Fiction On Odyssey: Reset (Part Three)

Fiction On Odyssey: Reset (Part Three)

"He’s not dead. That’s ridiculous. He would have told me if he was dead."

“Look none of the others want to tell you the truth, so I will.”

I stare at her, trying to remember her name and coming up blank; she is one of the two that just appeared recently, and we’ve never really had cause to interact before, so all I can say in response to her statement is an eloquent, “What?”

“Will is dead.”

If she’d punched me in the gut, it would have had less of an impact on me than those three little words, and they swirl around in my head over and over, thrown into a cyclone of tumultuous feelings and unspoken words, but then: “Don’t listen to her, please.”

I look over, and Will is standing right next to me, a heartbroken expression speaking of so much pain on his face, but the feeble attempt at a smile he gives me in response to my relieved beam concerns me, and I don’t want to think about it right now so I turn back to her and respond, “He’s standing right here, so I don’t know what you’re talking about, and that was kind of a jerk thing to say because you gave me a split second heart attack.”

“No, he’s not ‘standing right there,’ because whatever you’re seeing is a delusion!” — What? — “Will has been dead, gone for months,” —no, she’s lying— “and what you’re seeing is nothing but a demented coping mechanism your brain made up to help you hurt less!” — No! — “The others have all been too chicken to tell you” — they’ve gathered, the looks on their faces confirm — “so I have to do it. WILL. IS. DEAD.”

She’s wrong she’s wrong, she’s lying, I WON’T BELIEVE IT, because Will is standing right next to me, tears streaming down his face as he shakes his head and mouths my name and reaches out to me but she grabs me by the shoulders before I can touch him, and she’s not letting me focus on anything else except for her bellows in my face, her yells at me to REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED ON YOUR LAST PATROL.

Only the dead see ghosts.

I run, I run as fast as I can, away from the liars. They’re trying to get between me and Will. Of course that’s what’s happening. He can’t be dead. He’s not dead. That’s ridiculous. He would have told me if he was dead. That’s not something that you just hide. It’s totally a relationship breaker.

But he’s not running with me. He’s disappearing, then reappearing a distance away, almost like how a ghost teleports. But that is only something he’s always been able to do, right? I never questioned it before. It'd just happen. It was one of his quirks.

Normal people don’t teleport on a whim.

But that’s just Will.


My thoughts whirl as my sneakers crunch against the dead leaves beneath them.

Our last patrol? We went out, just like any other patrol.

We found a building. We snuck inside. We found a mother load of food, and we were so happy, and in the heat of the moment, he kissed me. Then… then zombies found us and I jumped out a window, and Will followed, and we got away and went back to the group. That’s what happened.

That’s what happened, right? Right?!

But then why do I remember coming back dripping with blood and water?

Why didn’t the group ever let us out on patrols after that?

Why do they look at Will and I with so much sadness sometimes?

WHATEVER. That doesn’t matter. That’s what happened. We went out, we kissed, we were almost overrun, but we made it back.

The glimpses of Will I catch out of the corner of my eye as I run are all shaking his head.

That’s not what happened, and you and I both know it.

It's almost time to reset.

Why do I know I’ve traveled this path before?

Why do I feel like I have a destination in mind?

I hear the sounds of water approaching. Before I know it, I’ve found a small creek.

Small enough that the dozens of bodies that litter it are not washed away by the current.

One thing about my bat, my makeshift mace, is that it makes a very distinct pattern of holes whenever I strike a zombie’s body with it.

All of the bodies here, they have that pattern all over them.

And the closest one…

The closest one…

The closest body is the freshest.

Bloated, with the gasses of death, but I would recognize that blonde hair anywhere.

I walk over to Will’s body and collapse onto my knees next to him, not caring in the slightest how the red creek water stains my jeans.

In the water, my distorted reflection grins at my agony.

Will’s ghost flickers into existence beside me. I lift my head to look up at him.

I’m so sorry,” I manage, through choked sobs.

He only smiles wistfully and shakes his head.

“It’s not your fault. It’s his.

I can feel the menacing laughter somewhere in me, and I realize that I am not alone in my own mind.

But then again, this isn’t the first time I’m understanding that, is it?

He always wins.

Will starts to fade.

I try to hug him, to hold on to him, to keep him here and do whatever I can to make up for this awful thing that I have done, but my arms only circle air.

After all, being dead will only get me so far.

“I’m SORRY!” I scream.

His fading visage echoes the numbed melancholy I feel as my memory of him begins to slip away, just like it did with all the others.

I ebb away the last of your memories, taking control of your body and walking you to some remote part of the forest, miles away. The stubborn ghost of my latest victim follows, stupidly using the last of his energy in the same intrepid attempt to “get through” to this body that all the others try.

I select a new spot and lie down on the forest floor. The apparition lies down next to me, trying to stroke this face and failing because he no longer has the energy to touch flesh. I mock him, but he ignores me and stares intently into my vessel’s eyes. Just like always, I relinquish just enough control so that the soul of my prisoner can hear the fruitless words.

“It waS a LoT OF FUN KnOwINg YoU, But NOW I HAVE tO gO, okay? you hAVE to STop DOiNg this. I knOW HE’S MAking you foRGet, And it’S Hard, BuT You Have tO, beFoRE he fINds SomeOnE elsE. YoU Can dO It, OKAy? I L o V E y o u . . . “

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Cover Image Credit: ClaudiaRae

Popular Right Now

'Fifty Shades' Isn't A Love Story, It's An Abuse Story

Fifty Shades is not "empowering" or a "beautiful" love story, it is abuse.

