Where Am I?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

The unknown is a fearful concept, but can be overcome. We cannot escape it, only find comfort somewhere within it. Take the journey through the great divide of existence, and find where you are.

Where am I?

I suppose a more intriguing question is, have I been here before?  Because this place seems so familiar. I am surrounded by a vast rolling plain that stretches for what seems to be infinity. The grass just stands unaffected by winds, each blade anonymous amongst the ocean of green. A species so eugenically divine, standing at attention, waiting for whatever travel will move its blades. Why is this plain so full of life? There are no brown, dead patches anywhere, only the luscious society of life that makes up the landscape. It seems so bizarre to me, yet I feel as though it is how nature intended me to find it. Open and awaiting discovery as I push past the disciplined grass following the command of my appendages. I see something else. Yes, towering above me. How did I go without noticing them first? How could I go without noticing something so... cold? The mountains that wall the surrounding area, distant and dead with granite covered in a cancerous snow that looks as though it eats away at the stone, each patch slowly eating the stone like a tumor of ice; as though it is beyond erosion and is instead rapidly devoured in decay, soon to be dominated by ice completely. Those mountains look so cold, but it is so warm down here. Inviting, like I was welcome here. Like it was my home.

But I digress and forget my original inquiry. Where am I? How could this land be constructed so simply, seemingly without flaws, yet be terrestrial? Again, it seems like nature intended it to be this way…

What’s that there? Something else I did not notice? A stream, deep but no more than a few yards across. It looks so inviting. The water is warm and the current is steady and gentle. The water seems like it is the tears of something divine, harvested to make it as limpid as possible. It looks like it just goes between the two stretches of mountains on either side. Hold on, off in the distance, what is that? It looks like the mountains separate in similarity on the right. I think I see hills covered in trees, and more voluptuous plain. That looks like a wonderful place to be. I could walk through the grass and climb a tree, maybe to get an idea of where I am. I suppose this river could take me there without having to extend too much energy in return. Wait, what am I wearing? A suit? It is a luxurious suit, but that is why I am surprised. Why would I wear a suit out in the middle no where? There is no name or brand printed on the clothing. Who would let such attire go without a master? I suppose there is no questioning it until I find out my location. Maybe its creator will be there. Maybe my creator will be there.

The water is warm; I test it with my finger and it seems to be a soothing temperature. It makes me feel reassured, almost welcoming me further to an unknown land I have never experienced before. I suppose I should get in and float down, but I do not rightly know where this stream will take me. For with the lack of better knowledge, it could take me somewhere I do not wish to go, which at this point is anywhere but the tree-infested hill. I could walk to the hill, that way I have a set path and know my destination as fact. But, on the other hand, I do not know how long it could take me to reach the hill. What time is it? I am not wearing a watch, what about the… where is the sun? It is daylight outside. But there is no source of the light. How could this be? It is as if the light just dances around every fiber of the universe as it stands, instead of being illuminated from one ball in the sky. It feels like such a foreign idea to me, but again, as nature intended it to be.

Now I am beginning to find discomfort in this foreign place. It cannot be anywhere I am from. I know it feels like a home, but the place where I came from has a sun. Right? I cannot rightly remember what the sun looks like… Have I ever looked at the sun? And dammit, where did I come from?

There are too many questions to be answered, and the only way I see fit to answer them is to go to that hill. I cannot waste time contemplating the nature of my travel; I will float in the stream. Less energy wasted, more time for thought and investigation. I suppose there is no use in disrobing and leaving the suit here; I may as well take it along with me. I’m tired of forgetting what I pondered minutes ago because of new inquiries I have, which were the kin of ideas I had minutes before the first. I must not question things like the nature of my creation in this unfamiliar location, but I must find where “here” is.

The water is soothing. I can feel it start to soak in through the leather of my shoes, which  I do not know how I attained. If I find who may have given them to me, I must ask how they got my shoe size. Slipping the rest of my body into the water seems to be so natural. It is absolutely unparalleled, this feeling that the water creates around me. It feels like I am surrounded by trillions of souls of the droplets of water that make up the body that I can feel connect with me. As they flow passes the cracks of my skin, they whisper everything I need to calm me. I enjoy this world so far; maybe it would not be so bad to start a new life by this lonely stream. I feel like we could both use the company.

Thought consumes me. All the questions I have asked so far have yet to be answered. This stream feels as though it wants me to forget. But this would defeat the purpose of me using the stream in the first place, as I am here to get to the answers I seek. If I forget those questions, well, what am I left with? I cannot forget the only things I know right now. More importantly, what if I came from another place, and through some odd misfortune of amnesia, I must find my place in this new land? I must say, I feel redundant because the stream feels like it wants my place amongst its droplets to be where I stay.

