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.


Coffee for one

Aisha was at the airport. She hated crowds. She hated noisy annoying kids. She hated flying. She looked around the airport, wondering for the 137th time as to why she had decided to take a flight in the first place. Why couldn’t she have just trained it! Of course it wasn’t so bad at the airport, if you could just shut everything out. Forget everything. And that was the reason why, she remembered she was flying out. She was ready to forget. She was ready to move on. As she tried to find a seat in the crowded hall, she started thinking about Ashley. Her Ashley. Ash. She smiled.

It had been a day like any other, normal enough. She had woken up to find Ashley still asleep next to her, the duvet completely wrapped around him. Typical. Atleast it was predicted to be a hot sunny day. She had gotten out of bed after about half an hour of tossing and trying to get some of the duvet from under Ashley. Walking into the kitchen, she had switched on the kettle and looked out of the window; it was grey. So much for weather forecasts.

Ashley stirred. She took out the cups and started making his coffee. Ashley loved his coffee. “Posh coffee”, she had called it when Ashley had tried to initiate her to his favourite Italians. She almost added the instant coffee when she heard him yell, “Don’t add that crap in my cup. Make me a proper cup, couldn’t you?”

She didn’t respond. It was too early for a fight.

“I am already late. Why couldn’t you just bloody wake me up sooner?”

She couldn’t find the coffee spoons. Ashley had not done the dishes last night. He had again been late getting back from work. She heard the bathroom door slam as she started cleaning a couple of spoons. Ashley. She had known the moment she had met him that she was hooked. Ms. Aisha. Clean freak. Organised to the point of OCD. She had not even given it a second thought when on their first date, she had woken up to find his clothes on the floor and cigarette butts all over her gleaming bathroom and Persian rugs. Her Ashley. Ash.

“I will be late again tonight”.

She had lost time. She had no idea when she had finished making breakfast; when she had got to the table. Ashley was saying something.

“Hello… Earth calling Aisha. Are you even listening to me?”

She stopped stirring the coffee, put the spoon down, looked at him and nodded. He rarely smiled these days. “Stress at work.”, he always seems to insist.

“I will be late again today.” He repeated. “Don’t wait up. Might even need to stay the night. Big project. And for heaven’s sake, don’t sulk like last time. In case you haven’t noticed, I am not exactly sitting around with children singing nursery rhymes the entire day.”

“I teach high school Chemistry Ash.”

“Yeah well, your shopping trips cost a pretty penny sweetheart. So don’t complain.”

She looked at him, sighed and handed him his coffee. They finished breakfast in silence. He was complaining about the coffee tasting stale, but she was couldn’t concentrate. She would throw the coffee jar after he left. When had it started going so very wrong?

She locked the door after him and sat at the computer. After staring at the screen for about 15 minutes, she started cleaning the kitchen. Good thing about school holidays was that everything got done exactly how she liked it. She cleaned out all her papers, sorted her bills, cleared out the kitchen cabinet making sure to throw out the coffee. The house looked spotless. She went back to sit in front of the computer. At 10:30, she got the call. Ashley had had an accident. He had died on the spot. She had been called to identify the body.

She had not cried at the police station. She had not cried at the morgue. She had not cried throughout the investigation. They said it had been a heart attack. “Heart attack at 30? That’s just plain unfortunate.” The officers had treated her very kindly. “Stress kills!” they had whispered, shaking their heads at each other while looking on at the stoic girlfriend.

The gate had just been announced. Gate number 10. She was finally beginning to feel a bit relaxed. She showed her ticket to the lady at the gate and was ushered to her aisle seat. She buckled on her seat belt, opened her bag, took out a tattered, folded card and read:

My darling Ash,

Can’t believe it’s been 8 whole hours since I have felt your touch on my skin. I simply can’t wait to have you back in my arms tonight. Just make sure you do not run away like last night. I hate not waking up with you. Tell you what, just to sweeten the deal, how about you get to have your coffee in bed? Just say you will stay.

Missing making love to you.

Yours, Silvia

The flight was about to land.

Aisha put the folded card in the waste bag the air-hostess was holding open for her. Darling Ashley. Her Ashley. He really did love his coffee. Smiling, Aisha walked out of the flight.