Into the Dark

When it feels its end approaching, it builds a nest with the finest aromatic woods, sets it on fire, and is consumed by the flames. From the pile of ashes, a new Phoenix arises, young and powerful. It then embalms the ashes of its predecessor in an egg of myrrh, and flies to the city of the Sun, Heliopolis, where it deposits the egg on the altar of the Sun God.

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Shh honey. Everything is all right. He woke up shaking and drenched in sweat again. The same disturbing dream over and over again. He can’t swim, never been swimming, always afraid of water. Perhaps, this is why… He’s there, swimming with his wife, in a lake and suddenly something, he doesn’t know what, drags him down to the bottom of the lake, holding him down in an iron grasp. He’s struggling to free himself but in vain. Trying to call his wife but not a word can escape his mouth. That horrible feeling, suffocating, fighting for breath and then… all becomes dark.
*   *   *
I’m sure you’ll get this job. You deserve all the best. I’m so proud of you. He loved Elen. She always reassured him. Now, sitting in the company hall, he was trying to forget his nervousness. There were mirrors on both sides of the hall. Crazy. The boss is watching you, always. Mr Morris, please come in. What a pretty secretary Sir Richardson had. Long blonde hair, abundant breasts and a warm smile. And her legs…
*   *   *
Sir Richardson was explaining the details of the company in the most pedantic and boring manner and Mark was pretending to listen. He was in a too euphoric state to even try to focus on the boss’ monologue. So he did it. His dream became true. HR Manager, Phoenix Tobacco Company – that sounded really cool. This photo? It’s my grandfather. He built this little empire. And Sir Richardson began a long rant about the rather turbulent life of his grandpa, how he was selling cigarettes, went bankrupt during the Great Depression but he managed to get up and started selling cigarettes again. Excuse me? You will understand in time. Many of those smart-asses committed suicide but my grandfather never gave up. They thought they buried him in debts but he outsmarted them all. He was that sophisticated. He had this spark in him that couldn’t be extinguished. So he reinvented himself. The truly immortal men never die.
*   *   *
Are you staying late at work again? And she smiled cunningly, her long blonde hair tickling him as she bent down to kiss him. At least, this is what my wife thinks. And he laughed. Then, they drove to the same cosy motel and made love furiously. No no, he loved his wife. They’d been married for fifteen years. Enough for the routine to break into their lives. He would die for her, nevertheless, and for his daughter. The family was everything to him, honor and duty, but this… with Jane, it was just sex, an adventure, easy done, easy gone. How can I be sure you aren’t doing it with Sir Richardson? Her skin was white and soft like velvet. Don’t be stupid, she laughed, that old fat asshole sickens me, the mere look of him.
*   *   *
It’s time to initiate you into the heart of our business and Sir Richardson led him to the lift at the back of the building. They went a couple of storeys down into what looked like a large basement. The large iron doors opened and Mark saw a dimly lit small room decorated with draped dark blue material. A few of his colleagues were sitting behind the table covered with blue velvet cloth. Don’t worry, ladies and gentlemen, Mark knows you don’t talk about an elephant in the room. And even if you do, nobody sane will believe you. And they all started laughing.
*   *   *
He became more and more frustrated with his job. He worked his ass off for the company but the boss seemed to appreciate his secretary more than him. She got a reward after a reward, a bonus after a bonus. He was damn sure she slept with the boss. They broke up with each other, no more passionate nights at the motel. He’d been feeling bad about it anyway. He was sure his wife didn’t suspect anything but he felt pangs of remorse. And he felt bad about being a part of a swindle and a… criminal. How the hell will he wriggle out of it now? Go to the police? They won’t believe him. No evidence. Another disgruntled former employee trying to shit-talk his boss, they will think. And, most important thing of all, won’t they be seeking revenge?
*   *   *
I’m not lying. I’m telling you. They eliminate competition. If smear campaign doesn’t help, they just kill these people, make it look like an accident or a suicide. It’s all decided in the basement, all draped in blue. They gather there and decide whom to, as they put it, pluck. We’ve already been there, Mr Morris. It’s a normal basement, no blue curtains, they store tobacco there. You don’t understand. I was there with them, took part in it, they cleaned up after themselves. I don’t know what to think of it, Mr Morris, we’ll look into it once again and give you protection just in case. But it won’t harm if you… Have you thought about talking to the psychiatrist?
*   *   *
Mark opened the door and heard sobbing. Honey what’s up? He asked as he took off his coat. The sobbing came from upstairs. He rushed upstairs, the door to their bedroom was left ajar. He opened it and gasped. He and Jane, naked at the motel… their photos… all over the walls. Ho… ho… honey… I…I…I will will explain. It’s not what you think. Elen please… How could you? She was sitting on their bed and sobbing. Who is this woman? How could you? How could you do this to me and our daughter?
*   *  *
It was snowing, beautiful winter  and Sir Richardson’s children were sitting round the Christmas tree, opening their presents when the workers found Mark’s body on the dumping ground. Suicide. He was fired from the job, his wife and daughter left him. He had nothing to live for. Poor chap.
*   *   *
All right. I finished. The written assignment for my doctor is ready. Poor woman is trying to get into the depths of my crazy mind and examine all the dark monsters there. She’s trying to sort it out, guess the reason for my self-loathing. Let her read it if she can make heads and tails of it. Each paragraph is a revelation, all *** of them. Let the bitch do the math. Yeah I know what you think, dear readers. You wonder how much of it is true, if anything. Keep wrapping your head around it.
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