What does it feel like, to awake on a crossroad, when the life you knew is gone? What if it hasn’t been stolen but removed with a scalpel? It was your dice to roll: live or die, and you chose to live. But in the end, do you?
You really should read the paragraphs in italics, but you needn’t. If you want no distractions, skip them and click “Continue reading”.
If you have been reading my facebook and twitter, you know I claim to be a science fiction writer. And that’s right, since I am creating and intend to create science fiction novels. So far, anyway. With short stories and flash fiction, well, I’m trying out whatever I can. This piece, though independent, can be considered a before-taste of my current novel. It isn’t the same character, or even an excerpt, just close enough.
Oh, yeah, I should probably mention. I don’t really understand the purpose of f-word warnings for Internet flash fiction. I mean, if you’ve gone this far in the world wide web, you’ve got to know all the gory details. If you simply don’t like swearing, it’s sole and felt appropriate to the moment. This story isn’t flashing with four-letter bombs. And just so we are clear, I’m not intending to swear in the novel.
It’s two o’clock. I think it has always been.
It’s always been the parching, scorching orange star, mocking with yellow paint from outside the window. I grew up to believe in simple things, such as that shining sun equals good and happy. This faith is plucking the last bits out of me.
Not that I really see the sun any longer, just with the corner of my eye. I view unimaginable spectacles of life and death and pain and joy revolve around a gleaming core, and I look at it in absolute inertia, indifferent. I feel nothing. I am numb and blind, and sometimes even deaf.
I remember things, cheesy as a yesterday’s photograph made to look a hundred years old. I remember the fear of dying, of getting old. Youth felt like a sacred gift, the only episode of life worth living, and I wanted to be saved in the memory young. Yes, that incessant, deep desire to notch the history has always been around me. I was desperate to accomplish something worthwhile until wrinkles start plowing my face.
That was wired deep inside me, since the very first day. Now, it’s just a recollection. Want to know why? I don’t fucking care. I’m both filled to the brim and empty like an atom.
We are made of nothing, after all.
I’m pathetic. I’m a formless, personless mound of distorted flesh, alive only because the monitor says so. But I still love how my arms look, specifically from the elbows to the tips of the fingers. Slender and greenish pasty. When I want to fiddle or fidget in some way, I raise my left arm and stare at the creased knuckles, and the grey veins. I’ve no clue why I’m doing this. I guess it’s called focusing the attention. I’ve read actors must do that, focus the attention, to erect worlds on the silly stage.
I’m an outstanding actor.
I’m made of amicability and humility. I’m wearing tight black garments, so official yet so magnificently artistic and careless. I flood the stage with tears, laughter, impossible dilemmas—all the drama the audience could possibly want. And for the best part: I saunter, cheeks rosy, to the apron stage, and meet the gaze of jubilating people. They clap so as to make the palms hurt, and my lip corners hurt from beaming. I bow, almost dumping the forehead into the dusty wood. No, I don’t want flowers or presents or overexcitement. That’s cartoonish and stupid, as if in a dream. Let them stay like this, in a frozen picture of admiration, utopia, and art. It doesn’t have to end, not ever. We deserve to not end. Look at us, curious, pure, open. The hearts jump in unison, and the hands lay one over another, interwoven in something we believe to be larger and beyond understanding.
And we are young and free and beautiful.
Just don’t bring in the mirror.
Liked this story? Let me know. There are dozens of ways to do that; the page has loads of buttons, and the comments waiting to be posted below. You can also check out another six stories written by me, even shorter than this one. A lot shorter.