All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The cold of the steel table seemed to burn my hands and the sting still lingered on my fingertips after I had pulled away. The fluorescent beams coming from the paneled lights that were evenly placed along the ceiling were much too bright for the white room and I had to squint a little bit to see clearly. Even then my vision wasn’t entirely perfect. A small buzzing noise rang in my ears, but I wasn’t able to tell where it was coming from or if it had just been me hearing things again. That seems to happen when one doesn’t speak much. Or maybe it was just a thing with me. They say that when one hears things, it makes them a loon; crazy. I wouldn’t have been able to say otherwise. The buzzing was something that I actually heard though, and even if it wasn’t, hearing buzzing sounds was a lot better than hearing voices.
“Are you awake now?” a male voice asked from a metal speaker that was placed very high up on the wall in front of the table that I was sitting at. The voice was so muffled by the transit static that I could hardly tell what he had asked; just hardly. I tilted my head to the side in confusion, having a few questions in return.
When was I asleep? Of course, I didn’t end up asking. However, I didn’t remember being asleep at all. Nor did I remember anything before the chill of the metal on my hands. Had I been sleeping? I wasn’t quite sure but I was positive that I wasn’t going to find out soon. Yet something quite confusing happened just out of the blue; nowhere.
Without realizing it, I had stood up and started running. My body was moving by itself and, obliging to my physical whim, the steel table in front of me blew up into smoke along with the entire setting of the white room around me.
The walls disintegrated to reveal pine trees that rushed past as I picked up speed, and the pounding of my feet against the grassy ground was loud in my ears. The noise practically synchronized with my heart rate. However, this sound was interrupted by the yelling of men. Was someone after me? That had been my immediate thought, that I was being pursued. They were voices I had apparently been looking for. Or rather, the back of my mind had been looking for them. A small part of me wanted to stop and see if they were looking for something, someone, or if they needed help. Why else would they be this deep in the forest? Why was I this deep in the forest? Of course, those questions came from that small part of me which happened to be the sensible side of me. Instinct, and the rest of me, told my body to continue running though; I had to keep running. That or you’ll die.
A shiver ran through me as that thought congruently ran through my head. Life or death. Somehow I knew this feeling, but it seemed distant as if it were a foggy memory. What I could most definitely feel, though, was the aching in my calves and lungs that suddenly crept up on me. I knew for a fact that I could not pull this off for too much longer.
I could run. I could run just fine, and I was also pretty fast as far as others told me, so running wasn’t the problem. The subject of the problem happened to be the endurance that I didn’t particularly have because I was much more of a sprinting person; as far as that year’s track season had gone, at least. Wasn’t there a “runner’s high” or something that I had heard about? Where was the extra push when I needed it?
That was when I heard the barking and snarling or purely vicious sounding dogs; I could imagine them clearly in my head.
…They were finely trained purebred German Sheppard dogs; tan fur with black spots and black leather spiked collars adorned their necks while saliva spilled from their ravenous mouths…
I shivered and decided that my imagination was something to definitely stay away from at a time as drastic as this. Tremors ran down my spine at the thought of reality as well. I had never been in a situation like this before. Well, if I had, I didn’t remember a thing about it. However, I knew that there was absolutely no way that I could outrun a dog.
In the distance, I heard a yelp from one of the animals. At least, I had hoped that it had come from one of the beasts. Then there were more of these yelps as if the dogs were being taken out one by one. I was surprised that I had even heard the sounds over my own fractured breathing. I stopped as soon as the yelping did and the area around me became quiet. I turned around and readied myself to once again begin running if the dogs decided to suddenly spring forth from the darkness of trees and brush in front of me. It would be pretty easy for them to do so too, since I wasn’t able to see more than about a foot before me.
I waited for a few moments; waited for a sound, a rustle, the crack of a twig, barking, snarling, anything. However, nothing came besides the rapid pounding of my own heartbeat against my screaming lungs. The bottom row of my teeth hurt slightly and so did the left side of my abdomen; I waited. Nothing came and a breath of relief rushed through me as I stood straight. Although I didn’t feel entirely safe from the possible threat, something told me to take a breather and to do some recon of my surroundings.
When I turned around, I found myself in a small clearing with trees forming a circle around my small “area of safety.” I had to reassure myself that it wasn’t actually safe, but that was the name that I had pronounced it to be because I really needed some sort of security at the moment and the mini clearing was it. Of course, that was before the loudest noise I had ever heard in my life threw me to the ground in absolute terror.
Before, I could say that there was no way that my breathing could have been more ragged than when I was running. However, at the point after the gunshot, I was sure that my lungs were going to burst. I had never heard this sort of noise before and the close proximity made it all the more worse.
I sat there for God knows how long, panting. All I could do was try to sit there and attempt to catch my breath. I couldn’t even think clearly at that current moment because my mid felt so crowded and heavy that it might have exploded, so keeping a straight train-of-thought wasn’t going to be such an easy task. This was especially true since the gunshot had fired off. My mind was racing with questions, fear, and so much else that I was beginning to have a hard time determining what was up and what was down. I sighed and that was followed by a small series of heavy breaths as I closed my eyes and fatally tried to clear my head. Then, I heard what I had been looking for before and fear took me over the edge. I could literally feel myself getting hysterical.
