Nightmare Cabaret

It starts with a room full of screens:

All of them broken, none of them black.

Echoes of a voice that isn’t yours.

Nobody’s at all, in fact.


A boy right ahead of you, staring at you.

He might be a little pale, who knows,

But nothing out of the ordinary.

Only he doesn’t move.

He doesn’t even blink.


A pond aswirl with fireflies.

You see one of them hit the surface and go under –

Down, down, deeper and deeper still,

Never touching ground.


An owl settles on the fence in front of you.

It looks at you, nods approvingly.


A tree in full bloom.

Only that there are no blossoms, but hands,

Opening and closing unceasingly.


The owl is back,

Clutching a mouse that’s still alive:

It’s shrieks sound disconcerningly human.


A mouse has come.

It’s clutching the owl now,

Which almost disappears between its claws.


“There’s an eye in the wall,”

The woman screams, pointing.

You don’t see anything.


The shadows move out of your way as you proceed,

But they close again behind you.


Humans you know:

An uncle, a clerk, a friend from elementary school,

All trapped in airtight bottles.

Their waving grows weaker.


“My sons should be right here,

Only a few more minutes.

Would you like red or white wine

To go with them?”


You know it’s going to be standing there,

Even before you pull the shower curtain aside.


In the booth at the entrance to the rollercoaster,

There is no man,

But a goat with way too intelligent eyes.


The clown jumping out of the wedding cake

Apparently wasn’t invited.


The light flickers.

The shadows don’t.


The sound the balloons make when they burst

Is quite unexpected:

Not a “plop,” not a “bang,”

But an infant’s piercing cry.


It takes you quite a while,

Sitting on a bench at the Zoo,

Until you realize you’re on the wrong side of the bars.


Accidentally, you look down into the sewer.

A toothless man’s looking back at you.


There’s a long queue waiting

In front of the cemetery.

Graves are scarce these days,

And the dead have to be patient.


The waiter opens the lid.

You stare into the cook’s well-seasoned,

Broken eyes.


At the very moment you decide

You have walked down the stairs for long enough

And want to turn back,

You hear footsteps high above you.


He’s just another collector,

Nothing special about that …

Only those aren’t butterflies

That are pierced on his needles.


You look into the mirror,

Winking at yourself.

Your reflection even winks back twice.


The woods are quiet,

Way too quiet in fact.

Suddenly you have a suspicion

That the black dog you’re hunting

Wants to be found.


Falling asleep in a soft, white hotel bed.

Waking up on the hard panels of a coffin.


A baby, dropped in the middle of the field.

It starts crawling towards you as you approach …


“You should never lose that box …

But you should open it even less!”


It ends … never.

What did you think?

That there was an easy way out,

Or any way at all?

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