It's been a long, long time since I've posted something here. I haven't been writing much lately either. Thanks to some motivation, I started writing again and wrote this. It's meant to be a stream of thoughts of the main character. I realize there are sentence fragments and things like that. They are, for the most part, intentional.
I'm not really sure what I think of this story myself. I'm considering rewriting most of it, because it still is not the way I want it to be. Still, I thought I'd share it with you guys. Let me know what you think.
I also censored this version for the forum.
I walk to my car and get in. I turn the key and hear the familiar sound of the engine igniting. Only, this time it hardly sounds familiar at all. Perhaps it is because my motives for using this vehicle are different than they have been in the past. This time I'm not going to work at some dead-end job for a meager paycheck. This time I'm not going to the grocery store to buy whatever food will fill me up while still being affordable. This time I'm unsure of exactly where it is I'm going.
I remember sitting in the bar last night and hearing a couple of men talking about it. The Pillar, they called it, as if it's an official name. Some thing that supposedly crashed from the sky and into the woods a few months ago. I've heard people talk about it every once and a while, but I never bothered to stop what I was doing long enough to focus on what they were saying. Not until last night, at least.
One of them claimed a friend of his had went to see The Pillar. He said his friend came back a new man; that he had been depressed and lifeless, but came back happy and with a new sense of purpose. Another said he knew a couple different people who went to see The Pillar and never came back. Still others offered their tales of people they knew who had went to visit The Pillar. I figured most of them were just drunk and looking to get some attention with an interesting but fake story. Still, I couldn't help but feel like some of them were telling the truth, or rather, what they thought to be the truth.
I'm not an impulsive person. So why am I sitting here in my car with a map to my side that marks the supposed location of The Pillar? What, exactly, am I hoping to accomplish by doing this? I know the stories are all a bunch of garbage. So why am I doing this?
I pull out of the driveway and begin to drive. I know eventually I'll have to ditch the car and walk the rest of the way on foot. I look at the clock. 2:45 PM. If all goes well, I should be able to see The Pillar before sunset.
I sit in silence as I drive through the town, taking a few deep breaths--or are they sighs?--as I progress. Once I'm out of town I start to feel a little better, though I'm not sure why. It feels kind of liberating to have an adventure like this. And hell, maybe it'll be one of those life-changing kind of things, right? I've always wanted one of those.
I notice that I'm approaching the woods. I look at the map again because I can't remember the official name of the woods. I usually never bother to remember such trivial things, but for some reason I look anyway. Breachwood Forest.
Just before arriving, I come across a gated fence blocking the path. KEEP OUT, it tells me, PRIVATE PROPERTY. I can't remember if the fence was here before The Pillar had landed or not. I stare at the sign for a few moments. I should turn back now. The sign doesn't make me feel any fear or anything like that, but I feel as if I'm wasting my time. I'll turn back now and go home. I'm sure I can find something on television to entertain myself with. What the hell was I expecting to find out here anyway?
I get out of the car and pull the gate door open. I find it odd that there is no lock on the gate. I get back in the car, drive through, then get out and close the gate behind me. No turning back now. I'll most likely regret this decision later when I know I've wasted my time. Oh well.
The sounds of birds chirping accompany the small hum from the engine as I drive along the dirt path leading into the woods. My mind begins to wander, as it tends to do, to other things. For some reason, I think of my little brother who had just turned 20 and was going off to join the army. I did not approve of this decision, yet I never questioned him directly. Now I can't help but wonder, why didn't I? Come to think of it, my brother and I never really talked that much growing up. The more I think about it, the more impassive I feel. We probably wouldn't have liked each other if we talked more anyway. I suddenly feel like everything is going in slow motion. It's a strange feeling, but it only makes the feeling of apathy stronger. I press down on the pedal more to speed up in hopes of making my perception do the same. It doesn't work. After a while, it goes away on its own and I hardly notice that its gone.
A mile into the forest and my car breaks down. The gas is still half full, so it can't be that. I'm no mechanic, but I get out and look at the engine anyway. Well, it doesn't talk to me to inform me of the problem, so I'm stumped. It's times like this I wish I owned a cell phone. Then again, who would I call? I have no close friends I would trust to care, and I don't know the number of any local mechanic off the top of my head. I should just turn back and go back to town. But I know I'm not going to do that. I've come this far, I'd hate myself for not going all the way now. Oh well. Guess I'll walk the rest of the way. So much for making it to The Pillar before sunset.
I take my bottled water, flashlight, and map from the car and continue on on foot. Despite the unexpected twist of losing my car, I feel proud of myself for bringing the flashlight. I did not intend to need it, but I brought it just incase of an emergency. It's always nice when I find myself prepared when something bad happens.
As I walk, I take a moment to appreciate the scenery. It's only a few days into autumn and the leaves are turning that nice reddish brown color. I've always liked autumn. Some people call it a depressing time of year because everything is dying. I don't think it's depressing.
