The world darkened as the sun took leave to the horizon. The lights absence followed Sebastian like a silent friend. The ending of the day was fitting as he was on route to end a relationship. As he approached Debra’s house, that all too familiar feeling of dread took hold of his body. Debra, according to rational thought, should be the love of Sebastian’s life. She should be the body to fill his void, but he did not love her. She was the latest in a tumultuous past of perfect lovers who he could not love. He could not love anyone.
Sebastian turned off the car and sat in contemplation for a moment. At his knock at the door he heard the creak of floorboards, the clicking of light switches. The door opened and Sebastian saw Debra standing there cloaked in her gown, her beauty moved softly with the sway of silk.
Sebastian wanted to love her; he wanted this perfect being to be his, and he hers. Sebastian may not love her with a burning passion but he did want for her happiness. Debra took Sebastian by his hand and they walked inside the house. He looked down at their fingers intertwined and was saddened by the spark that was lacking.
Debra sat him down on the end of the bed. He lusted for her deeply, running his hands up her back, she whispered into his ear, ‘I love you’.
Debra stared at Sebastian and he returned a continence of dread, ‘What is it’.
‘We have to talk’ Sebastian said with a hollow tone.
Tears began to fall on Debra’s face in the realisation of what was just said. Debra stood up, turning her back on Sebastian.
In the kitchen Sebastian sat across from Debra, the first words out of his mouth were not meant to be as harsh as they sounded, ‘I don’t love you.’
Debra began to cry; the tears fell over Sebastian’s hand and burned into his conscience. He never wanted to hurt her. ‘Did you ever love me?’ Debra struggled through her tears, ‘did you at least once?’
Sebastian felt the mood rise in his body but did not want to insult the pain Debra was feeling. ‘I am sorry.’ he paused to regain what little composure he had. ‘I have never loved anyone, and I so wanted to love you.’
Debra did stop crying and refused eye contact. He knew tin that moment she stopped being in love with him. Debra’s lips quivered and between tentative breaths she whispered, ‘get out of my house.’ Sebastian stood in the doorway and looked back to a world he would never be re-acquainted with.
As Sebastian drove he felt the pain that he caused Debra. He may not feel love but he was not void of empathy. Sebastian felt a loneliness that became a persistant traveller.
In the his driveway he sat with the engine idling, the gentle rocking calming. Turning the key ended that little comfort. Sebastian got out of the car and stood at the front door; he froze with the key in the lock.
Sebastian existed alone, in a world he felt detached from. For the extent of his life he destined for somewhere else. Sebastian stared into the sky as a child, looking for possibilities he never found. Possibilities that grew more distant over time, less likely as his loneliness became ingrained.
Sebastian looked into his mother’s eyes and felt nothing. He never felt that fabled parental love, even though it was given greatly. Never was there a feeling of companionship; he never loved because he was unable to feel another person. Sebastian felt the symptoms of love, the palm sweats and his heart racing but he never loved. Never in his life did he meet another person who was like him; deep in his soul he knew he was eternally alone.
Sebastian poured himself a scotch and sat in an armchair, staring at the blank television screen reflecting his despair. The thought again crossed his mind, ‘is my life worth living’?
He sipped at his scotch and thought this over, was a life of loneliness worth tavelling through. Did he not deserve more than this fate, more than this loneliness. He sipped more of his drink, letting the scotch burn his throat as it went down.
Sebastian rose out of his armchair and walked to the bottle, ignoring the pleasantries of glasses. He drank it down, drinking as much as his body could consume. It began to spill over the sides of his mouth and run down his shirt. He dropped the bottle to the floor and took his now soiled shirt off.
His vision became blurred ashe stared at his birthmark. He began to sway looking down. Sebastian took another step and fell against the table. Leaning on it he looked down at the bottle, the contents dripping onto the floor. Sebastian attempted to bend down and grab the bottle, instead falling beside it.
Sebastian looked into the bottle, mesmerised by the remaining contents sway. Then something appeared in the liquid, a face. Sebastian stared at it as it washed away into the waves. He heard the all to familiar phrases, unable to tell if it was real or in his head: ‘you dont belong’. Everything turned black and with one last sway of the scotch Sebastian lost consciousness.
