"Focus. Clear the mind. Allow no distractions. Focus your energies, inure yourself to contradiction. Be the male-female. Be the light-dark. Allow the nondualities to..."
Yaksha let out a frustrated, almost pained growl, and slammed a hand down on the desk in front of him, eyes opening to stare down at the offending limb. He had once again felt his focus fracturing, the limb beginning to twitch ever so slightly without his input. He could feel it on the fringes, with every passing moment; the souls within him grew more restless, stirred to action by Yaksha's attempts to meddle with their powers. By striking against the surface, like throwing pebbles onto the surface of a river, he had changed its course...and awoken countless creatures within the depths. Now the river was positively churning with hungry, desperate souls. Yaksha could no more control it right now than one could go white-water rafting while surrounded by trout swimming upstream to mate.
And every attempt to calm them back down, to lay them to rest, was fruitless. He tried mindfulness, he tried eating several handfuls of Gikon, thoughtfully supplied to him by a person who he even now was contemplating the ideal way to kill or cripple. He had tried several whores, now lying in a corner in the throes of heroine highs so potent that they wouldn't even recognize the pale creature in front of them as a hollow. He hadn't even been able to maintain his facade during these events, so distracted by the endless wailing of voices in his mind. He felt like a man stuck in the middle of a great ampitheatre, surrounded by hundreds of audience members, all speaking to one another, all waiting eagerly for something to happen. And if that were the case, that meant he was the one on display...or under scrutiny. Like a bug, pinned to a corkboard. That, more than anything, left him off-kilter. Rarely if ever could anyone else make him feel vulnerable, exposed...but his own mind seemed eerily good at just that.
And so now he sat here, trying his best to make sense of what he was dealing with. He couldn't steer his tiny little ferry across the endlessly churning waters, and he couldn't possibly hope to stop the wailing of countless mouths, so old and so worn that they could no longer even remember for what they wailed, or why they hungered. He had no oar, no rudder, no way of changing direction, and no way of influencing the spirits near him...or perhaps it was simply that his own will was losing out, after this long long battle.
It had grown harder and harder to ignore the presence of the intruder in his body, the parasite growing and dividing, to the point that he could almost imagine he could see movement beneath his skin if he watched for long enough. As if his own mind was being torn apart piece by piece. If the souls inside of him were trout, mindlessly swimming upstream to some goal that was beyond their comprehension, then the parasite was a pack of pirahnas, chomping off gulp after gulp, leaving him feeling more and more diminished with each day. He sat on his desk, feeling oddly unfulfilled, remarkably empty despite everything he had achieved up to now, and had to stop, had to take a long, deep breath as he did.
Metacognition was a weapon he'd fought long and hard for, and he couldn't allow it to dull now. He could sense the wrongness flowing through him, could sense the inexorable sense of loss, of longing, and he could examine the symptoms...but to recognize the cause was damn near impossible. Like opening a box with the crowbar that was found inside. He was...part of the problem. How could he distance himself from it?"Yaksha. Face the facts. High-functioning case of borderline personality disorder. Persistent dissociative episodes, exacerbated by the presence of literal outsiders in one's own head. That doesn't change the fact that these things would exist exactly the same if I were a human. Risky behavior, as evidenced by a penchant for cheap whores, expensive alcohol, and too many drugs. Stay -focused-, Yaksha. Remember what's important. Self-harm and suicidal gestures, as a desperate effort to re-assert dominance and ownership over one's own body. That's not important. That's a symptom. Pain is the enemy, not something to be welcomed. Breaking a finger to clear...NNNNNGHGGHHH!...the mind. Is a maladaptive coping mechanism, one that must be done away with."
