Before I had a language to describe them, long before the nature of the Pull was described to me, and years before I began to understand the savagery of my eternal habit, I lived in the hole for a couple of days in early spring. In the waning months before my degree would be awarded, in the tautness of a rubber band about to break, I smoked from the crinkled hands of demons.
The house was always bathed in a yellowish hue, but it couldn’t be blamed on the light bulbs. It was the inhabitants of the chamber, the vermin clothed as humans, the sticky sludge that resembled normalcy, the fluttering shadows that projected life. The colors looked like a couple, it acted like a pretty girl with school books and thin tank tops, it seemed like a skinny guy wearing an oversized suit, and they were that, and they were not. I tried to conceal it in the corners of my heart, in the caves where secrets lay and rest, where they spin their wool and catch blood-filled mosquitoes with eyes that have long ago been sewn shut. I tried to hide them away, but blood always found its way below the door. The gray cloud above my head shaded the perspective, the steel ball shackled to my ankle ate away at my voice and jingled with each step on the pavement. The pain was written on my face and the disease dressed itself up in purple spots and lay quietly on his skin and the house smelled of vinegar and burnt tin foil and the books absorbed the smoke like the thick leaves of a jungle.
I did not know the language, then, I could not describe the pull, but I smoked from the hands of red demons. Disguised as the glass vase for plastic roses, hidden in the product of water and fire and metal and coca leaves that combined into a surge of power, it was a brief full body orgasm that colored me green and left me wailing without tears, hungry with no need for food. I smoked from the bumpy skin, I heard the bells of their choir and I sat still while the earth spun and my stomach took a ride on the roller coaster that always ended twenty seconds later. And I stood in line again. I called for the conductor, I looked for the tubes and the white rocks and the dirty spoons. And again I took the ride. And when it was over, when I was on my knees and drooling and looking for the foil, I took it again. The same rusty car, the same plastic seat, the eternal loops that held me by a plastic belt. I called for more in the shower and spun as the water beat my body. I sat on the patio, surrounded by dying plants and a created world that made no sense and under the night sky that felt more ugly and brown than I had ever seen it. I sat and heard the bells.
He finally fell asleep and I felt the pull calling the deepest holes in me, I followed my body into the yellow room and found the spoons and the powder and the carton of baking soda. I wanted to make rocks from powder and hear the choir and shake with the bells, I tried ‘til 4 am until the small bag was empty and every ill-cooked rock traveled in wisps of smoke to my lungs. It was almost dawn when I looked in the mirror and I saw a strange woman from a bleak distant land. A woman in the clutches of a force she had no language for. A stranger from a parallel world, a whore, a student, a woman…all could be possible, all were before her for the choosing, there were some of each in her eyes. The bumpy hands were tight around my ankles, the choir sang without rest and I decided then, this would not be the path. I closed the door. I felt them call for many days, the demons kissed my ears and played in the corners of my mind, but I buried myself in books, in the one clear goal that was only a couple of months away. Working this way, I washed myself clean of the powder.