I woke up. Sheets were stained with sweat, breath was no longer bated, and unconscious solace began to surcease.
Depression kills. Not in a directly physical way, not in a way perceivable by anyone except the sufferer. It made me feel psychotic. It went past the brain tissue, into the atoms of their molecules. I always imagined the electrons painstakingly orbiting a chunk of ice. There was never light in my imagination.
I felt a subconscious sigh emit, and tossed off the sheets. I sat up, let drop head to hands, and contemplated once again my current situation. I contemplated the fact that I could no longer stay awake during the day. I contemplated the nothing I felt all the time about nothing.
I’ve been contemplating suicide.
Yet I’m too pathetically apathetic.
I got up, and silently made my way to the kitchen. My night vision and preference for darkness have both increased proportionally. Light couldn’t help me navigate the cramped quarters of my apartment any better than the dark.
Came to the counter. Loosened the lid. Popped the pill. Instant release. Or was it a placebo? Irrelevant.
I sat down on the couch in the living room. It was 9:04 P.M. Same time I woke up yesterday. I left the lights off. I always felt the darkness bore itself into my head, like an interloper, like a conqueror. It felt unnatural. I can’t remember when it swallowed the last fuck I had to give.
And so this is how I’ve lived my days. I know it wasn’t always this way, but the apathy dulls my memory. One day, it just seemed like my ribcage wasn’t protecting anything worthwhile. Like there weren’t any organs inside me.
I go out at night for groceries, for my alcohol, and for the hope that I might feel something. Anything. I find myself more and more entranced by nothing, though.
I administer databases remotely for a data bank located downtown. I live in White City. I see a psychiatrist once a month to keep my prescription of Prozac abundant. He doesn’t do shit. I pay him so I can pay for a drug that keeps the worst away. There’s depression, but there’s a place past that, a place I don’t ever want to be again. It was like being conscious that you’re insane, that you’re sane while you’re insane.
There’s no way to describe it, except that it haunted me, terrorized me like I’ve never experienced. I’d kill myself before I got to that point again.
I’ve been here for more than a couple years now. I dissevered myself from the ones I used to love, because I no longer love. I cannot connect with anyone. Empathy evades me. I’m alone, and I can’t care less.
I feel cold. No happiness, no fear, no anger, no frustration. Ice, and apathy.
The weeks go by. I find myself in the living room, slouched upon the couch. It was 8:05 in the morning, and I felt a spectral sort of fatigue. Contradictory, tired and not tired. The yield from an inversion of homeostasis. I sighed, preparing to let fall a deep, dreamless sleep. I depressed the power button on the remote, gaze transfixed on the TV screen reflecting the morning sun, watching my reflection being disemboweled by a jerky, gaunt figure, half the innards thrown, looking like they might come out the TV from the other side, the other half wrapped around his neck so he could devour them while keeping his scarred arms free to keep emptying me out. I stared at myself, and my self rolled it’s lifeless eyes toward me, until the creature slowly moved it’s mouth down near the bridge of my nose, cocked his head instantly, used his tongue to spear my eyes, one by one down his throat. It began to turn it’s head towards the TV, but before I could behold this nightmarewalker’s face, the reflection changed. There was no reflection.
I sat there. I wasn’t able to move. Paralysis. Seconds passed. I screamed.
As loud as I could, I used the lungs I knew were still in me. Flying upwards, sprinting to a corner of the room, knocking a bookcase down so I could flatten myself against the wall.
Eyes from corner to corner of the apartment I used to know. Heart beating loud enough to be used as sonar. I heard sweat hit the books. And, finally, I felt. I felt sickened. I felt disgust. I felt confusion.
I can finally feel fear.
I spent hours calming down. There was no sleep now. It seemed that the peaceful place my consciousness went to during sleep was now convoluted by a web of my internal organs. I turned every single light on in my house. Washed a hundred milligrams of anti-depression down with something both Russian and 120 proof. Felt the fear and ethanol interact and puked it up. Turned the TV towards the wall.
