Blog: Wayward Hallucinations, part 8

Connor Oswald, JagWire reporter

Wayward Hallucinations

I saw it again, when I exited Central Park, that flicker of movement at the peripherals of my vision. But there was something this time that felt more real, more concrete. Maybe it was harder to dodge and hide with a ground full of overgrown, trip-prone tree roots.
In reaction, I froze and tilted my head towards the park; if I focused I could hear – for a split second – the slight rustle of leaves and an infuriated whisper of what sounded like a fair amount of swearing. My heart’s beat kicked up a notch, if this wasn’t a hallucination it could mean – it meant – that there were people following me. Actual flesh and blood humans. I wanted to scream and dance around; it was almost like the loneliness was a physical burden that had just fallen off my shoulders. It never crossed my mind to worry about what type of people would follow me.

I spun around and marched back into the forest, daring to face the people. I opened my mouth and shouted, my voice causing an eruption of feathers as birds fled nearby trees.

“Hello?” I waited eagerly in response. There was nothing, my voice echoing answer-less, among the trees.

“I know you’re there,” I shouted, almost angry. I couldn’t face the fact that my new-found exhilaration could be crushed into nothingness. I started walking, in a reckless haste, towards where I thought the sound had come from. Suddenly I felt a body crash into mine and my feet flew out from under me as I crashed onto the ground, branches cutting into my back.

A man with a rough-worn, dirt-caked face stared back at me; he gave me a toothless smile and effortlessly flipped me over onto my stomach. I could feel him start binding my arms, the rough rope rubbing against my skin. But for some reason I felt myself start to smile. Maybe it was because I now knew, without a drop of doubt, that I wasn’t alone anymore.

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