Falling Sand

Sand beneath my feet.  It’s warm, and I can feel the sun on my skin.  The glass is smooth, featureless, but cloudy, the outside world obscured.  I walk the small space allotted me, bare feet leaving a circle of impressions.  My hourly circuit, always the same and never-ending.  When I tire of the monotony, I stop and sit down.  If I reach out my hand, I can let the falling sand trickle through my fingers.  It is relentless, unstoppable.  Sometimes, it is my friend, showing me that my prison is not entirely static, that perhaps one day a destination might be reached.  At other times, it is my enemy, warning me that change is constant and I cannot stay as I am.
I do not remember a time or a place before this here, now.  I have been stuck, fixated, for all time.  Slowly, oh so slowly, my allotted space is getting smaller.  I cannot see its progress with my eyes, but I can feel it in my soul.  Everything is shrinking, drowning, falling beneath the surface.  I can dig, or draw, or build; the materials are all around me, but nothing I create is permanent.  The sand consumes it all.

Me, myself and I is all the company I have.  I have grown to know the inside of my head all too well.  But not well enough to make my escape.  I am trapped here, but safe from the unknown dangers of the outside.  All I have is the sand; the endless seeping sand that defines my existence and marks my fate.  If I look up, I can just perceive where the sloping glass almost meets far above my head.
Another me waits up there.  A me that is old and wizened.  A me that is done with this life.  A me that knows the only way out.  I have not met that version of me yet, but I know she is there, waiting.  I know that, when the sand finally runs out, she will follow it down, and then she and I will become one.
My only hope is to break out of here myself before that happens.  But the presence of the other, final me fills my mind.  I cannot escape her; I know her purpose and it mesmerises me.  I am unable to seek freedom, or achieve anything, while the spectre of her hangs over me.  She takes up all my thoughts, makes all my plans seem worthless.  I cannot devise a strategy to defeat myself.  And so I am stuck, awaiting my fate, obsessing over it, eaten up by its inevitability.
And so it goes, on and on.  Day by day, all I have is the thoughts that run round and round in endless circles in my mind.  Just as my feet tread a path round and round my self-imposed prison, my footsteps forever obscured by new falling sand, my existence never changing.  Obsessed with ageing, I cannot explore or enjoy what life may be available to me outside.  My only release will be death.

by Annie Percik  |   artwork  by Kristin Soh  +   Erica Wexler

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Annie Percik

I've written stories for as long as I can remember, though, and there are always one or two rattling around in my head. I usually produce quite short works, but I’ve also demonstrated to myself I can actually write a novel-length piece of fiction that (mostly) hangs together, which feels like quite an achievement.