False to faith, or strange to you

Friday 22 October

I could not completely shake the feelings of nausea and the dull ache in my neck and shoulder as I walked along the street and I was certainly not in the right frame of mind to make my apologies to Leonard, so I abandoned my journey to Elmfield House and returned home. When I arrived back at the flat I found Alex busily packing his bags and, as I stood in the bedroom door watching him stuff his clothes and belongings into his rucksack, I was possessed by a liberating sense of indifference. I no longer wanted to fight to keep us together. I really didn't give a damn.

“I’ll need your keys if you’re leaving.”
Alex stopped emptying the drawers and answered sharply, “babe, I’m not in the mood for an argument..."
“Who’s arguing?” I countered.
“I can see it in your face…”
I sighed. “You just don’t understand, do you?”
“Don’t even try and make excuses…” he replied as he zipped up his bag.
“Then don’t be such a f*****g idiot.”
There it was again. The uncharacteristically aggressive lack of control over myself. I had never felt so unashamedly self-confident and deliberately provocative in my entire life. Alex threw his bag down onto the floor upon hearing my insulting comment and he turned to face me with his fists gripped tightly either side of him. We came toe to toe, staring threateningly into each other’s eyes.
“I’m sorry…what?” he asked, cocking his ear towards me.
“I said…don’t be such a f *****g idiot.” This time I said it with a grin.

As I stared deeply into Alex’s eyes I felt my cheeks flush and my stomach begin to churn violently - all perfectly normal reactions in such an emotionally charged situation - but I also felt myself bristle defensively against an unfamiliar and extremely menacing air that was building in the room. Maybe it was the close proximity between us or it was a trick of the light but Alex’s face looked different somehow and there was a venomous malice in his words and demeanour that was completely unlike him. He looked at me with pure contempt as though he had no shred of respect for me whatsoever. This is not Alex standing before me, I thought, but a complete stranger. 

Realising that I was in serious danger, I slowly stepped away from him for fear that any sudden movement might trigger a violent reaction, however as desperately as I tried to retreat from him I found myself equally compelled towards him. Something wicked was stirring inside me that wanted to provoke him and to deliberately spark a confrontation and it was driven by the same swell of aggression that I experience when my body is preparing to counter Luke’s advances, only this time Luke was not there to quell it and before I knew it the fire had consumed me to the point that I was rapidly losing control of my restraint.

I was not entirely aware of the combination of words and images that whipped through my mind and came spilling out of my mouth at that pinnacle point of my rage. Many of the visions I recognised as diagrams and words from The Omega Course but they were interspersed with flashbacks to my many conversations with Luke and my ordeal in the church only an hour or so earlier. And underpinning each of my words was an unshakable belief that every word that I spoke and every demand that I made would instantly come to fruition. I knew this with absolute certainty and without question.

As I spoke I felt an intense swell of emotions building up inside me and I began shaking uncontrollably and then, when the pressure inside my chest had reached an almost unbearable point, a surge of adrenalin rushed up my legs and filled my stomach and an explosion of energy burst outwards from the centre of my chest. I let out a loud and strangled cry and the power of the release knocked me off my feet and flung me into a sprawling heap on the floor, clearing everything off a nearby shelf in the process and smashing one of my framed pictures into pieces.  No sooner had I hit the floor when I heard Alex cry out and I saw him recoil violently to the side as though someone had slapped him hard across the face. I shouted his name and watched as he staggered away from me and fell backwards onto the bed, clutching at his chest, gasping desperately for air and making the most horrific gurgling noises. I dragged myself to my feet and called his name repeatedly from the corner of the room, but he was unable to answer. His breathing seemed to regulate and he was quiet for a moment, but then he let out the loudest scream that I have ever heard and he began writhing in pain and wailing like an injured animal, rolling onto his side and bringing his knees tightly up to his chest, all the while shrieking hysterically and staring straight at me, his eyes filled with terror. Then he took a sudden, sharp intake of breath and fell silent, his eyes closed and he rolled limply onto his back. I was shaking violently (and I tremble even now when recalling the sight of him) but as I stepped towards the bed I was relieved to see that he was still breathing and he had simply passed out. Nevertheless I broke down into floods of tears, partly due to the sight of him passed out on the bed and partly because our confrontation had frightened me beyond belief.

I was shaking from head to foot and my body felt unnaturally heavy as though every last drop of energy had been wrung out of my limbs but, although I desperately wanted to lie down on the floor and fall asleep, I realised that I needed to get away from the flat as soon as possible. I can’t explain why, I just sensed that I wasn’t alone, like there was someone else - or even several people - in the flat with me. I grabbed my keys from the table in the hallway and ran out of the front door, but I had no idea where I was heading. To the church? To the university? To Elmfield House? I knew that I had to make a quick decision. But it was not just an escape that I needed; more importantly, I needed answers. I needed to know what was happening to me. 

I decided to go to Amber’s apartment because, although I could not tell her what had happened and she could do little to help me, she could at least provide a safe haven for a short while and Alex would not find me there. My heart was pounding and my eyes were watering as I ran along the street, but I tried desperately to maintain my composure and began busily inventing an excuse to explain why I had arrived at Amber’s apartment unannounced: a typical argument scenario would suffice to gain her sympathy - Alex and I had argued and he had attempted to hit me and so I hit him back in defence. I would ask to stay with her for a while and return to the flat later when I had fully recovered. It was as simple as that. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I ran along the street, but as I replayed the scene that I had witnessed my tears of horror became tears of joy. Had I really done that to Alex? Or had someone or something else done it on my behalf? Was this proof that my demands in the church earlier that morning had been met? Maybe I am more powerful than I had imagined. Maybe the gods do listen to me after all. Luke would be proud.

So here I am in the familiar surroundings of Amber’s spare room, looking like a complete wreck and hiding like a scared little girl. I have spent many a hung-over morning recovering in this room after one of my drunken nights out with Amber and it certainly feels more like home than my own flat right now. These last few days have been the most emotionally tumultuous days of my life and I feel like I am living in a dream right now. Nothing seems real. On the one hand I am frightened to the very core of my being and I want to hide away in this room forever, but on the other hand I feel by far the most confident and empowered that I have felt in a long time. I have also had the best undisturbed sleep in months over these past two nights and there have been no terrifying visions, no nightmares and no nightly visitors that I have grown so accustomed to. I hope that I have finally found peace. But this is my last night here as I will return to the flat in the morning to confront Alex. I'm not sure what to expect when I see him, but I've had plenty of time to calm down, think rationally about what has happened and formulate a series of credible excuses to account for what took place between us.