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He sits on a wooden chair with a desk fixed to its front. His jaw wide open, he stares motionless with no control over his body parts or limbs. A living statue, he sits in his bedroom. His eyes are fixed on the TV screen in front of him. The third Fast and Furious movie is on for the fourth time this week. He has seen the cars explode, chase, and race. His ears are ringing with the sounds of wheels skidding and the characters screaming their rubbish lines just before another car crashes. Suddenly the statue utters a sound from its petrified mouth like a loudspeaker. One declaration:

“I want.”

An echo. Affixed to his chair, it leans forward.

The statue disappears.

The City

He appeared in the middle of a crowded square floating a few centimetres above the ground. The buildings boasted the names of multiple stores, cafes, and new electronic products. The chair leaned back as he gasped and choked in shock. He rotated in his place as his eyes tasted and craved the various available consumables . He approached the entrance to one store, but before going in, a voice reverberated from his mouth. All noises came to a halt. He announced:

“I want to want”.

He waited for a minute and entered the store. He rushed towards the food department, where he only found imported goods. He began to suck in and absorb everything he found in front of him. He emptied the shelves and cabinets of all their contents. He swallowed it all. He did not gain any weight nor get full. He paused for a moment and the products fell to the floor.

“I want to consume.”

He approached one of the products to check its price and the nutrition label. He emitted a siren in panic as his body flew from the beginning to the end of the corridor. His jaw did not move at all. He wanted to flee but got lost in his panic. He began to thrash against the walls as he abandoned all sense of direction . He tried repeatedly until he came upon a window. He rushed towards it and broke the glass. His exit from the building attracted attention. The ambulance siren lowered, and inquisitive whispers began to grow. He did not understand what he was seeing as legs and figures aggregated due to their rapid movement. He noticed a black spot with its head speckled in white in the distance. It was still. Like him. But it was in the middle of the street. He saw a wheel roll over it before he could comprehend what had come to pass.

A cat lay tossed on the ground in the middle of the road.

He advanced towards it to analyse the situation. He saw a torn-up box of fried chicken near it. Inside the box was one bare bone.

“I don't want to want.”

He disappeared.

He appeared in front of a fire burning on a steel kitchen table. He bent over to see the heart of the fire shining in his eyes. Like a hose, he spat sprinkles of petroleum out of his mouth to draw a line leading to the gas tanks. He escaped from the building in the same manner he did in the store prior. He moved away from the broken window without floating any higher or lower than he already was.

He waited. The flames grew stronger and smoke started to creep its way outside.

A yellowish-orange monster exploded from inside the room. Cement flew and the flames engulfed wood on the walls. Nothing remained but the apartment’s support columns. The building sank a little. The fire spread to the rest of the apartments until it consumed them completely. Every second or so, an explosion sounded from the same building, announcing the flame’s claims to another apartment. The building collapsed minutes later.

He disappeared.

وديع الحداد مصمّم غرافيكي، رسّام، وكاتب لبناني-فلسطيني يمضي أيّامه في بيروت. يعيش مع عائلته، بالإضافة الى سبعة نباتات وطنّ من الأشباح الموروثة. يقضي وقته باحثاً عن ما يصل الماضي بالحاضر. للمزيد من أشغاله يمكن متابعته wadihhaddad@ على انستاغرام

Wadih El Haddad is a Lebanese-Palestinian graphic designer, illustrator, and writer based in Beirut. He lives with his family, seven plants, and a ton of ancestral ghosts. He spends his time looking for strings that connect the past to his present. You can follow up with his work and doodles on his Instagram page @wadihhaddad.
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