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Loaded, loathing, tiny ρℓαgυєѕ

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tiny ρℓαgυєѕ


{ ᗪᗩᐯIᗪ }





I am alone and it's pitch black. That's how it always starts.

But the silence is just a short reprieve because I'll hear them next, as loud as a gunshot, perforating through the vacuum.

These voices have hands, and the hands have sharp nails. They drag me down until I’m burrowed deeply into what feels like someone else’s skin.

I often get the sense too that I’m nothing more than a decaying protoplasm that’s draped across a body that’s never going to be my own.

And it hurts. Then it makes me angry.

So I scream until I can’t even hear myself do that anymore.

“That’s when I wake up,” I finish my somber little narrative and glance sideways at Lenny. She’s staring back at me, doing that thing of hers where she alternates between smiling too much or not at all.

The drab walls of the ward surrounding us have a color I want to say is green, but I don’t trust even my own simple assessment of colors these days. Besides, it won’t matter. Management can splash the walls with rainbows for all the fat luck that would do for any of us.

What was it that Lenny told me on my first month here?

‘ We’re ɴoтнιɴɢ вυт cυѕтoмιzed plαɢυeѕ тнαт нαve тo вe coɴтαιɴed. So тнey pυмp oυr ѕyѕтeм ғυll oғ pιllѕ αɴd υɴĸɴowιɴɢly leαve oυr нeαrтѕ loαded wιтн loαтнιɴɢ αɴd reɢreт. ’

God, she’s ever wise and poetic—a mental patient, sure, but she just gets things, man.

She’s also my only friend. I don’t know if she could understand whenever I ramble on like this, but she listens at least. I know she does because she’s posing questions next, but not before she leans close and starts playing with my hair.

“Do the hands grab at your crotch too?” she quips while her fingers rake through my scalp in both careless abandon and disconcerting precision. “Do you think they wanna try doing bad things that you’ll end up enjoying, kid?”

“What bad things?” I knit my eyebrows together in confusion though I have a fair idea what she’s trying to imply.

“Oh, you know,” Lenny’s fingers now glide downwards to my left cheek. The gesture so absentminded and can even be mistaken for tender is something very Lenny-like, as well as her remarking, “…finger your anus, play you like a fiddle.”

Anyone would have winced and found the commentary repulsive, but I laugh it off because anything she says or does is always a mix of cute, benign and honest.

“I haven’t met anybody who likes to insert anal play into chitchat as much as you do,” I smile as if that’s meant to compliment her before I rest my temple on the ledge of the couch she and I are perched on.

“Dude,” The gleam in Lenny’s eyes is unmistakable, “You didn’t even answer me. So they did try some bad things on you, didn’t they?”

“Nothing like you imagine,” My eyelids are fluttering shut in spite of myself, but I keep going, “It just seemed as if they want to tear me to shreds and feed me to myself afterwards, if that even makes sense.”

“Yeah, no, bro, I dig that,” Lenny swings her leg over my lap, “Self-cannibalization and autoerotic asphyxiation. Deepthroating objects until you’re puking last night’s dinner.”

“What?” I chuckle far too giddily than I expected as my eyes remain shut, “I didn’t mean any of those things at all, Lenny. What I was trying to say is that they’re trying to take me out, you know. Their nails were these hooks and they pushed deep into the vein—” I blindly reach forward and wrap my hand on what I guess was her shoulder, “—like when an eagle snatches prey.”

“I think those are called talons, dude,” Lenny pinches my nose once then flicks her fingers on it, ever the eternal woman-child she is. “And take you out from what?”

“Right, whatever, talons,” I open my eyes to look into her hazel ones before I go on expounding, “I’m not really sure, but I think they want to push my soul out of my body. It’s like…” I trail off so I can look over my shoulder at the nurses’ station. And then I look back at Lenny and whisper, “…тнey wαɴт мe тo relιɴqυιѕн owɴerѕнιp ѕo тнey cαɴ owɴ everyтнιɴɢ ιɴ мe.”

“Like your balls?” Lenny rubs her calf on my crotch, and I almost wince due to the unexpected warmth from the contact before I reminded myself at the last second that this is so like her to catch me off-guard with a meaningless touch. “Shrunk them to fit in dainty hands like those metal thingies people use to relieve stress,” she adds, cackling. What a goof.

Lenny starts petting my hair again and then kisses my nose before blowing a raspberry at me, spraying spit on my face. 

