Until My Darkness Goes
They had buried J's father on Monday.
A séance was held on Tuesday.
Nothing happened on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Jay thought he prayed to God.
Friday, doors and windows in the house opened and slammed shut by themselves.
Saturday, his dreams became nightmares.
Sunday J tossed and turned, stuck in that nightmare alley between dreams and wakefulness; where they overlapped, faded off and came back like the game Combat for the Atari 2600. Video games were his frame of reference, he loved dreaming video games. He had a mastery over each board, dominion over how the dreams went.
A sudden black out occurred as if his dream-self had shut his eyes for an instant and then the dreamscape came back online, but the arcade screen disappeared and now he dreamt of speaking to his parents in a twisty smoky version of their family room. His father, a lawyer that specialized in prosecuting health insurance fraud had finished his final set of curls and wiped the sweat from his bald head with a towel. His mother sat in her corner chair. On the card table in front of her or what she liked to call her, ‘puzzled table,’ sat a jigsaw puzzle of a field of white. "Someday, Jay told his mother and father as he navigated his block tank against the computer controlled block tank, “I'm going to design the coolest video games." His mother and father would move their heads in that barely perceptible infuriating all-knowing nod that parents save for their children, their way of crushing dreams without expending effort or guilt.
He would show them, he would stick to his guns and design the best video games anyone had ever seen.
Jay smiled in his sleep and turned over onto his right side. Now, he found himself back in the hazy version of the family room. But this time the atmosphere was off and wrong like an incomplete memory; there were no real straight lines. The room was all warped and curved space. Blue light stuck to the fringes where the walls met the ceilings and floors. The corners were rounded and fuzzy.
Like before, J’s father finished his set of curls and his mother sat at her ‘puzzled table’. A square of emptiness the shape and size of a puzzle was carved out of the surface of the table. She tried to force puzzle pieces together into the frame and the blankness absorbed the pieces, it pulsated and grew. She put down another piece and the nothingness sucked it away along with her fingers and hand up to her wrist. “See, I knew I’d figure it out eventually,” She smiled a toothy smile, “I'm the missing pieces.”
“You've come all undone Dear. You’re falling apart Hon, like a Picasso,” J’s father said and buffed his bald head with the towel as if shining a big fleshy shoe. His muscles stood out like a cartoon body builder's, protruding grotesquely.
“And you look like a douche bag Darling,” Mother replied happily.
“Good, because that's the look I've been aiming for, that eighties, yuppie douche bag essence.”
“Wonderful, but don't buff too hard Lover, you're starting to bleed.”
"Not to worry Sweets, they're only tiny bleeds in the brain.' Father slowly turned his head and stared deep into J's eyes. Not the J in the dream, but directly into the dreaming J, 'Remember son, Always own you're mistakes or your mistakes will own you.” Father gave Jay a bloody wink, “and trust me boy, you don't want your mistakes owning you.”
J awoke with a start and scraped his cheek on a throwing star deeply embedded into the oak headboard of his bed. As J's eyes adjusted to the shadowy colors of an approaching dawn a figure loomed over him, bent down and the puke green glow of J's digital alarm clock revealed his father's face. “You shouldn't have invoked me boy. It was a mistake.”