Speechless

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Imagination Station
A picture is worth a thousand words.

Submitted: July 14, 2015

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Submitted: July 14, 2015

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I was cursed at birth.

Most babies come out screaming, shouting, and crying when they’re born.

I came out completely silent.

The doctors thought I was dead, for God’s sake.

Nobody knows why. Nobody knows who did it. All they know is that I can’t speak, no matter how hard I strain my vocal cords to do so. I’ve gone through numerous tests and none brought up any results. No answers. The doctors gave up after the first ten years of my childhood, where I was then put into a school for the deaf.

I wasn’t with the deaf kids.

I was in my own little classroom learning sign language from a single teacher.

I was not happy.

I couldn’t complain, though. I’ll let you figure out why.

Everyday things that sound so simple and so irrelevant become impossible to me because of my “disability”. I have to write things down on my notepad and show them to the person I want to speak to in order to get my message across. This isn’t the only way I communicate, though.

There is one other way.

Everyone has their talents and their quirks, their own special perks. Some excel in sports while others can speak in front of a wide crowd out in the open. I can’t do either of these things, but I can do one thing that gives me a reason to live.

I can draw very well.

Most mindless kids at age five, they draw their first people as stick figures in red crayon on the walls of their home.

I drew sketches of facial proportions on my notepad.

Detailed face drawings.

I like to think of it as a gift, almost to make up for my unfortunate condition, but others see it as a miracle. 

I draw dreamlike worlds now; worlds that take me away and whip me off in directions unbeknownst to me because I despise the world we live in. I draw the places I wish to go on the walls near my apartment, and I couldn’t be happier doing so. 

I’ve made a living doing the only thing I know how to do; making and selling my art. That’s actually how I met Jay, one of the best friends I could ever ask for.

There’s one piece of my work I have always revisited, one artwork that I can never get over.

It’s a doorway surrounded by jungle trees, wide open for me to walk through.

I’ve tried.

I can’t ever walk through.

I felt something different on that day after I had woken up. I felt stronger, so the first thing I did was to try and walk through. This was almost like a daily routine by now, checking to see if I could walk through the forsaken drawn-on door.

I went over to the wall, overcome by grime and overgrowth, where the door was painted. 

The door was a darkened purple color, almost metallic. The trees surrounding the door were vibrant greens and some more exotic colors, and birds hidden in the shade of the tree leaves could be heard chirpi-

The birds in the painting were chirping.

I could hear them.

I lurched myself at the wall, holding my hands out to protect myself from the likely impact.

There wasn't any impact.

I went through the open door painted on the wall and fell onto the jungle floor. The sun casted brilliant rays through the openings in the leaves, shining some light down from above. The melodies the birds sang grew louder and more crisp in sound, noting my presence. I heard movements from the jungle behind me, but my focus wasn’t directed towards that. 

Right then, I was happy. I didn’t want that to end. I was still in shock that I was even able to pass through the wall and through the door. Speaking of the door, I turn around to see the door closed. 

I didn’t think about trying to open it.

I wanted to stay there in that jungle, but something told me to run. I don’t know if it was my conscious, or maybe even just a gut instinct, but something was telling me to keep moving.

I should’ve listened.

I stood up, closing my eyes and breathing a sigh of relief. Just being away from the stress, from the inhumanity of the world beyond the jungle door just felt good. 

I heard a crunch from behind me.

I instinctively turn, and I see nothing. 

I think I see nothing.

A branch to the left of me rustles, then I hear a louder crunch. A closer crunch. I back away from the jungled area behind the door where the sounds are coming from when I then see an image.

Something was being created, almost coming into existence, out of thin air.

First I saw the wings. The dark, blackened wings.

Then the twig-like legs that dragged across the jungle grounds.

Then the head. The beady eyes glimmered with anger.

Lastly, I saw the elongated mouth. The mouth that wanted to suck my blood.

A giant mosquito.

I turn and run. I run as fast as my legs can carry me, which isn’t very fast at all. The buzzing behind me grows louder, leading me to believe it’s getting closer. I stumble over a fallen log and duck under branches overhead, pushing my way through the immense greenery. The mosquito gets caught up in a spiders web at some point, but I dare not turn around to check.

I make my way out of the thickness of the jungle, the buzzing distant now.

In front of me, there’s a pit. A vine hangs above.

On the other side is a door. The next door.

I have to think quickly. I back up as I start to hear the approaching buzz, the rustling of the leaves and the breaking of branches behind. I close my eyes again, breathe, and say goodbye to the jungle.

Not vocally, of course.

I start my sprint, slowly speeding up as I near the edge before taking a leap and grasping onto the vine. To my surprise, it doesn’t snap. I gain momentum as I know the winged bug behindme is very near.

I take an early jump. A very big risk on my part.

It pays off.

I turn the knob of the door and throw myself through without turning back.

***

Frozen.

Immobile.

My hands are numbed.

