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Her

Logan Vagle, Blueprint Staff

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I saw myself in the mirror. Standing. Looking at myself, grown up, my best suit and tie, gelled combed back hair. Ready for what comes in the next few minutes. I screwed up. There’s no place in this world for screw ups, there’s no place in this world for what I have done…

        “Hey man come on, we have to go, they’re calling us up.”

        “What…? Oh, yeah, sorry I’ll be up in a second.”

        I snapped out of that stupid dream l was having. It happens all the time. Whether it’s in school, in the car, while I’m eating the dinner that my dad cooked, or when I’m asleep. Actually, it may be the only dream I have… ever. Me failing. Not doing good enough, letting my friends and family down. Letting their intentions and love for me, their care, die. Sometimes it’s the dream I just had, sometimes others. But in the end, it’s always the same.

         My friend and I headed outside. The assistant principal, a man whose wife died of cancer, is brought about a quarter of the school out to play what he calls a ‘team building activity.’ I knew the assistant principal didn’t want to do this. I figured he was just carrying out orders from the higher ups. They decided what students do and what they learn. They always try to get the students’ minds to work as they want them to, try to keep them from realizing they don’t think for themselves, only to make them think that they are free, only to make them a programmed slave. A slave to their perfect, never-changing society. I am no slave. I truly think for myself. They line us up, side by side, in a big circle in the football field. I zone out. Started to dream again. Dream the only dream I know anymore. I followed through with the motions as others around me do the same. They learn, but they’re blind to what they are being taught. Even if they were made aware of what was being done to them, even if they acknowledged what the system is, what kind of monster it was, they wouldn’t believe it. It has already been shown to them. By their own eyes, by their own history lesson, their own essays and papers and reports and summaries and opinions they pull out of the right of their mind. They have enough to see what this leech, this bloodworm thing they call humanity is. They ignore it. For the ones who don’t wake up, who refuse to see, will never see. No amount of evidence, no conceivable volume of their own right mind’s subconscious could ever wake them up. They live in this perfect dream of never having to make true decisions for themselves. Lucky…

        The students headed inside. Moving every step, it seemed as though in perfect unison. I stopped. I can’t take it anymore, nothing can be real, none of it. This life, this world, all of it. This is a nightmare, only the chaos of the nature of wild beasts is real, the only thing truly natural. This system, this thing that should, by the laws of life and death, not be alive, lives on for eternity. I ran. Out of the field, out into the parking lot that’s filled with the same car everyone gets at the beginning of their driving lives, belonging to the teachers and students of this school that teaches lies. I stopped in the sea of scrap metal that meant nothing to me, collapsing to my knees and crying. Why am I sentenced to suffer here forever, where only I can see the death of innocent minds, this ritual slaughter of imagination. Why must only I see, with this clouded future and past, these repeating seconds in the day that repeats itself like my dream. This has to end. I stepped out of the parking lot and walked towards the highway of speeding cars. Preparing to throw myself out, waiting for the right moment, getting down like a track and field runner, ready for the sound of my salvation to ring out. I looked down the road, but the only thing I saw was an endless stretch of asphalt. Both left and right, looking back and forth, I desperately searched. Nothing. I burst into tears and collapsed to the ground in the deepest pain I’ve ever felt. Nothing was right. I had to wake up from this. I looked up to the sky. Rather than seeing the grey I see every day infecting the sky like a parasite, I saw the face of a woman looking down at me.

“Why can’t you leave me be? You people! Always trying to do what you are taught is right!”

