Kill the Consciousness

By Batteries

You can't leave your Xbox on for more than 12 hours or else it overheats.

The thing was overheating right now. And Mato had been sitting in front of it ever since he turned it on what seemed like a few minutes ago. But he wasn't playing. He hadn't moved at all. Not in the last 12 hours.

Half a day before, Mato had fallen off his bike and got scratched up. Cried a little, but felt better after replacing his fishtank's water. Then felt tired and tried to sleep. Couldn't, and then found himself in front of his TV.

Not doting on the thought, he clicked the power button on the familiar console and grabbed the controller as it was second nature. Main menu of Resident Evil flashed on the screen, and there was the vague memory of blinking once before Mato blanked out.

Blanked out. Not much like passed out, or spaced out, really. More of the thinking sort. Such as his eyes darting towards the old clock hanging on the living room wall, noticing the hour hand was reaching for the top, and the minute hand as much as resting between the bottom and the number to its left, but not so much between as just a slight leaning to its right. It was 12:34. Ha.

Levels of consciousness inside his mind, the time was the least of his worries. A floor just underneath that of 12:34, was just a mental video of memories. A video that had lain dormant for the most part but had been kick-started on as the menu of his game flashed in front of him. Possibly a switch that Mato didn't know existed. A video that Mato had forgotten about.

Flashing, brightening where it was bright, darkening when it was dark. Memories flashing by and being replaced by another before Mato had realized it. Voices. A blur of laughing and amiable chatter. Somewhere out of the blue, a piano played. Perhaps on the floor under that of the video. A melody that rose to a peak and faltered in volume, like someone was toying with it. The video hadn't stopped, but had quickened. More flashing and transitions as the piano slowed down. Overwhelming feelings in the form of video and piano. Feelings that tidaled over Mato as he let them. As he didn't know how he could not.

As the video played, Mato realized bit by bit that the clips had been repeating themselves. And now that he knew they were repeating, he knew they would never end. Now that the video had been switched on, it would be on forever. The music escaping from the floor down under had become increasingly loud. Surreally matching the video, but at the same time not.

Faces. So many faces. Of the same face. Smiling, laughing. The flicker of a thumb, and the feeling of being out of breath after having a run. Plastic, glass, and certain metals brought a feeling of happiness. It wasn't what they were, it was how they were composed. Multiple epiphanies ran through the level of Mato's subconscious as he realized that that rule did not only apply to plastic, glass, and certain metals.

As soon as the epiphanies came, they disappeared. But not really. They hadn't disappeared. Simply were out of Mato's mental sight for the time being. Perhaps they had created another floor under that of the faltering piano. Mato would take care to visit that floor often. And then immediately after told himself to take care to never venture into that floor again.

Epiphanies gone, the subject of the video changed. Or not so much, changed, but broadened. A hurricane of clips came flooding in, as if the video had forgotten about them. Perhaps the video hadn't, but Mato had. More laughing faces of the same face. His own name being called out before him. He wanted to respond, but knew he couldn't, for it was a video.

Laughter and smiling erupting at the same time. Such a feeling Mato knew, loved, longed for, but hurt and Mato didn't want any part in it, but he did. Faintly Mato could hear his own voice, calling out the name of the nameless face. Nameless indeed.

Last epiphany rising and falling in the mental floor making its way down under the piano floor, Mato realized the video was beginning to get static. The clips were started to buzz, the voices starting to distort and cut off. Mato could no longer hear his own name being called. Blue eyes caught the fuzzy image of a girl or two flashing on and off in between the clips of the nameless. Cues where his name should have been called were being replaced by something else.

As the video went on and on and buzzed and hissed, the picture quality was so terrible Mato found it a difficulty to make out a thing in it. At last the voices had seemed to stop altogether, the picture quality finally becoming a blur of white noise. The mental video hadn't ended. Oh it hadn't ended at all. It simply was not his video anymore.


It was gone. The small television set in the second layer of his consciousness had disappeared. So suddenly that Mato questioned if it had ever been there in the first place. But it had, Mato was sure of it. Just somewhere a few floors down, Mato knew he wouldn't admit that he knew it really had been there.

It really had been there. It really had though. It still did exist. Just not with him anymore. Not with Mato.

As Mato began to push the idea of the disappearance of the video from his mind, he realized the piano had failed to continue playing. He did not dare venture into the immediate floor under though, for he feared it had disappeared as well, which would cause Mato to further question his own sanity.

Deciding to forget about the second and third floor, and remembering that he told himself that the fourth floor that existed did not exist, he went to the first floor.


It was 12:34.


A whole 12 hours had passed and the Xbox was emitting the smell of burnt toast.

With a light giggle and a lean back, the first movement he'd allowed in the last 12 hours, but moving unlike it, he moved to turn the malfunctioning console off, and went back to sitting in front of it.

Let us install a new video, a new piano, and everything else we can in the mind. After all, a video is but a moment in time that has happened and is no more. And there will be much more 12:34 minutes to indulge in. Much more Xboxes that will overheat and be replaced. And much more dead memories to replay.