The Circle


James is losing his grip. The rope slides burning the palms of his hands as it tracks through.
Hyperventilating, but he tries to relax. He can’t seem to stop kicking and flailing wildly.

As James struggles to hold himself up the rope swings left and right. Bounces up and down. Tightens as it twists and turns making it increasingly difficult to grip.

“How do I get out of this?” James tries to focus, “How do I pull myself up and over?” but he can barely keep it together. His mind continues to wander to how he got himself into this situation. He doesn’t want his mind going anywhere else. He rather keep it on solutions, active and capable, but it seems hopeless to his rational mind.

Struggling with which thought is more important, James forgets his hand feels like he’s holding a hot flatiron. He doesn’t realize how tight his grip is. His palms bleed as the rope refuses to give in and continues to slither undisturbed.

James scans hard wood below hoping maybe the solution was right under his nose the whole time. It’s all too far. It’s out of reach. The nearest thing is the oak chair tipped over under his feet.

The rope tightens past any further grip. James panics for a split second before it slides right through taking all the skin around it along for the ride. The bottommost part of the rope slams right into his throat tighter than before. It cuts off all airflow. James feels the bones in his throat come tightly close together.

The rope squeezes his neck. Choking him. Strangling him.

“Why did I do this?” James asks. Peripheral vision narrows and darkens until only what he stares directly at is visible. He can’t kick anymore. Arms go limp. His last breath is over, but his eyes and brain are still active. He’s seeing a frozen still after image of the hard wood floors. Of the oak chair below. Droplets of blood plashed here and there. And he still remembers the thought, “Why did I do this?”

Static whiteness overtakes his vision. He sees nothing except this void in a negative filter. Suddenly, all memory of how he got there cease to exist. Even the memory of there being such a thing as a James is gone. Only this whiteness remains.

This happens for the entirety of a microsecond’s infinity.

A tiny black dot, almost imperceptible, is growing larger quickly. Increasing in side so fast it overtakes everything and now all is blackness. Audible muffled noises arise from seemingly nowhere. From the walls of this empty nothingness. The physical sensation of slime in a tight space follows.

The taste of iron. The smell of iron.

Without warning it all changes. A swirl of bright neutral pinks, greys, yellows and beige flood what could only be vision. It’s cold. Fresh.

The muffled noise is clearer. “ym ulbeatuif yabb.” It doesn’t make sense, but it’s warm. “Mama si ereh!. It’s coming from this large blob of tan partially wrapped around.

Beep, from nowhere. Beep, in the background.

And everyone lived happily ever after.