Project D - Third Segment
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There was absolutely no sign of life in this place. Not even one pesky scorpion.
Suggested Reading Music by Shar: Childs Play (feat. Chance the Rapper) by SZA
"Ahhh!!!" Zamir screamed as he plummeted through the abyss. It was the most he’d ever raised his voice in his seventeen years of existence. A warp of colors whirled around him, mimicking the gift of synesthesia that he experienced whenever he closed his eyes.
After what seemed like forever, he landed with a reverberating thud in a dusty desert. He achingly stood up, spit out some sand, and brushed off his stylish shirt. There was absolutely no sign of life in this place. Not even one pesky scorpion.
As he gazed around at the nothingness, he found beauty in it, but it wasn't exactly a place he'd want to be stranded in for a long period of time. He reached into his pocket. Ah yes, there was his trusty iPod, still hidden in the deeper pocket of his slim-fit jeans. He pulled it out and cringed as he noticed the shattered screen. Maybe it'll still work, he thought. He pressed and held the Power button multiple times. Nothing.
The, of course to top it off, a windstorm picked up. The whipping of dirt particles stung Zamir’s face, and the sound of the blowing wind was almost deafening. Even though his iPod didn't work, he still decided to put the earbuds in his ears—maybe they'd block some of the sound. It definitely wasn't the first time he used them to block out sound. Satisfied, he pulled the collar of his shirt over his nose and continued on, looking for a sign of something, anything.
Suddenly Zamir heard a sharp buzzing static coming from his earbuds. What the..? He barely got the thought out before the static shifted to a piercing white noise. Just as he was about to rip the earbuds out of his ear, though, a faint voice broke through, making him curious enough to want to listen.
"I keep trying, but I can't quite catch you."
Zamir's eyes lit up. "Hello?" he said.
Then there was nothing.
But there was only silence.
Zamir trudged on. And on and on. Until something in the distance caught his eye. He picked up the pace, closing in on the…
“It can’t be,” he said in awe. “Is this is a mirage?”
The sun gleamed down on a can of spray paint. Zamir picked it up and skillfully flipped it in his hand. As his eyes followed the can up, they settled on something else in the distance. From his viewpoint all he could see was a tall, broad object hidden amidst the blowing sand. Curious, he took off again, realizing as he got closer that the object was… a wall?
Yes. A wall, and one that seemed to stretch on endlessly. A blank canvas if there ever was one. Zamir trotted up to it smiling, shook the spray paint can, and prepared to work his magic.
The can puffed uselessly.
He shook it again. Twice as hard.
Just air. There was significant weight to the can so he knew it wasn’t empty, but to his dismay, nothing would release.
Zamir sat down with his back against the wall and sighed. So he couldn’t paint it, and figured there was no way he could get past the thing. It was way too high. He wondered what the point of it even was.
It was then he heard the sound of synchronized marching in the distance. He squinted his eyes, but the swirling sand made it difficult to see. Still, he remained as the sound got closer and closer before finally coming into view.
It was a formation of faceless people dressed in black and white suits. Zamir’s heart raced—in a bad way.
But wait... They were chanting something too. Zamir took out his earbuds. He still couldn’t make the words out, but they became clearer and clearer as the faceless people approached.
"Music won't save you. Art won't save you. Music won't save you. Art won't save you. Music won't save you. Art won't save you."
Zamir scrunched his eyebrows. Couldn't they think of a more creative chant? he mumbled and put his earbuds back in. He was prepared to just ignore them, but as they closed in, he began to get more and more unnerved by the display. Or, okay, maybe it was downright fear if the sweat he was suddenly wiping from his forehead had anything to say about it.
Once again, a buzzing static and piercing white noise came from the earbuds. The same faint voice broke through…
“Throw the can on top of the wall,” it said.
Confused, Zamir looked up to the wall that stretched toward the sky. It’d have to be a really good toss to get the can up there, which would be fine if he was the athletic type–athletic in a sports sort of way. His dancing skills wouldn’t help much here. Still, he figured he didn’t really have any other option at this point.
“Here goes…” he said as he hurled the can.
While it was in midair, it was as if time transitioned into slow-motion. He stared intently at the small cylinder as it–yes!–landed on the very top of the wall. It bounced around and stopped right at the edge and then....nothing happened. He looked back to see the faceless people were within an arm’s reach of him. He was caught, that was it, everything was over–
Suddenly, the spray paint can glowed a bright gold color and started to rumble. It spun on its side only to stop with its spout pointing to the ground. Then it shot a rope down against the wall.
Not having the time to think about the miracles of spray can rope, Zamir quickly grabbed the end, swung his feet against the wall and began scaling upwards. He tried to sway back and forth as he climbed, attempting to avoid the faceless people as they grabbed at his legs. One of them gripped his foot tightly and yanked on it, threatening to bring him down. Zamir yelped and shook his foot right out of his shoe as he fought to regain his grip, working his way quickly back up the wall.
Right as he reached the top, he lost control of his balance, panicked adrenaline and momentum causing him to tumble right over the other side. “Ahhh!” he yelled as he fell. Again. And he couldn’t help but wonder how this landing would end.
Just as he was about to hit the bottom, a pair of arms reached out and caught him. He thought maybe it was one of the faceless people, but no. He looked up into very normal, very human, and oddly enough, very annoyed-looking eyes.
"Took you long enough," they said.