Gripping the Mist

~ For the Replica Competition.


1. I Don't Exist

 It's almost as if they can't notice me. Me and only me. I've seen them swerve around others, maybe even exchange a few quick words as they hurried on their way. I've always wondered what they were doing, where they were going. They all seemed to have such purpose, importance, and that is just what I craved. A meaning. But I could never seem to find it, to grasp it in my hands. To be able to join the flow of the crowds and have a place to be. Maybe that just wasn't meant for me?

 Then what was meant for me? There were many things to do in this world, I'm quite sure that I have witnessed it all. The people around me could do amazing things. They could create, discover, invent. But throughout my long existence, I had witnessed the worst as well. The destruction, the fighting and violence, the assaulting and disrespect. This world was littered with it. I could only seem to find only a few havens that were free of the horrible activity.

 So that is why I almost always station myself here. It is what is called an alley. It is dark, cold and lonely, but is on the border of the colour. I stand in the shadow to watch it all take place throughout the day. My favourite thing to watch is the people. There are so many, each different, unless I am lucky enough to see a set of twins, oh how that fascinated me.

 I'd study their movements, their personalities, their hobbies. Some would walk while others ran. Some would remain silent as they passed by and others would talk, maybe laugh. Sometimes I would be in for a real treat when a street musician would set up close to where I watched and would play music...

 I did all this in hopes of memorizing the behavior of the people that I liked to call my species. I did it in hopes of learning from them, and to be like them. I would rehearse in my mind what to do, then ,when I had finally built up enough courage, I would step out among them and try my best to blend in. But I always failed. Whether I had tripped over my own feet when I tried to walk, or someone didn't hear me when I spoke a friendly hello. It always resulted in me standing back in this dark alley, intensely watching the passers to see what it was that I had done wrong.

 But today was the worst. It started out good. Great, actually. I had tried a new technique. I had been sitting on a bench for a while, enjoying my new point of view in the light of the sun above me. Someone even sat next to me! It was a little old man. He had taken a seat next to me, placed a pair of glasses upon his crooked nose and began reading a news paper. I wanted so badly to say hello, but I had learned it to be rude to interrupt people while they read. 

 I noticed the horizon between the tall buildings begin to turn a beautiful orange, which meant that it was sundown. The streets were becoming quieter and quieter and I now sat alone on the bench. I told myself that it was time to leave. Over time, I had noticed that there was a certain man who always seemed to sleep on this bench every night and I did not want to disturb him. I had contemplated in maybe waiting for him and to attempt to talk to him. I wanted to ask him why he slept here whenever I saw him. No matter how hard I tried to figure it out, I couldn't wrap my head around that question, leaving me without an answer.

 I had decided to not stick around and began to head towards my alley, maybe catch sight of a few of the night time people. They all seemed so happy when they walked around in their fancy clothes. But when I stood and began to shuffle the short distance up the sidewalk, a colourful ball rolled up to me and came to a halt right between my feet. I smiled at it when I heard the cheerful, giggly voices of children running in my direction. This was my chance! I could hand the ball back to them, I could be of use. But I was horribly mistaken. That day, I learned something, that at this point, I almost wish I never did. Just before I could bend over and pick up the ball, I felt this horrible sensation. It hurt horribly, every drop of warmth that I thought I could feel dripped away from me in that split second. The young boy, his little sister trailing behind, stepped right through my body and retrieved his ball. Without noticing me, he ran back to his sister and they disappeared around the corner.

 I stood in shock, gripping my chest as if I were having a heart attack. This couldn't be. What was wrong with me? I felt myself flood with emotion. Anger, fear, sadness. Every negative feeling I knew to exist. Before I could collapse to the ground, broken in despair, I did the one thing I knew how to do. I vanished.

 I felt my being seep into the cool void. I now knew that this ability was not normal. I now knew why I never found any other humans here, in the vacuum of space. Perhaps I wasn't human. But how could I not be? I looked down and saw the palms of a pair of hands looking back at me. They were mine. 

 I floated around aimlessly, but still careful not to stray too far from earth. I glimpsed down at the blue planet, thinking that it would calm me, but it only flooded me with another wave of emotion. I didn't belong, I knew this now. That planet was not my home, I had no business there. Turning my back on my false hope of a purpose, I looked at the sun. Even it had a purpose. In fact, the most important of them all. As I thought harder, I soon dawned on the realization that everything I knew to be around me had its own purpose. I was nothing.

 I let my body go limp, floating away throughout the solar system, not yet knowing what to do. Maybe I'd warm my cold body around Mercuries orbit. Or dance along the rings of Saturn. Perhaps stand atop the furthest dwarf planet and stair out over the edge of the solar system. But I wouldn't leave, no. I could, but at the same time I couldn't. I had never left this solar system before, the rest of the galaxy was a mystery to me. Though it didn't seem like it, this vast, elliptic ring was my home. But what was the point of having one? A being like me didn't deserve one. I wasn't alive, was I dead? Maybe. But perhaps I was something worse than that chilling word. Maybe I was nothing but a thought, a memory or a wisp of a hazy dream. Maybe I just didn't exist altogether. 

 But maybe this couldn't be. When my eyes fluttered open suddenly, I saw something. Something high above the earth. Its arms and legs limp and long, blond hair floating in the zero gravity. It was a girl! Or at least it was. For the moment I saw her, she vanished. My eyes must had been playing tricks on me. I had never met someone like me before. I  doubted that something as powerful as time could change that.

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