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Instytut Filologii

Instytut Filologii

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Akadamia Pomorska Słupsk

Karolina Mrówczyńska The Inverse Process

     I opened my eyes and the first thing I saw was Eleanor. She smiled but only her lips were smiling. Her eyes remained worried and filled with care. She noticed I was confused and lost. I didn’t know what was going on. I was very disturbed and exhausted at the same time. She explained that I was in a coma for four years and I’ve just woken up. I thought – what the hell? Only those words could express what I felt. Something was bothering me. If I was in a coma and I’ve just woken up, shouldn’t she be fulfilled with joy and happiness? That is how I would feel if I was in her situation. Yet she was there, looking terrified. We’ve been married since 2014. I asked myself if it gives us two or six years of marriage due to my absence for four years. I asked her what was bothering her so much. Once she explained her enigmatic behavior and I got a clear picture of what was happening, I was terrified myself.

     A person who wakes up after four years in a coma would never expect to wake up in the middle of a catastrophe. I am not even sure if that was the right name for it. A disaster? A tragedy? The end of the world? My wife, Eleanor, told me that some time ago a meteorite landed on our planet. No one predicted it would collide with our planet. You usually hear news about meteorites on TV and you know if there will be one “visiting” us. This time, it was unexpected. Scientists couldn't detect it even if they were equipped with many complex and complicated devices. When it hit the ground, people were curious and wanted to see what it was because it wasn’t just a simple rock. It had a white light shining from the inside through lots of holes. The light was so strong that it was blinding everybody around. Soon more people found out and it was transported to a science lab. When scientists wanted to examine it, they cut it in half. The light illuminated the lab, at the same time spreading the virus of an unknown name. The scientists got infected and developed symptoms straight away and the people who first saw the meteorite showed first symptoms after a few days. The main symptom that everyone who was infected had were white eyes. Eyes so empty almost as if they were blind. Those eyes didn't have a pupil, iris or sclera. They had nothing – just emptiness. People say it’s possible to see your soul through your eyes. If it’s true, these infected people lacked souls. 

     The only way to catch the virus was looking them in the eyes. It was easier to get killed than to catch it because all it took to die was one touch for five seconds. This was not the scariest thing of it all. The most hair-raising thing was that during these five seconds you could see all the bad things you did in life. When people die, they see their lives flashing before their eyes but this was different. You could only see what you’ve done wrong. As if your brain only remembered about the worst things and forgot about the good ones. Different stories from people who managed to escape were heard. They described it as a kind of agony. Death in unimaginable pain. After an autopsy, it was confirmed that death was caused because of irreversible, fatal brain damage after which all of its functions were stopped. What was shocking was that everyone described the looks of monsters completely different. Some would say they had no skin. Others would describe them as one big injury because they were bleeding in every place possible. You could also find people who were sure the infected ones could fly or looked like a devil. It became clear that they appeared to you like something you were scared of the most. As your biggest fear. It could be a monster you feared in childhood - one from under your bed, for instance. It could be someone who hurt you in the past. Whatever your mind was terrified of. The thing we were certain of was their willingness to kill – they behaved as if this was their purpose from the beginning of lives. After they killed someone, they would die themselves. If they didn’t kill anyone, they would die after three weeks – that was the average life expectancy of infected 'monsters'. 

     There was one thing that could save you. Eleanor said the infected would come out of nowhere, as if they were invisible and the only way you could stay invisible for them was staying in your house. For some unknown reason, they wouldn’t enter houses. Your home was the only place where you could be safe. What was there left to do was to stay home and hope to have enough food to survive without leaving your place. My house has always been a safe zone for me and it hasn’t changed. Curiosity was what killed people. First, they wanted to examine the meteorite to find out what it was. Later, people who wanted to see how does an infected person look like left their houses and either looked them in the eyes, because they heard rumours about the look of their eyes, or just got killed. All they were asked to do was to stay home so the number of infected people wouldn’t grow. Nowadays, people stay indoors most of the time. They rather spend it on their phones or in front of a TV. If it took three weeks for the infected ones to die, the message was clear. Everyone must stay at home for three weeks since the last infection. To be sure, we should just give it a month. You often hear people complaining about how much they would love to stay at home and do nothing for some time. It looked more like a blessing. Turns out if you tell people not to do something they do the complete opposite.

     On day one, when the virus spread in the lab, there was no time to relax. Everyone had to supply themselves with as much food and water as possible. Everyone was in a hurry and out of breath. They knew it was the last day they could leave their houses. People became even more rude and disrespectful trying to take all the food for themselves, leaving the rest with nothing. They started robbing supermarkets and local shops. Everyone was fighting and arguing. Moral rules no longer applied. They were pushing one another, trying to make their ways to shelves stocked with food. Many men were fighting everywhere around. Many people died already on that day although it was just the beginning of everything. Their deaths were caused by other humans.

     On day two, there were more infected people because some of them didn’t believe the virus was real and they went outside. They were murdered. All the land animals were gone. Nobody knew why. Their corpses could be found literally everywhere. Cats, dogs, cows, horses, chickens – all of them laid motionless and bloodless on the ground. What happened? Eleanor said that she saw a black homeless cat this day, walking along the street. Suddenly, the cat fell as if he fainted. She was too scared to go out of the house to check what happened to it so she was just watching. But then she looked around and noticed a dog laying on the ground just like the cat. That gave her chills. She was frightened.