I struggle to open my eyes against the chilling wind of the arctic landscape. The shivering starts immediately, and it surely is intense. The snow crunches beneath my feet as I move forward. I don’t feel like I can move, but I need to if I want to survive.

I look up to see the next door.

It’s as blue as the ice before it. If I want to keep going, the ice must be crossed.

My first steps are slow, baby-like, and very cautious. I do not rush to get across the frozen body of water, but part of me knows that I should.

I force myself to speed up, the shaking becoming nearly unbearable. The temperature has to be below zero, and I need to move if I’m going to avoid hypothermia and eventual death. 

I stop when I hear a sound.

A screech.

A whale’s moan.

I didn’t think that creatures could be swimming below me. 

I keep my pace, ignoring the thought of what else could lie below. My feet are steady, despite the rest of my body not being as secure. I rub my hands together and heat my neck and face, trying my best to keep warm. This is difficult, considering that I’m wearing jeans and a jacket. 

I breathe out. The icy smoke I release blinds me. I try and raise my hands to wipe my eyes, but even that proves to be a challenge.

I hear the ice start to crack.

It’s not where I’m standing, but behind me where I once was. I keep walking.

The cracking follows me.

In a situation like this, one tends to ask why they’re in the suggested situation. I don’t. I need to put my attention towards finding a way out.

If the ice were to crack, by chance, and I were to fall in, death would be almost instantaneous, taking into account my body temperature and the drop if I were to fall in.

In short, I die if the ice breaks.

I can’t let it break.

I start focusing too much on my thoughts and lose my footing, falling onto the ice.

I freeze.

I turn my head to see the giant crack in the ice behind me. The crack is too big for me alone to have made, so I have no idea what had caused it to grow to such a size.

Then the screeching returns.

I jolt up and run. I run as the ice below me starts to fall, but I don’t fall in. I start skipping over the icy blocks, making sure I have less of a chance to meet certain death below. 

Suddenly, behind me, the ice crashes. I hear the screech of the aquatic creature echo around the icebergs and the mounds of snow around me, ringing my ears as it slams back down into the waters.

I speed up. I don’t want to trip myself up, but that can’t be an option to consider for me right now.

I just barely reach the edge where ice meets snow and I take another lunge.

I just get a grip on the snow before pulling myself to my feet as the ice breaks and falls into the frigid lake. I take hold of the knob of the blue door and look behind me, saying goodbye once again before I make my way through.

***

I don’t have time.

I can already hear the rumble of the mountainous area and the earth starting to shake, letting me know that I really don’t have any time to waste.

I sprint with the energy I have left, still shaking and thawing out the ice on my skin from the other world. The other people running, not surprisingly, are screaming and running towards the ocean on the other side of this apparent island. I’m following them towards freedom, not saying a word, hoping to anything above that a door is there.

The ocean comes into my line of sight and I see a wooden door.

The door to my apartment.

I run faster, faster than everyone else on the island, the door the only thing I want. Nobody else is running towards the door, so I assume I’m the only one to see it. They’re all moving past it.

I don’t keep my pace this time; I need to run a distance as quickly as I can because I can already hear the deafening explosions behind me.

The volcanoes are erupting.

I turn my head and see the lava flowing down the rocky terrain, the ash and dust flying into the air above. The sun is covered, and a shade comes down onto me. 

The crowds of people don’t help at all, as they’re all trampling over each other in an attempt to get to safety. 

I also need safety, but it’s not the type of safety everyone else wants.

I still have the door in sight, but the darkness from the forthcoming ash makes it much harder to see. It isn’t far now. The rumbling isn’t stopping, and the lava has consumed some of the huts in the village. I have a feeling not everybody is going to make it out alive.

I really hope I do.

Somebody shoves me and I want to scream at them, to tell him what I’ve had to go through just because I wanted to escape reality.

I never thought I’d say this, but now I can.

I miss the real world.

I miss the deaf school with the kids I never am with, I miss my art, and my endless doodling in my notepad.

I miss Jay.

He’s the only one who ever knew me for me, and I miss him.

I keep running and I run hard, with determination. I run to get my life back, and when I do get it back I’m going to make it mine.

I reach out for the knob when I finally get there, the lava closer than ever. I close my eyes and shove myself through the door.

***

“Hey, Destiny, you here?”

His voice is like silk, and it’s the best thing I’ve heard all day.

I’m in my apartment with Jay. I turn around and open the door, expecting lava to be behind it.

I can see across the hall. There aren’t any other worlds.

I breathe and walk towards him. I sputter and cough, but something else comes out.

“Jay-“

I freeze. He looks at me, I look at him, and his mouth grows into the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.

Tears. I can feel them welling up in my eyes as he comes over to me, arms wide. 

We hug.

I just went through world after world with no real purpose other than to get back here, and I can’t believe the truth.

This world, this reality, this place that I once hated, is where I truly belong.

I have a voice, and for the first time in my life…

I’m speechless.


© Copyright 2020 Hanorbi. All rights reserved.

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