The Never-Ending Pattern’s Casualty

Allison Price


It’s another reset. My world disintegrates into squares, and here I am again on my street.

I pace back and forth across the cobblestones, holding my lacy pink umbrella over my head. I tire of this motion. I wish I could just rest my arm at my side, but the world won’t allow it. I can twirl this boring pink umbrella in my fingers, but that’s about it.

But sometimes, the world does change around me. Tonight, the moon is a honey golden yellow. The ground is damp and splattered with puddles. It never rains. It’s always a few moments after the rain has stopped. But sometimes the moon turns cerulean, and on the worst days, it turns crimson.

My path takes me from the doorstep of my pristine, white wooden house to my lamppost at the end of a jagged black fence. The sidewalk ends there. I’ve never touched the road, but sometimes I’ll glimpse a horse drawn carriage and wish I could board it. Even though I know that carriage only goes as far as the next street, and its doors will never open. There is no one inside, and there never will be.

Still, I like to imagine myself walking across the street, knocking on the carriage door, sitting on a plush red seat, and travelling somewhere, anywhere else.

As I step forward, I hear it. The source, the instrument of all change in this place. Its feet echo across the stones. On occasion, it’s accompanied by a yell or a swish. But usually, I just hear its shoes tapping against the ground.

The steps are growing louder. I cannot tell if it’s coming towards me. I cannot turn around to look until I reach my lamppost.

I catch sight of my carriage, and though I’d love to take a longer look, I reverse direction.

The source of all change is heading towards me. It is different this time. The height is always the same, but it is wearing a long black cloak instead of a beige vest, and its hair has brightened to a crimson red. I think I preferred it when it was midnight black. This reminds me too much of the moon at its harshest.

The source stops in front of me. It holds a bloody axe, though I know it does not wish to hurt me. I keep walking, for I cannot stop. Its yellow eyes have found me.

I feel a compulsion, the urge to speak. And I want so badly to yell for help, to beg the source to free me from my never-ending street walk. But I say what I always do, “It’s a shame about the weather. I was hoping to meet some friends for tea this afternoon.”

The source listens, then turns and walks away. I can still hear the patter of its step, and I know I will for a few minutes more.

Speaking always sends me reeling. It leaves me wondering if the source knows what it’s doing to me.

I know there are others like me, but I’ve never seen them. Do they all want to scream? Do they all suffer as I do? I know there’s a world beyond this one, and I know I’ll never be able to reach it. And sometimes I wish I didn’t know, so I could stop longing to find it.

A foreboding screech interrupts my thoughts. The golden moon drips with red splotches until it is bathed bloodred. Fast, high chords play across the world. Something, though I don’t know what, roars. The time of monsters and beasts has arrived.

The source shouts, and its axe swishes. I pray it will continue with its footsteps soon.

There’s a gasp.

I know what’s coming. The world is about to shift, but I don’t want it to. If I could, I’d beg it to stop.

Everything blackens. My being contorts and fades into nothing.

I can feel the words that fill my world,

You have died. Game over.

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Allison W. A. Price lives in Little Rock, Ar. She attended Hendrix College here she majored in English – creative writing. Her work has appeared in Crack the Spine, Lagom, and on Cabe Theatre’s stage.