March 25, 2016

“Where was the man? Where was he in the house, where within my life? The red light flashed and droned. It said: I have him, I have him. I looked for the man. I looked for him in the hallway, in the bathroom, upon the staircase. I put my ears to the walls and listened for him banging about within the plaster. I looked beneath the bed, behind the couch, within the cushions…”

March 23, 2017

“The red light flashed and droned. It said: I have him, I have him. I looked for the man. I looked for him in the hallway, in the bathroom, upon the staircase. I put my ears to the walls and listened for him banging about within the plaster. I looked beneath the bed, behind the couch, within the cushions. The man was not there. The man was not anywhere. The man was not in the house. The red light shone. The red light burned a hole through the side of the house…”

March 22, 2017

“The red light burned through the house. I could not sleep. The man slept with his hands pressed to his face. He snored in such a way I thought of metal blades hacking through dry concrete. There was gristle, there was splatter, there was spark. I turned from side to side. I pulled at my hair. I closed my eyes but the red light was there, emblazoned upon the insides of my eyelids…”

March 19, 2017

“I scratched into the man’s back: THIS MAN IS MINE. I wrote it so that if the man went missing and his body was found much later, I would be able to prove his identity. He was the man, he lived in the house with me. I wrote the message once, then traced over it three dozen times, scratching and scratching until the man’s flesh was ripped up. The scratches bled, then healed, then scarred…”

March 16, 2017

“I was overcome by a sense of vertigo, as if the man and I were not in a house but within an immense tower built into the edge of a cliff. This vertigo manifested as a swirling sensation at the front of my head, a pain in my eyes, a thumping at the base of my throat, a pitching feeling in my stomach, a nasal drip. It was, to say the least, uncomfortable…”

March 13, 2017

“Beneath the bed, I noticed a sharp edge poking out. I thought it was metal but then, when I touched, I saw it was a thick sheet of paper covered in smeared writing. The paper wrinkled when I touched it, then sliced along the length of my index finger. I looked numbly at the cut. It was perfectly straight and clean. I thought it would not bleed, then it did. As soon as I thought of the blood, it came trembling out as a slowly thickening red smear. I put my finger in my mouth and sucked…”

March 10, 2017

“If I ate of the man—if I ate of the man and he was more delicious than any fruit—what did that make me? Sometimes I was overwhelmingly hungry. It was such a hunger that I was sick. I felt I could eat walls and floors and the house itself. I thought I might swallow the man in one large gulp, such a gulp that not even my teeth would touch him…”

March 9, 2017

“I woke to the man crying. At first, as my eyes opened, I thought the crying was mine, that I came lurching from a dream still devastated. I touched my eyes but they were dry. I opened my mouth slightly and there was no hitching. My throat was not tight, my chest did not burn. I listened to the crying and it was deep, guttural. The crying came from a voice that was not mine and that was when I realized it was the man, sunken deep into whatever grief he kept hidden from me…”

March 8, 2017

“I carved up my thighs. It was an accident. I said: I cut myself accidentally. In that way, I made it true. It was an accident that I decided to prove I was separate from the house. I remembered walking inside the house but just in case, a splash of blood would remind me better. I found a rusted nail between two floorboards, held it by the head, and raked its sharp point over myself. I carved deep into my skin, layer after layer, and I bled thickly…”

March 7, 2017

“And I thought: Perhaps I am dead. This house was my purgatory and so I was stuck within because there was nowhere else to go. And perhaps, there were many other such houses, each equally dark and always cold, made claustrophobic by ghosts convinced they were still alive, a man and a woman sequestered within…”

March 6, 2017

“I ate salt to exorcise myself of the dead and the dark and the man. I put handfuls of salt in my mouth and crunched. My tongue withered with the first bite. I could not breathe. Between bites, I whispered a vanquishing mantra: Away with you, away with you. Away with the dead, away with the house, away with the man, away with myself. The salt was unpleasant. It grew more so by the handful…”

March 3, 2017

“I dreamed that I needed to crawl below the house but the only way was to follow a ladder sunken into a stone wall. I crawled and crawled, the ladder creaking all the while, and I worried that someone might hear the creaking and follow. Down and down I went, until I reached the bottom, which was a hard dirt floor. Above was the hole which the ladder led from. I was meant to find something down there but could not…”

