Bernard sat and sipped his coffee. He felt dull. His female….eherm…friend at the time seemed to be angry at him. Bernard and she slipped up in their ways of “effective communication,” creating a void of listless understanding. I could be exaggerating, but I do know that these things can become overwhelmingly complicated. Bernard’s girlfriend went by Kim. She had brown hair and a body that…eherm…certain females carry. There is no doubt in the love that Bernard and Kim felt for each other; there was a doubt, though, in the continuation of their relationship. You see, Bernard and Kim faced the all-too-common anomaly of somehow falling in love during high school, only to watch their feelings disintegrate, all because the choice of where you go after high school is normally based off of individual, selfish reasons. It is a normal problem for youths now.

Bernard’s thoughts pulsated with a malignant intensity. He was silent, but his mind was forcing things upon him. While he lightly tapped the table he thought, “I see delusions everywhere…at one point, everything felt like it would help me. Now, with whatever kind of thing I see, within the people around me, I feel like I should only help myself. Is this different from you? No, I am different. Not laced with precisely chosen memories that lead me to the same consolidated path as my fellow neighbors. Ah, but I am wrong again. It is a delusion, as is everything else. I cannot put my faith towards one greater idea, so I put my faith in every other aspect around myself. Each article gives me my own knowledge over the others. But it is false! Twenty minutes later I come across something that proves the fallacy. Forget that I tell myself that, though. Because now I have a new concept to prove against my social group. I really am different, but I am false. This makes the truth seem in line with my own self deprecation. These doctors seem to think I am different. Why else would I have this disorder? No, they are wrong. I am the same. I only think I am different. Individuality cannot be the reality since every person who thinks, who breathes, who clicks above ground thinks they are an individual…where freedom pumps our hearts with a delusion. But therein lies the sickness. It comes in phases of extreme rapture followed by depression. So it must be my decision to feel this way? No, it’s your genetics…”

Bernard continued to think, “My choices are for me, right? My freedom to be a slave driver now seems stacked against every other frothing mouth that leaks and droops forever towards the next man who could be his slave. I’m sorry for my ineptitude to be exact and not talk forever in generalizations, Father. I should search for a technological way to wire my thoughts and not have any opinionated ideas in my text. Because that’s what my news articles are made of…pure facts of absolute and good truth. Light and truth. Light is in reference to God. But God does not exist. It is truth that does. Well, I have to say my truth: I believe in God! Now my assumptions and criticisms have really fallen beneath me, haven’t they? Disregard what I say because of its baseness. God does not exist. but I believe in my baseness. My absolute obsession to become greater than the mass is my worthlessness. Look at this mind, which cannot separate from its body, always cast in itself. It can only exist as a reflection, this mind.”

Bernard’s job as a news journalist often caused him major stress. Poor man; he is only trying to earn his living. Sometimes, though, there is no way to stop the thoughts, and for the case of Bernard, he continued to think.

“‘All other things sacrifice themselves for me!’ Yes, yes, this is what He thinks. And he tells them to build another statue around the other, making it loom over all civilization. What occurs, though, when someone rips the statue down over and over again? A man who can smash his face against the same rock. You must burn into oblivion the idea of the statue as a physical object to then see what its true components are made of. Where repetition is the only art and love for yourself is the only science. ‘I cannot just be my own image!’ He thinks. Ech! But here I go again, believing that I am one in the same as you. I am only my sick worthless self and it is because I relinquish God that my entirety falls apart. Earlier, though, I said I believe in one eternal ‘better person’…that was a lie. How could I give my faith to that when it is most certainly not true? Jesus has lost and will keep losing, I form no pity (at least not in ways where pious doubt exists). That cannot make sense to me.”

“Enough of this voodoo talk! My monkeys have already entered heaven; they died on the train tracks of my commute in the morning. I must enter into the true language of the century and explain what is actually in front of me and not just what I feel.

“It was a heartbreak, one that I have only recently just experienced. Kim and I ran to her train that summer night. We both had tears on our faces, flying against the surface wind, blowing across facial planes and eventually blending within our hair. The moisture of the wind added to the tears and the tears added to the wind. All was fleeting in those two minutes that we ran. And then, in a final trance, we stood waiting for around thirty seconds. Neither of us spoke, nor could we muster up a chance to. I remember thinking about another couple who was also waiting down at the other end of the platform. They were leaving together and their conversation could be heard across the wind. I can’t remember what it was that they were talking about, but I cannot forget the smile of the man and the woman. The feelings that their lips expressed seemed incredulous to their seemingly genuine movements. Kim was near the wall opposite to the one I was leaning on, her eyes filled with redness and snot above her lip. I looked towards her frame and then the lights peaked from behind. A soft but very defining sound was uttered from the train. It flew against my left and Kim’s right side. Almost all too quickly someone yanked the yoke of the can and held it against itself at a pure stopping point. The doors opened with a ding and I clutched Kim. She then entered but looked at me with some kind of contempt. She said I love you and I then pulled her towards me, with a gap of indentation from God almighty between us, a gum-stained platform and a metal can on rails.

“‘I don’t know what to say,’ I said. In actuality, in my mind, I knew that I had too much to say: thoughts on thoughts on thoughts on thoughts, things that felt forever out of my reach, an infinity doubt for oneself.

