When I touched my face I felt deep scars covered in scabs along my cheeks. What had happened to me in the time passed? I couldn’t remember how had I gotten where I was, awakening from unconsciousness on the ground of a small house. The windows were open and I could hear children outside playing. I slowly lifted myself up from the ground and found that my body ached when I did so. I walked to one of the open windows and peered out onto the world. It all felt like a faint memory lost a long time ago.
Outside I saw a girl and a boy chasing each other around the front yard. I could hear their laughter but could not see their faces. Instead of defined noses, eyes and mouths, their faces were just a pixelated blur of skin tone. They were faceless in their happy innocence, playfully running around under a hot beating sun, and all I could do was touch the scars on my face again in response.
Where had all these scars come from after all? I turned around to try to find a mirror to see myself as I was. But the small room had no reflective surfaces to get lost in. I was stuck to imagine what my face had turned into. And my head began to ache at the thought of it.
I noticed there was a staircase hidden in the corner of the room and it seemed to beg me to explore it with curiosity. What lay beyond the world upstairs, I thought.
I walked towards the stairs slowly, taking one step at a time, noticing that I felt quite unbalanced on my own two feet. I held onto the railing as I ascended into the unknown space above me. Towards the top I could see a faint blue glow behind a door that was slightly cracked open. I heard music on the other side, and though it was a song I could not name, the tune was ever so familiar somehow. It drew me closer, lulling me into a sort of hypnotic state. I began to hum the tune from my bruised and swollen lips.
On the other side I found a room full of mirrors with a disco ball hanging from the ceiling rafter, reflecting colorful sparkles onto the mirrors, which then reflected more light around the large space, illuminating the room into a kind of heavenly surreal space. By the window straight ahead a man stood facing outward looking onto the yard below.
The music stopped playing.
“Hello” I asked faintly, as my voice cracked when I spoke.
The man turned around and just like the children below his face was a pixelated blurry skin tone. I jumped, startled at the sight, and it must have frightened him because he then quickly turned around and jumped out of the window.
Surprised and concerned I yelled out to him, “NO! Wait!”
I went running to the window, worried I would find a dead or mangled body on the ground below outside. But to my surprise, since I had been close enough to the window to witness the transformation as it happened, I saw that when he jumped he had morphed into a bird, and there he went, flying off into the sun that seemed to decide to set.
I felt the urge to follow so I lifted myself into the frame of the window, looking one last time at the mirrored room behind me. My reflection refracted against all the walls around me and I finally saw the scars that humbled my face solemnly. I did not want to look anymore so I tried to take flight out of the window like the man had. For one moment after jumping I floated suspended in the air and it felt free and liberating and I thought for sure it would only be moments before I too would transform into something that could just fly away into the distance.
But it never happened. Instead I went crashing down at lightening speed and seemed to get stuck into a portal that opened up in the ground below. I went racing through the dark to the other side of the world and landed harshly onto a concrete floor on the other side. My body ached and I felt fresh blood on my face and limbs. And for a moment I began to understand where the scars had come from in the first place.
Michelle Lee Proksell