The Pod

So I thought I’d do something different with my blog and try my hand at short stories. Why? Because it’s my blog and I can. Enjoy!

The Pod
A short story by LG Alfonso

Wake. Submit. Sleep. Repeat.

This is my life.

I wake up and always see dark. A voice is always there, whispering to me. “The world is dangerous,” it whispers. “Here in the pod, you are cared for. Here in the pod, you are provided for. Here in the pod, you are safe.” I become drowsy and go back to sleep.

Then everything starts all over again. The same darkness. The same voice. The same words. The same sleep. Again. And again. And again.

Sometimes it feeds me while it whispers. Sometimes I feel a touch—a stroke of my hair, my face, my shoulder. I’ve known nothing else.

I wake. There’s the darkness. There’s the voice…no food this time. I ignore it, waiting to go back to sleep.

What’s that sound?

The new sound is faint, coming from outside…not the voice. I fight to speak, but the sleep takes over.

I wake, and I hear noise again. There’s something else, too…then the voice.

“Pay no attention,” it whispers. “The world is trying to lure you in. Remember: here in the pod, you are cared for. Here in the pod, you are provided for. Here in the pod, you are safe.”

But not free.

This goes on for a while. I hear something new from outside every time I wake. It tells me to pay no attention, but I can’t help myself. I’ve never seen the world outside this darkness. Every time I hear something new, I can’t help but smile. But every time, the sleep becomes harder to fight.

Once, I speak as soon as I wake.

“Let me see.”

I’ve never heard my own voice before. I sound cracked, underused, dry.

Something wet pours into my mouth. I choke.

“Seeing is dangerous,” it whispers. “The world is trying to lure you in. Remember: here in the pod, you are cared for.”

I struggle to sit up, but my body feels heavy.

“Here in the pod, you are provided for.”

I can’t lift my head anymore.

“Here in the pod, you are safe.”

I start to yawn. “P-please…let…mmm…”

Next time I wake, I try to move before it speaks. My limbs are too heavy. I roll and fall on something hard. I feel something touch my shoulders.

“The world is trying to get to you. Tune out the world. Forget about the world. Here in the pod, you are cared for.”

Shut up.

“Here in the pod, you are provided for.”

“Shut up.”

“Here in the pod, you are—”

“SHUT UP!”

Silence. No voice. No touch on my shoulders. No sleep. What happened?

I hear the outside world again—voices. I smile at the sound. Oh, how I wish I could see the world!

I wait, but it doesn’t return. Neither does the sleep. What now?

I struggle to sit up, then to stand. My legs wobble. I reach out to steady myself. A wall of glass meets my fingertips. Something gives. The wall opens up.

So much light. I lift my hands to shield my eyes. A moment or two to adjust. I look back. A bed—my bed. A small table. No sign of it.

I turn back around and gasp.

The world is beautiful. So many colors and shapes and other things I can’t name, yet I love them all. I feel the wind in my hair and I want more. The sweet air tickles my nose. I inhale as much as I can.

I hear the voices again. I see things that look like me…kind of. One or two are shaped differently, some have different hair colors, some even have different skin colors. They all look happy. I wish I could join them.

Could I? The ground under my pod looks soft. If I jump now, I shouldn’t get hurt.

But what would I say? Would they still be happy if I joined them? Could I be happy if I joined them?

“You don’t want to join them.”

It’s back.

“You don’t know what would happen if you left the pod and went to the people. They would hurt you, destroy you, leave you for dead.”

“…maybe they won’t.”

“You’ll never be one of them. You don’t belong in the world. Where would you go? What would you do? Where would you find shelter and food? Do you really think they would give you what you need? They owe you nothing.”

They…maybe…

“You won’t last long in the world. You don’t belong in the world. Stay here in the pod. Stay here, where you are cared for.”

I feel my head getting heavy. The glass wall closes again. The light is gone.

“Stay here, where you are provided for.”

Something picks me up and puts me back on the bed. My eyelids flutter closed.

“Stay here, where you are safe.”

I never see the world again. I want to, but it beats me every time I try to fight. I want to see the shapes and colors. I want to breathe the cool, clean air. I want to see the happy things that look like me. But every time, it reminds me that the world isn’t safe. That I don’t belong in the world.

I’m cared for. I’m provided for. I’m safe. But not free.

Wake. Submit. Sleep. Repeat.

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