Fluorescent lights flicker, buzzing angrily. The air is sterile, cold, and so so still. Quiet but for the steady beeping of The Machines.
On and on it went, hollow echoes of life.
I cradle soft hands, worn by the trials of decades, too cold to hold even the memory of warmth.
The low murmur of voices drifts in from the hall and the door swings open. Red eyes and dry cheeks enter. A white coat asks me to leave
The hall is just as sterile. I should’ve stayed.
Instead, I slide to the floor, back pressed to the wall. It’s solid, unyielding
Will I be that strong when the time comes?
Or should I just give up now, disappear into the cream wallpaper and fade away.
I blink slowly, eyes glazing over, until they fall on the opposite wall. The photo hangs perfectly centered between the rooms across from me, glossy and pristine.
Bright hues of blue and green stand out against the ugly walls, and I can almost taste the salt air. Feel the sun beating down and velvet sand underfoot. The waves lapping at my ankles as the wind and water join the gulls raucous singing.
Then I’m back on the cold floor, the harsh lights glaring down at me.
I feel my face twist, as if on its own, and something ugly curls in my gut. And like bile in my throat, it rises. The urge to tear the frame apart. To smash the glass and rip the photo to pieces.
We should be at a real beach. In the sun and sand and warmth.
And there it hangs. Taunting me. A fake.
I take a step forward. Then another. And one more
My fingers hover over the glass. Red eyes and dry cheeks barely visible.
The door hisses open behind me and I force myself not to look back.
“It’s time to say goodbye.”
I’m not ready
I go in anyways.
I almost don’t hate The Machines.
I should’ve just disappeared.
Never had silence been so
l o u d.