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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Have you ever wondered at one point in your life what it really meant to be alive? Perhaps you asked yourself the simple question of “why?” I know I have. And that’s where this begins—from the very beginning.

Submitted: February 09, 2016

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Submitted: February 09, 2016



In the heart of Russia, far north of the city Kransnoyarsk, I live in a small town by a name I wish not to disclose here. The frozen tundra land is occupied by factories and distribution centers. There are large, bulk industrial units plastered all over the town’s borders, and in the very center lies the small homes of the townspeople, an Orthodox Catholic church, the town’s flea marketplace, and a city hall smaller than the church. The divide between rich and poor is oblique; and not because they hide it very well, but because there simply are no rich people who dared step foot among our soil. The bodies of the poor slumber here in this smog-overcast excuse of a town. It’s small, so you’d think that everyone would be a close knit-family who shared and cared, but because of the foreign companies that glide their bulk through the town’s center facilities, the faces of the townsmen always come and go and always change as the days fly by.

I glide as a shadowy figure around town. I never go to the marketplace, I never go to the factories; I simply slip past everything and everyone, always observing, never interacting. When my boredom reaches it exhaust, I casually stroll back home back towards the tenements just outside the city. They always lay in a dim row of two-story flats on the opposite side of the railroad tracks. In fact, they lay less than twenty-feet from the rails. When I go home, I follow my previous steps in the snow, go up the stair onto the railway platform, and cross to the opposite platform from an icy bridge that just barely makes a gap between it and the top of the trains that bellow beneath. The bridge is connected to the opposite platform’s catwalk so it’s easier for second-floor tenants to access their flat. It never occurred to me how obscene the location of the flats seemed to be, so I never had the intention on relocating or complaining. It would be too much work to do so anyway.

The flat I call home is barely 200 square feet. There is a carpeted open area that takes up more than half the space, a small kitchen attached to it, and a bathroom barely big enough to hold the toilet and shower. The kitchen is made up of grimy tiles, a fridge, a two-coiled gas stove, and a single rusted-out sink. The porcelain toilet is broken and doesn’t flush. The shower has no curtain nor door, let alone a shower-head to rinse in anyway. The metal pipes are all rusted and haven’t been used in a very, very long time. The rest of the flat is carpeted. No longer can you tell what color it started out to be, but as of now it’s grimy, mud-caked, and a disgusting shade of brownish-yellow. The whole flat was aged and broken. I chose to live here because this place was no different than I am.

My story, well, perhaps isn’t much different from yours, but then again, maybe it is a lot different. I didn’t always live here in Russia my entire life. I grew up in a small town of north east Texas, United States. I grew up in a suburban area, went to public school, and moved on. I married the girl I loved, went into the military, seen the world with her, and after our first four years, we had children. She continued school, became a psychologist; after my military career was over, I decided to be a novelist. Our children grew up, had kids of their own. My wife retired and died of old age, and I could never finish my first novel. My grandchildren grew up, and sprouted more kids, and I was never seen again.

I’m not sure if I had died, or if I just continued living. But I disappeared and nobody wept. Nobody cared. I didn’t even have a funeral. It was as if I was never there to begin with. I’m not sure what I had felt during my lifetime with my wife and kids. I don’t really know what emotion is anymore; but what I do know, is that all I feel now is pain and hatred and remorse. I couldn’t tell you where it all came from, but I just know that it’s there because it drags me down every moment of this life I wander around in now. From the time I disappeared to now, everywhere I went, everywhere I roamed, nothing cured my pain. I believe that nothing ever will. After what was maybe years, maybe decades or centuries of eternal torment, I found myself here in this little town in Russia. It was like every other place I had visited, at least the people in it were, but the only difference was that I could feel the cold wind and the ice. It was just a hint, but every time I stepped out into the snow barefoot, I could just barely feel the sensation of what cold used to be. When I walked around this town naked, I could almost feel alive again.

Stepping into my flat, I push the door closed and sit on the carpet, leaning against the rotting wall. I rubbed my palms on the dirty carpet and closed my eyes. I let my fingers play with the tussles of the woven polyester. I closed my eyes tighter. Deep within me, I willed feeling to come back to me; I willed emotion and memories to fill my mind. Pictures crossed in front of me, but they were faceless, ageless, and undistinguished. No longer could I remember my wife’s face, or my children, or even their names. Agitated, I planted my cheek on the carpet. My fingers continued to play with the fibers. I inhaled a deep breath, smelling the feces, the dust, and the mud on the carpet.

Where was it all from? Where did it all come from?

The fibers were polyester, plastic, made in a factory, imported from Indonesia, cut and shipped and plastered on this very floor after going through so many hands. It has been trampled on my people, pets, wild animals, rodents, and myself. Mud soiled the carpet from shoes, dirty snow, and diseased fur. The feces were from animals, rodents, and pests. Dust blanketed it over time. But what was my home’s carpet like?

