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When the fire alarm rings

A piercing fear starts out, initially like a scream. It grows louder and suddenly that scream rings in every chamber in your head. Different rooms that have nothing to do with each other are united by this one scream, and they draw together. The space grows smaller, and there is no longer one scenario that you see, but there are 30. All those rooms scraping their walls against each other trying to find where the scream comes from. You see the paint chipping off the walls from each room, those inside it punching it. Meanwhile outside of your mind, everything is still. Nobody asks you: are you okay, what happened. And the people inside get madder, stronger and the walls break faster. The two people in blue dungarees, those who control the tears of your eyes, are holding the walls of the dam. It’s breaking and you will cry.


Everyone is pushing. Everyone’s walls are breaking.


A strong pang in your chest knocks everyone off their feet. All the people inside those tiny rooms who should never meet, have seen each other’s faces. Have seen their fear and some are eating each other up. It’s a mess. Blood everywhere. The scream in the background still as loud. The dam has broken, you are crying and the only thing that is left is two pairs of blue dungarees floating.


The medics aren’t here yet. Oh wait! You don’t have any medics. You don’t believe in them.


Five leave the rooms grabbing torches to find the scream. They can’t hear each other; they just follow in a line of silence. Just like you are right now, walking in silence in the back of a group.


‘Cry baby.’

Tell myself I am screwed.


They find a door. You can feel an itch on the back of your mouth. They open it, and slide down. You swallow heavily. It feels like something is stuck. Oops. They have set a trail of fire behind them with their torches. Your throat is burning. Now they can’t see anything, can’t hear anything. You can relate to it, because now, tears in your eyes you can’t see; screams in your mind, can’t hear anything. It’s not your fault though. Those five will fix it, don’t you worry. They push their hands against something soft trying to find their way. The scream gets louder. Your lungs get tighter. Can’t breathe. But don’t mind everyone else.


Don’t worry it’s just them. They’re softly pushing their tiny hands against your lungs, and as they go they found the source of your scream. It’s your heart, nicely sitting on a big purple cushion, holding a handle. Above its head, it says: Fire alarm. Pull in Emergency.

‘What’s the emergency?’ one asks.

‘Oh good that you are here! I just thought that something happened.’ heart says.

‘What do you mean? Are you okay?’ another one asks.

‘Yeah. I am great. I just thought something might happen. Oh well, never mind.’ Heart says laughing.


So they go back and two days later heart pulls the fire alarm again. Your rooms crash again, and you sit there with your feelings splattered across your body, whilst heart is thinking that something might happen.


It’s always about what _feel. Never about what _think.


Written by Tímea Koppándi. Photo credit to Paul IJsendoorn.

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