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The sun’s bright fingers stroke the chimes where they hang, like a dead jellyfish, from the ceiling. They shimmer; they glow. An ancient, rotting wooden circle from which hangs seven slim tubes  of  tin tarnished, dented beyond belief, beyond repair, yet there they still hang. Where I  lay,  I watch them. They do not move. They  could practically be painted against the white of my wall.
I dangle my arm over the side of the bed, the tips of my fingers grazing something soft. My gaze  does not waver. I  keep my eyes on the chimes as I reach down further and take hold of whatever the item is. I do not even glance at it to identify it, still locked  in a staring contest with the dead-jellyfish chimes, as I lob the object straight at the chimes.
The slipper hits  the  chimes straight in the  middle, causing them to swing into one another rapidly, swinging punches as a drunkard in a fight. But they make no  sound. Not  even the softest of  clinks, as I strain my ears to hear.
Nothing.
I cannot remember the  last time they chimed.
The only noise in the room is my beating heart, first so fast, now slowly ebbing down into a dull pulse that only barely lets my head know I am still living, living even though I feel dead.

I have no desire to change. My bedclothes pool around me as I walk down the stairs, and I pull up the shoulder of my shirt several times. I drift into the kitchen, set a pot of coffee up to go. Turn on the news, sit at the counter.
An irritatingly vivacious woman covers  the screen, talking frantically about something to do  with murder. A grainy video plays. Something large and blue is approaching a woman.
My  pulse quickens.
The parking lot was cracked and blistered., he was huge and hulking, and the woman a tiny little thing pushing a grocery cart. I could smell the wet green night air. But there was no noise; everything was suffocating. A pillow pressed over the cars who rushed by, too fast, too careless. My feet dragged; The I lean  closer to the screen.
The man is pulling out something that cannot be deciphered. He comes closer to the woman but it is  happening much too  fast and the video is far too shoddy…
The subtitles read: “...there were no witnesses, though it was brutally caught on camera--”
“Me! Me!” I shriek, grabbing at my hair. I seize the only half-filled coffee pot and throw it  across  the room, where it hits the fridge and shatters into  a  million pieces. Coffee bursts from it like  octopus ink, as if it is defending itself. It  works. Hot  liquid sprays my wrist and I jump back. I grab my hair once more and mutter, pacing back and forth across the tile. My hands shake where they hold  my face; my hair is a  madman’s.
“Me...ME!”
If only the words repeated over and over could make me appear in  that video! If only the words could  change the past!  If...
If only...
My back hits the cabinet and I slide  down it, hiding my face  in my hands. I shake, oh how I shake! Is it  rage? Shame? I cannot tell! But this feeling, this ugly, horrible feeling is  bubbling up inside of my chest and I cannot push it down. It is an  ache all too familiar these days, these wretched days…
Those chimes!
I draw my knees up to  my chest, curling them up into me. I scream. I sob and  shout and tear at  my hair  and shirt, ripping  holes in it as big as a quarter. I am curled up there shrieking like a trapped animal, because I am, I am trapped, to  be an animal these days…
My head swings violently, back and forth and back and forth, like this thrice-be-damned loop I am stuck in. I  am stuck, like this, forever.
Unless…
I look up, my face hot. I sit still; I listen. There is no noise. There has been no noise for a long time. It could be the  dead of  night; but the sun shone in my window this morning. I haven’t heard the birds sing their morning songs in so long.
I want the birds to sing again.

The outside air is a cloak of ice. I shiver, clutching my  shirt to my tight as possible. The  sidewalkers chat idly, smiling, laughing, talking on  phones with frowns on their faces. Suits of brown, gray, black and dark blue stride by me, purpose in their  step. Young socialites, strutting and smiling their Hollywood smiles in their dime-store dresses. Small children skip by with sparkling vivid backpacks on their little backs. A tiny girl stumbles by laughing, a bright pink backpack on her back. I almost burst  in tears at the sight.
I take a deep breath of the  frigid air, looking at the  sky. It’s a pale blue. It’s a beautiful blue. It’s peaceful. My throat tightens  and loosens again. I do not blink. I want to take in the  glorious blue sky as much as I can…
But despite  the  tranquility  of the sky, the blanket of noiselessness continues to smother me….
“I’m here!” I scream, clutching my fists. I feel them begin to shake…. “I’m here!”
No one turns to look. Not even the slightest irritated glance from a suit with a phone. No mother  looks my way with concern. No child looks at me wide-eyed.
“I’m here!” I scream again. I clutch  at my hair, feeling  tears trail down my cheeks, almost freezing in  the cold. “I’m here! I’m here!”
No one turns. I bend over, sobbing,  my head in my hands. A headache pulses at my temples. My throat is raw, raw from screeching and crying. I continue my  solo of agony until my throat cannot take any more, and my head feels  like it will burst from the pain. Rather, I straighten, my eyes closed.
“I’m here…” I moan. “I’m…”
I stumble down the steps. One by one. Stumble through  the crowd of  people. They  don’t even notice me, even though they must feel me pushing through them...
“I’m here…”
I fall  into  the street. My eyes  close. The car is thundering toward me on  the pavement. I rest my head on the  cement, exhaling one more time.
“I’m...here…”
Just as the heat of the approaching horseman hits my arm, I hear wind chimes.






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