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The wind whistled as he sat solemnly in the gritty sand, an overcast sky blending into a murky ocean. The waves rolled over each other and fought rhythmically, pounding a continuous beat into his head.
A pair of calloused hands wove around his work, constantly carving and shaping. As the wind fought with the ocean, the island clashed with his mind. His sharp figure delved into the ecosystem, creating abnormality and causing disturbance. His intelligence was being wasted because of the unknown gaps in his mind, the fact that he had never faced this problem. But the frustration caused the man not to care about anything he was destroying or making; he was already doomed anyway.
A repetitive crash of sound swallowed the shore and flooded his brain, irritating him as always. The unfriendly palms shook violently, an annoying rustling swinging in his ears. He shook his head in frustration, and put his wood down to ponder. He sighed mournfully, the pain and monotony driving him to an unspeakable place.
He set his head in his hands, and beat his palms into his eyes. Unenthusiastic bulbs of white appeared then faded into blackness. Emotion over swept him, and he let out an anguished groan.
“Why?” The menacing smack of waves against the sand drowned out his voice. “Why!” he screamed louder still. His voice was drowned out insignificantly.
No living bird or friendly life form existed here. He had not heard a call, cry, chirp, or crash from anything else that would prove that he was real. That he actually breathed, mattered, and belonged. He wanted to prove to himself that his existence really mattered, but the repetitiveness of it all was running deep. It burned like acid, and the desperate flow of it rushed to his heart. Somehow, this made the repetition be the only thing in this life that felt real.
He clenched his chest in agony, the emotional spirit and physical clashing together. His heart throttled in his hands, fighting to get away. Away from this place, away from him.
Wake up, bathe, wander, build, fuel the fire, make a weapon, sit, lay, eat, relax, do nothing, relax, let it amount to nothing! The endless crash of waves, the relentless bluster of wind, the constant state of being here, being no where, doing nothing, mattering nothing…
The dreadful tree shook into his mind. It was becoming the catastrophic approval of his nothingness. Carving ran deep down the tree, marking the past, forcing the present, and predicting an unhopeful future.
He had been counting endlessly, day after day, what seemed like forever. The time faded away and never came back. Time jumped through him, and forced him to face it. The amounting time was haunting him, squandering his life away for this nothing.
Suddenly, his heart wrenched painfully at the memory of everyday. He wanted his soul to jump out of his skin and escape from it, make the inevitable pregnable, make time turn backwards and change.
His hands shook violently, and he arched his back as if scrunching away from an enemy. His vision blurred as the ground shook beneath him, and the horrible palm tree behind him grew twenty feet. It towered over him and laughed ridiculously, his numerous carvings being the tree’s uncontainable joy. Realizing with horror, he saw that he was forcing this pain upon himself.
He pried himself from the earth, and wandered miserably toward the tree. The cackling from it swelled in his brain possessively, and drowned out his sense of sight and sound. Blindly, he trampled in the general direction, knowing it would be over soon.
In seconds, he reached the palm. The carvings boggled at him, and bounced out at him with awe. Everyday here from his memory was etched there, and he tried to ignore the back of his mind as it bellowed, “Four hundred sixty-three!”
His heart pumped wildly, and his vision went ballistic as he tried to accomplish this simple task. Black erupted everywhere, and somehow pulsed from darker to more dark, to a crazy dark that made him feel insanely out of control. His fingers fumbled for the tree in front of him, trying to search for a firm hold. He needed something to balance himself, he felt incredibly woozy and unstable.
Hard, sticky wood found his fingertips, and he relaxed. His vision slowly began to fade back to normal, and the laughing bubbled out of his mind. He closed his eyes, and sighed in relief, knowing that this easy yet emotionally tiring task would soon be over.
Unenthusiastically, he reached to his side and fumbled for the sharp rock he often used as a tool. Chills rippled down his spine, and the tiny hairs rose off his skin in fear.
“Soon.” he mumbled, the feelings of just being alive wearing him down. He emptied his mind, and took a deep breath.
As soon as he looked up, he went into a deep shock at what he saw. His eyes bugged out of his head crazily, and his muscles were stuck as if in paralysis. Nasty grime salivated in his mouth, and he could feel it slide down sickly into his throat. No possible thought crossed his mind except confusion, and he just stood there, numb and astonished.
All movement around the figure in front of him was stopped. Time itself was stopped, and the pestering noises in his life were wiped away. The repetitiveness, the consistency, it was all blown away in a moment. His jaw dropped, and his soul seemed to jump excitedly inside him.
Somehow, he built up the strength to destroy the cement jamming his jaws movement. “Hello?”
There was a woman, dressed in rags like him, standing beautifully on the forest’s edge completely quiet and still. She seemed to have a surrounding aura of her own peace and stillness, her composure brilliant and stunning.
She became his yearning, everything he had been searching for since he arrived to this wretched place. Quiet, comfortable, still, beautiful, and enjoyable. Everything he ever wanted back from the real world was right here, and he felt real.
In a hasty stupidity, he stumbled forward, drawn to her uncontrollably. Suddenly, her expression changed, and she spun around in fright. His heart deflated as she ran away, and he chased after her. She was insanely impossible, maintaining her wonderful grace as she jumped over fallen logs and dodged branches. He tripped and fell stupidly, in an utter desperation that could ultimately destroy him.
