The city sleeps peacefully but I lie in bed freaking out. If only I were solely an insomniac. My conscience will not let me sleep. If I close my eyes, I see your face, it is beautiful & smooth, you open your mouth and flies buzz out, your flesh is devoured by maggots. I scream. Even in the darkness, I see the dull glow of the red dress fading into the past. Incessant shouting, a harsh voice yet when I switch on the light, it ceases. My flat is a coffin. I know I will die in it but how? Visions in mirrors, seductive whispering, the dry clicking of locust wings…am I to blame? The loss of God, injured soul, hungry demons. I turn on the TV, I see a large shop window, all the mannequins have my head & hands, I run to the mirror, horror, my mannequin hands press my plastic face! I kneel in front of the TV, arms open and palms held upwards, a martyr for the cause. The mannequins are laughing while they cut their faces with razor blades. I try to turn the TV off and realise it is not plugged in. A knock at the door. I peer through the peephole, a myriad of animal eyes stare back at me. What the fuck is happening? Why am I being punished? I am ready for my demise (or so I think), I open the door…all that greets me is a parcel wrapped in cellophane on the floor. I grab the offering & retreat to my flat. I carefully unwrap the blue cellophane and almost throw up. Fresh layers of membrane! I pick some up and it covers my hand, making it normal again. I wrap it around my head like a death mask. I stand in front of a mirror, it sort of is me but not. I realise that I have used up all the membrane but forgot to restore my left hand. I grasp a hammer and destroy the plastic hand. Then I smash the mirror & walk barefoot across the shards of broken glass like a holy man. Blood streaks the white tiles of my bathroom floor. I see the animal eyes in the shards and close the bathroom door. Every bloody footprint looks like her face. This unnerves me. Your accusing stare should be in my nightmares. Her lust tasted of blood, she was a killer, a collector of souls. The TV is still on. I am on a game show. I have a painted smile dripping with death. My TV self holds up a black rose and passes it to me through the TV screen. I stare down at the black rose in wonder, it is perfection. I look back up and there is no TV. My flat is now a cell, there are no doors or windows. My heart feels heavy, I am a witness to too much, I did not lose faith, it turned its back on me. I pull out an old photo from my wallet, it is me as a child. Two hearts in the balance, it is my Judgement Day. I cut my finger with a thorn of the black rose. I watch as a small globule of blood gathers. I am a modern day Pontius Pilate, I have a choice, damnation or redemption…


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