Before the rest of the project, for English, the assignment was to write a short story. I wrote mine about a loser who failed to grow up with the rest of the world, being left alone in isolation as all his friends were long gone and had moved on with their lives. It’s just a slight fear that I’m sure everyone has- being left alone as the one person who can’t figure out how to do something. This story is essentially an extreme version of that.In Digital Media, we converted those words into a spoken audio file and added a few sounds in the background. This experience is similar to that of an audio book, and blends both the experiences of movies and books. While having an auditory channel to provide some emotion and drag you in slightly, there are still no visuals and you still have a completely blank slate visually, leaving it still up to your imagination.LIFE AFTER DEATH:There was nothing special about the day. It was a crisp, December afternoon in the suburbs. The sky was a pale blue sheet, hazy with lazy clouds not big enough to warrant shade, nor small enough to fade away. A rather depressing and mindless chill carried in the waking breeze, blowing the sound of a car ignition mixed in dead dusty leaves across the way. Scratching his beard slowly yet anxiously, Ryan stepped out of his house and winced in the eyes of the sunbeams.With his mouth half open and his dead, glassy eyes holding an artificial and lifeless stare, Ryan stumbled forward into the street. The leaves crunched beneath his feet and the gravel remained stationary as his feet seemed to glide over the top. To his right, the blinds were locked shut showing no signs of parting. To his left, he could see a family watching a soccer game on the television and happily cheering, their voices silenced by the window separating the lively and the lifeless.Ryan’s eyes were so dry and dull he couldn’t produce the tears he felt needed to come out. His nose was slightly running in the cool air, his hair overgrown and messy. His muck colored hoodie was laced with small scratches of green. What was once a stylistic statement and a symbol of mindlessly happy youth had been contaminated by the years. The black pants he wore were torn at the knees, coated with dust, and rumpled with age.
He continued his staggered gait down the road, eventually arriving at the downtown train station. As a few commuters bustled around, Ryan walked up to the platform and stood by the edge, looking down to the west. A small torch burned just down the rails, its warning cry bellowing through the air back to him. As it grew closer, the light reflected in his glassy, crystalized flattened eyeballs. He stood by that yellow line as the beast crawled in, and crawled back out just a minute later to the east. His eyes stayed locked on the back window until it was out of sight.
Ryan sat on a bench as ghosts danced around him. He saw them laughing,; playing, and; screwing around on a careless Thursday afternoon. The whole world was theirs. He could see himself, bouncing around the place gleefully. Down the platform, across the tracks, twisting a flattened penny in his hands. Ryan covered his eyes with his hands, bent down, and blocked out all the sound. All he wanted was for it to be real. But he knew they were nothing but voices inside his head.
When he sat up, he dried his hands on his ripped pants and looked around. There was no laughter. There were no ghosts. Nothing but a solitary commuter sitting on a bench nearby, his expression unreadable. Their eyes locked for a split moment.
Another twenty minutes passed, Ryan staring deep into the eyes of a couple spilled M&Ms rotting and melting in the winter sun. As the final rays of the setting sun were falling behind the hill, Ryan regained his feet and strolled across the rails, hesitantly. He straightened his spine. And he stared off into the sunset, putting one foot in front of the other. And walked away.
He never came back.