Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Tornado People

I first saw the Tornado People when I was a youngster. They were the reason I had to have a nightlight on in order to sleep peacefully for ten years. They never seemed to appear in the light, or at least I couldn't perceive them anymore. My mother and grandparents thought me foolish for needing that light. But that fear of the darkness is palpable even as a memory today.

They appeared in the blackness that only children can see, in the darkness that looks like a living thing, with pulsating particles that seem to move and vibrate like they are flowing in and out of our reality. The Tornado People seemed to use this particulate black to move, walking around with an air of incomprehensible menace. They used it to form the upright vortexes of their limbs, torsos and head. There were times that I swear I could almost hear the buzzing caused by their featureless maelstroms. That's why I named them "Tornado People", but I never told anyone about them.

They had no discernible eyes, yet I knew they saw everything. I could feel it. I had no idea what they wanted, and I could never understand their aims. I felt like I was some sort of experiment they were observing. To them, I was the ant I stepped on or the fly I swatted. I was only safe if they didn't notice me. Or if I took away the darkness.

Gradually, I stopped seeing the Tornado People. They went away, or at least they stopped showing themselves to me.  The darkness became simple black. Now, I find it hard to sleep with any light on at all. I wear a blindfold at night, and earplugs. There's a constant activity in my mind that I can only damped that way. Dark and silent.

I've come to wonder if there really are such things hidden in the darkness. Does a person's increasing rationality as they grow up turn off switches in their head that let them see those things? Preferring ignorance to understanding? Or perhaps as a necessity to maintain their sanity? After all, how can one explain the things that go bump in the night? Or at least do so without being acquiring a derisive label?

Our minds aren't meant to process that sort of information. Our brains can't handle it any more than if we could see into four dimensions rather than three. Too much information, too much clutter, too many things to fear. Imagine if you could see all the microorganisms in the air around you? Would you be too afraid to move, or too scared to stand still?

I have to wonder now. There have been nights lately in which the darkness began to move again. Instead of simple black, a miasma of movement just on the edge of my conscious perception. I still have control of my rationality. I think I do. I haven't seen the Tornado People again. Yet. It has been nearly a lifetime since they showed themselves to me, watching me. Now I wonder, did they go away or did I? And after a lifetime of moving from place to place, have they finally found me again?

I have to wonder: Will they just watch this time?

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