„Can’t you see we go mad without Him?”
(taken from a suicide’s last note)
The headlights of the car flashed over the old man’s spectacles who sat exhausted in a chair on the motel’s terrace. The advertisement which stated ironically NoWhere Motel…here you find your place, was partially ligthed in red. The building itself, recently built, looked derelict as if five world wars had passed over it. The flaky plaster outlined the brick wall besieged by mold. The windows were splattered with mud, and the curtains that hid the cozy inside of the rooms were riddled, letting the yellow light pass through.
Ana killed the engine and stared idly, trembling. She bit her lip. Her hair was loose and she was still wearing the black dress and her high heels red shoes. She took her purse and her coat, then removed the key from the ignition and got out of the car to be embraced by the chill of the night. She closed her eyes.
(the house up in the woods… the piles of rotten leaves…. cooold)
She headed for the reception desk. The old man on the terrace eyed her suspiciously, licking his cracked lips. For just a few seconds, Ana could swear that the stranger gazed at her naked thighs, rubbing his stubby fingers on his dirty jeans, touching himself and making obscene gestures.
(the hands… the tongue… the bite)
After she checked in, she took the key and started toward her room. She still felt dizzy from the countless glasses of red wine she had drank two days before. She was walking with her head low, moaning at times. The high heels red shoes chafed her nastily and her eyes stung terribly. She stifled her tears incessantly. After she climbed the stairs she entered the dimly lit hall on the first floor. There were four doors up there. Her room was the last on the far end. Through her dizziness she felt as if the numerous cracks in the dirty walls writhed into monstrous huge bodies. She moved on. The first two doors were ajar. Curious, she turned her head to the first room. In the front of a vacuum-tube black TV there was an old armchair.
(the old man sits in the chair… the swaddling clothes were too tight on him and his night cap make him look silly… he moans on and on like a toddler, accompanied by the screams of the woman trapped into the TV)
The second door revealed a king-size bed at the end of a red rose petals alley. Her attention was drawn this time by the huge contrast between the luxury interior of the room and the moldy hall where she stood. The persistent smell of the fragrant candles flooded her senses, reminding her of the last night spent with him. Last night of silence.
(the young couple… he gives her a heavy, cold kiss while lasciviously ripping her clothes… she moans like a vaudeville singer, stressing the drama of his cursing her… the bed squeaks, possessed by the frenzy of them both)
As she passed the third door, Ana stopped in wonder. This one was different from the other two. It was much older, and the paint was peeled here and there revealing a string of uncanny ancient shapes engraved into the dark wood. It had surely been locked up from a long time. A sharp terrible silence sent nagging urges from behind her.
(He sleeps in the wooden bed with the silence… His only friend)
She opened the door and stepped into the dark. She didn’t turn on the light. After she threw her stuff on the bed, she went to the window. The moon spread a bluish light over the forest that stretched into the horizon. The stars shone so bright that Ana had to shelter her eyes with her hand. Only then did she notice that powerful brightness of the jewelry displayed on the endless velvet sky. She almost felt the heat. She could almost touch them, clinging to their rays and traveling towards them through the cosmic space.
(cooold… the trees bring coooldness)
She slammed onto the hard bed and shut her eyes. For a few minutes she saw with her mind’s eye the image that haunted her every time before falling asleep. An image that she perceived drained of color each time. The black upright trunks of some trees that were much too tall. The feeling of deep fear. Her hand, that of a helpless little girl, scratched by the dry twigs of the forest while caressing one of the trunks. The snowed-in glade. The blinding snowflakes shining like stars. The raven landing on the immaculate snow in the middle of the clearing. Its giant beak poking the whiteness in search of food. Then the bird flying away, beyond the ridges of the wood clustering. The distant bright moon. The cold.
The cracks in the walls got bigger. The plaster peeled off the walls and the wind carried it all around the room. A long grumble was heard from the inside of the newly-cleft crevices. A low sinister voice, singing a song from her childhood. A melody sung by her father on his deathbed. The ceiling grew bigger, throbbing under the sway of the stranger. The stranger in the walls was singing. The walls started to dance, mesmerized by the delirious music of the invisible. Ana’s pupils moved erratically, helplessly following the nightmare. Slowly, waves were formed – gates to darkness. Sickening swellings punched grotesquely out of the moldy walls. A few red drops fell on the restrained woman’s forehead. Then the scalding blood spurted from the crevices, covering the wall with even more dirt, oozing in red-hot gushes. From the ever-numerous holes, scourged hands started to come out fumbling for Ana’s body. The guttural sound of the stranger turned into a terrible scream as if from a dreadful torture. The scores of hands moved chaotically, searching for her. Tears started to flood her cheeks, going over the sweat that covered them. She froze. She couldn’t scream for help, couldn’t move. All she really felt was the coldness.
(the red-lit hall… endless… the throbbing bulbs over the doors… the darkness at the far end)
A deafening buzz arrested her hearing. She opened her eyes. She was in the hotel room. All was in place, unchanged. The nightmare was gone. A shy ray of sun caressed her sweaty face. She got up. She closed her eyes and, stupefied, saw the dizziness was still there. Her head ached. She moaned and got off the bed. Her feet snagged the wieldy quilt and she tripped, leaning onto the wall. A thump sounded on the boarded floor. A streak of blood smeared the moldy wall, its plaster pristine now. The woman recoiled in fear. Her feet were bloody, too. She turned her head toward the bed. God… the sheet was soaked in blood. A giant stain stood out in the middle. She saw the jackknife on the floor. Her lips started to tremble. She brought her hand up along her thigh and felt a terrible stingy pain.
