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ניל ירדן
/ The Tracks

The tracks take me down again, into the place I've been
trying so hard to avoid.
At a certain point, the sound of the cart's wheels as they
run on the tracks becomes almost deafening and there's
almost nothing left but this - the noise, the bouncing of
the cart (sorry, maintenance hasn't been even thought of
here for many years now) - and the feeling of speed.
Speed on the way down.
I'm powerless to stop and know it, but it's not because I
haven't the means or the will. It's just that, much like a
rabbit in front of a car's headlights, I'm paralyzed with
sheer terror - or maybe it's fascination, I can't tell the
two apart anymore.
The cart keeps rolling on, down into the darkness.
There are shapes in the darkness, things I more sense than
see. Some of them are nasty. They'd have loved to get me -
only I'm going too fast for them to catch me as I go by and
none of them would ever dare follow. Not there; it is where
they all came from in the first place.
The thoughts come to me in great clarity, through what could
be seen as placidity, only "calm" doesn't describe it;
"hypnotized" might be more suitable.
I seem to be going on for hours now, though the speed only
increases with every turn. At first, one doesn't think the
darkness can get any thicker - what's darker than total
darkness, right?
Wrong. It doesn't take long before everything starts fading
- not just sight, but all the other senses, too. A feeling
of going blind takes over me, because all the other senses
don't just disappear or even slowly fade - I can feel the
darkness creeping into them.
Erasing them.
So after that point when the rush of the wind and the sound
of the cart are the only things left in the world, even
these start to disappear into the darkness - and all that
remains is the sound of one's thoughts.
This is perhaps the part I dread most of all.
Suppose you're heading into a dark room. If the feeling of
speed is gone and so is the sound of your vehicle and it's
totally dark around you - it must mean you're there, right?
Right. But there's this one sickening moment when you're
neither here nor there, when there's absolutely nothing.
You're not sure you are there. You're not even sure you
This is the part where, by rights, a blinding flash of
bright light falls down on you and a feeling of warmth and
safety overwhelms the body. Particularly conservative folks
might also add a great blast of the trumpets or perhaps a
choir of a thousand divine voices.
Only it's not like that, at all.
It's just the realization, which comes rather suddenly, that
you've left it all behind. All the sensory input (what we
commonly refer to, for some reason, as feeling), all the
body's nagging needs, all your ugly monsters... It is all
behind you.
Or rather, me.
That point is important. That is because, see, for the first
time (actually, it's not really the first, but it always
feels as though it is), for the first and last time, I
possess complete empathy.
Not with anyone. Right now, there isn't anyone else. I
become suddenly empathic - to myself.
Have you ever tried to discover exactly what you're feeling?
Sure you did. Did you ever give this much thought? Perhaps.
If you did, you know just how difficult it is to go anywhere
beyond the outermost layer, that of superficial feeling. The
one which, paradoxically, comes from deep down with little
or no conscious control - hunger, pain, exhaustion, fear,
anger. And once you're past that layer (you hardly ever
are), there are a lot of other, better guarded ones. It is
where you cannot pass without being caught by something big
and ugly, most likely a slimy, tentacled one.
One can never know one's own emotions. All one can do is
So there I am, listening (wrong word) to the sound (there's
no sound) of my own emotions. It's hard to describe what I
feel at that time. The words we have for emotions are merely
rough approximations of things we can never consciously
sense. It's something like a tormenting struggle, fought by
a two-headed monster against itself.
One head is primal and savage, holding a lot of power in it.
This head is quick and vigilant, always poised to strike,
finding the best way to maintain its grip. It is (only by
association, as there's no sight in here), snake-like, with
sharp teeth and glistening muscles. It is as quick and agile
as anything I can possibly imagine; as quick as instinct
The other head is trying to talk to me.
It is not of this world, in a way. It doesn't try to fight
the opponent that keeps savaging it, not directly. Rather,
it sucks its energy through their joined, twisted body,
trying to hypnotize it. But this head doesn't fight for
victory. It is not trying to destroy its enemy, but merely
subdue it, put it to sleep. The first one fights to the
death, trying to tear the other away for good; it knows it
must, or it loses. The second doesn't need to - it merely
needs to win the battle, thus inevitably winning the war.
It is alien to this place and knows it, yet it chooses to
stay nonetheless. It is willing to stay and be torn apart,
every day a piece at a time, just for the fleeting chance to
get some of it past it all, to me.