        She did nothing but walk away from me, into a dead forest that was across the highway. I got up, wiping my face, feeling a breeze dry my cheeks. She was looking back at me, gesturing me to follow her there. I walked forward, stopping at the edge of the road. I looked to the left and suddenly saw a sea of cars and trucks coming at me at what seemed like the speed of sound. I quickly tried to dart across the highway, but they were coming too fast. I dove to the other side, hearing the screeching of tires and the scraping and crashing and crushing of metal behind me. I looked up and the woman was gone. I didn’t want to look behind me, the big heaps of metal that I knew were crumpled to nothingness. I needed to look for her, I couldn’t remember what she looked like just then, I could only make out her eyes in my mind. Her eyes, blue like, what I knew no longer existed. I ducked into the forest of dead and brown trees, trying to avoid thorns and thistles and poison itch weed that seemed to cover the forest floor. I called out for her shouting, screaming. I needed to find her, she was unlike the others, she had meaning, she knew meaning. I needed to get to her before it was too late for her too. I ran. Hours and hours, through the thick brush of dead needles, I needed her. I finally came to a clearing, bloody all over. My clothes were ripped, my arms sketched with scratches in every direction, my legs red from the poison plants that rose from the forest floor. I looked up, she was right there waiting for me. A woman, my height, with long, light blonde hair and dark blue eyes, like the ocean I see in my textbooks, and a light face that held the faintest of smiles. I was about to say something but she sprinted off again, into another forest. A… Green forest. I followed close behind her, into the forest. Her footsteps made no sound in front of me, I couldn’t hear anything, except the excellent silence this new forest provided me. I took everything in around me. Each step I took felt like running on a green cloud, it felt like it was almost healing the poison that was left on my legs, which had started to swell from the intense rash that had been developing. I felt only soft leaves now, brushing up against my bloodied arms. They felt as though they were almost healing now too, for I didn’t feel the intense sharp pain that I had been feeling previously from the thorns that scratched and cut, any longer. It felt amazing. I could’ve ran forever. Through this luscious everlasting sea of green, the thing I would’ve never thought have existed in the evil, grey world.

        I stopped at the base of a huge tree that seemed to have gone up so far that it touched the clouds that were overhead. An endless infinite space of textured greens, with what seemed an endless variety of shades. The woman was climbing the branches of the tree, keeping close to the trunk for stability. I scanned the base of the huge tree, looking for a branch, a foothold, something to help me follow her swift movements up. I found a small hole that led up to the many branches. I ran up to it, jumped up, putting my foot in the hole in the trunk to push myself up. I made a leap of faith to one of the many branches. I grabbed one and held on as though my life depended on it. My right hand started to slip and then my left, I was going to fall no doubt, my arms were too weak. I let go.

I felt myself falling, in what seemed like slow motion. Time slowed down. I opened my eyes to see a hand grasp mine, a hand with the softest, smoothest skin I had ever felt. She stopped my fall, I looked up at her, and she looked down at me. She smiled as she pulled me up, showing no signs of struggle, one fluent motion. She pulled me up and sat me down at the branch. I was dead tired, I thought that I was going to pass out from exhaustion. I was thirsty, hungry. I looked up at her but she was gone, she had already gone up the branches again. I forced myself to get up and follow her up the branches, into the everlasting green, up the branches of this huge tree. It felt like hours of climbing, I could not go any higher. I collapsed onto one of the branches. I closed my eyes, not ever wanting to open them again. I felt a hand stroke my face. Using every last ounce of strength I had left, I looked up. She was there leaning over me, looking down at me, smiling. Her light, brown hair falling all around her face. I looked at her and started to lose consciousness, though I didn’t want to. I wanted to stare into those dark blue eyes forever. She sat down and put my head in her lap, leaning my head up. We sat. staring into each other’s eyes for only a few moments. Moments that felt like eternities all in themselves. She finally lifted her head up for a moment, looked around at what was around us. She looked down at me again with a smile, and gestured me to look up. I looked away from her eyes, not moving my head, and what I saw was almost indescribable. I looked at a sea of all different colors. Branches of trees were all around me. Fresh cool wind blew the trees around making a sound I had never heard before. Rustling of a green ocean with waves of wind crashing through, making the trees sway so much, I was certain they would fall. Then there was another huge gust, warm air seeped from below me, and suddenly I was there, laying in this woman’s arms, with a tornado of red, yellow, and orange leaves. Leaves rose all around us in an explosion of vibrant colors that I only had read about in my school books. The tornado of colors rose to the very top of the tree line where the leaves touched the clouds in the sky. Something was different. These clouds weren’t grey, they were white. Almost as if they were made out of cotton. The colors rose and seemed to push the clouds away. I felt a ray of heat hit my face, it was the sun. I’ve never seen the sun; I didn’t know it even existed. It came fully into view and warmed my face, my body was exposed to the sun for the first time. I looked at the woman again and she looked down at me, smiling still. I took one last glimpse and blacked out, with a tear rolling down my face.

