‘Mad from life's history, Glad to death's mystery, Swift to be hurl'd-- Anywhere, Anywhere, Out of the world!’ -Bridge of Sighs, Thomas Hood (1844)
At one point or another everyone has felt this way. A sense of unbelonging. A feeling in which, you get this ache, an ache to grab anything you can and just… Run. It doesn’t matter where to, just anywhere that isn’t where you are now.
For some, this fades over time, after all, bonds create a sense of belonging. Humans are social animals. We will look for our herds until we can find them. But for others, this sense does not fade. For a few, they may end up being involved in more fringe groups. Finding that, the groups of polite society have not fit them thus far. Most of the time they end up there by choice, and they stay solely to avoid loneliness.
However, often, most people who still feel this way quietly carry this feeling deep within them. Pretending for the rest of the world not to have this caged animal feeling deep inside them. Gnawing away at whatever makes them maintain face for society.
Shura was one of these people. She carried this feeling within the pits of her stomach, almost hearing the snorting and growling of an animal desperate to run. It wasn’t uncommon for her to have fantasies of just rushing out of her door and taking off into whatever field was closest to her house and disappearing into the woods never to be seen or heard from again.
Maybe she was being dramatic. Much like others her age she had seen online, prostrating about how they wanted to have a romantic thing like that happening to them. To create some mystery about them to everyone they know and to go live in the woods. She often got a chuckle out of postings that remarked about wanting to be spirited away by fairies or aliens. Standing in fields banging pots and pans, shouting at the tops of their lungs 'it'd be really bad if some fairies spirited me away!' Maybe being melodramatic was a generational characteristic. She’d believe it if she saw it in a paper. Probably remark under her breath, ‘sounds about right.’ Before getting on with her day.
Nevertheless, the feeling stayed. Maybe for dramatics, or maybe due to some unfulfilled need deep inside of her. It only grew, and never faded. Some days she’d forget about it, if only for a moment. But when the feeling hit her again, it was like being doused in cold water from a deep sleep.
Panic attacks were common, especially at night. Shura’s senses would be on alarm and the more underdeveloped part of her brain would scream at her ‘danger! Danger! Run! Run!’ But Shura knew there wasn’t any danger, there never was. It took a while, but she realized that she couldn’t trust that part of her brain. It was being lied to by the rest of her body.
Anxiety is what most doctors called it, Shura was inclined to agree. After all, they knew more about the human body than she did. Always big on science, she was willing to believe whatever they could back up.
Today had been hard, it was her last day at work. Her work had not been hard, she merely had to run a gift shop in town. While at first, having to speak to over two hundred people a day had been rough. After all, she was only used to speaking to the limited number of people in her life. But dealing with different people, it was exhausting. While she would miss the money, though it wasn’t much, she was glad that it was over.
Having to stay in that gift shop at all hours of the day did nothing for that feeling inside of her. Some days she was able to keep that feeling down. Others, she couldn’t stand anyone and wanted to burn that thing to the ground.
It was an easy job, but something about it always seemed to pick at a sensitive spot within her.
Then again, dealing with older and uninformed people didn’t seem to help matters. Her mouth nearly bled on multiple occasions trying to stop herself from correcting the assumptions of others. An older gentleman asked his son if he believed that aliens made the rock in one of their displays in the building that had the gift shop. Another woman, admitting to being Irish went on a long and political rant about how much she hated immigrants. Shura had to stand there and listen to her sudden rant that came out of nowhere. She had only asked if she would like to buy a mug.
But once she saw where it was made, well, it seemed that it triggered the rant somehow. Though Shura had been previously unaware of the fact that some people check to see where an item is made before purchasing it. The only times she ever checked was when she was bored, trying to play a little bit of a game to see how many different countries did her things come from.
Never did Shura think the location of production would ever be a qualifying factor in whether or not an item was purchased. But it seemed that it was.
Shura could still hear the beginning of her rant clearly, 'I'm not racist but...' It was only afterward when she heard the woman's husband call her name did she hear the name 'Karen' spoken. After that Shura had to take a ten-minute break screaming into her jacket in the storage room.
But the times she almost bit her tongue off effectively killing herself. Was when they went on rants about her generation. Millennials… God, they made her hate that word. It was such a cool word and yet she hated that word so much!
At first, she tried calling them out on their nonsense, saying that she was a millennial. But the response was the same, 'Oh we're not talking about you dear. We're talking about the others!' What others? Where were these others? She didn't understand. She couldn't understand. After a while she just shut off her brain, it was the only thing she could do. But still, no matter how hard she tried. She wasn't deaf. She still heard.
These were the reasons why she was glad that it was over. Because if she had to last another few months dealing with such nonsense.
She’d burn the whole store to the ground with her inside it.
Shura buried her face into her pillow screaming into it. The muffled blood-curdling scream that sounded out soothed whatever rage was bubbling within the pits of her stomach. After she was done, she moved her head to its side and stared at the wall.
Today was rough, not because it had been bad. No, her supervisors and co-workers did their best to send her off with a smile. Today had been rough due to that feeling
She closed her eyes and imagined a beast pacing back and forth within its tiny cage. Hungry and angry. Shura didn’t care for applying these words to herself. But maybe she was. After all, those feelings came from her.
Her eyes moved back and forth in time with the beast. This way and that. Its large angry tail flicked in irritation as it growled lowly. She felt anger and hate radiate from it. The tension built and built just until it was about to-.
