Ari’s Short Story

Ari's Short Story

Ari Persaud, Writer

CW: Death, murder, religion, depressing themes.

 

I reach my hand out towards the darkness before me. The heavy, almost comforting weight of the unknown. I call, ears ringing as I hear the echo of my own voice, bouncing off the boundaries of my newfound home. If a person calls out with no one around to hear, do they truly exist? Or is it just the selfish want to be heard, drowning out all opposition?

 

 

Lyric stepped back, trembling palms facing ahead. Their breath hitched as they felt a cold breeze wrap around their torso, like a sheet of ice disguised as a blanket. They looked around them, looking for something, anything except for this endless field of murk. Their once golden brown hands seemed to appear more grey than brown, now. A desaturated, pale, grey. Fitting for such an immemorable, futile, failure.

All they wanted was to be remembered. Was that too much to ask? Apparently so, because this was where Lyric was destined to be. They didn’t sacrifice enough to God. They didn’t catch Her eye, impress Her, nor make Her proud. If God were to look at them now, She would be disgusted. Wasted potential. Wasted life. Wasted creation of man. God took Her time creating Lyric. She gave them heavenly green eyes, as fresh and youthful as a blade of grass. Coily, springy, brown hair, that rained down their shoulders. A birthmark in the middle of their 

forehead, deep brown and uniquely shaped. Lyric assumed this was a kiss to the forehead from God Herself, however they were terribly mistaken. 

These gifts from God were meant to help them become memorable, they had to be. Why else would God spend so much time on one human being? God had plans for Lyric. For them to make a difference in the world; to become unforgettable. However, they failed God. This was now their fate.

Lyric was raised in a rather simple household. A mother and a father who loved them dearly, a steady income to pay the bills, and a family dog to help time pass. These components almost made up for the way that they were raised… almost. Lyric was raised in a house where one thing was valued over all: memorability. In this world, people spend their lives working, stressing, and planning. All in order to impact others, and remain within their memories. For, when you die, you only last as long as you do in their memories. Then, you will slowly fade away, into a speck of nothingness, drifting between time and space.

This idea haunted Lyric. Day by day, it was all they could think about. The more it was mentioned, the stronger their obsession grew. In the morning, Lyric would make themselves as presentable as possible, striving for their best each and every day to make Her proud. They would excel in their studies, participate in extracurricular activities, and speak to as many people as they could. All of this, just to remain in their memories. Lyric kept a list of ongoing companions, carefully examining every way they made themselves memorable.

Though it may seem like Lyric has been practicing these habits for years, they had only just begun their journey of remembrance. They planned what activities they would take part in, their homework schedule, clubs that they would start, and many more attempts at becoming memorable. They were quite proud of themselves, as the plan seemed fool-proof. However, something fell and blocked their path… quite literally. 

November 12th, 2020. 13 year old Lyric Caldwell went on a walk through the woods, collecting pine cones and other foliage for a middle school project. Their bright red rain boots made it easy to find the body, as they were sticking up from under the colossal tree that fell.

Lyric gripped their backpack tightly, boots sludging through the spongy dirt as they made their way through the trail. Occasionally they would pause and examine a plant, picking a few to bring back home for their assignment. Though the assignment specifically stated that gathering physical plants was optional, the pressure to exceed expectations remained. They gasped as something caught their attention. A blue hydrangea rested against the base of a tree, several feet away. Lyric jumped up excitedly, the hairs on their arms standing up as they approached the tree. This would be perfect for their board! They crouched down to eye level and gently plucked the base of the flower, too focused to notice that the tree was quite unstable. 

A loud creaking noise invaded their ears as they looked up, vision shaking. The tree was moving forward. Lyric shook in fear, too afraid to move. The flower had abandoned the grip of their fingers moments ago. All they had to do was move. Move. MOVE. “MOVE, LYRIC!” Their inner thoughts screamed. Yet, they did not. A thud was heard as Lyric exhaled their final breath, tears prickling in the corners of their eyes. “I will not be remembered.”

Those were the final thoughts of young Lyric Caldwell. Before they transcended into the afterlife. They knew that they wouldn’t last long. They isolated themselves for the most part due to their severe anxiety, hence their plans for bettering themselves in the future. The future… The future that was taken from them. All because they were selfish. If they hadn’t been so selfish, wanting to claim all the glory, wanting to be remembered so well, maybe they would still be alive. They deserved what was coming. God was punishing them.

Lyric sat up from their spot on the ground, brushing their cold, coily hair out of their face. No, God created me with a purpose. I cannot fail Her now. There must be a way to fix this. They looked around their surroundings, squinting their eyes. There had to be something, anything to help them become memorable. They were wasting time each second they stood still, they had to do something. 

