The Awakening

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The Awakening

Post by TheLastSongbird on Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:27 am

It’s shameful, really. We behave as though the world revolves around us. I’m sure you do, even if you don’t realise it yourself. When was the last time you did something selfless? Go on, think about it – when did you last do something for someone else without expecting anything in return?

Well, that’s interesting. I can remember, but it wasn’t easy for me. Let me explain. I wasn’t the kind of person to go out of my way for the good of others. I had myself to take care of. There were important things to worry about, like keeping my job, keeping my flat. Keeping up appearances, basically. I had a reputation amongst my friends; I was nobody’s fool. Nobody got in the way of what I wanted. Great things were expected of me. I was respected for that.

I woke up on a Wednesday at 7am. I made the daily march to work, every inch the man with a briefcase. White collar, silk tie and leather shoes. I walked through the city, past the detached houses, their window boxes splattering the industrial grey with colour. Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? I remember the sudden memory of the rhyme was very pleasant. The people in those houses lived a charmed life. But my life would be even more charmed when my stately garden grew over all one hundred acres of my own land. These dreams got me through each day.

On the steps outside the office block I worked in, something wasn’t normal. An old woman sat on the third step, wrapped in a filthy blanket. I didn’t have the time to waste on people like that. I looked anywhere except at her as I kept walking. But then she spoke to me, and something about her voice made me stop to listen. Could I spare any change. That was what she asked me. I said nothing. I walked away without sparing her even a side glance. Placing my hand on the door to the office block, I felt a shift that sent shocks like tendrils of lightning scattering through me. Putting it down to static electricity, I let the rest of that day continue as it normally would. When I finished work at the usual time, the woman had gone.

The following day, I woke up at 7am. I was still the same man with a briefcase. The city was still the same, the detached houses were still the same. The old woman was there again, but on the second step this time. Again, the sound of her voice made me stop. Could I spare any change, she said. She told me she hadn’t eaten in days, and just needed some money to buy food. This time, I looked at her and shook my head. Who cares that it was a lie. People do the same thing all the time. I thought that maybe, now I had given her a direct answer, she would leave me alone and stop getting in my way.

The next day, I slept through my alarm. Collar, tie and shoes drenched by rain as I ran blindly to work, I stumbled into several people and shoved them aside. I didn’t have time for apologies. I reached the steps and there she was yet again. Distracted by seeing her hunched over on the first step, underneath her sodden blanket, I tripped and landed on the ground in front of her. I could see my features, distorted and translucent, in the sheet of water covering the flagstones, creeping through the knees of my trousers. Then her face appeared above mine, and for a flicker of a second she looked younger.

“It looks like you’re having a rough day,” she said in a cracked voice. She didn’t seem sympathetic. She went on, “I don’t suppose you could honour me with your kindness today.” I was speechless. I couldn’t remember anyone having the power to strike me dumb. I recovered, standing and answering “No, sorry.” The second word passed my lips unchecked. The old woman feigned shock. “Oh, I thought you wouldn’t have time for an apology.” Reminded of how little time I had, I refused to waste any more of it on her. Despite my resolve, as her eyes scorched the back of my neck, the seeds of apprehension were planted. The reason why I felt disturbed hid from me and haunted my dreams.

I dreaded facing those steps the next morning, knowing she would be waiting there for me. I was furious. I couldn’t feel fear. I had to be unfeeling; it was why I was respected. Nothing I did would quiet my maddening thoughts. Maybe I was going insane. Maybe I was imagining all of this. I had never been so unsure of myself, and I hated myself for it. The comforting, reliable monotony of my life had been destroyed, I knew that much, but I didn’t know how, or why I knew.

I’m sorry. I’m not sure how to tell you this without confusing you. I suppose there’s no other way than simply telling you what I know. It made no sense to me at the time either. Think of it like this; try and put yourself in the situation of being a newborn child. All at once, you have been forced into a world of strangers. Everything is unknown to you, yet at the same time this world feels safe. There’s a routine to your life, and as long as that structure remains you feel protected. But, let’s say you are abandoned. That one incident occurs, you don’t know why, and suddenly everything is unstable and terrifying. That’s what happened to me. My sense of reality abandoned me, and although everything and everyone around me remained the same, none of it felt familiar or secure as it had done before. And I knew the reason why was looming not far ahead.

Breathe in. Breathe out. And again. For once, this was the only important thing. It circled my mind constantly as my feet piloted themselves. I couldn’t let myself think about where I was going. That would make me as weak as I had felt when I woke up in my cold sweat, suspended in the fear that what I had just woken from was nothing less than a premonition. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in...

