Fiction

Eternal Moon: Echoes Across Time

By David Martin

     Isaiah stood up abruptly causing the cool, silky sheets to fall from around his shoulders and onto the bed. He promptly searched the room in an attempt to get his bearings — nothing had changed. The television was still mounted on the wall. The chair, long reduced to carrying clothes and other garments, still emptily teased him as it sat directly across from his bed. And the pale off white paint on the walls reminded him that this was never meant to be his home. Thankfully, the light from the window brought life to this otherwise cold and quiet room.

     Sleepily, Isaiah stared out into the soft reddish-purple background of the mid-sunset sky as he tried to wake himself up. In spite of his best efforts, the faint glow of dusk mixed in with the pacific sky quickly and eagerly beckoned him back to rest for a little longer. As his eyes lost focus, feelings of freedom, independence, and love surrounded by friends in a different world were as real as the one he was awake in. 

     In fact, for the first time in a while, he was having a good dream; and most importantly, it was the type of surreal experience that doesn’t force you to validate it. Sadly, the peace was short-lived. The intense sound of the alarm outside Isaiah’s door shattered his tranquility and evoked rage. How much longer must I suffer this indignity? 

     Isaiah’s eyebrows arched and his nostrils began to flare and as if on cue; all of the events that led him up to this point in time played across the screen of his imagination like a movie in a dark empty theater. One by one, the images of his mother and the friends he had lost over the course of his life forcefully and yet somewhat gracefully took center stage in his mind’s eye. Isaiah could not help but feel cursed to endure moments like this, where life mocked any attempt he made to exemplify a modicum of control or direction. 

     As he continued to sit and reflect on this plight, he heard the sounds of people moving sporadically outside of his room.

     “We’ve got a code yellow, a patient has attacked an attendant. All other patients must return to their rooms.”

     Ahh, another Sunday afternoon. Another person deciding they’d had enough. As the sound of attendees running back and forth began to move away from his room, Isaiah tried to take hold of the situation by closing his eyes and relaxing back into his bed. Where was I, in that dream? Who was I talking to? It was going so fast. What was that part I really enjoyed? 

     This query was quickly interrupted as Isaiah heard his name being called.

     “Isaiah, baby, come on we have to go.”

     Isaiah peeked his eyes open as he heard that familiar voice and for the second time that day he jumped up from his bed. Only this time, he was happy that he could run across the room and greet the person standing there. 

     “Emily, what’s going on? Are you okay?”

     Isaiah took a deep breath and paused as he surveyed the love of his life. However, instead of using his eyes, he used his heart. Emily wrapped her arms around Isaiah.

     “Oh, Isaiah, it’s a madhouse out there. There’s people fighting and dancing and screaming. Can’t we just get out of here?”

     Isaiah had often thought of this moment, but now that it had come to pass, he felt a bit tentative.     

     “Well, Emily, I don’t have much. And, if we leave, it will just be you and me out there.”

     Emily hugged Isaiah and spoke into his ear. 

     “Baby, as long as we’re together, what more do we need? I mean, deep down, I know that we will always be alright.”

     At the core of his very essence, Isaiah felt the same way Emily did. And above all, Isaiah knew that they were soul mates. Even if it defied reason or logic, Isaiah was not going to let that stop him now. In fact, the smartest thing he could do was to trust her guidance and, if necessary, follow Emily to the ends of the Earth. 

     Without delay, Isaiah shifted himself back into the present moment, ran to the drawer in which he kept his most important belongings and proceeded to carefully arrange them in the pockets of the clothes he was wearing. As his mind began to race, Isaiah decided that he would only carry the things he could not live without. And that was the birthday card his mother had given him on his tenth birthday. After noticing the wear and tear that was already changing the original composition of the card, Isaiah made sure to be extremely careful with it as he slipped it into his jean’s pocket 

     Isaiah started to step towards the door and exit his room. Oddly enough, he hurried past the same empty chair that constantly taunted him during his time at the hospital ceaselessly reminding him of the fact that it held more clothes than it did people. Isaiah felt a certain rage rise up again. Feeling empowered, Isaiah kicked the chair over onto its side and bid farewell to the purgatory styled room that he would no longer allow to hold him captive. Good riddance. 

