Their world is white. White walls. White halls. White dressings on my damaged head and eyes. My heart still pumps blood because I can’t yet remember who I am and they think I am someone important, someone with information that they need. The foreign bed my body lays in is an enemy I have escaped. Who are they to say I haven’t?
Sometimes I hear the sucking sound of my feet in the muck, metal ripping my flesh. Sometimes I only see the heron glowing, sailing like a ghost against the blackened sky before a storm. I am learning how to make the switch, it just takes practice and I seem to have all the time in this world. It ticks away in slow motion. Tick. Tock. Eternity is my clock.
They slip into my dream with their foreign tongues, their foreign way of turning thoughts. I smell them over the infection, the cardamom on their hot breath as they push into my burned flesh, broken English being thrown at me along with threats that ceased having meaning the day I figured out God.
I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Courtesy of my Sunday school teacher.
I don’t remember my mother, but I do know this. The only way something can be the beginning and the end is if it’s a closed system. A circle. A bubble. God is a closed circle. I have learned how to step outside the circle. Is it hell? You tell me.
Vengeance floats like lethal smoke within the bubble. Blood swirls like lava, spilling and spilling. Life is pumped full of hot metal, gassed, poisoned, thrown in rusty dumpsters, covered with dirt like an accidental spill. Celebrated when taken.
There is a pinch in the soft fold of my arm and I am jolted back into their world. A memory seeps in.
Hey, boy. Come ‘ere. Don’t be afraid. Hungry? That’s it. I am affectionately stroking loose fur on bone while pure hunger gobbles up my dry bread. Through the dust, I see them converge. White robes, black hands.
Muzzle against muzzle. NO! Laughter. Deafening boom. Dust and pain and the sharp stench of blood.
I don’t remember who I am but I have learned how to step outside the circle. Who are you to say I haven’t?
‘eternity is my clock’ – fantastic line.
This was a reallt edgy, troubling piece (in a good way). Made me feel really uncomfortable and didn’t know where to put my sympathies exactly which i think is a real good piece of writing, throwing the challenge back on the reader.
Thanks, Marc. I guess I should say this piece was inspired by a combination of seeing the movie Inception & thinking a lot about the suffering brought about by war lately.
Your writing, I think, left this one open to interpretation.The MC doesn’t have a grip on reality and so when you read it in the first person, you are left without a firm grip of what’s happening. My mind immediately went to a P.O.W. suffering from a mental disorder from his ordeal. The writing is brilliant and layered. Nice work.
Thanks, G.P.- Do any of us really have a grip on reality?
I love that you touched on some of the things I have been troubled with here…
“I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Courtesy of my Sunday school teacher.”
I love this line particularly.. and then you go on to speak of the beginning and end.. the circle.
I have grown up in a very religious family, and at a young age, I questioned everything. One of the questions I remeber asking my grandmother : If god has always been, how could he have possibly created earth and everything on it… no beginning means no ending, like a circle. Does this mean we don’t really exist?
Their crappy answers to my questions have led me to where I am today, faith wise.
I will be thinking about your post all day. Good job!
I love your questions, 2mara!
I loved the writing style here and the idea of stepping out of the circle. I enjoy being confused as long as the writing is still taking me somewhere and its a gorgeous ride, which it was. The chaos, catastrophe after stepping out of the circle was convincing and compelling. I wanted the character to be there, to see what would happen. One to come back to, great work.
This is edgy and disturbed, not knowing anything we have to guess. What is outside the circle anyway? Excellent thoughts to ponder.
The writing is fluid, vivid, and packed full of visceral emotion. It was sort of dream-state, a little confusing, with hints of the unknown. That seems to work pretty well here. The only serious question I have is are his captors Human? I’m left thinking they are not. Otherwise, it could be any English speaking prisoner held by any enemy. This is not a criticism, simply something left for me to ponder after finishing a very satisfying read.
For me, he’s an American pow.
Many of you talk about being confused…Jon brings up it being like a dream-state, which is pretty dead on. If you’ve seen the movie Inception, you’ll understand the point here better. If you haven’t seen it…go see it! Awesome movie 🙂
Very cool story! I haven’t seen Inception, so I didn’t get the tie-in with that, but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment of this piece. The writing sparkled!
Wonderfully evocative language.
A great story that needed concentration. I like your style..:)
Nice feel, meandering in and out of the real. Yes, Inception is a cool movie. I see it has tickled your thoughts.
I loved Inception and I loved this. I agree that it made me uncomfortable and discombobulated, which is really not easy to pull off when writing with such intelligence. Well-written and thought-provoking, thank you.
I haven’t seen Inception yet, but have wanted to, and now I want to that much more.
As most everyone has said, I love the “good way” this feels confusing. I especially love that last line.
Stunning, as always Shannon.
I can see, I think, how this relates to Inception: “They slip into my dream with their foreign tongues, their foreign way of turning thoughts.”
He seems like a soldier, prisoner, who’s knowledge they are trying to obtain. Thought provoking and very well written, for sure. Great Job, Shannon!
Very cool, very chilling. Absolutely love the idea of him having stepped out of the circle.
Inception was glorious, wasn’t it? 🙂
Thought provoking piece. Thanks.
Inception: I want to see it in an Imax theater-soon.
Very nice piece – i like the ethereal nature to it and you definitely get a sense that it takes all of his brain cells mustered together to come up with these thoughts. I haven’t seen inception yet but it sounds like it’s a must-see.