June 2, 2023

Lights flashed from the front of the stage. Cloaked in darkness, the room was a tunnel of ghostly gloom, fading at the edges into nothingness. I (whatever “I” was) had no recollection of appearing, of being, of coming into existence. I was simply there, when before I was not.

A tall, pot-bellied figure graced the platform in front of me, dressed smartly in a tweed suit, a pipe puttering between its flabby lips. Onto the floor, they plonked down a black briefcase, which sprung open of its own accord to reveal a vigorously enormous, blindingly colorful, effortlessly twinkling wheel. Little codes were etched into each segment (none of which I could bring myself to understand).

“I haven’t got all day. Spin. Then move it.” The figure muttered, turning to the wheel. I gulped, shimming my hand up to the heavy handle. I gave it a good shove.

Instantly, the noise was deafening. My state of consciousness (whatever it may have consisted of at that moment) flipped over and over and over as the wheel clattered around and around and around again. Every time it arrived at a new symbol, I was greeted with a new feeling; too fast to even process or sense did not exist, and neither did anything common.

Reality, in its barest of forms, was revealed to me within seconds- without all of the excess noise, without any expectation or understanding. The wheel was beginning to slow. Tick, tick, tick, BOOM!

Slamming to a halt, it sucked me in. Sickeningly, I was forced through the strangest of sensations– my spirit being stretched and bent and twisted into an exact shape. A human mind. Up ahead, the final hurdle was a looming claw machine. Pincers, pinchers, pinch, pincher, pinch. They reached down, aiming for the top of my skull. At the last possible moment, I swerved away, sprinting forwards. A bright white light greeted me on the other side.


I could feel myself. My spirit was attached to a real, alive body. Albeit a small, rather weak one. But it worked. Blinking open my tiny, pudgy eyes, I was ambushed by the faces of a sweaty pair of people, both smiling in relief.

Yet their faces were just masks. Beneath the façade, their spirits glowed a plethora of bright, beautiful, individual shades. An exact, mesmerizing measure of character. And I could see it perfectly. Something told me I should be glad I had dodged those pinchers.

Light and sound and feeling– all in one bursting picture of mediocrity-–of basic human experience. How irrelevant I felt, in a world of self-importance. Like the trailing end of a deafened conversation. Sitting in a room of strange noises only to be brainwashed by assumption, entitlement, and untold, unconscious things. The myriad of colors forced their way into my brain like bullets. Too much and too, painfully, little–all at once. Stifling and freeing in one sweeping vision. And they had no idea what they were missing.


Time was a funny object. It passed, and I grew. Cooing evolved into talking, scolding, explaining. Pushing ideals and views (no matter how subtle) onto my supposedly impressionable mind. But, of course, I saw right into them. Not quite through them– secrecy was its own twisted impediment. Just close enough to see that which they did not even realize they harbored. The good, the bad, and the realism.

I noticed, when a large hand yanked me away from those people, these people, or just “them.” “Don’t go near them sort,” was the reasoning. What classed as “them sort”? There sure was a lot. Souls I apparently wasn’t safe to touch. Why? Were they not just fellow spirits, seeking relevance in a world so cold, so unnatural? Their colors were those of a wondrously corrupted rainbow– a sky just as stormily excruciating as that of the hand. Not similar or different. A fellow being. Why did we put so much stock outside? What dictates what we are told to perceive as truth? Why does it even matter? We all struggle through the same pretentious, presidential monologue somebody christened “life”.

Better to understand and accept than pointlessly, hopelessly, aimlessly flail in an abyss of blanks.

Because the one thing I did find useful was an interesting contraption attached to my face. Two flabby chunks of flesh, stitched together at the seams, filled with faded pearls and useless slime. The amazing thing about these chunks of flesh was that they moved in perfect, synchronized harmony. And when they moved, noises erupted from their insides. Noises that could be heard, affirmed, reciprocated. Noises that allow others to love you, hate you, understand you. Noises that travel miles in a single sentence, yet never mean exactly the same to each station they reach.

This, this touching of feeling, was life. Those colors defied the man with his puffing cigar and presiding wheel. In the manors and speeches and notes. Whilst he may control fate, he did not control concept.

Or meaning.

Life was a glorious phenomenon.

And I could mean so much to so many colors that didn’t even belong to me.



Through her writing, Freya Neild explores deeply dark, emotional, and personal topics in a variety of genres. Her favor for complex characters and outward concepts often leads to devastating yet unexpectedly rewarding pieces. For when she feels alone, she picks up a pen, and is alone no longer.


Featured image by Jakob Owens on Unsplash