A fictional narrative of a non-fictional life.
A Descent Into Hell
Tranquility. The smell of an antique book, or the feel of a gentle mist during a mid-summer heat wave. They are the places, and touches, and smells that make you feel at home, give your life meaning, and encourage the masses to become better, calmer. There is much to this word that will never be described, but felt in every emotion. Now, I am completely devoid of tranquility. There is no touch, no smell, no place but this one. A rotting, burning aftermath of the fallen’s discrepancies.
Embers sizzle my flesh, but it does not peel away, and the heat on my face causes my eyes to burn, but I cannot close them. I ignore the pain all around my body and intentionally pull my wrists upwards to feel the cold shackles. They have now become my only source of release. Irony is not lost. They restrain me to the only spot I have ever known since my death. Forever and ever, this is my punishment. A lifetime of torture for a moment’s mistake. The price of free will, some say.
The ashes drift slowly down my face, dragging strands of my sandy blonde hair with them. Magmatic geysers burst from the ground, creating an artificial wind. As the ashes rise from the decrepit spouts, it cascades across my brow in an almost beautiful manner, while ripping strands of hair out and blowing them into the distance.
Murder. I have been sentenced for eternity by a biased judge. I tell myself it wasn’t my fault. I thought it was a dream. Maybe it still is. An endless hallucination parallels my own misgivings. Either way, I am trapped by my own fears, my worst nightmares corporealizing at every instant. In a place like this, all you have are your thoughts. Physical pain is one thing, but even the strongest person will succumb to their nightmares if given enough exposure
The sky becomes vacant, clear and calming. Something which has never happened before, that reoccurring word, tranquility, finally shows itself in this otherwise tranquil-void world. A purple and red hue comes from the mountains in the distance directly overhead. It only foreshadows and confirms every fear I have yet to see the answer to. The majesty can only be one thing ….the Morning Star.
The day is drab, a bleak meaningless day, filled with meaningless tasks. It embezzles my heart to an almost certain uncertainty of how I will act throughout the day. What kind of day will it be? All will be determined as soon as I open my eyes. Every action you complete in the course of a day is determined as soon as you wake up, the initial thoughts, and your starting outlook. All of it.
I’m wary to open my eyes, to see. Yesterday was a terrible day. Filled with memos, paper jams, and backstabbing assholes. Yes, the assholes. I’d take a bullet to the shoulder than deal with them all day. Their constant nagging, incessant chatter about stuff I never want to hear. Dammit. I’m being bitter again. Just open your eyes make yourself enjoy it. Do not loathe another day.
I open my eyes slowly. Light floods my eyes, and I swiftly begin to encompass my surroundings. The oak dresser to my left, my computer directly in front of me, flashing the EnviraCom company logo across the screen, bouncing idling off the sides. However, the thing to note, the thing to start my day…is the rain. The rain falls down steadily; tiny bones in my head vibrate to their song. I take it all in. I love the rain. Lost in thought, lost in space. You can be you in the rain. I begin to drift off, thinking of wonderful things. Outside, arms raised, face towards the sky. That how I want to be. Peaceful.
However, there are a few things that can make any day bad. This particular one being, that if you are barely awake, and happen to shut off a particular unstable alarm, eventually, while thinking about the rain of course, you will drift off, to think about said item, and let it consume you, causing you to fall endlessly into your thoughts, and of course, the cold side of the pillow.
A phone call. The ring practically gives me a heart attack. In a low soft tone, I answer. “Hello??” My voice is so deep and low, the other person hardly recognizes me. “Lucas?” the swiftly respond, “Where the hell are you?”
Instantly I jump into a state of panic, my voice lightens, and my thoughts become more complacent. “What time is it?” I say, already knowing it’s too late. My eyes swing to my alarm clock. 12:30. Shit. I hang up the phone before they even have time to respond.
I practically fly downstairs, dancing into my shoes as I tie my tie, and seat myself in a crappy Volvo, left over from the late eighties. I hate this car. The rain soaks me as I run, heavily invigorated, into the passenger side of the car. The driver’s lock is broken.
Traffic is clear. At noon, it ought to be. Speedily steadily on, I ignore everything, traffic rules, and more importantly, the speed limit. My cell phone rings. “I’m on my way.” I hung up. I was short. Who was it. Shit…my boss. Every feeling in my body is driven to wishing bad things upon that man. I wish he would just die. I drive my hand into my steering wheel.
