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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Dark · #2082932
A (very) dark and abstract tale of nihilism and alienation.
“I can’t talk to you when you’re…” was the last thing she said as I slammed down the handset.

My face scrunched and quivered and dampened. I felt like she had carved out my heart. I let out the yelp of a wounded animal. I felt physically sick. I wanted to die.

I swung a tight fist through the air, I wanted to hit something, her if I could.

She had been my escape from them, from life. I felt forsaken and I sobbed; I couldn’t help it. What did I have left?

The walls seemed to glare and contract. Breathing was a struggle. With a pulse of rage I charged at the door. In the background, on the television played messages from the ruling order: a roster of mannequin people impostors to remind us of a national debt (to whom it was owed wasn’t a point), the agenda and rhetoric the faceless set and confined, pride and negativity they aroused with calculation.

It was late in the evening, gloomy, post-gale: atmospheric and cold like a gothic tale. I left my living unit and headed for the river: my place to think, to escape, to be with her.

It was a ten minute walk down a desolate bog. I felt like an urban warrior, a man in black. My coat flailed in a strong breeze whilst my body resisted the push. Vapour in the air cut with the salty residue around my eyes.

I marched draped in darkness. In a moment of weakness I felt myself yearn for her arms to cry into and hold me. I felt pathetic.

Another minute and I had reached the riverbank. I found cold and lonesome, a metal framed bench to make my own. The cold damp felt harsh against my thighs.

I found the view of the river made murky with pollution, a soothing one. It was a dirtied display of nature which, like the rain and stars, understood me.

My body started to shiver gently and my mind started to wander. My upper eyelids grew heavy and moved to meet the underside of my eyes. Time was escaping me.

I awoke. There was an unsettling stench. I turned towards it. My heart stopped. Beside me was sat a faceless man who’d emerged from the black.

He had a bottle of liquor he chugged through a tube shaped mouth. He was robotic; carefree. He was one of the many. He moved his head towards me, his focus met mine.

He solemnly spoke but was almost cynical, “Go to school, live a life, die a death”.

Fear took hold of me. I was reckless, on edge but I couldn’t speak.

He noticed me notice the drink in his hand. He spoke, “Alcohol doesn’t make life less boring; it just makes you forget how boring life is”.
“…Boring or empty?” I asked reflexively.

“Drink enough and you won’t care”, was his serrated reply, a morbid half-dare.

He recited a worn social slogan, “If reality is empty, and beauty is subjective, make reality beautiful”.

His monotonous voice cut through the air; “Listen…”

He snapped, “Reality is empty! Beauty is subjective! Make reality beautiful! Reality is empty! Beauty is subjective! Make reality beautiful!”

Towards me his stagnant face rapidly turned. I was petrified, I clenched up tight and he sighed.

He spoke, “Are you afraid to die?”

I muttered with fear “I’m not sure if I am”.

“Well you won’t be damned, or pleasured, you’ll rot. Reality is empty! Beauty is subjective! Make reality beautiful! You’re nothing if not chemical”.

I said a polite goodbye and I ran from the place. I increased my pace in fear of my life. I felt the adrenalin flow through me. Above me in view, between clouds were stars: commonplace spheres of luminous plasma.

My retreating soul was hit with a strong craving for hard alcohol. It sent my slowing feet drifting towards the nearest bus stop. I had no choice other than to find an open shop in town.

As I made it onto the high street I knew I was being watched by distrustful eyes. On a screen I appeared via a refractive lens and a compressed digital data stream: one in the all-seeing network of CCTV.

It was a ten minute wait until a bus arrived to make me captive on my way. Inside the bus I felt exposed under the LED lighting, immune to the cabin’s trapped warmth.

The bus drove through ‘beautiful scenery’: a soulless grey terrain. It passed long towers of living accommodation such as my ex lived in, they were like stacked cages for battery farming. And it passed the Tate: a vacuous labyrinth of empty frames and naked plinths, heard were echoes of “This is beauty”, “This really makes you think”.

I was bored and impatient and I looked around to some unsocial passengers making noise. There were a couple of flytrap females in enticing attire. They were self-loving, sterile and repulsive; their flesh was plastic and fake but I wanted it. I wanted their touch to ease my burdening pain.

With a sudden jolt the bus drew to a halt outside of the supermarket. It was new and eerily lifeless. I reflected on the evening until I entered the keeper of standardised white-labelled stock. There were long lines of isles, compulsively ordered, a dead pond of white, browsed and embraced.

Sugar, fat, salt and preservatives, packs of sweaty ammonia treated by-product clumped and sold as human feed.

I watched the faceless, like roaming souls, solipsists floating amid the shelves. But they all sort of slowed; diverted their gazes and stared at me. I felt anxious. Their stares intensified. They made me feel like a freak and with every stare I felt to scream. It built up and it got too much. I lunged and punched with my fist; “Bam!” was the sound as it when through pack of some food, and spilt a deluge of colour over my front and the ground.

Out of nowhere I felt a digging grip like a claw; a faceless security guard dragged me far from the consumer units. I was manhandled through doors into the back of the shop. To what was like an abyss outside limbo.

I was sat on a wooden chair in a grimly lit room, I felt claustrophobic. A faceless man stood tall.

The interrogation soon began, “Go to school, live a life, die a death”.

What could I say?

“Why is it alright to burn books?” he asked. Before I had the chance he answered for me, “Because they produce heat”.

He recited “Reality is empty. Beauty is subjective. Make reality beautiful”; he questioned me, “Why do you have to be different?”

He didn’t give me the time to answer.

“…Are you unpatriotic? Don’t you know there’s a national debt?”

The tension elevated. He grew annoyed with my passivity.

“If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear!” he assured me piously.

The questioning continued, “Are you a pervert? Do you masturbate to illicit computer script? Are you a murderer? Don’t you know the murder rate is high? Are you unpatriotic?!”

“No sir, I mean…” Fear could be heard in my voice, in my expression seen.

He asked me again, “Why do you have to be different?”

I began a nervous spiel about the breakup, about my life, about the stress that I had felt. As I spoke I was lost in his morbid veneer. I grovelled and I offered to pay any costs. He accepted my plea, though reluctantly, but before he granted my leave, he asked me, “Are you afraid to die?”

I took a deep breath but didn’t answer. He asked me again, “Are you afraid to die?”

I didn’t know.

With a warning issued, I drifted despondently out from the shop floor. I was almost in tears, I could barely stay composed. It had all gotten too much for me. I didn’t care about my pride anymore. I wanted the arms of my ex: more than dignity, more than solitary liquid intoxication.

I trudged through the streets, through the urban jungle. By the time I reached her tower block I was emotionally numb, almost insentient. I entered the lobby and opted for the lift, taking it up eleven flights. I rang the bell of her apartment bringing death to her slumber.

She opened the door. Her hair was rustled, her eyes puffy, her posture limp. She seemed unfazed by the sight of me, like she had anticipated my arrival. She backed away from the door without saying a word, as to usher me in. She gave me no greeting: no smile, no ‘hello’, no offer of fluoridated water.

I made my way inside the flat. It was soulless and uncomfortably cold. She stood by the door still and silent. She had a blank expression and a stagnant stare.

In nuanced light her skin had a synthetic quality which I hadn’t before noticed. I watched as an unabsorbed tear streamed down it. It was in that moment that I came to the sickening realisation that she knew me by no face.

Then a revelation hit me hard like a glycol spike of my ugly rainbow blood:

-I wanted more than to live in a godless world.
© Copyright 2016 Ceadda Alexander (ceadda at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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