Short Fiction

YOU? In Wonderland

I was sitting by my strange, larger-than-life-self, and pondering about a land far away that will feel like home. In my mind I was already there, standing akimbo and surveying the saccharine landscape of blue mountains and sands- so sweet and melancholy that it sent funny shivers down my spine and a warm panic that stirred in my chest. There, I stared and beheld a being, neither masculine nor feminine, and when I looked at it, I knew I was looking at my sins and my sorrows, my soul, my umbra.

 

Then I was back again, at home, I mean by the seaside, on an ivory marble bench, smoking a cigarette. With each drag, my lungs filled with warm soothing smoke that I knew would be the cause of my slow, tragic demise. However, I rationalised, it would only make a carrion out of my shell, not my true self. In fact, it invigorated my true self. So it was all right, smoking was all right. 

 

With each breath taken, I felt little, tiny men and women, all bearing translucent fire, running into my lungs. I continued smoking and smoking, and the hours passed, although it was still sunset. The now cold cigarette laid beside me- cold, tasteless, on the bench. For a moment I saw my sin again, in that uncanny homeland of blue mountains and blue sand, but I shook my head hard and rubbed my right eye in petulance, muttering, “bother, bother! Why must my sin’s umbra take such lovely a form, bechance, bother, bother!” 

 

I thought to myself then, one more day and I will be over. My sin will come to me… in white lights. But now, it was different. I was in a land far away from everywhere. I closed my eyes, sucking in the cigarette-smoky dredges of the air. The now muted blue sunlight spilt across my wilfully prone body. In my mind’s eye, my sin danced on small circular platforms that were illuminated by pink-purple neon lights. This was another life, I knew. Another world. “I love you,” I almost said to the dancing figure. 

 

I opened my eyes, and I returned to the seaside. Again, I was on a plain old white bench.

 

“Are you little urchins all right in there?” I asked the people in my lungs.

“Yes, yes. We are perfect,” they said in unison, their voices a slivery, nascent whisper in tandem. I nodded, happy, although not completely content. I knew it was only a day more before I left. I needed another cigarette. I needed to commit just a little bit more to the deuce before I go.