The Death of a Child

I’m bleak.

Every now and then I want to jump from the 14th floor. I’m dreaming.

I get into a yellow cab, it’s 3:48 in the morning and we’re parked next to a parking garage. The wind is blowing and I’m taking the night in. I feel calm, relaxed, as if nothing in the world could disturb my feelings of tranquility. Suddenly I see something out of the corner of my eye, I get out in a feeling of panic as dark ghosts are chasing me everywhere. They are souls black as coal, at the moment that they touch you, you burn. All of the taxi lights shut off, I begin to lose all hope, no one is coming for me, I already knew that. I hide behind a brick wall at the beginning of the building, I can still feel a soft wind, but it is not consoling me as my heart pumps my blood quickly. I’m hoping that the ghosts don’t see me–they’ll suck my soul up if they do, they’ll turn me into them– but they follow me until they are upon me. I run fast, I turn near a white car in the parking garage.The garage feels lonely and hot. My body is sweating and I suddenly feel how fatigued I am.

My soft hair is clinging to my neck, making me feel as if the ghosts were the ones stroking it with fingers made of the coolest breeze and giving me chills. I run and hide behind the white car, I look around and I take in the details of the garage quickly. It is full of windows, slightly tinted, and it is rectangular and large, but it can get confusing as to which slopes will be going up and which will be going down. A dark ghost looks at me through the car window, its eyes are white, but empty and its hair is in gray tufts, it’s dressed in raggedy clothes. I’m scared, so I start to cry and I run somewhere else, anywhere that I can run to, but in my panic I lose myself on the first floor. I trip and the ghosts’ shrill laughter follows me. I’m right next to the exit, but still I run up the ramp onto the second floor. There is steel everywhere and the ground feels comforting; I just want to lay down on the ground and shut my eyes tight, take a rest and never wake up again, but I keep going. As soon as I touch the metal railing, my hands feel achy and hot. The ghost floats quickly after me so I run fast and scrape my hand on the silver, cool metal. If my hand felt achy before, it’s burning red with blood now. The ghosts lick up the drops of blood on the ground and I run.

With calves hurting and beads of sweat on my forehead I start to feel dizzy, I sway a bit and almost fall, but I feel one of the ghosts, the shrillness of the air lets me know before it arrives so I find the strength to become alert. There are white lights everywhere and for some reason they make me feel more alone than ever, they are cold and reminders of a death that is coming and thus, they confuse me. The steel is steady, so I follow it to the third floor of the parking garage. I don’t understand why the ghosts follow me and taunt me. Laughing and screaming amongst themselves, I am their target. I don’t understand why no passerby notices the struggle, there must be bystanders– I know I’m alone.

I look around frantically and see that there is a white bus in the parking garage and I try to hide inside of it. The doors are hard to open, but eventually I pry them open–my nails begin to bleed– and I hide in the middle of two seats. I breathe a few times, think quickly about what to do next, but feel the dread of what is coming. My body is shaking and I keep hiding. The ghosts don’t know where I am yet, but I begin to smell copper. I look down at my hand and it’s bleeding, but I don’t think that’s where the coppery smell is coming from. My nose begins to itch a lot and I notice that when I try to sniff I choke a bit on my own blood, dripping from my nostrils. I’m tasting my blood, I hate how it tastes. I can hardly breathe now and my tears are coming down faster, making my eyesight hazy and a wave of dizziness comes over me—my eyes are now burning too.

The ghosts turn away from the bus and I run outside. I run to the next floor and I hear an engine. There is a security guard driving a little white security vehicle. I can hear it nearing me and I ask for help, this alerts the ghosts and they gain onto me. The security vehicle nears me with a red light flashing and we’re surrounded by machinery, I suddenly feel as if I were in a slaughterhouse. The figure in the security uniform smiles at me as I approach it. Eyes are fully black as they pierce right to my core. It pretends to want to help me by extending an thin, pale arm and I scream as I notice that it’s another ghost. All I can smell is my pouring blood and the putrid scent of the ghosts as they all gain up on me, it’s revolting and I fight the urge to throw up. I run as fast as my body lets me, but they have me cornered at the window. They float towards me quickly, they look hungry; the ghost dressed as the security guard nears me in his white vehicle, it gives me a look of death. Blackness begins to surround me, but there are bright white lights that don’t illuminate a single thing. I run towards the glass, I shatter it, cutting myself all over, and I’m falling down. I keep falling down towards the dark, yellow cab and I notice that the driver of the cab is red with prickled skin. He looks at me with a menacing smile as I land on the floor. I scream and I look up as I lay dying.

On the fourteenth floor I look out the window. I see my face looking up at me begging and crying, as my whole body is broken and bleeding. The city begins to smell like copper and the ghosts are everywhere, surrounding me, trying to feed off of me. The ghosts surrounding me reach towards me and I see open mouths with sharp teeth. I don’t think, I just shatter the glass and I’m on the street downstairs in the same broken position as my body outside of the parking garage.

