Imagine a button in the center of an empty room. You know that this is no ordenary button, its presence fills the room, putting pressure on its boundaries. As you walk closer the corners of your vision seem to buldge and become obscured. looking at it now you begin to remember what it is and how you have always known it was there.
The hand at your side trembles inside its skin. A feeling of ecstasy and relief rises in your stomach washing backwards over your shoulders. You smile and stare down at it knowing exactly what it means and how meaningless these moments now are. Its there so that you can make it have never been there, its there so that right and wrong never existed, its there so that you and your family and everything forever never even was. Its not even a decision anymore, after you press it the decision never even happened.
The Unknown Artist
The painting itself is a simple white canvas, blackened mainly in the center by marks made with black and cream paint. the marks themselves are quick and erratic holding what seems to be no pattern or meaning.
The description to the right reads… “last painting of unknown artist found hung in his basement, paint covering both feet. This painting lay underneath him just close enough to touch but too far away to support him.”
A dead man sits in no mans land
i woke up this morning to the sound of absolutely nothing. there was no noise at all. i don’t know whether it was because i was still half asleep or not but it felt so strange. you know me well enough to know i wouldn’t say something about it unless it affected me. it was like the world was holding its breath. i felt like i was waiting for something terrible to happen. fortunately nothing did and the strange dream silence was broken by corporal Bennett Matthew’s trudging down the trench in my direction.
it was actually a very nice day today. what seemed like almost cliche fluffy clouds sat in the sky. you would have loved it. it was so nice to have a break from the rain and the grey. a colour that i have come to despise. it seems like the minute any other colour pushes its way through that grey haze a shell falls and covers it up in the blink of an eye.
there was heavy shelling at about mid day and luckily i had just come back from repairing the wire when they started. there was a bit of gas and i was slow to put my mask on. i felt sick for the rest of the day and breathing through those heavy masks didn’t help.
i can hear shelling further down the line which means there will probably be more later. i sit here in the dark and i think of you. as always.
today im writing this entry in the morning. lutennant has me clearing out a cave in. he told me there were people inside when it happened so i decided to do my writing now while im in a relatively good mood.
i didn’t sleep much last night they dropped more gas on us a few hours before dawn. i hate those bloody masks. it feels like your breathing through a wet cloth and some of the gas always gets in around the edges anyway.
so much for a good mood huh…
i talked to a boy Jonathan for a while last night and found out he went to the exact same middle school as we did. he was a couple of years younger than us but it was nice to escape into those childhood memories with someone.
23 february (again)
i wasn’t going to write again today but something happened. i was heading back to the lines from the supply post and i noticed that same strange silence again. as i looked round to find a reason for this strange feeling i noticed one of the supply horses in front of me kick up some mud and reveal the most vibrant green and red of a wild poppy and grass. i stopped walking and stared at it, somewhat hypnotized. the dream silence growing louder and the feeling that something was about to happen getting stronger with every second i stood there. my gaze was torn away as johnny looked back at me. our eyes met. time. slowed. and i felt like i was supposed to do something. then he was gone. along with the silence and everything in front of me. including that one poppy.
iv seen people die before. you know that. but this was different. i could have done something i just don’t know what…
what really bothers me is i cant help but notice the similarities between my entry yesterday and what happened.
i don’t mean to fill this book with such morbid thoughts but i suppose you did want me to write everything that happened. you always said you hated it when you felt like people were not telling you everything just to protect you.
woke up early today . no better wakeup call than falling shells. i started work at 6am and finished around 3. i tried to get a few hours sleep in before dinner but it started raining and i still hadn’t been to sleep.
the rain is different here. back home it just rains. you know what i mean. no one really notices they all just hide away from it and everything is fine. here when it rains it seems to rain through everything. it doesn’t fall on the surface it goes right through. it permeates everything, becomes part of it. it is the thing that defines this grey sad happy world.
in the distance i can hear the shells falling miles away. the dull thud comes more from the earth around me than the air above. the crack of the guns firing like some kind of answer or response to the distant rumbling.
there is always a strange kind of beauty in destruction. i don’t even think beauty is the right word but its impossible to tear your eyes away. maybe its just the spectacle of it but i feel like there is something deeply human about how much we enjoy it. the first thing a child does when they finish their sand castle is destroy it. its in us all, even though we try to pretend we are above it. i don’t mean to be so synnical but its hard in a place like this. being surrounded by death isn’t as bad as you think tho… im mean don’t get me wrong its a living hell, im not trying to make you feel better, but it has the strange effect of making everything that isn’t dead seem so brilliantly alive. most of the time you cant even figure out why. just being is enough.
it is very early in the morning. the sun hasn’t even risen yet. the icy morning whiteness offers no relief from the cold and the wet. it is still raining. im still cold and i still haven’t slept a wink. it rained harder than it ever has before. nothing stayed dry. even my rifle is soaked through inside its covering. i don’t understand how it happened.
that ominous silence was there all through the night. i could hear it over the sound of the guns. like it was right there but far away at the same time. a thought came to mea while i was trying to ignore that horrible feeling. i feel sick telling you this but i think it has something to do with this book and my writing. i cant tell you anything else. im sounding crazy i know. i just have to figure it out for myself. im sorry. ill tell you if it works. i love you.
It worked. oh god. it worked. i wish it hadn’t. it would have been so much simpler. everybody saw. they must be coming for me now i know it.
i don’t know how this journal will get to you or weather you still want it to. the illusion that you will one day read these words is a small comfort that i must keep to hold my sanity in. that silence is defining now. its all i can feel. it beacons me. makes me notice things i hadn’t before. it drowns the world out at the same time as magnifying it in all its horrific detail.
i have torn the last two pages out so they cant use it against me. i don’t want you to hate me. please please don’t let this change how you see me. i don’t know what i would do with myself. i will find you when this war is over as a prisoner or as an enemy. i had no idea i was fighting for people who want me dead. im leaving this book on the body of the solider. who knows if it will reach you. i love you and i always will.
A dead man sits in no mans land
I will go to him tonight
his uniform and my words my only shield
and he who before meant death i now give my life
for fate to do with as he pleases
i whisper in his ear
his puppet strings are cut
by words written down
a dead man sits in the dark
alone with his words and he thinks of you