On Tuesday morning, around 10AM, I heard the first glimpse of eternity. It was my second holiday day. I was standing between cereals and pickle jars and somewhere above me a voice tried to convince me to buy slabs of steak that I had seen and that looked unhealthily red. When I saw those steaks a sick cramp formed in my stomach. Humanity has degenerated to the point that meat must be pumped with salt and chemicals to look red as we have grown so accustomed to colored food that we don’t even know anymore that flesh, after being drained of blood, is gray.
I picked a pack of sugared cereal off the shelf and it began. There was no warning. Just one voice stinging through the normal bustle of the shop. It sounded like a young screaming child that quickly ran towards me. I looked around to see the child until I heard it right in front of me but still could see nothing. Then, one after the other, more voices joined in, a choir of pained screams that grew in number and loudness by the second.
My forehead was slammed repeatedly against cold linoleum until one of the clerks did the last nice thing anybody will ever do for me. She pushed a pack of marshmallows between my head and the floor. I slammed my head into the pack rather than the floor. My hands were still pressed on my ears and I kept screaming for the voices to stop. Continue reading →
Static. White Noise. They say it’s good for you. Your brain can tune out all the distracting noises of the world and instead just focus on the one important thing of the moment.
I always enjoyed static, the mindless noise that suffocates all others. Most people try to make the world of cars and people disappear behind a veil of music but for me white noise was always more efficient. Turn it on and, after the few moments that your mind takes to adjust, everything unimportant fades into the distance. Without the constant disturbances your head feels light and clear and your thoughts can flow freely. Music never did that for me.
A few times friends asked me whether it was damaging my hearing to listen to white noise all day. Of course, they were exaggerating. I only had my ears filled with static whenever I was alone or wanted to be and feel alone. Static was my escape from the world.
Still, their doubts were justified. My doctor said it was okay as long as I gave my brain a break every few hours. Without a break the brain might adjust to the background noise; it might get addicted to the background noise.
I followed his advice and made sure that I unplugged my headphones at least every few hours. They felt so much like part of my body that I sometimes forgot to pull the cables out of my ears, but usually I did. I think I never silenced the world with white noise for more than four or five hours at a time.
Trigger warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of violence and it could trigger some people.
Erica was lying on her side, her back towards the door. It was warm and the nurses had taken the blanket off her body. I walked around Erica’s bed and sat in the chair right next to her head. I had been warned that her voice was still very weak. Her eyes moved towards me, skimmed over my body and finally landed on my face. I reciprocated her gaze.
“Hey”, I said. Erica’s lips opened slightly and the corners of her mouth twitched as if she was trying to smile. “Hey”, she whispered.
I made sure to look at her face. It was hard to avoid staring at the two large wounds, one right in the middle of her chest and one from the end of her ribcage through her abdomen. The way they were stitched with black threat the wounds nearly looked like zippers; as if someone had opened Erica’s body and then decided, after all, that it was better to keep it closed. I had to suppress a smirk while thinking about the mental image – “Hey, her organs are getting cold, let’s close her up again.” But in the end that was, in one way or the other, what happened. Continue reading →