Short Story: Endless Cycle

((I based this writing on nightmares, it is part nightmare, part short story.))

I press my legs off the ground with every step. Every time, I take a step forward the door moves further and further away. This door moves forward with a mind of its own. I never reach the door no matter how far I venture. The door moves backward the closer I get. My vision starts to close up, and the landscape cuts in half. The vibrant color that shines from the sun turns dim. My once illuminating blue eyes remain dulled by this sensation. I decide to move in the opposite direction away from the door. If I cannot open the door, I must confound it. I never imagined I would enter a battle of intellect with an inanimate object. I wonder if I am simply in a surreal dream.

A roar of frustration escapes my lips. I find this pathway maddening! The twists and turns keep distorting the trail ahead. The cold no longer numbs my skin. The heat no longer provides warmth. The acrid smell of dust nearly suffocates me for a split second. I touch the white walls of nothingness. These walls push against me closing in. They have no texture, no actual trace of existence. The hollow, empty walls seem like a creation of imagination.

Still, the door keeps shadowing me. This door attaches to my shadow like an apparition of my past. My head throbs every time the door touches me. The cold wood sends protruding bumps up the flesh of my arm. The particles in my skin cause my hair to stand erect. The protruding bumps on my arm vanish instantaneously. I cannot take it any longer; I turn and force my boot through the door. The pieces of wood shatter on impact and hang from the sides of my boot.

Suddenly, I feel pain in the pit of my stomach tearing away at me. Soreness consumes my body bringing a surge of pain to every aching joint. My eyes feel a dry agony from the constant release of pain. An emotional discharge pounds through my chest on and off. An itch in my throat brings incredible affliction. The stuffiness in my nose resembles the stuffiness of the fog overtaking my surroundings.

I behold mist that constantly obscures my vision as it drowns out the color. Everything darkens and the bright sun diminishes. I abhor this desolate feeling that leaves me paralyzed. My reflexes pause; as, the floor beneath my feet slowly dissolves. The blackened floor roughly peels away at my skin. Traces of my errant flesh spread across the floor. That sandpaper gnaws at me causing my reflexes to reawaken. My feet push off the ground and levitate into the empty blackness.

An eclipse floods the light in the darkness. I wonder if this eclipse exists. No…the sun has no eclipse in reality; the teary mist clogs my sight. This fog repeatedly causes a burning salt to drip over my face. The burning grows bitterer by the second. My fingers become corroded from the flame’s fiery essence. The decay eats away at my insides. That feeling in the pit of my stomach expands. My confusion steadfastly engulfs me like a raging tsunami. My stream of consciousness makes little sense.

The only option left is to run. I am tired of facing this. My bare feet press against the cool concrete ignoring the cold. I have no need to cough. I let my nostrils absorb all of the dust this time. My sense of smell is quickly fading. I stampede through the infrastructure yearning for an escape. Loud thumps ignite the ground with every step I take. Fissures erupt across the ground from a simple step. I hear an incessant ringing that causes blood to leak from my eardrums. The echoes torture me with the softest note. A symphony of sounds ravages my hearing like an overpowering boom. My legs begin to cramp causing me to fall flat on my face. The spikes on the floor dig into my flesh, yet the pain subsides. I keep running regardless. I hope that my running will cause the swelling to stop. The calluses grow by the second like a festering hole. That pain in my stomach must cease at once. Finally, the white walls move away from me.

Numerous doors appear before me in several different directions. It would not matter which door I take. This labyrinth prevents escape. I wish to run away. The maze-like door keeps shifting directions. My weary body runs through door after door. I nearly collide with one that appears out of nothingness in front of me. They keep multiplying around me. The realization is starting to sink in. The labyrinth’s barriers prevent forward progress. Solitude’s shadow dances around my body frame. The shadow keeps lunging towards me trying to consume me in its inescapable grip. I flail my body in vain.

The incessant ringing reaches a crescendo. I push the demonical shadows with all my might. This inescapable maze’s countless obstacles never stop. The delirium is running wild now. My chest tightens. The nervousness and fear push back at me. The shadows push and pull me in different directions. An artist in the distance looks at me. The paintings lining the wall get painted in red. I barrel forward despite the pain. The shadows fly off my body into the distance. The paintbrush leaves the painter’s hand. It chases me overtaking the shadows. A loud cutting sounds off with every stroke of paint. I turn right only to reach a dead-end, so I turn left going through a door.

I keep forcing my way through every door trying to escape the paintbrush. The paintings flash before my eyes causing my chest to tighten each time. The paint on the walls turns red. I see my heart splatter against the canvas. This paintbrush is the realization. The paintbrush becomes an albatross that anchors me into this labyrinth. I am losing control of my limbs. I feel an uncontrollable shaking surge over me. The burden of this truth weighs me down.

The dull color in the world begins to vanish. My visage itself is devoid of color. Loss can only be a fault of my own. The premonitions warned me of the result. I saw it coming before it ever happened, yet I could do nothing to stop it. I knew that my effort would never change the result. This is not the first time it happened. The salty discharge of tears never stops. These tears bring no tranquility. My fleshy desires bring repetitive pain, and I relive the cycle. Each cycle destroys a piece of me leaving only a trace behind. I no longer recognize myself, because each one brings change. The maze and cycle merge. My body’s limbs stop moving for the moment.

I cannot capture fascination in a bottle. I am all brains and aesthetics with nothing to show for it. The dichotomy of my desire is disagreeable. These displeasing blemishes drag me to the abyss. I throw my arms and legs forward trying to move ahead. The agony unveils itself and shifts to rage. The feeling of hopelessness and meaninglessness keeps chasing me. I start running again going through every door that appears.

I realize that I cannot shield myself from the truth. The labyrinth keeps the cycle going onward. Each door I take results in the same end. I fear the skeletal reaper that stalks me from beyond, so hardship remains the only way. Death can never be an option. The strong part of me keeps chipping away. Pieces of me shatter in a broken mirror. The anger brings my skin to a literal boil. The swelling in my skin expands around me devouring the phantoms that shadow me. I never forget the rejection, and I want them all to remember.

The chip on my shoulder transforms into an anvil that grows wider by the moment.
The false smile overtakes my lips. I slide a masquerade mask on my face. I mask the pain with a false front. The constant unrequited emotions create more obstacles strengthening the labyrinth. My good conscience prevents me from gaining revenge even if the searing pain sinks into my skin. I keep the false front strong until I become an emotionless shell.   The cracks in my armor never fully heal the armor instead grows harder. The armor covering my body adapts every time. My shell becomes harder to crack. The armor grows stronger, so that pain can never inflict me again. A blade slices into the armor with a loud clang, yet no scratches are left. I decide to stop running in the maze.

My weary body welcomes the rest; however, rest never comes. My slumbers are jumbled messes. I realize now the labyrinth never breaks. Without warning, the labyrinth surrounding me slowly melts leaving no residue behind. Then, it fuses with reality, and a brilliant swirl of color erases the fog. I solve the labyrinth by looking into the mirror and accepting the truth. My reflection stares back solemnly. The labyrinth reflects my insecurities and pain. The trace of my old self will eventually pass into the armor. The hope has left my stomach, and the void within me grows deeper. A black hole engulfs my heart as my armor adapts once more.

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