EmptyA Story by Ann Elise Monte
I have never seen a place so crowded. People packed on trains like cattle to the abattoir, where bodies remain intact; instead the souls are slaughtered. Empty shells repeat the route day after day as if the fragments of their minds know nothing else. They stare blankly into space, eyes forward, earphones lodged in. No eye contact. Don’t stare.
How else could we ignore the slow degradation of the world around us? Translucent, nonsensical writing on train windows, desperate imprints of the hopeless. The view outside washed clean of colour in the oppressive morning light. Trains passing each other with the wails of lost souls trapped inside.
The station. Hundreds of unidentifiable suits coiling together. Nothing removes the detachment from their faces. The impatient knocking others aside, the victims small girls or old men. No apologies. Don’t look back. Surges of bodies thrash side-to-side up the escalators, the step-edges baring the teeth of crouching tigers, ready to pounce.
Escape into the street. Join the rapid river of walkers halted only by the busy roads, floodgates slammed shut with every flashing red man, thrust open with the appearance of green. Trickles escape on the red, dashing across the road between shining metal coffins, each one a dreamed death ready to become real.
Brightly-coloured signs flash by in blurs, their messages lost on the crowd rushing forever forward. Slowly walkers break away from the clump as they reach their destinations. Senses shut down, refusing to take in the thousands of details pressing in. My face finally falls to that familiar blankness, mirroring those around me. My eyes no longer dart around, no longer take in as much of this hell as they can. They are forward. The train-wails of children become muffled, as if I am underwater.
In that moment, I know. In that moment, I am no longer myself. In that moment, I am lost.
© 2011 Ann Elise Monte
Shelved in 1 LibraryAdded on February 14, 2011
Last Updated on February 14, 2011
Ann Elise Monte
Fantasyland, beside a mass grave of dead story ideas, Australia
AboutI'm an nineteen-year-old Australian university student. I write Young Adult fiction and my longer works tend to contain strong fantasy and romantic elements. My shorter works have more variety because.. more..