So the other day, I sat at my computer and started to type. This is what came out. There's more, but this is just the prologue to a novel I may possibly actually complete.
I am first aware of the cold. No introduction or gentle easing, just brutal cold that seems to envelope my entire body, seep into my pores and permeate my very mind. It is then I become aware of my nakedness. Opening my eyes, the brilliant cerulean of the dateless sky is meshed with gray undertones that give further evidence for the previous rain. Realizing I’m lying on my back, I quickly arise from the damp pavement and hurry to shield my nudity, wincing at the pain at the end of my tailbone. Once I’m covered however, my sense of exposure is suddenly overshadowed by the palpable feeling of utter loneliness. Upon glancing to my left and right, I see that I’m standing in the middle of a cracked blacktop road that stretches in both direction for miles that can’t be measured, accented by the periodic dashes of yellow, and surrounded by massive oak trees emerging from the luscious green grass, with leaves that splish…splash…onto the road. Combined with the bitter wind and total openness, I can think of nothing but how to get out. The sky’s emotionless hues only further the looming sense of being encaged in this world, as a rat in a maze.
Glancing around in all directions, it’s not long before a sinking deja vú develops. This place is not new to me, though minutes before I would have sworn that I’d never been here in my life. Wait…minutes before? Where was I, minutes before? What was I, minutes before? As if this all wasn’t enough, that old bastard Dread starts to creep in and whisper to me. There’s no one here, He says. Deny it you may, but you’re all alone again. But I refuse to accept that. Turning more 360s, my desperate gaze falls upon a house, amidst a clearing of trees and grass that I would’ve bet my life was not there earlier. Then again, I can’t be sure of much at all in this place, especially not my apparently failing memory.
The longer I stare at that house however, my thoughts concerning how I got here fade in importance when compared to what could be inside. Two stories made of rotting wood and siding, three out of four shattered windows on the front, and painted a color that was probably once a bold forest green but is now a peeling pistachio, its presence is far from appealing. But when a bone-chilling sweep of wind floods throughout every crevice and fold of my quickly numbing bare flesh, I make the decision to enter the house, if only for temporary shelter from the relentless cold. Taking a couple quick glances to check again for any sort of human activity, I hear a faint rustling in the trees to my right cut through the silence.
Snapping my head towards that direction like a bird (which, by the way, there are none of), I simultaneously dismiss it as wind and believe it to be my rescuer. “Hello?” I yell tentatively. Then hysterically, “Hello?! Please, someone answer me!” Unconsciously applying George Orwell’s concept of doublethink, I’m disappointed and not surprised at the same time. At this point, I’m not sure if another person would even be reassuring; I feel as if nothing could assure me in this terrible trench of despair I seem to have fallen into. Don’t get your hopes up sonny, you’re all alone. Alllll alooooone…I push Dread out of my thoughts and reassess my decision. Should I stay, naked and freezing in this God-forsaken length of road and wait for someone to come out, when they very well may never? Another torrent of icy breath combs through my hair, bathing my nakedness and seemingly urging me forward. Doing one last look-around before I do, I proceed to walk toward the house.
Though I suppose the temperature and initial shock must’ve numbed my observational skills, I found it startling that I failed to notice one particular detail of the house; within a five to six yard radius around it, not a single thing is growing. As I approach the building, I notice that the living grass forms a perfect circle around the structure, abruptly cut off by an invisible line of infertility. Not one blade of grass, not one measly dandelion even dares to rear its head from below the topsoil. This observation deeply troubles me, though I suppose it can easily be explained with use of pesticides and other such chemicals. Dread, acting as my voice of reason, tells me that it’s got to be more than that, and you know it. I do know it, and that’s what scares me. Regardless, I only lengthen my stride and continue toward the house.
Feet sore and bleeding from treading unprotected on the pavement, the grass, softened by rain, is the only relief I feel I’ll get for a long time. You’re sure you wanna do this, are you? I silence Dread again, though His question rings through my head. You’re sure you wanna do this? Am I? The answer is an indubitable, resounding “NO”, but as I see it, there are no better options. This debating inside me seems to have quickened my pace, because now I’m staring at the front door, and feeling as if Dread’s kicking down mine. I pause, muster up all of my remaining courage, and turn the knob.
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