Douglas woke in the middle of the night to find his wife missing again. Dinah had taken to doing yoga alone, long sessions at odd times of the day and, most recently, night.
Sure enough, the door to the in-home studio was closed. Douglas tried the handle—locked. He resented the fact that after thirty-five years of marriage she refused to let him join her, the excuse always the same:
These are complex positions. They take many years to master.
He should have understood. Dinah had taught him a few basic moves over the years, but he lacked the patience and discipline for anything advanced.
He took out the duplicate key he secretly had made. He felt guilty, but nonetheless, he unlocked the door and entered.
Lit by moonlight, the room was infernally hot. Dinah taught Bikram yoga classes and had installed a radiant heater. The soundproofed walls shook with whale calls—low moans with that distinct underwater echo. However, neither distracted him from the tangle of humanity in the room’s center.
He barely recognized his wife; her contorted frame supported by one foot, an elbow, and three fingers. Her left knee somehow bent the other way. Her right arm was obviously popped out of its socket, an alien limb pinned underneath her torso at an odd angle. However, it looked healthier than her other arm that hinged in two places, another joint added to the forearm. While she laid chest-down, her neck rotated an impossible full-turn to face the ceiling. She was tranquil despite the grotesque pose, eyes rolled back to the whites.
Suffocated by the noise and heat, Douglas swooned on the verge of blacking out. He realized he hadn’t taken a breath since he entered as if underwater. Instinctually, he assumed Downward Dog. Dinah always started him there—the key to all positions. Head ducked under the arch of the body, he found an air pocket and greedily filled his lungs.
Vision restored, Douglas opened his eyes to a massive stone tower rising from an unknown shore. Covering the spire in slippery green, seaweed snaked up the ancient edifice like ivy. Through the nighttime doom, he spied himself in one of the lofty windows. Douglas’s mind swam, but he realized the window was a mirror. However, his reflection turned as if someone inside the fortress called to him. With a lingering look off to the horizon, his image retreated from sight.
Douglas pivoted to follow his double’s pointed gaze. However, he slipped on the rocks that surrounded him, the slimy seaweed spreading over everything here. Unable to even shuffle his feet, he twisted hard at the waist to look behind. In the mirror glass of another tower’s window, he again found his reflection. His likeness stared to his left before stepping out of sight.
Despite his lack of flexibility, he violently swung an arm to torque himself in the new direction. His dislocated shoulder burning, he spied another of his reflections. Again, it pointed to a different site.
Knotting himself over the slimy rocks in a series of excruciating maneuvers, he assumed the same pose as his wife. Less flexible and practiced, he endured the pain of his torn ligaments and broken bones.
These are complex positions…
Suddenly, he appeared in every window, hundreds of eyes gazing upwards to the moonless heavens. Positioned facedown, he rotated his neck a full turn to the night sky. His novice tendons snapped, muscles tore, and a splinter from his shattered spine punctured his jugular.
Bleeding out, he stared into the endless void of the night, that unblinking eye of a Dreaming God. He despaired that it didn’t look back, smothering him with the lonely madness of indifference.
Author Bio: Vacated scarecrow poles. Smoking factories without doors. An hourglass filled with ants. Clinging to the coast of New England, S.E. Casey writes of the darkly wondrous, strange, and grotesque. His short stories and poetry have appeared in many magazines and anthologies which can be found at secaseyauthor.wordpress.com.