The Atlas of Fictional Places pt. 1

by Halli Booth 13 days ago in fiction

By: Halli Booth

The Atlas of Fictional Places pt. 1

There are places in which you are not aware of. There are places where even the greatest explorers cannot discover. And do not get me wrong, they are the best of the best, but it is not something you can see with the untrained eye. Not many people believe me, actually no one does. Only I can see these places, these places with colours and sounds you’ve never heard of or seen and grass and trees and mountains that do not exist. Where there is no sun, but stars that provide the light. You cannot map out these places, they always change. Which make remembering and recognising very hard to do. I’m not saying that you should believe me, I am merely just saying that you should listen and I will walk you through my memories and feelings. Maybe it will happen to you too.

I remember the rain, it had kept me up that night. The ghost of the sun was rising and it made the window pane shine. My hair was in an unkempt mess and it kept falling in my face. My head was resting against the window and my breath was fogging up the glass, clouding my vision of the grey, dreary outside world. Sleep tugged at the insides of my brain and the comforter begged me to lay back down, but I simply could not. My attention was, and for some reason I cannot figure out, drawn to a tree. A tree that I have only been able to be acquainted with for the past six months. I have been known to bounce from town to town, and this happened to be one of those towns. The tree had a big trunk and rough skin, it was tall with thick branches. One of the things that had caught my interest about that tree was that in fall and winter, the leaves had still clung to its respective stem. It was winter and water had puddled into the corners of streets and front porches. Dead leaves and twigs had crowded gutters and drain pipes, but I do not think anyone had minded. They say that they normally don’t get rain during the course of a year.

I think that my neighbours felt a little bit of envy towards me. I never had to rake my leaves because they never fell. The leaves played along with the seasons and turned miraculous greens and yellows and browns. I could never figure out why they never fell, but they changed colours. The tree must have been old, it look beaten and bruised and yet the trunk stood so tall and strong, like it was protecting its ground, my house; maybe even his house. Something about that damn tree always held my attention, almost like it was tugging at my sleeve; an attention hungry child just wanting you to look at them.

I was tired, I remember that too. I slipped back into bed, realising that I was too tired. Although I did not have anything to do the following day, I decided sleep would comfort me, make me feel better. As I laid my head down on my pillow I had heard a soft whisper, right outside my window. Almost as if that attention hungry child had stood outside my window and tried to snatch up my awareness and focus on him.

“Sarah, come here please?” I heard a forced whisper, it sounded like it was coming outside of my window. How did I hear that? It’s simply a whisper. How did it go through the window? I scrunched up my nose and wondered how this could occur. In spite of my anxiety provoking thoughts, my curiosity won me over. I sighed as I pushed the blankets off of me, the cold air prickling my skin. I remember this very clearly, as if it was the only thing that seemed real in that dream like haze my mind seemed to be in. When I pulled the blankets off of my chest, the crocheted blanket caught my shirt and dragged the sleeve down, exposing my shoulder. It was as if the cold attacked me, dragging its nails into my skin. It was so cold it started to burn me. I flinched, pulling the blanket back up. I pushed myself up to look out of the window, to find a face meeting mine. I was shocked, frozen, I couldn’t move. It was a little boy, his face transparent. I could see his eyes, they were bright green with an outer edge of white-blue. They were so enchanting and I couldn’t help but stare.

“Sarah, I want you to follow me please.” His lips quivered and he batted his eyes at me, I started to relax and my muscles melted, my skin suddenly warm. The boy’s face started to disappear, and I started to panic, feeling the bile rise in my throat I tried to memorise everything I could about his face before it was completely gone. I saw his eyes and his delicate face. The wrinkles in his forehead from worrying and the way his cheekbones stood out, like he was carved from marble. His eyebrows seemed to be darker than his hair colour. He had bright red hair that swept softly across his face as if it had been painted. His lips always seemed to curve up into a smile. Before I could memorise anymore, he disappeared.

I was compelled by something in my body to get up, to get out of bed and follow his instructions. Even though my mind was screaming to stop, my body kept pushing, seeming to break the laws my mind had set. I walked with a false energy and made my way through my house.

I stumbled into tables and chairs and lost clothing, I finally found the door. The haze was numbing my mind, making me feel warm and yellow. I seemed to follow a specific path that someone else had chosen for me. I unlocked my sliding glass door and and stepped onto the front porch. My bare feet should have had pins and needles from the rain and frost, but all I felt was cotton and heat. There were frozen shards of ice glued to the light green grass, but all of the scenery faded away when my eyes found the tree, the boy was hiding behind it. He was almost peeking out, it surprised me, he didn’t seem like the child to play but the one to instruct.

“Sarah, come find me!” His shrill voice rang harmonies through my ears and a light flooded my vision. I did not panic, I felt calm in an almost eerie way. The feeling of the grass on the soles of my feet disappeared and the yellow heat in my bloodstream vanished, still I was not panicking. I felt like I was floating and in that moment it was just me and my thoughts. I was alone and I took solace in it, it was strangely comforting. It was like that with every new feeling my mind conjured up and shot through my body, a shadow of it followed, poisoning parts of my skin and tissue, staining the insides of my throat. In that moment of complete content, my body started to rip apart as if someone had knitted me and found a kink in the beginning of making me, tearing me apart in a frustrated steam. My cells dividing and separating, my body tearing into halves. Every one of the fibers in my body begged me to scream in agony, but the best I could do was let hot tears stream down my separated cheeks, I could not breathe. I began to panic.

