I wake up to darkness. I might as well not have woken up, considering that closing your eyes has the same effect... I move the palm of my hands in vast circles and see only the outer edges; this makes me breathe out of my nose at the sight.
The drone of the alarm continues as I blink and my eyesight begins to adjust to the dim glow in the room. I slam my hand out on the table next to me and silence the alarm.
I try to fall back into the void of sleep, for those evanescent dreams had more of that substance—I don’t know what it is called—that I can see and enjoy... dancing to and fro in joyful delight unheard of on this world.
Yet I can’t sleep; I have to get up. The whisper tells me to get up.
So I raise my body in a slow motion and crack my back (I have to keep going...). I look around my room with its corroded walls, makeshift stands that you might call tables, and a TV that has a crack in the middle. I scratch my head and place my bare feet on the festering floor.
The day begins. The whispers begin their sounds. Like air, there are constantly there; like air, they are always near me.
I start with the daily grind. I use the murky shower water that is centuries old to wash myself of yesterday’s grime with new grime. I then go into the kitchen and eat the stale cereal, and place on myself my moth ridden clothes.
As I put on my clothes, I hear the whispers telling me to leave; this is a reminder that I am alone in the house, and I take greater time to leave. I then splash some water on my face and blink three times. I inhale and exhale, and the daily grind is over.
I put on my shoes and let in the cold air outside. I do not have to squint like I have to do in my dreams, for the clouds always made sure that the atmosphere was nothing but broken hues of the gray scale.
“I’m going!” I cried out to the empty house.
I hear a slight whisper that approves my going (very well, it says, carry on), and I move my feet over the threshold. A few steps forward, I turn around to get a quick reality check on my surroundings. I see my apartment all ravaged and bear, and the paint peeling off in a myriad of angels. The shingles of the roof are torn off, and I can see weeds going through the cracks of the apartment's foundation. The decimated glass of the window is the newest thing on the building, and even they were beginning to fade from their old splendor.
Yup, business as usual!
I crack my neck again and move through the broken parkways and on the sidewalk. I would take the streets since they would be a more direct path towards the school, but I can still hear the whistle of car tires and I am fearful for some reason that they will come and hit me. So I keep myself on the sidewalk and continue until I reach the crosswalk that leads to the Dead Field.
Ah... the Dead Field: the place that I must always summarise for myself.
The Dead Field is a vast expanse of pale grass that connects the school to my apartment, and I use it to cut time on having to looking at anything near me. It is been there since the day I was born, if I recall. Trees—I’ve been told—once dotted it and created a tranquil aura around it that made it pleasant to walk through. But now it was just a husk of its old splendor; dead grass is all that dots the patch of the decaying. Dead grass always swaying in defeat, instead of tree leaves swaying in splendor. Dead moving perpetually, full death, forever.
The best part is that this field is the one with the most life for miles on end. It is the most fertile, and the most luxurious; though it was still not pleasant to the eyes. If it weren’t for these features, I would be taking a much longer path towards the school; for even after all these of years of living in this place, it is still discontenting to see the city in its now ravaged state.
I hear a whisper, and I move on from these reminicsent thoughts.
As I reach the crosswalk, I wait for a moment for the whistle of the tires to cease. I pretend that when the whistling stops, the cars and the people inside them also stop and let me through. It makes feel less forlorn in this desolation and creates a sense of filling in the empty space of the roads. When the whistles finally held their cries, I walked out through the faded crosswalk and quickly took a right towards the field.
I looked around to see that the clouds above were not moving—as always—and that the dead grass was swaying back and forth with the evanescent wind. Everything above and below was placed in the same spot of motion; it was as if everything was stuck on repeat.
Again, business as usual.
I placed my hands in the pockets of my faded jeans and calmly walked through the field. Usually, it takes me around five minutes to get to the end of the field and another five to reach the school—seconds slugging by as I draw closer each step.
All of this, like I said, has been that way for as long as I can remember the clouds being overhead.
You can call it a tragedy; it wouldn’t be a hyperbole in the least. One teen with no one but himself—one teen in a society long forgotten and left there barren and naked—and one teen that doesn't even have the privilege to have angst over anything that is living. That there—in the deplorable world—is nothing but I. A lovely, simple, understanding of “tragedy” in most wild aspect.