March 2, 2017

“When I was very young, I realized I would die. I realized this in the same way I knew water was wet and people were cruel and gods did not exist. It was as simple as saying: I am going to die. I was going to die and everything in the world was going to die with me. One day, the sky would die and the trees would die and the water would die and every body would die. There was no running from this death. It did not procrastinate. It came. It killed. It chased me…”

March 1, 2017

“Later, I wanted nothing more than to be away from the man. The closeness of him was infuriation. The man was in every room. His shadow repeatedly mingled with mine. I was in a different sort of agony, one born of proximity and smothering. The man did not leave me alone. I turned the oven on, the man turned the oven off. I looked out the window, the man painted over the glass…”

February 26, 2017

“There was my body and separate from that, my flesh. In the dark, in the house, everything was separate. Me. The man. He stared blankly at a shattered mirror and counted all the individual versions of himself. The house smelled of kidneys, blistered offal. The man salted himself for protection, then left me alone. Something breathed in my ear…”

February 24, 2017

“How badly I wanted to climb inside the man, even while knowing he did not have enough room for me. I wanted to cleave his insides open just to prove there was not a gap within which I could curl my body. The man was stuffed up with his own body parts but I still wanted to look, if only to prove the reality of his physical shape to myself. I crawled over the man. I gripped him by the waist and slithered up his legs…”

February 23, 2017

“I was painfully hot. My innards were scorched and ashy. The man was on me, was in me, and he added to my fever, his body heat increasing my own until I overheated. I grabbed at my sides, trying to yank my skin off. It was not enough to be naked. My skin needed to be removed as well. All the heat was trapped within it. The heat was in my bones, my muscles. If I could only take off one layer, then the warmth would cool until I was no longer cooking internally…”

February 21, 2017

“In another dream, there was nothing. Not the man, not the house, not the dark. There was only nothing, an absolute absence of anything, a motionless void. I stood in the midst of that emptiness, lost. I did not know which way to walk. I worried that if I left the spot I stood upon, the nothing would change for the worst. It might open, leaving me to plummet endlessly, or I might be crushed suddenly, my body compacting into itself…”

February 19, 2017

“I dreamed the man was dead. I always dreamed he was dead but while in the dreams, I did not know. In this dream, I saw the man dead, knew he was dead, accepted that he was dead. My dead man, on the floor at the bottom of the staircase, then laid along the length of a deep wooden box…”

February 18, 2017

“Beyond the house was nothing. So I assumed. So I remembered seeing when I walked into the house and shut the door. Nothing in the form of a street and a canyon and a fence. Nothing that resembled a stream and a moon and a neighbor’s house and a playground. Nothing that was roughly paved and made of stone and stinking of rubber. Nothing that was not black. Nothing that was not made of dirt…”

February 17, 2017

“I feared my head bursting. Not my head exploding but the very inside bursting like a balloon, the pressure in my brain growing until the wrinkles stretched smooth, and the flesh popped. It would be an audible pop, one I heard before falling into deep, bloody unconsciousness, the blood in my brain pounding against my temples, filling my eyes, shooting from my ears. But before that, a flashing, a strange smell, a sickness. Vomit on the floor and myself…”

February 14, 2017

“In the dark, in the house, the man said he loved me better than all else. I asked the man if he could love anything more and he said no. I said to the man: If we had a child and it and I were hanging from a cliff, which of us would you save? The man said: I would save you. And so I was glad, but only temporarily. I said to the man: If our home burned and I was trapped inside with your most valued possession and you could only carry one of us from the flames, which would survive?”

February 13, 2017

“It was morning, it was night. The house was always dark. I stayed close to the man yet still found myself alone. The man took my hand and his fingers were cold. His hand came from the wrong direction. The man said: Why are you so afraid? The man said: The doors are all closed, nothing in this house can get you now. The man said: It is only you and me. But I was not comforted. What was a house if the other person went away, leaving you alone? A house was not meant to be unoccupied…”