“Only you can save us!”
Shutter. Flicker. Penetration. The sting of morning light as it pours in from the room into awakening eyes. The world comes into focus and reality begins to settle in.
Vironus rose in his bed. As he sat, he surveyed the scene and gauged his bearings. The room was dark with a single ray of light shining through from the window and onto the pillow his head occupied moments earlier. In truth, there wasn’t much to look at. His bedroom, very similar to the size and shape of the two other rooms in the house, was very small. A few articles of clothing accented what remaining floor space he had around and in front of his bed.
Startled, anxious, and unnerved, he swept his hand through his long brown hair hanging just above his eye brows, took a breath and wiped the tears from his eyes.
The visions had come to him again while he slept. They plagued his unconscious existence night after night; too lucid to ignore and too vague to understand. For months this carried on, no, for years. In fact, when he thought about it, he couldn’t remember when he was ever without them. It became a sort of nightly ritual, the one constancy in his life, and when he would wake in the morning he fought consistently to disregard their meaning.
But this morning was different.
On this morning, there was a fire alight in the deep bellows of his stomach and a very immediate urgency that sat in his throat and made his heart flutter. For what seemed like ages he sat there and listened to the infernal beat. As if on cue, the sound of screeching steel and machinery arose in the distance and provided a grim underscore to the parade of emotion carrying on in his mind.
Quickly, he swiveled in his bed and laid his feet upon the ground. He felt the cool stone under the flesh of his heels and toes, the slabs of rock that was the structure of this place dubbed “home.” As he rose and began to take his first steps, his left foot made contact with another sensation, that of leather. Sprawled across the floor beneath his bed, he reached to recover his journal, and after closing it, returned the book to its usual hiding place under his mattress.
“I must have fallen asleep with it.” He thought to himself, recounting the previous night’s events.
As of late, Vironus spent considerable time making entries upon its lightly browned pages all the while constantly reading over the many passages already written down. Only on rare occasions did they not consist of the images he saw night after night.
Silently, he cursed his foolishness while fixing the sheets in order to conceal his book. He cursed the sounds of grinding steel, echoing in the background, he cursed the cold, dark cage that was his room, and the visions that plagued him continuously, but most of all, he cursed Atlas and his machine.
Vironus calmed himself and once again took a breath to collect his thoughts. His mind was still muddled with the lights, sounds, and grisly images he thought he escaped from when he awoke. Truthfully, there was never peace, and it could take hours before he was able to let go of what he saw during the night. The emotional impact ate at him, bit by painful bit, and he would suffer in solitude.
As the months progressed the toll became greater and the weight harder to bear. Often he felt as if he was standing at the foot of a storm, desperately waiting to be swept away, all the while remaining motionless in the torrential downpour. He yearned for relief, and whether or not that meant to suffer the waves or to wait and pray for the break, when the clouds gaped open their massive jaws revealing that beautiful sun, piercing all darkness, he was unsure. What he wanted was not material, but it was still very much alive and real. The tragedy was that he had not the slightest idea of what that was.
And then, he thought of his mother, Erin.
“It’s time to listen.” He thought, standing there motionless at the foot of his bed.
Vironus quickly dressed himself and ran out of the house, praying his idleness would not cost him dearly.