All ghosts laugh. Pain is all I feel as I lose consciousness slowly.

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I Wish to See Him Again, that Young Man Who Made Me Feel in Such a Way

The train was not too packed, but there were plenty of people surrounding me as I sat on the seat. In 14 stops I would arrive near my destination, alone. I looked around, a woman with a puppy kernel and a bandana around her head, three girls who looked to be of Russian descent sat across me, dressed in pastels with blue, blue eyes—they eyed me slightly unkindly—a woman standing in front of me holding on to the rail smiled quickly at me, I returned the smile and then I saw him… He was tall, wearing a black long-sleeved shirt, light gray shorts, and a navy blue rosary around his neck. His hair was untamed, tussled and thick dark brown; it went well with his tan skin and with the navy blue tattoos hidden on his chest. He was so interesting to me.

I sat wearing a light navy blue shirt and jeans, a flower clip on my hair which was extra wavy due to the humidity from the day’s ongoing rain. I was listening to Alone, Alone, an instrumental song by Hungry Ghosts and I stared up at him. Oddly enough we both smiled to each other, it was one of those shy smiles in which your eyes crease at the sides and your cheeks make your face look extra cubic. The smiles lasted about five second and in those five seconds I saw in him what I am certain that he saw in me. I saw kindness and understanding coming from a complete stranger. I felt a feeling of exhilaration at the openness that we both gave to each other. Our exchanging smiles fit together, like a bolt and a socket.

My heart was pounding and my blood was rushing in sync with this young man’s smile. My thoughts rushed by so quickly, I hardly had a chance to catch them. I can’t remember my thoughts from that moment, only how I felt about our exchange. As I looked on and he looked on, I felt safe, understood, cared for, and seen as beautiful with no restrictions. We kept smiling at each other; not knowing what to do we almost began chuckling. At that moment, it was only he and I on the train and our silent conversation felt as soft and overwhelming as silk cloth enveloping the body. He was so interesting.

I looked away; I could no longer fight his gaze. Normally I am the last to pull away, but for some reason this complete stranger broke my rules, my laws, and changed something in me at that moment. I was so shocked to feel the shyness and the blushing of my cheeks as I looked down onto my lap. I felt as if he were still looking, I still felt the warmth he brought forth in me—safety and understanding. I thought about the exchange that just occurred and then I looked at him again. Again, the smiles came naturally, that same smile that you would give someone who inspires you, admires you, and makes you feel as if all in the world is right for a split, everlasting second.

I felt as if the sun were shining its rays onto me on a cold winter day.  I felt warm and cozy; it was just he and I smiling at each other again. The shyness bubbled up within my body and face once again because I could not bear the love emanating from him smile and from mine. I didn’t even know his name! I looked away quickly again, down to my feet this time as I continued to think about him. This happened once more and then no more after that, he got off at Union Square Station, before Astor, where I would leave the train and the encounter behind. I tried to catch a glimpse of him as he exited the train, but the reality was that the train was quite populated and I could not see his face again. He had a strong, but kind face. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his eyes turn onto my face before he disappeared. I had half hoped that he would have gotten off at Astor instead of Union Square, but in life things are ephemeral.

As the train neared my stop I felt a twinge of regret. I wish I could have introduced myself, gotten his name, had dinner with him. That evening I dined alone in a Bangladeshi Restaurant in which the waiter serving me was so friendly that he placed a kiss on my cheek and asked me to go to a bar with him so that we could have drinks and dance. I told him I was underage, not 21 yet and he said that instead of drinks we could just dance. I told him maybe and I thought about the young man I met on the train with his tousled hair and light-brown skin. He was so beautiful outwardly and inwardly. I wanted to have met him. I regret it now, I regret not introducing myself when I had the chance. I felt ashamed that I was so immobilized by his smile and his gaze.

Another man at the restaurant who was a bit older was holding a bottle of wine and he said hello to me. He was just as friendly as the waiter and asked me if I would like to join him for a drink. I was just about to leave; I was so shocked at how much attention I was receiving by these men who I knew nothing of, unlike that young man on the train. Although I didn’t know where he came from, his name, or particularly where he was going, I knew him better than I knew some of my closest friends and he knew me the same. We were on the same level and I hope that he is thinking of me right now.

As I walked back to the train station to head home, I kept seeing all of these young couples so madly in love. I felt as if the universe were trying to tell me that I gave up on an opportunity to find something like that. An opportunity to even make a friend like that, so kind and understanding—someone who bared their soul on their face, like I. I kept seeing him in my mind, feeling his smiles and warmth, that shyness over and over again and then, when I realized that I would most likely never see him again, I felt more alone than I had felt in a long, long time. The train just kept moving Uptown and I was swaying with its motions as all of the couples embraced, gazed into each other’s eyes, and laughed together.