Ash cradles his sister’s deflated body in his arms. The tears of Ash’s friends take flight in the dusty breeze.
‘London, stay awake. I’m going to buy you some ice cream,’ said Ash in a shaky voice. The sand beneath them was now expanding into a murky crimson coffin. The wound on her back was deep. ‘Stay awake, mum is going to make you some more pancakes too.’
London’s face broke into a painful smile.
‘Ice… crea.’ Her eyes close. A slither of blood trickles from the cave of our mouth down the side of her cheek. Ash’s body jerks as he takes a slow and interrupted deep breath. He continued to speak.
‘My world is without barriers. It exists with flaky milky boundaries like melting snowflakes in the dazzling sunlight. It’s a world where there is no right or wrong, no good or bad. I sit playing with my feet, finding confused amusement from the flickering stereo lights; I hold no sense of true danger. I often scream out in frustration for none of you can hear my words, none of you can understand me; none of you can relate to me, none of you can involve me. I yearn to be part of your conversation, your laughter, even your sadness. I sit quietly staring into dusty atoms of air for I am lost. This world has no meaning to me, and so I need a place where I can feel safe. Please let me feel safe.’
‘Ash, come on mate,’ said Bradley. However, Ash did not look up; instead he continued to look down at London and spoke again.
‘Why are you shouting at me? Why are you hitting me? Why are you hurting me? Can’t you see, my world has no context, no understanding where everything goes. Meaning has ebbed away from me, but I couldn’t see it, couldn’t hold it’s beginning. I know that a smile is ok, it may be safe. The sound of music is the only thing I can understand, the only thing I can relate to. Why don’t you dance with me? Sing to me: pull me out of this lonely world into yours. I want to be able to match my thoughts with words and action, but there is a disconnect. I want to be able to understand your bed time story. What is that brightness in the sky and why do the trees sway? Why is it bright one moment and dark the next? Why don’t I know life and have a purpose? Don’t turn your back, don’t close the door, and please don’t shut your eyes. Talk to me though I can’t talk back. I want to tell you something. Wait for me to find your world, never stop waiting for me. Come here and stay until I fall asleep.’
A shivering silence in the heat of the desert envelopes Ash and his friends.
‘I’ll find it London, I promise,’ said Ash.
‘Find what mate, stop it Ash,’ said Bradley.
‘A cure for autism.’
Excerpt from ‘Elements’. A novel in development by B. L. Crisp