     On day three, all flying animals also died. Birds were falling down from above. Eleanor said she didn't know there were so many birds above us. They were absolutely everywhere. It looked as if it was snowing. The difference was that it was not winter and it wasn't snowing. If on day five God created all the flying and sea creatures and the flying ones were dead, I guess so were the sea ones. The process was going backwards.

     On day four, it got even worse. The day was dark like there was no sun. Eleanor told me that at night she looked out the window and noticed there were no moon and no stars. The sky was plain. It did not look well. People couldn't admire amazing views as they used to before – beautiful, shining stars and mysterious moon could no longer be observed. It meant no more sunsets, no more full moons, no more falling stars that had the power to make your wishes come true. Some time ago, I would sit on the roof of our house with my wife and admire those marvellous phenomena. The thought that these moments may never repeat made me feel desperate. 

     It was day five when I woke up. All plants and trees were dead. The ground turned black. On that day we were frightened because we realised that, due to the lack of animals and plants, we won't be able to survive anymore. That day something terrible took place. I looked out the window while Eleanor was taking a bath. I noticed a little boy running away from something. After a while, my eyes saw a scary monster. I'll never forget what happened at that moment. I felt like a murderer, as if I was the one who killed that innocent boy. I remember exactly how the boy looked like – brown-haired child, defenceless. He was wearing a t-shirt with the colour of blood and jeans that barely covered his slim legs. His weak posture and short legs didn't allow him to run quickly. That's why he was caught by the monster in just one second. He stumbled and fell to the ground. Crying and murmuring, he was trying to stand up. But he didn't succeed. I was looking at him out of the window, holding a gun in my shaking hands, wondering whether I should shoot or not. I didn't. The monster not only touched the kid but also ripped his body. In front of my eyes. Now, you are probably wondering – why didn't I shoot? I could save an innocent child's life from the soulless beast. This beast used to be an ordinary human... You will never understand the feeling of aiming a gun at somebody until you have to do it yourself. I was a policeman in the past, that's why I kept a pistol. It had stayed untouched till that day. Even though I was a cop for 5 years, I have never used a gun, I have never pulled the trigger. Even though Eleanor later told me that guns cannot kill the monsters, I still felt like a murderer. I couldn't sleep that night. If you can safe someone, just do it. Otherwise, you'll feel guilty until the end. There's nothing more precious than life – experiencing good and bad moments, feelings of being hated and loved, the support given by loved ones, or making our dreams come true. Those things are irreplaceable. There are no treasures, money, material things that can provide that. So if you can give someone a chance to live, just do it. At least try.

     I was so lucky to have a house and my wife with me. She was wise and always knew what to say. She knew how to calm me down despite the fact that she was out of control herself. I felt bad I couldn’t be there for her to help her when she only had one day to collect all the food. She had to do it all by herself. When all of this is over, I will do everything to show her how much I appreciate her and I will take the best care of her.

     Thanks to us, people, there weren’t many plants left to be destroyed. We destroyed them ourselves by building, cutting down trees, and polluting the air. Later, the land was floating. The level of water wasn’t high but high enough to cover the land which was in our sights. We didn’t know what exactly happened on day six. All we knew was that something changed and it was not a good sign. It felt like something that was separated for very long suddenly connected. Some things must never be connected.

     On day seven, we were sitting on the floor hugging because we knew it was our last day. There was no light and we couldn’t even tell if it was day time or night time. There was only chaos and emptiness. The world was so damaged yet so quiet. Even if all the infected people were dead already, we couldn’t do anything. The world did not exist any longer. How were we still here? We didn’t know. Maybe we weren’t. Only darkness and us. We were hopeless. If people would’ve stayed at home, all of this wouldn’t be happening. We would be able to move on with our lives. It was too late. I was thankful I could be there with Eleanor during our last days.

     Abruptly, there was light. I heard a voice telling me not to get up. I heard Eleanor crying and saying it’s a miracle. When I asked if we survived, everyone looked at me strangely and then they all laughed. Later on, the doctor explained that I was in a coma for four years and now I’m back. I realised it was all a dream, a nightmare. I looked out the window and everything was in its place. No water, no dead people. Plants and sun. Kids playing. Adults walking. I made a promise to myself that I will look after my wife more than ever because she was there for me for all these years, waiting by my side. I never doubted our love but it was amazing to be reminded of why I love her and why we got married in the first place. I want to make her feel safe and show her that she could trust me with her life. I want to give her HOME. Instead of going out with my friends, I will cook dinner and stay home with her.

     Dreams are a very strange and mysterious phenomenon. They are a night product of our imagination and accompany us throughout our lives. They are also reflections of our situation or emotions. Many people say that dreams are prophetic and often have a grain of truth. So be responsible, make the right decisions. Never let the situation get out of control just like in my dream. Stay home to sleep and see what your dreams want to tell you.

#StayHome

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