Horror Highlight – Anatomy Review
THERE IS A TAPE IN THE LIVING ROOM.
“I’m looking for something that’ll break through. Something tough.” – Max Renn (James Woods), Videodrome
The drinking straw may be the most neglected tool of a human’s daily Life. There’s a reason infants suck on their thumbs, an inherently inscribed method of describing thirst, hunger, appetite. A desire to suck, almost an early sign of sexual maturation regardless of ‘age’ (aka a concept coined by society in further efforts to group individuals).
Sucking at the teet of a mother’s nipple. It evolves into the iconic rubber design of a baby bottle, allowing the toothless to quench their potent thirst. To live another day. Metamorphosing the natural maternal design into a practical object, erasing the provocation of breast-feeding. In other words, implying bodily procedures respective to discomfiting societal norms.
Like glossily requesting to go to the bathroom. Or the difference between having sex and fucking. Erasing the fellow visual mental response as a means of avoiding offense. Clean up your words, child. It’s all a state of mind nonetheless. The elaborate transformation of hereditary functions into taboo, by way of restrained vocabulary.
I’ve spent nearly the past two days in my bedroom, alone. The rain has kept me inside, and I don’t have a car to use this weekend regardless. I usually borrow my mother’s, or pay for rides to and from work, school, the store, wherever I can go. To get away from the house where I reside, the one I trust. The one that protects me, and watches me as I sleep. That keeps me warm and invited. The place where I will die. Where I will be swallowed whole.
You can never really trust those who keep you safe. Sooner or later, you start taking them for granted, and the neglect begins to wear on them; gradually, as the wallpaper tears away, which hides the scars. Scars you leave behind every day. Did you even know? No, how could you.
Scars build tough skin. Muscles which grow from repeated wear and tear. It’s a human function: strength through strained repetition, by means of cognitive focus and dedication. Exercise is so much more a mental function than a physical one, likening its many methods to self-therapy or meditation. “Your body can stand almost anything; it’s your mind you have to convince.” Who the hell ever said that anyways?
Perhaps most obviously, the drinking straw is penile in appearance (not to mention function). If a mother’s nipple serves as the basis of inspiration for the baby bottle, the human penis must act as some sort of cognizant methodical design for the straw. Transferring various forms of liquid from one place to another, often directly into the mouth, to be swallowed or spit out, in pleasure or disgust.
But pleasure and disgust walk a thin tightrope. One might say they travel hand in hand, mouth to mouth, growing ever so closely without ever officially converging into a single sustaining lifeform. Like two teens uniting their tongues in ecstasy, reaching for intimacy, sucking face. A drinking straw that moves saliva between separate conduits.
Humans aren’t the only Earth creatures to utilize straw-like processes. The desert lizard, Moloch horridus, the ‘Thorny Devil’ can soak water out from soggy areas of sand. It mutates its skin into a web of drinking straws, channeling water from their feet to their mouths. A bodily transfiguration of straw into organ. Be it penis or skin.
Both of which carry similar functions.
THEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEER THE
DOORS ARE UNLOCKED
I now keep the doors in my house open at all times. I keep every light on as long as I can. Closed doors to dark rooms blind awareness and perception. They manifest a trench of loneliness within me, an extended period of time during which I struggle to keep busy any way possible. The scourge of humanity is isolation: being alone with nothing but one’s thoughts devastates the serenity of one’s psyche.
But only by being alone in the dark closed room of a house can one ever come to realise the falsity of solitude. You are never truly alone; after all what else is a house for but to provide an eternal maternal fortress which will never abandon you? A Life forever designated to those early stages of dependent infancy which keep us so consistently ignorant and afraid.
But does that house dream? Would it leave you if it could, before you inevitably move away?
The inconsequentiality of a household’s feelings stems from an instinctual disability to project feeling unto inanimate beings. The house sits and sleeps, its foundation laid out for it, just as an ultimate fate is erected by nature’s cruel, improvised hand — be it a gust of wind gradually dismantling the exterior of its abode, or a living being with an itch for permissible butchery.
Does that house live? Does it watch as you return home, barraging through the front door with a complacent swagger as you drop your pants and make yourself comfortable within its very body? Incapable of reaching inside to abort the tumor which has assumed residence inside. For isolation to a human may be contradictory and untrue; but a house understands loneliness more than any person in this world.
Perhaps then, the home is hindered by a dependence all its own. A parasite taking advantage of one’s makeup is certainly a more desirable relationship to partake in than to suffer sheer loneliness. Is such a notion not emotionally identifiable? Surely empathy gives an unlively being such as a house some sort of humanity.
But does that house want to be human?
The dread of isolation is solidified by an unconscious but recognizable awareness that we are not so alone as we may think. A locked door may house any sort of monstrosity behind it. Around any darkened corner may lie a horrid beast waiting in ambush. Even in the supposedly relaxed and familiar confines of the inhabited space we call “Home,” we are susceptible to the unknown.
There’s a reason we collectively fear peering into the chasms of a black basement. At the foot of those stairs we stare down steadfast into the abyss, confident in our known realities. But all the while our subconscious scratches at the back of our heads, an itch burrowing into the attics of our minds, reaching towards the hearts of obscurity to dish out an imaginative property determined to frighten and potentially harm. An inherent survivalist response to trepidation. Disgust for the sake of well-being.
I deeply inhale and hold, then take the first step. Slowly descending those stairs only increases the tension, stifling my breath. If I breathe, it will hear me, it will smell me, it will feel my presence. Curiosity drives me further downward. It is only a house, the place where I live. My home protects me, it is not predatory. Nor is it disingenuous. It is only still, for the house is aware. But the threat sustains, and my mouth quivers. My chest feels about to burst. My privates shrivel and retreat. My muscles clench. But my eyes remain pierced.
The darkness obfuscates. It hides, covers up that which does not wish to be seen. But I wish to see, to prove the darkness wrong. To prove I am aware. Through sensory input, I may overcome the obfuscation. Is it worth it to be right in such a situation? I am eager to find out.
One step further. The darkness gradually envelops me, erasing the upstairs illumination providing whatever sense of guiding aura remains. Silence permeates, oppressively grasping the air like a master’s whip, ready to strike at any given moment in time. Closer, further down, the end is nearing. Whatever the finale entails, it will surely involve revelation, comeuppance for my curiosity.
The tape cuts off. Howls like an animal ensnared in a trap. The blue blinds me as the footage disappears behind a wall of canvas and obscured text. Breath ejaculates from out my gaping jaw; my heart reaches a climax of intensity. Relief slowly follows. I begin to cackle at the dissatisfaction. I sit at my desktop, alone in my dark room. A blank screen which shelters me from the assumed chaos within its systems. Just as within my room, I escape the plight of external perils. Some things are better left unresolved.
But curiosity cannot be cured. I dive back in.