The sound of wet rainboots echoed through the chasms of the unknown. Lyric ran with all the strength they could muster, looking straight ahead. They didn’t dare to look behind them, for one glance of their past would send them running back to where they belong. Lyric’s lungs burned, pleading for air, but they continued to move forward. After a few minutes passed, they came to a complete stop. They didn’t believe what they saw before them: a light. The reflection of the glowing orb mirrored itself in the pupils of their eyes. A white, incandescent light. This was Lyric’s only hope. A final chance from Her. It had to be. 

Lyric ran once more, the adrenaline of excitement taking over as the orb grew larger and larger in their vision. As they grew closer to the orb, it began to look more and more… human. A glowing man with flawless white skin, a rather thin build, and radiant blue eyes. He tilted his head at Lyric once they got closer, examining them. “Who are you?” The man asked, holding out a hand to introduce himself. Lyric flinched and backed away further, keeping a six foot distance between themselves and the man. The phrasing of such a sentence caused an ache in their heart, making them remember how forgettable they truly are. Tears pricked their eyes as they glanced back at the man, words refusing to escape the tight-sealed chamber of their mouth. The man was glowing with remembrance, yet Lyric was a faded, dull grey. How embarrassing to look such a way in front of such an important man. 

The words that came out of the man’s mouth went through one ear and out the other. They may as well have traveled back through the man’s mouth, as they were a waste of his breath. Lyric couldn’t express why, but the more the man spoke, the angrier they became. He was so old, so full of memories, he was given so much more time. Why weren’t they given as much? They deserved more! They truly did!

Their hands began to shake as they looked up at the man with teary eyes, brows furrowed and teeth grit. Lyric choked back a sob as their left foot stepped forward. Then the right. Then the left. Then the right. Next thing they knew, their hands were around his neck, choking him. The man gasped for air, which was a bit confusing to Lyric, as they were already dead. But those thoughts were nudged away once the man fell limp. Lyric froze. What have I done… What have I done.

“I… I didn’t mean to! I am so sorry!” Lyric jumped back and raised their hands above their head, as if they were about to be arrested. Tears ran down their cheeks, like raindrops during a terrible, dangerous storm. They looked back at the man as their vision shook. His once glowing, radiant skin was now a dull, deep grey. Somehow darker than Lyric’s skin once was. As they looked back at their feet, the tears suddenly stopped. They blinked once and their vision remained still. Their once shaky hands were now at their sides, as if they were commanded to stop.

Lyric touched their face to wipe away the tears, fingers brushing against their… suddenly warm cheek. They gazed down and immediately covered their mouth in awe. “God… did you do this? For me?” They gasped and wiggled their left index finger, eyes opened wide as they took their first glance at their new glow. They were glimmering! Brighter than that old, privileged man! Lyric bounced up and down in joy, hands now shaking for a new reason. “God! Thank you God! Thank you so much for blessing me with such power! I love you! I knew you would help me! God I am so very blessed! Please let me thank you! Please speak to me! Please let me express my gratitude for your kindness!”

The floor shook. A loud, crackling noise erupted from the location of the old man’s body. Lyric gasped and backed away from it, hands up in defense. Large, glowing, white cracks emerged on the surface causing the ground below it to crumble. As the man’s body fell into the abyss, a voice spoke to Lyric. “You are a failure. Lyric Caldwell, you stole this man’s life. Ripped it away from his kind, loving throat. Did you not listen to a word he said to you?” Lyric choked, pupils shrinking in fear as they shakily shook their head. “Give me one damn good reason why I, your god, should let you live. After taking advantage of this man’s kindness, stealing his life, and not feeling one ounce of remorse.” Lyric couldn’t think of a single good reason why. Their heart plummeted to the floor as they dropped to the ground. Tears ran down their cheeks once more, this time much more violently. They sobbed continuously, unable to give God one good reason to live. 

What happened next sent shock through Lyric’s spine. Their throat began to close, as if someone had their hands wrapped around their neck. Their vision turned black once more, hands resisting against this invisible force. No! No, no, no! It cannot end like this. God, please! Give me one more chance! I thought I was supposed to! I didn’t know any better, please God teach me your ways!

Soon, Lyric’s body fell limp, and so did their thoughts. Not a single thought ran through their mind as they felt themselves fall. The force of their body tumbling through thin air created some sort of breeze, chilling their lax, frozen body. Their coily grey hair knotted in the wind, turning into a nest of matted, tangled, mess. Their vision shook.hough all they saw was black, they could feel the spasms of their irises. Not a struggle was made, Lyric took The Fall. With a final thud, Lyric’s second life was ended, just as the first was. 

 

Glory be to God.