Writers Note: Hello people! This is officially my most edited work, ever.How exciting lol; At least compared to the morbid tone I started 2017 with, we have come far. I told you guys maybe I’d continue with my science fiction experiment, and, here we are. See, I did continue. What started out as “just trying something” is fast becoming my most original idea ever: stealing the words of my good friend Sam. (Yo Bro, Whats Up Bro?!) Where was I? Yes, I promised I was going to conclude this on Friday, but after going through the themes I want to explore in my head, I realised it’d be one of two things, either Part 3 would be painfully long or painfully boring. Hence, my decision to expound on part 2 instead. You know? So I can set the grounds for Part 3 better? Yeah. Anyways, enjoy Here-There: A New Beginning (Extended Edition). And YES, ITS STILL BEING CALLED SCIENCE FICTION!
Somuah followed silently through a narrow alley. He felt oddly comfortable here, away from his friends, his family, from everything. He looked up from his bare feet and they were heading towards a blinding light. He had not noticed evening set; It seemed with every few steps they took they’d ease into a different setting: Before it had been a beach, he remembered the breeze raise his gown and tickle the insides of his legs, the waves roar inside his ears, and then on a street, children stopped in the middle of their play to stare at them, unsure what to make of a man wearing nothing but a hospital gown, his buttocks black and clear to see through the pouch behind, and now an empty alley. It stopped suddenly and turned towards him.
“Do you know where you are?”
He swallowed saliva and replied on impulse yet again, “There”
“Am I real?” The creature stood with its back turned towards the light now, so he could only see its silhouette. There was a silence, Somuah looked down at his feet, not sure what the correct answer was. This one had not come as easily as the first. The creature turned away from him and walked into the light. He followed cautiously, shielding his eyes with the back of his hands.
He blinked his surroundings into focus, and froze at what he saw. Across the empty road, from where he stood directly, was a cemetery. He looked up into a starless sky, the moon glimmering to his left, full and larger than he had ever seen it. A whistle came from somewhere beyond the short walls of the graveyard, “Somuah! I am here!” It was the first it had addressed him by his name. He swished his head from side to side, the creature called out again, “On the tree”. He looked and alas there it sat. For a long time, he had been following what he thought was an apparition, a man like creature, a mist that traced the outlines of a man. Now for the first time he could see it for what it was, a him. He sat shirtless, high up on the branch of a tree overlooking a cluster of tombstones. His skin was charcoal black, his hair a perfect white. From a distance, Somuah made him out to be no older than 20. lean muscle flexed as he squeezed the juice out of an orange that had somehow manifested in his hands with their new location. “Jump and you will be here with me”. Without question, Somuah bent his knees and hopped into the air, his feet were swooped off the ground by a sudden current, he flailed his arms wildly in a failed attempt to find balance, he screamed as he hurled straight towards the trees trunk. Firm hands grabbed him midair and settled gently behind a tombstone.
The boy, because as they stood face to face now, he realized they were about the same age, stared at him with an intense curiosity.
“I am not real”
Somuah stood speechless for a while, “What do you mean you’re not real? Am I dreaming?”. The boy turned and run towards another tree, climbing up it with the finesse of a lizard. “No, you are not dreaming. You are…” he swayed his head from side to side, as if deciding on which word was most appropriate, “Insane, you are mad!” He stretched out his palms and a light glow flickered in its hollow, slowly giving way to another orange. He took a bite and continued, “All this is not real, this place, everywhere we have been today, was created by your brain. I am your conscience, your brains immune system of sorts, I am here to teach you”. Somuah staggered back, falling on his butt to the naked softness of the earth.
“What? But…this is There…How do I know this is There?” He drew his palms from his sides and stared into them, “I can feel everything, how can this not be real?” Tears welled up in his eyes, “What is this? How can I be mad?”