Oh, Lenny.

She might be female, but there are so many things about her that also don’t feel like it at all. It makes things easier then. Hard to share intimate details about your nightmares with a friend if you also want to bang her. So this is good. I have something special and perfect with Lenny.

With a grin, I tell her, “Yeah, like my balls and everything else. Probably my guts and kidneys too. I’m not really sure why this latest delusion included these phantoms trying to harvest my organs but since when do delusions make rational sense, right?”

“Delusions are the fetish of a starving mind,” Lenny utters and then removes her leg from my lap so she could stretch it towards the table before us. A few magazines get crumpled underneath the weight. Her other leg swipes across the other objects on the table as well, and they tumble noiselessly down the carpeted floor; a scattered mess of trivial things.

I really had nothing to say to her comment, so I start poking her thigh. She’s not ticklish anyway. In response, she sinks further into the couch and then uses the back of her hand to slap me repeatedly on the chest, all so she can give herself something to do.

It’s nice like this when me and Lenny do nothing and talk about everything that don’t really mean a damn thing. Out of instinct, I huddle even closer to her, overcome with the sudden need for her warmth. Life here in the ward makes more sense than what’s out there. Like with Lenny, for example. We can say anything weird aloud and know neither of us would scoff nor label the other a freak.

We’ve both been called enough of that our entire lives already.

“Now you get it, kid,” she pipes up.

I shot her a look, “What was that?”

“I’m not going anywhere,” she says in a hushed whisper, pressing her lips a few inches close to mine as I stay frozen in place, anticipating a kiss I know will never come nor want anyway.

“I never said I wanted you to go,” I answer with a hint of baffled hesitation in my tone. “What are you even talking about?”

Lenny slaps me on the knee once then stands back to her feet before whirling around to press her arms on either side of the couch, entrapping me as she does.

“Wanna get high with me?” she offers.

“Uh, I think the medication here is supposed to not get us high, Lenny.”

“Not those stupid things!” She scrunches her face and grabs both my hands now, “We drink from the toad, remember? The toad’s waiting!”

Before I could ask any more questions, she’s pulling me out of the communal area and into the looming, empty hallways of the facility. And then I start chasing her for some reason, but she’s already in a far-away distance. That makes me sad, inexplicably so, before the fear sets in. Lenny looks over her shoulder then and slyly mocks me to catch her like she’s confident as all hell that I never will.

Maybe she’s right. I can already feel the muscles on my legs and calves straining, and as soon as I collapse on the ground, a familiar pattern greets me. This carpet—it’s not the same one as before. I feel Lenny’s hands grabbing at my chest. I panic, recognizing that I might be dreaming and it’ll soon be pitch-black again. I’ll be alone. The voices will take over. And they’re going to eat me until not even my soul is spared.

“Relax, kid,” Lenny’s hot breath is upon my ear from the moment we land next to one another on the ground of my old apartment. Tendrils of smoke from the drugs she burned conceal the otherwise moldy scent of the entire place. I caught a glimpse of broken plates and cupboards and shelves ripped from their hinges. That was in the kitchen area. I seem to recall standing in the middle of its devastation a while back. But how long has it been since?

“Why are we here?” I mumble but can’t hear my voice too well. I feel weak and feverish all of a sudden too. “Aren’t we…aren’t we supposed to be—?”

Lenny doesn’t let me finish and shoves the ceramic toad on my face. I inhale sharply, allowing the drugs to pass through my airway easily. I relax soon enough. The nerve endings on my mouth feel like rubber, loosening my jaw until all I could do is just lie there with my mouth slightly hanging open. I feel so stuffed, even as my mind rebels to accept the false comfort which cocoons me as if this is what love must feel like—taste like.

“Ready for that circle jerk?” Lenny presses the back of her head on my chest then rubs her spine all over me like a cat in heat. I can’t move or think. I want to say something, but the words are plucked from my grasp the moment I think about attempting coherence.

Still writhing against me, Lenny laughs and recites more mumbo jumbo, “Isn’t this a good fit, kid? You, me and the rest of the world fading away as we ride to the distant sunset.”

I feel her toss and turn at first before she flips her body so she could sit on top of me this time. I don’t like the way Lenny is staring down at me. Am I even a person to her? What can she see that’s making her smirk like that?

“The sky is always so beautiful during sunset, David. So much orange and pink. And the purple streaks remind me of bruises on flesh. Abuse and anarchy on skin.”

