Blackouts and Blacktop

Blackouts and Blacktop: A Self-Discovery Journey

Blackouts and Blacktop - Spectre of the Brocken - self-discovery

They say I lack direction, a concept elusive to me, perhaps lost in the haze of these persistent blackouts tugging at my saturated brain.

Today, I will purposefully allow the world’s muck on my feet to map out my erratic day journey. This will prove that I am a productive member of their society and to remind them to finally leave me alone.

Each step will leave a breadcrumb and mark my moment in time, never to be revisited, revealing who I am as a man and where I have roamed.

I felt a peculiar cadence unfold as I moved from bed to bath, bath to kitchen, kitchen to bed, and back to the kitchen. My movements, both purposeful and disoriented, mucked a path of my wandering existence.

Reluctantly, I left my apartment and stepped onto the street. The world felt like an empty canvas, ready for my mark. 

However, I soon understood that everyone else had already paved their paths. The roads, a chaotic mix of their colors, merging, then blending into a darkness of blacktop.

Annoyed by this consolidation of their prints, my selfish ambition wanted to tread where no others had tread before. So I hopped on the outbound train for the suicide forest, drawn by rumors that now felt chillingly real.

I stood secluded on the edge of the forest, mesmerized by the assemblage of red, blue, yellow, and green prints scattered like remnants of a psychedelic dream. 

There was no turning black.

Determined to forge my unique path, I tied a trace string to a tree in the parking lot, unwinding it behind me as I went, ensuring a lifeline to guide my return if I so desired.

Blackouts and Blacktop -Spectre of the Brocken - societal expectations

As I trekked further in, the other footprints slowly disappeared. I arrived at a huge rock slope that overlooked the city. No other footprints were apparent, or so I thought.

I felt a deep sense of inner peace. I tied my guide string to a white birch tree and fully embraced the tranquil beauty of nature, a place untouched by any human presence.

Taking in deep breaths, I released the burdens of the past with each exhale. With a confident nod to my unseen demon escort, I discarded my shoes and, like a liberated spirit, ran into the ether. 

I relished in the purity of being the only one, an original, a first.

I spun in bliss, as if cast in the sound of music. Suddenly, I became dizzy and disoriented. The illusion of bliss shattered. The forest floor, which had once been empty of prints and clutter, now had hundreds, maybe even thousands, of discarded shoes. 

Disheartened, I faced the realization that I wasn’t the first to leave my fresh original prints inside of no-man’s-land.

Disappointed and tired, I built a nest from the discarded shoes around me, seeking solace in their shared anonymity. 

Curling up within this new makeshift sanctuary, I closed the door on what could have been an uncharted, unscripted, and unique existence.

Blackouts and Blacktop: This story can be found in the collection “Spectre of the Brocken: Halo for the Observer”

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Ran Kime Writer
Ran Kime, a writer, poet, musician and recluse from New Hampshire, crafts abstract stories, flash fiction & poetry that probe the psyche. His collections include “Spectre of the Brocken: Halo for the observer” and “Way Past Tipsy & Other Silent Cries for Help”.