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  1. Danny Lowlife

    Sleep Paralysis

    It began as it always did: with the sky as black as anthracite and the rain falling like mortar shells against the thin window pane. A memory passes as if it was a year and then silence followed by a white noise. Then I hear it. It announces itself with a bone snapping crack causing my body to reel and tense before I realise that I am incapable of moving, as if cement had set into my veins. Sometimes you’d feel a prickle at the base of your spine or a tickle on one of your feet. That’s how he gets into your head; gently, tentatively, allowing you to believe that it is just your imagination. That it is all just a dream. On the second week everything changes. The thing has your attention now and after seven days you’ve grown so used to it’s presence that that it has to step it up a notch; it begins to leech off of the shock and fear like a tonic, which is it’s lifeblood, a substance which is more addictive to it and necessary in a way more than any human mind could ever comprehend. After a while though you begin to ignore it so it pulls at your legs as you doze off, forcing you to turn around and see nothing but the dark tv static of your room. But there’s nothing there. There’s never anything there. That’s what it wants you to think. For let me tell you that should you fall asleep face upwards during its machinations you will be greeted with a dark figure, darker that the blackest night, so much so that it stands out in a pitch black room so badly you could have sworn your surroundings were grey. It does not talk. It does not move. The very air around you becomes as ice, frost forms on the windows and curtains. Then, and only then, you are met with the lidless stare of the creature. The shadow of one of M.Night Shayamalan's aliens, tall with thin arms and legs, haunched over and primed to pounce at you the entire time; breathing deeply and slowly whilst making absolutely no sound. Then you try to scream, and you realise that those first symptoms that you had were not symptoms but it’s very own brand of a paralytic. A kind that only reacts when the body is in shock. It turns your bedroom into the Spiders Cobweb Hotel. Your bed becomes the dinner table. And the rest of you is lapped away slowly.
  2. “What is it that draws you to churches”, said a voice from behind me. I turned slightly and saw in the corner of my eye a scrawny figure. It was Virgil. He was stood there, eye brow cocked in mild curiosity and his hands in his jeans. I stared at the procession and smiled, “I don’t know if I’m honest. During the day it’s so quiet you can hear a gnat fart – it’s so peaceful. During mass, however, it’s a bizarre experience; with this lot they’re so depressing to watch and listen to. It’s the problem with catholics: they’re mourners, every Sunday is another funeral. Gospel! Now there’s a way to celebrate faith, not singing in a laborious manner but in fact cheering and smiling and being bloody happy. A celebration is what it should be” Virgil frowned. I could hear his enormous greying eyebrows scrape against each other, “You’re searching for a way out aren’t you? Let me tell you something”, he moved to my side and stared down with me. “These people have a concept for what is a heaven and what is a hell. For them heaven is a a glorious gate with an equally glorious light, and hell is a fire pit of eternal torture. Hell, for you, is to spend the rest of your life chained to a desk job saying, “Yes Sir!” and “No Sir!”’. “And my heaven?”, I asked resolutely. “I don’t think anyone can tell you what that is. Although, I have my suspicions” “Which are?” He gave a sad smile, “For another time I think”. “I chose a way out, Virgil. It is what got me here in the first place so why couldn’t I do it again? Find a way out and go find my own Nirvana? The worst part of the human condition is the certain uncertainty that we know anything. Look down there. Do you see that man with the bald head and the hideous green jacket? Scientist. He’s a bloody scientist. Go back a good, say, few hundred years or so and that man would have been marked as a heretic. And there! At the head of the procession, leading this merry band of mourners – a female vicar. Why it matters what gender a spiritual leader is is beyond me, never mind what one of there representatives is! Why it took so long for that to happen in this church is beyond me.” “You’re digressing and beginning to rant, Old Boy. I trust you have a point?” “I’m getting there! Somewhat haphazardly, admittedly, but bare with me”, I took a breath and tried to slow myself and organise my thoughts. “What do those with faith see when they look up at the stars? I can’t speak for all – god knows I ain’t going to try – but from my friends who have faith they either see a wonderful creation or the path to heaven. Is it the same for a cell in a Petri dish? If the cells were – or are – capable of looking up at the at microscope, looking at it’s complexities and deeming it to be where their little souls go? No. And until such a day comes where we can communicate with single cells on a verbal level that is where my foot will stay on the subject. A scientist, for let’s not forget them in this, sees galaxies and tumbling and gorgeous nebulas and impossible, possible balls of gas. Is that not also beautiful? I think, with however short a time I have had on this planet, that however much faith both bores and confuses me but instils a sense of peace, and science causes some wonder and makes me feel smaller still, like our friend the single cell, I only ever saw the truth and beauty of the world and the universe through the arts and the books of my favourite writers – through someone else’s eyes. Through a kind of symbiosis. Is that what they see? I’m not so sure and I don’t care to assume”, I took another breath and wiped my forehead before looking into Virgils old blue eyes, “Quiet. That’s what I like about churches. Regardless of anything they make my mind quiet, and I enjoy them for it”. “You have a manic mind, my friend. You’re too busy trying to see everything, that you fail to see what is in front of you”. I looked at the people below all dressed in black, I looked at the stained windows all multi-faceted with colours and faded with age, and I looked behind me before meeting Virgils gaze once more. There was a kind of paternity in his eyes, sad but leading to a point and he finally turned and said, “This is your funeral”.