Sebastian woke the next day and wiped the saliva from his mouth and turned his alarm off. His hand reached out searching for the bottle of scotch. He searched the floor beside him but did not feel the cool of the bottle.
Climbing to his feet he saw the bottle sitting on the coffee table; the floor had no traces of the spill from the night before. Sebastian rubbed his eyes and took a deep drink from the tap, feeling incredibly dehydrated. He staggered up the stairs holding the railing.
Sebastian walked into his bathroom and turned on the shower, allowing himself to be lost in the steam. He washed the scotch that clung to his chest away and ran his hands through his hair. He once again stared at the birthmark on his chest. His hand ran across it and his eyes closed. The water streamed over his face, he felt immersed.
Sebastian stepped out and dried himself, still a little unsteady. He dragged a razor over his stubble and looked into the mirror. Through the mist that clung to it the words ‘you don’t belong’, were etched. He frantically rubbed away the condensate. Sebastian ran his fingers over the mirror not sure that it was ever there.
Sebastian ran down the stairs, picked up his wallet and phone on his way out the door. He turned to the grab his keys but found only the hook. He searched the house, finding them beside the bottle of scotch.
Sebastian sat in his car quiet for a moment. He ran his hands through his hair, grooming himself for the day. He looked into the mirror hoping that the night before had not taken a great toll on his appearance.
Sebastian jolted back in his chair at seeomg a person in the back seat. Sebastian turned with anticipation to an empty seat. Once again he looked in the mirror. Once again the figure was there.
Sebastian stared at him and the figure mouthed the words ‘you don’t belong’. He turned again to the sense that he was loosing his mind. Sebastian placed his hands on the steering wheel, taking deep breaths. He tentatively looked into the mirror and saw an empty seat. This however did not settle the nerves that had taken root in the pit of his stomach.
That night when Sebastian arrived home he had all but forgotten about the figure. Puttin it on the mounting pile that questioned his mental state. He thought back to his childhood. His mother was a good person and showed him only love, this love he could not give back to her. He respected his mother and appreciated all that she had given him but he never loved her. When he was alone with her, when no one was speaking he felt nothing.
Sebastian walked to the mailbox retreiving the letters and turned to walk inside. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a figure at the end of the court. He paused looking at him, the same man that sat in the back of his car; the same he suspected disturbed his mirror. The very same who moved his scotch, the very same that disappeared without a trace. He took a step closer, trying to see what he thought to be the start of his mental breakdown.
The figure wore a black clothes that had a slight lumenecence. They were tattered. not through age but great wear. Sebastian looked closer and the figures clothes were not just tattered they were smoldering. Sebastian walked to the figure, close enough to touch him. Sebastian stared the unnaturally still figure. Then as if waking he moved his lips. No sound escaped but the words were all to clear. ‘You don’t belong’.
The figure stepped forward to grab Sebastian. They were unnable to physically interact but Sebastian saw something.
Sebastian saw grass and the sky, studded with stars like only in the country. Sebastian stepped back starring, he could see this world as if it was overlayed on his own sky. ‘Who are you?’ Sebastian whispered. The figure repeated silently, ‘you don’t belong’.
Sebastian stared deep into the mans eyes. For a moment the other sky became the only one. He repeated ‘who are you?’.
‘I am you and you are I.’
The man began to dissolve with the sky and all the stars. Sebastian stepped forward to grab him. In place of the body was steam which scolded his hand. He stood staring at the spot until all the steam had disappeared.
Sebastian felt a light on his back; the light threw a shadow where the figure was once standing. He turned hoping that it was the figure once more, but was met with the horn of a range rover that belonged to the family at the end of the court.
Sebastian walked to the sidewalk and gave a nervous wave. He looked down at his hand which began to blister. Then he looked at the mail in his other hand, they were not addressed to him. He read the name printed, ‘Steven’.
Sebastian opened up the envelope and checked the phone number on the bill and it was his own. Still standing under the stars a wave of confusion engulfed him.
Sebastian sat in his armchair with a bottle of scotch in hand and drank. He kept drinking until his hand ceased to hurt and he had forgotten what had occurred. He drank until his vision was as black as the night and he could sleep. In his drunken state he dreamt of the country, the green grass and star-studded sky.