I must’ve muttered “What the fuck?” a hundred times. What the fuck? What happened? I’m not sure I’ve ever hallucinated anything past the familiar hypnagogic images preluding sleep. What was it that murdered my reflection? Logic couldn’t find it’s place. There were no variables able to induce something like that.
I wasn’t sure what to do. The only option I had was to talk to my psychiatrist in a couple weeks.
Two weeks passed. The TV stayed turned, the lights stayed on, even when I slept. I can’t sleep like I used to. I dream now. The DMT released when I dreamt was flooding every synapse in my brain. I saw different things. One dream, he licked clean my ribcage. Another, I used a spoon to cut his fingers off, sticking them through his neck while he just stood there. In one, we sat next to each other on a loveseat, and simply stared at ourselves in a mirror that covered an entire wall. I had no expression on my face. He had no face, and instead scars in the form of an X over each eye, and a gangrenous, greening chelsea grin connected to each side of his hairless, deformed head.
The teeth were covered in a browning-red, with jagged holes carved out of a few and atrophying flesh in between most. His mutilated lips were sewn as far away from his mouth as possible, leaving his dry and puffy, bloody and purple, rotten and decayed gums exposed. His skin is mostly bleached a bright white, with massive keloids in some areas and burned flesh in others. He wears no shirt, revealing messy stitchwork covering his entire torso. He looked like the result of a drunk mortician and years of starvation. He was tall, and thin, arms with reach, deep scars up the underside of the wrist, and perhaps just sinew in the stead of muscle. He was emaciated, no sign of ribs, feet covered in caked blood and legs with sharp pockmarks in various places. He was genital-less, but not naked, as the skin he was in seemed more like a suit than a part of his body.
I spent the first week distracted by paranoia. It eased when nothing happened. I made sure every light I owned was on. I made sure I had alcohol in me at all times.
My psychiatric appointment arrived. I told the doctor I’d experienced hallucinations, and I felt intense fear. Dismissively, he told me it seemed like a result of the depression. I asked him about any side effects of the medication. Tonelessly, he said there were none relevant to my experience. I asked him which course of action I should take. Carelessly, he told me to remind myself that it’s all in my head. That it’s all a matter of electrical flow in my brain, and neurotransmitters in the axioms. He recommended that I videotape myself when I felt like I had control of reality to prove to my future self that everything was fine. He wrote me off another prescription of Prozac, and scheduled an appointment for another month. I asked him if he would put me in two weeks earlier.
He said he was too busy.
I got home. Turned the computer on. Found out what the Internet had to say about Prozac.
Severe symptoms included hallucinations. That goddamned psychiatrist. I flushed the pills down the drain and didn’t even bother with the pharmacy. I turned on the webcam.
Uneasily, I began talking to my future self, “Hey. You’re ok right now. There’s no one here. There’s no more Prozac to fuck with your head.” I took a swig of some incendiary to warm me up.
“It seems like it was just a side effect of the anti-depressant. You have control of reality. There are no hallucinations anymore. You’re good now.” I ended the recording and sent a shortcut to the desktop.
I had a nightmare again that night. He removed me bit by bit with a scalpel that had been pushed into his index finger, and an ocean of blood rapidly pooling out of it. He had ripped the stitching on his torso off, drenching his body in a brown-tinged maroon, and was stuffing my organs inside of him. I was still alive. I felt the pain. I wasn’t sure how much of the blood from his finger was inside me before I woke up. Nor was I sure of how much of me he extracted.
When I woke up, the bedroom door was closed. I passed the day away typically. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be feeling from being off that drug, but it was too early to discern a difference. I felt a twinge of frost, an arrowhead in the tip of my brain. Subliminal.
