Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Black by Quentin Studebaker

So much time had passed I was not sure if I was still a human being. I had been in this pitch black room for what felt like a century. From what I had been able to figure out there were four walls flowing with a non-lethal but strong electrical current. I learned this the hard way my first day in this place which felt like ages ago. Another odd aspect of this of the place that drove me insane was they had deprived you of all you sensories. A circular metal object encircled you head covering your mouth and nose so there was no smell and you couldn’t make sound. The floor was sand so you couldn’t hear yourself and you couldn’t try to dig you way out.
 Every day the same tedious routine; wake up stare into the endless blackness and try to remember who I am, eat the meal that mysteriously appeared and drift into a state of sleep. It has become as routine as breathing or blinking. I was beginning to forget the little that I knew about the world outside of here all I knew for sure was that it had to be better than this tedious hell.
The clearest memory that I had always started suddenly with the face of a women. She had long brown hair slightly wrinkled skin. She wore a white night gown and had reading glasses on. Her face looked like it would have been friendly had she not obviously had an imminent look of despair on it. She was staring intently out of window then I felt the floor creak under my feet as I shifted my weight.
She whirled to look what the sound was and the moment she set eyes on me her eyes overflowed with water like a reservoir in a flood. Then red and blue lights began alternatingly illuminating her as she collapsed onto the floor. I recall dropping something and rushing to her side her pulse was nonexistent and I began sobbing. I remember feeling a strong connection to the woman. I cradled her head in my lap and stroked her hair with my hands that were covered in blood. The blood flowed from my hands onto her nightdress corrupting the white with a dark crimson.
At that moment the sound of splintering wood filled the room. I was so startled that I let the woman’s head slip from my hands. The sound of the back of her skull hitting the hardwood floor was sickening. Bright beams of light lit up the room and he heard shouts. He scrambled away from the men but wasn’t fast enough. Then I recollect a jolt of electricity assaulting my back and spreading like a wildfire threw the rest of my body then I lost control of my body. The next thing I remember was black.
Black, the only thing I can remember after The Memory. Black had consumed my whole conscious and it was driving me crazy. I felt like a junky craving light with every inch of my being. I used to be able to satisfy it with recalling The Memory but every time I evoked it I lost its color until it came to its current state, black and white like a Charlie Chaplin movie. But still out of sheer boredom I replayed it threw my head almost every waking minute. It was like watching a movie over and over and every time I watched it I hoped for a different result. Maybe the woman wouldn’t die or she would tell me who I was.
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So I guess I’m insane but to be locked in a room with total sensory deprivation will make the strongest men insane. But not much longer for me I had decided that 10 “days” later I would try to escape this torture. I kept contemplating the memory and escape while I waited for the food to appear. I waited until I drifted off into a coma like state and even then thoughts of escape bombarded my mind.
When I awoke I felt an aching pain in my stomach. I crawled over to the corner where the food usually was but it wasn’t present. Finding this out doubled the hunger in my stomach.  In all my time in the miserable place I had never had this occur. Though the food had never been extravagant here it had always satisfied my hunger and it had always been punctual. These events just fueled my desire to flee from here.
The rest of the day I stared into the eternal blackness envisioning escaping here and somehow discovering who the woman from the memory was.  It had become an obsession of mine to figure out my true identity and the identity of the woman. I eventually glided into a dream filled slumber. I saw the woman’s face over and over and she just repeated the same phrase. “It’s ok.”
As soon as I arose from my sleep hunger rocked my body. My parched throat felt like I just finished drinking a pint of burning gasoline. I felt abnormally week and I knew if I didn’t get my hands on at least some water in the next day I would perish.  I wondered if my captors wanted me dead or they just totally forgot about me. Then a thought that was almost too good to be true entered my mind, what if they were gone. It seemed unbelievable but so did everything else about my situation.
There was only one way to tell if they were still here. I was going to touch the wall. I knew it was a risk but I was going to die soon anyway and if this worked I might be free. So I crawled from the middle of my box toward the electrical wall. I came to wall and hesitated shortly. I came to the realization that in my weakened state the surge from the wall could kill me if it was still charged. I began to think about never finding out who the woman was but I decided if I didn’t do this now I might die in vain like a helpless cockroach. I raised my hand and thought to myself, ‘fuck it,’ and touched it to the wall.
I jerked my hand away immediately after contact but to my utter surprise the only shock I felt was from the chill of the metal on my warm skin. Excitement pulsed through me. I knew the possibility of my escape must have just tripled. I got up and staggered to the corner of my cell. Somehow I managed to muster up all my strength and began to kick at the wall. It took a few solid kicks before I felt it give a little bit but there was still more work to go it took a good 20 minutes to make a gap big enough to squeeze through.
The light seared my eyes like a blow torch. I felt like I was staring straight into the sun from a few inches away. I grasped at my eyes and attempted to scream but the gag made me choke. Tears cascaded down my cheeks. I finally got what I wanted but it was excruciatingly painful. I lay on the floor sobbing out of joy and pain until my eyes adjusted to the natural sun light.
Once the pain in my eyes eased I rose from the ground feeling rejuvenated with a new hope. Maybe it was the fact that I had finally escaped my prison or it could have just been the Vitamin D. Whatever it was I was planning on putting it to good use. I took a good look around and tried to absorb everything I could from my surroundings.
What I saw surprised me, there were rows and rows of metal cells like the one I had just escaped from. There was sand everywhere which made since to me now because a couple hundred feet away the sand became water. The body of water seemed to go on forever. I just hoped to myself that it was just a coastline and I wasn’t on an island. The biggest shock was that there wasn’t another being in sight and the only sign of life was a worn path leading to a bland building. Next I turned my attention to myself. I was naked and my skin was nearly as white as snow. It is hard to say how I looked compared to before because I don’t know how I used to know.
After my careful examination I set off following the path leading from the cell block to the plain concrete building. It lay on top of a sandy hill and its only company was a medium sized palm tree. The trip took a few minutes but every second was agonizing. Since my muscles had been stagnant for so long they burned. On top of that the gag only allowed a small amount of air in and rest had to be consumed threw you nose. Traversing the steep hill made me grasp for air like a lifelong smoker walking up steps.
I started toward the concrete bunker and was something immediately caught my attention, a sign on the side of the building that read “Lone Palm maximum security penitentiary.” It just raised more questions. What the fuck did I do? But somehow inside I knew that it must have something with The Memory.
 With even more incentive I went to the door and opened it cautiously cracked it open and peeped in. It was a plain room the smelled of sweat and tobacco. In one corner was a row of three metal bunk beds. Another contained an office like area. It had a desk and filing cabinets. I had to open the door all the way to see the other two corners but I felt comfortable that there were no inhabitants at the moment. The far corner contained a recreation area with a small television and an old couch. The nearer corner had an empty gun rack and small ammunitions safe.