The next morning Sebastian woke up and performed his usual pre-work ritual. He got out of the shower and stared at the steam on the mirror, it did not contain any messages. Sebastian wiped the droplets away and stared into the mirror, he felt the loneliness seep in as he stared into his own eyes.
Sebastian drove out of his driveway with no ghost to haunt his trip. He he looked at the people as they walked past. A disconnection from them, isolated not only in feeling but fear. Fear that what was in his brain was not like them.
Sebastian walked to the door of his building and smiled at the guard he exchanged pleasantries with daily. Sebastian walked closer ‘Jeff looks like it’s going to be a busy day’.
The security guard gave him an unusual smile, putting his hand out for Sebastian’s security pass. ‘Are they cracking down on security?’
‘Just procedure Sir, could I see your pass.’
Sebastian handed the pass over as a feeling of worry crept in. He stared at Jeff as he in turn stared at the id. The guard turned his head and whispered something into his radio. Then he turned to Sebastian, ‘Sir there is a slight problem could you come with me please.’
‘Jeff, I see you everyday. What is going on?’
‘Sir, come with me please’
Sebastian looked at the security guard, the man he exchanged pleasantries with every day. The guard looked at him and saw a stranger. Sebastian became worried; he grabbed the pass out of the guard’s hand. Sebastian turned and walked off, leaving the guard only with ‘sorry my mistake.’
Sebastian walked faster and began dodging people left and right. He turned down an alley and ran to the end. Crouching down amongst the rubbish, he stared out into the crowd as they walked past. He waited until he was sure that the guard would not come after him before he let himself breathe aloud. ‘What had happened?’ He thought to himself as he looked down at his pass. The pass that he had carried for the past four years, read just as his mail did. In bold letters it said ‘Steven’.
He looked at it closely and the photo was not of him either. Sebastian dropped it to the floor going into his wallet for proof of his own identity.
He pulled bank cards out and they all said ‘Steven’, credit cards were labeled with this as well. He threw them to the floor and took out his driver’s license and it too was labeled with the name ‘Steven’. He put the pass up against the photo on the license. He looked at them side by side; his hands began to tremble as he realized that both the photos were the same. They were of Steven. Sebastian kept staring at them until he realized who the person in the photos was. He stared at the ghost that had haunted him the night before.
Sebastian got to his feet as a pain shot through his hand. He watched as the skin peel back revealing the inner workings. The pain intensified and Sebastian couldn’t help but scream out in pain.
As the flesh left on his hand began to bubble, a lady ran down the alley to see Sebastian hunched over in pain. She touched his shoulder and he turned around with tears running down his face. She looked into his eyes, ‘Are you alright?’
Sebastian stood up as the flesh ignited; the lady began to scream. Sebastian pushed her out-of-the-way and began running down the alley. The lady picked up a bankcard that Sebastian had discarded and yelled out, ‘Steven wait!’
Sebastian kept running bumping into people as he headed for his car. The fire extinguished and he looked down to see his hand burnt to the bone. In his car he looked at his now destroyed hand. The bone was barely held together, he hoped that this was apart of his mental break. That he would look again and it would be there.
Sebastian panicked as he exhaled there was a pain in his chest under his birthmark. The pain threw him into his seat and his now skeletal hand disembarked from his wrist. The hand disintegrated as he placed it back in his lap.
Sebastian hunched over the steering wheel attempting to catch his breath. There was a knocking at the window and he looked to see a parking attendant staring at him. Sebastian wound down his window, ‘I’m alright, I’ll be gone in a minute.’
The attendant stared at him, reaching into his pocket for his radio. ‘Sir, you don’t belong.’
Sebastian using his right hand slammed the car into reverse, with all the strength that was left in his body he pushed down the accelerator. The car rocketed backwards into a car behind him. The parking attendant ran to Sebastian, he banged his hands on the hood but Sebastian could not hear him over the pounding that now was in his ears.
He reached over his now stump of an arm and put the car into drive. He left the parking attendant behind him yelling into the air, screaming words of hate, shouting ‘you don’t belong’.
Sebastian weaved in and out of traffic, keeping his foot as firmly as he could on the floor. He needed the bottle to ease the pain and numb reality. He ignored the beeps around him, his detachment from the world growing more severe.
