Where am I…
My eyes blinked slowly as I tried to open them.
Above me, there was the sky. It was coated in melancholy gray. No cloud could be seen, not even the faintest sight.
I realized that I was lying on the hard ground. I shifted my body, only to figure out that it was so weak, as if there was no energy left. I struggled to sit up, then scanned around the place.
Few meters in front of me was a big fountain. There were many trees around, and there was even a large iron gate just behind the fountain. However…
The fountain was partly broken. Water fell down beneath it.
All the trees had withered. Leaves had fallen down all over the place.
The gate was covered with wilted vines and green mosses.
It seemed to be nothing but an abandoned garden.
How could I even get here in the first place?
I tried to stand up with all my might. My legs felt so feeble, as if I had been running for hours nonstop.
Using the tree behind me as a support, I finally managed to stand on my feet. It took a while before I could actually walk, and the very first thing I did was to check the gate. But no matter what I did, it still shut tight. I sighed helplessly and looked behind me. There was a path leading deep into the garden.
I suppose I have no other choice.
Reluctantly, I turned around and made my way through the bushes along the way. For each step I took, the sound of leaves getting trampled echoed steadily in the air. Other than that, there was not any other sound. This place resided completely in silence, eerie silence.
After walking for a while, I saw a small curtain made of vines. The moment I used my hand to sweep it aside, I gasped in surprise. It was as if I had entered a room in this dreadful garden, and this room had several glass pieces hanging around. Those glasses shone faintly, glimmering with waving light. It was hard to believe that there could be such things in such a place. I moved to have a closer look at them. If I looked carefully enough, I could see moving images within these seemingly transparent crystals.
But these images….
But not just any kind of memories.
All these glasses contained my happiest memories.
Even the ones that I thought I had long forgotten.
Gazing at them, I started to think of all my good memories. Yet, before I even knew it, a tear had already left my eyes.
Aren’t I supposed to be delighted seeing all these…?
Then why… Why don’t I feel happy at all?
Why do I feel so…
Just then, a strong gust came from the direction of the vine curtain blew violently into the room, making almost all the glasses fall and shatter on the ground. As I watched in astonishment, I saw an enormous shadow creeping behind me. Slowly, I turned my head back, only to see a mash of thick black matter, with vicious red eyes and baring sharp teeth. Instinctively, I took a step back. The “monster” in front of me inched forward, revealing its long honed claws. Fear rushed inside me, as I immediately turned around and ran toward the opened door behind the room. However, no matter how hard I tried, my legs were still too weak, and the creature was too fast. My breath became heavier and heavier, alarming me that my body couldn’t take it much longer. It was not long until I finally stumbled and fell. As I struggled to get up, the creature had overshadowed me. When I looked up, its claw had already raised in the air, attempting to strike down. I tried to crawled away, but it was no use. My body was paralyzed with exhaustion and terror. I closed my eyes, turning my head away, waiting for the worst to come.
But I didn’t feel anything.
I peeked my eyes, and immediately jumped when realizing how close those claws were to me. However…
Something else was standing between me and them.
No, some one else.
“Calm down. Don’t overexert yourself.”
It’s a female voice, and it sounds so familiar…
She turned to look at me.
“You are thinking too much.”
The creature gradually retreated its claws. That was when I noticed those claws had penetrated through this girl’s chest, leaving a deep wound behind. Blood dripping on the floor like a small stream, and this person standing in front of my eyes did not show a sign of pain at all.
“Are you alright? Why did you save me?”
I jolted up. She turned around to face me, but did not say a word. Her eyes were covered with bandages, as well as multiple places on her body. On her right ankle, there was even a long chain which I could not see its end. Even though I couldn’t see her eyes, I still felt that she was looking at me. The creature had disappeared without a trace.
“Why don’t you answer me?”
I asked again, but this time, she just walked toward me.
And then she passed right through me.
Did she just…
I turned around instantly just to see where she was heading to, but I could not see her at all.
It couldn’t be a ghost right… Or even worse, my imagination…
Right then, I noticed something was left on the ground. It was blood, and most likely her blood. I followed the trail without any hesitation. There was this unknown impulse inside me, that I had to find her. Maybe she knew where this was, and how to get out of here…
The blood trail stopped in front of an old mirror. As I walked closer, my reflection in it became clearer and clearer. Not until I was only a meter away that I finally realized, it wasn’t my reflection. It was that girl, and she was standing there, inside that mirror. What frightened me the most was, if I observed closely enough, she looked just like me. It was like seeing myself, wounded and in agony. I froze…
Taking a deep breath to gather some strength, I finally managed to speak.
“Who are you?”
The girl tilted her head.
“Who do you think I am? Who do I look like?” She said with a soft voice.
“B-But…” I stuttered. “You can’t be me…”
“How would you know?” She replied offhandedly.
“I am not covered in wounds!” I almost yelled at her. “And I’m not bleeding my heart out like you are right now!”
“Then, why are you crying?”
I was stunned when hearing that.
Instinctively, I moved my hand to my cheek. It was wet.
“Why do you cry?” She asked.
Why do I cry? Why can’t stop crying…?
“It’s not the first time you just cry without knowing why, am I right?”
Why is it always me ?
Cursed with these blasted tears…
“Why did you save me?” I tried to wipe the tears in my eyes.
“I am you right? That thing hit me, so you were not saved.”
“Nonsense! I’m not hurt at all. I’m…” Feeling her eyes were gazing deeply at me, I found myself unable to finish the sentence. Even with all the bandages, she still possessed the look of someone who could see through people’s hearts.
“What is wrong with your eyes?” I asked heartlessly.
“They are in pain because they have seen too much, even things that weren’t meant to be seen…” She paused for few seconds, then finished her line. “So “I” decided to “cover” them.”
“You still can see things. I can feel it.” I retorted.
She sighed. “Occupational hazard of being observant, right?”
It was like an arrow pierced right through my heart.
“You are bleeding. Don’t you feel at least hurt?”
“If you’re used to it, I suppose you can’t really feel that much anymore sometimes, can you?”
Every single word she said feel like needle stabbing my soul. It pained me so much, but I could not shake it away…
“That-That monster…” My throat became hoarse. “W-What was it?”
“…You know what you really see as a “monster”, right?”
Battling a monster called “life”,
Not knowing if I could get by….
She silently watched me as I lowered my head, lost in thought.
“You should be going.” I heard she sighed. “I’m leaving.”
“Wait!” I shouted out when I saw her walking away, fading inside the mirror. “Where is this place? How do I even get out?”
She stopped for a moment, and turned her head to face me.
“It is the most truthful “you””. Then she disappeared.
“No! Wait! You haven’t told me how to get out! Please, come back!”
_ _ _ _ _
I jolted up from my bed, breathing heavily. Sweat dropped down from my forehead as I wiped it away. Looking around, I saw my room, and I was sitting on my bed. The clock besides me ticking 5 am. It was almost morning.
I guessed that was just a bad dream…
Nevertheless, I should start preparing to go to school and repeat the whole boring meaningless routine again…
Sigh… I wish people weren’t so stereotype.
After making sure that everything I needed was in my bag, I took the comb and fix my hair again, then swung the bag over my shoulder, heading to the door.
Don’t throw “life” away.
I abruptly stopped walking. Turning my head to the left, I saw that “me” in the mirror. I jumped unconsciously and looked around, but saw no one inside my room. I looked back at the mirror again. This time, I only saw my reflection. I stared at my reflection for a moment, then slowly looked down, sighing heavily.
“Life” is also suffering too…
Clenching my fists, I stepped out of my bed room, waiting for life to take me away…
[ Cover image belongs to the rightful artist. ]