I made another video. I told myself a few different things, and it lasted a couple minutes. Again this file went to the desktop. I got up, stepping towards the kitchen, feeling a sort of slime touch the bottom of my foot. It didn’t distract me, though.
The alcohol did.
I went to sleep. The next day, again, the bedroom door was closed. I know I hadn’t closed it. I moved the computer desk in front of my room after I finished my night, and set the webcam to record what exactly happened. I went to bed at 7:06 A.M. When I woke, the door was closed again. I rearranged the desk, and slowly moved the slider, analyzing the video.
He’s been watching me sleep.
A bleached hand with a scalpel for an index finger grabbed the edge of the door and closed it. He knew I was watching him.
I wasn’t sure what effect the medication had on me. Maybe it was too soon for the side effects to wear off. I had been taking the medication for a few years now, though, so why is it happening now? Either I’ve gone insane, or something is happening. Something more real than a hallucination the mind can synthesize.
I’m not insane.
I’m not insane.
I’m not insane.
I’m not insane.
I can’t be sane.
I go back over the video. Again and again. He closes the door everytime. At 2:11 in the afternoon.
After however much time is spent, I go back to the couple videos I made, searching for solace. I watch them. And he’s in them. He’s standing behind me, right fucking behind me, in both of them. He scratches my name into his pale chest and lets his brown-red blood drip off. I look behind me and I see the stains in the carpet. I look at the bottom of my foot, and there’s a branch of sickly purple vessels spreading throughout.
I watched the first video. Telling myself there’s no one there causes his unsurgically cut smile to grow.
I made the mistake of going into the bathroom. I looked down to turn the faucet off, and then up, and he’s right behind me, scalpel plunged into my ear drum, twisting and turning. I turn around. Only a miasmic smell of putrescence.
I smashed the mirror.
So I left the apartment. I go to the liquor store, and as I purchase my bottle, he’s standing behind the cashier with his barbed tongue wrapped around the cashier’s throat, drawing blood. It waterfalls down his shirt. When the cashier talks, he sounds like he’s suffocating. He sounds anguished. Yet he doesn’t act like he notices it. I sure as hell do.
I go to the grocery store. I pass by the butchery, and he’s in there with a blade, cutting up some sort of carcass, flies looking to get their fill. His face stares at me, the scarred Xs igniting the photoreceptor cells inside my eyes. He doesn’t notice the blade cutting through his fingers first, then hand, then wrist.
I rent a hotel for the night. I open the door and he’s standing in the middle of the room, the middle of the blood-fucking-drenched room that stinks like a slaughterhouse. I close the door.
I’m back at my apartment now. I have no more peace. These few weeks, I haven’t been alone like I have been these past few years. There is nothing better than being alone. But he won’t leave, he follows me.
I sit in the corner of my living room, every light I have inundating my immediate surroundings. I’ve got 112 ounces left and a capsule of caffeine pills.
I haven’t seen him since the hotel. That was hours ago. Where is he? Is he waiting in the bedroom? Is he hiding in the reflection of the broken mirror? Is he standing outside my door? He’s stolen my mind. He’s invaded it. The way I used to bask in the darkness and let it envelop my imagination, I find that I now bask within his existence. He interlopes within my imagination. I can hear how loudly his scarred smile laughs. I can smell the stink of rot on his breath. I can feel him running his pale fingers over me. I can sense him in every way possible, but I can’t see him, he leaves that up to my imagination. He’s here, but I don’t know where. He has stolen my sanity, and I don’t know where to find it. It’s 12:01 A.M.
There is a stench in my apartment. Like blood fermented for consumption, like flesh rotted to an extra rare. There is a footstep in my bedroom, one in the kitchen, another right in front me. The radius of the light is my domain, the only place safe. He weaves through parts of the darkness. I think I can see him, and yet all I see is darkness, warped and twisting in on itself. It flows ethereally, consuming everything in it. I don’t feel fear anymore. I feel empty. I feel the end.
I take a very long drink.
I turn the lights off.