  3. I blinked and she disappeared, as did the room, and the surrounding area was nothing but inky darkness, that flowed slowly as if made of water or very thick mist. I blinked again and the door to the kitchen had reappeared. Inside the walls and the tiles of the floor were cracked and often, and the only light source was that of a street lamp that had surreptitiously placed itself in the space between the door and the kitchen table. It, like its environment, was in a state of disrepair and the egg shaped bulb that was tucked away behind the fractured glass waxed and waned. I’d be safe there, I told myself. Walking however was not as easy as it once was. Every step was as heavy as the next as if my shoes were filled with cement and my muscles had given in to atrophy. Each time i couldn’t be sure if the shadows for which my feet scraped against would be solid floor or, like the shows would have me perceive, be like water and with my heavy, useless limbs I would fall into the abyss that had surrounded me. It was the light, I told myself. The light would keep me safe. But with each arduous shift of my body the bulb of the derelict street lamp shrunk and the kitchen itself peeled more and more away. If I didn’t get there soon I would be lost. I cried and shouted to the room ahead of me, each time my voice was become more hoarse and monstrous. Fire burned through my veins and pressure filled my head causing blood to pour from my nose and ears. I was steps away one moment then was a league away the next, each time I would drag and drag my feet towards the ever fading light, often pulling my legs by the knees with my arms. I was closer now and my hand could just about touch the door frame. A small amount of hope filled my body enough to push myself harder and make that last step through the threshold. As my right foot was about to land, like the last step of an absurd marathon, the door frame spasmed and collapsed on itself leaving me on my knees in the black smoke of the place that was once her living room. Hot tears filled my eyes and poured from my face as I gave into a sob. My throat was too dry for me to cry out leaving me making sounds that were more akin to that of a croak. “I can’t do it”, I muttered through snot and the bullet-like tears, “I simply can’t”. A hand placed itself upon my shoulder, “Dee”, said a soft voice. I spun around, faster than I could have, and found my self on my knees in a brightly lit room with her in front of me. She smile a soft smile, the kind that never made you feel alone nor ever showed any indifference and, whilst crouching in front of me said quite simply, “You never have to do this alone”. The world returned. The tar that had enveloped me had evaporated and colour returned to the world. She helped me to my feet and kissed me softly. I didn’t let go.
  4. I just wanted to do a little blog entry about GOT because it's been on my mind a lot since they decided to kill off Jorah, my dearest love, and also Beric, who's also my dearest love and then also decided to kill two of the dragons. Thankfully there's still the sex, though. Everyone who's watching right now will probably be sharing the same thought: WHY DANI?! Why did she not only continue to fly Drogon towards Euron on the ships but also then take him to King's Landing, even if he was in the background?! Anger, that's why. She's raging right now. I've not been a very big fan of Dani for a few years, when she started to sound remarkably like Viserys with the whining and entitlement but since she stepped onto the coast of Dragonsreach she's been a lot less likeable. Everything she does seems fake and calculated and she shows little caring for any of her future charges. I suppose that's because she doesn't actually care about them, she doesn't know them and they don't know her. Her scene with Gendry made me uneasy since it pretty much encapsulated her relationship with Jon (and the rest of the North) in one scene; she needs him and his army and he's soft as a bloody brush. Now, she also needs him to shut up about the fact that he's her nephew. Sorry, Dani, the last Stark capable of keeping a secret was Ned, it seems. Unfortunately for her, the rest of the North, and their Lady, are a lot smarter than Jon right now and you can feel the distrust. Her own advisor joins them. Euron in this last episode was funny as ever, pretty bad-ass in fact! You really have to give it to the guy, he knows how to build a fleet! He's-uh-not great with biology though, it seems. Poor guy. He's going to be thrilled in 6 months time when his baby arrives. Bran is still a curious character, he's getting more and more distant every day. I wonder what his character arc will be now? I doubt it's anything good. I wondered if Bran is as much of a weapon against Man as the Night King was, it's been made perfectly clear that he doesn't feel human emotions any more and he was connected to the NK. I also wonder if there can be more than one Night King like there was more than one Three-Eyed-Raven. Luckily, we won't have long to find out! The only other irk for me is that it feels incredibly rushed this episode. Jaime beds Brienne and then within 15 minutes of viewing, he's off again breaking her heart. Just didn't give us time to adjust to anything in this episode. I would have loved a longer running thing where we could have enjoyed the small victory celebration. It was great to see everyone together for a change. It's a shame it ended the way it did and poor Missandei deserved to be able to leave with Greyworm so they can frown at people in the sunshine forever, but that's not GOT is it? Lastly, I'm gonna throw some love towards Cersei, she has been an amazing villain during this entire thing. How one person can be so hateful this consistently is fantastic, she truly earned that throne for the time she had it! Talk about Ice Queen! Oh yeah and F for Respect for Gendry. Shot downnnnnn. NX Photo by Jeswin Thomas from Pexels
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