Fallen - Pt.1: The Need
Greg trekked across the wet sand with the ambient sun and summer breeze upon him. The beach was solemn, quiet and peaceful. The mirage was broken as he approached a colony of seagulls pecking at something buried in the sand. As the birds squawked away from the approaching man, he couldn’t comprehend the terror that was taking over him. There was a petrified head protruding in the sand, its scaly skin and dead eyes staring at Greg. As he slowly approach the image, his legs starting quivering and gave up underneath him. He was kneeling and terrified; terrified that he could perfectly recognize the grotesque face. Sarah faced him with her mouth open as it were screaming yet no sound could be heard. With the persistent squawking of the seagulls, the head said ‘Beware of the Fallen, love…”. Sarah’s head croaked as if trying to breathe yet no scream or breath came . Greg couldn’t muster a response. The dead eyes stared at him, and some unearthly force sucked the air of him. One of his hands reached out towards Sarah and the other tried to free himself from the invisible attacker, as the tide engulfed them in blood red water.
He woke up with a start, sweating and wheezing, as he peered around the dim lit room with his blood shot eyes. His hand, automatically, reached out to his throat. Nothing was there, but he felt the emptiness emanating from the other half of the bed. His hazy thoughts were already starting to escape to a familiar haunting. It was a pure accident, the high tide picking her up and washing everything away. Not that any of that mattered now as Greg sat up and his eyes wandered to the clock. “6.00 am eh?. Might as well get ready”. He headed to the shower, to wash away the filth and misery, yet unable wash away the image of Sarah’s screaming face. ‘How could something so beautiful be taken away so swiftly’ he surmised. It was harder with a death like this, with no one to blame, not even a God to spite.
The dreams seemed to be getting worse as their anniversary approached. Still, somehow, this one seemed too vivid, too real as if there was still sand on his feet and the stink of the sea in his hair. ‘Beware the fallen, a cryptic message from across the nether realm….’, he pushed the thought aside as he exited the shower. He was never superstitious, so why start now? He headed over to the closet. Opening it, he realized how barren it looked now that Sarah’s stuff was gone. No point keeping the paraphernalia there that would drag him back to old bittersweet memories. He shuffled around his wardrobe, not finding anything in particular. He knew, alongside each outfit, he had to don a mask. A simple mask with a smile plastered on the front, and one that would possess the power to make him immune to all the sounds of life minus the placid sound of his own breathing.
The mask was a part of him. Not intrinsically good or evil, it was like a benign gas that fills an empty chamber. It was that emptiness and raw deficiency that led to his daily neurosis. He was a man not susceptible to the charms of life. He looked around his room and noticed how unrefined it seemed. The bed lay messy and crooked on its frame, the table sat dusty with the ever-present blinking of the electronics and the walls and carpet seemed to be blistering. Pushing the uneasy fact that he was seeing a reflection in this microcosm, he quickly got dressed and headed to the kitchen.