The Butterfly Effect

August 14, 2011
Every line you hit, the narrator changes. Enjoy The butterfly effect.

I'm falling, I told myself. It didn't seem real. The windows flying by seemed to be shooting upwards, yet the wind rushing past my limbs confirmed the fact that I was, in fact, falling. If my eyes weren't closed, I'm sure that the pavement would be becoming larger with each second. At least it'll be over, I repeat to myself. Over. No more teasing. No more hurt. No more tears.
Sounds perfect.

The bell rings, and the paper on my desk flutters to the ground. I don't bother to pick it up, it's just another A. Let it be trampled by the dirt-crusted shoes of all the other kids. The paper is just like my life, important to some, but others just step all over it.

Time slows down as I fall. I open my eyes, expecting to see the ground meters from my face. From my point in the air, I can see my favorite tree, the one that always grew the brightest flowers in the first bloom of spring. The soft, vibrant green grass surrounding our apartment. The old blue Civic we got second-hand from a dealer that eventually went out of business. It's never until you're really gone that you miss the things you always had.

It's just another day at school. Kids shoving around, teachers pretending like they care, the smokers pretending that they're not hiding cigarettes in their locker. The druggies acting like they're not high, the wannabes acting like anyone but themselves. Why am I surrounded by so much fakeness?

I expect the pavement smack will hurt for a bit, but will be drowned away in my sorrows. Or I'll be dead by the time I feel anything. I wonder which pain is greater, waiting for the pain, or my pain of saying goodbye?

I walk outside the school doors, and immediately smell the usual combination scent of oil, smoke, and pollen. Large tarps attempt to hide the latest fist fight, but no amount of sawdust can cover the rusty smell of blood. I kick the tarp as I walk past. No one ever fights me. No one thinks I’m worth enough.

For a long time, I feel nothing. I open one eye, and a beige, cracked ceiling stares back at me. What happened to falling? Besides the fact that I am completely clueless about where I am, I feel fine. Where is my apartment, the grass, the Civic? Where am I, and why have I been robbed of my sweet escape?

Along the way home, I stare ahead at the sidewalk in front of me. Nothing much, besides the new McDonald’s across the street. Just another heart attack built on a foundation of millions. I count the steps leading up to my house as I pass each one. One, two, three, four. I open my door. That’s the last thing I remember, before I’m knocked out with a straight punch to the nose. I feel the abrasion as I drop to my knees, my jugular pumping like crazy, my head spinning like a top.

I stand up. The room I currently stand in is pretty dusty, with a few undistinguishable stains on the carpet. Why am I not dead? I walk to the window, and watch as a tornado blows off a silo. Silo? How did I even know that? I’m city-born and lived (and was supposed to be died, but that didn’t really work out). The tornado continues on its way, and I’m silently given once another chance to live. Again.

My life flashes before my eyes. Literally. When I awoke, and wiped the blood off of my face, and attempted to cover the stain on the carpet with some bleach, I noticed a DVD lying on the floor. Picking it up, I noticed the title: Me. I opened the sleeve and placed the disc in the player. On. Play. From infant to elementary age, I watched myself as a mother might, tsking at things, laughing at others. The film ends at today, when I kicked the tarp out of the way. Then the screen goes blank. Not completely blank. Just that weird combination of pink, green, black, grey, etc. with the beeeeeeeeeeep. And I can’t shake the feeling that somehow, I’ve done something by kicking the tarp. Whether for better or worse, I wish that I knew what I was doing.

Stepping outside the room proves to be a mistake. The only thing to describe my emotions would be appall and the feeling that you’ve been watched. What else can you feel; when the hallway you just stepped into has approximately sixteen pictures of you, from infant to recent, decorating the walls.

I attempt to press eject. The movie creeped me out (how would you feel, if you were knocked out and only found a DVD of your life as evidence that someone had been there) and I felt as though my life, once private and peaceful, was nothing now but disturbed and played with.

Walking down the hall, I stared at my grinning face, which had always been posed, then slumped with relief as soon as the click of the camera ensured that I didn’t have to hide my weariness anymore. Turning around to go back to the beige room I woke up in, I felt my back press into one of the picture frames. After the shattering crack from the frame, I heard footsteps running up a staircase I hadn’t noticed before. A woman, in her mid-30s, took in the frame and moved to embrace me. “It’s all right, honey, we’ll just find another frame. You go rest; you’ve had a long day at the factory.”

That night, I slept. And honestly, I can’t say how, exactly, I slept. Not poorly. Not excellently. I just slept. Although my sleep was not significantly better or worse, it was an important night in the spectrum in my life; it was the last night when my life would ever be the same.

I pulled away from the woman. Words failed me now, so I nodded and walked back to the room where I had woken up. Lying down on the couch, I quickly fell asleep. Little did I know, it was my last peaceful sleep I’d get.
Both narrators woke up to find themselves in sterile, hospital beds, with intellectual-looking people clad in white walking around with clipboards. A sign above each of their heads said:


The Butterfly Effect is the idea that one event, such as a butterfly flapping its wings, can affect something else in history, such as inducing or preventing a tornado. You are here because you have changed history. You will become a part of the study we are doing on the butterfly effect. You are not to leave or disclose any information to anyone outside the facility. You are a factor in what may one day become Utopia. You are, although you may think otherwise, extremely important.

Join the Discussion

This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

RunningFree said...
Dec. 3, 2011 at 9:47 pm

At the beginning, put in quotes (or italics if it's thought) what the person repeated to him/herself.  I think the falling was drug out too long, try to make it seem shorter by having the other person's journey shorter.  You switched to present tense for one sentence, not exactly sure where, though.  The sentence with the word "appall" was a bit confusing.

At the end there was too much obvious forshadowing.  When you write in first person, be careful that you don't ... (more »)

taylee said...
Nov. 26, 2011 at 9:11 pm
This was absolutely amazingly written! I love this!!!!
wilderose121 said...
Nov. 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm
OMG this is so amazing! do you believe in past lives too? and I love your username! I read "Paradise Lost" the other day. I cried over it (again)
Paradise_Lost replied...
Nov. 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm
Thanks :) And I do, in a way. Sort of my own spin on energy.
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