Erased from memory

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man finds a phone which leads him down a rabbit hole of voyerism and isolation.

Submitted: September 10, 2019

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Submitted: September 10, 2019

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What do you think you are doing? The words resonated in the empty dark void of my room. I stared at the words, as time around me ground to a halt. Life is an almost endless series of experiences, most fade into obscurity as soon as you have experienced them, turning into fading memories, good memories, bad memories and stuff that just happened to you, but you never bothered to take notice. Some experiences are so important and life altering that they will stay with you, they will reverberate and send waves through your past, present and future. This was one of those experiences.

I awoke on my bed, still fully clothed, groggy from a deep sleep with no memory of how I had gotten here. I remember booting up my computer for work, as I would every morning. The rest is a blur of images that pass by as trains through a subway. A blend of work related visions combined with old college girlfriends, lost friends and postcards from a time where things were better. A time where I was alive, my heart still beating. Now here I was, an empty shell living through memories, chained to a machine of memories, a mechanical brain.

An intense knocking sound is heard throughout the room, a sound that forces me to get up from bed. Someone is at the door, a guy delivering my groceries. I slide a note under the door, he puts the bag of groceries down, reads the note, I slip the money out through the crack, he takes it and leaves. I wait a moment, the I open the door and grab my groceries, quickly closing the door behind me. I figure it´s late, I must have slept through most of the day. I peek out through the curtain and notice that the sun is setting. I boot up my machine and stare into the void of memories, I put on the lives of others as time slowly speeds up, and the cycle continues.

Everything’s a blur, it´s Christmas, then March, April, November, then my groceries didn´t arrive. I have a panic attack. I feel a sense of helplessness as I stare at the door. It´s taunting me. I wait for several hours, before the cold realization dawns on me. I have to go out, I have to go out or I will die. Ironically this realization started a series of events that lead to the eventual death of my identity.

As is claw my way out through the darkness, the cold winds gracefully touches upon my face. I´m in a wasteland, the snow at my feet is covering everything, making it hard to see the concrete structures that surrounds me. A sense of alienation fills me as I fight through the blizzard. The noise of the city is drowned out by the howling winds, a roaring cacophony of deafening sounds. I cling to the sound of my footsteps on the snowy ground, the sound is familiar and brings me great comfort as I am nearing the neon sign that signifies my sanctuary from this unwelcoming Ragnarok. 7/11, open twenty four seven, the warmth envelopes my body as I walk through the automated sliding doors. The clerk stands behind the corner, uninterestedly he is checking his phone, barely noticing my arrival. I explore the isles of overly pricey food supplies, snacks and magazines. Almost sleepwalking, taking my good time, enjoying the solace of the empty store, gruelingly postponing my trip back in the void of the world. Then suddenly, there I stand, staring at something tucked away in a dark corner of the brightly lit store. The flashing screen invites me nearer, a distant sound of ringing emanating from this forgotten corner of the world, I pick up the phone and stare at it. Someone is calling, the owner is long gone, no one is able to answer this call. It stops ringing, but I can´t stop staring at the device, quickly I put it into my pocket, with a sense of intrigue I feel it tucked away in my jacket. I pay for my wares and fight my way back to the only place where I truly feel safe, between the four walls of my dark apartment, a sense of excitement helps me back through the darkness of the world.

My room is illuminated by a singular bright light. The screen takes me in, from time to time it vibrates with life, as messages from strangers write anticipating a response. I start reading as the hours pass by. Jim lives downtown, he has a rich network of friends and he frequently writes me kind words. He was recently on vacation in Europe, traveling from one strange place to the next, a place of sun and joy, everyone smiling and enjoying themselves. Katja is a girl who wants to meet up with me in the near future, we meet for coffee on a weekly basis and talk about our childhood. She wants to see me soon, about her complicated relationship with our common friend Anthony. We´ve all known each other since childhood, and yet we hardly know each other beneath the surface level. My life is slowly transforming as I take all the information in, as I take on a life that isn´t my own.

This goes on for weeks, I´m fascinated by these people that inhabit the phone, vicariously I follow their everyday life, answer their messages, pretending to be someone else. I feel alive as I learn more and more of my new past, present and as I get ready to mold a new future. One cold December evening, I wake up and reach for the phone, as I look at my hand it seems foreign to me. I no longer feel comfortable in this body I inhabit, I get up from bed and walk to the bathroom where I examine the stranger in front of me in the mirror. A pale face stares back at me, those cold empty eyes will forever haunt my nightmares. I reach out to touch the strange mirrored image, only to feel the cold surface of the mirror. Then suddenly a noise from inside my living room.

The phone lies vibrating in the darkness, someone is calling me. I pick up the phone as a cold voice is heard through the speakers What do you think you are doing?, I´m paralyzed with fear, unable to respond. You have taken something that isn´t yours to take. The voice droned accusingly. I dropped the phone, watching it shatter on the floor, bits and pieces spread out everywhere. A helpless sensation engulfed me as I watch the remaining parts of my life scattered on the floor. I felt paranoid, who did this voice belong to? And did they know where I lived? A knocking sound was heard from the door, yet again I felt the rising sensation of panic and helplessness. I rushed to the door and listened intensely. They were out there, I had nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. I looked towards the windows, desperately I pulled away. Everything was illuminated and bright, while I just stood watching the room transform into something new. Then the knocking sound resumed, louder than before, angrier and more intense, filling me with dread.

The wind is rushing through my hair, I watch my reflection. The hollowness being filled with new life for every mirror I pass. Like walking through a mirror of hallways, rediscovering my one true self by every step I take. My face seems more and more familiar as my memories return, the violent sound of Ragnarok grows louder as time passes by, as I fall past the mirrors. Everything is engulfed by whiteness, a chaotic blend of loud sounds, snow and concrete. I smile as I watch my face in the mirror for one last time.


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