I’m not sure what happened after that, the only thing I do remember is crying, being teared apart, and then blank. I don’t trust my memory that often, but this was the realest thing I have felt in a long time. When I came to I was laying in a heap on my front lawn, a worried neighbour on the other side of the fence gate.

“Hey, honey, are you okay? Have a little more fun than planned?” He winked at me through wire rim glasses, his oily egg-shell head shining in the morning sun-light. He wrung his hands, and licked his lips, there was something else on his mind. I’m glad he was behind the fence-gate.

“Yeah, I guess so,” I pushed myself up and dusted off my pajama pants, resting my hands on my hips and squinting at the sun that sat behind his back. I pursed my lips, “I’m okay, thank you for checking on me.” I waved him a goodbye and smiled at him from over my shoulder as I walked into my house.

Everything seemed immensely brighter, more vivid. The colours stood out and I could see each fiber woven together in great detail. I was astonished! I’ve never experienced such a thing. I stood in complete awe in front of my painting. I could see the individual dried paint crusted upon its fellow companions. There was one particular green and blue speck and I could see their colours merging and half coloured skin, their DNA tangling together in a fury of urgency, bending their abilities at the flick of my wrist. I no longer saw them as just a thing, I never saw anything anymore as “just a thing”, it was more than that; too much more. Everything was living, if we had proof of it or not.

Thoughts flew to my head in a rush, like a highway.

The road slick with rain, I’m sitting in the back of the car holding one of my dolls. I was twirling my hair and aimlessly humming clumsily strung tunes. Mom and Dad are fighting but that’s okay. Mommy told me that they do it because they love each other, but Daddy’s words are slurring and I don’t think he wants to hold the steering wheel. Mom is screaming now and it is getting too loud, tears start to stream down my face, Daddy sees. He reaches behind the seat abandoning the wheel and grips my wrist, “You be a big girl, Sarah! God damnit, I raised you bet-” Boom.

I jolted awake in my bed, sweat was dripping off of my nose. My hands shook with ragged breath I took in. Recurring nightmares, in a way it wasn’t like a nightmare, but more of a reality I was forced to live in. And every morning I had to shake off this feeling as if I could have changed something, like maybe it was my fault. I think it was. Maybe I should have changed it, stopped crying.

I wanted to escape, not into my head, but somewhere else. I pulled the blankets off of my cold, rigid body. I straightened my stiff legs and pushed myself to stand-

“Sarah.” The persistent whisper ringing through my ears, bouncing off of my white washed walls. For weeks now I kept hearing this boy, this little boy, whispering my name. He was beckoning me, for something I never actually found out. Maybe he was teaching me in a way.

I walked the hallway and made a left into my bathroom, stumbling through the perpetually vacant house. I rested my hands on the rim of the sink, staring at myself in the dried water spots. My brown eyes were bright with green and yellow specks, dark circles encasing my eyes in sleep. I was always chasing sleep, forever feverently running after the only thing I needed and couldn’t get. My mouth looked tired, it turned down at the edges. My lips were average, as every part of me. My cheeks were full, I was still looking like a child at the age of 26. I sighed, turning away from the mirror, fixing my gaze on the hand towel resting on a rack. The towel was white with crisp edges, everything here looked new. I never used anything but the washroom and my bedroom. I never had food in the fridge, I hated eating alone.

I walked out of the washroom, closing the door behind me. I was looking (not seeing) at my things. My eyes grazing each object that rested in my home, too tired to really take anything in. I rested my forehead on the sliding glass door, taking in the outside world, something I was so fond of. My breath fogging up the only space I can look through.

I slid open the door, letting the cold wind slice through my skin and tousling my hair. The green grass was pure and inviting, almost like it was opening its arms out to me, begging me to lay with it. I couldn’t bear to take in too much detail since yesterday, it was too much. I don’t want to have those nightmares again. The tree that was standing tall in my yard seemed to look bent and broken, like it was beaten down. I tried to figure out what had happened. That tree that was so powerful, so magnificently strong, now looked weather and old. I squinted my eyes, maybe because that’s what everyone did when we thought. It had been a full two days since I first saw the boy. I wanted to figure out who he was, where he was.

“Sarah, I’m right here.” As if he had read my thoughts. My head whipped around to see where he was. My eyes met another pair, but they weren’t the boy’s. The eyes were connected to a face, but with no other detail. I was shocked, not being able to move. It’s eyes crimson red and specks of gold, attached to a greyish sphere. It was just shapes and objects all attached to the same trunk.

fiction
Halli Booth
Halli Booth
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Halli Booth

i’m a poet trying to make a name of herself.

i’m 18, but i think i’ve been alive longer than that.

See all posts by Halli Booth