Two short stories.

“Travelers”

 

I’ve always wondered what was on the other side. It’s cold and dark in the place I am accustomed too. Most people here don’t even know that there is something beyond the shroud of shadows. I found out by accident; it was a dream. As far as dreams go, it is nothing special, but when I woke I felt a curious sensation. It was warmth. Sadly, this new, undiscovered sensation made me realize how cold I really was. Nevertheless, the dream provoked in me a desire to reach out and dive into the new experiences that dream revealed to me. I began to look internally, as we are wont to do, and focused my energies into divining a way pass the cold dark. The first step was to conclude if whether what I saw in my dream really existed. I flew across the endless night to the very edge of our domain. Only one of us has ever been beyond it, and she has never returned. Its considered forbidden, but since there are no written rules in this realm, I thought it best to see for myself. As I edged closer and closer to this border I felt and slowly increasing sense of warmth. Then I saw it. Far in the distance a small speck, what seems a tear in the gloom. It was no larger than a shrivel of dust, yet it twinkled with such ferocity. It scared me. The closer I got to the frontier, more and more twinkles appeared. Soon, they encompassed my entire field of view. I had crossed the border and didn’t even know it. As I turned to look back at my home, I felt another sensation I never felt before. Fear. No longer did I think of the Void as my home. In fact, my desire to see what else could be intensified immensely. So, I ran. I ran away from the Void until it was just another small patch of darkness in a sea of, what I came to call, ‘lights’. I did not know where I was, or what this place is, but I was determined to find out. I picked a source of ‘light’ and headed toward it. Be aware, however, that at this point in my existence I had no sense of time, so I did not know how ‘long’ it took me to get to the light. Again, as I got closer, it seemed to grow. As I traveled closer, my awe was unmatched. The light was an enormous ‘sphere’ of ‘fire’. I had to label everything I saw because as far as I knew, none of my kind had even imagined anything like what I saw.

As I marveled at this new wonder, I also felt a change in myself. I began to have memories of lives I had not lived. It was as if the minds of other lifeforms were being forced into my being. The process was not painful, in fact, it was rather delighting. The memories always showed what I now understand to be bi-pedal humanoid creatures capable of great feats. And great tragedies. I felt the collective emotions of thousand of these ‘humans’, a curious sensation to say the least. The entire span of their existence seems to have been relived within my ‘mind’. There were even hints as to what the Void I came from was in some of their more esoteric knowledge. Most of it was superstition and conjecture, but I was surprised at how accurate some of them were. They describe a Void from where all creation was spawned. Some even go as far as to say that human ‘souls’ come from this place; but this notion was only held by a few. Another theory held that souls are gifts from a direct creator of the world these humans, and apparently, myself, have inhabited. Yet further still, a more scientific theory attempts to explain souls as the ‘consciousness’ that determines a human’s individuality. I found all this fascinating and began to wonder if we, from the Void, also possess this quality.

The histories of this world, known as ‘Earth’, unraveled within my mind’s eye, but suddenly there was another change. I felt as if I was being dragged somewhere; my void-like body was being compressed and sent somewhere. Then I entered another Void.

I re-emerged in the mind of a psychotic young adult, and I write this now. My memories of my past lives have been lost, and only appear in dreams which come in number every night. I do not know what I will do now…

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

 

“She wasn’t home”

The room was hot. So, I did the only thing that came to mind. I pushed the button and sat in my chair, wondering if the television was making the room hot. Probably, but I think the computer helped. The room was now slightly cooler, but what I did next would also most likely not help. I turned on a console and grabbed a controller. But as I was starting up a game, I felt a sudden burst of heat.

 

“What the…?”

 

Wow, that was odd. I wondered what that was. The curtains were closed, and the door was locked. There was no one else in the apartment; my mother was in the hospital recovering. It would be a few hours before I had to pick her up; her surgery wasn’t that severe. A simple procedure for her woman-hood, nothing to fret about.

As I organized my three screens (one is a TV, two are monitors) so I could play my game and watch a show on my other screen, I settled in and angled my chair so the A/C was hitting my body.

 

Hmm, must be dusty, I thought

 

The A/C wasn’t really doing much, it was still hot. I kept thinking this was weird. The sun was out, but it’s winter, it shouldn’t be this hot. But it was, a testament to the climate we live in now. Oh, well.

 

I was playing a shooter. I did not have time to really dive into a role-playing game. The game was a typical World War 2 setting. Old rifles, historic explosives, and simple garb were the norm and some of my favorite visuals in shooters. I won my first match of the day but lost the following two. I might have had some new people in my team, but it didn’t really matter. I was killing time. In between matches, I took a puff from my vaporizer. I wasn’t smoking weed, I quit that habit a while ago. It was a tobacco product; I never really kicked the urge to smoke ‘something’. I shouldn’t complain much, it helped calm my schizophrenia.

 

And right on cue, I head a voice in my head. This was typical of the day, especially in the morning when I just wake up. After a night of also typical intense dreaming, the last entrails of sleep still have their grip on my mind. It is natural for me to see and hear things. This time the voice said:

 

“Soon.”

 

During a psychotic break, I would have lengthy conversation with the voices in my head. We just babbled on and on as I projected images into my hallucinating mind. I could go into how my visions had esoteric meaning, but I don’t really feel like it now. A new match started and before long I had forgotten I had heard a voice.

 

It was still hot, and it seemed to be getting hotter. I turned up the A/C but it didn’t really do much. My character in the game was getting shot up, but I couldn’t focus on the game since it was getting exponentially hotter.

 

This is intolerable.

 

I started to fumble with the A/C vent, checking to see it if It was clogged. But before I could even remove the casing, I heard a loud CRASH. I was startled, and after a second determined it came from the living room. I stood still. Either the birds we had dropped something or there was an intruder. The birds are rather small, so I doubted that they could have dropped something so heavy so as to make such a loud noise. So my paranoid mind jumped to conclusions. I was frozen. Years of mistrust of people came flooding into my mind. I hated people. I’d been wronged by so many that I did my best not to talk to anyone except my mother. Then I became angry. I suddenly felt a surge of rage that someone would intrude on my sanctum. I am supposed to be safe here. Away from prying eyes and society; left to rot alone, hallucinating, but safe and alive.

I grabbed my katana. It was not a real sword, just a cheap china town replica. But it had a sharp point and I’ve proven it could be used as a nice blunt object. I began to muse how I would go about attacking the intruder. If I got lucky, I thought, I could charge him and impale him with the point. Yes. Yes, that’ll do. I was oblivious to the rising heat, for I had a fire of my own in my stomach. I didn’t even notice that the handle of the door to my room scalded me.

 

I opened the door to an inferno.

 

The apartment was on fire.

 

I didn’t even have time to panic. My last moments were spent in sheer shock. The fire had surrounded the entire building so that my room was the only place left to burn. The floor gave and as I fell into a torrent of flames, I did not even have time to cry. If I had the time, I would have felt a great sadness that my birds were roasted alive.

 

I would join them soon, in the same grisly, screaming end.

 

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