He knew to wrap his hand around my throat. How, I don’t know. My mouth opens to speak, but I realize his ears are no longer for hearing, his nose and mouth no longer for breathing, his cock no longer for fucking. My thoughts become little bumps on my skin, and he is a blind man fluent in braille. My mind, overloaded with pixels and bites of information, works desperately to disregard everything except what is necessary. His arms, shoulders, chest, stomach, hips, legs, calves and feet all disintegrated like slow burning incense, leaving behind only a pair of eyes and a hand. Beyond that, I could only process the warmth of his breath on my face and the smell of sweat.

There is no more room, with the apparitions inside my head howling if I stray from their path. Veering to the right, my father’s voice shatters glass that falls around me, leaving cuts on my inner thigh in perfect parallel lines. Veering to the left, the ghost of my ex tosses empty beer cans on the floor of my mind, while I hide in the bathroom putting on makeup to cover a fresh bruise. They intermingle and crescendo with the other screams, echoing off the tall cavern walls, awakening the bats I can feel flutter between my ears.

My eyes open to see his leather eyes inches away. His fingers press deeper into my skin. “I hear you,” he whispers. Did I speak? A few minutes ago, he was a man I had been dating that didn’t know much about me. And now he knows everything. I try to inhale as my ghosts turn on other another, laying waste to every thought, every memory, and every fear. Like a city constructed with only wood and far away from water, a fire rages fierce the tighter he grips my throat. Buildings topple over igniting other buildings, entire boroughs are consumed in flames, melting the shattered glass and aluminum cans littering the streets.

Now ablaze my whole being turning to ash. I open my eyes to see him, but he has changed, or maybe I have changed. No air able to get in, his lips press against mine as our tongues touch. Somehow he knows I am in danger of losing everything, so he sucks the remaining air out of my body, suffocating the fire, forcing it to fizzle out.

As my body falls back the ghosts flee, fearing they will go down with me. The control they once had is no longer theirs. I want to believe I gave it to someone else, but that’s not the truth. The truth is he took it. Still no air able to reach my lungs, I drift out of consciousness. How did he know I was on fire? How did he know I was burning to the ground? And just as I slip away vanishing from my torment, suspended in a weightless, motionless, and timeless universe, he whispers, “I was the match.”