I concluded that to find out who I was I would be best off starting at the desk. I began searching through the filing cabinets and found what looked like drawers of inmates records. Each had a picture of the inmate but my dilemma was I had not the slightest clue what my face look like. I rose and headed to a door on the far side of the room that I was hoping contained a bathroom. I was so anxious when I opened the door but to my luck there was toilet in the corner and a sink up against the wall. But most importantly was the mirror above sink.
As I looked into the mirror I was astonished by what I saw. My face was pail and the skin on it was stretched tightly on my bones like a mummy. I looked into my eyes and they look pained and tired. My teeth looked a sickly yellow and my lips didn't look much different than cracked cement. My hair was long and shaggy and I had grown a bushy beard. I fumbled around in the drawers till I came across an old razor. I used it to do the best I could at removing my haggard beard. There was no shaving cream so my face became red and irritated but it was better than the ghastly pale from before.
I then headed back to the files feeling accomplished that I knew another thing about my true self. When I got there I felt a strange urge to start with the Z's instead of at the beginning with the A's. I began pulling out files looking for one with a picture that looked even remotely. I made my may quickly threw the Zs,Ys and Xs. About halfway through the Ws I across a File that of someone name Eric Wilkins. The picture looked like the man I had seen when I looked into the mirror but much less pail and without facial hair. I honestly wouldn’t have been able to tell it was me if it hadn’t been for the electric blue eyes.
I began flipping through the file looking for info. The first Page had a lot of print but what stood out to me the most was a line of text that read “two counts of murder in the first degree.” The next page astonished me it showed a picture of the woman I always saw in my memory. Her face was bloody her eyes were shut. Under the picture was a caption that said “severe trauma to back of head.” My head spun and I nearly fell. If this was true I had killed the woman who had been my only company for last unimaginable length of time Feeling of sadness and confusion rocked me like a boat in a storm.
I read further and found out that this woman was my mother. It said I beat her over the back of the head and the shock of me murdering my father caused her heart to cease working. The thing about a father added to the confusion. I don’t remember a man in the memory on me. I then realized the reason I was covered in blood. I must have murdered my father than gone over to my mother, proceeding to kill again.
Waves of guilt crashed into my heart like the shores of Ireland. I didn’t understand why I did what I did but what I knew sickened me. I was a murderer who killed the people who brought him to this world. He rose from his knees and made his way over to the ammunitions area. His mind consumed in rage directed at himself. He dug around in a chest until he found a small caliber handgun. He found bullets and loaded the gun with trembling hands. Then slowly but surely he lifted it to his head. As he took his last breath he conjured an image of his mother in his mind, muttered an apology and pulled the trigger.
The lead penetrated his skull and but so did something else, a memory.
            It was late at night and I remember hearing a man yelling. “You good for nothing bitch, why can’t you do anything right?” I rose from what I assume was my bed and walked from there to the hallway. I was heading toward the commotion when I recall a loud crash when I turned the corner a man was on top of my mother violently slapping her. I then remember running over and kicking him off of her. He looked at me and hate filled my eyes. I knew that face it was the face from the file, it was the face of my father.
He dove at my legs from the ground but I must have been quicker because he sprawled past me and into the hall way. I followed him and I remember saying “I am sick of your shit, dad.” He started to rise with a look of pure anger but before he could do anything I kicked him down the hall. He collided with a small table containing pictures and such and they all crashed to the ground. Then I swore “I’m leaving with mom. We don't have to take this anymore.”
I turned and began to walk towards the room containing my mother I was nearly there when I felt a sharp pain assault my spine. I sunk to my knees grasping at my back. I remember turning to see what it was had hit me. I looked down and on the ground was a picture frame. I contained a picture of me and my mother and father. We all looked so happy. But I know it was fake. I rose from the ground, picture frame in hand an limped over to my father. I dove on him and began to slam the frame into his worthless skull. After the first swing rage took over and I recall beating him until I was too tired to raise my arms.
Then with a new sense of closure I arose, still grasping the picture frame. I looked at it and blood covered most of the image except for the faces of me and my mother. I walked down the hall and turned the corner. Standing in the room was my mother with her white nightgown and long brown hair staring sadly out the window. A feeling of understanding came to me and then, BLACK.

No comments:

Post a Comment