THE INFINITY LOOP by Steven Havelock

He knew he was alone. He saw nothing except a vast expanse of yellow as far as the eye could see.
No sound came to his ears. Silence stretched out into the distance just like the yellow expanse.

Am I dead?

The question gnawed at his nerves.

Who am I?

He studied the yellow expanse around him, searching for clues.

How did I get here? This place feels so strange. I feel like I have been here before...

A memory flashed through his mind.

I can’t remember.

A loud roar like the sound of an aeroplane overhead. A flash of light and dust and then nothing.

Am I dead?

He looked down and noticed his skinny arms and legs.

More memories and information flashed through his mind.

I was young. A young boy...

He felt sorrow and pain like he had never known before. Tears came to his eyes. He clutched his chest as pain seared through his heart. The feeling was so overwhelming he buckled over. Tears fell from his eyes, first a few then more and more. He gasped for air.

My family!

He collapsed to his knees; wiped the tears away but more emerged as if from a bottomless reservoir. The pain in his heart was something his eight year old self had never felt before.

The feeling is so intense, like my heart breaking!

I can’t remember. No! I won’t...

He shook his head from side to side, trying to clear it of the memory.

Am I dead?

He didn’t know how long he sat buckled and stooped on the yellow floor, if floor it was, it felt so insubstantial and unreal.

Like I’m not really here.

He wiped away the tears that eventually seemed to relent.

Am I really here? And If I am where is ‘here’?

He thought back to that night. The last night of his life. The night on which he had died.

I was eight.

The evening air had been warm. His father and mother had prepared a meal with what meagre food they had.

No! I can’t remember! I won’t remember!
 


Me and my little sister Rima had sat at the low table. Things had not been good. My parents had tried to protect us whenever we asked what the loud noises were passing over our home every day and night, and they had looked worn and weary. Managing only half smiles. Yet even though we were children we could see the tension in their faces and knew something was wrong.

“Papa, why haven’t you gone to work for the last week?” I had asked. Papa had smiled.

“I will return to work soon, Jamal, if God wills.”

After eating I went to my bedroom and watched from the window, the flashes of bright lights and heard the loud noises that had only started a few days ago.

Have I been here before?

I had not seen my best friend Luqman since the flashes and loud noises had started.

Where had he gone and why?

I was pulled out of my reverie...

A flashing light! I can see a flashing light in the distance. Maybe it may hold some clues.
 


Jamal headed towards the light. He walked and walked without tiring.

There is no time here. I could have walked for minutes or years. I have no way of knowing.

Eventually he came to a white door. He looked at the silvery metallic door handle.

I have so many questions. What lies beyond the door? What am I doing here? What brought me to this place?

Jamal stretched out his hand, pulled open the door and stepped in.

I’m in a small corridor.

The corridor was lit from high above. He looked around, taking in his surroundings and trying to orientate himself.

When I opened the door I sensed danger. How stupid was that? There’s no danger here.

Just then he heard something. A soft, haunting, musical tune.

Moonlight Sonata!

He was pulled back to his life, the life of an eight year old boy.

I was listening to this tune... whilst watching the flashes of bright lights in the distant sky.

The feeling of despair and sorrow he had felt earlier returned, but he fought it.

I am not a baby that I will cry... I am eight, I will not cry like a baby.

The feeling passed and was replaced with a feeling of accomplishment.

I did not cry!

Jamal thought his body felt lighter. The music continued to play.

He looked at the three white doors, silvery metallic door handles confronting him, daring him, almost challenging him.

There were two white doors on the right and one on the left. Each door had a word on it. The one nearest him read. ‘Previous life’. The door next to it read ‘Future life’ and the door on the left simply read ‘Death.’
He walked over to the door labelled ‘Previous life’ and opened it.

He was in his bedroom. He saw himself looking through the window at the distant flashes in the sky. His young self did not see him. Another flash in the distance; a few seconds later this was followed by a massive roar as the apartment complex was struck. The dust was still settling and the feeling of loss and sorrow was uncontainable.

The pain in his heart was like nothing his eight year old self had felt before. What he saw after the missile struck their building was for him at least beyond words.

I have to get out of this room! I can’t stay here!

He exited the room.

He stood there in the timeless corridor for an unknowable amount of time. Eventually the feeling lessoned.
He looked at the second door on his right. It read ‘Future life.’

I could have a future life. I was eight years old when my life was taken, and Rima’s and Ma and Pa’s too.
He stared at the door.

I feel so confused.

The music slipped into the background as he tried to marshal his thoughts.

Have I been here before? I feel it and yet...

He stretched out his hand to open the door with ‘Future life’ on it. Before he could touch it he paused.

I was eight years old!

He clenched his fists tight, tighter and tighter, the anger building more and more.

Eight years old!

He looked around for someone or something to strike. The only thing he could see as a target was the door. He punched it. Pain coursed through his fists and this lessened his anger slightly.

After a while the tears stopped, the anger and pain vanished to be replaced by a deep melancholy feeling.

My ma, pa and Rima too.

He looked up.

I can’t do it!

He turned to the door on his left.

I just can’t do it!

He stared at the words on the door.

‘Death.’

He opened the handle and stepped through.
 
He knew he was alone. He looked around and saw nothing except a vast expanse of yellow. As far as the eye could see.

No sound came to his ears. Silence stretched out into the distance just like the yellow expanse.

Am I dead?


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