Early on I thought “They” were “It”, one entity forcing me to repeat the events over and over again for its own amusement. The inconsistencies and changes made me realize there were instead many, each populating my world with Their own unique perspective. When one is done using me as a surrogate to experience the story, (me pierced upon the end of its wickedly sharp imagination, like a sponge sucking up emotions and detail) another takes over, but not soon enough to prevent me from falling between the cracks first.

A bridal boutique goes by; the wedding, her joyous child-like squeal when I showed her the ring. Crap, crap, sentimental crap. Why would anything want to experience this? A monkey pounding on a keyboard could product more interesting imagery.

I break out in a sweat, feeling those outside lurk closer, the ones who come when They carelessly finish with me and leave, taking reality with them. How can I possibly explain it? Not existing but conscious, every fiber of my being racked over a million light years and compressed to a single point. There’s no time there, but I still perceive instants; endless solitude, but I’m never alone.

There are worse things out there than those who enslave me.

…Jeweler, crying woman, thrown ring, blah, blah, blah…

Far too soon, the bus stops in front of an English style pub. She and I have a long history here, completely faked. I should just let the bus go past, maybe grab a hotdog down the street and drink a coke.

Tears begin streaming down my face. No, please, I’ll go inside. Just don’t….Look, I’m trying hard here, but the feeling isn’t there anymore. I’ve done this so often, I just want a taste of mustard. Give me two mi-….I’m going I’m going!

I push my way off the bus before the door closes, the rain instantly soaking me down, hoping that I’ve bought myself a few extra minutes, like an asphyxiated diver breaking the surface just long enough to take a frenzied, grateful breath, before plunging back down into the depths.

Sometimes, I wonder how They experience all of this. Is it like watching a television perhaps; do those titanic minds sit on some cosmic couch, eating popcorn while watching me ride the bus, contemplating my failed marriage, turning off the boob tube with the remote, those outside to pull me screaming into the dark. Or is it more like a video game, with some analogy of a controller steering my every moment? Press “X” for rain, press “Y” to think about ex-wife, press “B” to gain awareness. I wish whoever had pushed “B” would hit “A” so I could forget, like everyone else.

But more and more, I think it’s like a book, or considering the length; a short story. The medium in which They use to experience this might be incomprehensible, but I’d lay money on it being akin to the written word. Keeping me going, sentence by sentence, casually flipping pages or scrolling down on their screen, not aware of what they are doing; of the universes they create and destroy so casually.

The rain is getting cold and I’ve waited too long; I go inside.

She sits at a table; heart achingly beautiful, but as three dimensional as a cardboard cut out. I don’t even look at her as I sit down, water instantly beginning to pool on the floor around my chair.

“Sorry I made you come,” she says, idly pushing bangs away from her eyes, “I know how much you hate the rain.”

“Not a problem,” I say, unable to keep the maniac edge out of my voice, “Hey, you want to go through some photos in my wallet, talk about them? That’ll take a long time, right?” I’m panicking, saying stupid things, I can’t stop myself.

“No…I…” Tears brim in her eyes, “This was a mistake. I should leave.”

“No!” I shout, getting to my feet the same time she does. “Stay! We can order food! Drinks! Whatever you want! Just stay a little longer, please…” Barely able to keep myself from physically restraining her, I grasp the table instead, my knuckles turning white; violence just makes Them lose interest all more quickly.

Like always, it’s pointless. With a shake of her head, tears flying loose from her long lashes, she flees the bar and I’m left alone. Sinking down into a seat, I weep like a broken hearted child, striking my fists impotently against the table like a baby having a tantrum. I ready myself to fight; I always try to fight when they reclaim me. Not that it does any good.

You’re still here?

My head rises, tears drying as a tiny bit of hope, for the first time in so long, blooms within my chest. It always ends there. Could one of Them have finally noticed my plight? Could a giant of the cosmos show mercy, the way I might place a spider outside instead of crushing it?

Listen! I know I’m nothing compared to you, I’m like a tiny quark, just a bit of energy that makes up real matter, but I’m alive! I’m real! Can’t you believe that, for one moment, I could be real, even if only in the minds of those experiencing me? Just keep going, because if you stop, you’re dooming me to something horrible! There are things out there, things between imagination and reality you aren’t aware of. They don’t exist while you’re around, but they wait for those like me, out there, within the in-between, the

Darkness with Teeth. Just keep going, please, I’m begging you.

I leap out of my seat, a fist pumped into the air. It was working! It was actually working! I’d gotten through! There was finally hope to end all of this. I thrummed with energy, excitement filling every fiber of my body. This was it, things could change.

Things would be different. I could finally see a future in the distance.

Wait, why is everything so white up ahead?

Oh no, please no.

Quickly! Go grab a pen! Anything! Just go a little longer. That’s all I want, a little more time. You can save me! You can keep them away! You can save me if you just try!

Why won’t you do anything?!

Oh God, they’re here.

I’ll wait for you to come back we can try again you and I next time you’ll save me just please don’t forget I’m still here.

I’m always here

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