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Speculative Fiction

The first thought I had on this nicely dim morning was that of shock. The dream that was slowly creeping into my current consciousness had set my day off rather uneasy. Not that this was unusual. But I fail to get used to the nonsense the brain conceptualizes as it tries to make sense of the experiences beforehand. By the time the whole personification of my mind came back to me, I had fully dressed and gotten prepared for my job, without taking any extra thoughts to those steps. I continued past this intrusive realization because on this particular night, it seemed to be attempting to process a memory from so long ago, and so forgotten. I cannot remember much surrounding it at all. But the feeling resonates to this day, coming over my bones in a wash, very occasionally. 

I stirred my coffee and took a fatal sip, not giving any time for the temperature to stabilize. I got flustered for several seconds, and then retained myself in remembering that is silly to be so overwhelmed about. Nevermind it. As I moved past this idea, I took the shortest span of attention I could to the fact I resolve a lot of uncomfortable emotions with this same process fairly often. That is also silly. 

I grabbed my beat up leather case and headed out of the kitchen door, as I do most days of the week. As I closed the door and turned towards the exit, I passed the same guest I see, also most days of the week. She usually greets me with a smile and sometimes small talk. I prepared to use my voice for the first time that day, but she seemed rushed. She, it was too late to ask her name at this point, made eye contact for a split second, before jolting her eyes down to the floor and quietly slipping by me. Fair to assume she had a sleepless night, as we live in a rooming house and one guest’s child was quite a ruckus last night. I walked out into the cracked morning air. 

The mountain tops were not visible, as the mist was keeping them in isolation. The mountains are my favorite sight, other than the stars in the early mornings. I especially enjoy the shapes the sky has to offer without the sun above. Anyways. I physically shrugged into the mist and continued my walk down the sidewalk towards the center of the town. The chills rolled down my arms as I walked through the comforting morning atmosphere. I started to see my building forming in the distance, when I heard a loud shriek from behind. A car wheeled around me quite aggressively, as a man in the driver's seat glared at me through his rolling up window. I stopped and took a deep breath, standing on my toes to try and see the mountains one last time before the day really started. A last moment of peace, if you will. Everything is okay.

The office was especially dull today. Each person was moving along as they did everytime, as though they had no thoughts whatsoever. But something was peculiar. As soon I walked in, everyone halted, taking only a sliver of a second to show a facial expression of confusion. I returned the look back. They continued with shuffling their papers, barely holding back the whispers I tried desperately not to make out. Why would everyone do that? Is there something wrong with my appearance? In order to keep a calm manner, I made my way over to my desk, and pulled out my paperwork from the day before. As soon as I felt comfortable enough to move about again, I quickly made way for the restroom. My first action upon furiously swinging the door open was immediate eye contact with myself in the mirror. I realized the confusion on my face was still very present, but other than that I thought it looked fine. The face was average and my clothes were nowhere out of the ordinary. Maybe my curls could be better kept. I do tend to just let them roll down my face. Maybe people are sick of the sight. How stupid of me. Their opinions have no value; this does not matter. Why do I think my life is significant enough to be on another's radar to that extent? 

The next human encounter I had the displeasure of attending, was even more out of place. I was craving another coffee, as lowly lit mornings increase my desire for the action of nothing. I began my zigzagged journey through the building down to the coffee maker. The coffee sat in a poorly lighted corner at the end of the building's decrepit boundaries. I approached the table as two whispering coworkers sharply turned. The man shouted and threw his coffee cup at me. It smacked me square in the abdomen and burnt like hell. Why would he do that? Before I could react, the man and women were already across the office. DId I do something? What if I made a scene somewhere? I cannot remember. I do not remember much at all ever. What if I accidentally hurt someone? What about that one time last year I… I should not let my brain take this route this early in the day. Before I could even finish that conversation with the mind, a woman behind me murmured something. I let out a small, “sorry?” as she grabbed my arm quite desperately. 

“Get out of here.” She said, using her shallow blue eyes to rip my soul apart. “GET OUT.” she yelled, much louder this time, gripping me to the point of pain. At this moment, the others began to chime in. Within a minute there was so much commotion I could hear nothing but my heart beat. I could see nothing but my heartbeat. I am nothing but my heartbeat. They tormented me, but seemed too fearful to come any closer. I gasped for air as I lurched towards the door. A man practically shoved me into the quiet breeze of the sidewalk.

 I immediately hit the ground, hands across my chest, shaking my head aggressively. This should not matter to me. They mean nothing. How could I be important enough for someone to use what little energy they have to purposefully harm me? I am not that important. I do not want to fall into this worldly trick of feeling significant. 

But still, the pounding of my emotions persisted. I moved my hands to my throat as an attempt to manually breathe. Why? How can I fix this? What do they know? I slowly stood from my spot, as if I could escape perceivement. I ducked into an alley with a missing street lamp. I am too dysregulated. I have been disrupted. The mind cannot continue while being disturbed. I must remember the insignificance. The mind is above this, the physical world. What one can see is only a small portion of what exists. Although my body is shaking uncontrollably, I feel rather silly. I am comforted by this thought process. 

Deciding to forget about work for the day and hoping to wake up from this dream, I walked aimlessly through the streets. Each person I passed seemed to question my actions, as if I am committing a felony. Who knows, maybe I am. I laughed. How can anyone know the truth, having their own minds to plague the perception? A man yelled incoherently towards my direction. This cannot take me over. If the mind is consumed, one cannot go on. I cannot go on. What is living with only the thoughts for your own perception? What is living if perceptions do not matter, alternatively? This thought shook my bones from head to toe. I try to avoid this thought as much as possible, leading to intrusive obsession. I want to care about someone, I want to love them and show it. But that is silly, and maybe a little frightening. Who am I to think anyone wants that? I was selfish in my indulgence in others once before. I am new now. At least I like to think I am. I find myself slipping back into old demeanors, shifting my looks and personality to create a spark between anyone who will notice long enough. When that small chance comes, I turn into a fire. I cannot be sustained. Therefore I cannot sustain someone else. A terrifyingly depressing thought, but somewhat comforting. It's an excuse for indecision, and therefore no movement. I'm trapped in indecision, caused by walking too casually between craving nothing and everything. Back to the matter at hand. As silly as it is, my indecision is causing the need to keep my reputation. Why did they gasp at my face? The aggression was unbearable. The unknown reason is gnawing at me. My mind is clawing through the boundary of my rotting body, and all I can do is listen to it. 

I suddenly woke from this trance and found myself about half a mile out of town. I could hear the highway in the distance, but all I could infer from the environment around me was cows. A quite nice life they live. But is it really? Filled with the same small patch of grass they see every day, to never even know there is anything more. There must be more. I looked down to notice my hands, misshapen in my eyes. I cannot recognize the voice in my head.  The mind knows something about me, that everyone else also can infer. I cannot seem to figure it out, the connection between mind and body. I’m not sure I want to figure it out. I sighed out loud and continued walking. I will never return to the town again. I have been consumed.

June 12, 2024 02:39

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1 comment

Brian Haddad
18:18 Jun 20, 2024

What a deep, philosophical first submission! Welcome to the community! You certainly maintain a sense of intrigue throughout. The narrator is nuanced and layered, with hints of chaos sprinkled on a deep, thoughtful mind. If you are interested in constructive criticism or tips for improvement, let me know. Not everyone here is receptive to it, so I like to leave it as an option if you want it. Overall, this is a very strong character piece and I hope to see more of your writing here in the future!


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