Haven’t started on my homework yet this week, and my workshop drawings have been pretty horrid. However, I did finish my first draft of my entry for this years “Page One” short fiction contest. Go ahead and read it, and be subdued until I can post some of my art later on this week! (Let me know what you think, as well!)

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It was seven seconds ago that my mind was scattered.

I wake up in 1962. Nine seconds ago my wife was telling me she loved me, complaining that for all the men she could have married, she should have picked one that knew how to scramble eggs. Ten seconds later I emerge from a bunker somewhere in the Dominican Republic to the sounds of gunfire, my forehead clammy from the nearby heat. I can still taste the burnt flavor in my mouth, now unsure if whether it is from my botched attempt at breakfast twelve seconds ago or from some horrible aftermath of this wretched new environment. Far off I hear screams.

I squeeze my eyes shut – the smoke coming through the windows evaporates all moisture in my eyes. It almost hurts more to close them. Echoing in my head, I hear her voice still resonating.

The day is brighter when I open them. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, but there is blood on the ground. When I come to, I realize I am standing on a severed hand. The atmosphere is thinner, fresher, untainted.  I feel inferior to the trees looming over me like giants ruling unchecked. I see tattered flags of some unknown tribe silhouetted against a hill in the distance. A battle has taken place, and I stand on the corpses among swords and bows.

She asks me if I still love her. I tell her of course, though I doubt she can hear me above the chants of war behind me.

I blink. Suddenly I stand in a court full of colors and whimsy. Jesters mock me, women and men dance incandescently across shadows paved by stained windows, the lights bouncing back with a million colors.  A woman’s hand grazes along my shoulder playfully; I see not her face but feel the warmth of the silk across her hand. I turn my head to see her gracefulness, but see nothing but a field of flowers.

Lilies, daffodils, daisies, and a pocket full of poseys, I find myself utterly encompassed by blooming gardens.  The field is untouched, deer are scattered in the distance and bugs jump from flower bud to bud. Nothing is disturbed by my presence. The wind blows my lovers voice through my ears while I shut my eyes in this reverie.

2027. Could be the same year as before, I don’t know. Could be any country in the world, were it not for such a strong inflection of Spanish tongues.  People are discussing discounts on products to which I have no idea what their function is. A woman walks by nude and I am the only one who turns their head.  The sandstone walls mimic the brilliant colors of the sea close by, the reflection of the water eerily glazing over walls and people’s faces to create a sort of harmony that is at once calming and intriguing.

I hear her call out. “You’ve changed.  You’ve stopped laughing. Stopped smiling.”

I shake my head in this future year. No, I haven’t. But I cannot argue.

A fire is nearby. I feel it on my skin, smell the smoke before I even open my eyes. I am somewhere primal, somewhere unsafe.  Snapping open my eyes, I see an animal I cannot describe, an animal for which there is no descendent; an animal that will not survive the long winter. It snarls at me, and tromps away, its large spiked tail swaging oddly uncoordinated behind it. A Neanderthal in a mountain nearby slams his stick against his cave’s wall, the sound a deafening combination of raw emotion and might. He is upset, but I cannot tell why.

She is asking me to leave.  She says I cannot stay with her anymore. I’m not the man she married. For all her tears and strain riding across her face, I cannot help but remember how beautiful she still is.

What century is it, again? What year did this all begin with?

I feel suffocated, the pressure suddenly unreal. Huge lumps of my memories seem to be swelling up in my throat, clawing their way to my brain. I choke them down. I cannot think of these things now. I cannot bear to remember how things went wrong. Shriveling my eyes closed, forcing the tears through the tiny gaps I cannot contain, I hear her again. Her voices are overlapping, I’m losing control.  Why are you still here? Why don’t you love my anymore? What did I do wrong? Please, you’re hurting me. Just go!

I cannot remember where I am.  Rapidly I’m moving through the years, seconds ago I found myself at witch trials, now I am soaring the sky on a pterodactyl’s back. Five seconds pass. I’m riding a horse with monks through hills of ancient China, the wind sourly on my back.

Let me go! I used to love you so much. You can’t stay here!

Thousands of years pass. They blink through my mind like a slideshow, though I feel the sands on my feet and smell the foul stenches. I know in my heart I am past returning to any sanity, but yet I hear her calling me through the ages.

Her voice, her soft melodic song is charming my ears – But yet it’s so loud, it’s so unbearably loud.

I press my hands to my eyes, the pressure burning and forcing me to see stars, though I am unable to comprehend if it’s simply my mind melting away or if it’s truly stars. Have I travelled past the point of existence?

There is silence. But I am warm, a familiar blanket thrown over my shoulders and a hearty fireplace parching my face.  I open my eyes to a cup of hot chocolate sitting in my hands, it’s clay shape slightly burning but the sensation is welcome. I feel hesitant. An emotion is welling up inside my heart that I cannot suppress. I see her, across from me, sitting the same way I am. A mirror of my own self, feeling both undeniably removed and inextricably attached to one another. Hurt is in her eyes. Pain is furrowing her mouth. She stares at me with an illness that I cannot cure, cannot forgive myself for.

I remember this is the last time I ever see her. We will fight and argue in twenty seven seconds, that look that for now looks so placid will soon fill with rage and more tears. But for now, I stare at the way her hair curls around her face, how her cheeks are so rosy from the bitter cold outside.  I see her breath, as well as the tears rolling through her lashes.  Her face begins to twist, the corners of her mouth opening to speak, soon to yell, and later to cry.  I cannot bear to relive this. Not now, not ever.

I close my eyes. I do not know where I will go next. I fear what might happen. But I do not want to go anywhere. I want to relive this day what it might have been like ten years ago, before the sadness begins. But I cannot.

I keep my eyes closed, the lids molding together from the tears drying through the cracks. I feel myself still – there is no temperature, no smell, no faint pressure on my skin to indicate where or when I might be. I feel nothing.

Ten seconds. Twenty seconds. Fifty seconds. Time passes, and I drift through time unknown to a destination I will not see.

I refuse to go. Let my last memory be of her. Let this be the final image.

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