“White Sky” by Vampire Weekend from Contra
The sound, almost like metal on metal, brought her out of sleep, springing from her bed. It reminded her of the sound her grandmother’s car made, grinding against the minivan, in the Wal-Mart parking lots. Loud, screechy, and endless.
It echoed for minutes. For hours. For days?
Then it finally disappeared, dissipated really. Like the smell of baking bread taken away by a stiff breeze.
The skin was not quite red but close, casting a pink pall on the buildings and street outside her window. Every string of common sense in her body screams at her to stay inside, to close the shades, to crawl back in bed, and just stay there, read, watch movies, eat ice cream, and stay put. There is nothing good happening in the world outside her window.
Common sense is screaming it, but other impulses drown it out. She feels compelled to leave. Compelled to walk onto the quiet street stained pink by the sky. The quiet street that looks exactly like her own and yet, somehow, seems utterly alien.
Compulsion overwhelms common sense every time and so before she can recall making a conscious choice or even, really, contemplating one, she’s bounding off the stairwell and pushing against the front door. She never even bothered to change out of her pajamas or put on my practical footwear than her blue fuzzy slippers.
This time of year, her shorts and tank top ensemble should leave her shivering. Just yesterday the temperature was below freezing. But now, the street is warm beneath her feet, the air the perfect temperature. She thinks she can smell flowers in the air. Summer flowers from back where she grew up.
As her feet touched the sidewalk opposite her apartment, the compulsion to move only grew. Go forward it chanted in her head. Nothing more specific than that. Just…go forward. So she did.
As she moved, they tumbled out behind her. Out of every reflective surface. Collapsing onto the street, pausing, standing, following. One. Then another. Then a dozen. Then even more. Collapse, pause, stand, following. Over and over again.
Before she knew, she found herself by the pier. Farther than she had ever walked. Ever. Not even when she had lost her metro pass, had no money, and was stuck in the bad part of town had she walked this far and this fast. In the fog that had settled into her head, she still realized she had no idea how to get home.
And then, she reached the end of the dock and everything cleared. The compulsion broke. The air grew cold. Cold and windy. The bitter crisp of February settling on to her shoulders like a high school student’s overstuffed backpack. The sky went dark. Then darker. Then a sick green. She sagged. Sighed. Supressed the stifling spike of panic. Finally, spun on her heels.
And there they were. Eight rows deep. Her reflection given three dimensions. Herself. Scores of herself. Snarling. Spitting. Angry. Drawing closer. And closer. And closer.