The mist had ...
... although each of these pictures was as valid as the first, see them if you could. There would be something around them, and then you would see them, and then there would be something around them again ...
I wish the spirits had not given me so much patronage. They took me for their own, and I, humbly, had as a consequence to take them for my own, in addition. It wasn't that they didn't care for the things I saw. They, too, smiled at them, although they didn't cherish them quite the same way as me. Quite the same way as me. Theirs were different scenes, different bubbles, that mounted upward through the soft mud, that smelt of sulphur, that smelt of candle-wax, that rang with the emptiness of a darkened room too far away, where some woman knelt praying.
The mist had wings, but it also had teeth. It was not many times that I was forced to face the face, and it hid itself as swiftly as it had come - secured itself, I should rather say. The mist was the flesh in which it lived; it did not come out to frown upon me. It came out because, in seeing, I was unconsciously seeking it; and my fear drove it back to the indeterminate place it had come from.
The mist was not fog, and it knew nothing of streetcars, buses or taxis. The spires that poked above it were spires that, in a different world, poked far underground; and it was rather that I was looking at the foundations of a world, like some clump of weeds that had been torn up and lay stricken beside the smouldering bonfire.
Always, that glimpse of teeth - more than the eyes, which seemed without real intelligence, and neither hinted at nor promised anything at all. They might have been diverted; they might have been dreaming, like something watching a film, like something too weary to watch any longer. The smile was automatic, a piece that had been formed from a sliver of whalebone during some revolution in which man found out, for the first time, the use of tools, the use of a stone, the way that some other creature with horns could be imprisoned by its black descent, could spreadeagle itself upon the earth, as if marvelling at some stone from heaven.
The mist did not absolve; it simply effaced responsibility. There was no answerability, only fate, which was the ultimate answerability, and its ways were inscrutable, and its feet were unseen, and its ears were hidden, and its face was unknown, and I was in a land without power, where nothing could be contested.
The mist was like the shape of all the ships that had sunk, deluded, within it. It was like whatever form one read into it, tranquil and sweeping, unjudgmental. I was imagining a light on a distant hill, something shrill, like a lighthouse, something that would penetrate it. But we were a hundred fathoms beneath all light; perhaps we were a centimeter from the brightest light of all time. But nothing could be known; only different surmises could be tested. And still the mist rolled, secure, securing.
It was not the first night's sleep that pained me, nor the second one. It was not the penultimate one, nor the last one. It was nothing that I could point to, since where I pointed no longer existed, although I knew, somewhere swallowed up in that mist, there was something true that stood apart from it. But how could it oppose?
How many people, like me, can narrate their last night's sleep? I haven't even arrived there yet, to acknowledge the shock of my own truth.