Monday, June 14, 2010

Outside My Mind

It was getting dark as I made my way down South Grade pulling on Rusty's leash to hold her in the heeling position. It wasn’t cold but there was a chill breeze. The roses climbing over the fence of the house next to me were in full bloom, brilliant and flagrant as always.
A familiar walk. A place I had been a thousand times before with Twilight drifting in the air around me like a cloud of smoke but suddenly it didn't seem so comforting. It was quiet, still. Unbelievably still. Frighteningly still. Suddenly, I stopped. Standing where I was, unmoving in the quiet anything could happen. Maybe I should turn back.
No. That was foolish. How many times had I walked this road? How many times had anything happened other than the setting of the sun? Nothing had changed. There was no reason to let my imagination run rampant.
Still, I reached for my cell phone to remind myself that I had contact with the world outside my mind.
Damn. it wasn't there. I must have left it charging on my dresser. Maybe I really should turn back.
The idea was ridiculous. There was no reason for a moment of fancy to obstruct my Sunday evening walk. No reason at all. Thoughts of the reaper in Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine floated through my head but I shook them out. I raised my head in determination and took a step.
The world went black. Colors bled away from my eyes and the ground beneath my feet gave way. The leash in my hand wrapped tight around my wrist burning into my skin and then it was gone. My last hold of reality disappeared and I was falling. A hundred feet. A thousand. I had no way of knowing. The scent of the flowers disappeared along with the sound of the cars whizzing by on the road. One by one my senses faded until they ceased to exist and I was left alone in darkness with nothing but myself.
"Who are you?" a voice asked, though I couldn’t hear it or see the speaker.
I didn't answer and a hint of panic rustled through me though I wasn't sure where it came from.
The voice sounded again from inside my head, this time more demanding, almost angry. "Who are you?"
I shook my head, refusing to answer.
"You will have to answer one day.” It was a murmur now, a cold sound brushing against my ear, hardly audible in all the darkness “Who are you?"
I tried to close my eyes but they were already closed, tight until they felt like they might explode.
I opened them instead.
The road reappeared in front of me, a long stretch of gravel with sidewalk on either side. Rusty tugged at the leash, no longer curious as to why we’d stopped. A car whizzed by.
“I am me.” I whispered. “I am myself, here now.” And I took another step.


  1. Nicely done :) I like the Alice in Wonderland-esque fall. Poor Rusty though, left behind! But a good soul-searcher, nonetheless.

  2. It's great that you read Bradbury. "Martian Chronicles" is one of my favorite novels.

    An interesting piece of writing! Depending on where you're going with this piece and on your personal sense of symbolism, you can give the narrative a Biblical link by answering "Who are you?" with "I am who I am." That's how G_d answered when Moses asked her the same question on Sinai.