Where No One Will Enter
"To know what life is worth you have to risk it once in a while." - Jean-Paul Sartre
Where would I begin my search for her? She said to look where the trees grow, but did she mean the trees at the park from before? Probably. If that isn’t what she meant then I would never be able to find her. Trees grow in quite a few places. Hmm…I’d have to take the night bus. ‘The House of Chaos’? ‘The House that no one will enter’? Was it a real place or did Veia just want to see me? Finding the night bus was easy. I made it back to the park in no time, but there wasn’t a party here tonight. Was Veia hiding somewhere? Was she waiting for me? I hoped so.
I walked around the tall old trees and they welcomed me back into their shady grove. I could see her already. She was sitting in the moonlight on a bench near the stone fountain, like was a nocturnal fairy watching over the quietly whispering trees. I walked into the concrete heart of the jungle and she looked up from the book that she was reading. Her eyes mesmerizing eyes watched me as I closed the distance between us.
“Sitting among the trees, watching the leaves as they’re tossed around by the wind…it reminds me that I'm alive. Do you feel them too? They’re waving at us, see? Hello, trees! Hello!” She waved back at the trees as the wind tickled their leaves. “Sir Ivan, you’ve become a wandering fairy forest traveler! Welcome to my forest. Welcome to the beginning.” Maybe she really was a fairy. I would never know.
“The beginning? That sounds perfect. I came for an adventure.”
“Sit down! We must sit for a moment, terrible man. A friend will be along soon. We’ll be zoomed right into the nether! Are you ready?” I sat down on the cool bench, listening to the soft sounds of the night that murmured all around us. Crickets and frogs chirped and croaked their midnight melodies. Frogs…how like her to choose a place with frogs. Did she do it for the effect?
“This sounds like something that you can never be quite ready for. Sometimes those are the best somethings of all.”
“Ooh, you’re still the word wonder that you were before. I enjoyed our dance around the wriggle trees…it was like magic. I saw into a world that I thought I’d never see again.”
“I can still see it now,” I replied. And I could. The school flashed before my eyes for just a moment.
“Open your mouth and close your eyes.” I suspected that I was about to be roofied, but I decided not to do anything about it. Drip. Drip. Something dripped onto my tongue. I opened my eyes. She was dripping a liquid onto her own tongue now.
“No! This is fairy water!” I guess that meant ‘probably’. Bleep, bleep! I heard the horn of a car. Bleep, bleep! It had just pulled up not far away from us. “Our carriage has arrived. Let’s go! Come along.” A dark grey old beat-up car was waiting at the edge of our forest. Wait a minute…that car was there when I splatted the policeman. It’s a small world.
“Oh, hey Ivan.” I had forgotten the driver’s name, but I knew who he was.
“Hey man, long time no see…” I gave him a sarcastic reply.
“You know each other? Holy duck fuckers, Batman. It’s a small world.” I hated Batman. He was just like the cop I ran over earlier that afternoon, raining on all of the crazies’ parades. I would run over Batman too, especially if he ever took someone from me.
But I digress. The driver looked sort of like a pimp right now. He was wearing a big black hat and a big extravagant leopard-print coat. It was like what I would have worn if I thought that I could pull it off. Sadly I knew that I couldn’t. C’est la vie.
He was a rather thin black man and didn’t really look as menacing as one might’ve thought, considering that he was in Heffalump Woozle’s crew. He actually seemed pretty harmless at first glance, in spite of all of the pimpiness, but I knew better than to think that he didn’t come with a dark side.
“A small world it is, fo’ sho’. So you two are goin’ into ‘the House’ tonight? Damn, man. Good luck. People die in there, you know. That’s what they say, at least.” Apparently our destination scared this guy too.
“Well you’ve gotta die sometime!” Veia laughed. She was right. “Lick my finger.” she extended it out in front of me.
On Veia’s finger there was what looked like tiny flakes of gold. Was this some kind of drug too? I was beginning to think that the fairy water was just a placebo. I wasn’t feeling weird yet. But this flakey stuff was surely a drug. What the fuck came in little golden flakes? Anyway, I decided to lick it. You only live once, right? Fuck! It tasted like shit. It was definitely something psychoactive.