I wonder if I had any friends where I was from? I am quite unaware of what they would look like, or what they would be like for that matter. I hope I was not alone, that would be depressing. It is already immensely unsettling to find that I am separated without any choice, but to be isolated within society? That would be a dreadful existence. To be on the outside looking in is a terrible situation, but to be on the inside looking out would be awful; just awful. To be surrounded by one’s thoughts that could poison you at any moment is worse than any other thing I can remember. This is in fact the only feeling I think I remember from whatever past experiences I have had before this day, for I feel that now. Curiosity is beautiful, but it can dishevel your mind past redemption.

I have been floating for a short amount of time, but it is difficult for me to feel the speed of the rivers flow because it is so smooth, and I am left to stare straight up at a blank, deep blue sky. I try to stop myself against the sand at the bottom of the stream to see if I could check the progress of my journey. But it seems as though the bottom is too deep for me to reach. It does not even seem that there is sand to make up the floor of the stream, after further examination. How could that be? There must be earth beneath this body of water. I mean, that is a scientific consistency if my memory serves me correctly (even though I would be surprised if it served me at all currently). This stream does seem to be purposely different in many ways. It feels like it has a personality, one of jealousy and deviance. But I must not question this now; I already have so much to ponder…

Such as what I might see when I climb to the top of the tree that seems to be the tallest when I get to the hill. I am so curious. It does not look as though there would be any civilization around here, it just does not feel as though this is that kind of place. It all feels so untouched by any signs of life. No beavers making a dam in this stream, no moles burrowing into the ground, no lumberjack in his cabin after a long day’s work in the forest I am travelling to, no birds making nests in the trees that the lumberjack may have cut down, and no bears settling in for hibernation in the cold mountains surrounding this land. This place just seems so pure. I cannot escape that realization, like whatever or whoever created this place intended for it to be a clean slate for someone to build upon. It would only be a shame to rob this place of its purity though, for it only makes it that much more beautiful thinking about how untouched it is.

Another subject drowning in my thoughts is how uneasy this all seems to me. I cannot tell how far I have travelled, and I am beginning to worry that I have passed the hill. If I could just find some sand upon which to stop myself, or even a stone or a log, I could look up without losing my balance and check my progress. I am this concerned about losing my balance because of the seeming lack of a bottom. What if I cannot regain my composure? What if I turn over and cannot breathe once my face falls under the water? I do not like the idea of drowning at all. Not one bit. The idea of not being able to breathe amongst the crushing pressure of water while I sink, lower and lower with less and less air… I must stop thinking about this. I cannot think about this.

But it has been a while since I started floating along. Maybe I could lift my head for just one moment to see if I can at least make out the top of the hill.

This is a mistake. Or was a mistake. This is a mistake! Crying for help is futile. How certain am I that there is any sign of a hand to reach out for around me? The water is devouring me. I can it feel all around me. It soaks my skin through this damn suit and I do not know how to save myself. It was a mistake, I promise, whoever is there. Please just help me! I can see the surface but I cannot find my way to it. The sky with no sun; it is seems to be sinking away from me instead of me away from it. The water also seems to stretch out endlessly; there is no wall to this stream. What is this place?! It cannot be real, it just cannot! I can feel myself being starved of air, slowly losing grip on homeostasis that I took for granted long enough to get myself near death like this.

For the slightest moment I was able to ponder why I started this journey in the first place. I could have walked to the hill the entire time; there was no point in entering this watery grave. I might even have arrived there by now to find that there are in fact birds in the trees, and the bears are roaming through this forest looking for food after waking up from their long hibernation, and the lumberjack does live there, and he would help me figure out why I found myself in this odd universe. I might have even found that all the trees are vacant from feathered tenants, and the bears know nothing more than I do about what this universe offers, and that the lumberjack left long ago and left all of these grounds behind out of fear that they might devour him just like they have devoured me. But here I am, dying at the result of my every move, and not even a glimmer of hope is left. It escapes with my last choking breath…

Wait, what is this? I have touched something. Sand! Finally the shore! I could not have found anything more gorgeous than any form of earth to stop me as I found myself lying on my back in it. Each grain seemed like the most comforting feather that made up a bed I could relax myself in for a moment. The air around me was delicious, and relief showered over me to wash away the last traces of the fingerprints of any reaper that held me down in the water. This has been so odd, but I must not worry about the end, I have to catch my breath.

I must have fallen asleep, for it is dusk now. I have wasted a day through making mistakes without knowing them. What a remarkable thing a naïve nature can be. I am afraid to sit up, for if I have gone past the hill, I do not know what I will do. What if I cannot find it? I do not know how far I have gone, but I feel it is much too far for me to go back. I suppose there is no use in wasting away here, even though this entire journey has withered away my mind and my body.