        And then I woke up.

In my bed.

I got up, looking around my room. Looking for any colors I wasn’t used to. Nothing. I was hoping to see things that didn’t exist anymore. It was just a dream, soon to be forgotten during the morning. But wait, this dream wasn’t the same as the others, this one felt different, it almost felt real, what was it about?

“Hey! Wake up! If you fall asleep in class again, I’m sending you home, and it’ll be for good this time.”

“Oh no, please, don’t make me learn things that aren’t going to matter to me as long as I live,” I mumbled, groggily trying to get my eyes open. My teacher was trying to get me to learn about,

“The dangerous ideologies of free government!” she said.

I couldn’t truly feel freedom, there’s nothing in the world I felt anymore. I thought I could feel when I was a child, but as always, that was just another lie my parents told me about this world. My parents are gone. I used to know them, I remember when they used to tell me that their grandparents could see things that we couldn’t see in our eyes. Things that were warming and lifting. But as always, whenever I could find peace in this evil dark of unknowing and knowing, the beast brought me back. I was sent out of the classroom, down to a different room in this prison where I will have to give them more of what they want to hear from me. Where I will say that I won’t do things like what I do ever again, and that I’ll comply with the rules of the school. Fine. Send me away. You can’t take what I truly know about this system of apparent self right. I walk down the hallway, but something doesn’t feel right. I look down at the pants that I had on. Rough, dark blue denim jeans. But these had a single pocket that looked as though it was ripped and sewn in a hurry. There was something inside the pocket too, something that I could just barely feel rubbing up against my thigh. I stopped in the middle of the empty grey hallway built of white cement blocks, and dark tiled floor, and pulled out something that couldn’t have been real. A leaf. Things around me started to go out or focus, almost totally black out. How could this be happening?! It wasn’t a dream, I hadn’t dreamt of happiness, I’ve felt it for myself for real…

Alarms started going off from the walls, red spinning flashing lights was what it took to wake me from my trance. I looked around. The hallways were flooded with red spinning lights. I had to get out, I had to finally escape this prison they wanted to make my home. I was prepared to fight everything in my path, but when I got to the exit, nobody was there to block me. The doors were open, waiting for me to go through them. So I went. I almost ran right through the doors before I heard a voice calling me to wait. I turn back to see the assistant principal from yesterday’s team building activity. He said nothing to me in those last few moments I spent in that school, he simply just stood there and looked me in the eyes. Almost as if he were longing to go where I was bound to go, almost as if he knew the beauty that was out there in the world that we were taught by him not to believe. This bastard. So evil to know what’s there, that he hadn’t shown it to us. I remembered his voice. There was sadness hidden in its plainness. As though he longed for what I was going to also. I turned and ran. I barely made it out the door when I heard a single muffled gunshot ring from inside.

I got to where the school’s driveway met the parking lot to see the girl I saw yesterday standing right there in front of me. I looked at her, and saw only the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. The tornado of leaves could not even come close to her. We locked eyes for several minutes. I walked to her and told her, to take me away from this place forever, so I don’t ever have to hurt seeing the others around me. She spoke back to me,

“I can only be here for a year, then I go away.”

“That doesn’t matter right now, what matters is that we have to make the most of what we have…”

 

1 year later

I sat on a boat, going away from the whole land that had been contaminated, to an island for my wife to be set to rest. We were sitting at a table having dinner, with waves so big, they were almost coming over the boat. She looked old, crippled, and weak, and it had felt like I aged right along with her. A wooden doll sat on the chair next to us. She had wanted a child, but we couldn’t have one without a mother in this barren world. We had done everything together that we could have in the time that we had, but it wasn’t enough. She was an old woman now, time here had taken its tole. She needed to go away, and if she came back, she would have no memory of me. I told her if she did, I wanted to do this again. Again and again, forever and ever. She told me this wasn’t possible, the person who sent her wouldn’t let her.