She was there. She was waiting for me, on the corner of my street. I held my last breath, clinging to the only thing keeping the world from disintegrating into madness. Thinking about it now, it could very easily have been any pensioner, waiting for anyone in the stream of people I was drowning in. Until I felt her eyes grip mine. What happened then...what did happen? To me, the ground ripped apart beneath my feet. The cattle drive of humanity walked on air, until darkness closed over me.

* * *
“I’m sure this one will help us understand them. It lives a selfish life, just like the rest of them, but there’s something particularly emotionless in its mental activity. There’s nothing to distract us from finding out the truth of their existence.”

There were the irresistible tones of silver bells before I could make out any words. The voice was nothing like anything I had heard during my life. It had no accent. Or maybe all of them at once. My mind wouldn’t decipher anything in the state it was in. Basic functions were in check, but there was room for very little thought. I was convinced I was dead. I tried to tell myself I’d had a good life as memory bled back into my mind. But when had I ever really lived? Did I ever have any resolve to make my dreams for the future real? Would I lose my job? Had I left the door unlocked?

My questions trailed deeper into the realms of mindless nonsense. I wanted to make sense of something. I didn’t care what. It’s recovering. It wasn’t immediately clear that a voice outside my own head was speaking. I steeled myself for lakes of lava, and the heat of hellfire searing my eyes as I opened them. What I saw was worse. Through the light of faceted overhead lamps, radioactive green at their core, I saw white coats, walls of an alloy with the sheen of chrome and the solidity of silver, and machines all around me. One looked horribly like what you would find in any hospital and seemed to be measuring my heart rate and brainwaves. Aliens. That was my immediate response. Uncharacteristic. I had never believed those paranoid delusionals who claimed to have been abducted for experimentation.

Then one of the creatures bent over me. It was humanoid. Its head looked out of proportion to its body. Other than that, it had two eyes, a mouth, a nose more pointed than mine, and two ears. Also pointed. It looked terrifyingly human. Not aliens then. What were they, and where was I? “It’s better for all of us if you don’t know where you are,” came the voice again, slightly muffled through the clear mask I the creature was wearing over its nose and mouth. “No need for alarm. We just want to know what makes you tick, as it were. If you relax, it will be easier for you.” I watched it breathe, condensation forming and receding repeatedly inside its mask. I was distracted by the simplest things. My mind must have been warding off the impending panic.

“There’s no need for playing nice with this one.” An undeniably female voice this time. Harsh and bitter. “Kindness isn’t of importance to him.” From her tone, I got the impression that she had more experience of humans. I couldn’t look at her face. She was dangerous. The presence she had reminded me of the glare of the old woman boring into my back. Looking down the length of my body, I saw wires. They were all over me, driven into my skin. The last thread of calm snapped. I struggled against the paralysis in my arms and legs. On the verge of hyperventilation, a throbbing pain spread across my skull.

“Try and breathe normally. This won’t take too long. We’ll try to make the process as painless as possible.” Derision pulsed through the female creature’s words. I don’t know how long I spent slipping in and out of consciousness. I saw in snapshots. Furrowed brows. Small incisions. White light as the machines blinked. Her face, darkly delighted.

I truly woke up after that. Again, at 7am. I didn’t know how many days later. There were no wounds, not even a bruise, to prove to my own mind what had happened. If I tried to get help, I would only be in the same situation as the ‘abduction victims’. To everyone around me, I would be insane. I would react the same way, if I was the rest of the world being told by the one man that we by no means rule this world. Was I honestly that clueless before?

Numb to everything for the time being, I got ready for work, like yesterday was just the same as any of the days before it. I made the daily march to work, every inch the man with a briefcase. White collar, silk tie and leather shoes. I walked through the city, past the detached houses, their window boxes splattering the industrial grey with colour. I got to the steps, and the old woman was there. She smirked at me like she knew something the rest of the world didn’t. I gave her all the change in my wallet and a half-hearted smile in return. It felt awkward. But, I reasoned, everything does the first time round. I let the rest of that day continue as it normally would.

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Ma olen Kuulaps
Integrity ~ Lve ~ Unity
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TheLastSongbird

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Re: The Awakening

Post by adreeonuh on Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:34 am

Everyone should change. Everyone needs help... Please check out my recent blogs I've posted everywhere here... We as human beings need to help one another and we need to help the children in African and Uganda.
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