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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2270059--English-version
by xol0p
Rated: E · Novella · Psychology · #2270059
Short psychological novella. ... - means something undefined.
I don't want it to end like this. But do I have a choice? I cannot delve into the abysses of my consciousness to find out the truth. And if i could, what would it change?

I sit in my car with a stone face and a firm confidence in the future. There should be enough gasoline. Headache starts every time I try to figure out what I did wrong. Had been waiting for too long. Injustice has reached its limit.

I start the engine and go on my last journey. Fragments of memories fly past me in the form of old houses, playgrounds, schools, familiar streets. I try not to dwell on any of them. I'm afraid I'll give back, and that's the last thing I want.

I turn on the radio on frequencies familiar to me. And there, as always ... FM turns the chanson. Grandfather went through Afghanistan and loved this kind of music very much, and I always sat next to him and enjoyed sad, but at the same time real emotions. If he was still around, what would he say to me? Would he understand my decision correctly? Would he support me? Unfortunately, I don't have an answer.

On the next bend, the car bounces a little. In the back seat, my mother's diary also jumped for company, which went through so many bright and not so bright moments with her. She always decorated it with stickers. Each signifies an adventure. Here is a sticker of a bear that she bought when she was little, but did not stick it until decades after going into the dense oak forest. And here is another one, imported, with some famous historical building. After a couple more bends, the diary finally jumped and fell under the seats.

I have been driving for a long time. The sun was sinking lower and lower. If you turn on your imagination a little and look at the sun, the horizon and the trees, you can see a lot of all sorts of things. I took out my phone and checked the time. 19:30 - said the clock.

A sudden headache made me stop and pull over. Why don't you give me rest? Stop suffering. Soon this will all be over, I will no longer need to think about the causes and consequences. If only…

My inner feelings were interrupted by the exclamation of a child.

I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a boy about ten years old. What is he doing here? On an empty road
Alone. 100 kilometers from the nearest settlement.

- Hey, hold on! Wait for me! - he shouts with a breathless voice.

I rolled down the window and the boy leaned in, carefully looking around inside the car.

- Where are you going?

The kid looked very much like someone familliar, but when I strained to remember exactly who he reminded me of, my head hurt again.

- Why do you care? And what are you doing out here in the middle of nowhere? - I answer him incredulously.

- But it's certainly where - optimism overwhelms him. - Look, about five hundred meters from here there are houses. So, I'm from there.

Because of the pain in my head, I could not focus on the point that the boy pointed out to me. I had to take my word for it.

- Then why are you standing here now?

- Well, do I need to explain you everything? I am just walking. The mother says that without supervision it is impossible to go out into the street. She can't go out on her own, she's always busy. My father left for the city, but I want to breathe some air. So I ran away while she fell asleep - hanging on the door sadly ends his speech.

It would seem that the pain that had already let go of me surged with even greater force.

- You feels bad? Can I run for some pills?

- Everything is fine. It's just that I've been driving for a long time, and it's a little hot in the cabin.

- Li-i-isten - quite stretching out all the vowels, he said: Can you take me with you? I have never been far from home. The maximum reached the road, and then it was scary. I always wanted to see more than an old stove, a chicken coop and a rotten palisade.

Obviously, I would never take a child with me on a trip somewhere into the unknown. But he had something so attractive, enticing. And something very familiar. After some thought, I decided to put him next to me.

I didn't know how to start a conversation with him. And what can you talk about with children of this age? Maybe ask about the school? As soon as I opened my mouth to ask a question, the boy began to speak on his own, as if he had read my mind.

- We were recently asked to learn a verse at school ... . I couldn't memorized it for a long time. And when I came to the first lesson, it was as if I had written this poem myself. I spoke without making a single mistake.

Well, I'm glad that at least I somehow can brighten up the road, the interlocutor was found. The boy talked about school incessantly. About friends that he has a lot of, about teachers who give only good grades. But until now, he has not said a word about himself. What's his name? How old is he?

- And how ol... - And how was it at your school-school-schoo...? - the last word began to repeat itself in my head several times, accompanied by an unbearable rumble. It seemed to me that I even started to scream. And then... I fell asleep.

I dreamed some sort of a prison. In which the prisoners had emptiness instead of faces and everyone has their own room. The warden of the prison was constantly shouting, not ceasing. Long corridors led into the unknown. A constant feeling of anxiety, as if my every move is being watched here. I could not stay in this place for a long time, so I made the only right decision - to run. I ran along the corridor into the unknown, I wanted to completely forget about this place. It cannot be done in this way. It is not normal. I won't be here another second.