“Mistah Terrible! We were born too late to explore the earth, born too early to explore the galaxy, but we’re just in time to explore our minds! The time to go spelunking is upon us! This is marvelous magical mescaline! The gold little gents are the super special sprinkly-sprinkles on top of the fairy water. They’re the lily pads in the fairy water pond. They’re the golden flakes in the fairy water cereal.” God damn. It was crystalized concentrated peyote.
“This is going to make the House of Chaos far more chaotic.”
“Holy hell, doesn’t that sound swell?” She rhymeplied.
“Here we are, you crazy fucks.” The driver slowed down to a stop and the doors unlocked. Click. I exited on the left, Veia on the right, then we stepped out onto the lawn. What the hell? It was a white suburban house exactly like the ones in Tranquility Acres. It was already disturbing. It was staring into my soul.
“What do you see?” Veia asked, gesturing toward the house.
“A white suburban clone home.”
“Ooh, that’s marvelous. I see the trailer that I grew up in. It’s sort of unsettling. It looks like something different to everyone, you know. If we go in together then maybe the stories in our minds will overlap somehow. Are you ready to find out?” Not really, but this was looking incredibly exciting. I’d be in ‘til the end.
“I’m ready enough. I’ll be in ‘til the end.”
“Ookle dookle, artichookle!” Whatever the hell she had taken seemed to be starting to kick in already. I was sure that I wasn’t far behind her. We were at the door. It was the door to Anthony and Cindy’s house, the door to Mother and Father’s house, the door to the orphanage, the door to hell…dear god.
“This place will pry open your soul, friend… I’ll be there to assist. “Shadowshade was coming with us.
“Thank you, Your Shadowiness.” She could hear him too.
“Yes, I can, Mister Man! He’s in my head too, just as he is in yours. We’re all in each other’s heads now. I’m not even speaking to you, at least not with my voice. Isn’t that wild? Boom! I love surprises.” I looked into her eyes and then focused on her lips. She was right. She certainly wasn’t talking. Holy damn, this was great. Maybe the fairy water was actually magical fairy mind-reading juice. It was possible. “Yes! It’s the majestical mind-reading juice of the scary fairy! ‘Tis oh so lovely.” She replied to my thoughts with thoughts of her own.
I twisted the doorknob and the front door flew open…but the first room of the house wasn’t at all like what I was expecting. It was a bedroom.
“My old room,” Veia said. There were skulls, carcasses and other odd and interesting things decorating the room. A big mechanical skeleton leaned against the window.
“My room would’ve looked like this if I would’ve had a say in arranging it.”
“Ooh!” Veia was excited. “Well bedrooms are portals into people’s minds. While you’re in my bedroom you’re basically inside my mind. So if yours would’ve looked like mine, then we were the same. See?” I saw indeed. It was brilliant.
“Soon the magic will begin,” Shadowshade proclaimed. His voice boomed all around the room.
“Do you believe in magic?” Veia asked me.
“I believe in certain kinds. Magic is the line between fact and fiction.”
“Are you real?” Was I? I knew that I was something, but I couldn’t remember what exactly it was that I was.
“Hello, lady and gentleman…Infinity and Ivan the Terrible…the two I’s, I. and I.! The future, as always, is about to happen.” Someone materialized out of the cold thin air and was now in the room with us. Shadowshade? The thing was only a checkered suit jacket and pants. A dark swirling twirling mist flowed out from where its hands, feet, and head should have been.
“You clean up well, mister!” Veia applauded him. Then, just as quickly as they had come, the jacket and pants fell to the floor and formed an elegant pile. The mist was nowhere to be seen.
“Ha! Good trick, friend,” I called out to him. Then everything around us rapidly transformed, as quickly as channel changing on a TV. Were we inside of a TV that Shadowshade held the remote to? It definitely seemed that way. Bam! We were suddenly back inside the Underworld. Veia was still beside me. Were we really there, or were we still in the house? I couldn’t tell anymore.
