This story is one of my oldest that I still have a digital copy of. I wrote the original story, I believe, for an English class assignment in grade 12. It has been edited and expanded for a project the following year in University, and this version dates back to 2005. Enjoy!
I awoke with my face pressed against the cold, grainy cement of an unknown sidewalk. The Latin phrase, “Ad Absurdum” droned repeatedly in my head. I didn’t know its meaning, or why it was echoing in my mind. It faded away as I slowly regained consciousness. I blinked hard, and my vision pulled into focus. I hauled myself into a sitting position on the curb, groggily, and gazed at my surroundings. A typical city block: buildings, streets, cars, and pedestrians. Something nipped at the edge of my mind. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something about this place was odd. I stood up and turned around slowly, taking in the city. Behind me stood a tall brick wall, at least seven feet, stretching up into the air, running as far as I could see in either direction. That’s when it hit me; what was so alien about this place. Everything was in shades of black, grey, and white. I rubbed my eyes furiously, trying to erase the insanity around me. I blinked hard a few more times and peered around again. Everything stayed the same. Something was still wrong. That’s when I looked down at myself and noticed that I was still in colour. My bright, coppery hair shone as if in sunlight, and my pale, freckled skin glowed eerily against the bleak background. I slowly traced my finger over the back of my hand, making sure I still existed. My flesh felt the same, only now it stood out against the old-time movie background. I watched a car drive past on the street. That’s when I noticed that there was no sound in this colourless place. I opened my mouth to speak, but no sound came forth.
I looked up with eyes wide, and saw a little girl walking towards me. She was dressed in layers of grey chiffon, and holding a ragged old teddy bear, that was missing one eye. She pushed the bear out towards me and stared at me with huge, grey eyes. Her mouth opened slowly to say something, but no sound was made. I looked down at her in awe, struggling to make out what she was repeating. She stopped abruptly, her eyes filling with tears, and then she turned on her heel and ran away. I watched her dress sway around her legs as she fled, until she was nothing but a speck on the horizon. I turned myself back towards the street to see a little boy of about five on a bicycle, directly across the way from me. His eyes flickered from the brick wall behind my head, to my eyes, and then back to the wall again. The cold grey colour in his eyes pieced into me and elicited a profound shudder from my body. The desolate anger in those eyes frightened me to my very core. Suddenly his bike leaped into motion and headed directly at me. The boy’s pale, grey lips curled into a twisted smile, and his eyes laughed as they cemented my feet to the sidewalk. I couldn’t tear my eyes from his wicked gaze. As he moved closer, I tried frantically to rip my eyes from his. With the boy and his bike inches away from me, I was finally able to break from the haunting gaze and throw myself to the ground. As I hit the hard cement, I felt something in the air shift around me. Everything slowed down. I rolled onto my back just in time to see the boy and his bike gradually disappear through the solid brick wall. I lay for a moment before the air shifted again, pulling everything back into regular time.
I stood swiftly and brushed myself off as I walked over to the wall. I lay my hand against the cool grey brick, and pushed against it. It did not budge; it was solid as rock. I felt all of the bricks individually, from the bottom of the wall, to as high as I could reach, and came to the conclusion that it was in fact a real, honest-to-goodness, wall. My mind was running a mile a minute, trying to figure out if I had really just seen a boy travel through this solid brick wall, or if I was crazy.
I turned back to the street and checked to see if there were any cars coming. The street was clear, so I walked across to the spot where I had first seen the boy. I turned and stared back at the brick wall, straight at the spot where the boy had disappeared. The wall looked no different from this angle. I glanced around to see barren city streets and closed shops. All of the bustling people had disappeared. Taking a deep breath, I started running towards the spot where the boy had disappeared. The wall approached quickly and soon I was cringing and expecting a bone-breaking crunch. Instead, I was forcing my body through the wall into what felt like a mass of clay. My ears were assaulted by thunderous sounds that sent my body into convulsions. I was thrown out of the thick substance onto another unknown sidewalk. The sounds around me attacked my sanity, as I lay with my eyes squeezed shut and my hands glues to my ears. After a few minutes, I opened my eyes and removed my hands from the sides of my head, having adjusted a little to the noise. I sat up on the edge of the curb to see the exact mirror image of the grey city block I had been in moment ago. The only difference was the abundance of sound, and the fact that everything was in bright, vibrant colour. I stood up cautiously, in wonder of this world I was apparently trapped in. I glanced around the block, taking notice that everything was nearly indistinguishable from the other side of the wall.
I looked down at myself, to see that I was now in shades of grey, and stood out blandly against the vivid colour surrounding me. As I scanned the sidewalk, street, and shops, I was greeted by the image of cheerful people, all smiling at me kindly. I took a step back against the wall, despite their seemingly welcoming expression. Slowly, the people started making their way towards me. I flattened my back against the wall, more than a little wary of these people. Gradually they crowded around me in a semi-circle, all of them smiling invitingly. The little girl with the teddy bear from the grey city, dressed in bright red chiffon now, worked her way to the front of the group and handed me a large box, wrapped brightly in shiny blue paper, and tied with a neat, pink ribbon bow. I took the box and searched the grinning faces around me for an explanation. Their eyes met mine and urged me to open the gift. I slowly untied the pink ribbon, and shoved it into the pocket of my jacket. I ripped the paper off and used my thumbnail to cut the tape on the side of the box. I pulled the top off and removed a black T-shirt with white, block lettering on it. I shook the t-shirt out and read the writing aloud: “You Will Never Belong.”
All of a sudden, the previously friendly people around me started to laugh and point. Their mouths opened obscenely wide and their eyes narrowed into dark slits and they cackled at me. Their teeth sharpened into points and blood dripped from their lips. Their pupils turned red as their eyes widened and they all began to lunge form me. My back against the wall, I dropped the shirt, throwing my arms up to protect my face. Blood-seeking teeth tore into the soft flesh of my limbs. Suddenly the Latin phrase that had been in my mind when I first awoke came flooding back to me and I knew instinctively to scream it out loud: “Ad Absurdum!” Surprisingly, I started falling away from the scene around me. The grey city block flashed past my eyes, sullen and morose. The coloured one followed, unnaturally bright. CRASH! I landed on my bed with a loud thump. The force of the fall caused my lamp to tip over the edge of my nightstand and shatter into an array of tiny ceramic pieces. I blinked hard and looked around my room. Everything came back to me in a flash. I was lying on my perfectly made bed in my bedroom, done up in shades of soft pink. I sat up, shaking my head, disoriented.
Had I just fallen asleep on my bed and dreamt all of it? My eyes caught my jacket hanging over the chair at my desk across the room. Hadn’t I been wearing it? I remembered that I had stuffed the ribbon from the horrible present into the pocket. I bounded up off of my bed and raced across the hard wood floor over to my desk chair. I leaned down and reached my hand into the pocket of my jacket, and pulled out a long, bright pink ribbon. Marvelling at it, I noticed that their was something written on the other side in a dark, slate colour. Pulling the ribbon tautly between my finger, I turned it over and read: “Ad Absurdum – to the point of absurdity.” The room pulled away from me and I fell. I awoke with my face pressed against the grainy, cold cement of another unknown sidewalk.
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Thanks Glenn Thomas