Tom. They call my name. The words float along a sphere that surrounds me, I’m safe from them. The warmth of my piss runs down my stomach. Will I care what they will think of me when I gain my mind back? Why did I ever care?
I can’t lie here with open arms, too vulnerable, so I decide to cower in fetal position. Eyes wide open in agony, I avoid looking into anyone’s face. Whenever I do, I feel their gaze pierce through my skull. A group of strangers stands around me: “Well. One in five hundred, that’s still a good number. This one was a tough one.” A moment of silence. “We may need to get some guys here to bring him away.” The words are meant for me. Meant to move me, meant to disturb me. But they float on a sphere and I am away.
The trickster devil
The strangers laugh. They laugh at one more guy who wanted salvation from a spiritual leader, one more soul who did not know how to fight for itself. A bunch of tricksters, far beyond what I could be in this moment, a cowering retard, unable to move, unable to form a coherent thought. The devil stands around and looks into the distance, surrounded by his minions. He never was a soul, but the bodies of the others had one.
Repeatedly, I seek the thrill of seeing the devil, reminding myself of the horrific reality, only to let my arm hair stand up and my hands tremble uncontrollably. This cannot be real, it is too horrible to consider.
Tom, do you want to go back to the Maloka? Or do you want to go back to your hut? Talk to me, Tom, you have to decide.
I want neither. I don’t decide. I don’t speak.
I have retreated far back into the depths of my mind, to a place where I am safe from everything that my body may have to endure. I must look like an insane person. Now I understand.
I look away and ignore the devil and his pawns. It comes as a simple realization: He is a trickster. He can not harm me; he harms through words. Through comfort. Through lies. And I am not listening.
My horror seeks a release, a place of happiness inside. Lacking anything else, I create a picture of Jesus.
I am completely gone now. Introverted, getting lost in a fantasy.
The bystanders repeatedly utter sentences in order to get into my mind. Tom, if you don’t stand up, we have to carry you. Yeah, you would have to.
But they do nothing.
The Viking says that he will touch me; I jerk around and point my finger at him: No!
As time passes, I start to doubt the image of Jesus. Have I read something about a fake blue-eyed Jesus? No, I must confabulate a brown-eyed Jesus then; yet he has blue eyes, doesn’t he?
My limbs are separate from me. I am a thin stream of energy in my hands, surrounded by flesh.
The shaman-devil starts to make clattery sounds. I wail and put my hands on my ears.
Hell sometimes visits me. The chaos. And things start to make sense. It’s hell that would destroy my mind, send it down a maelstrom of unrecognizable floods of perceptions.
I must regain my clarity of thought and that clarity will lead me to god, if there is one. I recognize that god is reality, god is structure. To escape hell, I must find a way back into the rules of reality.
Lying on the ground for perceived hours, things start to become real again. Space, objects and the jungle itself are regaining shape and form. The power of rationality, the path to god.
At some point I realize that nothing comes to save me. There is no heroic journey to be written by me today. I am weak, I have neither muscle nor mind to affect change.
Slowly, I start to gain back control over my hands and the rest of my body. Tom, we will get eaten by mosquitos. Near Iquitos.
With a cracked voice I ask to be taken to my hut. The discomfort of lying in the wet is hardly bearable anymore. I want a warm place, want to be alone, want to lie and fall asleep open-eyed.
A mass of warmth builds up inside my chest. It’s the strength of a warrior, to take on the last fight.
I refuse to be touched, even to help me stand up. On shaky feet, I weigh from side to side. I command the Viking to lead the way. After you. One of the minions follows me with a flashlight and I throw him a hostile gaze.
The moor and the reed make it very hard to walk; I walk straight as possible, consciously refining every inept stomp into the slobber on the ground.
Jesus visits here and there, but I refuse him. There is only one thing I listen to anymore: The warmth in my chest. Everything else could be a deception.
The way through the moor and reed is surprisingly long; it’s dark and I have no orientation whatsoever. I’m in a video game, being led along a path which doesn’t allow me to exert control.
We pass the tree with spikes. The Viking tells me to be careful, not to touch them. It’s a deception, obviously. The devil wants to keep me away from harmless pains, keep me weak. I touch the spikes, feel the brilliance of the hurt and see the contempt in the Vikings face. As if real world pain mattered. As if death was a frightening thought, after what I have seen.
The pain is a proof of reality. It anchors me where the devil doesn’t want me. Where he has no power. Reality.
We reach a somewhat familiar place. It still looks the same kind of different. The Viking offers me to eat limes to stop the effect of the drug. I refuse. I’m not taking anything from you. You know that I have seen – how stupid would I be to trust you.
I follow him down a path towards my hut and take pride in my ability to walk straight despite my debilitating state of mind. I feel the wet mud under my soles and hear the crickets of the jungle. I’m in panic, but for that I hear clear.
We reach a junction. I am asked which way to go. The left seems wrong, it goes down. I decide to walk to the right, against their advice. Deception.
I am wrong.
We go back and follow the left path. Eventually, we reach my hut. I manage to walk inside as the Viking announces that his colleague and he will stay outside the hut. He asks if that’s okay.
I say it’s not. Nice try, though, nice rhetorics.
Alone in the dark.
I find my flashlight, my savior. Every few minutes, I light the dark in the corners inside my hut. I go outside, filled with paralyzing paranoia, and light the dark in the corners around my hut. No one there.
Back inside. Lie down. I hear voices, crazy laughter. I see shapes in the green approaching and dissolving into nothing.
The seconds are long in the jungle.