Neither Here Nor There

📅 Published on June 15, 2022

“Neither Here Nor There”

Written by Dale Thompson
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


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Staring wildly out the window, trying to make sense of the madness swelling in my mind, I am lost in the reverie of the little I know to be true, trying to reconcile the upheaval in my soul. How I pray it were possible, in not so many words, that I could go back to the beginning; however, what was the beginning?

I am praying to God above, hoping not to draw suspicion.  I know there is a God; otherwise, these frequent occurrences would not be happening to me.  I live with a flood of uneasiness, and I hope my creator does not mock me.  I know who I am.  I cannot recall who I was.  I do not know who I might be next.

Seclusion doesn’t hide me or conceal my identity.  I am exposed in the open for all to see. Memory eludes me, fractured, disjointed, not well-connected; glimpses of what was and what might have been hold me confined in a prison practically unbearable, seeming to reconstruct with each episode I endure.  Death is hypothetic to me.

I should begin from when this affliction came to be.  I was a missionary in Brazil.  I caught a fever from parasites carried by a triatomine bug causing neuropathologic lesions, and although I have Caucasian ancestry and should not have contracted this illness, I was infected anyhow. I had become vulnerable to vascular dementia.  The bugs themselves were found in the thatched walls of a hut I was working from.  I had experienced oxidative stress, revealed as enhanced lipid peroxidation, in the cerebral cortex.  Normally one would have been exposed to a series of tests on the central nervous system, but because the Brazilians at this time only practiced primitive medicine, I was left with partial amnesia.  The only reason I can recall this part of my mystery is because I retain the doctor’s reports detailing my illness.  The report showed clearly that I declined, going from acute to chronic very rapidly, which is rare.  In my case, I continued with unexpected fevers and a wicked case of heartburn, which came on unanticipated as well.  These fortuitous episodes were manageable but not curable.

When this first occurred, I was convinced without a doubt that I was dying and soon would leave this world.  I had prepared myself for a long sleep until the resurrection.  Being a man of faith, my hope and faith were in the promise of being raised to a new life on the last day.  By the time I realized that something amazingly supernatural was occurring, something interceded, or rather interrupted, my transition from life to death, and I was waking up in another body.  I was someone else.  I did not enter peaceful oblivion.  I was abruptly and rudely awakened.  I continued to exist, puzzling after death.  I was not a shadow, a ghost or a leering phantom spectre; rather, I was a human being remaining upon the earth, being prevented from advancing to my eternal reward.  Now this plague hangs over me and causes me much grief. This has become a scourge to my very existence, for I refuse to die.

Arguably, there is no one I can reliably confide in, for they would think I was mad.  Not a single soul could identify with my affliction.  I have managed to tolerate it for the most part, to live with it, to accept it, but to explain it is an entirely different story altogether.  Science would imprison me, would want to dissect me, to take samples and use them on poor innocent mice in some horrid experiment.  Modern medicine would turn me into a monstrous experiment of physical and psychological trauma, which I wish to take no part of.  I have nowhere to go.  I adamantly refuse to become a lab rat, forced to yield to obscure medicaments or to surrender myself to any greater sciences.

This rejuvenation – reincarnation, if you will – my transference from body to body is a fantastical concept, but I assure you it is most true. My unfortunate hellish condition transfers my consciousness from body to body while still living.  Mentally, these unprecedented changes do not allow complete retentiveness.  I only retain an outline of where I have been.  Details, such as names of associations, places, dates, and time are lost to the cosmos, I suppose.  On occasion, someone may take notice of me acting out of character.  They may spot some sort of peculiar or irregular unconventional behavior from me.  If I act outside of the normal behavior of the host body, I have learned to make adjustments and excuse myself for such anomalies concerning manners and deportment.  I suppose it is a conditioning process that I have developed over time.  I have become a copiously erudite person, not becoming alarmed under stressful conditions, which prevents me from making my plight worse.

Unquestionably, suicide is out of the question in my state of immortality.  There is never time enough to pull the trigger, down the handful of sleeping pills or kick the chair out from under myself so I can hang by the rope ‘till dead before I am yanked away in some sort of vacuum and transferred into a new host body.  Suicide possibly would condemn me to the infernal regions, but existing in this framework of time, perpetually interrupted by departing one life to enter another, is hell enough for me.

I have combed through the volumes in the libraries seeking a cure through medical books, philosophical books, religious literature, yet I have failed to find a resolve.  My affliction is a rare case, never recorded before that I can find.  I am the chief board member of this exclusive club and also the only member.  There once was a song by Harry Nilsson; the lyric goes, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.  One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever know.”

