It is August. You sit on the grass in your favorite park, the sun bearing down on your pale skin, but you are cold. You think you can see frost accumulating on your fingertips, the fine film cracking slightly as you flex your fingers. You are more curious over your current predicament than alarmed. You should be alarmed though, because frost is not supposed to do that. Not in August. Not here.
You look up and the trees sway and fade around you, they dance and shift and blur together, until you are no longer in your favorite park. You are in your childhood home. The kitchen is exactly as you remember, with yellow walls and cracked laminate floors that have survived a lifetime. Someone’s lifetime, not yours though. The fridge emits a low hum, and outside, someone is cutting the grass.
You hear sounds from above, muffled words that quickly turn to screams and a dull thud as something heavy connects with the floor directly over your head. You have the vague recollection that this has happened before. But there is no dread this time, only a hollow sensation that collects in your stomach and seeps outwards, until your entire body feels like it has been stuffed with helium balloons. As if it is floating in space.
You don’t want to mount the stairs, but you do anyway. You used to count them as you climbed, one two, three, when did you stop counting? When did you stop feeling? The sounds have stopped and you stop at the top of the stairs. The bedroom door directly in front of you is closed. Do you enter? You were always too scared to as a child. But you’re not a child anymore, right? You don’t know. You look down at your body and it ripples and sways. It looks like it’s made of clay.
The silence is deafening, it crawls inside your ears and bleeds into your brain until you can’t take it anymore and you open the door. You don’t know what you expected to find, but it wasn’t this. The walls, once faded rose, are white. There are no curtains, no furniture, no people. You step inside and close the door, take in the clean lines and notice that your skin has stopped shifting beneath you.
You hear muffled sounds from above, muffled words that quickly turn into screams and.. you stop listening. You tell yourself that this is nothing more than your imagination playing tricks on you. Above you, someone is crying, heart wrenching sobs that rattle your bones. You squeeze your eyes shut and cover your ears with your hands. It’s not real, it’s not real, it’s not real. Not anymore.
It is August. You sit on the grass in your favorite park, the sun bearing down on your pale skin, and you are cold. You open your eyes and your hands fall to your sides. All you can hear now is children laughing in the distance, and somewhere, someone begins to sing a slow, sad song. Your mouth is full of acid and your skin is pricked by a thousand tiny needles. Your body knows that the cold was real but frost does not accumulate. Not in August. Not here.