The Man

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There was a man whose wife went mad on the night of their wedding. They shut themselves away to consummate the marriage and she told him she was afloat a sea on a raft of doors. They took her away that night.

After that he lived in a mansion with nothing other than the chair his wife had been sitting on the day he proposed. The walls were bare. The floor was bare. Even he was bare, turning himself blue each night by sleeping naked upon the wooden floors whilst trying to stop the world from swaying like he was himself afloat a sea on a raft of doors.

People would visit, but they would never find him. The front door was ever unlocked so there was no trouble getting in, but once inside he would run from room to room, his feet like two padded paws that made not the slightest sound to give away his location.

After an hour, even his own brother would cease the search and depart, leaving the door ajar as he went.

It was a large house, a wonderful mansion left to him by his father as he was the eldest. Beyond it spread the grounds: gardens that had become overgrown scenes of Darwinesque survival; woods that seemed to be cloaked in perpetual darkness; grass that one could lose one's boots in.

It was a wild place.

A friend, a man who was never more than an acquaintance before the madness, would often come to the house in his safari outfit, a rifle on his shoulder half the size of the woman he brought to entertain. They would wade into the long grass, peer from behind sprawling trees, and shoot at shadows till the woman swooned and stared at the vast, empty mansion.

Sometimes she saw a face looking back, a pale, ghostlike moon that was there then gone.

One day the man took down all the doors. He cut himself as he did so and he stared at the wound, the red red blood putting fear into him for its colour, its bright bright colour. He lived in a world of shadows, of blacks and whites and greys and browns and charcoals and dark shades and more shadows. He saw green when he looked outside and blue if he looked up from the green.

But he saw red only when he cut himself, when he gashed open a palm trying to tear doors off their hinges so he could build a raft and sail on a sea of doors.

Or was it build a sea of doors to sail on?

He couldn't remember.

He took his hand, with it dripping pool of red red blood, and sat near the chair. He looked at the chair and tried to remember her. He couldn't. He tried to recall her voice. He couldn't. He tried to recall her smell and even inhaled the dust from the chair, but to no avail. It had been happening for days, the forgetting, and it was why he was going to build his raft, his sea of doors. That was where she had gone, upon that ocean and far away. Only if he went too, could he find her.

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