When I arrive at this place, this blackened room and "hear"
my emotions fight each other, it is clear who wins. The
primal head is slashing madly at its opponent, knowing that
it is running out of ammunition. It can never win with me in
here. The only way it can win is by keeping me out. So it
is about to lose when I become aware - aware is perhaps the
right word. It's nothing like seeing a battle between
these beings, because I'm in fact experiencing a very
confusing blend of conflicting emotions. I have to describe
it the way I did, though. We need words and painting and
music, to try and describe that which is beyond description.
Now, engulfed in relentless empathy, I'm in the place where
art itself is obsolete.
I can't put that into words.
So it must suffice to say that, at this juncture, the primal
head gives a tortured moan and falls exhausted. It manages
to give me one long, accusing and vindictive look, right
before it closes its monstrous, mad eyes and as the lunatic
stare is gone, the alien head is victorious.
This is also the part when I make the next step up and
become telepathic.
If the stream of emotion, understanding what I feel, was
somewhat confusing, suddenly seeing just what I think is
completely overwhelming. I can try and describe this, but
it's pointless. It's not that I suddenly know everything. I
suddenly know everything that I know and I know it all at
For creatures whose way of thinking is primarily
associative, this is a problem.
The remaining head is speaking to me, I notice. With
everything happening at just the same time, it would be,
presumably, very difficult to get any message sent through,
only it's not like that. In all this blur of conscious
thought, this isn't a single thought, lost in the sea of its
less important counterparts. It's something else altogether,
because all these thoughts, with their entire chaotic
scramble for attention, have patterns. And somehow, they all
form into this:
"I'm sorry".
The alien thing in my mind says it's sorry. And though I
didn't remember it until now and won't remember it
afterwards, this is what it always says.
"I know you were not meant for this".
I know that very well. After all, the thing talking to me
cannot lie because it is comprised of my own thoughts and
emotions. So when it says I wasn't meant for this, it's
actually a vortex of thoughts, realizations, telling me how
I'm meant to be a lot simpler so I can survive. How I'd be
better off without things that are alien to my body, to my
mind. How I'm better off being the first head, the one now
snoring in a restless, haunted sleep.
And then it hasn't much more to say. It only says:
I haven't much of a choice, really. Being at a point where
I'm past the senses, past confusion, past emotion - past
life, in fact - when all there is left is cold knowing,
it's not even intellect, it's just the knowledge you get
when all the pieces of the puzzle return to a time before
they were scattered, there is nothing to do but observe.
I watch as it all makes sudden sense, as a beautiful yet
terrible truth unfolds. It still has one underlying pattern,
still and if I keep watching, it can only get clearer. It's
still the head talking to me, only what it says now...
Through going over my every mistake in life, my every missed
moment, every joke I didn't get, every song I never danced
to, something emerges.
"You can do better".
And then I'm thrown out, falling into the light.
This is the part where I'm supposed to tell you that it's
like being born again, only that's of course bullshit. The
feeling as everything returns, everything I've left behind
and only the absolute knowing is forgotten, this feeling is
like falling off a cliff into the snow. When you hit the
snow, you don't stop falling. Not until you're not sure if
you ever will.
I know it sounds lame, but it's the closest thing I can
think of.
I fall back and suddenly, after miles of the wind whistling
in my ears, my skin frozen from the snow I'm falling
through, my blood gushing through my veins, fear and despair
and a million other emotions I had temporarily lost all
whirling in my mind, after all this, I crash with a thump
so loud it must be audible no matter where this insane trip
has taken place.
And suddenly I'm back, sitting at my desk, or standing in my
room with the windows shut and the lights out, or any other
place in which I got dragged into this sorry state before. I
stare ahead into the vague outline I will later convince
myself I didn't see, that of a ladder-like line, fading into
the abyss.
All this takes less than a millisecond and already I'm
losing the memory. All that remains is a vague feeling - I
know that I've been blessed; and I don't want to ever return
The tracks fade away into oblivion.

היצירה לעיל הנה בדיונית וכל קשר בינה ובין
המציאות הנו מקרי בהחלט. אין צוות האתר ו/או
הנהלת האתר אחראים לנזק, אבדן, אי נוחות, עגמת
נפש וכיו''ב תוצאות, ישירות או עקיפות, שייגרמו
לך או לכל צד שלישי בשל מסרים שיפורסמו
ביצירות, שהנם באחריות היוצר בלבד.
בבמה מאז 16/11/03 14:34
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