PS: ARI-ARI, be okay! Love thee, be safe, be happy, be well!!
Your Doors are Shut
You are the kind of person strays hope for.
What, what does that mean, tries rational Ludwig. He swallows with great effort and finds his throat sandpaper dry as before. What are you talking about.
The spiders are building their webs around you, gasps Ivan. Why, what, how does this happen? You are like a hotel!
Well, when you consider the days beaten away in this husk of a bathroom, aimless and suffering and sitting so still as though to inter your own humiliated body (the heartbeat tamed, the swastika ripped) under the ashen tiles --
Even the strays will take you in.
Oh, Ivan breathes, toddling downward to stare behind Ludwig. You’re cold, Ivan intones. So cold -- even the spiders take to you, just like I do. Look -- they're sneaking up behind you --
Let’s be reasonable, says suffering Ludwig, his head cocked to the side, his hair stiff sticks all scratching against red eyes. He smiles. Let’s say we strike a deal. You take --
And take, and take, and take, and take and take andtakeandtake, breathes Ivan (monstrosity).
Ivan grips his jaw with needle claws and forces him to open, kisses his dry mouth sweetly. I have been waiting to take you. Hello, my future. Hello, wrecker of my home. I tore myself apart hunting you down.
Let’s be, strains Ludwig, let’s. Reasonable. Rational. People. We --
Are me, says Ivan.
And so he will keep Ludwig handcuffed to the radiator as long as he wants. The burnt-out pipes chime against his chains, metal bites deep into his reddened wrists when he strains to pull away. Two days, thirteen hours against the radiator. Ivan reminds him with a saccharine pinch, remember that this is happening to you.
Ludwig’s dapper smile erodes to a grimace. God, he says, though he has long forgotten how to pray, God, let me just stand --
Ivan grips his jaw with needle claws and forces him to open. Delicately he smiles and gingerly he rests the keys to Ludwig’s freedom on his tongue. And then, he places a hand on Ludwig's sullied head and a hand under his chin, and closes his mouth.
Ludwig makes a sound. The key is a clamor in his mouth. Thunder storm. His face goes ashen, he is one with the goddamn tile, and Ivan shushes him with horrifying serenity.
No, Ivan coos, no.
I’ll be doing your standing from now on. You can rest now. You are nothing now. You can sleep now.
You are worthless You can love me You murderer I’ll kill you You can smile again I will make you miserable We’ll be together I’m so happy You are mine to destroy I love you!
In other words: Ludwig stares up at the ceiling, as though to recall a faint and gentle memory, caresses his only escape with his tongue, and swallows.