The Tunnel

Her words fell like dull hollow sounds. Barely perceptible to the people they were meant for; the words dispersed like rings on the surface of water. They must have noticed there was someone there, something there, but they didn’t care enough to consider it.

It would make her mad, to be ignored. So she would yell and scream; clawing at the capability of their understanding. But when acknowledgement was finally attained their faces framed her with a lack of comprehension. They seemed to see through her, her pale insignificance. Which, to her, was worse, than if they’d never seen her at all.

For so long it went on, but no presence was attained, no importance attached. So she packed her words away, and suppressed the sensations that sharpened them. She pushed them down, deep down inside, until they formed a weight; a weight which ached at the heart of her.

As all things tend toward entropy so did she. She caved in, the shapes and the colours and the meanings of her imploding in silence. Grey. That’s what she was. A background colour, a dull shade, acceptable to everyone who would acknowledge her.

The grey became deeper, and darker, turning to black. No light. Like the night. Dead. That’s all she saw. Ahead, a heavy darkness, a tunnel, a wide black abyss. She walked on, willingly, without alternative. She wasn’t scared, the nothingness of the tunnel was better than what she had before. There was a certainty in the lack of light, the absence of others. The absence of her.

She felt she could walk on forever with great ease. Hiding. Avoiding what could not be confronted. She was tired of the people; the agonies, and the aggravation of all that she had attempted to attain. The fight had been lost she felt, there was nothing more to be gained.

As time went on the tunnel seemed dull to her, basic and boring. She poked at it with her curiosity, conjuring from its conundrum. Then one day, the remembrance of thoughts once banished, seem to burst from her chest. A monumental structure seemed to extend from her, filling the surrounding space.

In the dim she could just make out its strange size and shape. Like a machine, cobbled together, from parts of herself, pieces now remembered. And it felt so light, this her, this ungovernable mass. So excited was she at her creation her heart beat and the tunnel thundered with deep delight.

Startled, surprised, she covered her ears in anguish, and attempted to outrun it. But the more she panicked, the more she ran, the louder the sounds became. Only when she stopped, exhausted, did she accept, and the sound seem to subside.
She stood, sizing up these new senses, seeing the structure, sending itself out into the silence. She opened her mouth, testing the new state, she whispered ‘Hello!’ The noise emptied into the tunnel, and her own voice carried, circling her, culminating in a cacophony.

The sounds dissipated, and she tried again. ‘Hello!’ The word spoke itself from deep within the tunnel. Repeating, ricocheting, racing to meet her. ‘Hello! Hello! Hello!’ The tunnel echoed its answer toward her, the sound of her own voice reaching her, entering and erupting from her mighty machine.

She was jolted, jubilant in the discovery of this new joy. So she went on walking, working out her new voice, watching herself, extending, creating. She was becoming an almighty monster, growing in size and sound. She was bigger than she had ever been, and she had forgotten all that there had been. Until, one day, there was light.

A pin prick in the distance; an exit. A way back to everything she had left. It was tantalising, she would admit. To see what was new and different from the black she had beckoned, become accustomed and acclimated to. But she was used to this, this was right, this was hers. Why go back? Why start again?

The future was frightening; a loud, exhausting space. So she stopped, short, and she stayed. She did not want to know what lay ahead. She had decided on this imitation, a version of a life. So she remained in the new grey, hidden away, on the edge of everything.

Then one day the light got nearer. It lit up the tunnel around her as never before. She retreated, safe, secure, certain she could continue to create in silence.

Then the next day the light got closer again. She moved, again, and again. Each time she moved the light would follow her further, on and on. Until one day, she woke, and the light had found her. And she found herself, at the tunnel’s entrance.

She opened her eyes and felt the sting of sun, and the smell of spring. She did not think to run this time, stunned by the shock of the new. She stretched out her hand, and touched the grass that surrounded her. Different. She turned to look into the tunnel behind her. Sluggish, grey mess. It seemed to eat up the light she now lingered in.

She did not know where she had started, or how long it had been. She was waking up from the longest of sleeps. She got up and gathered her thoughts; go ahead? Or go back? She stood at the entrance to the tunnel and looked down into its depths. The machine she had been building had long gone, she guessed, she couldn’t quite recall. It seemed like a dream now; something she had seen whilst half-awake.

She clasped her hands together, searching for support. Different would be better, she decided. So she stepped on to the grass and allowed the white of the light to wash over her. This she could try, she thought. She walked on, contemplating the world she had left behind her. She would have to find somewhere else to be, and she would, now she could she where she was going.

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