Perhaps, the body is meaningless.  It is my fundamental essence, the quintessence of my being, the marrow of my soul, the epitome of my consciousness, which periodically moves in a paranormal dissipation, habitually shifting and precipitously redeploying me into a different body, a distinctive time, an unfamiliar place; yet I become conversant and adapt quickly.  The integration does not take long and the adaption seems to fill in all of the holes.  The acclimation period from start to finish, from when I experience death until the embodiment is less than 30 seconds.  I become another person that swiftly.  All of this takes place with no prior warning; absolutely no notice is given. There are no signs to read or strange sensations, distressingly, not even movement of suspended animation.  It just occurs.

Indisputably, I am never dead, never toe tagged as a corpse or labeled as a cadaver.  Conceivably, my bodies die but only at the point when it is finalized; I leave what was to enter what is.  Namely, the life that is me is yanked from the jaws of unretrievable fatality and demise. The moment of last breath is breathed through the next host as the first breath of my new existential life.  I must suffer the grim reality of dying over and over again!

Manifestly, I feel the pain of their death, my death.  I taste the bitter medicines on my tongue, the symptoms of illness, disease, treatment. Perhaps in some ways, I am a lab rat, just not under the scrutiny of a lab.  I must suffer through the emotional trauma of the perpetual loss of loved ones, but do I really know them?  I am a trespasser if the truth be known.  This is not my dying body, yet it is.

Why can’t I have an ordinary death?  I do not dread death; I fear dying. The trepidation of dying but never having the luxury of the grave haunts me.  Finality eludes me.  I cannot catch it.  I am like the man somewhat drowned in the sea standing at the gates of paradise yet brought back to life again and again, powerless to enter, ineffectual to plead my case.  I am turned away from a harmonious state of being and drawn back into the flames of mortal life. Oh, how I would cherish the grave and all of its creature comforts.  By the time the body that I had taken up residence in and tenanted is lowered into the ground, I have moved on, oddly enough, whisked away to another unassuming, unknown destination.

I have been denied the necropolis where antique slabs, urns, cenotaphs and mausoleums house the remains of the dead against the backdrop of overgrown rank and damp grass, rotting stones and broken shrines, holding back an effluence of miasmal noxious gases.

Mine is an asylum, not of a sanctuary kind but the mentally disturbed kind.  I have experienced death more times than I would care to mention though I have never been deceased.  It is a ghastly way to live.  I am in a constant state of detention.  Resigned, without free will, forced to take up residence, becoming domicile wherever this transcendental display of debauchery sojourns me.

Ironically, I am assailed with hideous doubts and vivid ghoulish imaginations which become maledictions to my ever-growing list of trespasses.  The Deity of Death looms constantly over me, eyeing me, scrutinizing me, invading my privacy.  At least I am not ordered to view my own funeral.  To be remanded to such a charnel scene of abysmal gruesomeness would simply be egregious, not to mention terribly cruel and abhorrent.

I have been given a lethal dose of morphine while lying in a hospice bed many times, given by doctors who bend to the will of the family who no longer want their loved one to suffer.  Thank God that I have never been embalmed.  It is unthinkable to think the blood is drained and replaced by a solution of formaldehyde in water and preservatives to forestall decomposition. Don’t misunderstand me, I do want to die.  I crave death daily.

My world is morbid, and being so, this macabre ambiance all around me puts strains on every relationship.  I have no one, not really. Admittedly, because of my condition, I am not the ideal partner or friend.  I tend to make a mess of things and wreck every relationship. Running the gauntlet of death, I have seen life from many unusual perspectives.  Understandably, my position has not always been clear, but even looking through the pale of it all, I can rationalize the significance of the moment.  I have been filthy rich and homelessly poor.  I prefer rich to destitute.  I have loved in marriage and also gone through betrayal.  I have had children and know not a one.  I have been wheelchair-bound, sick unto death, accused and imprisoned, fought in wars, committed murder.  I am always a male, sometimes old, seldom young, but mentally I seem middle-aged.  It is theoretically impossible to predict what I will wake up to next or how long I will remain in the next body.  I find this a heartless way to live. Incontestably, it is a barbarous and inhumane punishment.

Reflectively, there are times I feel the lost vistas of yesteryear lingering somewhere in my confusion.  Inarguably, they remain so far removed that I am pathetically unable to recall them. Maybe I should not summons them forward.  Could it possibly be that I do not wish to learn the times of my trifle existence before today?

In this formless infinity, I oftentimes struggle to understand communication in its most primitive form.  Presumably, I have suffered a jolt, a shock or tragedy potentially leaving mortal as well as psychological scars of vague impressions upon me in such an unexplainable manner as to burn my vision of presenting an accurate account and thus skewing the truth.  It is with all candor that I am telling all that I can remember.  I alone cannot tell.