“Somebody sent you?”

“Yes of course, he sent me to show people the light of the world. His people, have become brainwashed from themselves.”

“Who sent you…?”

She didn’t say anything, she simply looked up as a small beam of light shone down onto the boat. Her eyes suddenly widened and filled with tears. She stormed off the deck and dove into the water. I jumped up and called out to her with no response, this was it, she was gone. No, not now, I needed more time. Tears were streaming down my face by the time I hit the water after her. I looked around for her. I couldn’t find her, she was gone. I then turned around to head back to the boat when I finally saw her, curled into a ball in the middle of a vast deep blue and purple with streams of lights around her. I swam over to her and held her cradled in my arms under the water. Sitting there in the middle of the deep. She was quickly running out of breath, and so was I, she then looked up at me. Those blue eyes staring straight into my soul. Words came into my mind like a flood, saying that if she did come back, I needed to show her the way to people who want to break free of rules of those who try to control them. I told the voice that I would, and then, in a bright flash of light, she was gone.

 

Later

 

The old man awoke from his nightmare. It was 12:00 in the morning of the 22nd of february. He’s woken up on this day at this time, every year. since his wife passed away tragically from stage 4 heart cancer 62 years before. This is the one day that he has happiness in his life though, the day he skips going to work for the puppets at the school, the day that he gets to see his wife that died in his arms in the sea this night, on the 22nd of February, at this time. There was a bright light at the end of his bed, and tears filled his eyes as he got up to see his wife standing in front of him.

“Hello my old friend,” she said to him.

“Why am I becoming so old and frail from this time away from you, all I can think of is you all day and I can only see your face when I try to look at others’, and it tortures me. Why can’t I come to you now?”

She came over to the bedside beside him and told him that he would find something from his past this day, that she must go now, and that we can’t have the day to ourselves. “I’ll see you soon.”  And with a bright light, she was gone again. The old man’s eyes shed their tears and sadness. Why can’t she stay just a little longer, I need to see her. He got up since he could not sleep, aching and sore as he always was now in his old age, and went down the stairs to his kitchen to eat. He looked around in his grey room filled with fake food that the government rations him. He was suddenly filled with rage. He tore apart his kitchen, flipping the table that he’s sat at alone for 62 years after graduating from his poisonous school, eating raw uncooked meals that come from people who didn’t care about him. He tore the grey cabinets from its hinges and threw them out his window. He sat down on the floor. It was sprinkled with wood splinters and bent metal. He sat there until it became light outside, where he then slowly got dressed, and went to the school where he thought it surely would kill him.

A few horrifically long hours into his day, he couldn’t take it any longer. He needed to see his wife, he needed to escape his life of control and torture. He ran out of his assistant principal’s office, and went to the armory that was set in place a few years before to take control of “certain” students. He snatched a revolver and ran out of the main office. He ran down the hallway as alarms started to ring out, just then… he saw a student running around a corner.

“Wait!” he yelled at the boy. The boy stopped and turned around and seemed to look directly into his soul. The boy was tired of what was going on around here, just like the old man. He looked at the boy, he could see something of what he remembered as a color peeking from the boys hand. He knew where the boy was going, he’d been there before. He wanted to go there again, but she’s already where the old man wants to go, and he already has the way he wants to go. The boy ran off, and the old man lifted the revolver to his chin. He went to see his angel for good.

 

 

 

Other thoughts…

Rather than shooting himself, he could shoot the boy, which i guess would also be himself, but put it in there in the middle of the story where they first met, and say that the boy gets shot, he had to narrowly escape i guess i dont know, the man has to realize that the only way out of the mess he’s created and gotten himself into is to end it early, so that his suffering never has to happen anyway, and he can save himself from ever having to go through to meet the angel he’s waited for in the past 62 years of suffering and agony of waiting…

Thats screwed up man…

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