Where Am I?

Been running inside the tunnel for ages now. So freakishly dark. No idea where I am. Barely any light. I am tired. I am… not sure… something… thirsty? My lips are cracked. My tongue feels like a cotton ball inside my mouth. And no water here. What happened? I cannot remember. Was I attacked? Who am I? What am I doing here? I am… running.

Just keep running. Don’t stop.

Supply check. Shoes, worn out a bit. But still in walking/ running condition. Why do I keep running? Why can’t I just walk? Save energy? What am I trying to run away from? Why is it so dark?


Shoes? Check. Ruck sack. None.

But I seem to have this notebook in my hands. Was it always there? Why on earth am I running with a notebook in my hands? Whose notebook is it? It’s a drawing pad. Are these my drawings? No way. I do not draw like that? These are drawings of rocks. Smooth rocks. Well, some anatomical drawings as well. Hands, ears… Who do these belong to? Do I know them?

Clothes, don’t look like mine. I do not wear vests. And it’s dark. Why do I not have anything reflective on? Who wears khakis in the dark? Why am I here? Where IS here?

Look around. What do you see?

I see… dark.

Why can’t I tell when I started running? What was I doing before that? I am sweating. So at least 30 minutes.

Stop. Look around.

Tunnels. Tunnels upon tunnels. Some of them have graffiti. Something that looks like… SEP? That’s it, SEP. Sep?!


Guy called Sep?

Tunnel dug in September?

I do not know. And some have drawings. Same drawings like in the Notepad. Where is the Notepad? Have I dropped it? Did I imagine it? I just had a drawing Notepad. Just now. I saw it. I turned the pages. It was in my left, no wait, right hand. I was running. I have not dropped anything. That I can recall. But the Notepad is gone now. Why am I still running? Getting seriously tired now.

What’s that sound?


Did I stop running just now. Standing still with my eyes closed. Breathing. Have I stopped. No, I am still running. My eyes are open. Did I just imagine that moment’s relief?

SEP. SEP. SEF. SEF tunnels getting fewer.

More drawings.

Is there a light? No logical visible source of light anywhere. Where am I running to? Where have I run from? Why am I finishing sentences with prepositions? I am so so tired. How long have I been running for? I am sweating. Must have been at least 30 minutes.

That sound? There. Again.

Where is it coming from? Rumbling?

Maybe a crane? A waterfall? Landslide! Oh my god. What is that? I don’t know. I don’t know! I don’t know anything anymore. I have to keep running. I cannot stop.

Where do you live?

Where do I live? In a house. House has a fireplace. And bears. Bears? I live in a house with bears?! What?! Nothing’s making any sense anymore. I live in a house. A house. A house with wall holes and light screens. There is green on the light screen.

What’s a light screen?

It’s a square, that has light coming through. It lets light come through. The light is warm. There is green on it. The square has green on it. I don’t know. What am I saying? My hair is dripping sweat.

My head hurts. Please. Please! Can I please stop running now? Can you hear me? Anyone? Please? I want to stop running now? Please. I can’t do this anymore. I am tired. And my… my… this thing… what’s the name? This thing in the middle of me… this hurts. And I do not remember it’s name. And I am scared. And this thing. It hurts so much. I am tired. So tired. And I am scared. Please. Anybody? ANYBODY!

Drawings on the wall. So many drawings. Of these.


Yes, drawings of hands with stones on them. Smooth and polished stones. I am looking for the letters. No more SEF anywhere. No more SEF. I am tired. I am scared. I am cold. Why am I cold? I have clothes. Time for another supply check.

Shoes, badly worn. Been running for so long. How long has it been since I have been running? Why am I running? What’s there? Where am I? Where is here? How did I get here? I have sweat on my face. I am tired. Must be at least 30 minutes since I have been running.

Didn’t you already say that before?

That loud noise! I am shivering.

You are cold.

I am scared.

Clothes, jeans and a thin T-shirt. Why do I not have a jacket? Did I have a jacket? Was there a vest? I thought… what are khakis? Such a strange word. Khakis. Makes me smile. Kha-kiss! Ha! Funny word.

You are going mad.

I am tired. I am thirsty. I am cold. I am scared. I am going mad.

Sound. What’s that sound? It’s so noisy now. Am I getting closer? Is it the end of the tunnel? Noise is so loud. Should I be scared? Why am I running towards the noise? I should go back.

Go back. Away from the noise. To the quiet. Stop running towards the noise. Stop. STOP!

I can’t. Why am I running? So many tunnels. Tunnels with finger things and hearing things drawn all over the walls. This is not the way. I should not be here. Drawings with stones. Who made these drawings? How did they get here? I cannot breathe. I am scared. And tired. My… my… It hurts. And something is hurting it. Stopping me from breathing. Like in the middle of me, there is something wanting out or in or just telling me to stop running. But I can’t. How long have I been running for? I am sweating. That noise. I can’t. My head hurts. So much noise. I am running. Holding my head between my hands or it might explode. I can’t. I am crying. Just running past tunnels with drawings of floating ears and fingers and ears and fingers. I want to be back by the SEF tunnels. Stop the noise.

