|The Mortal Line, The Fatal Mind
Author: Demur PM
Loss - losing a loved one, losing time, losing one's mind. So a wee bit of romance. Like I said, I'm not much good at it. Under YA due to lack of a better category. R&R! Please?Rated: Fiction K - English - Tragedy/Romance - Words: 1,723 - Published: 07-07-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2930413
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The harsh light penetrated his thin eyelids, relentlessly stabbing a series of inexorable and ineluctable bursts of pain behind his eyes as he blinked, to no avail. He tried to escape the inescapable brilliance of his boundless white cell by closing his eyes yet again, sleep deprivation making the simple flexing action slow and encumbered by a profound soreness and fatigue - as was the custom he inured himself to an eternity ago. Surely by now, his vision would have succumbed to a more preferable and comforting blindness? No, the mist-like walls of his eternal torture and the insipid, yet subtly perturbing and barely discernable half-figures that slid around just out of his reach served as his unquestionable torment. He had always been this way, the light never exhausting, pressing him into the deepest recesses of his mind where, aeons ago, he let the memories slip away, his identity forgotten, his purpose lost. This was hell. The betwixt and endless world of heaven's sun and hell's inferno.
It was another eternity later that his damnation was interrupted. Something stirred in the empty brilliance of his vast gallows. Shrunken to pinpoints as they felt, his eyes casted around for salvation, quivering and pain-riddled gaze searching and hoping against hope that something - anything! - would arrive to save him from this hellhole which had plagued his ravaged soul for as far as he could recall.
Hope. His mind, having been unoccupied by human thoughts for the better part of forever, was jolted out of its mental inertia, the state which it had assumed as his memory wasted away so long ago. The walls of blinding mist began to lift. Was it going to end? Finally after all this time? His eyes hurt a little less as a ripple appeared in the prison of receding light.
Falling, falling through... A tunnel of darkness? He didn't mind; there was no pain here.
An abrupt stop. His stomach lurched and his body felt as if it was being pitched toward the sky from the innards of some monolithic and tempestuous vortex. No light. It was all right. Still no pain. Body...? He had a body aside from his vision? It was faint. Exhausted, he sank to grateful, unperturbed oblivion.
He opened his eyes as he regained conscious thought, and a gentle orange glow met his unfocused and unused eyes. It didn't pierce like the prison did, but it was glaring all the same. Squinting, he slowly adjusted.
It was dusk. His eyes explored the sweeping sunlit scene, remembering the times he once watched clouds while sitting beside-
The clouds outside his window hung low over the horizon, their tops tinged with varying shades of night's indigo hues, slowly encroaching upon and gaining dominance over the remaining streaks of amaranthine gold. He watched as night stretched itself across the landscape and streetlights flickered on in succession.
In his new-found wonder at the metamorphosing panorama beyond the window, he completely missed the stirring of someone on his right; he didn't even notice his own motionless body lying inert on a strange bed, much less the plethora of wires and machines surrounding and attached to him. A gasp from the newly roused lady failed to grasp his attention. It was only when a hesitant word escaped Jen's lips did he turn his head around. He looked at her with a boyish benignancy, smiling as he did when they were-
"Jer-… Jeremy?" He blinked. He recognised that name. That name… It was he! He was Jeremy!
"Jen…?" His voice was strange. Dusty, unused, hoarse. Talking felt strange, words were alien; that prison of a void had had no sound.
Just then, sounds previously unnoticed began to acquaint themselves with his ears. It was like Jennifer's uttering of his name had flicked the switch that had kept the incessant little cacophony of beeps shut out from his hearing. As ignorant bliss turned to a clawing bewilderment, the background noise grew as well. A migraine rapped at his head and he lost consciousness, the muted voice of Jen calling on someone for help being the last thing he heard.
He next woke up to a bright light being shone into his right eye. He uttered a guttural cry, devastated that the sunset miracle had been naught but a phantasm from his haggard mind, and that the white void still held him securely captive in invisible talons. The light went out just as his face crumpled in agitated distress. He fell silent mid-squall, the strangled cry dying in his throat; the strange - painless - phenomena of an afterimage being something new. His left eye blinked open. Realization struck him then: He had never been able to close either eye to the light before. Was he safe, then?