I woke up. The car was still running. The boy was sitting to my right in the passenger seat, looking straight ahead at the road.

- Am I asleep?

- Yes, you suddenly fell asleep, and I didn't know what to do. So I simply sat and waited - he answered unemotionally, biting his nails.

- But how did the car keep moving? Did you drive it while I slept? - I asked with a grain of salt.

- I don't even have driver's license. And do I look like a person who understands cars?

I could not doubt his words. The boy really did not look like a car driver. Weird. Or maybe it just seemed to me? And how much time has passed? Judging by the position of the sun in the sky, no more than a couple of minutes had passed. But the boy said that I fell asleep after all. Did he lie?

We passed villages and small farms. The boy was excited to see all the views from the window. Here is the pasture.

- Moo! Ha ha ha.

Somewhere from the cornfields a whole flock of crows took off.

- Croak! Croak!

- Have you never seen a crow?

- Saw. But since we are traveling here, I want to make the most of this trip. Look look! Goats! Ba-a-a-a! - turning away from the window,
he childishly continued to imitate animals.

I guess I'm too mature about his childishness. Let him have fun.

After some time, the boy started talking again.

- Listen, did you know that there is a moment when the traffic lights are red for both pedestrians and drivers?

- No, I didn't know. And when does this happen? During maintenance? But even if that were the case, there would be many accidents.

- But you're wrong. Just because it happens all the time, there are no such accidents.

- Well then, tell me, how is this possible?

- From the moment one red lights up to the moment the opposite turns green, it takes about three seconds.

- Well, what is this moment? Three whole seconds - i answered pragmatically.

- You are petty. In those three seconds everything stops. We can say that this is three seconds of a complete stop.

So why did he tell me this? And where does the boy have such deep knowledge of traffic lights, if he doesn’t even have a license?

- I just read books, my dad has a whole library at home. And in my free time I took it from there and leafed through the pages - he answered, smiling with all his 24 teeth.

The asshole keeps reading my mind. It's a little disturbing, but at the same time it was somehow all the same.

The road never ends. And how much material and time had to be spent to pave the way even to such deserted places? Such insignificant topics I always discussed with my grandmother. She worked in a printing house and printed a variety of information about what was happening in the world.

I wanted to ask about the parents of this boy. Who are they? Who do they work? I'll probably ask first about his fathe...

- Uh-huh...

Pain again. But I think I've already started to get used to it. The only thing I still don't understand is what causes it?

- You probably want to know about my parents? - he asked, with his usual transparency. - I didn't said anything about them.

- Oh well.

- Well, my mother constantly sits at home and cooks delicious borscht for me and my brother. And my dad works in the city, he has several shops there, he earns a lot. True, I see him only on weekends, he plays the guitar for us and all sorts of sto-r-i-e...

I blacked out again. This time, I was almost immediately aware that I was in a dream. It's definitely not an obsession.

I opened my eyes in a small square room. It had no windows or doors, just me and an empty room. There was a pool of light in the middle of the room, but I did not see any sources that could exude it. I tried to wake up, pinched myself painfully a couple of times, and rubbed my eyes. Did not help. I still continued to stand in this box. Only now I heard very muffled indistinct sounds. They were getting closer to me every moment. And now I could already make out what exactly they were hiding behind themselves. The sound came from everywhere, behind all four walls there was a verbal skirmish between two people. But I couldn't make out the words, so I leaned against the wall. A sudden blow to that very wall knocked me down and where just a moment ago there was a wall, a door appeared. As I tried to crawl back, I felt that I had bumped into something. This something was very small and lay on the floor right in the very center of the spilled light.

- What?... Is it... a child? - i approached cautiously.

The swaddled baby lay quite still. I couldn't bring myself to touch it.

With a terrible crack, the door that appeared out of nowhere swung open. A dazzling radiance emanated from it, which did not allow me to see what was behind it. Another moment and the cocoon with the child flew into the hands, as it seemed to me, of some woman, as if it had been blown away by a strong wind. The door slammed shut immediately.

Awakening. The car is still running. The boy continues to sit next to me, not reacting to my constant sleepness. Probably thinks it's normal for me to fall asleep while driving. Noticing that I was awake, he immediately reacted.

- Do you have narcolepsy?

- How do you know such clever words, also read in books? – coming to my senses, I found the right answer.