“Stop!” he cried out hoarsely. He felt that his life would become doubly unendurable without her. “Please!” She continued to run in fear, not daring to look back once.
He had lost her. The man was covered with bruises and scratches, his entire body sore. He felt useless and empty as he fell to the ground and cried. He lay, lost in a depressing confusion, wondering how he could live alone after this.
It was torture for the next few hours. He lay curled in a ball, sobbing and moaning in a spiraling depression. He was emotionally swamped and felt nothing. Any dream he wanted back from the real world had been crushed. His heart had turned to dust, his soul evaporated into nothing. He had never felt less than nothing more than ever before.
He was in a spinning circle of devastation. The world was crashing down around him, and he had let go of hanging onto life. There was nothing for him here. No hope, no happiness.
Hours, minutes, seconds, all the same. All meant nothing. Not even the number on the tree bothered him, or the coming tomorrow where he would have to add one more to that huge number. Only she mattered, and the hope he had felt, his meaning.
Lower than dirt, further down than oil, dug deeper than magma, past the Earth’s core, there he would find what he was meant for. A dark, trapped, lonely hole of death. Now, he yearned for this. An island in loneliness offered nothing but unhappiness.
Thunder was heard in the distance as a spattering rain trickled down his immovable body.
After he gained the courage to get up and continue his life, time slowed to a sluggish pace. The day after his devastation felt like a week, long and endless.
He planned and schemed for a way to find her. If she was on the island surely she had to be somewhere. This wasn’t the end. He wasn’t giving up. The man calculated in his head a map of the island, remembering how small it was. The little hills and single volcano popped in his brain, and he decided inwardly on a search plan.
It became an obsession. He marveled over the plan meticulously, making sure everything was right. In excitement, he soon set out, mind still humming in thought.
The day was brimming with adventure and searching, his heart seeking to be filled. The humongous hole of doubt she had left in him ached; although this made him all the more persistent and thorough.
He searched under logs and on top of hills, all the while yelling, “Hello?” The hills rolled through his mind, insignificant as he searched for the woman. Trees and leaves brushed his face, but their snagging pain was ignorable as his mind was concentrated on her. Many times, his heart beat accelerated at the sign of a darting shadow, but each time he fell somewhat deeper into devastation than before when he realized its insignificant owner.
Hours upon hours, and the almost one hundred and eighty degree movement of the sun later, the man crouched on the forest floor. His lips trembled in an utter terror as he tried to push away an unbearable truth. He had covered every inch, scanned all the land area twice, bored into the island’s secrets. He had searched every possible place.
He broke down in confusion, and beat his fists against the ground. Impossibility swamped him, and he couldn’t figure how life could go on.
“What is wrong with you? I need you!” His voice died out desperately, the numbness of his mind flowing quickly to his body, senses, and soul. He had reached way beyond comprehension. A haze hung in front of his eyes, and blackness became a dark hole in his mind. Everything he knew or learned except her was funneling out…
Abruptly, he leaped to his feet and started running to the last place to double check. A steep hill of molten rock loomed in front of him and lead to his last option: the volcano.
His uncontrollable imagination lead him to believe she had to be up there, because if she wasn’t, he couldn’t face it. When one sees hope and it’s taken away so quickly, the damage becomes horrifying and any restoration or balance is hard to obtain.
The tree flashed into his mind as his footsteps became quicker, and he persevered further to his goal, knowing she would be up there. He couldn’t bear to carve another damn tally in that tree without a meaning or happiness. This was the end of the line. She was up there.
Every part of his life and how he functioned suddenly halted when he arrived to his destination. His eyes skimmed over the view in a flourish as he screamed, “Answer me! Where are you?”
The sun was setting as the pain of his hoarse lungs became apparent. His unheard cries had consumed his energy, and now that he finally taken a rest, their sore condition hit him hard.
He jumped back in surprise as he noticed boiling magma, inches from his small foothold. He was standing on the edge by the blistering steam. He glanced down quickly, and started to back away, but something glimmered off the surface and caught his eye.
“Beth?” he gasped. The woman he was searching for was reflecting from the bubbling lava, only her face staring up at him. His heart swelled to the size of true happiness, then exploded into the size of ecstatic. Her composure of peace and comfort breezed past him, and he yearned for more as he crouched down the volcanoes side.
“Beth,” he whispered in amazement. Again, she lost herself and became frightened. He bellowed, “No!” as she turned to fade away from his life again, this time merely disappearing into nothing. The tables turned, and he himself became afraid.
“No!” His calls became desperate, and he felt even lower than before. It was now, the time when he had finally reached the bottom of that lonely hole of depression, when he couldn’t force himself to live anymore. He couldn’t fall any deeper.
His hands clawed at the volcanoes edge as he repeatedly screamed, “No, come back!” Tears rolled down his cheeks as he grabbed at the air, hot steam burning his face. “I need you!”
The hand keeping his balance slipped, and his desperate cries became terrified screams. He fell slowly toward the magma, searching for his beloved, the one who inflated his heart and lit up his soul. He yearned to see her, cried in hope.
His body burned magnificently as he broke through the surface, steaming flame consuming him. It seared down his throat and encased him in agony, destroying his lifeless being.
The last known of the man was a few struggling fingertips, charred to a deep black which reflected his life here. Lonely, deep, saddening, a meaningless nothing.