It's been 3 months, I think. Each day is like a blur. The old padded walls of my cell are void of any windows or decoration. Not that I care much. I don't deserve any amenities. After what I did, I don't deserve to still be alive. I wish someone would just end me and get it over with. But I guess my agony is my punishment. Killing me would let me off too easy.
Instead I sit here, locked in my containment cell, day after day and think about her. The girl that was my world, that I loved so dearly, is gone because of me. I don't even remember everything that happened. I remember my Z-band shorting out, then my mind blacks out. The patrol officers told me I killed her when I asked where she was. Small flashes come back here and there. But nothing solid. All that matters is that it's my fault she's dead. The details don't matter. I killed her.
I was wrong back then. I am a monster.
My shoulder twitches and my hand slides up my face. I feel like I don't have much control over my body anymore. My zombie is constantly trying to take over. Like my subconscious wants to just go to sleep for a while. I almost want to let him. I think he has a few times, when I'm too tired to fight back. If the shredded straight jacket I'm wearing is any indication. But what if I do something else horrible. I can't let him out. I grab my arm and rip it down, slumping forward from the sheer force I used.
Suddenly, I feel a presence behind me. Chills shoot down my spine and I quickly sit upright, my eyes wide. There shouldn't be anyone in here with me. I feel a hand touch my shoulder gently and slide across my chest.
I glance down and the small delicate hand instantly strikes fear into me. It feels too familiar. I grab the wrist and whip my head around to see the intruder. My eyes widen further. I slip out from under her arm and scramble on all fours to the corner before turning back to face her. She's taken my seat and has a creepy smile tugging up her lips.
"Addison." I breath. My voice is rough and deep and it doesn't sound right in my ears. I shake my head in disbelief. She stands and I follow suite. "This can't be- You can't be-" I can't find the right words as I take a hesitant step forward. Her steps mirror mine. Until I could reach out and touch her.
She is just staring into my eyes. Not saying a word. It unnerves me. "Say something." I beg loudly.
"Zed." My name fall of her lips and her sweet voice caresses my eardrums. My eyes roll to the back of my head and a chill courses through my body from just hearing her say my name. I immediately open my eyes and rush to embrace her. She turns as not to face me but allows my arms to encase her. I bury my nose in her curled hair, taking in a whiff of the strawberry shampoo she always used.
Her hands softly brush over my forearms around her waist. "Did you miss me?" She asks softly. My arms instinctively tighten around her.
"Of course I did. I'm nothing without you." I reply with my distorted voice.
"You're right." She acknowledges as if it were a fact that no one could deny.
"What?" I can't believe my ears. Did she just agree that I'm nothing? I release my hold around her and she turns towards me and places her hands flat over my chest.
"Did you really think this was real?" She asks with a laugh, a sick smile on her face. I take a step back. My eyes wide and my mouth opening from my sharp inhale. "Now you're getting it." She smiles slyly, walking smoothly around my frozen form like a hawk circling its prey. "You look awful. Looks like your zombie is fighting for control of your consciousness. How has felt? To be beaten from the inside out?" She questions me. I physically shake my head to snap out of my paralysis.
"How are you here if you're not real?!" I exclaim, ignoring her questions. She steps in front of me and lifts a hand to touch my chest again. As soon as her fingers touch the thick cloth of the mangled straight jacket, I grab her wrist. "How can I feel you, touch you, if you're not real?!" I yell with an even hoarser voice from the sob threatening to escape.
"Hm." She chuckles in amusement, her eyes mischievous with a matching smile.
A loud banging on my door draws my attention and my head snaps in its direction. "Keep quiet in there Zombie!" A male voice orders. I turn back to Addison and she's gone. My hand raised in a fist, that was holding her arm, with nothing but air touching my palm. I gasp and take a few shaky steps back, tripping and falling into my single chair. I rock myself back and forth as the sobs return.
