Rafter Fiction is short stories based on songs by Rafter. I am starting the series with the songs from his newest album, “Terrestrial Extras”. This is the song, “You’re So Cold.” Buy the album here
He kicked and screamed the entire time the men picked him up and strapped him to a table. They shined lights and hurt his eyes. He pulled and tried shake free while they injected him, and then he stopped.
The light fragmented, broke to red, blue, and green. Oval and rectangle specks floated in a sea of black. His body lurched forward. His internal organs heaved, all at once, toward this throat. He could not open his mouth anymore.
He was 1956. His father slipping out of his grandmother, crying like he did not understand what was happening.
He was 1968. His mother at university, fall leaves floating through the wind daydreaming about his father with her books at her chest.
He was 1976. A squirming body inside of his mother, thinking about coming out but knowing that this darkness and this wet needed to be around to help him grow more.
He slept longer than he realized. He woke in his apartment. Only for a second. Long enough for him to open his eyes and see the bright lights above him again. One of the old man faces bent toward his face. “I don’t think it worked very long.
“I wonder how it feels,” said another.
“Probably like shit,” another said. He paused for a second before the same voice said, “What? He can’t hear me. It doesn’t matter.”
The light started to melt again and he was way off, floating toward the mountains, drowning in the sea. His insides felt jumbled and again he tried to scream.
He was 1993. The first girl that he kissed was looking at him, wondering if she was going to marry him and if they were going to have babies, but most importantly wondering what she would do if he touched her breasts.
He was 1999. He was with his parents, anticipating the end of the world at the end of December 31. His father dug a hole in the ground to place all of their money when the banks collapsed. He could find where all the money was buried. If it was still buried.
He was 2001. He started to squirm against the restraints, screaming against the pain of the burning. The burning building.
A teardrop rolled down his cheek. He thought he was screaming, “I don’t want to do it! I don’t want to do this anymore! I don’t want to do it!”
The response he heard was one of the men saying, “Do you see his lips moving? Is he trying to say something?”
“No,” another man said. “He’s just talking to someone in the past.”
“Fuck,” he tried to say. He jerked against the restraints but stopped a second later. He tested his right arm, yanked it hard, tried to see it move out of the corner of his eye. He realized then that all of his struggle, all of his screaming was not being seen or heard. His fear and anxiety spiked his heart and blood pressure. He closed his eyes and tried to figure out what he what to do. The only thing to do was to give in.
As soon as he decided not to fight it anymore, the room turned dark, but there were some specks of light, like stars. The table under him turned into the softness of summer grass. He used to lie in the grass with his parents when he was a child, looking up at the stars. His father would point out constellations, but he could not figure out any of them now. Then he heard a voice, his voice, the voice that he had not heard in years. His father. “That’s Orion.” The stars he mentioned started to shine brighter. “You can see how the three stars make his belt. Those are Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka. This such a popular constellation because it can be seen throughout the world. It’s on the celestial equator.” Hearing his father explain this again makes him want to curl up in his lap and listen to all of the stories he told him when he was a kid.
Then he heard his mother’s voice. “He doesn’t want to hear all of that, Tom.”
“Sure he does.”
He wanted to agree with him, but all he could do was try to nod his head. He wanted his mother closer too. He wanted to hear more than just their voices. He knew that this was what the men promised, only their voices, but if he could just see them one more time. If he could just touch them one more time, he would be able to…