I look down at my feet and notice that the dirt road is slowly beginning to fade away. I consult the map once more. There should be a bridge about a mile north of where I am now. I wish I had brought a compass, but I feel confident enough in my sense of direction to know where I'm going. For some reason, this whole trip, I haven't ever been worried of getting lost, despite never having been in these woods before.
Slowly, my thoughts inch back toward my goal. The Pillar. I wonder what it is, exactly? One of the guys at the bar said his friend described it to him as a large monolith that looked like it must have fallen from the heavens. Another said his friend had described it as looking to be alien in nature and that it must have fallen from a UFO. I'm not sure what I'm expecting. I have the image of a pointed pillar sticking up perfectly straight from the ground and glowing neon green. Of course, this is not what I'm expecting to see, but the image is there in my head nonetheless.
It's getting dark sooner than I expected, or maybe it's just later than I realize. I don't have any way of knowing what time it is anymore. Already the sun is going down and the sky is turning orange. I turn on my flashlight for a moment, just to confirm that it works. It does. I begin to wonder if the batteries will hold out for as long as I need them to. I feel nervous now. Maybe I'm not as prepared as I had thought.
It's getting dark now. Really dark. It's easy for one to forget how dark things really get outside of civilization where there are streetlights and electricity. I turn on my flashlight but it doesn't help much. My sense of direction is becoming distorted in the darkness. I can't read the map as well anymore. Crap. Why did I leave my house to begin with? This was a stupid idea.
Eventually, I sit down with my back to a large tree. The ground is damp but I don't mind. I sit with my head resting on my hands and my arms resting on my knees. What am I doing? It'll be hours before the sun comes back up, and there's no chance in hell I'll get comfortable enough to fall asleep. I don't know which direction my car is, and even if I did, it's unlikely I'd be able to find my way back to it anyway. I should be thinking about what I'm going to do now, but once again, my mind is wandering. I think of when I was a child and I couldn't get to sleep when it was dark without a nightlight.
A few minutes later, I fall asleep.
When I wake up it's still dark, but the sun is slowly peaking up over the horizon. I start to get up, but I immediately fall back down. My back is killing me. I hadn't exactly picked the most comfortable of sleeping positions. I give myself a few moments and then stretch. I get back on my feet and I find my sense of direction has returned. I continue on in the direction that should lead me to The Pillar.
Finally, I arrive at the bridge. There's only one problem: the bridge is gone. Not broken, but gone. I can where the bridge used to be, but it looks as if someone took it apart piece by piece. I look at the map again. I should be standing right in front of it. But the map is old, and maybe they've relocated the bridge somewhere else. I don't bother to look. I know I won't find it. Was the bridge gone before the landing of The Pillar, or was it removed because of it? First, there's a gate. Now, there's no bridge. Is it all a coincidence?
I slowly inch my way into the water. It's freezing, but I expected that. I'm unsure of how deep the water is, and I become more and more unsettled as I go deeper and deeper. I never learned to swim. The water is up to my chest now. I'm shivering. I hold the map above my head so I don't get it wet. This isn't good. It's getting deeper and the water is rising. I should turn back now. The water is up to my neck now and I'm beginning to panic. What the hell am I doing? I keep moving forward. The water inches its way up and I lift my head up to prevent water from getting into my mouth. It doesn't work. Turn back. It's time to turn back. Yet, I keep moving forward. I become completely submerged. Real panic hits me hard. I splash and shake and sink, yet I keep moving forward. There's water in my eyes and ears and nose and mouth and lungs. I keep moving forward. Suddenly, I find my head free of the water and back into the air. I gasp and choke and spit. I find the water is now receding. I'm still moving forward somehow. My body aches. I make it back to the shore and I sit down. I take a moment to catch my breath. It's difficult, but I manage.
The map is gone. I let go of it somewhere along the way. It doesn't matter. I know my way from here. It shouldn't be long now. My breath returns and I dry off a little bit, then I pick myself up and continue on.
The Pillar. What is it really? Why all the fuss? Is it really something amazing? Throughout my life, nothing spectacular has happened. What makes me think this will be anything different? Perhaps its my childlike sense of adventure that drives me, or some irrational hope that I'll find comfort in whatever it is The Pillar might show me. Is it really from a UFO? I don't know if I believe in aliens. Is it really from the heavens? I don't know if I believe in God. Maybe I'm just looking for answers.
The forest is silent except for myself. Is The Pillar even real? Maybe it was marked in the wrong location on my map. I should be there by now. I'm about to give up when I see something metallic shining in the distance between the trees. My energy returns and I quickly head toward it. Finally, I see it. The Pillar. A large metallic object, at least ten times my size, is stuck in the ground at a slanted angle. Already rust has begun to form on it. It is not perfectly shaped, and it looks like it fell off from a bigger object, though what that object was I can't be sure. I do not feel any different as I gaze upon The Pillar. I don't feel a new sense of purpose. I have not been given any answers. The Pillar offers me nothing. It is what I had expected. I don't feel disappointed. I don't feel much of anything.
I look around for a few moments before turning back the way I came. I wonder where the closest telephone is. I'll have to call someone about getting my car towed.