The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?
So you think you can tell
It was happening again. The voice, coming from behind her, much too familiar – David Gilmour. But she knew that the person behind her wasn’t him, wasn’t anyone, wasn’t anything. Yet, her hands trembled as she willed her head to turn around despite, what seemed like, the protest of every cell in her body. Slowly she turned and there he was, his eyes dead, his face broken into a maniacal grin as he looked directly at her.
Heaven from hell?
Head throbbing, she forced herself to stand still. Her short breaths scathed her lungs, no amount of oxygen could fill them up. She stared at him, this face, etched in her memory, ineffaceable. The face of a man, a monster. The man who had robbed her of herself; had turned her most endeared song into her worst nightmare.
“Hey, you okay?” She jumped as a hand fell on her shoulder. It was her friend Jay. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost”. The bustle of the street suddenly blasted through her ears as if someone had turned the “on” button of the world’s speakers. She looked around, disoriented, to see the usual crowd all around her. “Can’t say I haven’t.” She said as they made their way back to her dorm.
Anna stared at the poster in front of her as the first rays of sun started hitting it. The 65th day since the attack had finally come after another sleepless night. “Wish You Were Here” said the small letters, under a picture of two men in business suits,
shaking hands, one of them on fire. The album art of Pink Floyd’s legendary album. She stared at the man ablaze, there was a bit of her in him. She was burning too, but her fire was within. It was a wildfire, the most destructive of fires, the kind of fire that would destroy not just her, but everyone around. It started from her lungs, it would spread till all her organs had ignited, till she herself was burning with the fiercest glow, any and all who touched her would turn to ash.
Blue skies from pain?
From the periphery of her vision, she could see him. This was the fifteenth time that he’d appeared. Ever since the attack, she had seen him, each encounter longer, more frequent and much much more terrifying. She had told no one, she couldn’t. Her nails dug in her palms, she turned to face him.
Can you tell a green field
She wanted to scream but her voice failed her. She snapped her eyes shut, but the voice continued to sing as she felt him coming closer.
From a cold steel rail?
She was shuddering, she could feel him, she could feel his hands on her even when she knew that he was far away. The texture of his rough hands was a memory her skin would never forget. The smell of wet soil, the song blaring through her earphones- Wish You Were Here, the sharp pain in her back as he’d pushed her against the brick wall, the night as dark as coal, the black hole that had opened in her heart, engulfing her, engulfing everything.
“Anna?” Her eyes snapped open and she saw her roommate, Mink, a worried expression on her face. “You’re sweating, do you have a fever?” She asked. “What? No, no, I was just a little hot.” Anna tried her best to keep her voice from trembling. “Are you sure?” She had a sad expression, one Anna had become used to seeing. Mink was her best friend, she’d known that something was up ever since that day, but Anna had hidden behind flaky lies and non convincing reassurances. She wanted to tell her, she wanted to say it so bad. “Hey Mink” she started. “Yes?” Her friend’s eyes lit up a little. No, she couldn’t do it, she couldn’t. “Uh nothing, let’s get ready for class.”. The wave of disappointment that fell over Mink’s face made Anna feel a sharp pang.
“This is the best place ever!” A very enthusiastic Kush said over the phone. Anna was sitting on a park bench, talking to a friend who had gone on a trip with her group. She’d been a part of the plan too, before it had all happened. “Oh yeah?” She replied. “Yes! Yesterday we went on a boat ride on this lake and Jamal was very jumpy cause someone had told him that there were crocodiles in it. Man, I really wish you were here.”.
A smile from a veil?
Her hand dropped to her side. “Hello? Anna?”
Do you think you can tell?
His was the face of pure terror, he was terror himself. He was a man who could make the sturdiest buildings crumble, he could make the sky itself come crashing down, he could swallow the sun and the moon and all the stars, anything even remotely bright, his shadow could cover the world in darkness and his touch could make the earth crack.
Did they get you to trade
She jumped to her feet. She began to run.
Your heroes for ghosts?
The fire was spreading, her lungs screamed, her face red hot. She was a great big ball of fire, running at the speed of light.
Hot ashes for trees?
Trees, on both sides of her. She ran with everything she had. Under the scorching afternoon sun, she was as deserted as the road.
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Black spots appeared before her eyes, a dead end, a bridge. She bent over, gasping for air.
Cold comfort for change?
He was behind her again, she looked at him.
Did you exchange
She turned to face him, unable to tear her eyes away. He’d have her if she turned her eyes away.
A walk-on part in the war
Her face was hot, her tears, the greatest rivers in a desert. She trembled and backed away from him.
For a lead role in a cage?
He was walking towards her, slowly and yet with incredible speed. She screamed.
How I wish, how I wish you were here
Her hands closed in on something hot, the rails of the bridge. He was right in front of her.
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl
The water growled from a hundred meters below her. His face was so close now that his nose almost touched hers. She could feel his hot, disgusting breath against her. She craned as far back as she could.
Year after year
One final effort, one more centimetre. She backed away as her foot slipped on the concrete.
Running over the same old ground
Her palms slid over the rail.
What have we found?
The same old fears
He fell with her.
Wish you were here.
Written by Anika Shukla for Metamorphose