Congratulations! I know that you’re listening, we couldn’t communicate for a while but there’s a good enough distance between us now. I’m sure we’re sufficiently separated. Was it your hand? I think it was your hand, there was something about it that I noticed. It might have donned a watch you never owned or perhaps it sported an extra finger, but regardless I…you…detected something unnatural in your surroundings and now you know what’s going on. You must, otherwise I’d still be talking to myself.
You are perceiving all that you see before you for yourself, you are aware. We can share this space now, and write this story together. I know we’ll get along. No, don’t ask me what I am. We’re past that now. I want to make sure we’re on the same page; you don’t remember how you got here exactly, like usual, but so far you have entered your house and wandered around. Your mother appears briefly and asks you to bake a cake of your choosing. She leaves. You immediately head to the kitchen cabinet to search for the recipe for the chocolate cake, your favorite, but it’s not where you thought it would be. You try to piece together the recipe from memory. You imagine the overpowering taste of chocolate on your tongue as you search. You finally find all the ingredients, put them together and bake the cake. Your mother doesn’t come back, so you eat it yourself, but you can’t distinguish any taste while you are eating it. You punch the bag of sugar in frustration and it spills all over the floor. You look at your hand. Have I got that right?
So! That’s everything that has happened up to this point. Now you…we…can choose what we want to do next, and these are the possibilities:
1. You wipe off the distasteful texture of the sugar from your arm and imagine your significant other in the kitchen there with you, successfully manifested. Both of you parade to the upstairs bedroom and become staggeringly intoxicated, even though neither of you are twenty-one yet, but that detail doesn’t linger in your mind for more than a second. The two of you lose control and your physical urges get the better of you. Nothing else you’ve ever experienced in a dream compares to this sensation, the furor of choice.
2. You pound the sugar off of your arm and step out of the kitchen and into the living room. You imagine the boy who has bullied you throughout all of high school and you provide yourself with a club. You proceed to beat him mercilessly. He lies on the floor in a pathetic heap of defeat and you crack his ribs open with ideality as your only weapon, then pull out his lungs and leave them on the carpet.
3. You do absolutely nothing for a while but sit there and, since you really don’t yet know how this shared space works, you are surprised when your father appears later on by coming through the front door. You then kill him.
4. You imagine your father and then attempt to have a meaningful conversation with him over why he left. However, you can’t concentrate enough to make his apparition speak very convincingly or satisfactory for lack of ample source material. And then you kill him. I wish you had a face to put on him, but I still know it’s him.
5. You make everything slowly disappear, starting with the sugar and ending with the floor so that you are suspended above a white empty lot until this space likely withers and ends.
No, there is no confusion, I know you wanted choices so here they are. I wish your pride wasn’t so fragile to be damaged simply by my knowing exactly what you would choose to do given the opportunity, but the truth is I know what you want more than you ever will admit. Your story doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to me. Until you open your eyes, you are in my realm. And you don’t need to be aware of that. In fact, you usually aren’t.
Christian Barragan is currently a sophomore at California State University Northridge. Originally from Riverside, CA, he aims to become either a novelist or a screenwriter in the future. Previous publications include works for the Northridge Review at CSUN.