3:21 am . . .
I’m sitting in bed, my eyes closed, and I just know, know, not to open them. My head is throbbing something fierce, and that means only one thing . . . the flashes are back. Against my better judgment I slowly open my eyes, and sure enough, they’re here.
But this time, it doesn’t just disappear so quickly. Through my left eye I see the twisted world of the Land of Sorrows. And not the border town where Uriel and I occasionally meet. No, this is the real deal.
Melted, twisted furniture. Broken out windows. Where there was ceiling, there are gaping holes so that I can see the starless sky above. Dark clouds are rolling by, maybe faster than they should be. And I can see dust blowing by the large hole in the ceiling. Some of it’s falling haphazardly into the loft, on to me while the wind howls.
In my right eye, the vision is normal. Colors are present. There is warmth. Doors are still rectangles, and the roof doesn’t need fixing. Slowly I sit up, waiting for it to fade away. But it doesn’t.
This is my degenerative brain disease, only half way.
My advanced schizophrenia, working 50 percent.
This is the undiagnosed tumor that only wants to mess with my right brain, and hence, my left eye.
That’s how it works, you know. The right hemisphere of your brain interprets the information that your left eye sees for the most part. And the reverse is true for your left hemisphere.
When this started, I got on the internet and looked up all kinds of information on what in the hell was going on in my brain. Obviously, they didn’t have a section on the undead, or whatever I really am, but a researcher in this area of Hemispheric studies had some interesting finds.
He investigated the functioning of the two hemispheres of the brain. He found that the left hemisphere is superior in analytical functioning, of which the use of language, for instance, is a good example.
The right hemisphere is superior in many forms of visual and spatial performance and tends to be more synthetic and holistic in its functioning than the left. This is the side that’s getting death-vision.
While normally both of your hemispheres work together, it is possible for them to work separately. They did a test where they worked with split-brain patients—individuals who’ve had their corpus callosum severed.
Because the corpus callosum, in the normal brain, links the two hemispheres, in these patients the hemispheres function independently of each other. But, like with normal functioning brains, the right side of the body connects with the left hemisphere of the brain, and the left side connects with the right hemisphere.
These clever researchers asked split-brain patients to match small wooden blocks held in either their left or right hands (but not looked at) with corresponding two-dimensional pictures. They found that the left hand did better than the right hand at this task.
But what was really cool was they found that the two hands appeared to use different strategies in solving the problem. Their analysis demonstrated that the right hand found it relatively easier to deal with patterns that are readily described in words but difficult to discriminate visually. In contrast, the left hand found it easier to deal with patterns requiring visual discrimination.
So, with this death-vision in my left eye, that might make sense. My right hemisphere is better at dealing with patterns that require spacial and visual performance.
Basically, the part of my brain that is more capable to deal with Deadside seems to be evolving in order to see it, even when I’m not dead and climbing out of my chest.
I decide to do a little test of my death-vision, so I scoot to the edge of my bed and slowly stand. It’s a little weird, seeing the Land of Sorrows out of my left eye, and the Earth plane out of my right. Luckily, the ground is where it’s supposed to be.
What’s strange is, I can feel with my left foot, that I’m walking on carpet right now, but I look down with my left eye and I see bare, old concrete, worn by time and sadness.
I hold my hand over my right eye and I see nothing but Deadside.
I cover only my left, and I’m back on the earth plane.
This is like wearing those 3-D glasses when you’re walking around the house late at night. Everything looks funny, and your depth perception is skewed. I can’t trust what my left eye is seeing, and yet, as a cold wind blows by and something screams off in the distance, I realize another startling fact: It isn’t just my left eyesight, but also my left-side hearing.
If I don’t learn to control this thing, I’ll never, ever, in a trillion years, pass a driving test. How am I going to parallel park when I’ve got a Honda Civic out the right side, and 15-foot tall flying monsters out the left. When you see that sticker that says, ‘Things in mirror may be nearer than they appear,’ they aren’t kidding.
I’m either evolving, or decaying. And I’m not sure what the difference is just yet. I need to speak with Uriel about this. I concentrate on him, hoping that he’ll appear at any moment with a printed sheet full of answers.
He’ll know what’s going on.
23 seconds later . . .
“I have no idea what’s going on inside that head of yours,” Uriel says as he approaches me, startling the ripe shit out of me.
Now I see only the border town between the earth plane and the Deadside. This is getting frustratingly confusing. I explain what’s going on, and he just stands back, in the corner of my bedroom and ponders this.
He’s wearing his large black cloak, his arms folded across his chest, and just his right fingers are tapping his left bicep. He’s huge, this angel. I don’t know how much he bench presses, but it’s probably like three times more than me. And I can hit 225 for a set of eight.
His voice is crisp and full, like one of those guys who narrates movie previews, and he says, “Jack, this might be good news for us. It might give us a tactical advantage over the twenty-three evils.”
Do we need a tactical advantage? I ask him. I mean, aren’t they just some evil spirits on the run from the law, or whatever? Why should we be worried? They should be worried.
He ignores my rambling like an impatient father. “This is your body rising to the task. You are going through changes. You are like a small caterpillar who has begun his transformation into a brilliant butterfly.”
And although I don’t necessarily like the connotation that I’m going to end up a brilliant butterfly, I get where he’s going with all this.
This is me becoming different than human.
No more humanity.
And just the tiniest shred of divinity.
“You will be fine, Jack. Now tell me, how has your research been going?”
We went online, today. Hal is working the research as we speak. He never sleeps.
“Who is Hal?” Uriel asks suspiciously, his face coming out of the shadows a few inches.
He’s our supercomputer-sentient-artificial-being thingy. And all he does is pour through the worlds electrons, looking for the footprints of evil.
The angel doesn’t look satisfied. He steps closer, “They grow stronger by the day. They will find ways to increase their power as the time goes on. We don’t have much time.”
Why? What’s about to happen?
He backs away to the corner of the room again, “Find them, Jack. Or they’ll find you . . . ”
And his voice fades away as the world shakes and jostles its way back to normal. My left and right eyes are in agreement again, and I decide to try and get some sleep before everything becomes unplugged.
I’m the actor with only half of his lines.
I’m the paint that’s under the famous painting, that nobody ever sees.
This thing with my left eye and ear, my death-vision, I need to learn how to control it before it controls me.
This is death, my new life.