The Black Lung

He crowded himself by the fireplace. A cold and violent rain persisted far outside the window in the corner. His thoughts turned to the sadness of what had happened, his eyes half filled with decent tears and half with rain. His soul shaking with the screaming torture, this pain somehow stunning and also quite inevitable. Out there is evil, despair and darkness, inside there is warmth, love and longing.

The dim coat, now almost torn and thrown over his shoulder so passively and just a placeholder, to save him from a prolonged death, a freezing so mature in its ways, set up to aggressively capture him in its claws. Fighting it every second, hoping for the momentary joy that comes in the realisation of escape, but what is really escape where there is lasting terror?

He spoke of the “Black Lung” and made it sound irreverant, deep and powerful. “It came so quickly, i had nothing. It struck me so forcefully i could not move” Its violence pursued inside him a prayer, he turned to a higher power, as if salvation could be captured in a last second return to faith while all around him became swallowed by their surroundings.

This “near death” changed his mood, altered his view on everything. In a split second he went from carefree fool to conscious thinker of reality. His words were luscious, long and without meaning. They were nervous words, fought off by an anxiousness previously unseen in his ill forgotten world of screaming and pious partaking.

“Only a man can see his true soul when the end is placed in its comfort” These phrases were aloft and pushed to other people, his determination somewhat enthralling and always deeply distressing. A changed man is an awkward concept, it allows for interest but only once you cut through the insanity and short moment selfishness. It can be both beautiful and sad, thrilling and awful. It wrecks the vain wishful commonness of man’s thinking but overflows a mind with putrid nonsense that has little to do with actual reality, a new reality or a deeper finding of ones nouveau self examination. It can find greatness or it can find a vacuum.

Inside the fire, one constant flame flickered and rolled up the side of the chimney, like a pathway or a message, a sign that he had escaped by following its light from the heart of the burning into a corner, dark and brooding and safe from death or desire. He followed it with his glazed eyes, each time secretly hoping it changed course on its journey. But it never did. That flame was for him, it stayed constant, it was all or nothing.

Outside the rain unrelented. The glass panes on the terrified windows, shook with the sound of thrashing, a beating taken by the elements of nature, remorseless and unforgiving. The world outside was wild and useless, it brought a pain rarely felt with such force when a soul is wrapped up in the comforts of light and fire. He turned to a clock in the corner and he hadn’t noticed that his musings on life had taken over an hour of what remained in the unmeasurable timescale of his life. This is what happens when fear is everywhere and passionate, his words had become sentences, his sentences had become paragraphs, paragraphs had become chapters and suddenly all time was rendered immortal for it swept all reason into its centerfold.

The savagery of this night, the darkness of the unfolding was only now starting to truly hit home. The senseless half death of the “Black Lung” had swallowed more than victims, it shook his core and left in its wake a terror that needed only a moment’s notice to ravish its prey. Intoxicated by the smell of damp, dank scum cycles. Fantasised by the fireplace, a wishing wild and pondered upon for all eternity. Take him whole and bring him home, risen from the land below. He sat in silence for a few minutes, refusing to move as if moving would somehow be disingenuous to his previous train of thought. Suddenly, he stood up, took one look at the constant flame still barrelling its journey upwards to the sky, spoke in barely heard words of comfort to himself and to the night and stepped out from himself into the adjoining room to say goodnight.


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