I squint as I attempt to see the road in front of me. A new rage builds within me, and I cant help but to press heavily down on the pedal, accelerating as I mutter slowly. Things my mother would never appreciate me saying. He’s just my boss. He’s just an asshole, a bullet to my shoulder. What. A DICK.
There are times in your life, that you regret what you have done, regret decisions you know you have to make, or, as with most, situations like this. Situations exactly like this. I started to hydroplane. Turning into the skid, I attempt to correct myself. The car turns dangerously to the right, and begins to lose more and more control. Water builds below the tires, rising the three thousand pound car, just millimeters from the surface of the asphalt. I panic, and spin the steering wheel the other way. Faster and faster the car turns from side to side, my hands running opposite the tires. In a panic, I manage to correct the skid. I forgot the road curves. Too late I see a man, time slows.
A construction worker, ironically carrying a maximum speed sign. I see everything about him. The mixed, confused look on his face, his arms pumping, as he races out of the way. His fat, pudgy face, moving a second too late with him, and then his eyes. They were blue, the deepest I’d ever seen before. And they met mine, I could see everything in that instance. In less than a second, I created a background for him, how he was raised, his family, his job, his entire existence. What I could never get over, was the tear. A single tear, shed in his last second, his last thoughts. He was living for more than himself. He had loved someone.
My car slams into his body, driving him into the steel divider, tearing every piece of him apart. My mind goes blank and explodes when my own life is taken, from the impact of my cranium into a very hard and very failed Volvo airbag. Blackness.
I panic and frantically grab my head. A small cut on my forehead. The sound of rain drizzles heavily, pleating on my window sill. I forgot to close the window again. What happened? Am i alive. The alarm sounds. 9:30. Was it a dream? That man..I feel like i’ve known him all of my life, or have at least seen him somewhere. Another one of those days. Start over. Nothing happened.
The day is always determined by how you wake up, your initial reaction. Today, instead of a drab, meaningless day, was met equally with excitement, horror, and the oh so familiar feeling. Guilt. Regardless of the dream or not. I was reckless in a situation I believed to be real to end another man’s life. The guilt swells. I gasp for air as I panic in my Volvo. Backing out of my driveway. I have much more time to get to work now. At least that I can be thankful for.
The traffic is unbearable. Inching forward, second by second, my mind slowly drifts off into a land of nothing, utter blackness. How I wish I could live there, where now worries come to haunt me, and everything is simplistic. Easy. Had I realized the irony of this statement, maybe I would reconsider my point. I know I should carpool, but everyone at work is such a bore, bleeding on about their meaningless existence, everyone with the same problems. They are sheep. And the office, is the slaughterhouse. Twenty minutes pass, and I’ve finally made it the 14 miles to work. “I need a bike.” I say out loud as I climb out the passenger side door. Need to fix that lock too. The frustration builds deep within me.
Several moments pass and I climb up the marble staircase to the main entrance of EnviraCom. The twenty story building is a spotlight of hope for the surrounding Eco communities. It is a computer dedicated to saving the rainforests, helping green energy be established, and of course, driving my mind into an absolute frenzy. The handle is polished, and cold to the touch. I pause, and finally walk in. Matty says hi without even looking up.
She is an attractive woman, about 23, with graceful brown hair, and a smile that could knock you on your ass. An affair about two years ago caused me to almost lose my job. She discredited me on everything. Now she has a first class seat to be interviewed for her new exec positon. For now, she remains a lowly receptionist. Believe me, the jump is just a shock to you as it is to me. I walk to the elevator. A cliché, horrible niche of an elevator. Causing nothing but discernable pain to the eardrum due to the annoying music heard in every box of the same variety since the beginning of time. Its meant to make you happy. What It actually does, is make you want to rip out the speakers, and Office Space the living crap out of them.
I avoid the almost inevitable temptation of my destructive vandalism, and rise to the 8th floor. Eight means you are too good to be on the bottom rung, but not good enough to ever advance. I am stuck, eternally, in this hell. The elevator dings, and I waft out of the metal tomb, diverting my eyes to the side to avoid everyone, anything. One person in particular. Tom. See, there is always a Tom, and he is always a prick. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve known him, its just a fact. This particular Tom however, made the successful mistake of stealing my portfolio for the Marconi project. It was a high-rise construction project just out of the downtown area. It was meant to run entirely on thermal energy, and even the windows were embedded with micro solar panels, making the building not only attractive, but sophisticated and modern. It overlooked a great place in the park, and would have been one of the major attractions to the city.
See, this city isn’t the largest city, but when you are working in a city in the Midwest, particularly Illinois, it becomes a little more important.