(the jackknife… the jackknife on the nightstand… damned jackknife tied to the damned keys of that cunt of a car)
All of a sudden, it seemed the whole room started to shrink, ready to swallow her. The whirlwind of the memories enveloped her. The dreadful pain heightened now made by the accurate cuts on the impact zone.
The entrance door shook from sturdy knocking. Somebody was looking for her. Him. It could only be him. He found her though she rented a car and drove more than half a day.
(the smile… the bites… the cooold)
She hurled herself upon the jackknife. Her whole body stung like hell. The cursory knocking went on in spite of her desperate cries.
„Get the hell out of here! I’ll call the pol… the police… no…”
At last, the man muttered something. Then, she heard a key filling the lock and the door opened. Ana leaned to the opposite wall pointing the jackknife like a crossbow, ready to fight. The man stepped into the room in wonder. He made for the woman, staggering.
„G-g-god Almighty… Oh, L-L-Lord God… what… what happened here? Madam… let me call the ambulance! To…” the man stuttered.
Ana started to shake. In front of her stood a stranger, probably an employee.
(he looks at me… damned bastard… he sent him… he wants to kill me… he watch me over as if he’d wish to… get closer)
„A phone… madam, hang on a little… can you move?”
The man stepped on towards Ana. He tried to help her sit. The woman walked suspiciously and dropped onto the edge of the bed.
„You… Ana… finally… what were you up to here, you damned whore? Wasn’t enough that you already killed poor David in a beastly frenzy? Do you wanna feel at last how it is to be woken to reality by a real man?”
(blood… too much blood… cooold)
The branches of the trees fluttered in the wind. Dark clouds covered the blackened sky. The snow thudded with every step she made towards freedom. Drops of blood marked the shape of the soles on the frozen leaves covered by white snowflakes. She was running. Her lips shivered. The tears poured over her cheeks. She breathed heavier still with gusts of steam into the cold air of the dawn. It was still dark and she was running through the woods, possessed by the moon, searching for the clearing.
She startled when she saw the void of light before her, past the last black tree trunks. He leaned on one of the much too old trees and stared idly. For a few moments he saw herself, lost in the immensity of the forest. Like a helpless little girl in search of her parents. The dream that came back every night before sleep crowded her mind. She reached with her purple hand, now driven by the cold, and pushed aside a few branches. Then she looked eagerly at the altar that haunted her sleep. An area without trees, warded off by the cruel frost. A deserted place. A few logs rested on the edge, felled probably by some storm. She took a few steps into the brightness of the last moon-rays hurtling over the snow that covered the clearing.
She opened her eyes. She was lying on her back in the middle of the glade. Her clothes were torn by the branches, the snow caressing his skin through the splitting. Her feet were already frost-bitten. She didn’t feel any pain. The hardened streaks of blood concealed the bluing of her thighs. He stretched out her hands as if ready to draw an angel into the snow just like the children taken by the advent of the winter. She moaned. Somewhere up above, framed by the circle of the sun now at zenith, a ghostly figure appeared. Ana peered at the area. For a moment she thought the shape was human, very tall and with wings. But when the strange came closer to the ground, she saw him again and the whole incident from the night that had just melted into the horizon rolled in front of her eyes getting hazier.
She revisited then the sacred dream. Her little-girlish hand caressing the tree-trunk. The clearing. The raven searching for its food. The whole incident. And yet, this time, one thing completely changed. The dream was no more colorless. The hues of memories sprang to life. She closed her eyes. Smiled.
From the local police report regarding the „NoWhere Case”:
‘Ana Dumitrescu, a suspect in the death of her husband David Dumitrescu, murdered one of the employees of the „NoWhere Motel”. The identity of the victim, a man of thirty, is still unknown.
On one of the walls in the room where the body was found, Ana wrote in blood: „Where are You?”. The blood was identified as belonging to the victim.
The woman is still at large. The search continues.”
Taken from the note found in the Ana Dumitrescu’s car:
„I never understood why the world is so afraid of death. For me, it is the only choice left. I never understood why God let him lure me into his disruptive entrapments. To seduce me only to become an obvious obstacle between him and the fulfillment of his destiny. I never understood why he got me pregnant and never considered, after the incident, the possibility to share the rest of his life with me. I was defiled by David Dumitrescu and, as such, I did the Earth a favor and poisoned him. Nevertheless, the bastard still lives. I’m sure of it. I know he’s scheming, along with his friends, how to cut me out of his conscience’ register. I admit I don’t want to keep this baby conceived with a monster, but I’ll never resort to such a sickening gesture and murder an innocent soul. In for a penny, in for a pound. So be it that this notice lets you know about the motives of my so-called murderous deed. In some prisons, monsters are wiped out, but I resorted to this disgraceful method out of necessity.”
Where are You?
Nietzsche contentedly claimed that God is dead. God isn’t dead. No. He left us. That explains everything. Our compulsions. We are left alone with no guidance and forever lost.
–Translated from the Romanian by Dan BUTUZA