Addison was never here, was she? No, it's impossible. She's dead. It's my fault that she's dead. But why did she feel so real? I could hear her, smell her, touch her. I couldn't imagine touching her, could I?
My brain tries wracks through the possibilities but my emotions are shot from the encounter, my body shakes from weeping so hard. "I want you back Addy." I pray, wondering if by some god she can hear me.
I feel two gentle hands rest on my shoulders in comfort. I freeze again. The small arms wrap around my neck and her face brushes against mine.
"Shhh. Don't cry." She soothes. Another sob strangles my throat. I don't have the energy to question it anymore, I just accept the words of comfort whether she's real or not. Hearing Addy's voice makes me feel just the slightest bit better and that's all I care about in this moment. "It will all be over soon." Her voice comes out in a whisper.
I inhale a sharp, shaky breath and she's gone again. I swiftly look around the room and I'm completely alone as usual.
I'm really losing my mind in here, aren't I?
It's been a couple days and I haven't seen Addy again. I guess it was just my imagination. But then I see a flash of white from the corner of my eye and my head snaps in its direction. There she was. "Addy." I breath out, standing to approach her. She lifts a hand and I take it in mine.
"Zed? Are you feeling ok?" I freeze and my eyes widen. Oh shit. Those were some of the last words I ever heard her speak. "You don't look so hot." She continues. The memories are flooding back again. The beeping of my Z-band, my body shaking, my mind going fuzzy.
"Zed?! Zed!" She exclaims.
"AHHHHH!" I throw my hands over my ears from her scream. I remember that scream. When my zombie threw her against the wall. "Owww." Her groan of pain.
My breathing is labored. I don't want to remember this so vividly. It's like it's happening again. She's under my feet, I lean down and lift her off the floor delicately into my arms, she's limp. I wrap my arms around her and embrace her body to mine, trying to protect her from anymore pain. My mind in too much shock to cry or talk or anything.
My hands start to shake like that night and I can't control my movements anymore. Oh no. I'm reliving my worst nightmare. My arm snaps to the side and throws her across the room. She cries out again in pain.
"Addison!" I exclaim but my body is doing the opposite of what I tell it to. I can see the blood trickling down her face as she tries to sit up.
I stalk towards her. My face in horror but my body won't listen to me. "Please, Zed. Stop." She weakly begs for mercy. Tears well up in my eyes. I can feel the unquenchable rage burning in my chest from my zombie.
"Run away Addy! Go! Hurry!" I yell. But it's like she can't hear me. My fist comes down harshly and grabs her by the throat. She whimpers out a strangled cry and claws at my wrist to release her. If I don't let go soon, she'll choke. She can't breath. I try to force my hand free, but it won't listen. She's suffocating.
"Nooooo!!!" I scream as her body starts to go limp.
And suddenly I'm just sitting in my lone chair, tears streaming down my face. My head whips from side to side but, sure enough, I'm alone. My entire body quivers. I slouch over to hug my knees.
That felt too real. I don't know what's happening to me, but I don't think I can handle much more of this.
I woke up in the fetal position on the bed, my entire body drenched in a cold sweat. I'm not sure when I fell asleep. But after yesterday's traumatic flashback of memories, I was tossing and turning all night.
"You're awake." My eyes snap open and find Addison sitting at my bedside. She stands and walks away from me to the other side of the room. I slide to the edge of the bed and plant my bare feet to the cold concrete. She turns back towards me and I feel like I don't have control of my body again.
"Come to me, Zed." She calls sweetly. I'm brought to my feet against my own will. I start to panic.
"I-I don't want to relive it again." I stammer. "Please Addy." My plea comes out as a whimper.
"Oh Baby." She coos with a pouted lip. She beckons me to her with a curl of her finger and my feet drag me closer. When I'm close, she grabs my hand and has me give her a gentle spin. So we are facing the openness of the room again. "I would never do that to you, my love." She assures me.
The way her touch feels, her beautiful flushed cheeks look, her intoxicating scent fills me nostrils, I can't help but do whatever she wants me to. She presses our foreheads together and locks our eyes. My body mimics hers as we smoothly glide together across the floor.