In the midst of all the buzz about #metoo, I find it surprising that many of these people who are standing up for women who have been sexually abused and exploited are also going to see "Fifty Shades Freed."

I have not and will never go see or read any of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Beyond my own standards of what visual content I think is right or wrong to watch, I won't watch it because I do not think I should take part in something that normalizes and romanticises abuse.

I'm not the only one who thinks this. Check out #fiftyshadesisabuse to see what other people are tweeting. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation considers Fifty Shades to be abusive. Cosmopolitan, Fight the New Drug, The Independent UK, and Huffington Post all have also published articles on the abusive nature of Fifty Shades.

Dawn Hawkins, the Executive Director for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, made this statement about 50 Shades:

"The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey among women sends a message to men that this is what women really want. Even more dangerous, it also sends the message to women that they can “fix” violent, controlling men by being obedient and loving.

A warning to the women lining up to see this film: There is nothing empowering about whips and chains or humiliation and torture.

Women as a group will not gain power by collaborating with violent men. Women would be serving only as an agent to further their own sexual degradation, handing themselves on a silver platter to exactly the sort of men who want to use and abuse them, and take away their power."

As you can see, the Fifty Shades trilogy is no love story. It makes abuse seem normal and puts women into a submissive, weak, and degraded place. According to Fight the New Drug, Fifty Shades does these things, as compared to healthy relationships:

The Journal of Women's Health says, "Emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction " in Fifty Shades and that Anastasia reacted like a typical abused woman. These abusive instances include:

1. Stalking

2. Intimidation

3. Isolation

4. Sexual Violence

Not only does Fifty Shades normalize abuse, it correlates to having negative effects on consumers.

In fact, there was a study done that traced the effects of reading Fifty Shades to young women's health. They found that women who had read Fifty Shades were more likely to have a verbally abusive partner, fast/diet, have more than five sexual partners, and binge drink.

Fifty Shades also teaches some pretty bad lessons, such as:

In light of the #metoo movement where women are standing up against sexually abusive and manipulative relationships, rape, and other forms of sexual harassment, "Fifty Shades Freed" should have sold zero tickets at the box office.

But that is not what is happening. People are flocking to the movie. In fact, as of right now, it is the #1 movie in the world.

It's not OK to view abuse through this movie or other forms, and then post about standing up against it through the use of #metoo. Either you are fine with domestic and sexual abuse, or you are not. If you want sexual abuse to stop, stop giving money to people or organizations like the Fifty Shades franchise who normalize it.

Fifty Shades is not "empowering" or a "beautiful" love story. It is abuse.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Help, I Haven't Left The Couch Since The Olympics Started

Like any addiction, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

There were many strange things about my upbringing, but one of the strangest is that I did not grow up watching commercial television. I’ve never seen an episode of "Spongebob." I never watched the Disney Channel or Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. My TV experience came in the form of episodes of PBS Kids shows, lovingly taped by my grandfather. My first encounter with reality TV came in the form of "The Biggest Loser" when I was 14. My family’s cable TV blackout was total — in all respects except one. Every two years, for two weeks, I glue my ass to the couch and my eyes to the screen to watch impossibly athletic humans perform feats of speed and skill in order to earn disks on ribbons made of precious metals. Yes, I’m talking about the Olympics. The Olympics have ruined me.

The Summer Olympics are fine, for the most part, since they’re in the summer and I’m usually free of responsibility at that time of year. During those two weeks, I cease to leave the house, leaving the couch only to go to the bathroom and to obtain more food. If my Summer Olympics watching habits were a sport, it would be Extreme Couch-Potatoing, with points awarded for the longest time elapsed between shifts in position and the largest drops in resting heart rate. I have a system for the Summer Olympics. The system works. The Winter Olympics, however…

With the 2014 Games, I got lucky, as my typically temperate hometown was snowed in for a decent portion of them. Not compelled to leave the house for school, I entombed myself on the couch and watched them almost straight through. This year I’m not so lucky. I’m hovering on the edge of real adulthood. I have school, and worse than school, I have work. There are myriad responsibilities preventing me from achieving my ultimate goal: to become one with the furniture as I cheer on whichever country seems likely to win a particular event. There’s no such thing as country loyalty for me when it comes to watching the Olympics. Patriotism is nonexistent in my attempt to consume as many sports as possible over two weeks to make up for the rest of the time when I consume no sports at all.

We’re not even a week into the Winter Olympics, and the cracks in my respectable public façade are already beginning to show. My eyes twitch unnervingly. I steer clear of social media, living in fear of spoilers for events that haven’t even happened yet. Instead of asking my coworkers and classmates if they had a good weekend or how their classes are going, I demand “Did you see _____ event at the Olympics last night?” and shake my head and cluck my tongue when they say no. I am a purist. I am obsessed. I make other people nervous.

Like all true and good things, however, the Winter Olympics will come to an end at some point — most likely in two weeks, at which time I will lurk around my apartment in varying stages of withdrawal. In time, the symptoms will fade. But the disease will lurk somewhere in the back of my mind, ready to spring out in summer 2020.

I am a marathon Olympics watcher. I am unstoppable.

Cover Image Credit: BLazarus / Pixabay

Related Content

Facebook Comments