The boy drew his mouth from what remained of the orange and wiped his hands on the above-knee khaki shorts he was wearing, the only thing he was wearing. “In the real world, you are in an asylum right now. You are folded up inside a bed talking to yourself, screaming, hopping around on one leg, I don’t know. All I know and what you should know is, this is your new reality, this is your sub-conscious. You asked if you were dreaming earlier and I said no, but this is* like a dream, only much more real, and like a dream your brain is creating, but you have no control over what happens…yet. Do you know what that means?” He jumped down and slowly walked towards Somuah, “It means until you learn how to control shit there’s no telling what’s next. A demon, some twisted entity, a thing of nightmares may be just around that bend.” He pointed at the direction of the moon and flopped to the ground, cross-legged, “You have no idea how twisted the human mind is” They sat face to face now, the boys breath was a frosted mint, his eyes, large and piercing. He reached for Somuahs face with a finger, he drew back. “I am here to teach you how to gain control. This is your new reality Somuah, you die in here, you’re brain dead in the real world. like it or not, it’s just you and me now”
From the distance, a wolf howled, breaking through the dreary silence.
From on top the balcony, where Dr. Ankapong sat, he could barely see the extensive stretch of green that surrounded the hospital. The harmattan had come with its mists, hiding everything, shielding natures coarse beauty like some jealous lover. He drew a tea-cup to his lips, holding the hot liquid in his mouth a few seconds before allowing it down his throat. Soon it would be 8 a.m. and Nurse Dorothy would come with the Newspaper, till then he had to wait. Alone in his silence. It was hard, trying not to think about Somuah. He got up from off the cane chair he was seated on, carrying the tea cup and glass plate with him. “Careful Doctor, logic not emotion”
It had been 2 years since they met, 1 since he was brought in by his parents. The paramedics had found him inside of his car, passed out. The windows had imploded, glass pieces scattered around him. There was no telling what had happened. Someone had heard the explosion and called the police, but, nothing burnt. His friends said for weeks he had been acting strange, acting distant, that he was almost never around. All this, as told by the boys’ mother, the same one who had entered his room after the “incident” and met him violently throwing his arms around, chucking invisible bolts at an imaginary friend. At first they had tried to keep it a secret, opting for psychiatrists to come see the boy at home, and then in a violent fit he had broken down his door, vomit gushing through his throat like a broken faucet. They had brought him in then. And he had stared him right in the eye, and he had not recognized the doctor.
A smile played around the edges of his mouth, the excitement of discovery that only science could bring him. He paced around the room slowly with his tea, so engrossed he barely heard Dorothy knock.
“Doctor? It’s Dorothy, let me in”
She placed the newspapers on his study table, and turned to him, tucking the edges of her belt. Her greying hair was fixed in a bow behind her, her uniform white and well ironed, she smelt of talcum powder. Her white shoes fidgeted at his gaze
“Good morning Doctor, can I help you with anything?” She was smiling. He could not recall ever seeing her in a bad mood. Before he could help himself, the words blurted out his mouth, “Have you seen Somuah yet?”
The smile splintered. “Sir, General Jafah is here, he’s with him”
The world seemed to move in slow motion, the way he jumped to his feet and rushed out the room, wearing only a loosely knotted morning coat over his pajamas and slippers.
Nurses stopped to stare as the doctor came running out the elevator past them, shoving the janitor aside. He burst through the doors of his office and with quivering fingers searched through the books in his small library. He tilted one and the shelf slid forward. Impatiently, he pulled the whole thing back and run through the opening.
General Jaffah, arms crossed behind him turned to look at the doctor. He looked him over disinterestedly and returned his gaze to the glass pane in front of him. Underneath them, men in lab coats surrounded a large tube, taking notes and talking in whispered voices among themselves. The Doctor approached slowly, barely making a sound till he was beside the general. Both stared through the pane at the tube. Somuah wiggled inside, his eyes closed as if asleep. Around his fingers, a blue beam crackled.
Art Credit: Kevin Williams – God is in Me