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Last updateTue, 06 Aug 2013 2am

Saturday, 02 April 2011 20:12

Birthday Boy

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“I wake up in a field; I am a young adult, again. Although I feel as if I have just been born. I stand and am amazed by the world around me. The grass has almost all been burnt away, what is remaining is the withered brown kind, a hospice patient knowing death is approaching.

The trees are mostly burnt away. What is left are decaying branches. The more I look around this land, the more barren I realise it is. Unlike a desert where it is clear there is no life, this place has remains, postcards from the past, which merely mocks you with what was.

I am not aware what state I am in. This feels like the most real thing I have ever experienced. No pop-culture references come to mind, I don’t remember anything that was. I feel nothing but fear. I try to take three steps forward, but on the second I fall onto my knees as if a godlike force is making me pray to him. When I see the sky, I begin to weep. It is full of clouds, yet everything is red. As if God has put a filter lens over my iris. ‘Dear God’ I say to myself, and weep some more. ‘Dear God’.”

“Red is often a sign of anger and can often mean new beginnings”

“Please don’t interrupt me.”


“Ok. I go to where my tears are on my arm, when I realize that I am naked. I study my own arm, which seems to be a foreign object to me, and realize I am hairless. I am simultaneously exposed on my head and around my genitals. Once again, I feel new born.

I look to my right and see that there is a path through the trees, perhaps it used to be a wood. I stand, the whole process seeming new to me, as if I was doing it for the first time. My feet stagger towards the pathway, zombie like, slowly taking me towards my destination.

I stop to rest my legs. My head turns over my shoulder to see how far I have gone. I am just over ten meters away from my birth spot. Already I am out of breath and my legs feel as if they are on fire. I bend over to feel my new legs and notice that I have been walking on gravel. Sharp faded rocks, which are sharp enough to make a spear. My heart rate returns to normal and I notice my feet are not hurt, or wounded, at all. I rest my head against the tree and it is covered in ash. Then I stand up right. Am I human anymore?

I carry on staggering through the decaying forest, and I am able to recall very little. Few memories, what I have left isn’t clear, mere fragments like a broken film or drunken mind. I remember almost nothing. The only memory that seems truly clear is a family. Me, a woman and a child. I am not sure if they are my family as I bear no affection for them. There is a cake and I am looking at the boy, he is looking at the woman and she is looking at me. Perhaps it is someone’s birthday, it is all unclear.

I carry on through the forest for what seemed like tens of miles, but must have been hundreds of meters. Walking past trees that are fallen down, few standing upright. No signs of life. All of them black, burnt. I am not sure what it is like, as I have no experience to compare it too. I come across a tree with a large lump in the middle. It is dripping water and for a minute I stare. The water is cumulating in a puddle. I realize this is the first form of water I have seen so far, I should drink some. Drink, you remember what that means, but nothing else. The more I drink the less my throat burns.

I lie down and my entire body is covered in ash from my impact. I dream of the birthday party again. The image is so vivid yet I still can’t figure out whose birthday it is.

I awake to a horrible noise, a buzzing in my ears. It sounds as if it is getting closer. I do not recognize this noise, but my body does. Adrenalin shoots through me and it takes me a moment to realize I am running. I was reborn on this day, when I could hardly walk, but now I run. Blistered lips smile, I want to congratulate myself, but I just run.

The noise gets closer and closer and I now know that whatever it is, I cannot out run it. I fall to my knees. Tears – I am crying again. I weep for a minute or two as I hear the noise get closer. My muscles begin to ache and my ears bleed. I feel intense pain in my head as if it is being compressed. I close my eyes and begin to see the family again. I think to myself, perhaps the last ever thought in existence, today is my birthday.

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Jay Slayton-Joslin

Jay Slayton-Joslin runs his own website, www.jayslaytonjoslin.com , where he interviews writers and uploads his own writing. When not writing, Jay enjoys reading and watching films. Jay recreationally studies astronomy and has a fascination with the unknown. Later this year he will be studying Psychology at an undecided university.

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