It’s almost romantically poetic—and it makes me think.
All of it makes me think, really, and I stop in my tracks. I hear a whisper tell me to go on, but I ignore it. For the first time in quite sometime, I think of the burden that I have been going through. Contrary to the above romance, this "Tragedy World" anything but it. When I feel this burden, I think—and when I think, I become aware.
And when I become aware, I see the world and become insane.
“This is bad,” I whisper. “If I see, I will be taken away! I must never think of my surroundings and how bad I have it! Stan, why are you thinking?! STOP! STOP! STOP!”
Yet even with those words, my mind continues to whirl. There, in that horrible moment, the world opened up through eyes that were not glaze—so sudden was that revelation of sight that I almost lost my balance; my mind now so clear that it was almost hazy.
I was completely surprise at my sudden lack of apathy to my surrounding. There, in horror, I suddenly realized how overcast the clouds were—as if they were something from a dream that was turning into a reality.
There, with glaze eyes wide open, I could hear the wind shriek like a woman running for her life—as if a man were chasing her down a hall. There, with trembling hands, I could see the grass fall flat as the shrieks, and a far off beating of thunder, grew louder. There, right there, I let go and let the elements take me in their torrential rainfall.
How many times I wish to let go and fall—to let my body go on the ground and disappear along with my soul. I would let the soft rain come in this world (as a man from a story once said), and lightly place their finger tips on me. I know, I make it sound like a nice little dream, but that’s where I want it all to be: a dream. In my dreams, I do not have to be in an eternal death sentence.
I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be the wayfaring stranger. All I want to be is a kid who doesn’t need to think. A kid who doesn’t think in grand exuberant words to calm himself, but in colloquial bits and phrases. I don’t want to be, but I am...
Through this torment, I feel a wave of warmth blast me and push me away from those sounds and sites of the world. I grasped my heart and wavered in a place where time did not exist and yet motion did. I became dazed. Mind spinning... endlessly spinning... eternally spinning. Eventually, my legs unfroze and I fell over.
As I laid dying, I heard a faint cry from someone; it was almost familiar in its tones... Like it was someone I knew from a long time. In fact, I could've sworn there was a name to that voice... Josef? No... I'm almost.
I stopped listening to it anymore. I ignored the voices and whispers, and I let myself fall into an eternal sleep where I would never wake up.
No... no... he is going into another seizure, but this one he is not shaking it off!
"Stand up!" I cry. "Wake up! Stand up! Do something for Christ sakes!"
I'm right next to him, yet he does not hear me. He is scrambling and crying and moaning in a fit unparalleled to any of his others. Just a few seconds ago I was walking him through the crosswalk, and a few minutes ago I was getting him out of bed.
How can such simple things die out so quickly?!
Now all that is happening to him is a grand mal that is taking away his life. I try to call for help, but in this field there is no signal. Stan's ramblings were right; this was a Dead Field.
I turn my neck towards him to see a final spasm before he fell silent. I slam myself down on the ground and try to hear his pulse. There is a slight beat, but the beats were so evanescent that I almost mistook it for mine. I place my ear close to his mouth and feel a tickle of light speaking.
"Free..." he whispered. "Free at last..."
And with that, his breathing stopped. I looked down at him to see that his eyes were close, and there was a type of serenity to his face. I shake my head and run out towards the periphery of the field, where I finally got a signal. It didn't take them long for them to find us and take Stan's body.
As they took him, I stood there, shaking, thinking of his last words. Could it be that, perhaps, that he saw only a morbid form of this world; a form that entrapped his entire being in an eternal hell of loneliness and despair? I cringe in thinking of this idea.
Yet if this was true, he had finally left that awful nightmare; he had left that inside out world and had gone on to a better one. Or, at least, that is what I tell myself as I shiver in that cold...
Still, there is one thing that continues to claw at my mind with cold, dead talons. Was that Eversion that Stan witness throughout his life something not too far from the true stance in this world? Was what I was seeing but a figment of something more cruel and awful? Did Stan's world actually exist more than mine?
I pray to God that that is not true, and I place Stan's Earth into the back of my mind to rot to manure and dust...