She slaps me. “Hey! Don’t pass out on me, you asshole!” Lenny then grinds her hips, and the friction between us grows too much that I begin to feel nauseous and perhaps—for the first time—fully becoming insane. “Kid, look at me! I’m connecting with you. Don’t ruin this for me, okay? I’m doing gay stuff and you’re not even thankful.”

“Who are you?” I manage to speak at last.

“Never mind!” Lenny stops moving on top of me and pinches my cheeks instead. “Let’s do something else. To people. Just to prove we can be unstoppable together.”

“Who—” With some struggle, I sit up and push her off me, “—the fucking fuck are you?”

“I’m your friend,” she slips out of my lap and gives a ready smile, exaggerating her pep, “I’m Cornflakes. Busker with the small tities. You call me Lenny.”

“Lenny’s dead!” I shout it out, but all that comes out is a hoarse declaration. The room is becoming hotter as bile rises to my throat. I almost did hurl while my eyes frantically search for a door, any door, so I can break free from this delusion.

The fake-Lenny grins wider. It looks so wrong in her fake face. “Don’t make it hard, David. Seriously, a boner would be a total mood-killer for me right now."

“BLOW ME!” I toss the ceramic toad at her but miss. It hits the opposite wall instead, shattering without a sound. The shards simply fell like petals, and it was almost beautiful if it wasn't also freaky as all fuck.

“I told you I don’t swing that way, bro," fake-Lenny stares and stares and stares until her eyes look like yellow orbs. Demon's eyes.

“What is this? Where am I?” I grip the nearest thing next to me so I can slowly get up, all while my knees wobble and threaten to break. I had to keep clinging onto a chair just to keep steady.

“David, David, David!” She slithers back on the ground and crawls towards me. “I thought you wanna get high with me. What’s the matter?”

“This isn’t real. Don’t come any closer! I’m warning you…” I attempt to flee but that proved to be a fatal mistake because I end up stumbling back to the floor just in time as fake-Lenny catches up and tries to straddle me again. I fight back as hard as I could and scratch her on the cheek. Blood gushes through the wound, dripping to her upper lip. She licks it for show and grins.

“What are you going to do to me, kid, huh?” Fake-Lenny starts scratching me back. but her hands are not the same. They are twisted, ugly fingers that have a sickly, greenish yellow color. I scream and try to cover my face by raising my arms up, but she shreds through the flesh and marrow anyway, undeterred and relentless.

I’m all alone, here in the pitch black. That's how it always starts.

Then come the voices and then the hands; and the hands have sharp nails. They drag me down until I’m burrowed deeply into what feels like someone else’s skin.

And it hurts. Then it makes me angry.

So I scream until I can’t even hear myself do that anymore.

“That’s when I wake up,” I scoop the last of my meds from the cup and stare at their nondescript appearance. As soon as I lift my gaze, I meet Dr. Kissinger’s calm expression. He hasn’t jotted anything else on his clipboard and is merely content watching me speak, at least for the time being.

I glance sideways until my eyes find Lenny. She’s sitting next to me among the group, and she’s had her headphones on to mute everything else in the session. Her hands jive along to the music that could be playing or has been imaginary all this time.

“It sounds as if the dream hasn’t ended at all, David,” Dr. Kissinger remarks. “Do you think it’s still going on, right at this moment?”

“I don’t know,” I lie. I want to answer with an affirmative, but I can’t even do that. I don’t trust myself to be strong enough about my convictions especially when it comes to my sanity, or a lack thereof.

“Take your pills, David,” the therapist requests with a mild tone, the one he always uses to indicate that everything is always okay, “You’re going to feel so much better after it. I promise.”

I offer a fleeting smile and did exactly what he asked. Beside me, Lenny leans closer, her breath warming my ear again as she utters, “Everyoɴe αroυɴd нere ĸɴowѕ тнαт prιѕoɴ ιѕ нoмe. Aɴd yoυ’re leαrɴιɴɢ тo love yoυrѕ.”

She puckers her lips and makes kissy noises before withdrawing, so pleased with herself. I just lean back on the chair and let the meds do their thing.

I am alone. It is always pitch-black inside me, save the few moments of lucidity that I never get to hold on to for long. Oh, how I'd give anything to have some stars shine through the night-sky of my mind. 

At least I have Lenny. She's my only friend.