Without opening my eyes I extend my limbs in every direction, and my hands stroke smooth material which seems to melt through my fingers. As my legs brush against the fabric my small hairs spring to life from the slight shocks of static. My feet repeatedly bury themselves and then expose their toes feeling the fabric glide off their visible skin. I can feel the warmth of the sun beat down on me and I hear a faint breeze shift in the wind. All is still and peaceful, but with my eyes closed I wonder about that figure. I hear a small bird, just out of reach twitter is own magical tune; however, it’s sound seems so far away. Then there is a tapping on the window.
Window? Bolting up I see the bird outside the dirty window whistling its song while ever so often tapping the window glass. So I am not dreaming. I am again in my room. But the fabric? …looking down I see a brown blanket draped under my body twisting into my bed sheet. This isn’t mine. I take the material in my hands and try and distinguish something recognizable. I can see nothing but my drizzles of drool spilled over a top corner. “Sorry” to whoever’s blanket this is. At the farthest corner, I see a cursive “D” spelling a word….Danny. “Bless little Danny’s heart.” I feel bad about the drool, but he did snot-fest my shirt that one time…I will wash it out later, showing him the same kindness.
Strange I have no headache and no voices, maybe David has gone for good. Of course as I say this to myself I know if will come back to bite me later. But still with the thought of his name, he does not surface. I am just confused because I can’t even feel his presence like before.
I stretch my arms high above my head wanting to touch the celling. I feel no soreness or pain; I feel content and bliss. I prepare myself for the dizziness after standing, but nothing comes. This is strange…I almost glide over to the mirror in search of my eyes knowing I will see truth.
I fall back suddenly in shock. Looking in I saw orange. Not just plain orange, but fiery orange. I saw hints of gold and shards of red. I looked like a possessed human or even a ferocious monster. Standing, I peer into the mirror again my eyes are normal with the peaceful green and hints of blue and brown. But they also look alive. I can see my own reflection looking back at me. I wonder if my orange eyes had been real or if the light had hit the mirror in a new way.
I change my clothes quickly not wanting to see the bruises from the day before, and I see the layer of dust covering my dresser. Nothing has moved or is out of place; I lift the brush, beneath is shiny, new, and bare. How…? …No….
I open the door and all the surrounding doors are standing open, allowing any to enter. “Danny…” I rush to his room and there it is tussled and ruined with no sight of life. The little bear which he always slept with lays torn in my path. All the furniture is turned and trampled. Nothing is as it once was.
I scoop up the bear and wander back to my room. Each doorway shows another lost loved one. Gone without notice and what seems like, without a say. Each door similar to the next. Each door hanging on its hinges ready to give up on life.
Me too. Knowing that all these children, all these beautiful children are gone. I have no will to live either. I wander back into my room cradle the bear into the smooth blanket, my last piece of Danny, and almost whimper myself into a dead sleep.
Danny…Danny…DANNY! “Why Danny?” screaming myself awake not able to handle the reoccurring torturing nightmares. Since I have no recollection of the canceling, I know the shadows must have done this. My nightmares consist of me trying to save the children, but remain glued to the floor unable to save anyone. Then the shadows turn towards me and I awake. The bear is still swaddled in the smooth brown blanket, but now there is more drool and small dabs of snot from the day before.
I have not left my room. I have not seen another soul or shadow. I don’t move because of the fear of being next, also because it will awaken my stomach. The doors all still hang open, including mine. Why bother. If no one comes I will die alone, and if someone comes it is my end.
Except for my stomach I would have laid there until I became dust and died. But the constant growling is obnoxious and I can’t ignore it any longer. Going to leave I turn back and scoop up the bear and blanket. I tie it as a sash across my chest keeping my precious keepsakes close.
The hallway seems deadlier. No noise. No life. No warmth. It reminds me of a book I read about ghost stories; the cemetery of headstones, each having a new original story to tell. Slowly I meander to the red door to reality. Maybe beyond that door all will be gone too. No shadows. No fear. No life. Maybe I am the only one still left living. The knob turns too easily, then I push way too hard, the door swings open suddenly, and I collapse to the ground. I lay there in silence. Catching my breath and thankful for the bear, because it might have saved my ribs. I brace my stance and push myself into a kneeling position….
Nothing. The small room with the dining table is toppled over and in disarray. The swinging doors to the kitchen are torn off its hinges and lay shattered on the floor. Dishes are broken and scattered everywhere. Every step I take another shard breaks into a million smaller shards beneath my feet. The diner is empty and every table is distorted. Nothing is the same. Everything is destroyed. I hear nothing except my breath; I am no longer hungry. No one is present, no children, no shadows and no customers, just me. Looking back over the path I have followed, I see nothing but the evidence of destruction. Something flickers in my side-eyed vision. A sign I have never seen. In blaring red lights it reads, “EXIT”. Curious…
I stumble across the broken dishes, torn cushions, and the spilled syrup covering the floor, towards that sign leading to oblivion. The door is glowing and the sun is pouring through the windows. I touch the knob and it begins to hum and sing into my palm. It almost feels alive. I turn the knob, shove open the door, it won’t budge. I shove again and I hear a crack. I kick and slam into the door. I continuously pound its wood until the door gives away and I topple into the light…
Thud…I hit the ground and I feel plywood beneath me. I open my eyes as the pain in my knees send a stinging sensation to my back. I see fabric wrapped around my head, and I feel it strangling the air from my throat. I frantically struggle to unwrap my suffocating body from the material. My head is finally released and I am on a cold wooden floor. Danny’s blanket was the cause of restriction. Completely confused, I search of a recognizable building to know my surroundings. I see a dark form. A sturdy block shaped form slowly comes crisply into view. A desk…a dresser…
I am in my room…