Speechless

Eve’s eyes spring open. She has had the dream again; the one in which she falls endlessly down a tunnel of bright lights, always expecting her back to hit hard against a ground it never reaches.

The heavy pull of gravity is almost more than she can take, so she opens her mouth to scream for help – and she does. In its own rebellion, her voice lifts out of her and shoots upright against the gravity that retains its grip on her body. But as she dispels the sound of her struggle, the fear fades away behind it. The sound is bigger than the gravity, and her ability to produce it magnifies her own power. It’s not just something she can hear; it’s something she can feel and something she can see.

The scream vibrates against her diaphragm, compressing the air inside of her. Her rib cage squeezes inwards, her chest tightens, her spine stiffens. The sound crawls through every nook of her bodily tissue, escaping from depths of her she had never before known to exist. The oxygen she relies upon expels through the gaping orifice she barely recognizes as her own mouth, and even though she knows she’ll run out soon, it feels good. The violence of the gravity she’s been fighting suddenly feels less like its pulling her, and more like its carrying her back to Earth; back home. Not that any of that matters anymore: she is now infatuated with the sensation of the scream exploding inside of her. And when it does, its incoherently beautiful.

The scream corrugates the air around her, and fills the tunnel. What was once a space of absence – white, cold, and infinite – becomes a storm of dancing colors. Reds wind themselves around yellows, which wind themselves around greens, until all the colors coexist. Even the white bodysuit that covers every inch of her own body absorbs the scream until its bursting with vibrancy. The falling suddenly becomes floating as the scream wraps itself around her, swaddling her like a mother’s hug. She reaches out an uncertain hand, hoping to steal a piece of the liveliness and keep it with her forever. But instead, for the first time, the insidious impact that she forgets to brace for comes.

Her lungs and heart thud against her chest expecting to break free and a final gush of air releases. This time, though, there is no sound because Eve is back in her sleep dome, wide-eyed. Ripped back to reality, the floating has returned – because in her reality, there is no gravity, no measurable oxygen, and no beautiful sound. Residual memories, she supposes.

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©

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