“’I love you’ was the next thing that came out of my mouth. I believe that that statement was almost entirely driven by hormones. No, I hope not. I genuinely felt the love in my gut; I think something tells me otherwise, though, as I write this at this very moment (but are the natural processes within my body not the truest and most genuine thing to prove my every action?) It is true that demons write love songs, though. It is for personal gain that we write songs of our own love speculations, is it not? Could the man who loves the woman explain why he loves her without sharing his own merits in the process? He would say, ‘You, you great maiden, love no one else but me!’ I can rattle your chains that tie you to a perception of God so that the noise lends itself to some kind of delusion over time. The great torturers of time are of the male quality; they strive to teach with quick intentions. The victims will of course try to hear the clamorous proceedings. But this is not only men. Women torture as well with the same kinds of mind coercion habits. Ahh, my contradictions are vast, this intelligence is completely false.

“No, don’t lose it yet, you shrugged-off piece of shedding dust meat. I tend to pass my thoughts off as not sincere. It is like the Internet, a turning and folding brain that reaches out with multiple stems to show how many false ideas we really have on the earth and reality in general. Don’t lose the idea I shout beneath my doubts. Cloudy and without creational abilities are my stagnant waters of oceans abroad. So, to return one last time to whatever the world wants me to be at this moment: the train left with the same rush and the same wind. The gap of space that once existed turned out to really be just a larger gap of space, opening out to the air around me. She had to return to Brooklyn and I had to sleep. This was once a memory that shook my mind, but after many sleeps and many other somber moments, I had to just forget this for what is actually was.

“I want a certain sweetness. Its truths are locked away in solitude, where I create my own seasons distant from the ones that God dictate. The only reason I want to think like this is because of a heartbreak. And now I have become forlorn. We created God, not God created us. I create my love for her, not she creates her love for me, right? This reality I see now seems singular and less double then it ever was before, but now I feel all the more lost with life. There was my love for work (well, forming a love for work) and that was set in opposition to my already fully-formed love for another person. It is only desires. The latter is only a desire, not in any way actual love. It is for my own pleasure, my own blanket of comfort. This creates a distinct separation from myself to the outside terrors of life. Yes, the man will forge a hell if a hell is brought forward to man; this is also equally applicable to heaven, and the stars, and genetics, and himself and…ech! O’ mighty Hell, I can’t think teary all the time can I? You see now I only can bring forth questions. It is all for the one idea of furthering myself from this hell with comfort. A heaven can form from this, but give it time, the maturing of dreams is almost second to God and idealist virtues. No, but can it, Jerry?

“Can it all Jerry, shut your fucking yap, boy! Listen here: you are altruistic because of your genes and your past heritage. It can all be explained biologically, this we know all too well; here, just type in the search bar ‘Darwin theory’ and gain from this smart man whatever meaning you can possibly conceive. But is science only to identify what is human and to then erase the human-made foundations of existence? To direct principles down a pipeline where humans do not speak nor utter what is truest to them.

“Why, Kerry? Leave me be. I want to understand science because I want to understand myself. Well then, Jerry, why not just figure it out yourself instead of filling your head with other boys’ nonsense about whose balls are larger, huh, Jerry? This balcony is not fit for the both us, why not just jump?

“Because I love life just as you, Man of God. But Kerry, my dear, he cannot hear you. There are systematic unfair ideas always controlling the corners of every principle, slowly forming it, softening it to the point of something round, something one. What looks like to you an unfair action is actually just another individual’s action to obtain truth in their own way. If the corners were defined, it would have a shape, and shapes, which are human-made, do not exist. Jerry, you fool! How could they not exist if we found them through nature through our world. Why Jerry, why Jerry? Tell me why, Jerry!”

And it was at this point that Bernard succumbed to his caprice and fell into a slumber. Across the road, an old woman sat in front of a television. She had just come back from the hospital after slipping down the stairs in her garden and breaking her back. Not much changed upon her arrival back home; she still loved watching Anderson Cooper and Latin soap operas and her daughter still tended to her every need. Her daughter, Evelyn, was the only one in their family who could take the time to take care of her. For the past twenty years the mother and daughter have been living together. Just them alone. Evelyn has sacrificed many things for her mother, and her mother has sacrificed many things for her. Bernard dreamt of the daughter. It was a recollection of one morning. While he was walking down his driveway to catch the bus, he witnessed her changing in the window of her house. She was quite overweight due to the poverty of her family’s situation. He dreamt of this moment and her naked lumpy body floating above him that morning, spinning around different outfits and glowing from the orange street lamp that stood as against the nothingness of the morning. She looked beautiful in the street light; the warm glow made her skin iridescent and Bernard could look into her deep, lusterless black eyes. But it all started to become distant. The more he tried to look, the further he sank into some other thought. It was like oil floating in water and Bernard had just passed from one liquid thought into another. He floated down further beneath the beautiful woman into jungles filled with potted plants. The linoleum floor touched his feet and a coldness seeped into the soles of his left and right arch-step as he looked around his new environment. It was a jungle but with a linoleum ground, the dirt was all neatly packaged into ceramic pots that somehow held up the huge trees and other plants. The orange street lamp and Evelyn were now just a star above him. The pots felt like him.

The old mother held in her arms a bowl of oatmeal and banana slices Evelyn had brought her. She smiled happily, eating large spoonfuls covered in granules of sugar, looking towards her daughter thoughtfully. It was wearisome on her to think of death but she did so nevertheless. She often thought of death in the evening, when her daughter had come back from her day job at around seven o’clock. She finished off her bowl of oatmeal and gently whispered goodbye.

“What was that, Momma?” Evelyn said, staring at her mother from the tiny kitchen area of their living quarters. She had a knife in her hand and was chopping carrots.

“Nothing Evelyn, only talking to the oatmeal…” Her voice had the all too common wearisome quality Evelyn had come accustomed to. So she left her mother in peace and continued to chop carrots. Their shared part of the house they rented became silent for the rest of the evening.


“Easter Long Division” won first place in Terror House’s Easter Submission Contest. To read all of the winning stories, click here.