Controversially, I stand on the thin line of mixed abhorrence and forbidden fascination, all the while tucking guarded secrets out of sight of others.  Albeit, every life I live becomes a mystical absorption that fittingly dissolves my past discoveries in a dimensional formula of morbid malignity; like a pestilence, it will feed upon the ripest of my thoughts, stripping the branches bare of the harvest, reputably, leaving them dry and barren.  Indubitably I admit to you that I am decimated mentally and in ruin.  In all honesty, forthright, I have surmised that nothing has brought me closer to an answer.  Clearly, nothing sustains me from the unwelcome intrusions of deliberate chaos evoked by influences of the invisible, out of my control. Perennially, all remains unrecognizable.  Incidentally, even the air I breathe is unfamiliar.  I am he who has never seen behind the curtain.

I do not know how it works, the mechanisms of design or any of its intricate parts.  Ever traveling through gulfs of fathomless grey, traversing over uttermost darkness on rails of shrieking and moaning sorrow, presumably, I then drop through the dazzling constellations above me, splitting the inimical blackness as a bolt of lightning, electrifying the pernicious scene to only be terrified by intimidating ugly, twisted and swollen faces, bloated and floating in a crystalized liquid until it seems, by chance or predestination, I latch onto anything that doesn’t shake me loose.  While I clutch and scream in my head space, I am reborn in a new, unsuspecting host.  The strangeness does not stop there.  I wander in a vast expanse of dull, numbing tones until the picture materializes, and I become the person which I have been lowered down into, there to begin again the masquerade of living as someone else.

I cannot remember my origin.  I do not know where I have come from, my parents or anything of the sort.  I have researched missionaries to Brazil but found nothing of any use in distinguishing me from the hundreds of others who have explored the rainforest in hopes of adding new converts to the kingdom.  I have no way to know if what I am experiencing is somehow connected with something atrocious that I have foolishly done in my past and now am paying retribution for.  Am I being chastised, disciplined, made an example of because I committed a wretched act?  Regardless, I have paid my debt now, anything more is insufferable.  I wish I knew my real name.  I have no identity.

With the passage of time, I have gained some knowledge and understanding, believing potentially, my condition is symptomatic not of a disease which I had contracted but rather something oblivious to me through lack of proper investigation.  Maybe I was the sole cause of disconnect.  I convinced myself through discourse that I needed to plug back into life.  Some sort of short circuit has transpired, leaving me not to be fully connected, and this had nothing to do with the contagion.  Through the numerous bodies I have inhabited, the symptoms of the original disease have been scarce at best.

I was in a good place.  I was living alone.  It is always better this way. The fewer people involved, the less the likelihood of others being hurt and broken-hearted because I knew I was here to die again.  One of the concerns I do have, though, about the fairly eremitic life of a recluse is loneliness because of the brooding darkness, which oftentimes keeps me company. But through solitude, I seem to have more capacity to free-think without interruption or recess.  Again rethinking, in a strenuous struggle for balance, the isolation leaves me alienated. If I wasn’t already mentally exhausted, woefulness would swallow me whole.  It is easy to say I am accursed because of my dreaded malady, but this would only aid my own inescapable self-loathing and self-afflicting torment.

When a person is all-consumed by death yet never dying, pleasant dreams are what they pray for.  When I sleep, I pray not to wake.  The dreams are not always pleasant but nothing concocted in my imagination is as terrifying as the reality of consciousness.  The terrible reality is all-disturbing.  I feel like the restless dead lost in the catacombs of abomination.  It is a daily desperate struggle mentally not to lose myself in some sort of frantic display of resistance and inevitably obtrude myself upon the situation in hope, possibly, magically, a manic display would propel me somehow out of limbo and establish me away from all things nefarious. Deport me, my Lord, from this strange land and plant me in the soil of my birth.

Deviltry has weakened my determination to be free of the bondage of living horror.  I have been foolish to allow this to persist so long, but until now, I have had no way out.  Every life given to me, I have done nothing with it except despise it, hate it, loathe it.  After the first few I determined within myself to stop caring since I believed no one cared for me.  I now believe I have had an epiphany, and there might be a light at the end of this gloomy tunnel!  I have come to realize through iniquitous failures I must stop chasing things far out of reach, things such as youth, beauty, power and wealth, for my suffering is self-inflicted.  I have been so severe in my thinking, irrationally unable or not willing to extinguish my own fires which fervently burn within.