“The haunted funhouse is being set up right at this very moment! This is only the entrance, sillies.” S. seemed to know all of the ins and outs of this place. Maybe he had been here before. Maybe he was partly responsible for the chaos within. We glided through the dark griminess of the club while lights zigzagged all over the ceiling.
“There were talking about Infinity at the nightclub,” I remembered out loud. Maybe that conversation had been about a person. Perhaps it wasn’t as philosophical as I originally thought. In the cages where the dancers had been there were now cadavers that had mostly rotted away, but were still trying to turn people on with what little was left of their bodies…which was very, very little. They were facing a difficult challenge.
What was this, a zombie strip club? Somehow it seemed to work. Every now and then one of the cage dancers would tear out one of their remaining organs and hurl it at a dancing patron. I had to duck and slide to the side just to avoid being nailed by a swollen kidney. Splat. It painted the wall behind me.
“They’re talking about me at the bar?” Veia asked.
“Not anymore, though one can never be sure.” Shadowshade’s words sounded rather familiar to me. His formal form exploded out of nothingness and appeared beside us. Not quite dead dancers stood on either side of him, one of them gobbling up a heart. Was it her own or someone else’s? What could all of this mean? I wasn’t sure, but someone’s heart was being consumed. “I run the show here, friends.” He said it just like the normal Underworld manager had before. “The ball is in my court…where shall I throw it?”
“Anywhere, Shadowscare!” Veia shouted.
“This way!” He roared back as he snapped his fingers. Snick! Everything went dark. “You are now standing in the Social Room, the last room between us and the main event. You must witness the contents of this chamber before we can proceed. Enjoy, dear products of society.”
He said nothing after this. He wasn’t even here anymore. All that was here was complete and total darkness. Bing! The room was lit up with bright red traffic lights. A row of signs stood in the middle of the room. There was a ‘STOP’ sign, a ‘BEWARE’ sign, a “DO NOT ENTER” sign, and finally a “ONE WAY” sign with an arrow pointed back in the direction from which we had come. Who set those there? It certainly wasn’t Veia or I.
“This will teach you to embrace conformity!” M. screamed from a TV screen on the right wall of the room that had just powered on. Soon the picture changed into a scene of me being beaten by her and the other woman at the orphanage. I was defenseless. I was broken. There was nothing that I could possibly do to save myself from the pain they were hell-bent on inflicting.
“Obey your superiors!” Anthony and the youth minister from his church bellowed simultaneously.
“You killed someone, you stupid fucking cunt! I hope you die before you get out of here!” It was the cop who had taken Veia to juvie. She had to stay there for a year because she defended me, because she defended herself.
“Go no farther or you shall meet your end! Go no farther or you shall be destroyed!” The pastor I was forced to talk to screamed in fury.
“Thou shalt not! Thou shalt not! Thou shalt not! Thou shalt not!” A horde of business executives who stood alongside the politicians they had bought shouted over and over again. “Crucify them! Crucify them! Crucify them!” Up on the screen, nailed to two crosses, were ‘Infinity’ and ‘Ivan the Terrible’. The crowd beneath us was made up of the beaten down public, the submissive and sedated masses.
“Let them die! We will all succeed in life without taking a stand! We will achieve equality without having to fight for change! The government will listen to our peaceful protests and these naysayers try to tell us otherwise! Crucify them! Crucify them! Crucify them!” These were the same people who had been denied success for their entire lives. They knew what it was like to live in the slums and go days without eating. Somehow they still believed they were all soon to be lucky winners at the game of life because of all of their hard work. This simply was not going to happen…
“Ivan and Infinity, cease and desist!” The executives yelled from the other side of the crosses. They and their politicians had a special seating area all to themselves. They didn’t want to be ‘infected’ by the ‘filthy unfortunates’.
“Don’t let the public know that we’ve used the American Dream to lead them on for all this time! They must believe that they’re always next in line to win! They must believe that something good is going to happen or they’ll be too upset to keep producing! They’ll be too upset to keep us rich! If they lose their sense of false hope then we will lose our power! Do you think we want that? We do not! So you must die. We’ll pay them to kill you. We don’t want to dirty our delicate hands. Death is so messy… these are such expensive clothes.” Holy shit.
