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Jellyfish in Aquarium




By Matthew W.F. Senior

 I am nothing. I am nobody.

I am lying motionless beside diseased creek water, settled amongst reeds, sinking softly into desiccated muck. The sky cries acid, as her waters hammer down upon my fragmented, imperfect face, burning unforgiving scars into my skin. Sinking deeper and deeper, I begin to suffocate; the voracious ground ardently pulls on me, drawing me in tighter and tighter, as the dismally pretentious grime fills my blushing, untainted lungs, lethargic and precise. I am a victim; I am a human; I am a victim of the human condition. Light is but a pinhole growing smaller and smaller; lesser and lesser. Beneath the cracked surface, I feel dancing insects surround me, imprecisely skating across my gracelessly skeletal chest, as if my flesh was already rotten. Burying solemnly into my skin, I can feel the roaches and maggots and worms and beetles tearing torpidly into my scarred and flawed body, festering in my viscous mucus and swimming gluttonously through my ever-lessening blood. They hurt… they hurt me, scraping the edges of my tattered vessels with their frantically kicking legs - yet, despite the cancerous infestation, I am alone; I may as well be trapped on the moon. I cannot breathe. I cannot even release the air to scream - nor do I care to. Twisting my fingernails backwards, the egocentric creatures scuttle downward beneath my fingertips and writhe deep within my calloused palm… beneath the skin that has held so many beautiful people. I feel them crawling through my knotted, torpid veins - I have accepted this, and it does not scare me. Once it would have, but not now… now, I am as hollow as the bark encompassing me... entombing me. My vibrant, yet stagnant eyes, gradually clamp shut for the final time. I recognise, and I embrace, that there is genuinely nothing more for me here. Purpose slips away nonchalantly, as if giving me the choice of holding on. But my hands are bruised. And I do not see.



Coiling around my lifeless body, a cold force drags me upwards, as if a machine has clinically stuck me with its unforgiving mechanical claws. My chest is torn open; there is no blood. I am not fighting. My eyelids sedately open, until they are as wide as the gap between two minds - although, I have to hurriedly close them again; the light is too bright - almost as if I haven't seen the world before. Abruptly, I feel; I feel a combination of fear and beauty. This strikes me as surprising - I have not felt anything of this nature in quite some time - a longer period than I care to admit. As I reminisce in echoes of my past, contemplate my present and deliberate my future, water from the clouds trickles melancholically across my the blacks of my eyes, to merge with my tears, before pooling in the sky. I am relieved; the rain no longer burns... it no longer hurts. Pouring softer and softer, until gentle as cotton, the air is motionless and dry; monotonous, but welcome.



Clouds begin to wander apart, hesitantly, as sunlight creeps through the grey veil; liquid orange cascades the horizon, pouring its vibrant glow into shape, until the sky is nothing more than a vast blanket of beauty. My skin ceases to itch. The creek transforms from black to blue. Now, the ground beneath my body is soft and comforting... I feel innocent. I feel.




Gazing vacantly forward, blissful and reincarnated, I notice a blurred silhouette dart across my eye line; the perfect silhouette of a flawless human girl, profoundly lost within the confines of the wood. She appears to be with company… nonetheless, complimented with increasing clarity, the features forming her face tell a different story, as I perceive her as being alone; there is a darkness begging to be transcended. Naive and in need of guiding, I can feel her pulling poetry out of my vulnerable soul. The faint, off-kilter drumming of her heart draws me in, as I start towards her. Peering up through the trees - through the tethered mist - she notices me in return and, looking achingly into my eyes, she begins walking to me, ever increasing her pace until she finds herself running, faster and faster, treading carelessly upon lifeless floras, as she is pulled toward paradise. Upon reaching me, she is breathing heavily. The air is not cold - yet her breath turns to crystals and floats to the ground. I warily take hold of one of her beautifully delicate hands…


Then we ran. And we didn't stop running until we were both lost. But we were lost together. We ran until we crashed into dirt. Landing atop of me, her emerald green eyes locked on, transporting me away to a place I had never seen; I did not want to leave. Laughter did no cease, as we filled the air with questions to acquaint. I had known her for the entirety of my life. We shared so many similarities - so many, it seemed impossible - and those which we did not share defined us. The chance of us coming together was so achingly low, that I still struggle to believe it. I could physically feel her sincerest pains… my impossible girl. With her faultless body pressed tight against mine, I made her smile, and smile which hugged her cheeks, and it was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen - I knew it was a smile that not everybody had the pleasure of seeing. Bringing an emotion out of her that so few people had succeeded in, I broke through her guarded presentation, exposing her most honest emotions. She was angelic. Placing my hand upon her cheek, tenderly, I softly kissed her full, curved lips before nature’s backdrop; as the sun set behind her, encompassing her pale, delicate neck, I witnessed her entire being burning bright and confident. Wrapped up tight in a vibrant, auburn blanket, she was glowing from head to toe, as though on fire. Admiring her endlessly, I couldn't stop staring at her effortless beauty.


Feeling as though I finally have a purpose, I yearn to show this girl off to the world. I have to spend every possible moment with her, and I strive to watch her at her happiest, every single day... I must to do everything in my power to ensure that her face is encapsulated by her perfect smile forever; it can never leave her face. It accentuates her faultlessness. She has reanimated my life - so now I live, so that she too can truly live.

I am somebody. I am everything. And she is mine.


This was written for my best friend, the girl who saved my life, Savanna-Jade Lloyd. Memories are forever. Forever,

This is the first story that I had written under the positive influence of love. I always managed to make her feel safe. And she was perfect to me; funny, beautiful... I loved talking with her every second of every day. She reminded me what it meant to feel, re-introducing me to emotion after years of acting cold. She really opened my mind to becoming selfless. I realised that there is more to life than just myself - I attempt to live by that now. ​I fell in love with her, and she with me. When she opened up to me, it made me feel so special and wanted. Every moment preserved in memory. My Favourite mixtape - Frank Ocean's 'nostalgia, ultra' - because even more meaningful, as it was played the first time I visited her on a train, absorbing the scenery and floating. Music tied to moments is utterly unbeatable. Anyways, ​I remember writing this short story for her whilst she was at work, because she was having a bad day. She loved it so much, that she re-wrote it by hand in her diary. She brought this poetry and emotion out of me. And she always will."

- m x​

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