When I woke, it was as though I was waking back into my dream. I looked around and wondered where the dark had gone. It had been just seconds ago that I blinked into the black light. Once more, it seemed, the cycle began. I was tired, as I was every morning, although it was not the exhaustion that came from lack of sleep but instead a feeling growing from the mycelium of my depression. I spread my fingers out in front of me, feeling the air to be sure all the dimensions were truly there. Ill light spluttered through the room in grey patches and I felt inclined to leave before I caught the bad mood. When the soft skin of my feet came in contact with the matted carpet, it was almost as though I could feel it; feel my surroundings in my memory when memories can only be visual. I went through the corridor and down the stairs slowly, some anticipation growing as I took each step until... I saw her.
My mother stood at the bottom of the stairs and for a second I believed the lie and my heart was put on pause- there were other, real humans... then I would realise it was a self-induced deception. As my heart returned to its regular speed, I sat at the breakfast table and waited for the show to take place. It took a minute to kick-start- my mother stood abnormally still for a moment or so before moving. In those seconds my stomach yanked on my throat, tightening it, and tears veiled my eyes. But then she moved, smiling at the stairs in the place where I should be; she carried some plates to the kitchen table and set them in front of me. I watched her with slight amusement as she glided around the kitchen, occasionally tripping over a chair leg like she always would. Then she sat by me, smiled to me and stopped. That was it. My time with my simulated, although very real, mother. I yearned to see her warm smile again- the sort of expression personalised for me, not the wall behind. There was no meaning in her eyes. I stared back at her still, poised body and then gently touched her, my hand going straight through where her neck should be.
So I carried on. After eating toast under my mother's watch, I left the door and chuckled at my brother and sister as they played on the porch. I still haven't deciphered their game after however many years of replaying the memory. My last memory. The last memory I had before I fell into this depression and they put me under sedation. I admit- they were convincing. All you do, they said, was take an injection and then your therapy begins. You go to the "special place" inside your mind and connect with other depressees. It was a valid idea to those with good mental health but when you were inside the simulation you realised that a double negative in this realm does not make a positive.
After calling my brother twice and my sister three times to no response, I left them. The route was simple, I would meander down the forest path speckled with spring leaves and cross by the river. The rush of sound began to pour through into my thoughts- every voice the river carried sounded so real I would often turn back and try and look for the voice's host. One time, on one of the first viewings of the memory,, my mind gnawed away at itself for so long that there was nothing left. I couldn't remember who I was, just like in the real world, and my personality had been degraded to a sick girl watching her family moving on. I had ran to the river and hoped drowning was an escape route. The following day, I had woken up back in bed. I was dying in a dream and forever living in a memory. On this day, however, I ignored the whispers and chants and jogged upstream until I reached the stepping stones. Almost there, I thought. I crossed the stream and took the steps down to the railway.
The rails were a murky, brown colour with rust pouring over the tracks. No trains ever passed, although I wish they did and I would jump straight on and ride away from this nightmare. I saw the tunnel just ahead. My mind seemed to have contained my negative thoughts as I approached the tunnel, entering its ominous archway to be immediately met with a cool shade.
Inside, grey gravel filled the tunnel like a fishtank, swelling up around the tracks as though they were slowly sinking. The only other objects were two single blue chairs placed perfectly in the centre of the tunnel, facing opposite each other. I made my way to the chair nearest myself and sat down, feeding my back into the curve of the seat. Everything was quiet. The wind was lulled into a dreamy state and I felt like falling to sleep on the chair.
But then the noise came. Slowly, but a rhythm I quickly picked up on. The crescendo of sound began to flood the tunnel, the chanting of a train chugging along. I heard every wheel turn and the steam foam from the top but I saw nothing. Every second the sound got faster and faster, speeding along until I heard it enter the tunnel and surge towards me until I closed my eyes and-
I opened my eyes. I was alive. Still in the train tunnel. But facing me was a person, someone staring at me with black eyes. They had chose to use the avatar everyone uses- the Voldemort as I liked to call him. His body was pure white and had no features, just a round silhouette saturated with white.
"Hello," I murmured, my disappointment already spilling into my voice.
"Hello," it answered back, no mouth appearing as it spoke in its dull, monotonous voice.
"What's your name?" I asked.
"Anonymous," It answered.
Why did I bother? It was another depressed user who had to have been asleep or something- they refused to reveal their face or even their name. Even a fake person would do for me- just someone to talk to. It was more depressing than the depression I had been through when your therapist did not want to show themselves to you.
"Okay Anonymous," I forced a smile, "What's your problem?"
It stared at me silently for a moment and for a split second I wondered if it had thought of a response. Then Anonymous vanished, leaving an empty chair. I took a breath in and let it slowly hiss out of my mouth in a prolonged sigh. I stood up, my irritation leading me to leave and return home to my bed. Restart the cycle. But I didn't. I found myself sitting back down and covering my face with my palms. Waiting for a train to come, when it never did.
This had been the sum total of my life in therapy- calling out every day to talk to someone about my inner nothingness and, in response, I received even more nothingness. I could not die inside my mind nor could I run away with there being a mental barrier around the circumference of the memory. I had tried to contact the state, the government, anyone but my response was always silence. Maybe the outside world had fallen into chaos or maybe they just weren't prepared to let me leave until I was cured. I wanted answers. Better still, I wanted to wake up.
When I unfolded my palms from my face, I heard it again- the whoosh of wind and pulsating of the tracks as though a train were coming. I sat perfectly still as my chair rocked and vibrated and the gravel below me crackled. The sound grew and grew and I heard it enter the tunnel and blast past the chair and-
I flinched once more. Opened my eyes. God, I felt sick of doing this. The sound still rang in my head and my brain ached. Where was my therapist, my saviour to wake me back up so I could return home to my family?
"Hello," I heard the voice say. I looked up with dull eyes and stared at the body. Stared at the face. It was...
"Hey," The voice prompted, a smile peeking through those thin, pink lips. "You alright there?"
I stared again. He was human.
My prayers had been answered.
Hey- this is part of a story I've been thinking about for a while, don't know if its any good/ the concept makes sense, etc. I'd really appreciate it if you shared your thoughts, even criticism will do. Thanks! x :D
Hi again- this is my redone draft of the story. Hope you enjoy, please leave a response :) x