Shura’s thoughts were cut off when she heard the faint sound of her mother calling her from the other room. Looking at the clock next to her bed, it looked like it was dinner time.
Dinner with her family was as it always been. Quiet, Shura’s family was never much for loud family dinners. This wasn’t to say that they were unhappy, no, her family was simply the quiet type. While most days she did not mind this, coming from quiet family wasn’t something she minded. But other days, days like today. She wanted nothing more to scream just to fill the silence, or at least to talk over the horrible sound of silverware on dinner plates.
But she kept quiet, her unrest didn’t need to be her family’s unrest. Picking up her plate after she was finished, she closed her eyes for a moment standing up.
Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
The flash of this imaginary beast in Shura’s mind appeared. She could almost hear the low rumbling growl, it was waiting for something. She didn’t know what. Shaking away such thoughts she assisted with the clearing of the table before heading back to her room. Wanting nothing more to be alone just to calm down.
But this irritation, this uncomfortable itching feeling wouldn’t be salved easily. Not today. She knew this, for some reason today was the worst that this feeling had ever gotten.
Sitting down upon her bed she let out a sigh. She needed a distraction. Something to keep her busy until this feeling calmed itself. She had no idea what would happen if she allowed this feeling to continue. But there was a certain sense of urgency that came to her. A small voice telling her to find anything to calm down for fear of what would happen.
Looking at her room she spotted her bookshelf. Filled with books both of literary variety and comics. Making her way over to the shelf she chuckled at the sight of some of the contents. In her younger days, she loved anime and manga. Though as she got older, she found herself getting ridiculously jealous of the adventures the characters would have.
It was silly, but she wanted so badly to have the freedom that the characters on these pages had. So for a while, she put the stories she had once loved aside. Finding her envy was not healthy and tried to live the most adventurous life she could.
Scanning the bookshelf she looked for a certain book, an old friend of sorts.
"A-hah!" She hummed to herself, already forgetting about the itching feeling she had been so worried about moments before. Looking down at the small novel she smiled at the shiny cover page. "Mid-Knight Saga!" She exclaimed with a happy tone. "I'm surprised I still have it. It's practically falling apart." She mumbled flipping through the old worn graphic novel. It had been read and re-read so many times. At this point, she knew the story by heart.
Mid-Knight Saga was a story about an order of magical knights! Nandus was the main character, an orphan boy with a golden heart and a penchant for mischief, Nandus grew up wanting to be like his hero Minnow Dragoon the last champion king. Though Nandus never met him, he heard so many stories about Minnow's exploits as a child and wanted to become the next champion king as well.
Shura took the book in hand and made her way over to her desk, wanting to use her desk light to read by. She always did prefer lamp light, though her mother said that's why her eyesight was so bad. But she preferred the soft warm glow of a lamp to the dull tones of fluorescent lightbulbs that had been installed throughout the house. While she understood the importance of energy-saving lightbulbs, she felt strongly about the fact they were way too bright and too noisy. So naturally, she got her own lamp when she got the chance.
When Shura went to sit down at her desk she flopped down too hard on the chair and let out a small grunt. "Ouch..." She mumbled rubbing her thigh that got caught on the chair's arm. "That's going to hurt in the morning." She said displeased. With a sigh, she ignored her injured leg for the moment and flipped open the well-worn book. Wanting to get lost in the story before any of her worries caught up with her again.
Starting at the very beginning, Shura grinned at the sight of the main character Nandus. "There's my boy!" She exclaimed to herself, she adored the character of Nandus. He was just the right amount of mischievous, but he also knew when to stop. Making his character more endearing than other prankster characters Shura had run across during her time reading.
The clock ticked away as Shura read through the chapters, skipping here or there to get to her favorite parts. The parts with the best art or the funniest moments. The time Nandus bonded with his horse or the time Nandus's rival and he fought. She had forgotten how much she had loved this story.
Then only for a moment, she imagined herself in that world. Having the freedom to fight monsters or partake in battles. Coming out victorious just in time for the good guys to win. It would certainly be more interesting than what she had to do in her life.
Shura's phone buzzed nearby knocking her out of her fantasy world. She reached over and picked it up. Another email from another employer, she read the first two lines that showed up on the notification. 'Thanks for your time applying. We appreciate your interest, however, we have-.' She sat her phone back down, she didn't need to read the rest.
She got enough rejection letters to know where that was going. Reaching over she marked on her chalkboard down another tally. Twenty-seven this month.
She had gone through college and got a useful degree, but it seemed that no one saw any use for her degree. Frankly, she didn't either. She had studied something she didn't care about thinking it would lead to a more comfortable life to leave time for things that she did care about. But it didn't.
Shura spared only one more look at her phone before turning back to the graphic novel on the desk. She had almost forgotten about that feeling, that beast. But she knew, in the back of her mind it was still there. Waiting. But, she lied to herself, for now, telling herself it was over and she could continue on with her normal life as usual.
She continued reading on late into the night, Shura finally finished the novel and sat it down in front of her. Patting the cover art fondly she then stretched leaning far back into her chair. Her back popped and cracked giving her some relief. Looking behind her at her nightstand she noticed the time.
"it's pretty late. I should get to bed." She announced to herself, getting up she headed over to her bed and laid down. Turning off the light she closed her eyes beginning to drift off and finally letting her guard down. Had Shura known what was going to happen, she may have stayed up that night. But she didn't and finally, that thing that she had kept locked up inside of her broke free.
By the time the next morning would come, Shura's family would find her bed empty and no one would never see or hear from her again.
Comments (1)See all