As I run, I cry

Feelings can be a blessing, and a curse.


1. First and Last

I woke up to the smell of dirt. I was facedown, brown leaves, as dry as a hearth, crumbled under the breath escaping from my nose. Twigs cracked as I pushed my hands underneath me, lifting my face off of the floor. I stared around me, everything slowly coming into focus. I was in a forest, seemingly very far in, judging by the density of the trees. Sun shone like a Godly torch, through leaves  hanging above me like a ceiling of fresh life. I looked down at myself, and pain came rushing back in a Tsunami of pain. I looked at my wrists, saw the deep gash on the left and right, spreading from my palm to my elbow. Emanating from the wounds, was a river of red, dried blood flaking and crusty on my forearm. There was so much blood there, too much blood. How could I be awake right now, let alone standing and conscious? Could I have been mugged? Maybe kidnapped, knocked out and dragged here to my execution, like a lamb to slaughter?

I didn’t know, I couldn’t remember, but suddenly I was cold. Despite the sun pounding my back and the ground around me, I shivered. I stood up, preparing for a wave of nausea, but none came. I recognised where I was, how could I not? I’d been here so many times through my life it was a second home to me. The familiar rock formation in the corner of my eyes that looked unrealistically like a hand sticking up its middle finger. The branch overhead, the branch marvelled at by many, for no other reason than it stretched from North to South directly, the centre of the branch hanging over the centre of a large clearing. This clearing just so happened to be two miles from my home. My dad had really loved this part of the forest. He would always come here, sometimes bringing me on his strolls. He would sit on the swearing rock formation, staring up, listening to the birds song. Whenever I was with him, he would look at me, smile the adorable crooked smile he always wore when he was truly happy, and say; “Danny, young man, the birds are singing just for you today!” To which a younger me would squeal in delight, searching around for the birds celebrating my arrival. I hadn’t heard their song in ten years. The day the birds stopped singing was the day my dad left. I was pulled out of my reverie by the sound of rustling leaves, a bush in front of me had shaken the slightest fraction. I gross, waiting to see what was inside the bush. A small yip came as a dog burst forth from the shrubbery, it’s small feet pounding the ground as it headed towards me. I smiled a genuine smile then, the first in a long time. So very few people were happy to see me anymore. The dog padded up to me, its tongue lolling from its mouth. From a distance, I could hear the dogs owners walking, heading toward the circle looking for their beloved animal. I scratched behind its ears, ruffling its fur, and then I pushed if away, back towards its owners. This  place may have been public, but while I was here, it was my area, and I detested anyone stepping into my property. The dog ran away, bounding and leaping, a harsh tug on my inside as I watched it leave. Not very often was it that I had company I actually enjoyed.

I waited a while, maybe an hour, maybe a week. Time was an alien concept to me, so little did I actually pay attention to it. The sun moved over the sky in a flaming arc of brilliant flame. Shadows moved across the ground, dancing like savage beasts, attacking me from a different realm. Eventually I couldn’t stand being here anymore. It was just far too depressing, millions upon millions of emotions radiating through my body. I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t. I stood up and I began walking, my feet kicking up small clouds of dust. Leaves fell apart under my feet, my trainers catching tiny shreds of green. Twigs cracked and flew around me as if I were a stampede crashing through the same forest. Imagine how much life was under my feet, life I was destroying just my traveling from one destination to another? Most other people who would think like this would suddenly stop, question their actions and motives, seriously thinking about what the ramifications of their choices were. I was different, so different. Maybe my brain lacked the proper chemicals to really understand, or maybe I was a sociopath. I didn’t know, but this is also something I just didn’t concentrate on. Thinking about what I was doing didn’t hinder me in any way, or stop me from walking. I just lacked the ability to care. My brain only had certain space for certain things. I was able to appreciate the beauty in things others didn’t se. But only if I had personal experience with that place. To others, it was a car park. To me, it was the place I had spoken to loved ones, the place I could go and be truly alone. These thoughts raced around in my head until I came to my destination. A small house stood in front of me. I stood looking at it from the back, a two story house with a narrow, long garden. The gate at the back stood ajar, which was strange. Normally, me and my mother kept this gate firmly closed. I stepped through it into more familiar surroundings. The pond stood gurgling to my right, golden fish swimming lazily around. To my left, the summer house I liked to sit in and think about things. Ahead of me, my back door. I dreaded walking through, I knew exactly what would happen. The sun had began to set as I stepped forward, feet numb and mouth dry as the forest leaves. As soon as I had moved into the house, light left me and I was in near darkness. In the dim light from the back door, I saw her. My mother. She stared at me, her mouth slightly open, eyebrows pulled down in a permanent frown. Her hair was pulled back into a bun, so tight I was surprised the hairs didn’t rip out of her head. She inhaled, a sharp, quick sound that sent my brain into immediate stand-by. She screamed and shouted at me, things about my father being disappointed in me, about disowning me, about hating me. I stopped listening, I just nodded and ignored.

Then that phrase. That one phrase that only she could say, the one phrase that should never be said to anybody. “It should have been you, not your father.” My blood ran cold, like ice scraping its way through my veins. I look at her, my face comforting from controlled panic to complete disbelief. How could a mother say that to her son? Mothers were supposed to be instinctively loving, but this woman wasn’t a mother anymore, she was just her. I left her there, still screaming at me, and I ran up to the bathroom. Pieces of puzzles floated around in my head, obscuring my vision and obstructing my thoughts. I turned and turned, spinning in circles, trying to fit it all together. Nothing was working, my head was burning, expanding, if it expanded any further it would burst. I wanted this pain to end, I needed it to leave, someone help me, dad please come back, help mum be happy again, you didn’t have to leave, I know how you felt please-
The noise stopped. The expansion ended, but my heart still thumped like a jackhammer in my chest. I stood from my spot on the floor, uncurling myself and turning slightly to look in the mirror. All that stared back was a ghost, the shell of the old me. I grabbed my things from the sink and I ran. I flew down the stairs, past my sobbing mother. Out the back door, crashing through the back gate. I ran, heading hearing it swing behind me, leaving it open. I didn’t stop, even though the sky had become black. I ran as far as I could,  before collapsing to my knees in the clearing. The moon shone down, illuminating me and the branch directly above my head. I stared down at the razor in my hands, tears streaming down my face. This is the end, finally. This is where its all been leading to. I stared up at the branch above my head, imagining years ago, when my dad left the house, and three hours later, I found him head, hanging, a rope attaching his neck to the tree like a snake, having taken its victim. The end is nigh and it feels amazing.

I woke up to the smell of dirt.

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