“The beach seems to extend infinitely in either direction. The sky is gray, the sand a dulled color, muted by the water. I have tried desperately to make some sense of the passage of time the last few days. It was only after looking in a mirror that I managed to gain some sense of it. My face is covered in scruff, dead skin along the edges of my eyes. My lips are splitting and parched, my ribs clear under my skin, the rest of me showing even more signs of neglect. I have slept little during this time, and during my stay in the hotel I would only use the bathroom in the lobby of the hotel. My skin is itchy.
What sleep I have had has been dominated not by images, but by sounds. The hollow murmuring, of gulls and surf. At times, I think I see something beginning to become clear, only to wake up within moments, nausea knocking me onto my back. I had taken to keeping a garbage can within easy reach. But a few days ago the owner of the hotel told me I had to leave. Noise complaints he said. So I gathered up what few things I had and left.
I sit down on the sand, and feel the cool water washing over my toes. There is a feeling of pain as my feet begin to react to the chill in the water. I have looked for a reason to not end up here. I had been warned. The phone is ringing again. I ignore it.
I walked for two days, not really sure about direction. Several times police officers pulled over and asked if I was okay. I told them I was, and though the look of concern never left their faces, they couldn't really come up with a reason to bother me further. They would pull away, heading in the opposite direction. And I would keep on walking, heading towards the sound. The hollow, empty ringing in the distance.
I drank from the puddles and the melting snow, sating my thirst temporarily. Each passing hour the sound would get clearer, louder. It was no longer just some ringing, but instead was a pulsing, steady humming. I wandered alone, turning my phone off after the first day of walking. Cars passed, people stared. I kept going, not really thinking anything, only knowing that somehow this all was heading towards that sound, that I was somehow meant to find the source.
Soon I began to hear another noise outside of the humming. It was the sound of water, rushing and retreating along the nearby beach...
It didn't take me long to make it down to the beach, skidding down the steep shelf of sand that separated the dead grass and the water. As I reached the shore, the humming suddenly and inexplicably stopped, leaving only the sound of the surf and the gulls. Exhausted, my feet aching, I removed my shoes and socks, placing them off to the side. Then I walked to the shore and sat down, allowing the cold water to rush over my toes.
I sat there for a unknown amount of time, at least long enough for the waters to creep higher along the sand, forcing me to stand up. I stepped away, watching it shift and bubble against the sand...Then, off to my right, I began to hear movement. At first, it was just a thick splashing on the water, but eventually this was replaced with the sound of something pulling its way onto shore.
I looked over, and noticed that something was looking back at me. Not with one eye, but many. Tentacles and red, bloodshot eyes seemed to slip into one another, its form black and yet as amorphous as a dream. It smelled of clay and silt.
It didn't make an attempt to move towards me, just sat there, like it was expecting me to come to it. In the back of my mind, I thought I could recognize something about it, something far back in my memory. But it failed me, as I was left to simply stare at the unknowable thing. I was crying.
I turned and returned to where I had placed my things further up the beach. I pulled out my phone and placed it upon the top of my shoes. Then, I pulled out some loose leaf paper that I kept from the hotel and began to write.
I do not know how long I have been writing. I assume it has been longer than I expect.
I look back at the thing, and suddenly I remember it. An impossible piece from an impossible address. I look out along the waters, towards an edge I cannot see, to a point somewhere between. I think of my phone. I really only have one person I would wish to talk to...
I can't live like this anymore, not like I am. The fatigue. The pain. The nightmares. I have searched for a way to feel better, but all I have done is revealed things forgotten. Everything I have done has failed if not made things worse. Everything leading up to this point has failed. And so, I am left to choose a new direction...
The thing looks over to me with blood red eyes, not even paying attention to the sound anymore. Just the eyes. It would be so easy...to stop fighting against them. To submit to the horror as so many already have. All I would have to do is walk over, let it eat me, and cease to exist on my own. Isn't that what I have wanted? To not be alone? But wouldn't I just be giving in. Wouldn't I just be making all my fighting, all my suffering meaningless.
In front of me, the waters continue to pulse. All I would have to do it walk until my feet couldn't touch the ground. I am weak as it is. I doubt I could manage to swim for long. After that, it would just need to take a long, deep breath. No giving in, the end coming by own hand instead of through some sickness or fear. Yet, even as I consider it, I can see my parents, their corpses still and cooling. My fathers body twitching...I escaped my death back then. Do I really want...do I even have it in me? Would it even matter. How would I even know the difference.
I hear the sound of the phone ringing. She is calling me again...why don't I pick up? If I accept one of the other options, there is a guarantee the pain will stop. But so will I. I am so tired, so very tired. I don't want to do this anymore, but I also don't want to die. Maybe I can find some way to live with this. Maybe I can find another way, share my pain as opposed to holding onto it. Would that be fair, to let someone else shoulder some of it? Isn't that how it is supposed to work? A family. A friend? Looking back on everything, can I deny her desire to help? But there are no guarantees. Despite my doubts, things could always get worse.
This morning I vomited up blood. My hands won't stop shaking, and head is throbbing. My vision blurs, and my body aches. I can't stop crying...
One year ago I came to Wellington Street, ignorant of what I was getting into. Now I know, and I wish I could go back. There is something terrible, something wrong with this place. But isn't that why I fit in? Deep down, I think I realized that I wasn't that different from the people here. I was hiding from something unbearable, and I cannot say that I wouldn't have been better off not knowing. There is no going back now though. No way to become ignorant again.
I hear the sound again, a cooing comforting tone. Just a short walk to the right...then oblivion...legion.
Something about the water, the foam along the edge. It seems alive...it would be so easy. I see faces...coals..I shiver...
She is calling again...won't give up on me. don't want to be like this anymore. I don't want to be sick. I want to be free...
The thing murmurs and hums,
The surf crashes and shifts the sand,
and the phone rings again...”
The above words were found in a jacket, abandoned at the beach.