I guess the best thing I can compare the feeling to is what happened at the climax of A Wrinkle in Time, except instead of making me compliant... the pounding, the droning... it hurt. It hurt more than I ever thought I was capable of comprehending. It drilled into my mind, pulled out and faded away just long enough to break my concentration and make my guard slip, and then slammed back in again, harder, ripping my sanity to shreds. And because the source of the pain was rooted in something I had always tied myself to so deeply, I couldn't separate myself from it. I couldn't guard myself. I couldn't make it stop.
...I'm still not sure if the whole not sleeping thing was of my own volition or not. All I know about that time is that I was in less pain, but I was even more helpless to fight back than before, because I couldn't concentrate anymore. I couldn't think. And then gradually the pain came back as my body started to shut down.
But it wasn't so much a method of torture as it was a way of ensuring compliance, I think. Complacency.
I'll spare you the nightmares if you give up and die.
I'll make it easy for you.
Just let it all go.
Just wait for it to happen.
You don't have to do anything but wait.
Nothing scary, nothing hard.
Aren't you so much better off this way?
But that's the thing about nightmares, these near-constant visions of death and pain that held me in their grip since the moment I walked out my front door. They're scary and terrifying, horrible and disgusting, but at some point you have to realize that there's only so much evil in the world, only so much that can be thrown at you.
And... despite everything, I finally found the source of the cycle. The steady thu-thump that kept time to the music and kept me in line, unable to break free of the rhythm, all the way down to my core.
...Do any of you actually understand how powerful music is? The shrill, armor-piercing note of a flute? The way a melodious violin can lead you on an endless, mindless dance? Or the chill that goes up your spine when the vocalist changes key... Or how a tritone will always, without fail, inspire fear in a captive audience. All these things happen to you when you listen, and you don't even realize how expertly you're being manipulated. To you, it's just sounds, to be given no more attention than a moth fluttering by a street lamp. But your very heartbeat will align itself with the beat of a drum, beating in time with the music with or without your conscious permission.
And... that's exactly what happened.
...I've always maintained that the way to break a cycle of control is to cut out the starting point. It took so long to find, but... You have to understand. There's a vicegrip effect that happens. If you try to assess yourself, or move around, or do anything at all... it just tightens. And tightens. And tightens. Visions were one thing. Pain was one thing. But when He takes hold of your volition, when He makes you not want to break free, there's nothing you can do.
So instead, I did the only thing I could. The only thing He would allow me to want. But I did it in a way that would also cut out the root, break the cycle.
The music's hold on me... His hold on me... was connected through my own heartbeat. The one rhythm that is always there, that will always be there, until the day that control - His or my own - doesn't even matter anymore.
And the only way to stop it was
I'm sorry. I'm so sorry you had to see that, Michelle. I'm sorry for putting you through that. I'm so sorry for what I had to do.
I'm so sorry.