This post is going to be a little bit different. I just want to share with you all a project that I have been working on called 10 Days. It is a fiction project and this is just a small part of it, and is not indicative of the whole, but let me know what you think of it!
Fog. Breath that becomes condensed and inhibits vision when formed on visors. Why am I looking through a visor? Suddenly I can see and hear and feel so many new things all at once and I cannot remember how I came to be in the place in which I now am. I don't even know where I am. I have no point of familiarity around which to formulate an idea as to where I now find myself. A calm sensation washes over me, but I know panic is not far off. Have you ever heard of people who wake up from sleep walking in strange places and have no idea how to react? I think that's happening to me right now. My senses are on overload.
All I can see is a muddy path with hardened ruts that stretches on for miles. There's a dead smell in the air. My helmet must have an air filtering system as I can distinguish smells, but it also appears to be thoroughly sealed. I don't even know what air filtering systems are come to think of it. My vocabulary is adapting to whatever delusional experience I am currently in. I know that I am wearing a full body suit to accompany my helmet. How cute. I bet I look fantastic to the people walking towards me. There are people walking towards me! Maybe they can inform me of where I am. I try to speak out, but my mouth refuses to form words or sounds. I want so badly to call out to them. They are closer now. They look intimidating actually. Objects foreign to me adorn their suits. Weapon-like instruments are in their hands. Fear twinged with panic explodes through my veins into my brain as the figures draw ever closer. They could hurt me. They could kill me. Whatever system that is in charge of my respiratory processes fails me. My new body is receiving no oxygen, or whatever substance I am breathing. My vision becomes unclear and I stumble to my knees just as the two solemn creatures march deliberately past me. I can see the dull, metallic greens and grays of their uniforms. Their boots are so close to me that I am afraid of being trampled. Then they are gone. I didn't even receive a glance from them. Is it possible that they missed me? Of course not. I had been directly in their line of sight for the better part of 45 seconds. Why did they not stop to help me? Oh well, at least they didn't hurt me.
I struggle to regain my composure, pull my self to my feet, and keep wandering down the path with a heightened sense of awareness. As I walk, I begin to take notice of my surroundings. Barren wasteland dominates my entire view. There is no vegetation of any sort. No animals. No water. Nothing at all. The sky is devoid of life. The clouds are so low that I feel claustrophobic. All around me seems to have had the life sucked out of it. I am looking at the hollow skeleton of a world. I can remember watching black and white TV shows with my mother as a child and secretly thinking that they looked depressing, but not understanding why. I originally thought it was due to the lack of modernity, but now I realize it could simply be attributed to a lack of color. Where color is, there is joy. And the same can be said of the opposite. Oddly enough, I think I smell just a hint of salt in the air. There doesn't seem to be any signs of an ocean or salt water anywhere. Strange. I must have been imagining it.
Suddenly. I glance up and an old woman dressed in the same suit as the first two men is only three feet away from me. Startled, I quickly sidestep to my left to avoid a collision. How did I miss her? She seems to have appeared out of nowhere, and as she ambles through the spot at which I stood only seconds before, she too fails to even so much as look in my direction. I need to run back towards her to get her attention, but when I turn around she has vanished. Frustration consumes me. All I want is to be noticed by someone so they can help me. I take off at a brisk jog down the path in search of someone else. I see a group of five or six figures emerge over the horizon, and I take off at a full sprint towards them. It is only now that I realize how heavy my own suit is. It appears to be completely made of ancient steel. It creaks and groans as I urge it to move faster. At one point it must have been painted a vibrant red, but the aftermath remaining is something more like a rusty, dull red with many silver spots showing through the decaying paint. It fits in nicely with the lack of color all around me. My legs feel as heavy as my suit as I close in on the people. I wave my arms frantically, but all of them keep advancing towards me an a constant pace. None of them appear to be speaking to one another. They all have on the same greenish suits as everyone else I have seen. I wonder why mine is a different color. They are close now. Very close. How can they not see me? They must see me. They are all playing a terrible joke on me. They are mere feet from me now. I refuse to budge. Hit me if they must, but I am going to contact someone. Right before the crash into me, I can see into the first figures visor. It is perfectly reflective. I see the cold, dank landscape around me, but something is missing. I cannot pinpoint it at first. The dirt and clouds and sky are all there. It hits me hard and disturbingly. My reflection is not there. Somehow his helmet left me out of its reflection. It is as if I don't exist to him. Then, suddenly, my thoughts are interrupted by a different sensation. I feel a deathly cold so deep in my soul that I cannot describe it. An emptiness the likes of which I have never felt rakes through my body. I again am unable to breathe. Something is happening to me, but I don't know what. And they are gone. They walked right through me. They and I occupied the exact same space at the same time. How is that possible? It's like they stole my space. I spin around, but like the old woman, they are nowhere to be seen. It feels like the figure stole part of me when he walked through me.
