Bailey Johnson 2016
The girl sat alone. Left to her own devices, she had nothing to do. Her friends were off playing games. Her family was on a road trip without her. Her boyfriend was off making out with someone else. The girl had nothing and no-one. Her thoughts bounced around her mind, nothing making sense or having any point. These were simple thoughts, such as “What time is it?” “What’s going on?” or “What am I doing?”. These thoughts rattled around the girls mind. Though she knew they were not safe. Shadows lurked around corners, people nearby. Small noises would sound every so often, a rock skipping across the concrete, a voice far away, a foldable chair squeaking. The girl clung to these sounds, the only things keeping her sane. She was sure she had been sitting there for a few days. The zip-ties cut into her wrists. She had given up her struggle. Small scraps of food were slid along the floor from time to time, only enough to keep her alive. Water dripped from the ceiling, close enough that she could get it in her mouth, hydrating her fatigued body. The girl could only see the illuminated circle 10 meters around her. She thought she could hear someone talking to her. But a voice no-one could hear. A voice in her head. A voice that pulsed through her veins. A voice that kept her heart beating, her blood flowing. The voice whispered sweet nothings. Small compliments. “You are beautiful.” “You are very unique” or even “Your mind is powerful.” The girl regarded these whispers as fictitious. They simply could not be true. They simply could not be real. They simply could not be said. The girl was hearing new things, from new voices. They said strange things. They got stranger each time. It escalated from “Who are you?” and “Why are you here?” to “Tell me where you are.” And “I’ll be there soon.” None of the strings of words connected to each other. Each different from the last, each separated from the next. Each just as horrifying and confronting. The scars disappeared and the gashes healed. New ones would appear the next day. On her arms, legs, even on her feet. Once, she woke up in the middle of her sleep, a blade piecing the tender skin of her palm. When she awoke again, the zip ties cut off from her wrists. They were back again after her next rest. On her ankles too. Each slumber brought a new change. Some small, some big. Some deep, some shallow. They all left marks. They all changed the girl. Until she no longer heard voices. She no longer could hear herself thinking. She could no longer feel her body. Until she no longer could see the light.
Way Back When
Sirens roared, engines snarled and crowds of people yipped and yapped like little pups begging to get in to their house. Railways snaked through the concrete-jungle, slithering between the towering trees of tinted glass and metal trunks. Roads filled with zooming insect-like cars seem to stretch from every bounds of the universe into this devastating chaos. Clouds of colourful clothing moved through the city, sometimes completely cutting off roads or blocking the doors to buildings and markets. In this place so large and so extraordinary, no one would ever notice the gentle pair of pale green eyes, looking over and examining this city with a soft sadness. These eyes, so deep and thoughtful, sat three stories up from the paved concrete. Behind these soft eyes, a man, as old as old could be, sunk into his wooden chair and leaned his tired head on his bony knuckles. His clothes seemed as old as him, resembling that of a country-farmer. And that he was. Or had been.
The apartment of this retired farmer is one that is unique as well as brilliant. Decorated as close as possible to the ranch that the man had grown up in. The walls covered with curved wooden-planks, occasionally decorated with simple oil-paintings of a great Aussie sun and cattle herded by men upon horseback. The balcony, where the man with his thoughtful eyes sat now, is no different to the veranda that he had known when his father was a country-farmer, and when he himself had taken up his old man's role. The man rested his aching neck on the splintered wood of his beloved chair and slowly closed his eyes. But when he did, he didn’t see darkness. For what he saw were memories of the life before the city. What the great outback had been before the skyscrapers were built. Back when he was happy. When he was free to roam around and take care of the land he loved. Slowly, as he sunk into his daydream, the sky began to wipe away the buildings, and the snaking railways and concrete roads were replaced with bright red sand. A burning ball of incredible orange came from above, giving its light to the fields as the clouds of people turned into herds of cattle…
Our old, sad farmer is now who he was long ago. Back when you could see the horizon from every angle, and the only shadows were those produce by hey-stacks, fences, and the silhouettes of your loved ones. This farmer, now as young and as energised as a well-fed sheepdog, saw himself scaling the rickety water-tower with courage that came from the stupidity of youth. He heard his brothers cheering him on, as well as his mother screaming at him to come down. But as he reached the top, he looked over at the farmland and saw his father herding cattle upon the back of his trusty horse. And the young farmer smiled.
Many more memories this country-farmer had, but his next was when he was much older, when he was the owner of the farm. For now, it was him herding the cattle. Him making his own legacy as a farmer. And as the brilliant sun set on the red landscape, the farmer and his eyes now soft but happy, smiled.
And that was all the farmer remembered. And was the last the farmer saw. For he had renewed-happiness in his gentle eyes. And that was all he needed. The old farmer never saw the city again. Never moved from his beloved chair. But happy again he had been…
Walking through that path of trees
Walking through that path of trees,
Un-disturbed, in twos and threes,
For someone to reach out a hand
So you may reach the Promised Land
They can smell the flowers,
Feel the wind against their cheeks
They still have hope
They haven't given up
They will march on
They will not get a fright
Nothing will tear them apart
These friendships, dear to heart
Never be broken,
Not before the last one has been slayed
They will stick by each other
Till the end
But their fate,
They can't comprehend
Walking through that path of trees
In twos and threes
Kiss my neck and whisper my name,
Tell me the things to keep me sane.
His love is fleeting,
Mine to proclaim.
He tells me he loves me,
But it’s just a desperate plea.
How can I reply?
If I just want to get by?
For without him,
I would not be here today.
He asks me to stay.
But our love is a precise ballet,
One I cannot dance.
For this is my last chance,
I take another glance,
And walk away.
The girl wandered through her home. The shrubs brushing her shoulders, leaves tangling her hair. Small animals and critters ran across her feet. She shuffled with a limp. A small twitch in her hand. Her fingers ran over the flower stem she held, the soft petals falling off one by one. Her tattered, torn, yellowed dress got caught in the wind. The wind brushed the girl’s legs, reminding her of the rabbits that once ran past her, tickling her. She savoured the memory of the animals that once worshipped her, years ago. The girl dragged her feet through the dirt, marking her path so she could find her way back. Sticks and rocks cut up the girls feet as she walked, leaving drops of blood sinking into the soft earth beneath her. As the sun sank over the horizon, the girl began to tire. She found a nice tree and sat at its roots as the picked of the last petal of the flower. The girl closed her eyes and began to imagine another world. Somewhere with fairness and love. She thought about what it would look like. She imagined tall buildings, with magnificent views, and roads that took you to beautiful places. She imagined schools, filled with laughing, smiling children, just like her. She imagined people. Nice people, people who would be her friends and family. A smile crossed the girl’s face as she pondered what it might be like. To live somewhere that she mattered, some place she could call her own.
“What a wonderful place that would be.” the girl whispered to herself as she fell asleep under her tree.
You left something behind,
A hole in my soul.
But I’ll take care of it,
Make sure it’s pure.
I’ll keep you in mind,
Keep you close to my heart,
As present as cotton.
Remind me when you get back,
To return it to you,
So I can be whole again,
And stop pushing through.