I reach a hand forward to touch her face but she grabs it to stop me. I growl instinctively from being denied touching her. I spin her around, holding her one arm down with the other around her wrist raised. My eyes roll to the back of my head from her smell with my nose against her neck and I have the urge to taste her. I plant my tongue along her shoulder lick all the way up her arm until I reach my own hand holding her wrist. It strikes me what I'm doing and I quickly look down at her. She doesn't fight me and she doesn't seem to mind.
Instead, she turns in my arms and softly holds my face in her hand. If my heart had a beat, it would be racing. "I still love you Zed." She whispers. My breath hitches. I lean in to kiss her soft lips but only find vacant air space where she just was.
That's right. She's gone. My brain finally catches up. I plop down on my chair with a new wave of sorrow filling the void in my chest.
It's been about a month and I see her everyday now. Sometimes she just stares at me from the corner, sometimes she touches me without a word. But days like today, we talk.
"Why don't you just let go? Wouldn't it be easier to let Zombie Zed be in control?" She asked. I chuckle from the idea.
"I am 'Zombie Zed', so if I let him out, it's still me that would deal with the consequences." I retort.
She looks like she thinks that over for a moment then adds, "But you wouldn't have to deal with the pain, with me visiting you."
"If I stop seeing you, I'm afraid I'll forget." I reply without hesitation. Her face shifts to surprise so I explain. "I've had a lot of time to think. If I forget, it'll stop hurting. But no amount of pain I'm put through is enough to make up for what I did to you."
"So you would rather torture yourself with my memory than try to move on." She continues for me.
I nod. " I can't go back to my normal life without you anyways." Her face softens for the first time since I've been seeing her. Her presence feels different. She stands up to walk over and kneel down in front of me, gently cupping my face in her hands.
"You know she wouldn't want this for you." She says kindly, like I always remember Addy's voice sounding. I lean my face into her palm and close my eyes. I know this moment is a sliver of my sanity talking but I don't care. A moment feeling like Addy is really here is enough. But I sit up straight out of her touch and stare down at her.
"I don't deserve to be happy." I reply bitterly. She closed her eyes and stands, dissipating into thin air with a soft smile, looking like an angel ascending to heaven.
It suddenly feels like my scalp has a spot that itches to the point of burning, so I start vigorously scratching just above my ear.
My head shoots up when I hear voices near my door. "Every so often we can hear him talking to himself but he's pretty silent otherwise." A male says.
"Has he had anymore Z-band malfunctions?" Another male asks.
"No. He hasn't gone full zombie in weeks. But I'm almost positive his Z-band was fully functional when he turned. It's strange. It used to be more frequent the first few months since the incident. But more recently, nothing. Just him talking to himself." The first voice says.
"I heard it was an accident with his Z-band. Doesn't that mean he should get a trial?" The second voice continues. The first man laughs.
"Accident? He was trying to kill her!" I hear those words come out of the first man's mouth and it's like a trigger flipped. I rush the door and slam my fist against the unmoving metal with all my might, growling and snarling in protest. Through the tiny slit of glass I can see the two patrol officers jump back from the door in surprise then compose themselves as they look at me in disgust.
"See? He's just a monster." The first man spits. "Monsters don't deserve trials." The second's brows furrow but nods as they walk away. Is that sympathy in his eyes?
I grab both sides of my head and fist my green hair. I really have gone crazy, haven't I? I feel hands against my torso with their arms wrapped around me in a comforting hug. I grab her wrists and throw them off of me and scramble to my seat. I'm alone.
I itch my leg furiously. What is happening to me? I force myself to stop scratching even though the burning sensation is still there. I slap my cheek as hard as I can in an attempt to snap out of whatever trance I've fallen into and it seems to help. I sit there panting from my outburst for several minutes until exhaustion takes over and I crawl onto my tattered mattress and curl up into a ball.