I have started dozens and dozens of books. And I always get stuck somewhere in the process. But I was thinking about all the stories I put in the box for “someday.” But why not share? I don’t know if this story will go anywhere at all, but what’s the harm. Enjoy a little writer monkey fiction. Sometimes I do creative things, too.
[UNTITLED SHITTY FIRST DRAFT BEGINNING]
My life stops. The wheels that kept turning over and over stop short, and I jerk forward, my chest hitting the ground and knocking the breath out of me. I’m in a vacuum with what was left of the air being sucked from all around me – a giant weight on my body squeezing me until I’m crushed.
I think I die. Whatever part of me that was alive ceases to exist. Or still exists but doesn’t.
I walk around in shoes that are mine but not mine. Shoes that are a tiny bit too small so my toes rub the ends. Awkward and uncomfortable. In clothes that fit like burlap sacks. Like they shouldn’t be on my body. Like more skin than I need.
I try to describe this sense of being but not being. But they look at me with comfortable eyes. Their eyes are connected to their brain. I wonder if I should say it out loud. That they are something but nothing. But then their eyes would disconnect, too, and they would be just a thought walking in space with no body because then they would know.
I tried to explain this to my mother once. That I’m human but not. She put her fingers on the side of my face and ran them through my hair, brushing the tips of my ears with her thumbs. She leaned forward, kissed my cheek, and whispered “Human enough,” her breath like the sound from a seashell.
I was haunted by being both. An other walking in a world of meat. I can’t pinpoint the moment when I knew of this duality. It was like I always knew that something in my cells was more than those around me.
I used to scream out at night, plagued by dreams of falling. Of losing my grasp, my fingertips slipping off the edge and falling down to earth. My mother would rush into my room and grab my hands. I would squeeze her fingers hard. Tears would come to her eyes, but she wouldn’t ask me to soften my grip.
I opened my eyes slowly. The bright lights burned, and I tried to raise my hand to my face to block it out, but my arm stopped mid-way, something stopping it short. The room was not in focus. I could hear the beeping by the side of my head, like a mechanical beeping that seemed familiar, like it was a memory. I tried to breath but there was something in my throat, and I started gagging.
I couldn’t focus on where I was, and my heart started beating faster. The beeping got louder and angrier and the gagging turned to choking.
I heard footsteps and saw shadows running toward me. I yelled “Help!” Or at least I thought I yelled it. What came out was a sound of more gagging. I was suffocating and started pulling at my mouth, at my face. And the thing in my throat was pulled out, while someone pushed my hands away from my mouth. I laid still for a moment, the white room slowly coming into focus.
“Can you hear me? Blink if you can hear me.” I didn’t blink, but I screamed. Full throated, from my soul. A siren. Screaming and vibrating. I remembered falling and the screaming reached a new pitch. I heard the people in the room start screaming with my screams. I heard bodies dropping to the floor, but still I screamed. I stopped, gulped in air. Desperate breaths.
“Someone call a doctor in here,” the voice yelled, sounding terrified. “Is everyone okay?”
“Can you tell me your name?” I breathed in what felt like fire in my throat.
What was my name? What was it supposed to be? Catherine or Jacklyn or Grace.
The visions were getting in the way. Blackness, suffocation, the crashing, and I could feel the deep gravity of the earth in my body, crushing each bone and mending them at the same time. I grabbed and ripped at what was holding me, and more voices, more hands pushing me down, but they couldn’t and they were calling for more help. Then I felt the air around me, each small tickle like electricity. I was rising, and the voices turned to terrified screams, and then I saw darkness again.
The darkness gave way to dreams. I was swimming when I got tangled in the weeds, and then I was groping for a hand hold to pull myself free, but instead the water filled my lungs. I was running, but I was being caught by brambles, scratching my arms as I was trying to pull free, blood gushing out of the cuts. Then I was flying, but something was caught in my wings and I couldn’t shake it off, and the ground rushed to greet me.