I sat up and opened my eyes. I couldn’t remember. Distressed, anger filled me and my rage erupted. My fist slammed down into the carpet over and over again. I pulled at the plastic fibers and ripped them up, slamming my fists down again. Jumping up, I rushed out the door and furiously treaded through the snow. Anger surged through me. I kicked at the snow, I punched at it, and finally I couldn’t hold it in. Grabbing my hair, I fell to my knees and screamed to the sky, bellowing my mighty anger. After its release, I bent over in the snow rocking myself back and forth.

Why? Why can’t I remember?

In the distance, I heard a sneeze. It was soft and petty, sounding more like a squeak instead of release of pressure. A woman stood buried knee-deep in snow next to the railway platform near the tenements. She looked stuck. She kept reaching towards the icy handrail of the stairs, but came too short of grabbing it. She reached again, and cried in frustration.

Intrigued, I walked closer to her to analyze. She reached again, but this time, after failing, she squealed in exasperation, took off her winter hat and threw it in the snow. As I watched, something happened. I felt something. It was faint, but was definitely there. It felt like… a sorrowful feeling, like I cared, like I almost believed she was upset, and I felt bad for her. I felt pity. And I had the urge to help, but I couldn’t. I never have been able to. I can’t touch people, or speak to them, and they can’t see me. But I wanted to help.

I rubbed off some of the ice from the handrail. Coming up next to her, I dug near her legs to give her more room to reach. For now, that was all I could do. Then something else happened—a realization, but it lessened as soon as she yipped for joy as she grabbed onto the handrail and pulled herself up onto the icy stairway. She stood gleefully, dusting off the snow from her pants and coat. She looked around deviously and began to climb. I wanted to tell her it was dangerous up there, but she would never hear me. Jumping up the steps, she peered across the bridge to the other side. What her intentions were, I had no idea, but I did know what her heart desired to do.

In the distance, the horn of a train blew faintly above the icy howl of the wind. My stomach flipped. I rushed towards her before she stepped onto the bridge, but I was too late. The high beams roared toward her, the front of the train slammed into her fragile body, the bridge busted. I ran to the edge of the stair and screamed. I have never had that urge before in a long time. It was reflex that I ran to the edge. It was in that moment that it came to me. Her face, her eyes, her sounds. She looked so familiar, yet not. At first I couldn’t place it. The nose was slightly different, her body taller, her hair a little darker, but her features were so similar. It was as if she was a reincarnation of my wife. Her name came back to me. And suddenly all the memories filled me. It was too much to bear. My head whirled and I fell over into the ice cold snow. My fingers numbed and my heart ached. Tears froze on my cheeks.

Nobody cared. Nobody cared. I don’t remember, I can’t remember. I chose to forget after such a long time of hating myself and feeling such pain. It was all my fault. Everything was my fault. I’m guilty. Why? What was the point? The point of it…


“Honey, what’s wrong?” My wife asked as I came into bed with her, face withdrawn.

I didn’t respond. I couldn’t. We’ve had this argument before; I really didn’t want to re-create it. “This is all just pointless.”

“Pointless? What is?” She asked.

Life. Will you kill me?”

She gave me a scared stare. “What?” She managed.

“Kill me. I don’t want to live. It’s all just useless.”

She gave a terrified chuckle. “Well, why not? What’s wrong? And don’t say everything.”

“I’m not sure of anything. I question my goals whatever they are. I question my career. I question my worth. I question my relationships. I question my home life. I question my morals. I question anything I can question. It’s horrible. I hate it, and I want it to end. It’s all pointless.”

She sat there crying. “You’re right. It is all pointless. But maybe that is the point. That it’s all just a big circle, and you get to make your life, you get to make your own point. But you don’t want that, do you? You want someone else to make it for you, but you won’t accept anything.”

I stayed silent as she continued to cry.

“I don’t know,” I whispered.

“No one does. No one ever does. But what’s the point in knowing? Why do you have to know? You can’t just accept anything for the way they are. There’s no reason to keep questioning everything. That’s your problem. You want to know the point. But what if there wasn’t one? What would you do then?”

I shrugged, then rolled over and listened to her cry until she fell asleep.


My fault. It was my fault.

I lifted myself up from the edge of the rail.

I killed myself, and it was my fault.

Tripping over myself, I slowly climbed to the other end of the broken bridge. I crawled to my apartment door.

No one cared. No one cared.

Tears streamed down my cheeks. Oh god. I forgot. I forgot. Everything went blurry.

I thought that no one did, but they all showed up at my funeral.

The heartache was too much. I fell to my knees inside the door and cried upon the infested carpet. The harsh cold wind blew flurries in, filling the void of the room full of ice.

She cried the whole time then and after then. She raised our children with those tears. She loved me and I couldn’t see it because I questioned myself. I blinded myself because I didn’t know what was real. All I wanted was to end the pain. And she accepted my choice, but hated it. She cried so much. So did my family. So did my friends. Selfish. I was selfish.

I rested my head upon the carpet and slowly closed my eyes, weeping.

What’s the point?

© Copyright 2019 A. L. Culverhouse. All rights reserved.

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