I have come to the knowledge that scrutinizing those things I believed I was worthy of and entitled to were part of a controversial, endless and languorous chase, which never failed to leave me hopelessly begging to die under strange glinting stars.  I have notoriously created this nightmare, not God, not the universe; I am the devil, the adversary who wars with himself in unremitting turmoil of my own pathetic design.  Enduringly, I have a strong desire to go back to my religious roots.  My spiritual life has suffered for years now, and being tortured daily is commonplace as I wait to die upon an altar where my sacrifice has presented itself with pride and indemnity and which I formed in my mind as restitution.  I have nothing to offer but myself, which has been the very thing I have never truly let go.  Yes, I have prayed for death.  Embarrassing to admit, that prayer revealed was my selfishness on display.  The deluded prayer fell on deaf ears because, once again, I thought I had done something which meant I deserved to be released from this life and enter death.  Lethal silence answered me.

This was the ignorance of my flesh winning out again, fearful of another day of suffering, yet I have narcissistically carried on blindly making the same mistakes.  Assuredly, I have not just fallen into the ditch, but I have dug the ditch recklessly and have fallen into it many times over. To stop this cycle, I must submit myself to a greater power.  I know in myself dwells nothing good.  I lust, I crave, my appetite has been ferocious.  Why could I not see this before? Tragically, I have never found my purpose, and without ambition, how can I justify my actions, or how can I ever truly know my own intentions, especially if I am believing my own lie?  A tight grip now has my full attention.  Gradually I am gaining strength from somewhere within.

I feel power coursing through me like a burning ember.  This is the power to release my influence from others.  There is no longer a need for me to control everything in every life I have lived.  For once, maybe I should become an observer and take notes.  I see importance in listening now, where I was doing all of the talking.  All of my precautions were for self-preservation.  It is I and I alone who has ambitiously complicated my existence.  I have invented solutions, made rules, mapped my ideas – all for nothing because every bit of it was my carnal side, unable to recognize the specific spiritual applications needing to be exorcised. “Less is more” is my new slogan.  Those are words to live by.  I do not have to work to be special.  I am important already because I exist.  I have said I cannot remember the details of past lives, but I am confident and affirm unequivocally that I have been far too problematic in my life by turning the simple things into these multifaceted dilemmas, not recognizing the spirals of time in which my perception is renewed and awareness is realized.

I am profoundly worn down from this transmigration, and if becoming the man I am to be means opening myself up, then I shall do so, for in the aperture of the exposed heart, I can heal all of the stages of completion and preservation by injecting the truth of my existence into the transcendent fibers of my soul.  Sure enough, I no longer need to be a monstrous specimen.  I admit it is time that part of me is exterminated for good.  I am not speaking of my soul, for I do not support thanatism.

As I enter this utmost darkness, worryingly vaguer than the memories which have haunted me in their transparency, unrevealed and unrecognizable, I see the light before me.  Oblivion no longer frightens me.  Death no longer fascinates me.  All that matters, is that I fulfill the expectations required of me.

Soon my alienation and disembodiment episodes shall end.  Intuitively I have reassurance this is coming.  A possible change is on the horizon, and once I step into the light, it will all have been worth it.  I know how foolish I have been to rush the perfection of the solar storm taking place in me, haunting me with phantoms while at the same time swirling my essence into an everlasting creation.  I have recognized little manifestations of obvious growth.  I am being unearthed from miry clay, from the stench, from the fetid and nauseous odors of my own decay.  I see clearly now, unobscured. Logical argument convinces me I have been dead all along. Uncertainty no longer perplexes me, for I have no concern nor regard for the time of day.  I need not scramble from the grave to save myself, for in the grave I am finding purpose.

Now I know the putrescence of a familiar foulness.  The black cavity where I stand is the bed in which I was laid.  I am here in a rendezvous with a recognizable man.  I have known this man for decades and, more troubling, have known him to be deceased.  I was this man many years ago.  I was deformed when I came into the world.  How could I not have seen this before?  I ponder, can death be artificial?  The grave is a moldering spectacle of nonexistence, merely housing the shell.  How foolish was I to feel slighted in not experiencing it first-hand?  Despairingly, I have overlooked the gift I have had for these immemorial years.  After much reflection, there is no doubt, and with all trenchant certainty, I am convinced my origin was a malformation. I was somehow disfigured.  I believe the proper word is mutation. Indeed, it is true.  The lives were gifts to a life cut short after its first breath outside the womb.

My memories have returned to me in a way where they draw a timeline.  I have lived many lives, this much is true, but have not lived them outside of my own body, for I am what they have labeled a wet specimen.  I am not dispirited or bothered by the validity because the lives I have lived have brought me to completion, and thus I can now find my rest.  I was never given a name like Henry, Tom or Pete.  I am specimen 1369 and am preserved in a glass jar, displayed graphically above the science table at the university.  I am an amorphous entity but entering my rest.  But that is neither here nor there.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Dale Thompson
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Dale Thompson

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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