Then they all left, just as they had come, and once more we were alone. This didn’t last long. Veia’s mother came in next. I could tell who she was because of the expression on Veia’s face: fear, shame, anger, worthlessness…
“You fucking whore! You’re not a virgin? Whore! Whore!” Her mother squawked horridly.
“If a lack of virginity makes you a whore then you’re a fucking whore too. Don’t you have a daughter?” She didn’t have to answer. Veia was right next to me.
“Fucking whore!” She yelled at her mother. She did not have to succumb to this woman.
“You stabbed a boy in the chest with a piece of glass, Veia! I don’t care if he was going to rape you to death. You killed a boy! You went to D.J.J.! You disgraced the family! You’re a miscreant! A disaster! And what’s the worst part of all? You smoked marijuana! You’ve probably done other drugs too! You’re a fucking drug addicted whore! Whore!” This woman was nearly as bad as my mother had been. Jesus Christ.
“This isn’t Japan,” Veia retorted. “I am not obligated to bring you honor, bitch! I don’t have to catch your ridiculous balls of shame when you toss them at me. And guess what? I don’t plan to. You think I’m a piece of shit? Good! That means I must be doing something right! I’m living for something that has meaning to me. I’m living for what I believe in. Are you doing that? Or do you just listen, eat the shit they feed you and play along?”
Her mother exploded into a million pieces. BOOM! She was defeated. She had no comeback to come back with, apart from maybe “la la la, I can’t hear you!”, or “crucify!”, or some other ridiculosity like that. We walked past the signs and toward the dilapidated old door that allegedly led to Shadowshade’s ‘main event’. Whatever could it be?
“Enforce opinion! Enforce opinion! Call it democracy! Call it democracy! Kill the abnormals! Kill all of the abnormals! Kill the deviants! Cruficy them! Enforce opinion! Call it democracy!” We were nearly to the door and I tried to tune the newly assembled mob of people out as I reached for the handle.
“Do not open it! Stop right there! Do not deviate! Behave like a robot! Perform your proper social function! Perform your commands like a good little computer! Go back to work! Do not open that door! Put your hands in the air, you belligerent motherfuckers!” It was the policeman that I had run over and killed earlier. I had splattered his matter and he was back for revenge.
His horn was going ‘WEE-OO!’ and his lights were blinking. Blinky, blinky, blink-blink. He was definitely overcompensating for something. “Anxious about his virility”, as a different Simone than the one I had known once said. Officer Stiff pointed his gun at us. Oh, bother.
“Open that door and I’ll blow your brains all over the walls, you stupid pieces of shit! I don’t know who you are, but the tycoons paid me to keep you from getting to the other side. I’m just a gun for hire. Hell, maybe I’d be your best buddy in another life but I’ve already sold my soul.
“I don’t ask them why I’m being paid to do it. I don’t care! I couldn’t care less if the people I fuck up really deserve it or not. I don’t care if I detain ‘innocents’. I just enforce opinion. I kill in their name, in the name of the almighty dollar, while being kept in the dark. So you have the right to remain silent!” He was finally done with his spiel. Actually he wasn’t, but I decided that it was time to interject. I decided that often.
“You don’t even know why you’re pointing your gun at me, other than because you’re a fucking soulless sellout? You don’t want to know why? I wouldn’t even kill someone pointlessly…that’s one thing that even I’m against. But guess what! I am going to fight for my freedom regardless of whether or not you try to destroy it. I can’t stop you from being a lapdog, but I can stop you from taking me away. You’re can’t have me and you can’t have the people I love.
“That’s why you’re dead. You can’t fuck us anymore! Do you understand that, sir? You can’t! You can’t fuck us anymore! You don’t get to mentally rape us anymore! I know that ruins all your fun, but I killed you and now you’re dead. Dying happens when you get killed, you see.” I opened the door and we walked through to the other side… unscathed, I’d like to add…at least as far as we knew. One can never be sure.