Chapter 36 – It Has to Stop
I quickly separated myself from the Collector. I was met with so many emotions, I didn’t even know where to begin. My mind went out of control, and it felt like I was hyperventilating. I felt several glimmers in my family heart trying to help calm me, but rather than accept them, I felt myself pull away and hide deeper inside myself.
I was frightened. I was scared of myself. Not the me now, but who I once was. The small peeks I’d had were nothing compared to what I had just witnessed. It made me not even want to be me anymore.
I finally discovered the feeling I had ignored. I understood the Collector’s pain of not being understood, not even understanding yourself. The obsession that had gripped me ended up drowning me, and I never resurfaced. I knew from other pieces of memories that my last days had become dark and darker still, but until that moment I did not realize just how empty it had felt.
With love gone, I had filled myself with a desire for revenge, which pushed away everyone left that I held dear. The obsession took over, it changed me, and no matter how much I tried to fill that hole with hate, anger, and other negativity, when I had finally completed my goal…I was empty. A mere husk of my former self.
That was the result of obsession, that was what addiction did to you. No matter how much you tried to fill it, it was never enough. Even if you tried to distract yourself, or tell yourself it didn’t matter, you always thought of it. It controlled every aspect of your life, even if you didn’t want it too. But you did. You enjoyed the obsession, even if you hated it. Fulfilling the craving was such sweet release that it made it all worth it for a moment in time.
It was not something you could escape alone.
I didn’t want to end up like that, letting the shame eat away at me until I was nothing but a hollow shell. When numerous hands reached out to me, I rejected them all, and only now did I see that not only do others need to reach to me, but I also need to reach back to them.
I didn’t know what to do. I still felt guilt towards my lizards for using them to experience all the sensations of the living…and yet, they were probably the only ones who could save me. But to reach out to their ever open hands would mean admitting to them that I had used them.
I felt little control over my own self. The black pit at my heart ached, making me feel sick. Could I really feel sick without a body? Even if I couldn’t, this was surely the closest feeling I’d ever get to it, so it might as well be the same thing. I tried to focus on other things, ignoring what I had learned about myself and the fate that awaited me. Normally, I might have given in completely to that impulse, but some part of me held back. I had been so thoroughly affected by that memory that it was impossible to forget. Even now I wondered how I had not remembered that in the first place when I had first awoken.
It had been the last great failure in my life, and everything went downhill from there. My partner had closed the door behind them, and I stayed shut inside until the very end, convinced of my own righteousness. Before my passing, drained of all emotion and nearly all life, my last thought, the one that was still pure and untainted before I marred it and tortured and rent it asunder, was but a simple one. I wanted to see my child again.
The anguish at the impossibility of it was what drove me down the dark path of no return. Even now, with only fragments and pieces of memories, that desire held on strongly. It was the same desire that connected me to my lizards, the fear of separation from them, not wanting to part with them.
Through the sadness and pain, I came to laugh at my own self. Just what was I doing? I wanted to see them again, I wanted to be with them, and never be apart from them. And yet, here I was, separating myself from them out of fear of the unknown, the fear that they would separate themselves from me. The contradiction was so apparent to me now that it was just as amusing as it was shameful.
A bit of calm spread through me. Of all my desires, the one to see them grow and thrive was the strongest, much stronger than my addiction to the pleasures of the flesh. When I connected with the Thrill Seeker, it was to be one with him, our desires intertwined, not to use him for my own shameful whimsy. Just when had it contorted into such an ugly addiction? I didn’t even know.
It was a strange thing. Realizing the truth behind my obsession, the original pure desire, somehow put me at ease. Peeling back the layers, removing all the fears, delusions, and tainted pieces, I knew now what was most important. It had to stop here. If it didn’t stop now, it never would.
With a confidence I didn’t even know I had, I left my shell, reestablishing my connection to all my lizards simultaneously. What I found were many hands still reaching out to me, and for the first time since I fell into my addiction, I reached back.