I want to write a beautiful story that changes lives. But words slip out of my fingers and they run into the ground and my head starts to pound. My tongue dries and curls and then flies away. I’m left with nothing but a pulse that drowns out every sound and an itchy skin waiting to be peeled from me. I’m scratching and picking and finding nothing but empty air in me. Am I anything? Do I have substance? My need for a story has been replaced by a character flaw. Empty space. Have I been given a backstory?
It’s full of tragedy and needless pain. I’m a walking travesty, devoid of happiness. My depth is to the pits of hell. I’m burning, burning, ashes and smoke. My soul is nothing, it’s gone. I’m nothing. I’m air. I’m an empty space. Am I empty? Did I once have space? I can’t remember. I only see this aching emptiness that’s eating all around it.
A black hole.
I’m a pit of destruction too big for gravity. I’m eating your energy and gaining nothing. I’m too cold, too distant, too much for life.
My words. They’re here. They’re eating my mind, they’re destroying my functions. I’m overtaken by black typeface, reduced to the white spaces between. I’m empty again, and craving more substance. But it’s scary, the idea of opening my mouth not to spew thoughts. I’ll become too big to hold, too much to digest.
I am already.
I’m too much.
Much to much. Too many things and thoughts and feelings and everything. I’m stressing you out. I’m fucking you up.
I’m so sorry. I never meant to fuck you up this way. I meant to hold you and comfort you. I’m always breaking things, though.
I’m a disaster, I’m walking on my heels and tottering into disaster. I’m back in hell and I’m burning.
I’m a demon, corrupting and breaking. I can’t hold a thing without breaking it. I can’t love without consuming. I can’t exist without destroying.
I’m a maelstrom, a storm, a hurricane. I’m taking your blood and funneling it into the atmosphere.
I’m shit. I’m sludge. I’m toxic and crude.
I’m carcinogenic and causing you to expire.
Love me, love me. Hold me and love me.
Take it out of me. Tell me a story and take this thing from me, this eternal questioning of my own existence.
I wanted to write a story, once.
Ryohei Hase is a freelance illustrator and an artist based in Tokyo, Japan.
He illustrates for CDs, web, magazines, games and fashion photographs.
“I’ve been pretty outspoken in my desire to write a story where decisions have consequences and no one is safe. But I didn’t want it to be unrelentingly bleak—I don’t think everyone would read the books if everything was just darkness and despair and people being horribly tortured and mutilated and dying. Every once in a while you have to give the good guys a victory — where the guys who are perhaps a lighter shade of grey have a victory over the guys who are a darker shade of grey”
George R. R. Martin - EW interview.
“We look up at the same stars, and see such different things.”
Me when writing.
Njorun woke from a deep, dreamless sleep. Her arms and legs came about slowly as she tried to stand, and she realized that she was fully submerged in liquid. She kicked her legs out, instinctively trying to swim, but there was no direction left to her. The dark green water went on infinitely, and there didn’t seem to be any sort of surface. She felt herself begin to panic. In quick bursts her arms shot out ahead of her, fingers outstretched and reaching into the watery expanse to come back with nothing. Bursts of bubbles blurred her vision. She felt herself begin to sink, the weight of water pushing down on her. The crushing green liquid moved over her, and as she kicked again and swiped out with her hands, she realized she was not holding her Mistelteinn. Anxiety and despair filled her in place of oxygen, and she let out a silent lonely scream.
Then, far out in the darkness, twin moons woke and blinked at her. Njorun tried once more to swim as a massive shape moved in the dark green waters, sending up pockets of bubbles that blinded her. The shape moved ever closer, becoming the space of the water and slithering about. Njorun kicked once more, propelling herself up and up and up with all the bubbles, away from the chaotic movement. Unperturbed, the twin moons continued to blink and rise, blink and rise. They closed in on her until their light spilled out to consume the entirety of her vision, except for the single dark pits sunk deep into each. The moons regarded her without expression, fully illuminating Njorun’s small black form. Njorun rose and rose, her feet kicked and her vision clearing as she cut through the water. The slithering beast about her continued to move, its eyes turning the bubbles into speeding balls of bright white glass. Nidhogg seemed to be swimming around her, the great dragon serpent keeping her in the right direction, until her head burst through the surface of the water.
Art by Sabrina Salamon