He looked down at his own hand, where one finger was already canted off and to the side at an impossible angle, slowly righting itself and moving back into place, pushed by muscle contractions to the appropriate position, and then mending before his very eyes. Now there was a deep, pervasive itching there, something he knew he wouldn't be able to satisfy even if he did scratch at it. He closed his eyes instead, trying to breath slowly, to let himself find some peace. To seek a small island, some outcropping of rock in this horrible, churning sea of souls. Even wrecking his ferry on a rock would be preferable to this sense of aimless motion, of being dragged along by forces beyond his control. Of being a passenger in his own body."Physician, heal thyself. You're -so- damned good at telling everyone else their problems. So look at your own for a damn change. You're feeling hollow, unsatisfied, because you drive others away, only to find some excuse to pull them back in when you can't stomach the swirling maelstrom of your own thoughts. You can't stand to be alone, and you can't stand having company...You find every possible excuse to scare of potential allies. Smugness, if needed. Appeals to pity, if you fear they might be taking you too seriously. You always have to shift, like some...social chameleon. Trying to prove you're...something. What? What do you have to prove?"
Like probing at a loose tooth, or picking at a scab, Yaksha couldn't stop letting his mind's eye hover over that same question. Who was he trying to impress? What was the message he so desperately kept wanting to scream, only to choke up when he got his all-important platform? What was it that he couldn't fucking say no matter how many times he tried
What was he, really? Who
was he? No, too dangerous a line of thought, a place that could only lead to another broken finger, a thought he had to stop in its tracks, to find a way to circumvent before it turned cyclical. This time, he would
improve. He had
to."I...got here for a reason. There was...something. Something I wanted to do. What was it? I...eye...yes, yes, eyes. I was...opening my eyes. No, my eye. Just the one eye. My eyes are open, and I must open my eyes, so...a third. Eye. Yes. A third I. A...me. A not-me. A me that isn't me. Yes. I must become another I, to open my other eye."
He began to titter, high-pitched delighted giggles that bordered on insane babbling, as his hands rested in his lap, eyes canting up towards the roof as he spoke. Yes, he was trying to open his third eye. That was what had started this. A new method of seeking enlightenment, to find something he hadn't been able to find up to now."First, I was Albus. Now, I am Yaksha. What shall be my next me? Who will I become, when I open my third I?"
He paused, brows furrowing, finger raised, pointing at his own skull."That isn't me speaking, is it? No. No, not I. Not eye. I don't want to change. Eye am perfectly happy the way I am, thank you very much. I don't need to change anything. Just need to...open my I."
Yes. Another dangerous line of reasoning to follow. Change could invite the parasite further in, let it set roots deeper into the soil. He couldn't start excising chunks of personality if he wanted to beat the intruder in his own mind. If he wanted to go back to being himself. He had to hold it up to scrutiny, and without changing a single thing, by writing it all down but changing nothing, set it back down.
Hadn't he read somewhere that the act of observing changed things? That sounded right to him, sounded too right...if one understood something, it was a change by necessity, if only a change of the self...and by understanding himself, he'd have
to change, wouldn't he? But change was bad. Change was the enemy. The parasite wanted him to change, wanted to make him something else. But he wanted to learn about himself. How could he tell where his thoughts ended, and the parasite's began?"No. No! You're...Eye'm...overthinking it! Stop overthinking! Brain will overheat!"
Deep breaths. That was the key. Why did deep breaths help? Was that a Yaksha thing? An Albus thing? A parasite thing? Were deep breaths supposed
to help? Would deep breaths help after he opened his third eye? He didn't know anymore. Doubt crept in at the corners, as it always did; he shyed away from delving into his own mind for good reason, and now he had churned it to a thick, heady froth that felt like it would spill forth from his skull, forming a new hollow the way Athena had burst forth from Zeus's skull.
Why did that analogy calm him? Why was Greek mythology such a...comfort? Yaksha wasn't Greek, was he? No, Yaksha was...Indian. That he recalled clearly, precisely, with deep, instinctive knowledge. He had to bite back an urge to start an insane prattling about Yaksha, and all the appropriate mythology surrounding them. No. No, Yaksha was an appellation. Albus. Albus was...had been...not Greek. But close. Roman. And hadn't the Roman taken much from the Greek?
Once Roman, now Indian. That felt...right. Close. And now, right now
, he was drowning in the sea. His ferry had capsized long ago, and he could feel the churning current threatening to drag him under and never let him go free. He needed a life-raft, needed something to clear his thoughts, to remind him of what he was. Or who he was.
