The Unprotected, The Unknowing, The Frail

by Shawnong

The air was heavy and dark with fear. Sunlight failed to permeate into this realm, whether due to the canopy cover or a lack of Sun, I do not know. It was as if someone came and turned down the switch, dimming the lights.

It was an experience so harrowing, it seemed surreal. Supernatural. Maybe the incident didn’t really occur, but the violent concoctions of chemicals in my brain roused such a vivid imagery, I couldn’t distinguish fact from fiction. But really, is something true only because we have lived through it? Why are our thoughts any less explicit compared to spoken words or executed actions?

The trees towered over me. I don’t remember looking at the leaves directly but somehow I knew they were palm trees. Odd. There should not have had been palm trees in that region but then again, what is truth and what isn’t?

I was in a car, controlling the machine behind the wheel. It was a regular car with the generic rectangular body any toddler was capable of drawing. My foot applying pressure onto pedal with surgical precision, pivoted at the ankle where I felt the tension rising. My hands carefully steering the wheel, as if holding a rifle, just about to pull the trigger at a wild animal.

I turned the wheel millimetres at a time, causing the car to move accordingly. I imagined the steering wheel connected to an intricate chassis, linked to every other part of the car, an incomprehensible network that was meant to be used but not understood. I was accustomed to the outcome of controlling the car by the steering wheel, that by turning this object in my hand, the car would follow in similar fashion. But what if the car had a mind of its own? What if one day it chose to disobey?

The wheels traversed across the bamboo bridge gingerly. Each minuscule movement elicited a creaking sound from the bamboo poles which comprised the bridge; a cry for help or a shout of warning or a taunting laugh.

Sweat found its way through the pores of my skin onto the steering wheel. Every action was fraught with danger. I was dizzy with nervousness. One wrong move could have sent me down into the unfathomable depths; what lurked there is beyond me. It was a darkness, a void. I’m not sure what was worse. If there was something down there, or if it was a complete void. Do humans rather die in the presence of another sentient being, or do we prefer to rot alone in nothingness?

My heart raced inside chest, screaming to be let out, to be freed from the agony. I could not give in however, as much as I had genuinely wanted. It was not my choice to make, it was in the hands of future, of time itself. In the grasping fingers of the nature, the fabric of destiny. I was an immaterial occurrence.

Where am I going?

Are the struggles worth fighting?

Or should I let go?

Do I lose control?

If I loosen this stronghold

Or do I gain more?