- No, my grandfather said that during the war he met a boy who fell asleep all the time at the most inopportune moment. And everyone was surprised how such a person could be taken to fight at all - he answered without enthusiasm.

War huh, WWII, I guess. I won't ask again.

- You have a funny family. One is a businessman, the second is a housewife, the third is generally a warrior - I still did not know how to carry on a conversation with this boy, so I tried to answer neutrally. Maybe even a little ironic. I hope he recognizes her.

- Well, yes, I have a big and good family. Everyone understands and supports each other, that's how we live - again zero emotions.

After a completely normal answer, the boy, looking at his hands, asked:

- Are you afraid of death?

- Why such a question all of a sudden? - I answered incomprehensibly.

- That's just interesting. My mother used to say: “I am not afraid of death, I am afraid of never seeing my loved ones again, I am afraid of never breathing this fresh air again.” But she is an adult, and I am still small, I cannot understand such philosophical statements.

- I will refrain from answering - I cut him off with a slight trembling in my voice.

With our eyes fixed on the road ahead, we continued driving. The boy was still looking out the window with an excited look. Probably, in order to have some fun, he began to pull me and ask me to sing something to him. I just declined.

- There you have a radio in the car, turn it on and let's sing together - he overwhelmed me with a new wave of optimism.

- They can play some nonsense on the radio. And I can’t sing, in short, forget about it.

- You're so boring! Come on, you won't sing, but only I will. I love to sing, I always dreamed of becoming a singer when I grow up, maybe even an operatic one. At school, when I sing, everyone applaud me constantly - he said triumphantly, emphasizing the last word.

- Well, if that's what you want. Okay, I'll turn it on now.

For a long time I could not catch the station, only hissing and rare hits on news channels. Finally! … FM. The air of pop music, which I just hate, but if you have already agreed, then let it broadcast.

- Oh, it's my favorite song now playing! Yes, you need to get ready. Phe-e-ew. Well ... let's go - he took air into his lungs and began to sing along to the song playing on the radio. It was clear that the boy was not a beginner, he really had an ear for music, and he sang beautifully.

Fascinated by the talent of the boy, I just sat and listened to every word.

- When it'll become difficult to follow your dream...

The composition seemed very familiar to me, but how much I listened to this music, probably just another pop hit, which was constantly played wherever possible.

- Go for a dream-oh-oh, even if the whole planet does not believe in you... Native hearts beat in the rhythm of victo-r-...

I did not notice exactly when I fell asleep, because the boy's voice continued to sound even now. And does it mean that I still do not sleep? I could not turn my head, my hands did not obey, and there was a microphone in front of my eyes. Yes, a microphone, the most common. The hands dropped of their own accord, and I no longer heard the singing. Before my eyes opened a room that looke like a concert hall. There were people in masks which represented various emotions. The body still did not obey, no matter how I tried to move. A moment later, the whole hall erupted in laughter. It seemed to me that at that moment the whole world was laughing, but why? Are they laughing at me?

- Hey! Hey, wake up! - a boy brought me out of this dream. He often-often hit me on the shoulder and spoke very loudly, but did not shout.

- Wake up, come on! Look!

Continuing to be in a blurred state, I could not understand what exactly the boy was talking about, but looking closely, I managed to make out a muddy figure, somewhere very far away was either a person, or something very similar to him.

- And what were you so worried about? Well, a man is walking along the road. We'll go around him when we catch up.

- No, stop now! Do not you understand? Faster, before it's too late! - he kept repeating loudly.

- What are you worried about? Nothing will happen. Plus, he's so far away.

- What a fool you are! Stop the car! Faster! - but I continued to ignore him, sooner or later he would calm down.

- We’ll catch up with him and ...

The boy in the blink of an eye clung to me and looked straight into my eyes. He grabbed my hand and said:

- Remember...

At that very moment, I was sucked into the abyss of consciousness. The whole world around me turned into an endless stream of events. Fragments of memory rushed past me, and I could not cling to any of them. It felt like my head was going to explode from overexertion. I closed my eyes...

And opened them when I was back in the car. The same car that I was driving. Driving? Now it stood next to the courtyard of my old house. I lived here when I was a kid, and we moved because... because... No, I can't remember. Strange, but, it seemed to me that I had decreased in height.

- Okay, come on, son. As dad taught you. Did you remember everything?

- Yes, ma. I will try very hard, nothing will happen to me, I can do everything. All right, I'm off!

