You may not hear it, but that is because what the TV says is meant for me, not you. All that it tells me is all that I know and I have come to know so much about you and the people of this world. I heard so often that the world would end, but also told that staying indoors would keep me safe. I learned that not to trust the water that comes from my tap and also not to trust the food they sell you. Now I never trust them.
I sit now, in my home alone, eating the food that grows in the corner and drinking the water that leaks from the ceiling. The taste was so pure to me, so brilliant in its purity, that I couldn’t help but feel stronger. My eyes adjusted to the dark with ease, but the light of the sun hurt me more than anything. It didn’t bother me thought, I drew the curtains and avoided sunlight. I heard it gave me cancer anyway, so it was a win for me all the way.
Finally, how did I save my sanity? Through routine variety. Everyday I would try to do something different, but of course avoiding what would harm me. I would create art on the walls using the red stuff. I would burn different things around my home to see what they smelled of. Eventually, while I was in the middle of making pants from cardboard, the TV told me the end had come. The country was being destroyed and it was time to do what I could to make it through the days.
Knowing that I needed to conserve power I turned the TV off and began the preparations. I barricaded the windows and doors. I amassed a pile of the strange mushrooms that grew in the corner and collected water with the colander. It took two hours to do all this, I had been preparing for months now. The people of this world knew about the disaster, but once again, left me behind in the last minute to prepare. I spat on the ground in disgust and the hopelessness of man and sheltered myself in the blanket.
When I woke up the next day I could still feel the warmth of the sun heating the house. The air became stale and humid, but I endured. The water I collected seemed to be disappearing, there were even less drops falling from the ceiling. The mushrooms were losing their taste, growing moldy. However, beggars could not be choosers so I ate them anyway. Hunger and thirst plagued me for that day. Nausea was also a problem, so in my momentary weakness I crawled beneath the blanket once more and fell asleep.
I don’t remember much of the days that passed after that, only coughing. I would wake up spluttering and the red stuff would fly from my mouth. The art that covered my walls didn’t feel so happy anymore, I felt pain deep inside. Days passed and I felt the coming of death. I lay there, on the floor, sweating and dying. All that I needed had left my body and I wouldn’t be able to get it back. I couldn’t react when part of the roof collapsed. I couldn’t escape when the dryness had met friction somewhere in my home and I smelt smoke. Breathing became difficult and soon it felt like the walls were breaking.
The firemen carried me out of the building and the light burned me. I was placed on a bed and a mask over my face, most likely to stop my screaming. Tha ambulance carried me to the hospital where the good doctors saved my life and I lay there in their clean, cold bed wondering why people weren’t like me. I shook my head in dismay, but I could only shake it for so long before I realized I was in the sick bed and not them.
A woman came to my bedside and asked what happened. She asked how my body became so deprived, how my skin started peeling. I told her everything, I told her why I did the things I did.
“The TV spoke to you?” she asked.
“It spoke of the worlds ending,” I nodded. “The end of my hometown, the end of my country, the end of this world. I knew then and there I shouldn’t take chances.”
She looked at me strangely at first, but then nodded knowingly. I asked her what she thought of the TV’s words, but she simply shrugged.
“Have you watched any other channels besides the news?” she asked me.
There were other voices. She turned the TV on in our room and I was greeted with a familiar sight. However, she pressed a button on the piece of plastic and the image changed. There were more voices, voices that spoke of joy in the world, others which spoke of fantasy. For the longest moment I was shocked between the variety and then I struggled to decide which one to believe.
“What...which is right?” I asked her.
“Well...that is your decision,” she told me. “I watch a bunch of them, not really the news much. There is this great show…”
“Which one do I believe?” I asked again. “They can’t all speak the truth.”
“Um...I guess the news more, but you can’t just watch the news.”
“Well, sometimes things can be wrong...sometimes it is really good, but don’t take anything too seriously. You need other...voices to lighten things up, you know?”
She changed the voice and there were bright colours. Strange creatures called ‘puppets’ which sang songs of joy. Another voice spoke to me with people who discussed menial matters of the average man comically. It had been so long since I heard a joke I almost forgot that not all things had to be reality. The woman took me to a new home, with strange people who wore only white. Still, I felt like a belonged for once.