Normally, I’d post a poem this second Monday of the month, but March 11th happens to be the protagonist’s birthday in one of my novel/game projects, Glass. It never fails that I end up thinking about this particular story on this particular day, so here’s an excerpt from the novel version:
Entry 1: Lost Boy
If Heaven is a real place, can I go there?
Cold. Why was it so cold?
I couldn’t tell. I opened my eyes – or were they already open? – and saw nothing but black. There was no sky. There was no soil. I stretched out my arms. I felt nothing. Nothing but a chill that tingled along the outline of my body. My fingers trembled. My legs shook. A shiver raced up my spine and pounded at the top of my scalp.
Wait. There was something. I noticed the roaring of the river for the first time. Why hadn’t I heard it before? Had it been my mind or my ears lagging behind? I still don’t know. Maybe the blackness outside was seeping inside. Maybe it was coming in through my ears. Maybe it was traveling over my tongue. Maybe it was bleeding in beneath my eyes, crawling into my veins, and painting over the white of my skull. Maybe it was clogging up my thoughts as well as my senses.
I looked around again at nothing. I needed to get away. If I was asleep, I needed to wake up.
The water was loud. Close. But no matter how much I searched, it wasn’t there. My hands couldn’t touch it. My eyes couldn’t find it. I could breathe, so I wasn’t beneath it.
Perhaps it was just an illusion, after all. Perhaps it wasn’t even there.
Or perhaps it was me who wasn’t there at all.
My head jerked in the direction of the noise. My pulse crashed against my ribs. That single word pierced the black. My name.
Should I have recognized that voice? For a fleeting second, I almost believed I had, but then that faint tint of familiarity was gone. It passed right through my hazy head, lingering only on the edge that emptiness failed to permeate.
Whoever it belonged to, they were frightened. Terribly frightened. I’d never heard so much dread before.
Don’t go? But I had to go. I certainly couldn’t stay!
“Don’t go!” the voice begged, as if it were arguing with my thoughts. It was a scream. The type of wail that cuts off as a heart stops beating forever.
I didn’t move.
They were calling for help. They were calling me for help.
My throat condensed with a heavy swallow. “Where are you?”
No answer. The nothing ate my noise. Could the stranger hear me at all? That thought sucked the voice right out of me.
My stomach tightened. I needed to save them. I wanted to save them.
But somehow, I knew that I couldn’t.
My own dread drummed in my heart and drowned out the river’s rumbles. “Hey, who – ”