     With the majority of the attendees focusing on the patient that was responsible for this chaotic situation, Isaiah and Emily slipped past the confusion and into the hallway. Emily signaled for Isaiah to follow her as she moved towards the emergency door and up the stairs. 

Isaiah stayed close, but he could not stop himself from acknowledging the growing feeling of anxiety that was twisting his stomach like a balloon animal. After all, everyone sort of unofficially knew that it was best to just stay away from the obscurity of the staircase, especially since it was out of camera range.

     “Where are we going, Em? Lot’s of bad things happen here in this staircase.”

     “I know, honey, but sometimes in order to get where we want to go, we have to overcome the things that scare us or make us feel uncomfortable. So, just trust me okay.”

     Emily’s words brought Isaiah peace, but they did not change the fact that the emergency staircase was a dark, dry place. Since Isaiah’s room was right next door to it, he often saw patients and staff go in there and do all types of horrendous and immoral things. Whenever that happened, Isaiah ran and sat on the floor behind his bed and tried not to let his mind wander. Why are they going in there? And what are they going to do while they are in there? Was that a scream?

     Meanwhile, as Isaiah opened up the door that led to the emergency staircase, he could not help but be overcome by the smell of mildew and old air. Isaiah’s mouth began to curl as the smell reached deeper into his nostrils and into his lungs. Ugh! that’s disgusting. No wonder no one likes being in here. To steady himself, Isaiah successfully reached out to the railing that lined the staircase but failed at stifling the sound he made after the feeling of the dust from the railing made contact with the bottom of his palm. Emily heard Isaiah shout and quickly reassured him that everything would be okay.

     “We’re almost there, sweetheart. Just a little bit further and we’ll be gone from this forgotten place.”

     With his eyes still closed, expecting to feel another step against his foot, Isaiah almost tripped when he reached the top of the staircase. Emily stopped, saw that he was alright and then urged him forward.

     “Just through this door, my love, just you and me, and we’ll be free.”

     Isaiah clasped her hand and felt the breeze from outside wash against his face. The night air was invigorating. It was such a big difference from the damp, sterile hallways of the hospital. The moment was so overwhelming that the nerves in Isaiah’s body caused him to twitch and shake. Without judgement, Emily held on to his hand.

     “It’s okay, Isaiah, we’re safe here. Open your eyes.”

     Isaiah opened his eyes and took in the dazzling array of tall buildings and various colored sky lights. He even lifted his head up and noticed that there was a full moon. 

     “It’s beautiful, the moon! It’s so beautiful!”

     Isaiah was enthralled with his newly inherited freedom. So much so that he wrapped his arms around Emily and kissed her.

     “It’s gonna be me and you, babe. We’re going to start a family. I’m gonna be a dad.”

     So caught up in the celebration, Isaiah failed to realize that they had tripped the alarm after opening the emergency door. Footsteps approached. 

    “Em, baby, do you hear that?” Emily stopped and told Isaiah to focus only on her voice.

    “Isaiah, I don’t want you to worry about this hospital or the life you used to have. I want you to close your eyes, take my hand, and think about all the fun times we’re going to have now that we are together. I want you to go home with me.”

     Isaiah’s heart began to race as the sound of the alarm seemed determined to bring him back to the tight grip of reality. Isaiah stood for a moment as he tried to regain his composure. He then saw the attendees making it to the rooftop.

     “Isaiah Thornton, come back here. Right now!” Emily gripped Isaiah’s hand very tight.

     “Babe, don’t look back at what you left. Think about me and what we have. They never meant you any good.” 

     The light of the moon began to pierce through Isaiah’s eyelids while the warmth of the Pacific northwestern breeze simultaneously brought life back to his body. Isaiah walked forward as he thought about Emily, and all the fun times they had together.

     “You’re right. I deserve better. I deserve to be with you. I’m done with this place. They always laughed at me and called me crazy. Now you are here and they don’t want me to leave. I want to go home with you.” 

     “Well, then just keep thinking about me, baby. I want you to reach out into the light of the moon and dance with me in your arms. Take the step towards me, and we’ll be together forever.”

     At this point, the guards and attendees sprint towards Isaiah, in an attempt to physically remove him from the edge of the roof. By the time the guards reached him, it was too late. Isaiah had made up his mind. He knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Emily and, with a leap of faith, he decided to leave that place forever.

©2021 by URBANA 

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