Looking behind me after sitting up, I find I am at the foot of those frozen mountains to the other side of the hill. This cannot be… the stream went right through the middle of the two. It was a perfect median. This does not make sense. How could something that advertised itself so plain and pure be so deceiving? It was so innocent at first glance, the calm stroke of the water against the banks, playing with no pattern but forming a beautiful song. I hate this stream. I hate the water that orchestrated the evil that enticed my ears. Nothing more than a cruel siren luring me to my demise through such a gorgeous song… I want to hit the water with every bit of my hate being projected into it. I want it to feel the pain I feel from being soaked in itself and being covered in the sand it brought me to. These grains do not feel like feathers, they are pins and needles, a bed of nails that will crucify an innocent man. But this will do me no good; revenge is only a continuation of an unnecessary chain of torture.

I do not understand it, how could I have been so foolish? A landscape that was bare like a desert enticed me into my darkest hour, and I have not an idea of what my name is. How can you hate someone so if they have no identity? How far would anyone go to murder the anonymous? They must have nothing to lose. They must not have peers and aspirations and pleasures if they know not their name. Well, here you have me. A nameless child of nothing, born into a reality that seems like anything but, only to be taunted and played with for the enjoyment of—well I do not even fathom what. This thought engulfs and enrages me. What kind of man… what kind of demon would be so sinister? I know exactly what you want of me, and I hope you are giddy with yourself, you glutton of torture. If I could muster up unspeakable curses to plague you with, that would teach you humility. That would teach you the embarrassment I have experienced here. Then while you look up from your own hole, reaching for the cliffs that create the horizon high above you, you will finally understand pain. You will finally understand having the only possessions you took pride and security in ripped away from you, left to be bare and confused and displayed for the entertainment of others, if there are even others.

No one is left for me to discover. I have abandoned the desire to be found; I only desire to stay abandoned. I hear a new song call out to me, from behind me. This one is hardly beautiful; it is horrid, like the barely noticeable ringing from angry ears. It is the bell that rings at funerals. It is the soft voice that sings elegies. It is sound of tears pounding the newsprint that displays the obituaries. This is the most deafening noise I have ever heard, and it plays like a flute coming out of a snakes lips.

These mountains, these are the only things I know in this universe. I now know my purpose here. I have only been created to be destroyed. My existence is not meant to write a history, I am to become a part of the granite that it takes place on. I am to become the only tomb here, a permanent landmark of evil and all that echoes darkness in the shadows of this valley. The snow is frozen and ready to lift me away slowly. It has waited so long for this moment, I can feel it. Every atom that makes up this universe has waited for this moment.

I feel so numb. But not feeling a thing has made me most content. Curiosity is a fool’s toy. Curiosity kills. It is a result of dying. Only the impaired are truly gifted with its disease, ready for it to rot them from the inside out. And here I am, lying in my coffin, ready to be thrown six feet under at the height of midnight. The moon calls out one last maxim of regret, but I refuse to hear it, because only children try to touch the moon with their last breath.

 

Life slips so silently. It slipped from the cracks of my spirit and through the pores of my skin. It was so peaceful, serene, like nature had intended it. That was my destiny for certain in that universe. But where am I now? I cannot see a thing, not necessarily total darkness, but nothing has stimulated my vision. That is a confusing thought to communicate, but I suppose many of my thoughts have been. I hear nothing either. Not even the most silent breeze parading through to let me know that a world is still there. There is nothing here, nothing there, just my thoughts engulfing my environment. That is remarkable. The fact that all along, I have been destined to be left in my own consciousness to ponder whatever crosses my mind. It is almost comforting. At least here, I can quietly fantasize of anything. No hurt or anguish knocking around every once in a while to let me know I have nothing. I create myself, and my world is my own.

My own…

I suppose it is no different from that cursed stream, or the vast and eerily vacant meadow. That place is exactly what I am in now. A place created because of what I perceive, and retaliated upon based on whatever bias I have in myself. I wonder if that lumberjack will ever find my body, or if anyone will, for that matter. I hope that does not depress them too much, I do not want anyone to be affected by my own desire. After all, I knew no one and I was not going to anytime soon. But what if they too were lonely? What if their existence was purposed to wait for me so we would be better off as a community?  What if there were multiple people like that? The guilt of that thought consumes me. But how could I have been so tortured, only to be saved? Any demon who has taken a prisoner makes them a slave to suffering. So why would mine have let me go…

Regret is my name, and I am foolish. To be mocked and tortured was only a test of my will. I am weak, and while I deserve to die alone and frail, that is in no way what I was meant to do. I had ambitions and destinations once, and I let myself be blinded for my own satisfaction. I was satisfied with misery because I knew nothing else. No matter what force enacted upon me, I could have overcome it. The time and the effort were the hard sell, and I just was not convinced—no, I was not motivated to follow my own path. I was tempted, and fell to my knees at the sound of a whistle. Whoever is out there who can feel these thoughts can take my energy and ingest me with thirst, know this: life is to be tortured, but there is no solace in death.

 


Submitted: November 05, 2014

© Copyright 2021 David Clark. All rights reserved.

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