filled with purpose and adrenaline. I could hear the whistle in the background.
I’m getting ahead of myself with the whistle thing. Stay with me for one second.
Shade dressed us today. He wore tighter fitting clothing, wore our war boots, wore Assassin’s new blade. When I walked out of my room today I was ready for war. War against what, I did not know, but I could feel the flaming breath of Smear behind me. I was prepping for something.
Shit I have to back up one more time. Prince got me a new chair. Got it for me the day before I finished “Hollow Man.” I had nothing to do with the purchase at all. Prince and Bekah went to the store and he bought the most expensive, most comfortable desk chair I have ever sat in. It is a throne. When I sat it in today to talk to a friend on chat, I felt the need for it in me. For this struggle is beginning again. I can hold it back with force or I can succumb to it with ease.
Now the whistle thing. Think trench warfare. Dig in. Tunnels and ditches with walls and ladders and barbed wire and every other terrible thing. There is a no man’s land beyond your trench and on the other side is the enemy. It is a sudden rush of men, steel, and fire, and then death. The fighting and you take the next trench. You kill everyone there. You take it over and turn to face the one behind it. Like this, you take land. One rush after the next.
When you are about to make that rush you line up at your ladders. You grab your weapons and stare forward. You are waiting for the sign to run, to rush headlong into death. And the sign to let you know it is time is a whistle. An officer is blowing a whistle and it is calling you back to the field. Back to the horror of battle and back to war.
In the back of my head, Smear Lord of Ire is blowing that whistle. He is calling me back. I am three days into a sixteen-day vacation. Then I am supposed to start writing fantasy again, yet when I came down here Shade opened this document and set me in front of it.
Because you don’t even know who Shade is yet. You can’t tell me anything about Tier. And you are clueless as to what to expect from Elder. I have written a thousand pages and we are just now getting there. I can’t step aside. I can’t wait any longer.
My life is like a smoky room. The story is the man walking inside of it. But tonight, I have many men standing in my smoke waiting for me. They have fought long battles before and they are letting me know that they are here for more. Assassin has armed himself so I can feel his power with me through the long nights and the horrid pain of the memories I will write. Guardian has the war boots on and is standing ready to walk back out into the nest of darkness and sadness. Shade has us dressed. And Prince has bought us the chair to do it.
So, I find myself going back into the fray. Already. With hardly any break between the horrible pain of losing Bekah and where I stand now. I can hear the whistle and I am rushing the no man’s land and I can hear them all behind me.
So here is my last charge. I’ll show you now how we turned a bunch of shattered and tattered bits into the patchwork person you see before you. Because it took us a decade of work after figuring out we had this disorder before we sewed it all back together. But now I am the Patchwork Man.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 2: Normal Street.