Tuesday, July 27, 2010
The Hell of Isolation
Isolation is damning when it's not self inflicted. – Book of Tortured Souls, Nomar Knight
Become your character.
I sit in a field of barren land, marveling at a purple sky. A brisk breeze tantalizes me to the point I realize its evil attempt at hypnosis. I suddenly notice I must rise or face impending doom. So I do it, I get up ordering my legs to run, dumbfounded when pain rifles up my calves clawing deep in my knees. Examining my legs closer, I notice nothing out of the ordinary. I wonder if my failure to launch into a sprint a sign that old age is creeping up on me.
The breeze picks up its intensity, cutting my skin with a sleek dryness like razor sharp teeth. Lines of blood reveal themselves in my half covered arms. The environment’s hostile treatment of my presence, urges me once again to run. I get ten yards before the pain knocks me to the dirt laden road. On my knees, I cry out, “What’s happening?”
Instead of an echo, silence fills the now orange sky. A sense of dread fills my heart. I speak aloud, hoping the sounds of life can convince me that my isolation is only temporary. “Where is everyone?”
In fiction something or someone would respond to the character’s pleas, but in this reality, my words hang in the thickening air only to disappear as if never spoken. My breathing becomes erratic. For the first time I begin to wonder if my predicament is my entire fault when I realize, I don’t know my name.
My open display of weakness becomes complicated when tears roll down my cheeks followed by cries of pity. I pump my fists in the air, ashamed of what I have become. The wind lifts the barren dirt in a swirl as grains of sand lash at me from all angles. I cover my eyes, for the sting of the sun adds to my misery.
“How did I get here?” I yell knowing full well no one will respond.
I weep like a child in need of a loving mother’s touch. Instead of a soft caress, Mother Nature pounds more dirt on me. A cruel reality I wish upon no man. Somehow I muster the strength to rise again and through enormous pain, sprint towards a dark shade just below the hill. I think sure the god of circumstance will show mercy and shelter me from this dreaded sandstorm. When I reach the shade I hear running water. I go through the first sign of healthy foliage and find a renewed energy as a cold mist sprays its soothing pellets on my face. A cascading waterfall crashes over rocks unto a lagoon. Without thinking I dive in the pool of life, grateful for a second chance, grateful for the thirst quenching mercy bestowed upon me.
Laughter gets my attention. Two naked women laugh as they watch me from atop a boulder. They point and giggle.
At last, loneliness has lost its grip on me and a laugh, giddy like a child tickled by angels. I try to speak but my words come out muffled. In my second attempt at communication my voice sounds as if my voice box is used for the first time in years. “Hello ladies.”
Once again they laugh. They rise, clasp their hands together and jump into the water. A large splash hits high in the air before crashing down, soaking my head. I welcome the intrusion. I bask in the flapping sounds. I stretch my arms forward, hoping they’ll reach my hands when I notice a few seconds pass before a deafening silence reawakens my senses.
In lieu of standing in a pond, mud reaches my waist. What I saw as a cascade of water was instead rocks falling from a cliff. The laughter of females becomes the cries of a flock of vultures. One of them swoops down on me and pecks a piece of skin off my wounded arm.
The sun’s rays weigh on me like never before. A heavy burden of survival presses on my back. I wonder aloud, “Am I the last of my kind?”
What I thought to be water were pebbles. I reach my aching bloody face, weary of my surroundings. I attempt to move back through the mud, but the more I press on, the deeper I sink. Quicksand. Another vulture swoops by and my quick reaction surprises me. I grab its claws as the force of his flight steers me to more solid ground, stunning me. It pecks my chest causing me to cry out. “You’re not getting me, you bastards!”
I sniff the dense air, but instead of despair, I inhale a whiff of freedom. I continue to wade through the fast disappearing shadows, allowing hope to carry me to the promise land.
When writing horror I like to end things with hope. Especially if the narrator is first person, then I must assume he survives somehow. Unless of course; he’s providing the details as a ghost. I wanted to write something depressing so I played with setting and made the character react to his five senses. Notice I don’t know the character’s identity. I also wanted to write something psychological and I believe this fit the bill. Can you imagine being stuck in such a predicament? I hope this little blog entry served to inspire your muse.
See you on the dark side.