The Lab

experimental sci-fi humor, horror, and prose.

I must run

I cannot live in the past. The past is an echo I cannot escape, forever reverberating in my empty skull. I am attacked by the weapons of my former self, decades after I thought them vanquished. Tiny demons they are, swirling around the mind’s perimeter, poking and prodding with my own sharpened words. I am foolish. I am unworthy of love. I will be alone forever.

The future is an oceanside castle. Once sturdy in construction and crafted from the finest stones and the noblest timber, the castle now lies in ruin; smashed to pieces by the wild winds of an ocean storm. A storm of my own design. I cannot live in the future.

I cannot see the present though I spend every moment living here. I must run; desperately rebuilding my castle from the wet debris, stacking the stones with my tired fingers, and swatting the demons with fallen timber. I must build and I must defend. I must not be still, for in stillness they would over take me. If I can just move fast enough I can hold the stones together, refashioning my future with the force of pure will. I cannot stop. I must not stop. If I stop the stillness would come.

In stillness I would remember that past was another country, its only presence in my life are the souvenirs I chose to bring. In stillness I would know the demons are merely gnats, powerless creatures I allowed to follow me.

In stillness I would see the future I designed was constructed not of timber and stone but wet grains of sand, destined to be washed away by the retreating surf.

In stillness I would hear the present. The present sounds of those around me, each with their own cries and needs and unmet desires. These fellow souls are invisible to my eyes, blinded as I am by my castle and my demons. But in stillness I would hear them, and know they are just like me and I like them, shattering the illusion of my noble tragedy.

So I cannot be still. I must run.

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