A fictional response to a one-word writing prompt
The final time I used my eyes was to take in every possible color. The sunset sky started above me with deep blue hues, smoothly taking me down the spectrum from yellows through oranges until dropping me at red right at the horizon. Then the ocean started, mirroring all of the above, taking me in reverse from reds to blues to unfathomable black somewhere way beneath my feet.
I was cliffside, unwillingly taking in the sea-salt breeze, bound with zipties at my ankles and wrists and propped up painfully on some sort of dolly. The ocean was below, far enough away to make me dizzy. A raggedy gag in my mouth made certain that I couldn’t make much noise and also that I couldn’t ask questions. A single shove would send me down to drown.
My ears were unimpeded but all the same I found the moment to be amazingly quiet. Even if I squinted my attention I could barely hear the waves. A cold wind buffeted me sporadically, making me shiver against the colder metal of the dolly. They’d taken most of my clothes off but my undergarments remained. I felt the metal against my feet, against the backs of my calves, against my arms bound painfully behind me.
I couldn’t hear my captors at all. I’d woken up with a terrible headache as I was wheeled out to the cliff, screaming in panic against my mouthrag as I figured out that I was captured and screaming again as I figured out that I was about to be thrown to my death. When I woke up, though, nobody had said a word to me. The dolly had arrived at the edge and stopped, and then nothing had happened. I didn’t hear any footsteps walking away from me, so I could only presume that there was at least one person standing silently behind me.
I had a very deep headache. I didn’t know if I was bound to the dolly at all, but moving my body too much made me feel like I was going to fall down the cliff. I wanted to somehow turn around to see who had taken me, to make eye contact, to make some sort of pleading appeal, but my tentative attempts at twisting my neck and torso proved to be futile. The only possible movement for me was forward, and so downward.
In my helplessness my mind bounced from extreme to extreme, total absence and total presence. I felt my thoughts sprinting through the list of everyone I knew and everyone I had ever harmed, everyone I had ever noticed then ignored, fighting to find some old grudge to explain who hated me enough to execute me. Then I was all there, grasping desperately onto every sensation, as if attending hard enough to the color of the sky would make this sunset last forever. Then I was thinking about the news, about conflicts the world over, and wondering if I was about to be destroyed to prove an abstract point. Then it was my heart, pounding so hard the dolly shook back and forth, a farewell lullaby rocking me to sleep at over one hundred and twenty beats per minute.
In my final moments I felt every moment of my past revealed as also being final. My mortality was just as present last week, blissfully unnoticed. I held this last sunset in my hypervigilant vision as I strained my mind to remember what I’d had for breakfast this morning, tried so hard to make it feel equally as vivid to me, equally as important, equally as stamped with significance. Too late, I realized that my final hundred heartbeats were no less important than my final hundred thousand.
And then I was falling. The world whirled around as suddenly I hit a hard surface, sooner than I’d expected, tumbling down a scratchy grassy slope as with a couple quick snaps my arms and legs suddenly flew free, me reaching out to slow myself and finding myself amazingly numb, trying to catch a look behind me as I helplessly span and seeing someone standing and watching me fall with a face that looked to me to be entirely made of eyes, thousands of eyes watching me unblinking as suddenly it was night.
I awoke, again, as my bloody body stang with terrible salt, bobbing in the waves, gasping for air, reaching up to touch the emptiness where I knew my eyes should be and feeling some horribly-rearranged jelly. My world was an empty blackness full of roaring sound, every wave lifting me and dropping me freely, my gushing blood suspended between what I could only guess was the endless night sky above and the bottomless ocean below, my body shimmering with pain between twin eternities of darkness.
And then there was sand, and the shore, and my mind watching myself from a dimly-lit distance as I crawled back to land on my ever-red hands and knees, and then every moment since spent clutching at whatever I can feel, even where my skin had been sanded all the way down to nothing.