The Leap

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

"Haven't I already fed you?!", the man screams in agony, "what more do you want from me? I beg you to just let me have one day in peace!"

Submitted: November 25, 2017

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Submitted: November 25, 2017



The Leap (a story) 

He teeters upon the edge of anxiety, staring down the precipice at the big machine below. His thoughts tell him that now, he must write another piece about lingering on the border of death, for he has nothing else to say about humanity, and his knowledge of the outside world is limited to what his thoughts have taught him. He wonders if he should even put his pen to paper, for he has already exhausted his verbiage, said all that there is to say about sadness. But the weight of despair puts him at a crossroads: he can either take the plunge and feed his soul to the machine, or take out a blank paper and write again. The tick tick of the world clock tells a tale of time's passing, and he stands outside of time, listening to the cogs in the pit. Meanwhile the machine opens its maw, and inside he sees a thousand jagged teeth jaded with stale blood. Inside the mouth appears another eye, unblinking and judgmental, reminding him of his own insignificance. Yet this reminder allows him to make a choice at last - he will take the plunge. Once the machine sinks its teeth into his flesh, his problems will be reduced to mere chunks of meat, their triviality thus realized. He will no longer be a burden to those around him, and a load will be lifted off the shoulders of those who have, up until now, helped him carry this burden. He will throw himself into hellfire, and thus put an end to this act of selfishness. 

And so he takes the plunge. 

Eyes closed. The world is even smaller than he remembers it being, his problems even less significant. But the throbbing remains, as though his skull possesses a pulse of its own, expanding and contracting at will. He puts his palms on both sides of his head and begins to press, trying to silence the noise. The machine inside his head cries in despair, for it craves another meal, another hand to feed it. "Haven't I already fed you?!", the man screams in agony, "what more do you want from me? I beg you to just let me have one day in peace!" Yet the cries continue, and the man writhes in pain, for he knows that silencing this machine will require him to tear off another piece of his soul. And so he obeys, wondering what will be left of him by the time the machine is fully satisfied. 

As the next sacrifice stumbles toward the pit, the machine's noise slowly fades, turning instead into a more tolerable hum. This causes the man to smile, and the gap further grows between his new self and the person he used to be, but at least he can hear the echoes of his own heartbeat, even if it cost him a portion of his soul. Right before the offering takes the leap, the man sees in his mind's eye - through the eyes of the offering -all his loved ones either revering in his death, or shrugging their shoulders upon hearing the news. His smile widens, for that is indeed the reaction he hopes his death would evoke. And so he watches as the next offering takes the plunge. 

Eyes open. The noise inside his head has disappeared. He is now free from the machine, albeit temporarily. But this time the silence is different; it seems as though the machine's hunger has been satisfied, and its cogs will no longer churn. This should make the man happy, but instead he feels numb. He knows that he has to get out of bed, brush his teeth, take a shower, grab his coffee, and complete all the other mundane tasks required of him by adult life, but unlike yesterday where thinking about these tasks caused him despair, he now just treats them as items that one has to check off a never ending list. He follows thus the morning's motions, causing him to end up in front of the bathroom mirror. Here, he looks at his reflection. But instead of the man he saw yesterday, he sees a face twisted, distorted, one that no longer belongs to him. Yet even this revelation evokes nothing within, and only prolongs the numbness. He looks at his phone and realizes that the person he sent a text message to yesterday still hasn't replied, and although before this would have only added to the weight of anxiety upon his shoulders, today it makes him feel nothing, and he is even glad that he no longer has to abide by texting etiquettes. He remembers then, as he begins brushing his teeth, that he may have left his true self in the belly of that horrible machine. He can hear the mechanical echoes of his heartbeat, and in these hollow reverberations his new self is thus revealed: a reliable man with an iron will, able to muster a smile whenever he desires, set his mind on a goal and achieve it without questioning its nature, and be a rock for those who choose to trust in him. 

No more questions, no more irrational fears, no more depressed days and suicide attempts - he will become the perfect man, fitting thus other people's image of perfection. And unbeknownst to him, his true self will still alive, trapped inside the machine with the same anxieties, terrors, and irrational fears, for even the leap failed to free him from his pain. 


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