Without eyesight, the world enriches itself in so many other ways. It shouts from the ground and the wind whispers in one’s ear. I love the vibrations hidden within music few can welcome into their eyes. They waltze on by in a symphony composed within their minds because they can visualize it. But, do they truly see it? If they ignore, the grass beneath their feet because they’d rather just see it and walk on by. If they can feel it, then they truly are connected allowing that brief moment to grace their neurons and reach their being. I’ll walk on out to the tree. I name it, Akash. Akash for open sky. It reminds me of an open sky even though it engulfs it. I can feel the intertwining roots that come in and out of the earth. The varieties of textures feel so wonderful. The moss against the dirt and the dirt against the rocks and it all against the bark of the tree root. All of it connected and okay with feeling and relying upon the next in perfect unison.
“Honk, honk.”, the taxi interrupts my thought.
My mom sends me off in a taxicab every morning off to school. I count the amount of steps to the cab and go within its passenger seat. Usually, to find some overtly, unattached driver that welcomes me or allows me to enter into the car. One, two, three……106 done. “Hello, how are you?”, I question the driver. He brushes off my questions, occasionally that happens. It’s rather off-putting. But, they say you get used to it. I wonder when that day will arrive.
The musky, old man cologne encircles the back seat coating my nose thickly. I feel the side of the cab for the window’s handle and bam, got it against the velvet a plastic handle. I twist and twist wanting some fresh air. Finally, freedom.
“Little girl, what’s your name?”, I’m far from little. I’m nearly 16. Ugh, at least he recognized my existence for some moment in this universe.
“Abigail.”, I say as if he may be sincerely interested and I can tell from his tone he’s fair from genuinely interested.
“Ok.”, he replies. Why would he ask if he’s not interested? I don’t understand. He’s so peculiar. I tried to at least give him the benefit of the doubt. “Your mom likes me, you know?”
“She never mentioned you, though.”, I state rather inquisitively.
“Do you recognize the smell?”, he asks matter of factly. I do. It’s that smell I briefly catch in the morning as I pass her bedroom to go to the bathroom. It’s distinct. But, when I come back around I don’t smell it. I smell some air freshener in place of it.
“Why didn’t she mention you?”, I reply hesitantly.
“Because, she didn’t want to confuse you.”, he says earnestly.
“It’s okay, I’m okay with it. I understand she wants a friend even if it may be a bit more. I won’t mention you told me. So, are you my taxi driver or a family friend?”
He pulls over to the side of the ride, before we’ve reached my destination. I hear nothing. The hustle and bustle of a gas station didn’t accompany the stop. He’s rustling in the trunk. Probably, not a taxicab driver, my mother trusted him or needed him financially. Either way is acceptable.
“You don’t need to go to school today. Your mother wanted me to get to know you. A family friend. I’m a family friend.”, whip, and he coaxes me on a sheet.
“Do you remember the sounds surrounding your father’s death?”, I feel a breeze and an unease. Then, he hands me a sandwich in a Ziploc baggy, a can, and some chips.
“I’d prefer that not to be asked. Get to know me the same way everyone else does.”, our connection was off from the start. As if he’s not connecting to me, but the idea of me.
His smell is closer. Why didn’t my mother mention this before I left the house? An arm grasps my wrist and I feel rope against my wrists. “What are you doing?”, I say standing to fight the sensation of helplessness. I step back and take off my shoes. It’s so much easier to read the surroundings without them. Maybe, if I find a road. But, I see nothing, absolutely nothing. The connections I once felt instantly cease. I can’t hear and my bare feet against the ground are just that bare feet against the ground.
“Ensuring my pleasure. You know that feeling of the meat in your mouth, that nice juicy, tender muscle where the blood once pulsed. Well, you know what’s better? The blood still pulsing. The connection of an impending death and the inquisition of something’s up. Something, not quite right. But, there and ignoring that signal for trust.”, he breathes the words down my neck.
Our connections. No mine’s better. No, no, no it’s not the same. We’re not the same.
I search inside for my ability, my ability to connect of what’s beneath my feet, instead I simply run. Run like everyone else in the universe as if nothing was beneath me. I instantly fall to the ground on a rock. A rock? How did I not feel it? No, I collapse under the weight of my body and feel him over top of my body.
“You denied the connection, silly child. You’ll soon learn we’re one in the same. We feel what the rest of the world denies. We’re different than them. You thought I was one of them. Never doubt your instincts. But, it’s too late now. Your fear got in the way of your connection. You’ll be my meal like the rest of it. My first human victim. I thought you may be different but there’s no second chances, only me.”, he declares as he binds me.
I laugh nervously. That’s insanity. I’ll survive. What’s that sound? I hear a sound? It could be someone to help me. I scream and hear the insane laughter piercing my ears. I’ll scream through the woods to someone’s ears that are connected to the world. The world I’m leaving and entering. A squirrel’s running. Why couldn’t I be a squirrel? Nooo, I can feel my blood pooling about my stomach, it’s wetness like a creek. I scream louder for the security I may survive. What’s that? I hear a cricket, maybe a locust, and perhaps the swaying of a branch. But the only human is the human whose teeth enter my stomach, clench, and yank. Like a steak, only me. It’s me. And I feel the world it becomes one, the sounds muddles about me. My screams increasingly faints until they mesh into the squirrel that becomes the cricket and the cricket becomes the person eating my flesh. I can feel the sensation of tearing. Everything stops. Yet, I’m it. I’m the only thing. The only connection between it all. It’s all there and it’s me. Yet, it doesn’t matter. None of it matters. My body’s not on the sheet. It’s near the tree. It’s the moss. Aw, the moss. I reach my foot to that moss. If it’s the last thing, I do is touch my foot upon the soft, welcoming moss. Aww, pure bliss and silence of not feeling anything but that connection from that moss patch.
Foot steps approach. From who? A police siren, a muddle, and perhaps salvation, I think as I slip back into interrupting boundaries and the pain rushes back. The blood’s felt, my body’s mine, I’m separate. No, a snap felt from within the core of my bones. “You’ll realize, what I hope soon I will, too.”, he whispers through a strained crack.
Suddenly, it ceased within a nanosecond. Our last breath’s exhaled in a strange united ecstasy. The carnivore’s pleasure and mine ceased to be different and mold into one unit as I fade into the moss’ texture and his into the last bite of my flesh. It permeates to form one thing, the only Being in existence, Me.