He should have known from the dream, the primordial premonition, that life had no recourse for him but to be a monstrosity of fate. Decades later he would still remember it as if it was just last night that the images of horror burned themselves into his memory. He was eight years old. There was a party of some sort, being held in his honor, in the basement of the old house in Newark before his family had moved. There was a young boy there, Tommy. His older sister was two years younger than the dreamer and often they played together as children. It was convenient with her living directly across the street, as he had yet to make the acquaintance of any of the older boys at the end of the street. In the dream
Tommy approached the dreamer. “What’s wrong with your eyes?” he asked with a childish lisp that wouldn’t escape him until years later as a college freshman.
“Nothing” said the dreamer. “Why?”
Tommy muttered something about the dreamer’s eyes being red and he went across the basement to the washing machine where there was a hand mirror. It was never there in life but in the dream he knew it would be there. He raised the mirror to inspect his eyes and the orbs reflecting back were barely eyes for long. At first they only looked bloodshot but as he stared into the mirror they assumed a brighter and brighter shade of crimson until ia sanguine sea of scarlet shifted and crashed behind each eye. The dreamer turned from the mirror crying tears of desperation, tears tainted red. He couldn’t speak and could barely move, leaving him to look upon the children with a pleading grimace as ruby tears stained his cheeks and collar.
“Help me!” the dreamer finally screamed. A dark robed figure emerged from the crowd of children, his frame dominating theirs with the black silk of his robes a striking contrast to their t-shirts and dungarees. The children barely measured up to the white cincture around his waist as he waded through the throngs of screaming children. The figure reached beneath his cassock and withdrew a silver crucifix. The face of the holy warrior was obscured by the shining icon as he drew closer to the dreamer, his arm extended, muttering a baritone Latin. The dreamer heard a rumbling as if the bowels of the earth itself were about to erupt in a great chasm and swallow him down. As the priest drew near, the dreamer’s muscles began to tighten in spasms, he collapsed to his knees, his head between his hands as blood from his eyes dripped through his fingers. In a moment as fleeting as lightning the dreamer’s body was no longer that of a child. His skin became the wrinkled leather of jaundice or a junk addict, his hair a cascade of pure white splashing past his sloping shoulders. The eyes that bled Oedipal tears just moments before were replaced with the hollow sockets of a wraith. A snake for his tongue danced over his teeth.
The dreamer awoke in a sheen of sweat, his pajamas and the sheets beneath drenched into it, to the shrill cry of his own scream. The wet sheets felt like moss beneath his feet as he stood up on the bed, surrendering to instinct and removed the crucifix from the bedroom wall. Grasping it tight in his puerile hand he forced himself to stare at the image of the sacrificed messiah until the metamorphosis of evil would consume him. When nothing happened he ran down the hall to the bathroom to see the reflection of his eyes, wondering if they would still cry blood. They were white with innocence. The dreamer bounded up the stairs to his parent’s bedroom.
“Look at me!” he screamed bursting into their room. “Look into my eyes. Tell me I am not the Devil! Tell me I am not the Devil!” He was waving his arms frantically, still clutching the crucifix so tightly now that the body of the Christ figure had cut into his palms and blood was beginning to drip. Throwing the crucifix onto his parent’s bed he collapsed on the floor crying hysterically. He was eight years old.