A doctor stood by his side, smiling like his teachers did whenever he did well for a test. He remembered. It wasn't a dream with the consistency of vapour. No, the doctor with the nice smile, grey-streaked hair, coffee-stained teeth and the bad tie was the start of his very real nightmare.
He barely remembered Jen's monologue and the events that his twin sister had patiently, painstakingly recounted to him. He instead focused on her features, trying to grasp that about five years had passed since he almost died. She certainly looked older, more tired than he recalled. He watched her explain that their parents had died just half a year after he became comatose, all the while trying to jog his patchy memory of his life with stories and pictures. And then she mentioned Tess.
He was toying with a transparent green tube that ran across his bed, over the blanket that hid the rest of his emaciated and dystrophic body, when Tess's name was brought up. His head, lolling back on the pillows, whipped up with unusual swiftness, his hands dropped the tube. Curiosity bloomed on his face as he met Jen's gaze directly. Tess… Yes, it was someone he knew. …Tess? A strange joy rose within him as the name lingered, echoing in his mind.
"Tess..." he whispered.
"Do you remember her, Jer? She was your wife."
Hours later, Jen had left for home- she had a family to care for - leaving Jer at the mercy of the hospital staff. He mulled over the things his sister had said as the nurse checked his pulse, breathing, and a multitude of other minor annoyances.
Tess… She was his wife. They were newlyweds, just back from their honeymoon. There had been a break-in robbery at their new apartment and Tess, sweet, rash Tess... She confronted the man. She was dealt a terrible wound as a reward for her bravado while Jer stood back, unable to do a thing.
As Jennifer narrated, the memories extricated themselves from the air-tight vault where the remainder of his uncovered memories lay still. He remembered assaulting the armed, frantic and stunted man in a raging moment of blind fury, desperate to help Tess. He remembered falling from the window, broken glass glittering in shattered glory and falling along with him, fearing impact… Then the light. He flinched from the aching memory.
He had first met Tess in a café outside a library. She was a librarian there and he worked in the bank across the street. They sat together for lack of open seats, and from there progressed into a relationship together, finding genuine joy in each other's company with the gift of mutual understanding. That was what he honestly felt, and what she claimed when he proposed, after three years spent together in a rewarding relationship - the only one in his life. They got married before the turn of Tess's 28th year; he was 29. He conjured up the memories of their wedding day, recalling the joy that he felt must have been the best day of his life, just before his dreamy expression collapsed into a contorted one racked with anguish and pain.
"Tess! My wife… Where is she, Jen? I want to see her!" he had beseeched his twin, his eyes wide and all aglow with love and expectance. Jen had broken down into tears. The mere mention of Tess's name had such a salubrious effect on Jen's little brother…
He could only imagine what they had been through, his family, while he slept on, wandering the blinding landscape that seemed ever more so malevolent a torment than before, making them suffer, making their lives fraught with worry and, worst of all, not even permitting him one last look upon Tess before death stole the last breath from her lips and the last faint blush from her cheeks. Worst yet, he was now forced to survive while she left his world. Internally, he cursed fate for crushing him so.
As he got better, he prayed. He prayed to God that she was all right and in heaven, enjoying the youth that life denied her, exalting in the bliss that was lost when she lost her life and him his love. He grew silent, no longer responding to Jennifer and his other visitors when they came to see him. He became a shell that pined for the past he had lost. All that he had left in his human heart was faith in the belief that Tess was waiting for him somewhere.
As time passed on, Jeremy grew caustic and morose, always grieving for the one woman he loved and lost. His pensive mind grew beyond his actual years as his only outlet toward which to vent his frustration while he remained confined to the hospital for the rehabilitation of his body's muscular function. Jeremy waited.
He finally learnt to walk again. Grim determination; he grunted to push himself onto the edge. No one saw him get to the roof. He would see Tess again someday. Love will never fail him to the end. He closed his eyes for the last time and gently leaned over into the caressing evening breeze. He gave himself up to gravity, falling back into nothingness, and falling to his love. A cat yowled as a stray mutt gave chase. He smiled his last; he is no more.