Justice McCray grew up in the Hudson Valley and moved to Orlando, FL, to study creative writing. His work has appeared in Exposed Literary Magazine. In his free time, McCray enjoys spontaneously singing in grocery stores.
Reaching the Sunset
It wasn’t long ago when everything was perfect. The sun’s tanning glow would twinkle upon the golden hairs beginning to bloom from my arm, rising in synchronicity. I can remember the grass tickling my ankles as I ran unshod until I fell, and was consumed in a blanket of green. I rolled around and laughed until my breath became short and the rapid knocking of woodpeckers fluttered the clearing. Each year the hollow holes in the trees became more visible, and I always thought one day I would climb into one, and never come out.
As cold as I am, I can feel the sweat dribble down my body, rolling along my uneven canvas, dripping down onto the thin white scroll. It writes my testaments with each movement I make. The noise is unsettling, like a child trying desperately to unravel a candy bar in silence, inadvertently drawing attention to himself. I hold my breath to prevent any unnecessary movement and struggle not to swing my legs as they dangle from the ledge. The door thrusts open.
“Did I wake you up?” Other words followed but I am too startled to make them out.
I pull myself up trying to regain my composure. What was just an empty room had become the center for all excitement. My heart pounded as I felt my forearm become constrained. I feel the rhythm in my chest crescendo as the pressure on my limb escalates.
A perfect time to test my blood pressure.
The fire alarm was blaring and I raced out of the kitchen followed by the screeching sound of wood scraping tile. I placed the chair I dragged along with me against the hallway wall, as I was too short to reach the boisterous disc hovering above me. I didn’t understand why the alarm would not turn off when I pressed the button. The obnoxious ringing left my head pounding, so I pulled the detector off the wall and proceeded to take out the batteries.
I begrudgingly made my way back into the kitchen to find smoke whistling from the stove. I quickly turned off the stove to see the charred remains of my lunch. The grey bellowing from the not so golden brown grilled cheese laughed at me. Well done. I shut the kitchen door as to not let the smell of smoke erode the house. My stomach growled and so I settled for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My head was still pounding as I spread the peanut butter across the bread. Though the smoke seemed to dissipate, the kitchen was still foggy. I remember knocking the jar of jelly onto the floor. I followed.
“We’re going to have to run some tests”
“That’s why I’m here.” I smirked. I could feel Doctor Sanghin’s eyes roll as he left the room, clipboard in hand. “Sorry, I’m nervous” I proceeded to tell the once again vacant room. I watch the clock.
The fields were riddled with mushrooms. I remembered it had rained for three days and the air was kind enough to leave the scent of fresh dew. The day’s end drew near and I knew the best sunsets happened after large storms. I sauntered gingerly towards the Westwind river, hopscotching my way around the fungi. Mother warned me about how some mushrooms are poisonous. I was always fascinated by them, but I was afraid of what Mama would do to me if she found out if I touched one. Her firm hand combined with leather band she proudly wore around her waist was far more potent than any deadly fungus.
The sky was burned with the strong glow of embers dancing off a fire; a vibrant sea of red. I raced through the trees, laughing as the ivy tickled my arms. The grass beneath me turned into a bed of pebbles, they grew as I chased the sun. Waves crashed upon the boulders, twinkling as the water reflected the beauty of my purpose. I sat down and was greeted with a cold handshake that later left my whole body shivering. I smiled as I watched the sun evanesce.
I can feel my skin tingle with anxiety while I wait for the bad news, I open my eyes because reminiscing did not make me feel better. Reflecting on the most memorable moments in my life made me realize that I was always alone. I know that my past is not my future, and maybe I will find the love of my life as soon as I leave this cage softly decorated with crayon drawings to make one forget the stench of misery that permeates every wall in this building.
I focus on the thought of meeting my soulmate. The idea of just having a best friend is so greatly absurd that I burst into laughter. Doctor Sanghin walks in. He opens the door slowly, as if not to startle me. I only wish he was that considerate earlier. He sees me laughing and I once again try to compose myself. He tries his best to smile but his face is as pale and depressing as the wallpaper in the waiting room.
“Do you have anybody you like to talk to? Friends or family. I strongly urge you to call them.”
“Can I just watch the sunset?” I replied with my penultimate breath.
“It’s 2:30 in the afternoon.”