An Existence

I do not know how it was for others, but for me awareness and understanding came all at once. I was suddenly, here I knew I was here, and knew I was me. I did not, however, know where “here” was, not to mention I was surrounded by so many others like me I could not count them all. I wondered how I even knew what “counting” was, but given that I had recently come into my existence I tried to take it all in stride.

Yet, just as suddenly as my awareness came, so did my imprisonment. One moment I was surrounded by sounds and lights, then the next thing I knew, I was put in here and the door closed behind me. I realized I was not alone in this room; there were others like me in here.  But, where was here? What was I doing here? Why did I even exist? These questions picked away at me. I realized I could not answer my endless queries so I tried to push them out of my mind.

At first there was just silence and darkness. Gradually cries of “What’s going on?” and “Why, why?” started to fill the room. I tried to talk to my fellow prisoners, but most of them seemed self-absorbed in their own individual plights. Time seemed to stretch on and on. The darkness was absolute. Then after what seemed an eternity the door opened. The light and sound were overwhelming. Before any of us knew what was happening, the door closed again and we were once more enveloped in darkness.

“Oh, my goodness the guy next to me is missing!” someone called out. A murmur filled the room, and horrified calls of “What just happened?” and “Why are we here?” came out of the dark.  The fear in the room was palpable. No one understood. I felt a horrible chill run through me. I knew I was right something terrible was upon us all, and I didn’t need to ask anyone to confirm it. Just as these thoughts were settling in, the door opened again.

Once more, the room was filled with a flood of lights and sounds. I could not see. I could not comprehend. And then, just as quickly as it opened, the door closed again. I already knew before the first calls went out that another one of us had been taken. The fear within the room was quickly turning into terror. Why am I here? What’s going on? Why and where, were they taken? These thoughts repeated in my mind. I could think of nothing else.

It is hard to explain the next few torturous hours. The door opened and closed many times. Usually, only one of us would disappear, although every now and then, two of us vanished at the same time. It didn’t matter where you were standing, or who you stood next to. Each time the assault of sound and light was so disorienting that I could not see or understand what was happening.

Soon, there were only five of us left, counting myself. The cries had stopped and there was no more talking. We were all clearly lost in our thoughts and fears. Once again, I wondered Why am I here? Why were they taken? What’s happening to us? and the worst thought of all, Why do I exist? My existence was so sudden, and with the abrupt disappearances had distracted me from ever really pondering it’s meaning. The door had not opened for some time, so I could at last explore these existential thoughts. I was getting nowhere though. It was a vicious cycle of thoughts and attempted reasoning that lead me to say aloud “Maybe there is no answer.”

The sudden break in the silence startled the others, but then they responded. “What do you mean?” one said. “Do you know something?” another asked almost simultaneously. I was assaulted by a chorus of whats and whys. At first, I reeled at the onslaught, but then I reacted. “Calm down please” I begged. “I do not know any more than the rest of you.” I tried to make them understand. “I was simply trying to reason out why we’re here,” I implored, but they continued to ask unanswerable questions as I tried to calm them. Then, when all seemed lost, the door suddenly opened.

The light was not as bright, the sounds not as loud. I was still partially disoriented.  I felt myself being pushed around by something. I could hear the scream as one of us was taken and before the door shut, I could hear the captive scream “No, no, please! NOOO!” Again, the darkness returned, and then we were four.

I did not know if anyone else heard the last screams of our fellow prisoner, and I did not want to mention it. As the others hysterically sobbed and wailed, I tried to focus on what I’d felt and heard. Running over the last interruption in my mind, I recalled that something had pushed me. Something that I could not understand had grabbed our companion.

I tried to make sense or find meaning in any of this, but there was none. I simply could not comprehend what was happening.  I was focused on the last few screams when the door opened. The screams of my fellow captives drowned out my own. My own terror was absolute. The door closed and I was alone, oh so horribly alone.

“They’re all gone,” I said aloud, and I was immediately frightened by the sound of my own words resounding through the emptiness of the room. “Oh, my goodness, what’s going on? Why am I here? Why do I exist?” I screamed, but all that answered me was the silence of the dark room. Quietly, I sat there and sobbed in the soul-crushing emptiness, darkness my only friend, my sobs the only sounds. I just don’t understand… I am here alone, but why? I thought. I seemed to sit in there forever. Then, as my loneliness, sorrow, and fear seemed to grow unbearable, the door opened.

I was grabbed, pulled violently out of the room. I could not see at first; I could not understand. The sound, and light bombarded me before I could see, and then: oh, no, the horror! I screamed wordlessly, as I was being handled by a giant. The gigantic beast began to put me in its mouth. “No, no, no, please!” I screamed.  It was then that I saw the fire. What is it doing? “Oh, no, no, NOOO!” I heard myself screech hysterically as the giant lit me on fire. The pain became excruciating. What is this sensation? my mind reeled. The terrible creature was sucking the very essence of my being through and out of me.

“Please, please, stop!” I tried to scream, but either my voice was too weak, or the giant couldn’t hear me.  Maybe it just doesn’t care, I thought. My mind seemed to be getting hazy. I could see what was left of my soul spreading everywhere as it was pulled in and out of the giant.  I can’t think. I can’t. The single thought of Why do I exist? floated through my mind one final time and at last, with terrifying clarity I realized why. I exist to be consumed! I tried to scream at the horrifying thought, but I found I couldn’t. Then, just as quickly as I entered this world, nothingness enveloped me.

And those were the thoughts of the very last cigarette in the pack.


This story was first published on

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