There was a loud cracking noise behind me and it was so loud that I jumped. However, I think anything would’ve made me do that at that point. Expecting to hear another gunshot or the snarling of one of those dogs from before, I didn’t move. I wouldn’t have been able to move if I had wanted to, I imagine. I was too afraid to turn around and look at what had happened to be behind me, whether it may have been animal or person. “You’re here,” I heard a male voice murmur.
The person’s voice was different than before, and I could easily tell that this was not the same voice that had come from the silver metal speaker box that had been in the white room with the freezing steel table from before; the one that had so abruptly blew up into grey smoke. This voice was younger, calmer, and more serene; it was somewhat soothing. Oddly, I also found it slightly familiar. It was as if I had heard him speak before in a lost time, perhaps, in a distant dream maybe. In response to this statement, I snapped my eyes open and cautiously turned my head so that I could see the face of the speaker. When I did so, my mind seemed to be swimming in a sort of reminiscence of the past that I knew nothing of.
A boy dressed in tattered white clothing, in a similar style to what I was wearing but quite a bit more torn, emerged from the darkness of the surrounding wooded-area. I could tell…I could tell right away that he was significantly different than I was; than anyone, and it wasn’t just his physical features that gave it away.
His ear-length hair was pure white, and the luminescent glow of the moon seemed to bounce right off of it in a reflection of light. The full moon wasn’t the only thing that was glowing either. The boy’s dark blue eyes seemed to be giving off their own light in the near darkness. He was covered in dirt and two small visible lines of blood were on either side of his face and I naively hoped that he had gotten them from trees scratching past him or some other similar minute event. A crooked smile played across his face when I looked at him and the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. I shivered.
There was something frightening about him and yet, vaguely familiar and calming. I wasn’t sure if I should approach him or run away and take my chance with the dogs that may or may not have still been skulking around searching for me. Or were they searching for him? So many questions…Yet, I could still see them prowling and sniffing around in my head. I tried to shake the image out of my mind the best I could as a cold wind blew past me, sending my black hair into frenzy. Focus on the current possible threat, I had to tell myself.
I had a hard time pinning this person as a threat, though.
There was something so solemn about him; so sad. That was when the sky opened up. However, not with rain.
“Quiet as ever,” he continued, but I couldn’t keep my attention on him because darkness was slowly turning into light. Starting from the dead center of the full moon, everything in the sky seemed to be deteriorating away into paper-like ashes that began to rain from above to reveal this bright white world that seemed to be what was left it you just peeled away the scenery of ours. Fear began swimming through me and I threw a quick glance toward the mystery-guy that seemed to be just ignoring something as horrifying as this. He was a lot closer now and with less proximity, the sadder he seemed; although, his small smile was still strewn across his mouth.
I opened mine to iterate the nearly-silent destruction that was going on around us when the trees began to whisper themselves away into ash as it followed the sky, but he slowly shook his head. He pressed his index finger to his lips to insinuate his desire for silence as if the world around us ripping at its threads was irrelevant and that was when I saw that he too was falling apart. His finger seemed almost like ashen stone with cracks in it that glowed orange from what seemed like burning heat. Our surroundings were nearly gone. The only thing that remained was on its way to ash and that was the ground beneath our feet. The perimeter of the circle was getting smaller and smaller as it fell away.
I had to look away from him because I could see the curse on his flesh moving down his pale arm, his skin marking sharp cracking noises like shattering rock as it slowly began falling apart. Quickly, I dropped my head down further and quickly squeezed my eyes shut while my hands flew to the sides of my head as if that would make everything disappear so that I didn’t have to watch it do just that.
“Hey, don’t worry about something as insignificant as this,” I heard the boy murmur in my ear. I opened my eyes and looked up him. His white hair was matted with ash and beginning to fall out of his head; small strands at a time. The left side of his jaw bone looked like the rest of his body now and the rest of his face was beginning to crack as well. He was kneeling in front of me now, eye level. “It’s not that bad. At least you’re not burning from the inside out.” I was wide-eyed but somehow managed to raise an eyebrow at his unnecessary sarcasm. He let out a sigh and then a small chuckle before he shook his head and his body really started to collapse.
A cry escaped my mouth as his legs completely shattered from underneath him into a gust of ash and smoke. He dragged out a calm breath and then the rest of his body exploded into smoke; he collapsed to dust into my lap. Reflexively, I stood and the ashen powder quickly slid off my legs while some still lingered; a large grey stain on my plain white clothing that was similar to what his had been. I stared at what was just a person before me. Blinking away the tears of terror, I tried to look away from the boy’s remains and his tattered empty clothing to the white world. Then, I wish I hadn’t because the last remaining parts of the ground from below me were disintegrating away.
A sharp gasp left me before I fell.