A Little Something

Tap. Tap. Tap. The keys clacked in front of him as the lights dimmed outside, flickering off one by one, one by one, until there was nothing left. One by one, one by one, until not even the lights inside were left remaining. Everything was shrouded in darkness, except for that single faint hum of the monitor in front of him. Looking past the screen and out the window behind it, he sighed. It was quiet. Dark. Peaceful. It was peaceful… As the computer at his feet thrummed on, letting out its low bass hum as it worked, he only sat there, staring out beyond what was in front of him. The sky was tainted. It was not pitch. It was not dark. It had vague hints of the impending dawn, the soft and subtle brightness that tinged one side of the horizon. There was nothing else. The lights had all turned off, one by one, one by one, until only his remained. The dull thrum of the computer against the dull glare of his monitor… It illuminated nothing…

Tap. Tap. Tap. And still he continued to type, keeping the clacking of his keys soft and gentle, as if he wasn’t writing, but rather singing, letting his heart go, slipping into his keyboard. He had to keep it quiet, he had to keep it hidden, but neither his heart nor his words could stay locked up forever. Occasionally, they had to be let go, released, to hum in tune with the quiet thrum of the neighborhood. Tap. Tap. Tap. In one swift keystroke, the screen in front of him changed, but he was only half paying attention. For a brief moment, he focused on the world that existed across the globe, the world inhabited by one of his peers. For a moment, he was concerned, he was interested, he was involved… but within moments, he was once more pulled inside himself, wrapping himself more tightly in the fortress he had created. For a moment, he had existed outside his own world…

But he could not stay there long. He did not belong there. He did not belong anywhere. He could only pretend, only play at existing. Another keystroke, a light tap of the mouse, and the slightest grimace as a soft song began to play. Reaching forward slowly, carefully, he gently twisted the knob on his speakers. It was a song of the heart, a song well known, but it would do no good to force everyone to listen to his pleas, his cries, his songs. They all had their own lives, their own spheres… their own songs. And his song was no harmony, nor was it a melody… It simply repeated forever, creating dissonance, creating a feeling of lingering discomfort for all who heard it. His teeth clenched lightly as he tilted his head down, but still his fingers continued to move. Tap. Tap. Tap. His heart could hardly be stopped now…

A sound against the silence. A shuffling of feet, the creak of an old bed, and the soft padding sounds of feet traveling over a hard wood floor. Sounds to interrupt his peaceful silence. He could exist here, in his entirety, but he could not exist if he were to be seen. He was something that everyone knew about but did not want to see… So he hid himself away, the lightest exhalation signaling his disappearance. The music slowed, turning harsh and discordant, no longer uncomfortably nostalgic, but simply uncomfortable. No longer bearable… The lights turned from dim to simply glaring, an unwelcome intruder in the night… As the world lit up around him, he retreated further into shadow, changing from what he had been only briefly into what the world wanted to see.

“What are you doing?”

“Nothing, Mother.”

“Yeah right… Get to bed. You’re so lazy, but you insist on staying up. I don’t know how I ended up with a son like you.”

“I’m sorry Mother. Good night, Mother.”

“…Mother, mother… That’s so annoying… Everyone else calls their mothers ‘Mom’ or something… Why can’t you be normal? Whatever, just go to bed.” A light padding retreat, sending echoes of complaints and regrets bounding across the hall.

A soft smile, a light bow.

“I’m sorry, Mother. I’m going now…Good night, take care. I lo-“

“Just go to sleep!”

“Yes…”

The light creaking of a door, the light click of a lock. The rustling of blankets. A soft click of the alarm for tomorrow… The ceiling was somewhat bland tonight. Slowly, softly, he let his heart, his songs, his dreams fade. He let everything fade, slipping away into darkness.

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