01 Oct Keep Walking
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"Keep Walking"Written by
Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
The first thing you need to remember is to never turn around. If you turn around, you’re dead.
It had been a long day at the office taking calls from China, sorting through endless stacks of paper, dozing off with my elbows on my clear glass desk. . . definitely time for coffee. I sat up from my new wooden chair feeling stiff. The office lounge was a floor up, and as I walked through the hallways I became increasingly aware that I was the only one left, other than the janitor, whose vacuum I could hear far off down another long hallway. The elevator was shut down for the night to save power, which was when I realized it was past midnight, so I headed for the staircase on the opposite side of the building.
The first indication is silence, palpable and thick.
Sipping on my coffee I became increasingly aware of the silence. The city never sleeps, and I know that on my drive home I will still get caught up in the bright lights and taxi cabs, but in that small, pale blue room with fake granite countertops and a fridge, which even then, was devoid of a buzz, was supremely silent. It was crushing and deafening and only split open by the small sound of my careful slurps of coffee.
Feeling uncomfortable immersed in it , I finally decided to take the cup to go and head back to my office where I would switch on some internet radio and finish signing contracts for some hundred thousand dollar company transaction. The janitor was gone about twenty minutes into my work, but I knew that through the web of security cameras there was a room where two fat men with bags of chips were watching my nightly progress and conversing about their wives or the latest playboy centerfold or maybe even both.
Then you begin to feel anxious.
The city was as bright as ever that night, and even at 1 A.M people lined the city streets between bars and clubs. My phone rings. It’s my wife.
Theres no response, just a burst of static and feedback. At the next stop light I decide to send her a text:
Hey babe. twenty minutes out. love you lots!
I look up.
Where am I.
The streets which were once familiar had become a maze of cement and steel. A forest in which I was hopelessly lost. My pulse quickens and my hair stands on end. I keep driving. It gets warmer in my car and the space on the back of my neck begins to itch. I think I’m breaking out on my cheeks. I pull up to another stop light and decide to check my sanity. I pull down the mirror and see my red face beading up with sweat. I wiped it on my sleeve and gaze into my eyes which are dilated and darting in place.
Soon things just change.
I flip the mirror back up, and now I’m in an industrial and very unfamiliar part of town. It’s like blacking out except when I think about it, the memories are vivid. Every right and left turn, every light, every face on the side of the road. God it must be a trend today with the younger generation. All their faces seemed so similar in memory and the black clothing blends together until a single black suit covers them all in the pictures in my head.
God I’m so fucking lost in this city. I decided to pull over and ask for directions next to a small cafe up ahead. I pull up to the curb and get out but I notice that the cafe isn’t as crowded as I thought it was, in fact it’s quite empty. But no matter, I thought I would just walk down the road til I found some young suited to ask for directions. But as crowded as it was up to this point, I can’t find anyone.
My phone buzzes… I look down.. my phone never buzzed… I’m now somewhere on the edge of town. Now I am panicking because I remember so vividly the faces…. so many faces… and the turns and the walking and the soreness in my bones because I had come so far. The streetlights here are dimmer, and trees are beginning to creep up behind the buildings.
Don’t look back.
I turn in my confusion and I see all those faces… but they aren’t many, they are one. One face, one lanky man in a suit, with arms reaching down to its knees which already seam four feet off the ground. His fingers twinge and the shadows of them stretch across asphalt toward me, and as they draw closer the streetlights get darker and then are gone.
I turn to run, now I am in the sea. A sea of trees, green and moving but making no noise at all. Not a single rustle of leaves through the wind or a twig snap under my feet, just a small drum beat getting faster and faster as I walk… no run, through the trees.
He is everywhere.
Where the fuck am I? Where is he? I can feel him looking at me from every single direction but he is swallowed by the darkness and all I can hear is my heart beating and the hum of the wind as it passes through the hair by my ear. I keep telling myself to never look back. Never even hesitate. Keep moving. Then I fall and I’m face down in a pile of twigs. He is on top of me, I can feel his cool breath on the back of my neck, but I have to keep running. I can’t resign and I can’t look back. I can’t take in what’s fast on my heels because I know I cant fight.
Soon you will find the messages.
I’m losing my breath. My lungs are bleeding I could swear it and my heart was becoming less of a drum beat, and more of a vibration in my chest. That’s when I notice the warm wetness on my arm and there, inscribed in my forearm and burning:
I remember writing it. I remember seeing him in the woods ahead and frantically writing it with the twig I grabbed earlier when I fell. I remember how excruciating the pain was as the twig splintered in my skin and the blood poured from my veins.
Don’t get cornered.
Up ahead, theres a building, I can make it there. I can do it. It’s not too far off, and there is a dim light eminating from the doorway in it’s side. I use the last bit of my energy to get there, praying that someone else will be there. Someone human because he was everywhere. Chasing me silently. Suddenly breathing on my neck then suddenly two feet to my right or my left.
I finally broke into the doorway but quickly realized nothing in this building makes sense. Its a two sided maze of corridors which are completely empty and the sound of my breathing echoes into both of them. I’m faced with the decision to go right or left for my salvation but before I can decide I am quickly hobbling left.
The totems, they move.
The corridor is narrow and pale blue with tile lining parts of the walls. It twists and turns endlessly and things are making less and less sense. In here the air is even thicker than outside and the smell is near putrid in some places. I think I could hear rats scurrying in the shadows where the lights don’t reach. I see a small wooden chair. A bit out of place, and it looks antique and clean contrasting with the overall dinginess of the labyrinth. It is just about a perfect chair except for one small detail, an S painted roughly in black on it’s stool.
He’s still behind me. His lanky arms reaching for me. I look down at my bleeding wrist and the message still reads clearly Keep running.
Soon I reach an off stretch where the lights are dim and stop at the end in an odd, rectangular room. I’m cornered. I’m alone with him. I buckle at the knees staring at the dead end and begin to claw my way into the farthest corner. Tears stream down my face, and I make the mistake of blinking them away for when I look up again, it is before me. That antique chair with the black S sits in the corner of the room.
The last thing you need to know, is that there is no escape. You must give in. You must give yourself over in resignation. If you don’t, the nightmare will continue and the blue walls will swallow you up.
I’m broken and hopeless. My bleeding arm is wrapped around the back of the stool while my body slumps over onto the ground. A familiar noise enters the room, it’s the same feedback from the phone when I thought my wife called. Except my wife never called me and my phone never rang. It was him. It was always him. All those people were him. The janitor was him. This coffee lounge was him. This room is him. And this chair, the same chair in my office, is him. He is everywhere. He is divine. He is reaching down for me now. My eyes are moving up to him now. He is breathing on me now. I’m staring at him now. He has no eyes, but I feel him glaring. No nose but I can tell he is sniffing. No mouth but I know he is screaming.
He is like staring into a blackhole. He almost seems to rip away your soul.
He is nothing, but everything.
There and not.
and there is only one thing I can say clearly about him without a doubt;
he is very tall and very slender.
Credit To: Colin Alexander