Friday, 2 April 2010

In the White

It fell on us as dust on furniture, no one really felt a change. We could all see it coming but we did nothing to avoid it. It caught us guarded, but the effort to repel it was completely futile. I will always wonder if it would have been better to just continue ignoring the facts just as everyone else did.

Samuel got up as usual, reached for the coffee and the tv remote and joined the sofa in the room. It was a cold early spring morning and the sun looked terribly white that day. He tasted the first sip of coffee as the channels started to shoot their empty lights on his eyes. At first he thought it must have been a reception problem, someone must have been fixing something in the attic. The lack of television signal annoyed him, but nevertheless he managed to do what he had to do to get ready for a new day at work.

The stairs had been cleaned, polished and perfumed as never before. The porter has standing still at the entrance and for the first time appeared to completely ignore his presence. When he finally hit the street he noticed something weird, but far from disturbing: a soft fog was covering it all and still you could perceive the light of the sun through it. The effect was that of a white thin layer on a lamp, morphing the effects and color of the light in the whole room. Samuel was concerned with environmental issues so he thought it was just another consequence of the huge traffic jams in town.

It was Monday, and as usual he thought of starting the week by looking at the prospects of the week in the newspaper. He arrived at the newsagent and started looking at the different gazety. The headings were all the same, but shockingly all the pages were left undone, blank, all mirroring each other. He tried to clear his voice in order to address the shop assistant. When he asked him, he realized his voice sounded far, as if it wasn't him who was uttering those words. Not surprisingly he didn't wonder why the other person didn't even seem to care about what he had just tried to say. He just thought he had got up too quickly from bed and that his head would start to hurt from one moment to another, making him dizzy and completely destroy his day.

He left the shop and walked towards his work, fearing a tough day considering his strange state of mind. There weren't many people on the street and the few who were there looked extremely pale and distant as if in another world. Their eyes were even bluer, their skin so white that made him remember all those vampire novels he used to devour some years ago. He noticed a woman's fingers while she held her cigarette on the bus stop, the circle of smoke was of the same colour as his nail polish, and her lips had no different tonality than the rest of her face.

He thought he needed to drink a new coffee as he crossed the door at his work. The boss was looking at him from her desk, her eyes dressed in white too. The school had been refurnished, the ornaments were scarce and the posters and pictures had been removed from every single room. When he arrived at the teachers room he was welcomed by an astonishing order in the whole place. Everything was perfectly ranged, the books were all left as if they hadn't been touched, his things had been cleaned and now looked extremely professional. He prepared another coffee as he decided to enter the classroom since no other teacher was there to chat as usual.

Nobody came to the first lesson. Samuel waited in his desk, looking through the window still amazed at the strange light effects from this new day. He thought he needed a change, holidays or just something to come back to reality. He started to feel alone, but despite the lack of noise in the school he ignored these facts by taking his last book from his bag. 920 pages waited and he had been anxious to start reading his next horror novel, filled with mystery, thrill and blood. Nothing really shocked him these days, and he soon got bored with almost every book he started to read, but this time he thought he'd found the right one. He opened the pages and discovered in anger and disgust how every single page had been erased, each of them filled with that same white despair that was coloring his day.

He felt an urgent need to tell someone about this strange and already disturbing day. He reached his pocket for his phone and discovered that it was off. He threw it on the desk, realizing he must have left the phone all night and now the battery was off again. He was starting to feel a mix of anger and depression. He could not engage any conversation, the school was empty and even the boss had vanished again. There were no students coming in the next three hours. Finally he fell asleep on the desk, hoping that when he woke up everything would have returned back to normal.

When he woke up it was already very late, the clock marked eight o'clock and still it wasn't fully night. He must have slept too long but the room looked quite light even for a mull moon night. He looked through the window and was welcomed by a powerful moon, seemingly bigger than ever and so bright that he couldn't stare at it for more than two seconds. He was feeling cold and lonely, in complete fear now. This wasn't right. He wore his coat and left the school as fast as he could.

On the street people made queues on every single shop that should have been closed by now. People were silent, their clothes matching their skins and their eyes mirroring the moonlight. As he walked amongst them he noticed how those eyes weren't really looking at him as he passed. They seemed to look inside, or rather nowhere in particular. When they left the shops they all carried white cans, white packs in white bags. It was frightening to see how they all carried the same objects and how all looked and him and yet seemed to completely ignore he existed.

He ran home as fast as he could, trying not to look at the bright light that was flooding each of the elements of his life.

When he arrived home, he started feeling some relief. His flat looked normal. He left his things on the sofa and decided to take a long shower to relax from such a weird day. As he got naked and entered the shower he felt determined to call a doctor the following morning. There may be some brain problem, maybe his chronic lack of sleep, the long hours at work or the cold winter had really affected him after all. His body started to feel better as soon as the water ran over his back, finally a pleasant feeling in the whole day. There was nothing better than a warm shower after a long day.

Then his heart started to pound heavily inside his chest: there was something odd in the shower too. The water smelled... he tried to open his eyes under the shower but the liquid got in his eyes, blinding him. He stopped the water from running and reached for the towel to clean his face. When he finally opened his eyes there was a huge amount of white liquid covering his feet and lower part of the legs. The liquid was thick as milk but when he tried to taste it in his mouth it had no taste at all. It smelled of some lactic product but it had no precise taste at all.

In complete desperation he cleaned himself with the towel and got out of the shower. The bathroom was all covered in steam from the shower so he could barely see anything. He got out and went to the wardrobe to find some clothes. There was nothing there that wasn't light colored, his black shirts and trousers were just not there. In awe, he put the phone to recharge as he prepared some tea in the kitchen. Then he finally got back to the bathroom to leave the wet towel and comb his hair. When he passed before the mirror he was shocked by what he found in it. A man, completely bathed in whiteness was looking at him. His face was even paler, the eyes milky white and his lips and tongue tainted of the same tone of desperation. He tried to scream but could not hear his own voice.

He left the bathroom naked of all answers of what was happening to him. He wanted to know what was possibly going on outside so he entered the balcony and looked everywhere. Under him people stared at him, white beautiful statues. The light of the moon was everywhere and the fog was a curtain of soft thin white rain that made everything shine. The more the rain fell the more he had the feeling that nothing mattered any longer. He didn't feel desperate anymore. Somehow, he started to feel absolutely nothing. The people started to vanish in front of his eyes at the same speed as his emotions.

Finally he started to feel something inside him. He looked at his body and he could see it all covered in white liquid. It was coming from his nostrils, ears and from his eyes. He was all covered in it. He felt in peace. His last look was at the white moon, so beautiful and never again lonely.

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