Darkness. I've seen nothing but darkness for as long as I remember. There's nothing else here, in this world of mine, but darkness. I’ve grown accustomed to it.
At first it was unsettling. The feeling of floating in this void of nothingness was terrifying. In this place there is nobody but me. No one can reach me. No one can breach the boundaries of this place and save me. But, why am I asking questions, as if somebody but me existed? I’ve never seen or felt any other presence in this thick, silent and peaceful darkness. What is a presence anyway? How do you feel it? How does it feel to feel it? Am I present here? What am I, where am I?
I’ve toyed with the questions, stacking them like building blocks. Rolling them up in each other, wrapping them around and around until they were just a cluster of words that had no meaning, because that’s what they are in the first place. Meaningless words and interpunction whose sense I couldn’t grasp despite my efforts. The words hung in the darkness like Will-o’-the-wisps, hinting, inviting, but never indicating.
Eventually I grew weary of them. The interest faded alongside the enthusiasm, and my mind grew silent. I idled there in the endless darkness, and let it take over. I felt it creep inside every nook of my being (whatever that is), rooting itself in my very core (again, I can only have an idea of what this might mean). It crept and poured and tangled itself all around me with its soft, ghastly tentacles, engulfing me and suffocating me until there was nothing but a spark of me left. A tiny flicker of thought indicating that once there was something more here, but it gave into the darkness. It gave up and the darkness swallowed it at the first sign of weakness.
And so when I thought that I was finally going to disappear, the light came. A light so bright that it stung my eyes (Eyes? What are those?), and I had to blink rapidly to prevent them from tearing up (Blink? Tears? Where are all of these words coming from?!). I found myself plunging towards it, stretching and twisting myself in order to grasp it. Gasping to breathe it in like a drowning man longing for air. And the warmth came too, as opposed to the neutral chill of the darkness. My skin shivered as the warm light engulfed it, caressing every bit of my body with its gentle fingers. There was a pulling sensation, as if being picked up by large careful hands ready to embrace you and...
I bolted upright into a sitting position, coughing uncontrollably. The surface underneath me was hard and I no longer felt warm and cosy. The chilly air bit my naked body and I wrapped my arms around myself to warm up a bit. I raised my head, eyes darting rapidly form side to side, but I couldn’t make anything out. The whole sight was a blur of whites and greys, and somewhere in all of it, there was a hint of movement.
Then there was a pat on my back, and two hands started slowly pushing me back onto the bed. I resisted, tensing my muscles and pushing back against the force of the hands, but instantly another, much larger and less gentle pair of hands replaced them and forced me down with ease. A voice spoke, light and crisp, jingling like an orchestra of tiny bells. I strained my ears and brain, but couldn’t make out what it said. The gibberish kept on until a word started forming in my head. Just then I realised that it wasn’t a mere word, but a name.
“Rayne.” It chimed.
I opened my mouth, and let an odd unarticulated voice in response. “Rayne”. That’s my name. But how does that person know this? How do I know this?
“Good.”, the voice continued. “It seems that it didn’t suffer any brain damage during the awakening period.”
I heard two more voices. One was low and somewhat rough, the other also low, but fluent and velvety. They murmured something that I couldn’t comprehend. In the meantime, my vision started to clear, and I saw the source of what I thought was divine light. I was staring at a reflector of an OR, or something, its brightness still hurting my eyes. I tried to move again, but my body remained flat against the bed.
Footsteps clacked over the floor, softly at first, but grew louder as the person neared me. She leaned over me, her bright purple eyes staring right into mine. She smiled, revealing a set of perfect pearly whites. Her hair, drawn back carefully in a tight ponytail was such a pale blond that it looked almost silver. It was as if her eyes and lush pink lips were the only things on her whole appearance that held any colour.
“Hello Rayne, nice to meet you.” Her smile was broad and welcoming, but I couldn’t help doubting its sincerity. I opened my mouth again, forcing air out of my lungs and through my vocal chords, letting out another meaningless set of sounds. She smiled understandingly.
“Have patience Miss Craven, all in due time. Let your brain wake up first. After all, not even Asterisk was built in a day, despite what its inhabitants like to say.” I kept staring at her in confusion as she chuckled and looked the other way, waving her hand beckoningly as two other pairs of footsteps could be heard, approaching the bed slowly.
I must admit that I didn’t feel at all comfortable as two men popped into my range of sight. Instantly I became conscious of the fact that I was naked, and that my whole body was exposed for them to see. I felt a surge of blood to my face, and instantly felt ridiculous for it because after all, they appear to have been in the room for quite some time. Probably even before I’d woken up. They regarded me carefully, but their stare was weird. It was as if they weren’t looking at a person, but an object. I felt chills rolling down my spine. The smaller one had raven black hair, and a very pale blue eye. I say eye because the other one was obscured by his fringe and possibly something underneath it, because it wasn’t visible at all. His stare was like icy daggers, measuring and precise. It would make me squirm, were I able to move my body. The other one was unbelievably tall. The first man wasn’t a shorty, but this person made him seem like one. His hair was a creamy hazelnut colour, and his eyes were amber, though more on the red side than the brown. The first thing I thought of when I saw him was “Autumn”, even though I’m not supposed to know what it is or what it looks like, since I’ve never witnessed it. His stare was light on the ice, but not quite warm either. It was neutral. As if he was looking at an anatomy model. He ruffled his hair and looked at the smiling woman.
“Man, it’s sort of eerie how they all look absolutely the same when the wake up. They all look at you with those wild, bewildered eyes until you put them through “Education” and suck the last hint of uniqueness out of them.”
For a brief moment something gleamed in his eyes, but it was gone in the other. He frowned and looked a little disgusted, then pushed himself away from the table and I heard him walk away. In the distance a door slammed shut. Icy Eyes glanced after him lazily then back at the woman.
“Uniqueness is not what they were made for anyway.” He shrugged, and the woman looked at me, her gaze heavy with pity.
“She’s such an adorable little thing. I wish we could keep a “Raw” one, but it would raise too much suspicion.” She sighed heavily.
“Get a grip on yourself Rin.” He murmured, “What would you do with a “Raw” anyway? You know full well that we’re in no-“
“Yeah, yeah. You could have let me dream at least a little...” She pouted and pursed her lips, “You’re so cruel Nate.”
The man called Nate smiled a little then put an arm around her: “Come on, we have to start the “Education” process soon. Get it ready.”
“You know I don’t like it when you call them an “it” Nathan, at least while they’re still “Raw”.” She scowled and pushed his hand away. She disappeared, and he watched her go. He cast a final glance at me, then shook his head and left. The door slammed behind him and I was left alone to myself again, staring at the light above my head.
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