Now, dear children, pay attention
I am the voice from the pillow
I have brought you something
I ripped it from my chest
With this heart I have the power
To shut the eyelids
I sing until the day awakes
A bright light in the heavens
My heart burns
(Rammstein, "Mein Herz brennt")
(You understand me. Oh, only you understand me.)
But it isn’t truly where desires come from, is it? I should cut off my head instead. Just like in that play by the Epigrammatic Irishman whose typescript you hide from the Auditors. Though this probably won’t help either.
(Keep it if you wish. Kiss it goodnight when you blow out the candles.)
My whims and follies have always been untamed. Willing to risk everything for them, I even got myself into the Marvellous. Doesn’t matter. Now I have but one desire: the Name.
(I haven’t become any more prudent since then.)
The last thing I remember is a new bout of monstrous hunger. I swallowed a goldfish from the bowl on my bedside table. Then, in turn, I was devoured alive by the Hotel with its long red hallway carpet-tongue and rows of door-teeth.
(Better you than the God-Eaters. I can hear the Writers sobbing quietly and scratching the walls with bloodied nails, those few whom you’ve managed to intercept before they would depart to their certain death. No, no. I’d rather surrender my freedom to one fallen priest-king than my flesh to three. I might need it yet.)
Still, the gold-and-scarlet fire of your domain can’t compare with one that burns me from the inside. Even though it’s just a candle, just a spark from long-cold ashes of an unholy pyre.
(It sears so ruthlessly that only the ice of the North can quench it.)
Through fever and delirium, I recognize your voice ("be a good Seeker; open wide"). The experimental drug is as sickeningly sweet as your words – and as unbearably bitter as everything you hide under this tone. I choke. I try to struggle myself out of restraints. I bite your glove on my jaw.
It doesn’t anger you at all. You chuckle. Soft red velvet on the lowest notes, golden desk-bell on the highest.
(I love when you laugh. Because you shouldn’t be sad; if the Merry Gentleman himself is sad, what hope is left for us? And because I don’t want to be alone in the dark. It’s soothing to know that someone is there. Always.)
O king of the lost, embrace the forlorn and let them fall asleep to the rhythm of your still-living heart, that which coincides with the second hand of the Hotel’s clocks, regardless of them all showing a different hour. Take us, take us out of cold nights and lonely beds. Tell us a tale that you’ve witnessed many centuries ago. (It doesn’t have to end well. It doesn’t have to end.) It won’t console us, but perhaps it will console you by taking your mind off your own desperate desire for a little while.
(Would you let me win only for the satisfaction of seeing the look on the Masters’ faces? I confess I would let you. It could be my true victory, a victory against myself. A proof that this madness has no power over me. But I’ve already lost before we even started.)
The voice from the dreams and wells calls me. Even here. One of the very few nightmares which you avoid borrowing for your Garden. Lords of Parabola think that is because it’s too unimpressive. But I’d prefer to be thrown at the mercy of your cruelest shadows than to be left alone with that quiet call.
(Does some part of me wish salvation? Or am I simply delaying the inevitable?)
"I will free you", you promise (closing my door by seven locks).
"Until then, try not to bite other guests, dear", you caution (tearing the pitiful remains of my mind apart with all the unnervingly flawless teeth of your smile).
"All shall be well", you quote (having lost everything and learned the taste of despair).
And I wholeheartedly pretend to believe it.