The World I Knew
rating: +50+x

You arrive in your old neighborhood. It feels different. You can hear the cicadas chirping. That probably shouldn't be your primary focus though. The water should. It rises just above your shoes. You feel it soaking into your socks. It bothers you greatly.


You can clearly see the water covering the lawn of your old home. It has been three years. The house remains standing. Your home sits at the bottom of a small incline. The water rises further down towards the house. Trash is strewn about the yard. Old soda cans and empty water bottles that you forgot to throw away. At the top of the incline sits a lone trashcan.


You find yourself walking towards the trashcan, taking the lid off and staring down at the contents within. It's just trash. Relief washes over you. You aren't quite sure what you expected to find, but you suppose it doesn't matter. You put the lid back on slowly, making sure not to disturb the trashcan further.


You look at the building in front of you. You always said the facade was painted white, but it seems to be a very light yellow. You never were good at noticing those small, minor details. The door seems to be broken, as if it were thrown open with great force. The hinges at the top are broken, leaving the door hanging by the bottom hinges. You see the wall directly behind the door. A portrait your great-grandfather painted of a woman hangs there. The lights are off. It's boiling hot outside, but for whatever reason you feel a chill. You rub your hands together to get some warmth. Something about this situation feels distinctly odd to you. Haven't you done this before?


You walk up the wooden porch steps and feel them creak under your weight. The water has rotted away part of the wood. You hold on tightly to the railing, stopping to smell the air. It smells awful. It's a smell you remember. The smell of rotting cicadas. You look down at the water and see hundreds of cicadas floating above the decaying wood. They must have drowned. You wait a moment, steel yourself, and gently step through the door. The stench has only gotten more powerful. It feels like a furnace inside. You can see the old painting in more detail now. You look around to see your paths forward. The right leads directly upstairs to where the bedrooms are. The left leads directly into the living room. Forward is nothing but the painting.


As you turn to face the living room, feeling the water beneath your feet, you feel an impending sense of dread. You shouldn't turn. Yet you do. You see your mother's corpse in the living room. It is floating in the water, face upwards. You think you should feel shock, but you don't feel anything. Her arms and legs are facing outwards like a starfish. You wish she had a face. There is a hole from her chin to her forehead. You hope she drowned. That seems unlikely. You can see blood in the water. Do cicadas bleed?


I'm sorry, I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by CLOSE "EYES".


I'm sorry, I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by KNEEL.


I'm sorry, I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by CRY.

The only thing you can do is stare at her corpse. She was alive when you last saw her three short years ago. Now she isn't. This single moment is one you've been coming back to for years and years. You look at her face and think that maybe this time will be different. Maybe you could do something to save her. The truth is that you can't.


No. You'll come back to this moment again anyway. You need to look at her. Repeating the same shattered scene day in and day out has brought you here. It's quite sad. You blame yourself for what happened. The hole in her face confirms your guilt. It was your fault. She isn't the only one. She just happens to be the one in front of you. You feel a drop of water hit your neck.


You look up and see a hole in the ceiling. It seems the rain is starting early. You might have to end the trip here. You don't want to, though. You don't want to accept the passing of time. Certainly an understandable sentiment, but one that reeks of childish sorrow. Crying when the lights go out and the cicadas begin to chirp so loudly you can't hear your heartbeat. Listening to the sounds of someone you'll never meet on your radio to put you to sleep. It's pathetic. A grown woman hiding in a closet full of memories to escape her problems, as if she's the only one in the world with them. As if her problems are real.

They aren't. Do you remember your mother's face? Your father's? Do you remember the feel of the bed you never slept in? Memories of things that never occurred, of people who never existed, of a mother who never died. It keeps you up at night. It tortures you. Is it okay to feel this way? To cry over these non-existent victims of a non-existent disaster? People say it is but… you question it. Their sincerity. They don't truly understand you, after all. Even the ones just like you look down on you. You aren't really one of them, are you? You're just some lonely woman making things up to get people to pity you. To sympathize with you. Pathetic. You suppose in the end it doesn't matter. You've always been alone. It begins to rain.


The rain batters your skin, as though soft fists hammering your body. It beats into your soul, your heart a drum. Every night is a hellish return to this day. Every time you close your eyes, you come back here and relive a nightmare. You want to go back to the world you knew, as painful as it was. You want this moment back, as horrifying as it is. You want the rain in your heart to feel like it belongs. You want the bright nights and cold days to give way once more to endless heat and great hordes of cicadas.

As much as it pains you to say, you miss the days when the world felt like it was slowly decaying, when your heart was closed to all. The days without anyone to talk to. The nights spent listening to the rain drowning the world in accumulated sorrow and pain. It's time to stop living in the shadows of a forgotten past.

Shut the computer off. Turn the lights out. At the end of everything, all you have left are memories of nothing.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License