sometimes running is not an option.
The Walk
Do you remember?
These nights were unalike the ones I can now barely recall. From beneath my skin I start to feel a memory crawl it’s way into my veins, covered in ashes and cobwebs but surrounded by a sweet smell of roses and taste of honey, that take me irreparably back to the fields where nothing ever happened, but they brought peace. The grace of the few but loyal flock of magpies that would fly every evening caressing the sunset-kissed horizon, the soft chirps of the crickets in the distance filling the twilight, while a subtle breeze sweeps in between the trees, as if it suddenly developed long and delicate fingers running softly through the hair of the beloved.
Nonetheless, just as a faint reflection of a smile came close to appear amidst the corners of my lips, a heavy weight was placed back on my chest, as if for the last minutes I had been lifted unknowingly away from the ground, just to be brought down, hard, where the memories I cherish seem out of reach. For, quite unfortunately, those images hold little to no similarity to the circumstances that brought me here.
As the blanket of nightfall begins to cover the world outside, I lay uncomfortably atop a moldy old plank that served as a sorry excuse for a bed, trying to forget whatever distant memories had come so unpleasantly to stir my mind and leave me longing for the years now gone. Without much success I look across the floor counting the tiles that become moon-bathed from the light that shines through one of the many cracks in the wooden ceiling, and then, as I turn on my back, I wonder what it would feel like to turn this cell upside down and walk freely among the rafters.
Eyes are said to be the windows of the soul, but recently I have reasons to believe that sometimes the windows can either be broken or replaced as stained glass that was colored by someone who had neither the time nor the skill. The morning started to blend smoothly as streams of sunlight made it’s way through the ceiling and dispersed the dust particles in my prison cell, making them dance monotonously as with a beat that was too faint for me to hear.
The wooden door that had become bolted when I had first been shoved into this place, was so heavy that it wouldn’t yield no matter how much force or faith I placed on every attempt I made. Of course my efforts only lasted for a couple of weeks, and truth be told, I believe my faith began to falter even before my strength did. Quite conveniently, as if that was the outcome someone was expecting, a couple of days after I stopped trying to free myself from whatever this place was, an erratic voice brought my thoughts -and my heartbeat- abruptly to a halt.
-“January 22nd, 0500 hours. Subject number 119. Male, 5.9”, mid twenties. Status: Alert but poses no threat. Origin: Unknown. Family: No record.”
A man spoke into an old recorder while his voice wheezed through his lips, as if his trachea was hampered by years of cheap tobacco and plenty of poor decisions, that rendered him unable but to speak in a way that resembled the lucidity of a madman.
I could only see the silhouette of the man that had stopped in front of the wooden door as I rose, bewildered, from the bed. This was the first time anyone had interacted directly with me since I was thrown into this dreadful cell.
I heard him inhaling sharply before he started to speak again:
-“Memories are a vile thing. They corrupt whatever pleasant and distant reminiscence one may have of a bygone era, into a hungry nostalgia that decays and sickens the soul. The human race would be better off without such self-destructive nature, longing for the mother who passed away, chasing after the father who left one day to buy a lottery ticket and never came back, contemplating pathetically the day that an infamous lover became “the-one-who-got-away”, all aboard a petty train of thought.
His words echoed mercilessly across the space, every word sounding angrier and fuller than the one before, leaving me with the feeling that maybe my enclosure was not as small as it seemed.
I had started walking warily across the floor tiles to try and catch a better view of the man that was speaking to me, but I had to cut my small adventure short as I felt a strong stench of whiskey on his breath that could inebriate, with just a whiff, even the fattest of the mice that strolled beneath my bed at night.
-“What an exercise of futility!” - He spat furiously. “You see, none of the things you can so dearly -or painfully- remember, have any use. If it is dear, it will eventually bring heartbreak once it’s gone.” -He chuckled. “Nothing lasts forever, you know. And if it is a painful memory, the only use it has is to be replayed methodically in the head until you either live long enough to become a martyr or survive just enough to evolve into a carefree sociopath.”
As he shuffled into the scarce morning sunlight that shone through the corridor, I could identify a glimmer in his eyes that sent a chill down my spine. He smiled bizarrely as he craned his neck a little to the side as he seemingly struggled to make eye contact with me.
There had been so many questions I wanted to ask when he first spoke, but now I was terrified to utter a word. He shifted his thinning hair with a brisk movement of his hand as he added:
-“I believe every person should be honored to have that impractical ability extirpated. So what about you, James?” - He asked in a disturbingly soft voice- “Do you remember?”.

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