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Sometimes, it went away.
It would have been nice to think that if “nothing” went away, then it would be replaced with “something”, but that wasn’t the case.
It wasn’t like that, it was like…being lost in a crowd. She couldn’t hear voices, she couldn’t hear anything. Whatever this was, there were no real senses.
No sight, no sound, nothing but her muddled thoughts – and worryingly, not even those all the time.
It wasn’t just not thinking, not…drifting like before sleep, time – or whatever passed for time in this place – went by and she knew she wasn’t present for all of it.
Maybe she was circling the drain. Maybe this wasn’t real. Maybe she wasn’t real.
Memories were still a difficult thing. She’d been doing something before coming here, and it had been important, and Ryan had been there, but the detail was stuck behind a paywall, and she didn’t have a way of paying.
Ryan. He was important. Important enough to be one of the first names she’d recalled.
Her dad. Not her father. Her father had a couple of names, and neither of them were “Ryan”. “Father” made her feel sad, “Ryan” made her feel happy.
I want to remember. Please let me remember. I wish I could remember who he is.
When she’d first moved into her apartment, the noise of the traffic had been a lot. No other property she’d ever lived in had been so close to traffic, so exposed to the noises of humanity. The house she’d grown up in hadn’t had drunks pissing up against the exterior wall in the dead of night. There’d been no sirens rushing to the hospital every hour; and the twice-daily joy of rush hour traffic.
It had taken a while to get used to. Longer than she would have liked to admit. Thick curtains, headphones and sleeping at odd hours had made it a little easier to deal with.
But at some point, it had just become background noise. Something she barely noticed. It was those strange moments when the world went quiet that had become disconcerting. When you realised just how much background noise there usually was.
You got used to your status quo, whatever that was.
And for a second, a century, a millennium, this had been a new scenario. A brain in a jar. Nothing but thoughts. Nothing but-
She could see red.
She could see.
Oh, thank you, thank you.
Red. Red as a…red thing. Deep and bright. Perfect and imperfect. Pulsing like the world itself was breathing. Out of focus – or rather, there was nothing to focus on, it was as though she had been dropped into the colour itself, rather than staring at a painted wall or something tangible.
Spyder, you can see.
I can see.
What are you seeing with?
When you were sure that there was a monster under your bed; something waiting to jump you as soon as you moved the blanket even a little, you had to play dead. It was logic that persisted – whether you were a child, or someone too paranoid to function like a real person.
You froze, because if you did, maybe you’d stop existing for a second, and be safe.
On the other end of a spectrum, if you were looking at a beautiful sunset, you didn’t dare blink, lest the angle of the sun change by just the most minute fraction and turn perfection into “yeah, that’s ok, I guess”.
Perfection and terror were tearing her in two.
Try. I believe in you.
Shut the fuck up, Naruto.
The world was red, and she was perceiving it somehow. And seeing in colour. This wasn’t just the light/dark distinction of the earliest eyes, this was-
I can see. I am seeing with something.
Sound touched her ears.
‘Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!’ A mouth. She had a mouth.
You can do it, I don’t know what this is, but you can do it.
She expelled a long, slow breath, and felt it bounce back against her face, felt the slight touches of cold where it touched the tears on her cheeks.
There was also the smell of…plastic.
More breaths, more being certain that she had a face. More breaths, and she could finally feel the lungs that were producing them.
She thought of a keyboard, thought of the thing that her hands knew best, and started to think about typing, about trying to push out the neural impulses that would be needed to press the keys.
She breathed, the world breathed, and she felt tapping fingers against her upper arms, felt her arms crossed over her chest like she’d been hugging herself.
Hands discovered, she reached out for the red wall in front of her.
The world broke under her touch.
The wall shattered like glass, but one point of red remained under her fingers, and a soft red ball fell into her arms as the light faded away.
|This Week's Promo|
Available now from author Miranda Sparks
It started with a bang; not an explosion but atoms accelerated toward infinity. That was the end of my so-called ‘ordinary’ life. Fate guided me into the line of fire the same day a madman sought revenge for his bruised ego.
Once upon a time there was no such thing as Glimmer Girl, or even Kaira Cade. This is my story.