The Sensitive Adult

Short Story: Woke Up Dead by Bethany Edwards

DarcyL Rock

THUMP…

                 THUMP…

                                   THUMP…

The sound vibrated through his bones, working its way through his eyelids, weaving through his mind and into his dreams. What a horrible thing to be woken from a dream as blissful as the one he was experiencing on this particular night. The thump only got louder and louder, the increased vibration shaking him from his sunset laden dreams and back into the brown room. The brown room which had contained his life, his body and his soul for the past many years, years which had now become a distant blurry memory. Was it possible for a room, a mixture of plaster walls and a timber frame, to know him better than any person had ever attempted?

            The thumping ceased and the room, the familiar brown room, remained as silent as ever. Mother nature had drawn the curtain of night slightly, letting the light trickle through the curtains and run down his face like water. He slowly rolled over, his knee gently knocking the woman’s thigh next to him and he grunted softly in apology.

            He paused to look at her, the woman sleeping in deathly silence next to him. The sun caressed her lips softly, revealing every hill, line and groove like her mouth were a valley of golden dunes in the desert. Her black eyelashes had an ethereal softness to them and clung every so delicately to her eyelids, the way dainty petals clung to the stem of a flower. Her pale cheeks had been kissed by the light, by life and by the elements and they had all left a memory in the form of a freckle in its place. This woman’s extraordinary beauty was a rather startling and stark contrast to the brown room. Her skin gleamed a million different shades, more colours than he alone could possibly identify. Her place in the bed, covered up in the familiar brown quilt cover poured life back into the sad old room and the sad old man.

            Her presence aroused the feeling, the urge and the desire to stare at her all morning, all day and all eternity. Money, love property, company, anything she desired, asked for, he would have yielded, he’d have offered anything to help close the distance between them. The dream-like beauty of the woman held him captivated, completely enveloped in observing her every feature that he failed to notice that the thumping had begun again. The noise bounced off the brown walls like it would the fists of a gorilla beating its’ chest in preparation for battle.

THUMP…

                THUMP…

                                 THUMP…

          It became louder, more aggressive. The vibrations so violent, dust that had remained untouched for years on the highest shelves in the room began to fall off, creating a monstrous looking cloud of dirt, dust and neglect. And suddenly…

                                                                   IT STOPPED.

            And as he lay in silence yet again, letting it and realisation coat him, his mind whirred like a machine, cogs turning and processing the information right before his eyes. For he did not know this woman. As much as he wished to lie to himself, to pretend that she was his wife, that she was as much in love with the brown room and all its’ brown contents as much as she was in love with him; he couldn’t pretend. His sunset laden dreams were the fantasy he could never aspire to; he would always be just with his lonely self and that lonely colour brown. As for the radiant woman, she was not even an acquaintance, nor a stranger he had passed in the street. She was just one of the many humans who lived her life without the contact of millions of others doing the exact same thing as us right now, destined to never meet. She was not his destiny.

What she was however, was dead.

Bethany Edwards began writing detective novels about a crime solving ginger cat in primary school. She is now studying Creative Writing at RMIT. You can find her Instagram at @bethany_edwards

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A note about the piece-

This story was not a planned piece, it just poured out of my brain and onto paper during a writing exercise during class a few weeks ago. My work often holds more of me than I care to admit but this resulted in an inside look into my mind in a strange way. But I hope that some of the aspects and themes can resonate with others as well, I feel this isn’t a story that only I can relate to, because everyone has that fear of being alone. I often find myself nervous about being anchored down in one place for an extended period; my biggest fear is having betrayed myself by doing nothing with my life and ended up in a brown room, alone with a poor excuse of a figment of my imagination as the man in the story also did. I find myself lost in my own mind a lot of the time, always planning or daydreaming which makes for some pretty sad social skills. This fear is also a positive thing in a way as it gives me an extreme motivator, always driving me creativity and in other areas of my life. As for ending up in the brown room, only time will tell!