Oh god, the floor has stopped. And I am falling. I am falling! I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die. I have no mouth. I can’t scream. I can’t scream!!

Ugh… Bloody alarm clock! 5:55.

Damn it… slept funny… Ouch! And now my legs are cramping… Time to wake up.

There is a reason I prefer insomnia.



How did Hamlet’s father die? …cursed juice of hebenon in a vial, and in the porches of my ears did pour… Can I do that? It’s not legal to do that. But totally untraceable, right? Actually no. They did catch the killer and his mistress. Mistress? Wife later. What is “hebenon” any way? Do they sell it at the supermarket? What am I doing thinking about Hamlet? Stop this racket. Stop this racket. I am tired. Please stop this racket.

The incessant snoring was driving her insane. She couldn’t sleep. Back at home, dad used to remove the batteries from the wall clocks just so they wouldn’t go ticking in the night and disturb her sleep. Mum made dad remove his flip-flops so he wouldn’t go slapping them all over the tile floor, disturbing people in the wee hours of the morning. She herself had removed the batteries from her wall clock on the day she entered her new house… 12:13 it pointed at… eternally! But now, there was this god awful noise… like someone was try to saw through a cat. Sometimes it was like a chain saw. At other times it sounded like there was woodpecker right on her pillow going at it… tut tut tut tut tut tut tut tut tut tut tut tut tut tut…

She got out of the bed and checked the time. 01:30 in the morning. It was Thursday already. But still 3 and a half hours until sunrise. She had forgotten when she last got a full night’s sleep.

Three weeks ago, he turned up with a two week notice… “Guess what you are doing in two weeks time? I am guessing you are playing hostess to me… for 6 whole weeks!”. Three whole weeks ago… She had slept peacefully. She had been cheerful. She knew a long time back she didn’t love him. She was with him out of this arcane sense of responsibility, duty and let’s face it… a ton of guilt but she had made her peace with that. Nobody put a gun to her head. Nobody forced her to stay with him. Nobody “made” her do anything. She was the sole perpetrator of this atrocity on her self. Great!

They had gotten into a fight. What was the fight about? She should ask her neighbours. They heard it. The whole neighbourhood heard it. The whole street heard it. There is actually a slim chance the naked guy that begs by the station with his dog… he too might have heard it. Embarrassing? Yes. But that didn’t bother her. After being yelled at on the streets, in the kitchen within hearing distance of the housemates, in the store… she was getting used to the scenes and the general drama. But what made her lose sleep (other than the “first whistle, then snort” snore that was going on right now) was the strange clarity that came from realising what had just happened… again.

He had walked out of the room yelling, “I need some air.” This was after midnight. She had asked him to take his keys along so she didn’t have to stay awake and he could take his time on the walk. But he had bashed the room door on his way out saying, “I can’t find my keys. You can stay awake or sleep. I will probably just stay outside all night.”. The door had made the kind of noise that would have woken up every soul, living or dead in the tiny flat conversion. Cue the cringe.

He had known. He had known she would stay awake, if only to stop him from ringing the doorbell in the dead of the night. He had known she would crumble and call and apologise. He had her like a puppet on strings. He had known her through and through. He had known from experience. This wasn’t the first time he had done something like that. And she had let it happen. She hadn’t had the strength to call his bluff. She didn’t even know if it was a bluff.

Is it abuse if the marks are only on your mind and not on your body? Does feeling suffocated by the presence of someone instead of perhaps a pillow on your face, count as torture? Is slowly allowing your body to degenerate by sickness of the mind and not doing anything about it classified as suicide?

She had called him and apologised. She had asked him to come back. She had done the right thing. And he had come back. And hugged her. And kissed her. And she had wished he had been stabbed by one of those invisible faceless creeps, that all women feel following them in the dead of the night. Or get bitten by one of the rabid foxes. But no such luck.

Is it forgivable if someone wants to “murder by guitar string” their betrothed at 01:42 in the morning due to severe lack of sleep? Is it human to manipulate someone so although you do not hit them they feel lacerated anyway? Is it ok if you scare someone into submission as long as no weapons are used and no violence to the body has been suggested? Is it acceptable to kill your body to avoid the slow death of your mind?

She shook him awake and asked him to pick the duvet he had kicked over to the floor on the other side. He got up, picked the duvet and she prayed she could fall asleep before the next burst of snores started. The next time she looked at her watch, the time was 02:00 in the morning. She had managed to sleep for at least 15 full minutes.

They say the longest any human has ever stayed alive without sleeping was 11 days. Maybe these 15 minutes would keep her alive a bit longer. Maybe she could add a bit extra cheese to his pasta sauce tomorrow. Maybe that will give him nightmares and keep him awake a bit longer. Maybe it will clog his arteries and kill him a bit sooner.

What is hope?

Time to drop the duvet over his side of the bed again. Just 3 more hours until sunrise.