Everything happened as if in reality, but something was not right here. The faces of the people who communicated with me on the other side of the window were not visible, as if someone had very hard run over them with sandpaper. The car started up and moved off, I did not take a direct part in this, everything happened by itself. Good start, pick up speed. There is a sharp turn ahead, into which the car enters very smoothly. The ride continues. Beads of sweat appear on my forehead, why would that be? I can see the silhouette of a man ahead, now let's slow down a bit so as not to run over and ... A sudden headache covers me with all it might, preventing me from focusing on the ride. Flash. Hit.

I'm being pulled back into the maelstrom of memories. When I am here for the second time, I do not try to grab the memory personally, but just wait until the right thing comes to me by itself.

Another moment and I find myself near the threshold of the old house. Inside is a wooden coffin. People surrounded him and whisper something. Trying to listen, I snatch out snatches from the conversation of two women sitting on the porch, I can not hear everything.

- I didn’t think that he ... bring such grief to the family.

- Yes, as ... said, why give birth to the second? With one would ... better.

I close my eyes to take in what they said, but suddenly I start crying. No, sob violently. I guess I've never cried so much in my life. It was a strong feeling of hopelessness and vulnerability that no doctors and psychologists of this world could heal.

Finished crying, I again plunged into the abyss of the invisible. The fog cleared and I'm slowly starting to understand.

A new reality, woven from memories, opened up before me.

I am standing in a room with no windows and one door. There was a pool of light in the middle of this room. I've been here before. At that time, there was some kind of scandal behind the wall. I need to listen better this time, maybe this is something important. I press myself very tightly against the wall, behind it someone is really talking, no, yelling. But now I manage to make out individual words.

- I'm taking ... with me ... I'll send ... will see the life ... you're not a decree for me.

- Only over my dead body!

I glance at the center of the room. Standing there... me? Only, it's a ten-year-old me.

The door swings open and a woman flies into the room, who falls on ten-year-old me and covers me with her hands. Behind her, a strong man runs into the room and, with a deafening roar, raises his arms above the woman. The light in the center of the room turns red and I fall to my knees. I am filled with anger towards this monster, but there is nothing I can do. I'm just watching. I am a simple observer. I'm just ob-ser-ve.

~I'm not afraid of death, I'm afraid of never seeing my loved ones again...~

Again a car. I keep going again. Ahead, i can still see the human silhouette, which is approaching with every second. The boy sits to my right and moves his fingers. Noticing that I have returned, he begins a dialogue in a monotonous voice.

- So you understand? You remembered?

- I don't know... Emotions overwhelm me greatly, I can't understand how true it all is. Tell me is it true?

- I don't know, not yet... I have a counter question for you, where have you been going all this time?

This question put me in a stupor. I didn't know what to answer to him. But really, I’m going somewhere, for some reason I started to go, but where and why? I remember picking up this kid when I pulled over on the side of the road, but what happened before that? What motivated me to go on the road? So many unanswered questions... or are there?

- Perhaps this is too difficult question for you. Well, then it's time for us to finish.

He pointed his finger at the man we had almost caught up with. The man walked straight in the middle and was not going to move sideways. I tried to slow down, but suddenly realized that the brake pedal was not in its rightful place. Instead of a transmission - emptiness. And where the steering wheel should have been, only my hands remained, hanging in the air. I understood what was going on.

- Can't this be stopped? Can we do anything?

- Alas. It was an inevitability for which you are not to blame. I hope you understand this and forget it like a bad dream. Very. Realistic. Scary. Dream.

Hit.

...

...

...

Now I got it. Now I understand everything. I did not have time to ask this boy, what is his name? I did not have time to tell him: "How I envy you."

Perhaps this is what it is, complete oblivion. Blackness, emptiness, naught. No feelings, no worries, nothing. Endless levitation in search of the very meaning of life. Not to bother others, that's what I would like when I die. And no, I do not want to be reborn in a new body, or in some kind of insect, everything is over for me. Now I can put an end to it and enjoy nothingness. Can i?

Heavy eyelids did not want to rise for a long time. But is it necessary? I'll wake up in this car again and start thinking about what circle of hell am I on now?

Finally, I did open my eyes.

I stand on the side of the road, cars pass by me. But looking to the right, I did not see a boy nearby. So it's all over. For the first time since meeting him, I take out my phone to check the time.

19:32.

The headache has gone, and now I remember everything. No more need to suffer. I plunged into the abyss of consciousness to convince myself that everything is still ahead.

Looking at the horizon, I smiled and started the car for the last time.
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