|December 29, 2011||Posted by Alaa Jasim under creative writing|
I am running, I always run. It’s odd, for I never seem to get any farther away from them. They surround me everywhere, with deathly pale, yellowing skin. The Sleepers. I am running but they push me back, and I am falling. The hole in the ground where I fall is dark, and blackness surrounds me, oppressive, dark. It hurts. I cannot see. I want to get out, I want to run again. I would take The Sleepers a hundred times, a thousand times, if I could only avoid the darkness.
The fleeting moments that I can see are golden to me. They cancel out the darkness, but they rarely occur. I try to stay as awake as I can for those moments, but there is always something, someone controlling me. When I am awake, The Sleepers are asleep, in the cots around me. They look so harmless there, but as soon as I try to run again, they will be up like drones, ready to catch me. To take me to them. I try to push my eyelids open, such a simple task that takes so much energy. It’s hard. It feels like they weigh as much as me. I cannot move.
There is a distant noise. A beeping off into the distance. I strain to hear it. I can see only a tiny slit of the room. Clean. A bedside table, white walls, a vase, filled with flowers. They are brightly coloured, a delusion of happiness in a wretched hellhole of a place. They won’t let me leave. I can’t leave, I can’t think, I can’t breathe. There’s something wrong now. I should be angry, livid because they won’t let me leave, but I can barely muster the energy to feel the emotion. The emotion won’t come. It’s them. I know it. They want to control every aspect of my being, to make sure I don’t escape. I can’t remember ever not being this way. I try to look around, but a sharp prick on the crook of my arm sends me back to blackness.
Hours pass. They feel like hours anyway. They could have been seconds, or minutes, days or months. The concept of time is blurry here. The blackness drowns me in its thick, syrupy darkness. There is no sound here, nothing to think about, nothing to talk about. I am imprisoned in every possible way, for I cannot even move. Suddenly there are trees around me. A faint shimmer surrounds the edges of my vision, threatening to pull me back to the darkness.
Again I am running as though I was a fugitive, escaping from their assailants. But my assailants surround me, hissing softly, moving slowly, their skin is yellow again. I hate it. The terrible, sickly, jaundice colour of death. It does not connote happiness to me. It speaks of rotting flesh and expiration. We all expire eventually. Grow old, grow tired, and grow useless or rebellious. Perhaps I am becoming expired. I am running again. I run, and break through the line of Sleepers. I want to get out, to be free, but I cannot. Strangely though, there is no fear. There is only me and The Sleepers. And I run. Why do I run? I know that I hate them, yet I do not know why. This place is so closed off. So dark, so claustrophobic, there is no space for emotion.
I am breathing hard now, I am growing weary and tired. Yet The Sleepers are relentless, they do not tire and they follow me as though I am magnetised. They know where I am, they always know where I am. I want to go back to the blackness, and I want to sleep again. I hate being the prey, and I hate this place. The darkness was peaceful in comparison. In the darkness, The Sleepers cannot reach me. They cannot hurt me or make me run. You can’t move in the darkness anyway, can’t hear, can’t think. I try to go back there, I close my eyes as I run, I squint, I try to force that darkness upon myself but it will not come. I am stuck here with The Sleepers. Their dirty hospital gowns whisper as they run towards me. They whisper and they mock me. I hate them.
I shut my eyes and open them to brightness. A clinical room, white walls, blue plastic floors, the smell of disinfectant. Nurses are bustling around me checking machines. They don’t know I’m awake. I don’t know if I am awake. I spend my time dreaming; perhaps this is one of the dreams.
Their voices float around me in a haze of white light. They’re hovering now. Maybe they’re trying to talk to me with those floating voices, above me, around me. I am surrounded. Except now, it is not The Sleepers.
I remember a time when I could sleep, breath, walk, run, do anything without wondering if I was real. It used to smell like strawberries in my house. That sweet but tangy smell made it seem like home. I always hated the colour yellow. There wasn’t ever anything yellow in my house. Everything was fresh, green, red, white. I used to love it. I used to have friends, and now the world seems to have forgotten me, an insignificant, hospitalised freak. I hate it here. I want to go back home, to the scent of strawberries, to the birds in my tiny little garden.
I think that they want to get rid of me. Erase me, like I never existed. Perhaps they will go for my family as well, maybe erase their thoughts of me. Or maybe they will simply kill them. I know this should upset me, but I can’t feel a thing. The drugs that run through my veins surround me a light purple haze. I feel like I am floating. Like I am in a cloud, ready to fall through the sky. After all, what goes up must come down. I stare at the lights in the ceiling, hoping that soon, I will be able to run. But somewhere deep down, I know I will not. Everything is fading to darkness again as I fall again. I am drowning again. Deep into the blackness.