Stephen sits on a chair in the middle of a desert, the sun hitting his eyes.
(Stephen): Who said that!
A being in a black cloak appears hissing its words. It speaks in a soft and calm voice.
Figure 1: They are laughing at you, Stephen. Why question it?
Stephen: You don’t know that for sure.
A second figure materializes right before Stephen’s eyes, hissing and waving its hands all around Stephen. Both figures set out to walk around Stephen.
Figure 2: It’s kind of crowded in here. Feeling nauseous?
Stephen gags. He then breathes in and out slowly to focus on not vomiting. Meanwhile, another figure steps in the scene, a third one. It glides towards him. Every line it speaks sounds as if it’s about to laugh.
Figure 3: Nobody likes you. Your polished suit and clean-cut hairdo are the costumes of your life. You’re a fake. And all that aftershave for what? You’re rotting inside.
A fourth figure emerges, also in a black cloak. Its massive march lifts a cloud of dust. It has the most aggressive tone and demeanor.
Figure 4: Exactly, nobody sees you, hears you! You’re nothing. You’re finished.
They all circle Stephen as they stick to their rhetoric.
Figure 1: Aren’t you tired of the act? The fake posts of your regimen? Your so-called nutrition?
Figure 4: But inside, you’re dead! You’re finished.
Figure 3: Yeah, like a tall brainless and useless zombie.
Figure 2: She doesn’t like you. She doesn’t even see you. Nobody sees you, Stephen. Feeling invisible?
Stephen: Stop it! Stop! Just stop already. It’s not true!
As Stephen yells, yet another figure appears in a golden cloak. It stands in front of Stephen while the other characters continue to dance around him restlessly.
Figure 5: They are liars, Stephen. They’re just thoughts.
Stephens fights to get off the chair.
Figure 5: That’s right, Stephen. Get off that chair! There are no chains there. They’re just in your mind. It is your anxiety tying you to that chair.
Stephen: I’m trying! I’m trying. (Whispers the last line before bursting into tears).
The first four figures dressed in the black cloaks suddenly stop. Then, they commence a march in an altered rhythm, slower. Then they sing a sad and dissonant melodic song as they all dance to a choreographed contemporary dance.
Why, oh, why? I feel this way. Why, oh, why? I feel this way. Why, oh, why? I feel this way.
My heart, my heart, at the bottom of me. My heart, my heart, at the bottom of me.
I can’t see clearly. You see, I’m dying inside. I want to believe…That everything will be alright.
Everything will be alright. Everything will be alright. Everything will be alright.
Barista: What can I get for you today? And um…nice to see you again, by the way. (She says with an air of shyness).
Her strawberry blonde hair was up in a bun as usual. Despite Stephen’s short words, she always looked straight into his dark eyes, a contrast of hers, perhaps hoping he’d say more. Stephen never ceased to look away, feeling bashful himself. But he wasn’t as brave as she was because he couldn’t look back into her eyes, her hazel eyes.
Stephen: I will have the same old, same old, Katie. (He says in a composed tone staring at his wallet).
Katie: Right, got ya. (She chuckles nervously).
Stephen: Okay, well, um. I’ll be in my spot. (He leaves a $20.00 tip in the jar).
Katie: Right, um, yeah. Okay, well, uh… I’ll personally bring it to you. (She smiles brightly at him).
Stephen walks away. That melody begins in his head once again. He quickly tightens his eyes shut and shakes his head.
Stephen: No, these are lies. Lies. (He says underneath his breath).
All rights reserved ©Ana P. Rose 2019