Then he felt another sharp pain in his chest, he pressed hard against his seat. The car veered to the side of the road, rubbing against the metal railings. He brought the car back onto road proper. He was drenched in sweat, below his shirt where his birthmark lived blood began to leech.
Sebastian arrived home and the pain in his chest was back, intensified. He opened the car door and fell out. He laid on the ground pulsing with each spike of pain; he looked into the sky and cried out, ‘where do I belong’.
Into his armchair, the pain augmenting his surroundings. He looked over to the bottle of scotch with wanting eyes but he did not have the strength to grasp and consume it. Sebastian opened up his shirt and looked down at his birthmark. Blisters now covered the spot where it once sat. He touched the skin, and felt the pain travel up his fingers.
The ceiling spun as he fell into a delirium. He looked to the ceiling and saw the stars. The world he though he lived in disappeared and he saw that sky. The stars blurred and he heard the words, ‘you don’t belong’.
The stars spun quicker and quicker until they were one giant streak. Sebastian closed his eyes and felt the dizziness inside him. Not able to stabilise himself he released the contents of his stomach to the floor. There was a deep red. A moment of quiet and he felt pain. This time it was deeper. It entered at his birthmark and did not stop until it escaped the other side.
Sebastian climbed to his feet; day had turned to night in the course of his delirium. He walked over to the window and opened it wide. He took long gasps of air but this did not help. His pain consumed him and he screamed out into a world that did not think he belonged. He stared out into the night, into the dark and saw the figure. He looked at him and their eyes met, the pain stopped.
Sebastian walked to the figure, broken but not in pain. He looked him in the eyes and the figured mumbled those all too familiar words, ‘you don’t belong’.
Sebastian looked at him in frustration, ‘who are you and why do you keep torturing me like this?’
The figure looked into his eyes, ‘you don’t belong.’
‘Who are you, and where do I belong?’
The figured looked at Sebastian. ‘You know the answers to these questions. You know why I am here.’
Sebastian looked at him and in his mind he knew the answers. ‘Your Steven, you belong.’
‘Yes and you belong here, we were born to the wrong plains. We were born at the same time and place but on different parallel worlds. We were born where we stand now. The hospital where your birth took place was knocked down and built over, and I stand over my birthplace. I was born in this field, the very same you saw when we met last. At the time of our birth a bolt of lightning struck us both and sent our souls to the wrong bodies. Our birthmarks are a scar, a reminder of this event.’
Sebastian stared at Steven; through Steven’s eyes he could see the world he belonged too. Around the two figures a wind began to blow, pushing them from side to side. ‘It’s nearly here.’ Steven whispered with an apprehensive joy.
‘What is nearly here?’ Sebastian questioned, ‘what is going to happen?’
Steven pointed up; Sebastian followed his finger to the sky. Clouds began to form and darken. With a loud crash it began to rain.
Sebastian was lost in the moment; the rain running down his face eased him of his worries. Steven reached out and grabbed Sebastian. Once again Sebastian saw the green fields, although this time when he looked up he saw the same dark clouds hovering above. He wished for the stars to shine, the feeling of home over took him.
Steven yelled to Sebastian, ‘it’s time.’ He grabbed Sebastian by his shoulders and the two were brought together. Sebastian could now feel the grass beneath his feet. ‘Do you know where you belong?’ Steven asked Sebastian.
Over the sound of the thunder and rain, Sebastian shouted ‘Yes with the grass beneath my feet.’
As Sebastian uttered these words, the two beings collided. The birthmarks became one and a lightning bolt was sent down from the heavens. Sebastian was thrown to the floor, the pain in his chest completely gone. He looked down at both his hands resting on those perfect blades of grass.
Sebastian got to his feet and the clouds disappeared, the stars shone through. Tears of joy began to fall down his face. He turned to see Steven standing there facing him. The two embraced and Sebastian saw his old world. When they let go he remained in the world filled with stars.
Sebastian and Steven stood staring at each other, not a word being spoken. They both stepped away from each other. Disappearing into their right life. As Steven disappeared from Sebastian’s world he mouthed the words, ‘you belong’.