Wildly, I tear myself from the path and careen into the wide open space in search of something. Absolutely anything; a rock, a deviation in the footing, a poisonous snake to bite and kill me. My lungs are screaming at me to slow down, but I refuse to acknowledge the pain and continue at a breakneck speed. Eventually I am forced to concede and sink to the path. The path? I left the path two minutes ago. It is impossible that I am still on it. I jump to my feet and spin around frantically trying to piece together what is happening to me. I see only one path; stretching out in a straight line forever. Panicing, I run completely perpendicular to the path off towards nothing. I want to be away from this place. It seems empty and expansive at the same time. Both terrifying and terribly dull. Ordinary but completely foreign. My eyes briefly find the sky. It looks exactly the same; low, pressing clouds that threaten to pour down rain or hail or whatever they were holding. I would love for a change in the weather. But like every other element of this dreadful place, the sky is taunting me. I know there will be no change. My eyes drift back down. I again see the same, rut-infested, dirty path. This is impossible. I curse at the hollow, empty sky. I feel like I am in a science fiction movie where the laws of time and space have been altered, and I have no power to control or even understand this place. Tears come. I cannot stop them. I am devastated, scared, hopelessly lost. Lost isn't the right word. I have no frame of reference to even be lost. I'm misplaced. A growing sense of panic builds in my stomach. This world seems so big and overwhelming, so I lay face down on the horrid ground.
How long I lay here I cannot determine. It feels like seconds. But the seconds feel like months. I feel like when I stand up I should be the same person, and an old woman at the same time. Rather when I pull my head up, I see a mirror. Life floods my body. It is the first bit of familiarity that I have experienced here. I pull the reflective surface closer and peer into it. What I see makes no sense. I see a tree; healthy and large; on a hill. All around it is an expansive meadow. Flowers and plants of so many colors that I cannot distinguish them all make up the scenery. It looks like a melting pot of artful landscaping. So incredibly many different things, yet they all come together in tasteful harmony The sky is magnificently blue. Almost like a picture of the ocean out of a travel brochure. The sight is breath-taking. All of the plants and flowers are pointed at the huge tree. Under the boughs of the tree I can see children playing on some sort of structure. At first I cannot make out what it is, but as I continue to stare it comes into focus. It is a fort built of metal. The pieces are a reddish color. They appear to have once been a vibrant red, but the years have taken their tole on them. The pieces are not very large. Perhaps they once made up a small vehicle. Or maybe a piece of furniture. Or a suit that could be worn to protect someone from that which they feared. Nevertheless, the pieces seem to have found their perfect place. They are indeed messed up, but beautifully constructed at the same time in a structure on which the children are enjoying themselves. One of the children points at the fort and then points towards me. Surely he can't see me can he? Maybe he can. It is a penetrating gesture. I feel like he is touching my heart and soul. Then all too soon, the scene vanishes, replaced by my current surroundings. Again, I cannot see my reflection.
I let my head sink back onto the hard ground. I will lay here until I die. What did that mirror mean? I cannot get over the haunting gesture and stare of that small child. Suddenly the ground is now shaking violently, which forces me out of my mind and back to my weary feet. What now? What more could possible go wrong in this god-forsaken wasteland. When I finally stand up, what I see is horrifying. There are more people in suits. Hundreds of people in suits. Probably thousands. An army is advancing on me. I'm so confused and tired that I cannot process what to do. Their footsteps thunder across the still ground towards me. I want so badly to lay down and be trampled, but I can't even seem to manage that. So I stand and await. As they come upon me, everything goes into slow motion. I don't mean that it feels like slow motion, things are literally moving by at a snail's pace. I am slowly surrounded by as many people as I have ever seen in one single place before. Seconds are thick liquid pouring down over me. I struggle to avoid being trampled, but it isn't necessary. I can simply step out of the way of these slow-moving warriors. The scene is actually comical. I risk a glance at a visor. No reflection. I am still not real to them. I meander about through the crowd observing these people. They are all equally stoic. None of their visors reflect me, and none of the seem to know I am there at all, yet as I move, they constantly reposition themselves so that I am in the center of them. It is as if they are trying to attack me, but they cannot see me.
Without warning life speeds up significantly. Figures are running by me at incredible speeds. Colors blur into a scene made by an artist who used far too much paint, but all sound cuts out. Where is the sound? Why can't I hear anything at all? Violently I am knocked to my knees. I quickly try to get up, but am knocked right back down. I can't move. I reach up but my arms are swallowed in the people. My stomach is in knots with panic. I need out. All around me, these warriors are closing in further and further. My breath comes in choppy spurts. I can feel my mind slipping into unconsciousness. I am so closed in. I can't move at all. I can't think. I can't feel.