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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Resolution of a Conflict

Credit: Chris Schultz

Join me for a mind-twisting journey through the strangely familiar unknown. It seems we’re more involved than it first appeared…

The pandemonium was palatable. The whole area was a mad, buzzing mess. Wild colors and spinning vortices marred the walls. Like a ‘60s music video, the background was nothing but madness and inane sequences. There was no apparent place to stand, I couldn’t decide if it was like standing on glass or nothing at all. There was a boy in the middle of everything looking bewildered and lost.

Expressions of chaos filled the air, the humidity and fog was terribly thick. The lighting was harsh, pouring straight down from above. Its green tinge completed the surreal feeling that inundated the area. Flies were buzzing everywhere; the drone from their wings filled my ears and left me slightly disconcerted. The boy was wearing a trenchcoat, a tan Burberry classic. His hat was a bit eschew, adding a slight humorous twist to his image. He stood looking out into the menagerie of wildness, apparently lost in thought.

Suddenly, everything stopped. The colors faded, the lights dimmed. The boy’s demeanor changed as his body shrugged slightly. The twisting pinwheels that had been fighting for space in the background slowly stopped spinning. Everything straightened out and began ordering itself. Efficiency was the best descriptor for the situation. There was nothing but pure mechanical coldness. The fog had grown to the point where visibility was zero. Slowly, the smoke cleared…

~~~

The silence was eerie. A dim incandescent light buzzed above, with the occasional tink of a bug as it hit the glass fixture. The lighting reminded me of a sepia photograph. Magenta and black were the two themes of this atmosphere. The pressure in the air was tangible. The shadows had soft edges, yet were still quite deep and black. The bricks looked, in this lighting, as if they had been riddled with bullets. Any crack or pit in the masonry was amplified by the single light source. The various doorways and openings leered out from their holes as if they contained all of the hidden malice that he feared would come.

Tik, tap, tik, tap. The sound resonated off the brick walls and the broken pavement that adorned the dimly lit alley. The boy in the trenchcoat sat at a plain wooden desk. The computer in front of him illuminated slightly with red lighting. The typing is slow at first, the computer barely emitting any light.

A dull roar is heard in the background. The earth is trembling ever so slightly. The broken shards of glass that still adorn the windows, hitherto unnoticed, begin to quiver in warning of a coming storm. The temperature rises, the sweat begins to bead on the boy’s head. The typing pace is quickened, the computer begins to glow red. The stone-cold look on the boy’s face is reflected in the tinted glass of the computer screen. I catch but glimpse of his facial features, they’re familiar, but I can’t quite place them.

The roar, no longer faint, is beginning to drown out all other sounds. The typing can be heard by no one but the boy. His fingers are pounding the keyboard now, growing bruised from the impact. The computer is glowing with a maniacal glare, the heat and pressure in the atmosphere is torrid. The scream rips through the bricks like a knife through fabric. The roaring and screeching combination tear the scene into thousands of pieces. Like a giant fingernail on a chalkboard the sound rends my eardrums. Everything bursts into flames and explodes. Debris and shrapnel are flying everywhere. The words from the computer screen are torn asunder and the letters rain down like dark, heavy ashes. The scene disappears into blackness.

~~~

I wake up in a dark room. The boy from the alley is sitting at a chair, drinking and sobbing quietly. Again, the lighting is dim, yet this time it has a bluish hue. The pub is in a state of severe disrepair, all of the patrons displaying the same, melancholic visage. Everything seems to be moving in slow-motion. The sad, heart-touching tune being played by the violin and piano seems to be affecting the entire establishment. The waiter is strange, his face reminding me of everyone I’ve ever met, yet no one in particular. His one outstanding trait is his featurelessness. Clad entirely in black, his whole person seems to speak of some terrible misfortune.

The customers never move, except to slide their glasses to be refilled. The waiter slowly lifts the large, dark stone mug and pours a black sludge into the glasses. The mixture is appalling, nothing that you would ever dream of drinking, yet the people don’t seem to care. With a closer look, I recognize the letters that had fallen from the explosion in the alley. They’ve been mixed and blended into the sludge to form some strange, bitter looking beverage.

I slowly realize that everyone in the joint looks the same. The waiter, the people, the boy. They’re all the same person! It’s dark, however, and the stun from the explosion still hasn’t quite worn off. My mind seems to be processing things very slowly. The world slows down even more, the violin whines into a whisper, the blackness soon overtakes me again….

~~~

Birds are singing overhead. I feel a powerful warmth coursing through my veins. The cause is apparent as I glance down and see the sunlight blanketing the area. I look up and am surprised to see a perfect spring sky above my head. The sun’s radiance is streaming through the pink and white blossomed trees like little rivulets of light. The most gorgeous songbirds and exotic creatures complete the euphoric scene. The grass is a plush, wonderfully soft mattress. The dark green carpet runs as far as the eye can see in all directions. A kitten is rolling joyfully in the grass near my feet. The cause of his playfulness whisks by my head – a ball of wool. The boy in the trenchcoat pulls on the string to draw the little cat closer to his feet. Backlit by the sun, all I can see is his silhouette.

The dirt is a vivid, strong shade of black. On closer inspection, I see that it is made of the letters from the words in the previous locations. The ashes seem to have collected and formed a rich environment for the foliage around. A butterfly flits by my head and the clouds lazily drift by. The air is fresh and clean, an exact opposite of the air in the pub and the alley. The fog seems to have melted off and the dark images of the past are almost completely forgotten. The boy is in a state of bliss, whatever problems he experienced in the pub seem to have been resolved.

After a few minutes, the sun begins to set. The sky turns into a beautiful crimson and orange collage. The clouds pose in the wake of the coursing light, allowing their portrait to complete the wonderful scene. The sun sets, and I follow the boy into a little cottage. Finding a marvelous down bed in a side room, the exertions of the day soon overtake me, and again, darkness is king.

~~~

Awaking the next morning to the smell of the earth and the wonderful country air, I glance around my room. The natural cut logs are tied together at the end with a notch and wedge system, and the chinking is done with a black mud. A perfectly square window dominates the eastern wall, the sun peaks in through the flowing black curtains. I get up and walk over to another window and look out. Staring back at me is the boy in the trenchcoat. I start back, he does the same. A shock hits my chest as a realization dawns on me. Leaning to my right, he repeats my action. I place my hand on the mirror, my reflection copying my every move. I stare at myself for a moment, then reach up and straighten my hat.

The emotions flood back, each with its own imagery. Confusion, anger, remorse, and happiness – all these had been embodied in the different locations. The madness of a new problem, the anger felt at the situation, the remorse at my explosive actions, and the happiness that was felt after the problem was solved. Resolution of a conflict had taken place, and I was there to watch it.



About the Writer

XanthusKidd is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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