The Frog Box

I have never been here before. I will not be here again. Fear. It has ruled my life.

 

I am standing in a glass box. It is glass on all sides and glass at the bottom. There is no lid on it. It stands just slightly taller than me. It is not big enough for me to raise my arms. I can move them a little forward or to the side. I can raise my leg but cannot take a proper step. It is a good fit although it touches me nowhere when I stand with my hands by my side.

 

There is someone above me. That person has an even bigger box. I can hear the box. I can hear the throbbing noise that comes from it. He is carrying the box down the long corridor above me. I can hear his sharp crisp footfalls on the shiny clean floor.

 

He is standing above me. He is looking down into my box. His box is throbbing, pulsating. I can hear it. If I looked up I could see it. I do not look up. I close my eyes. He is opening the box. I can hear the cardboard flaps moving. He is going to turn the box up and pour out the contents into my box. I cannot escape. This will happen whether I want it to or not.

 

The thing in his box is what I am afraid of. His box is full of frogs. Green frogs, brown frogs, blue frogs, thousands of frogs, making noise. Moving. They are going to be poured out into my box and I am still in it. I tell myself that I can get through this. I can survive. I am not sure. I just need to keep my eyes closed.

 

He upends the box. I feel a thousand rubbery little bodies fall on to my head. There is a dull, slimy thud. Thud. Thud. Some of them fall off my head. I can feel them on my arms. I can feel them around my feet. I can feel them everywhere. I know that they are alive. They have survived. They will be jumping now. The noise is overwhelming. The croaking is so loud and there is still the dull thud as they land on the walls, on the floor, on each other, on me. I keep my eyes closed. There is no escape.

 

A single thought comes into my head. Fear. Panic. A single thought. They are paper. They are not real frogs. They are paper frogs drifting down in the box around me. They are paper frogs. I hold on to this thought. With all my will I hold on to this thought.

 

They are paper frogs. I want to open my mouth and shout it. I cannot open my mouth. Something will jump in. I breath through my nose. They are paper frogs. The noise is stopping. The frogs are dying. They are falling off my head to the floor. I can feel them brush past my hands as they go. They are paper frogs. They are falling off the walls, off my arms, away from my face at last. I can hear the dull thud as one dead frog lands on another.

 

I am knee deep in dead frogs now.  I can feel my feet trapped inside the pile of tiny frog bodies. All I have to do I tell myself, is lift my foot high enough to press against the glass, to kick it and it will fall away. The dead frogs will flow out. I can step across them and be free. If I am fast I will not even have to tread in them again. If I am not fast I tell myself they are paper, only paper.

 

I push up with the top of my shoe against the weight of the frogs. I can feel the pile inching up my leg. I know when I lift my leg clear of them they will all fall back into the pile. It is no consolation as I bring my leg up through them. They are paper I tell myself, just paper.

 

My leg is clear and my foot pushes against the glass. I can feel it give way as my leg stretches out. I hear it fall on to the floor. My eyes are still closed. The pile of frogs have spilled out onto the fallen glass. All I have to do now is walk across it and I am free. I hold my leg suspended in mid air like some kind of cartoon character. I will have to put it down, down on to dead frogs. Their bodies will have to take my weight. They will be crushed underneath it. It cannot be more than 5 steps I tell myself. I only have to walk my own height and I am free. I put my foot down. There are feelings, things, imaginings. They are paper I tell myself. They are only paper as I trudge forward.

 

I stand at the end. I open my eyes. I do not look down. I only look forward. The paper will blow away in the breeze. I only go forward.

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