The Total Extinction of the Five Senses
The place appeared to be deserted, were it not for the shadows that seemed to cut through the thick curtain of fog that surrounded it. The silence was authentic, and the sound of it was obvious. If you listened carefully, opening your ears, you would sense that this silence dragged an echo with it, like when a metallic instrument lets out a low, muffled note, vibrating long after the note was made. It was also impossible to make out the light, even though the fog had a natural glare produced by a certain brilliance that had never been perceived by the human eye. Hector Charles was struck with an immense feeling of terror upon realizing that he had only one option: to enter into the darkness, either feeling his way around or using his intuition until he found that which he did not seek nor desire. Incredibly, Hector could not remember who he was since his sense of perception was limited; however, he felt arms he could not see and legs that carried him but could not bear his weight. He sensed, much more than he heard, the beating of a heart that felt immobile; and he believed there was a silent voice that could reach higher dimensions without producing a sound. He was breathing, yet his chest did not expand, and he could not hear the calm sound of his inhalation and exhalation, no matter how hard he tried. He felt a voracious hunger but could not imagine satisfying the void because his mind was incapable of truly understanding of what this actually meant. He only knew and understood that he was lost in a place he did not recognize and that the beings that he had imagined for a few seconds as existing in other forms were nowhere near him. What was happening? He did not understand. Where was he? He did not know. He wanted to rest but could not imagine how, when, or where; although he wanted to, he could not sleep because he did not know what it was and could not imagine it. He wanted to close his eyes and rest his eyelashes on his cheeks in order to avoid falling into a vortex he saw in the distance, but he couldn’t because there were empty voids instead of eyes and cheeks that did not exist. Hector was able to think even though there wasn’t an active cell in his brain. The strange thing was that his thoughts could not go past the second that had just transpired nor beyond the second that was about to occur; he could only conceive of and understand that which occurred in each instant, immediately forgetting the thoughts of the past and unable to form thoughts about the future. The fact that he could not string together the torrent of ideas as he wanted left him experiencing, for a fraction of a second, a fear that was replaced a quarter of a second later with curiosity and, immediately after, by a dread even more intense than the one before, even though it was already forgotten. He experienced something incredible: to live the experience of his whole life in a tiny part of a second. Other eyes beyond the darkness observed him without judgment, curiosity, or pain. They were invisible eyes with the expression of those who are eternally in waiting, although without love or indifference: Hector understood at the speed of light, in one of these brief moments of clarity, that for years he had mistakenly looked at the canopy of the heavens without ever imagining that it was space itself that was observing him from on high.
Time passed in a manner that was unclear to him. Despite the fact that there were moments in which he understood that he was suspended in the web of time, he could not get a firm idea of how much time had passed since he could not find the date on a calendar, the time on a clock, or a visible wrinkle in his hands. A day might have passed, although when he thought about it, it could have been a month, a year, or a century. Therefore, he chose to seize that second of awareness in order to take hold of the remotest corner of his subconscious in order to try to understand what was really happening, to accept a horrible suspicion made real: he was dead. He felt a sudden liberation from the heavy chains of life, which were now invisible to his eyes, but had forced him into a miniscule space of uncertainty and a dimension that only now he was able to understand. For an instant, he experienced something close to ecstasy until the happiness seemed to tumble before him as he was forced by an unknown power to relive his life, unable to ignore the hardest moments among the other unhappy ones.
The same urgent force brought him to break down all of his past actions, experiencing the same sensations from those very moments, above all when remembering the more grotesque and harmful acts, which now seemed worse than he had believed them to be at the time. His nonexistent pupils remained fixed on a seemingly aquatic curtain composed of events that even he had forgotten. The movie of his life appeared before him, saturating him with forgotten emotions such as those from his childhood, when he used to hide under his bed in order to watch, with a profound fear, his father beat his mother while shouting obscenities that were almost impossible to understand because of the alcohol he had consumed. He felt a sharp pain in his heart that no longer existed as he watched his mother patching his overalls because she did not have enough money to buy new clothes at the town’s general store. He rejoiced upon recognizing his school, the farm where he lived, miles away from other people, and the church where on Sundays he would attend mass with his parents, who religiously attended the loathsome bingo game at night. His father kept a mechanic’s workshop behind the house that was comfortable and stable, much like the corral beside it, where he kept a few animals; the property was well maintained, even during the windy season, when it was whipped by the gusts, and during the droughts, when the sun beat down upon the porch’s already-weathered wood and the few surrounding trees, in the middle of a yellowish cracked land where a few patches of pale green herbs dotted the arid landscape after sporadic rains spit at them in disdain. Victor Emmanuel Charles, his father, earned extra money on top of his income from the town’s printing presses by fixing old trucks and fancy cars for the prelates of higher social and economic standing who knew of his abilities as a mechanic.