The morning was coming. No two ways about it. Nothing new found in the discovery – he was in fact well past [as the last months had bled together in a string of such transitions] the abject fear; the self-loathing; even the depression that was attendant to this passing early on. As blackouts roamed largely untethered between moments of necessary lucidity – - someone, and as far as he knew [for the most part] there was still just the one of him; had to make the bucks to keep the machine surging forward – - even the glory of reversal, the bold denial of the human tendency to align with the sun-cycle, the promise of some adventure he imagined he was in the midst of, or had just passed… well, all of that had faded. It was now almost the Curse of Nosferatu; separated from the world of the living by a sickening and unnatural affliction.
But unlike Das Wampyr, he knew that the converse was possible. Simple, almost. Let the liver do its already daunting job chewing through the handful of sober cigarettes, critical medications, free-radicals and unspeakable chemical amalgamations that his diet of processed foods was already asking of it every hour. But there was more. A series – no, a relentless onslaught – of punishments doled out to this glad by way of distilled spirits consumed in large quantities over epic stretches. Narcotics. OTC drugs by the handful. So much so that at times he could feel the seizures in his viscera; liver and kidneys rebelling, pleading for reprieve, just giving in to fatigue and letting him fend through blurred vision and jaundice as they sat out for a spell.
He imagined, or hoped he could convince himself once more; it really was “one day at a time” – even in twisted opposition to the invocation used to soothe the ambitious task that sobriety called for – that these excesses were teaching him *something*; something worth knowing and using later in life; in those dreams where this was just a ‘phase’, he was past it, all he had to do [and he *would*, right?] was decide that it was time to stop and he could; like that; nothing to it, folks.
But the creeping sensation now enveloped him – not for the first time, certainly – but seemingly more real this time; as the sun stabbed through the slats, as the real, actual, World of Participants and Hopefuls and [shudder] Humans was emerging into rituals of work, love, activity – that the decision was not something he could flip like a switch inside his mind and hope to behave differently with effortless understanding. The System had bred versions of itself so familiar, so fundamental, that he feared anymore to even attempt to pull that hand-brake; knowing, with a mist in his eyes and a second-natured fog in his mind, that it would snap off in his hand. That something – some convenient excuse; each and every time, would rise up and force him back – with reassurances that it was just this one last event, this one last cocktail, this one last sunrise… and then he would cease – - into that ever-more-nebulous form of the thickening intellectual helplessly bent on destroying the object of his nameless dread.