What’s In A Name?
(“Face of Fear” – Uncredited)
The voice seems to come through frozen lips, which are surrounded by atrophied muscles, sounding as if the speaker is a bloodless thing(which it is). No matter the identity it assumes, I always recognize the tone. Plus the words it chooses trigger ruminations of previous encounters… “I’m only looking out for you. I have your best interests in mind. I only want to help. Doing you a favor.” Blood is what the creature doesn’t have, and it’s what it wants. Bloodshed seems to pump life into its core. I can clearly hear the creature saying through gasps of ecstasy, “She’s got a demon’s heart, can’t you hear it? Ohhhh, take her life, before she takes yours.”
It gets into my head and under my skin, and it feels like a gloomy cloud looms over my being. Soon, something within is pulsing and wanton. I find I’m taking in long draughts of air, searching for a certain scent. When I finally lock onto it, my senses go wild and my sanity follows. The iron-rich scent of blood fills my nostrils. Bloodlust surges through my very being. If I don’t give into it, I feel I will die a hundred horrible deaths. And since I’ve killed and been killed in my past lives, I have intimate knowledge of the most awful ways to die.
I can remember the first time I saw its true form. I was on a desolate beach in Staten Island in the Spring of 1854. The sun was nowhere to be seen though the skies were blue. A bowed-legged and hunched creature was trolling the edge of the water, perhaps one hundred yards away. Such was the evil it projected upon me, all I could think was to genuflect in prayer. “*Tantum ergo. Adoro te devote,” I began, knees planted in the sand, while angling my face toward the heavens. “‘Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom His love commits me here; ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.'” Eyes closed, enjoying the warmth upon my face, I had hoped with all my heart that God had heard my words and knew of the horrors I faced in His name.
Yet there would be no escape from the creature at my back. Even now I wonder, how many times can a dead thing reanimate? And when it does, it changes form, and finds its way back to me. There’s rarely been a time in which I’ve been free of the creature; it’s like a cruel wind that forever howls my name…
The four of us were heading off to an art and music festival in Hoboken. The mere mention of NJ vexes me, but I’ll bite the ol’ tongue and just say, “click here” to read about one of my Garden State adventures.
I stood in the foyer of our apartment with Scrappy D firmly in my arms. I was waiting for the pizza and Chinese delivery guys(aka num and nuts) to finish messing with their hair. Lady friend(LF) had already breezed past me minutes before looking beautiful and strong, like a lotus flower in full bloom. She had gone down to wait in the car. I was waiting because I like to be the last one out, to make sure that the little guy is safely locked inside.
Like chickens out into an open pen, num and nuts came strutting and squawking through the living room. They were sporting the Emo, blown-and-pushed-forward hairstyle, while just yesterday they had their manes slicked like Travolta’s “Tony Manero.” The two bastards motioned around me and Scrappy like feeding birds, yet somehow still looked halfway cool and styling in waist-hugging jackets and skinny jeans. Scrappy took them in with his huge mofo eyes and I knew he was thinking probably something close to what I was. That the two of them would look even better if they were stuffed like birds, mounted on pedestals, and behind the glass in a Museum of Natural History exhibit titled, “Wack-a-doos of Style and Cool, 2012”. As if to show the birds the way to freedom, I opened the door into the exterior hall and stomped my foot.
On the stairs and going down, I turned back to see that they had stopped to preen in the hallway’s full-length mirror. I found myself thinking about that demon I had first encountered on the sandy shores of Staten Island in the Spring of 1854. Like all demons that could change form, it could not hide the image of its true self in a mirror. I tried to envision what had happened on that beach, some 160 odd years ago. But what mainly was coming back to me were fragmented thoughts of the demon’s name. It was on the tip of my tongue–
I took a step up the stairs and told myself, now was not the time to think about demons. The day was to be all about drinking in art, music, and fun. I yelled at num and nuts to hurry up.
They were slow to move away from the mirror. Blood rose to my head. I tried to make light of the moment by reminding myself that when it comes to their style and comportment, it’s just a ruse to hide the fact that they are whacked, plain and simple. They are their names. The facade that they put up is called a “humbug.” P. T. Barnum–now that’s a great name–was a master at creating humbugs. Num and nuts passed me on the stairs as I tried to recall the demon’s name.
We had a great time at the fair, and I would tell you all about it, but I have a bad case of demons on the brain. One demon, especially–yet I can’t remember its name!
Also of late, I’ve been thinking about what a name can signify.
So speaking of aforementioned P. T. Barnum, in the case of someone famous like him, the name becomes the man, and the man becomes the name. Though in many cases, a man can become an insignificant name. As I did in the past life of mine I’m writing about, where my name was Joe Harris. It was a perfect name for my needs. The surname was not too common place like Smith, Jones, Williams, or Taylor, but common place enough. And “Joe,” speaks for itself.
Back then, NYC’s population was about one-half million. And there weren’t many people doing what I was doing–hunting and killing demons. Even before I started that, I scratched out a day’s work doing whatever job came my way. I preferred easy money. Thievery and burglary were my specialties. So it was best to be spoken of as: “So which Joe Harris is that now?”
For all I remember, I might have been born with the name, Joe Harris. Not to get off track, but I was born, for the sake of the past life I’ve been writing about, in the late 1830s. I’ve had at least two past lives since then, and only one that I can remember before that. But part of me knows that if I dig deep, there were more.
Now as far as the name of that demon I first saw in Staten Island, I can remember Jack Jefferies was on the beach too that day, and had also seen it. Thereafter, I can remember him referring to it as “the beast.” While two weeks before over in Coney Island, Father Keane had heard a voice in the wind and said it was “the beast” and that it knew my name.
Yet that designation–calling a being “the beast”–is usually reserved for Satan himself. And that thought brings me to a place where I don’t want to be. Because whenever I think of “the beast,” my senses tell me that that entity, knows of me even still. It knows my real name, which is my soul’s name. And once a demon knows that, they can find you anywhere, even if you’re asleep.
It’s quite terrifying, don’t you think?
Here are all the posts in this series: Episode Forty-Two
Tantum ergo: Down in adoration falling
Adoro te devote: I devoutly adore thee