My hands tremored as I lifted them from the hollow, vacant shell that once possessed a soul. The silent aura surrounding my being, at least whatever remained of it, was broken by the
footsteps of my mind. I glazed across the icy water, trying to find solace amidst the enveloping grasp of winter. I could feel the functions of my body accelerating, preparing for a long awaited
climax. I inhaled. I felt my thoughts slipping, wailing for some semblance of coherence.
My eyes closed, greeting the blackness openly, grimly smiling at the fate that awaited my mere recognition. I quickly turned away, afraid to meet its gaze. Yet, I knew it not. Who, or what, was this figure, one that seemed to eclipse all reason and judgment with its whisper? Everything that I was began to shut down and close off, trapping me in an iron pen, beyond immediate identification, but I acknowledged the eerie familiarity I had with this place. It was obvious how to escape; however, I knew I could not physically shatter these barriers. Even though I had had yet to touch the obsidian walls that felt so fragile yet unbreakable. A force took over me. I rammed into the wall with my shoulder again and again. I could feel, with every collision, my shoulder slowly dislocating, with every ligament silently ripping apart. Overcome with exhaustion, I collapsed onto the cobblestone floor that sizzled with an eternity of regret. A single, solitary tear trickled down my worn, morose visage. As it quietly came into contact with the floor, the tear seemed to flood the fires of my sorrow with the purity of its innocence. Suddenly, the floor began to quake, splitting the earth in multiple directions. I fell through the cracks, free-falling into the infinite blackness.
Coherence departed from me shortly, but I soon awoke in a corridor illuminated by a lone lamp, shimmering just brightly enough for me to make out the mahogany floor. I walked slowly, overwhelmed by the emptiness. With each step, I began to vividly see and clearly hear effervescent memories of a young, black-haired, fair-skinned girl, with piercing green eyes, who lay helpless as she was mercilessly mistreated, abused, and raped. The echoes of these memories began to not only grow louder but overlap until their horrors riddled me with pain.
When I reached the end of the hallway, I found myself facing a door; the noise had died down, and I stood in absolute silence. My hand grasped for the door knob, but when I moved to open it, an agonizing scream pierced the still air with trepidation. I heard bolts lock, and as many times as I turned that bronze knob, I heard the same, resolute click. The door would not open. I suddenly filled with rage once more, and determined to barrel my way through what seemed like the final obstacle, I charged into a barrier, but this time it broke. Yet, it still rendered every muscle in my right shoulder useless. Nevertheless, the door opened and I felt as though time stood still. I was greeted with whimpering and quiet sobs.
A dull, flickering light bulb provided me with vision. Clenching my right shoulder, I looked upon the green-eyed girl from those haunting memories. She could have been no more than ten years old. A distinct, fresh crescent-shaped cut marked her right cheek. Her expression was helpless; her emerald green eyes stared at me as if I was the last refuge of sanity in a barren world. Her lips quivered in fear. She softly said, "Save me." I said nothing. I took her right hand with my left, and we walked down the long corridor for what seemed like an eternity. At the end, we stood in front of a white light that nearly blinded us with its peerless radiance yet frightened us with its inviting anonymity.
We exchanged glances, neither of us uttering a word. We stepped through and time seemed to evaporate from our universe, rapidly moving us by a mirage of color and light, ultimately landing us on an endless seashore of white sand and clear, blue water. We sat down. Our feet burned in the sand, but it was a comforting burn. She looked up at me, and I met her tired eyes. I looked at her for a second and then asked, "What's your name?" Almost instantly, tears streamed from her eyes, making little droplets in the sand. She leaned up to my ear and whispered to me, "Hope." She managed to smile at me. I looked at her for another second, and it was if her smile erased all the doubts and worries in the world. I took her hand in mine, and we just sat there, gazing across the ocean, trying to see what secrets lay over the horizon...
I exhaled. The cold air brushed up against my face, reminding me of my existence. I could feel my boots crush the snow lying under my feet, packing it in. It was good snow, the best actually, perfect for snowball fights. I still had to force my eyes open though, but when I did, I watched a snowflake fall at the tip of my nose and saw my breath drift off into the sky. I thought about her, her unique hair and eyes, her brilliant smile; I thought about whether or not she decided to stay on that beach or if she's still abused. Despite everything, something tells me she'll be okay.
My hands weren't trembling anymore. I moved them toward my side, took my finger off the trigger, and tossed the gun into the water. I looked at the evergreen trees covered in snow and began to walk home. My shoulder twitched.
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