|Supper Masks by Adolf von Menzel|
I am in an setting strongly resembling the priest's starkly bleak and violently humorless abode in "Fanny and Alexander" by Ingmar Bergman. Between the cold stone walls that seem to press in closer and closer, I turn a bend to an outside court. I have a video camera in hand, and find a friend's father succumbing to a filthy heroin addiction. I video him shooting up and turning pale, with fangs as bloody and lifeless as a vampire's. In a kitchenette of sorts, a family sits around the table. The small home now mixes in an understated blur of unspoken silence. There is an inhumane stifled and drowned heart, now turned to meat in our soup bowls, its former life surrounds us quietly. I am reminded of a small kibbutz home that I once visited. The kitchen table is cornered in a lonely room. The family is missing the father, and I am seated without thought to mind the discomfort at knowing his whereabouts as he huddles lowered into the darkness of his poverty of will. Then, in the night, my room is ambushed by his figure, cloaked in staunch black robe. There is an air of over-religious prayer turned to a nightmarish cursing as he raises a black knife into the air above me. Motionless, I receive a monstrous gash beside my belly-button. I howl and receive two more along my side and below my left shoulder as blood streams effortlessly down my side. A gun is raised to my shoulder, and I receive a fixing blow below my right shoulder. Nearly inert, my mind turns to shade, yet my adrenaline picks me up with full lungs, I worry for my wife, now mere animal and sister of humanity, to be slaughtered by the tortured weakness of an insane mind frothing at the brim of his asylum grave; this house of fleshless waste enslaves me to a pain unknown, yet I feel life struggling to stand with the rhythmic plan of my heartbeat, calling me to go forth, and the beat is ever important as never before, if I falter I could miss one beat and fall into the void of the stale, rock floor. I finally find my wife, covered in the ash of wood burnt to its lowest ember, cursing through a throat densely saturated with blood overfull with pain. There is a spark of wonder at our meeting. How are we still alive? I am forced, embedded in this sick house, to confront the murderous wraith who balances life and death on the numb foresight of his insidious night killings. I quickly examine our wounds, and though we are in critical condition with flesh flayed in visible touch with our vitals, the swarm of inner heat beckoning us to kill the blind culprit sends me forth into the blackest corner of the most lightless room, to fulfill my fear's overcoming alas and travail the bloody path that I make walking inside the heavy wooden doorway to flash an uprisen knife and buckle down over loosened sinew and the butchered meat of this trivial nightmarish dream, imagining my blood sink with my would-be murderer and pave the stone floor with a distressed need to overcome this body of suffering, together with my sister of humanity.