Philadelphia By Night
Comfort in Dark Places
February Eighth and Ninth of 2010
“He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man” – Samuel Johnson
Sand spends the day and next night in self imposed isolation in a basement storeroom provided by Sophe Peregrin. He barely stirs drowned deep in memory’s ocean. He mourns in a silent, unmoving despair. His pride melts as detachment and anger fight for dominance. Late the second evening Sophe knocks at his door. Absorbed in his thoughts he doesn’t notice. It is only when she sits quietly beside him and slips his hand in hers that he sees her. Her words are kind and soothing. He struggles to hold them in his mind but they slide out as each sentence is completed. Despite their fleeting nature the words, or maybe just Sophe herself brings Sand comfort. Not peace, but something. His internal war shifts and Eros gets the edge on Thanatos.
As daybreaks far above the gallery Sand sits in the shadowed basement. His eyes fall to an old piece of canvas stretched onto a splintered frame. His eyes had settled on the discarded painting frequently over the past day and a half in a dull meditative contemplation. It wasn’t fine work as far as Sand could tell, but it was the only thing of color in the old storeroom. Sand picked up the painting and brushed off the dirt and dust. The scene was a sunrise over ocean, brilliant in reds and orange. Only out of habit did his eye slip down to the bottom right corner to mark the artist – ”Isa”. Although he had never known she had attempted painting he knew it was hers. It’s draw on him suddenly made sense. He could see her color, her movements in the circles and lines of the waves and sky. Reverently he pried each staple out rescuing the canvas from its frame cage. With the effort of thought a delicate bone, sharp as a scalpel and thin as a needle, pushed up through his fingertip; muscle and skin parting its path. Tipping a mirror upright he slowly forced his image to clarify and was confused and annoyed to find a black smudged mustache drawn onto his upper lip. With a rise of blood he flushed it away and began his surgery.
Sand spent the day cutting and sewing the canvas; joining it to his delicately skinned face. The paint her hand had applied now mixed with his blood to affix the canvas. When his project was complete his handcrafted mask stretched and flexed as if it were a natural part of him. Dusk was not far off and tonight was the trial of his coterie. Surely this newest alteration in his appearance would only stir further their spite and distrust of him but Sand felt better, safer, stronger. It was his connection to Annabelle, a memorial of sorts. Deep in Sand’s unconscious the mask was an homage to her killer as well for My Nightmare had also followed the obscure nosferatu custom of the Unyielding Mask.