Flash Fiction – The Train

 

The people walk in grim silence. Their clothes are plain and their faces hold no expression. They walk in formation: quick steps, arms close to the body, heads down. All of them are older; they never allowed the children to stay. The children would only return once they too were broken.

The town is gray; both the houses and the people. The only noise comes from the wind blowing through the streets and the footsteps of the people. Work is letting out. It is time to leave the factories and return home. Not to their loved ones, but strangers. Alliances of any kind are not allowed in the town. Family and friends can only connect underground. Being caught making such connections meant death. Instant death.

A patrol car drives through town. The people walk quicker, make themselves smaller. The warden inside the car scans them carefully. Anyone different will be taken into custody. However, the warden sees nothing wrong and drives on to the next town. The people sigh in relief.

The last of the factory workers are being let out. They cross the train tracks running through town. The lights come on, the barriers go down. They stop and wait for the train. Such a noisy thing, it is. In a town such as this, the train is deafening. Some people cover their ears.

Just as the train approaches, a woman jumps on the track. “This is not a life!” she yells. The train conductor makes no effort to stop for her. Her blood stains the area with a bright burst of red. The warden will not be happy about the bright color. Someone innocent will answer for it.

The train fades into the distance and the people scurry home. It’s just another day.

 

 

Advertisements

All is Black – Friday Fiction

The voices are back. Never left, in fact. They’re always there, always whispering in my ear. Telling me nasty things. Telling me to hurt, telling me to die. They’re screaming now, screaming that I’m worthless. I cover my ears, but their voices only grow. I scream, and someone grabs me. Someone real, more solid than my voices. I find the world to be fading, and the voices go with them.

All is black.

New voices, different from the others. Talking about the weather, about their medication. These voices don’t bother me, not like the others do. These voices are connected to bodies, to people. People not unlike me. They sometimes talk about their own voices, during the times when we sit in a circle and talk about our feelings. But I never hear their voices, only the voices in my head.

A voice has asked me to move over, and so I do. My lunch tray slides across the table. Not paying attention, my tray knocks over another patient’s water.

USELESS! PATHETIC! WORTHLESS! YOU CAN’T GET ANYTHING RIGHT! YOU CAN’T EVEN EAT WITHOUT MAKING A FOOL OF YOURSELF, YET YOU EXPECT TO LEAVE HERE ONE DAY? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? PATHETIC! YOU’LL NEVER BE A NORMAL PERSON!

The other voices try to calm me, try to stop my tears. They tell me that everything’s alright, but I don’t believe them. I can barely hear them over my voices. I grab at my head again to get them to stop, I’d do anything to get them to stop, and my food falls to the floor.

NOW LOOK AT WHAT YOU’VE DONE! ALWAYS MAKING MESSES, ALWAYS INCONVENIENCING PEOPLE! WHY DO YOU STILL LIVE? YOU’RE NOTHING BUT A BURDEN! PATHETIC! PATHETIC!

Voices in uniform grab me, tell me to calm. I listen as their drugs enter through their needle, that ever-present needle. Calm. So calm. The voices go away, the world goes away.

All is black.

Lots of voices now, none of them my own. They’re steady voices, gentle voices. Happy voices, some of them. There are artificial voices coming out of a box, laughing voices surrounding them. I’m on my own, sitting in the corner. Every once in a while a uniformed voice comes to check on me, make sure I’m okay, as if I’ve ever been okay.

The voices leave me alone, for I’m always alone, alone except my voices. My voices never leave me.

We’re the only one you’ve got. You’re alone. No one wants you. PATHETIC!Give up, why don’t you? Look at you, sitting in a corner, talking to yourself. No one will ever love you. You’re nothing but a burden. PATHETIC! Your family hates you, everyone hates you, you’re a blight on the world.

I curl up in my chair, wishing the voices away. No one notices me. I look around and spot a table. An old, breaking table. Metal runs around the edges. Solid metal, sharp metal.

Look at that. Look at that! There’s your chance. No one’s looking. Come on, get up. See that bit? You can use it. Use it to end things. You want me to stop, don’t you? You’ll do anything to end the voices. I’ll never leave you if you don’t take it. Never! You’ll always have me, you’ll always be pathetic. PATHETIC!

Up I go, slowly, shuffling to the table. No one takes notice, I’m never noticed. I lean on the table, pretending to study the picture hanging on the wall behind it. My hand goes to the metal edge, the metal edge that slowly peals off and drops into my hand. It’s thin, but sturdy. Twice as wide as my finger. I look around, but no one sees. I slip it into my underwear.

I turn to go back to my seat, to wait to be alone, but someone is behind me. An old voice. I don’t stop in time, and I hit her. She falls down, her voice is all pain.

LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE! YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT! PATHETIC! YOU’LL BE BETTER OFF DEAD! THE WHOLE WORLD WILL BE BETTER OFF WITH YOU DEAD!

I fold into myself and whimper, my real voice crying out. Uniformed voices grab me, but I twist away. I don’t want them to take my secret weapon, my way out.

CAN’T YOU CONTROL YOURSELF? YOU’VE MESSED EVERYTHING UP! DO YOU THINK YOUR LIFE IS WORTH LIVING? NO ONE WANTS YOU HERE! PATHETIC! Pathetic! Pathetic…

All is black.

Alone in my room, I wake slowly. It’s night. Real darkness. I feel something in my underwear, the piece of metal. The voices start again, but they’re quiet. They’re edging me on, not forcing me. Not yet.

You know you want to… Come on… Do it!… You know you want to…

I feel around the metal, finding the jagged edge where it broke away. It lightly touches the tender skin of my wrist. Pressing, not cutting. I stare at it.

Do it! Do it now! Before you’re caught! Before you mess up again! What are you waiting for? This is what you want! This is what you need! You have to die! If you don’t die, you’ll never be free of me!

I hesitate, studying the veins of my arm.

PATHETIC! CAN’T YOU DO ANYTHING RIGHT? YOU’RE WORTHLESS! NO WONDER YOUR PARENTS NEVER LOVED YOU! YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT! PATHETIC!

I press harder, the metal cuts into my skin like it’s not there. But it is there. I feel it splitting, feel the metal sinking in. I hiss and close my eyes.

Good! Keep going! You’re so close! DO IT! END IT! NOW! NOW!

I drag the metal along. Suddenly, I’m soaking. Blood everywhere. Pain everywhere. My arm hurts. It hurts so much. I hurt so much.

Almost there, keep going! You’re so close! Almost!

The other wrist now, this one more difficult. Both arms cut open, the metal falls to the floor. Tears mix with blood. I’m getting dizzy now, getting tired. But I’ve always been tired. So tired, so weary.

Good… good… It won’t be long now… You’ve done good…

My eyes close, the world fades in and out. Distantly, so far away, I hear panicked voices. Lots of them. I don’t care. They aren’t my voices.

Almost there…

I slip further away. I hear nothing, I see nothing, I am nothing. No pain, no voices; nothing. Nothing. Sweet nothing.

All is black.

 For the Friday Fiction link up from http://nikkiyoungwrites.com/