And Redrawn

I wake up, and the first thing I notice is the smell. Not the clean, the faint bit of vinegar that has dried on the kitchen counter; nor the still-and-always scent of blood, drops that have dried where I spilled during my toast -- drunk and wishing for drunken oblivion, I toasted the fallen and hoped that they'll leave me alone when they're done with me.

No, the first thing I notice is that scent: he was here. Long gone, now, but he was here -- probably soon after I fell over onto my bed and closed my eyes, fainting dead away after hours and hours of trying to-- but remembering it now defeats the point of forgetting.

I notice first because I must, it's the only thing about this room that is not touched by me, not touched by the suffering and remorse. It's his scent, and I keep my eyes closed and track it. Concentrate on it rather than anything else.

He stood in the doorway. The scent is strongest there, it always is. Not the ktichen where he would have spent the most time cleaning, though god knows why he bothers -- it isn't as though he has to see the mess I've made. He's never struck me as the fastidious type, but in this I can depend. When I've indulged myself in the private depths of my self-hatred, wept for and begged for and prayed for whatever those listening will grant those I've destroyed, I will the next morning walk into the very same room and find it clean again. As if nothing had been touched, nothing had been said or heard.

I wonder if that means I should stop trying. Perhaps it means I'm being forgiven. I rather doubt that, but I have no other answers for this. I have only one answer for the rest of it, and I always wonder when it will come.

He stands in the doorway where he can see where I've fallen. The concentration of scent tells me that he never moves -- just stands there, sometimes for almost half an hour for the smell to be so strong. He doesn't speak, for that would wake me and I never do. Never wake until the following day and he is long gone and I am left thinking I am supposed to act as though nothing has transpired.

Except it has, and one day I shall push too far and he will not simply stand in my doorway. Some day I will do too much and he will find whatever he has failed to find thus far. He will step into my room while I sleep and...

I'm not sure how it will go. If I'll wake, if he'll wake me or do it as I sleep. I'm not sure which I would prefer. During the day I let myself believe the prophecy is true, and that there is redemption waiting for me. Reward.

Humanity.

At night, when I wake and smell him there, I know he does not believe it either.

Someday, after I have failed and let the demon walk in my path, I shall not wake. He will have stepped inside my room and freed me.