Illustration by Tori McCormack.
I sat in the middle of a warehouse clutching my ears. Wide, bloodshot eyes stared down at the floor in agonizing pain. Not physical pain. Mental pain.
You might be thinking, how did I get here? or what’s happening to me? Well the honest truth is, I’m not exactly sure. All I know is that the last few nights have been strange.
About three nights ago I jumped up out of bed after a terrible nightmare. Beads of sweat trickled down my forehead and back. I rubbed my temples in stress, remembering what the dream was about.
“Suppress the memory, suppress the memory,” I repeated to myself. It was a long time ago. There is no need to feel guilty.
But the thought of her eyes, her poor helpless eyes. The thought and picture of it is enough to make a statue cry.
That’s what I have to live with. Not surprisingly, I started crying. Not just crying, sobbing in unending anguish.
Nurses started to flood my plain white room. “Em, Jake Morris, Sector 5, bipolar disorder. Distressed.”
This is a regular routine here. Late at night, nurses come in to calm down the poor man who killed his wife.
That night, the whispers started. They started out inaudible. Just mild little sounds which could easily be passed off to the fact that I’m in a white room 24/7 in a mental asylum.
However, the whispers became clearer and, with that, the dreams became worse. More gory. More graphic. More guilty. Most importantly, more sadistic. It’s like the two were linked. Telling me to… do things.
Luckily I never listened to these voices until one night the whispers became too much. I woke up as per usual. The nightmare sending a jolt of fear and guilt through my veins. The nurse walked in casually to check my stats.
“She left the door open…” I heard a ringing between my ears. “Do it… run… escape…” the voice demanded.
When I didn’t comply the voice got louder. “Do it! I’m the only thing you have, so listen!” In that moment, I lost it, I lost my sanity.
“No,” I screamed, jumping up and thrashing around the room. I grabbed and threw anything I could get my hands on to make the voices stop. I started to cry STOP but I was cut off.
I heard a falling thud and smack. Swiftly, I turned around. In my head I heard a maniacal laugh. I had killed the nurse.
“You did that!”
“No I didn’t.”
“Yes you did!”
The voice and I argued back and forth. Then it calmly whispered, “We can’t stay here. The door is still open.”
Now, for the first time, I listened to the voice. I followed orders. I checked my white boiler suit for blood stains. None visible.
Slithering out of my room into the staff bathroom, I climbed out of the window. I heard frantic yells of panic and anger behind me as I ran out of the asylum grounds.
Taking one last glance back at the window, I realized I had not closed it. The voice realized it too and the window slammed shut all on its own. “Now run,” it ordered.
It had been so long since I had been outside, I could taste and smell the air. Without thinking, I gravitated towards a warehouse. I sat in the middle of the concrete warehouse floor and covered my ears.
“Please just s-stop,” I whimpered and in return a sly, slow laugh could be heard. My ears began to ring and then bleed. The lights of the vast open space flickered.
I was driven now to begging “P-please, just stop! What are you?”
Again a slow and harrowing laugh replied, “I’m your inner demon and this is only the beginning…”
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