Rated: ASR · Short Story · Thriller/Suspense · #1839365
A story of loss.
It was cold today, not a shivering cold, or the kind that causes goosebumps, it was just … different. I awoke, my mind in a fog I couldn't shake off. The thick air and muffled sounds pressed in on me as I rubbed the shadows out of my eyes. And though my vision improved, dimness remained at the edges.
I looked at the clock blearily, surprised at the late hour, and pulled myself out of bed. Pins and needles stabbed through my legs as I stumbled toward the bathroom. After repeatedly cutting up my face, the attempt at shaving with a cheap razor left me looking even less presentable than when I started. I gave up and tossed the razor in the trash, clenching and unclenching my shaking hands to no avail. My poor fare for breakfast not enough to stop the tremors.
I returned to the bathroom to brush my teeth before heading back to my room and getting dressed. Then I gathered my things together, placing them in my backpack before heading out the door. On the way to the subway I looked at my cellphone, wondering why no one called to ask why I was running so late. I dialed work, trying to think up with an excuse for why I was late. When the call cut out abruptly I put the phone away and headed into the subway, the shadows fluttering around me as I walked through a dimly lit tunnel.
When I approached a turnstile and reached into my wallet to retrieve my metro card, I was unnerved at how my hands still shook. Shifting the backpack on my shoulders, and jamming my hands into my pockets, I pushed through the turnstile and towards the F train.
As I walked down the tunnel I recognized a mandolin player. I don't know his name, but whenever I saw him, I dropped some change into his hat. I opened my wallet, looked at the diminished billfold and considered this morning's poor fare of breakfast, a single untoasted slice of bread, before putting the wallet back in my pocket. I don't know what unnerved me more, not seeing the mandolin player's usual kindly smile, or his not acknowledging my presence. Maybe all he ever cared about was the coin.
I looked down when I realized my hands had stopped shaking. Just as I was beginning to think it was a sign that the day was improving, I was knocked to the ground. An angry looking business man stood over me. I lay sprawled amongst his papers and the scattered contents of my backpack. With a look of anger that quickly became one of confusion, he bent down to gather his papers together, neatly putting them back into his suitcase. He picked up a couple items of mine and, not recognizing them, tossed them aside, closed his briefcase and rushed off. I had expected him to help me up or help me gather my things. At the very least, I expected an apology or for him to angrily tell me to watch where I was going. Nothing. I lay there in disbelief.
I got up slowly, intending to tell him off, but I could only bring the shadow of anger to the surface. I felt lost and confused as I wondered what would possess a man to knock someone over and then ignore them. I caught myself staring off into space and had to shake my head to get going. Gathering my things together I felt an overpowering sense of fatigue. Everything looked dull and blurry around the edges, the shadows seemed deeper somehow. The day had barely begun and already my energy was fading away. I just felt … off.
Bruised and annoyed, I walked down the tunnel. Wanting to be left alone, I looked down at my feet as I shuffled towards the subway train. As I was about to enter, a man pushed past me and I had to struggle to regain my balance against the flood of people. Flashes of anger became looks of confusion as they too rushed past me; then they stopped acknowledging me entirely, as if I wasn't there. What was going on?
I pushed my way into the train. Considering how everyone ignored me, I decided it was safer to stand, and grabbed a bar, holding it tightly, to keep from getting knocked over. When my stop approached, I found the exit barred by people exiting and entering the train. I pressed forward and fell through the door just before it closed, barely managing to pull my hand away from a descending high heel as I got back to my feet. Brushing myself off, I walked down the tunnel towards my exit.
After dialing and redialing the office to no avail someone finally picked up, but their voice was muffled. I heard a click and realized I'd been disconnected. Was something wrong with my phone or was I intentionally being ignored? I shook off another bout of dizziness and walked the rest of the way to work. As I approached the building, I gasped to catch my breath. The building warped and distorted as my vision grayed around the edges.
Maybe I should have seen a doctor when my hands started shaking, but my mind wasn't working clearly... It was too late to get to a hospital, and I could no longer see the keypad on my cellphone clearly enough to dial 911. I stumbled through the entrance and towards the front desk. My limbs felt like rubber as I collapsed.
Recognizing the receptionist, I gripped the surface of the desk and pulled myself up. “Help me,” I said, shocked at how weak my voice sounded. “Please help me. Call an ambulance.”
He ignored me. I tried shouting, but my voice wasn't strong enough. “Please, help me.”
I wasn't that friendly with the receptionist, but he knew me, I couldn't understand why he was so blatantly ignoring me.
“Why aren't you listening to me?” I cried. "Why won't anyone help me?”
I grabbed his arm, but couldn't get a proper grip. He shivered, looking at me for a moment before his eyes glazed over. Blind to me again, he shook my hand off and went back to work, talking to the next person who walked up to the desk.
“Help me, please. Something's wrong with me. Someone ... Anyone ... Please help me.”
With my back to the desk, I sunk down crying as everyone ignored me. My tears ran dry, the sweat on my forehead evaporated. I looked down at my hands, shocked at how transparent they'd become. I would have screamed if I still had the voice to do so. I reached for the man standing near me, my fingers burning in agony, slipping away as I failed to grasp a the cuff of his pants.
I don't know what to do. No one will help me, maybe no one can help me. To the rest of the world, I no longer exist. And so I sit here losing hope, losing myself. I can't give up and let it end like this, yet I am too weak to fight for my own survival. I should be forcing myself back to my feet, doing all I can to make the man at the desk or the others around the room come to my aid, instead I sit with my back to the desk and reach into my backpack for a pen and a small notepad, the only voice I have left. My fingers slip as I struggle to get a grip on the pen. The small notepad feels as heavy as a large stone as I place it on my lap. And as I write this ... I realize that this story is the last one I'll ever tell. I am fading away. Each word is harder to write than the last. I don't know how much longer I'll be able to write. I feel my grasp slip as it gets harder to hold the pen. My only lifeline and it's fading fast. I shiver from the cold, fearing it may be the last feeling I ever know.
The panic is setting in. It's getting harder and harder to write. Will anyone miss me? This isn't death, whatever this is, it's worse. Will anyone remember me when I'm gone? Maybe... maybe you're only here so long as your life has some value. Maybe... I'm not important enough to remember--My fingers hurt--Is that what happens?--I can't hold this pen anymore--When nothing you do matters, do you simply fade away?--It's too heavy--Someone please help me. Remember me while there's still time. Please. Don't do this to me. Please. I don't want to fade away. I'm too young for it to end like this. Why wo—
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