It was at this moment he heard it...a shriek, high-pitched and tinny. His eyes whirled towards the source, heart pounding, eyes wide and insane, tail thrashing in agitation. The whore had awoken, or worked her way towards sobriety. How long had he been drowning? Why had he been drowning? Who was no stop you couldn't think that way if you wanted to survive
He leapt off of the table towards the whore, landing on the ground in front of her, tilting his head back and forth, sniffing at the air. She smelled...appetizing, but in a vague, far-off way."I...it's a hollow! Someone save me, it's going to eat me!"Hollow.
That word, that one word, was like a thread of calm in the churning ocean. Why? What comfort was there to be found there? He followed it, like a person hanging onto a liferaft, being pulled aboard a much larger ship.
Hollows. The restless dead. A soul, that lingered on far after its story had ended. A creature that dared to write its own story after the author had given up on it. Yes. That was him. That described him. The rest was just...details, wasn't it? The rest was something he could remember later. For now, he was a hollow. And as a hollow, he didn't think
, any more than a wolf thought
about the presence of the rest of the pact. He simply...knew
. The answer came to him, in a burst of clarity.
Yaksha opened his third eye.
With a wrenching sensation that he could never describe, something that felt like a full-body sneeze in reverse, Yaksha reached a hand deep into the chilling, sapping, horrible sludge of his mind. He reached into that horrible churning, whirling sea of souls...and he stopped it. With the same ease that one would push a plug back into a drain, ending the sudden swirling maelstrom of water rushing towards a point of negative pressure, he crushed the intrusive thought, the horrible point of contention that had started this all. A single, monumental show of power, something that seemed to come straight from the Bible. With the strength of pure instinct, with a hammer made of pure subconscious, Yaksha popped the offending thought bubble as if it had been made of soap. In a sense, it was made of one of the few substances even more transient.
All, meaningful analogies. Looking back, easy to write. To put into meaningful comparisons. But this was something that had no analogy, something that couldn't be described logically. He reached into his own head, and wrenched something the same way a person would flex a muscle. He took that horrible churning, swirling vortex of thought and will, and he reminded himself that to a hollow thoughts were power.
He was in the eye of a storm, trying to steer the hurricane. That was wrong. He needed to take that power, and redirect it.
His eyes, yes? Hadn't the problem been something with his eyes? Then let him just...shove as much of that power as he could to his eyes. If it didn't solve the problem, it would push it off to later. And a later problem was good enough, for now. Hollows were immortal, weren't they? Yes, he told himself. Yes, he had all of forever. If this problem took a few more centuries to resolve, then so be it. Compared to forever, it would happen overnight.
There was...something different now, he had to concede. He could feel pure power pulsating, could feel his blood flow and his heart beat right behind his eyes, in a manner not unlike a migrane. But the sense of pressure, of pain, wasn't there. It was like a migrane, but without the unpleasantness. It was almost as if he were letting off some of that pressure through his own eyes, forcing it out onto the world around him. He inhaled, examining the woman in front of him, slowly. Curiously.
And curiously, he could see her twitching. Though he never touched her, never spoke to her, he could see her very form withering beneath his gaze. He watched her collapse in on herself, wasting away with a speed that made him think of cancer victims...but with a time-lapse that seemed almost eerie. Within a minute, she was dead, dessicated and worn in a way that made him think of long-time radiation victims.
He turned away, and then scratched at a spot on his forehead, just between both of his eyes...where a faint greenish glow could be seen."Mmmmgh. Somehow, things seem so much clearer when I let my hindbrain take over for a bit. I'll have to investigate, eventually. I can't run around being a slave to my subconscious forever. Sloppy."
For now, however, he was ravenous. He reached into a candy dish next to his desk, scooping up a handful of Gikon, and crunched down on them, swallowing the resulting slurry, and then looking down at the desk, where three lines of cocaine could be seen, cut as if by trembling hands."Don't mind if I do..."
And so, a revelation was...nearly reached. But perhaps, however backwards the growth may have been, Yaksha did
feel as if progress had been made today. Progress on...something.
Coding Altered From: [The Frost]