The sound of a shout drags me to my feet. It’s sharp edge splits my skin and I bleed more tears through the cuts. I read it’s name, my name. Solid. Restless. Pounding like a heartbeat. It hovers in the air for that quarter of a second, then the heartbeat stops. I’m bleeding red through the white of my uniform. The culprit’s in my hand- silver and blooded. Sharp and strong. The knife I drove into my arm is a temptation for my chest. I turn, one quick movement, and I see him there, calling me. His voice kisses my ears, it’s gentle. Yet it’s a piercing kiss, a stab, a cry, a murder that rips the air apart. The shout makes me look. Once again my name is a chorus to my ears.
And it’s just that single syllable. It’s sketchy. I’m looking at him when he beckons me over. My footsteps are gentle and silent but they hurt the surface I stand on.
I’m serving a life sentence.
And my fingers touch his.
They meet, somewhere in the middle.
Paper passes from him to me.
It’s my own scrawny writing that I see through the paper, and when I unfold it I laugh. My note, written a few months ago. I don’t know it’s a few months ago, time’s hard. Sometimes the clocks seem to turn back and I could count the seconds but that would take an eternity- longer than me writing this note.
“The world is a lie. It’s an illusion. It’s a danger. A common thief can steal a name without a soul, that soul would have left at the act. I don’t know why I think this. Maybe it’s because I am a common thief and everyone is always under the impression that I have no soul. Maybe they are right. As long as I have a heart I can survive. I am a lie. I am an illusion. I am a danger.” I fold the paper and hand it back. He passes another one between us.
“Do I live at all? Surely the fire means I have gone to hell, but what is hell? It is my heaven!” The other notes are all based around that similar idea, the meaning of life and the gift of death.
“Give me death in a week’s time and I’ll live my life to it’s full. Give me one second more and I’ll waste the week away.”
“Sometimes I lie in bed at night and I hear the singing of the angles. It’s those nights more than any other where I hope they will take me away.”
“If death hurts, life must be torture.”
I’m laughing but I don’t know why it’s funny. Maybe it’s because the truth is funny. My words are barely legible, scribbled across a page it would take years to read, yet I can see it, my eyes are trained to the mess. I see it as music, and I play the notes in my voice as a lonely traveller runs through the words, dotting my Is and crossing my Ts. He stops short of the sentence and sits, back to tall letter L, and waits. Waits for my pen to give him more work to do. Then he can finish and move on. I haven’t named him, sometimes I think it may not be a ‘him’ but a ‘her.’ They look like my daughter.
There’s one more that he hands me. I shield my mouth with a stray hand and my eyes redden again.
“No” I say.
“Yes” comes the reply with a nod.
I wrote it. I’ve cried its words already. My back turns to him yet the note itself is no worse to any of the others. Maybe it’s the paper. So white and so pure bar a puddle of red situated on the top right hand corner and a charred black ring around the first word. I turn back around to meet his expressionless gaze. He’s a zombie, clueless, shocked, vexed and brainwashed. I read.
“If, in the next minute, the world was to face extinction, and I was a survivor, could I really survive? Life is death and in death we find release. I’m yet to find that release in life. So I think, what is the point of living now? Death will be my greatest friend and I will embrace him as my love. My enemy is life. I could not survive because I would choose not to. As long as a cliff or a dagger or a gun or a poison stands my survival will be death, as that is when I will find release.”
“And in release I find life,” I tell myself. I brought myself to read the note and I carry my own pain on my shoulders. It’s a burden that I will not let weigh me down. I cry. I shout. My emotions win me over. Then I ask myself:
“Why do we feel pain?”
Is it a mask, a warning? A shroud? Perhaps it’s a fuel and it powers us. These are the times when it is hard to pinpoint exactly where the pain is, because it might be in my head. But I know that pain enters the body through the brain.
“Are you hurt?”
For that to be a real question someone has to define pain. What is pain? It’s that barrier between feeling good or not, although I can’t define it because feeling ok is not a part of my life and good is a mile ahead. Yet I still wonder why I am disturbed because none of it is new.
I’ll never be free because all my records are against me. I am a murderer, a thief, a criminal, a danger, a threat, a lie, an illusion and a prisoner. I am humanity. The man wants me to talk but I silence my forming words and break down the carved speech. I won’t talk because I want to tell the truth, but my voice is a lie. My voice is a murderer, a thief, a criminal, a danger, a threat, a lie, an illusion and a prisoner. It’s painfully satisfying to speak in such a negative tone, but it’s constant. Instead I beg of the man:
“Just let me cry.”
And already it’s the beginning of a robbery.
The beginning of a heist held on the tip of my tongue.
I need to steal my tears from somewhere, because I’ve cried my own. My robbery sprouts to danger, because I need to take his blood to cry. My hands are shaking and I can’t stop it. I feel the rims around my eyes turn red. Once again, my name:
It hits me in the chest and pushes my heart back into my ribs, where it beats me till I feel cold. The name, carved in speech and hurled at me, carried by the wings of wind. Yet it doesn’t blow.
Again I reach out to Earth, I’m here on another planet because I’m a threat, a danger, potentially an illusion. I reach out and the man doesn’t try to pull me back again.
They told me it was late. That soon the sun would drench us in her heat without it being day. Then they told me that it wasn’t day, but the sun was the moon and the moon couldn’t really exist. I was confused, shaken and battered by their inconsistent lies and broken intentions. My questions were listened to but never answered. I reached out, I tried to let my fingertips touch earth, and I tried every day since. They told me the moon was flat and that is why it can’t exist. But I’ve walked it over in longing hope of finding that lonely cliff edge, and giving it a forever friend. I remember they asking me my name and me telling them in all truthfulness that I didn’t know. It was always there, hidden, spoilt, stained, compressed and held by my voice, and my voice couldn’t let it go. I think I cried out as well but their ears were untoned to the sound. Maybe a scream escaped my lips and pulled apart the silence. And even now they tell me it is late, that the sun is the moon and the moon is an illusion. I am still confused, shaken and battered by their inconsistent lies and broken intentions. How can an object so visible from earth be an illusion?
“Max.” The voice pulls me away from my thought. The name mauls at my throat.
“Are you ready?” They ask.
I shake my head no.
Once again my hand reaches to Earth.
Once again I fall short.
Are you enjoying my ongoing story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, PunkRockersWrite a Review