Blog: Wayward Hallucinations, part 3

Connor Oswald, JagWire reporter

The raggedy carpet was coarse against my bare feet. The air in the room was still and quite; silence smothering everything. I opened my mouth slowly, and then slammed it shut, scared to break the silence’s dominion. Nervous of what I might hear, terrified of what I wouldn’t.

I glanced around, my heart still thudding at a wild pace, but I slowly realized there was no hand poking out from behind a couch, no trail of blood to lead me to unspeakable horrors. I took a step forward, the anchors that were locked around my feet loosened and my courage grew. I went around the living room, my feet rubbing against the rugged-unwashed carpet. There was still only silence.

I opened my mouth again, taking a shaky breath “Hey.” It came out as a whisper, my voice timid, the silence devouring it. There was nothing. No scream, shriek, no moans of pain. But I could feel the silence coiling around me like a snake constricting its prey. “Mom? Dad?” My voice grew louder, tearing into the silence until I was sure that it, along with my mind’s horrors, were gone.

It was when I was finally sure that everything seemed normal that I finally saw it. That the terror came crashing back, stealing my breath.

It was a crumpled up piece of yellow paper with an uncapped pen beside it lying on the kitchen island. I walked over, the carpet giving way to the rough hewn wooden floor.

I just stared at the piece of paper for a minute, eyebrows arching up and my eyes wide, wishing my stare could work magic and make it vanish. My parents never left a note. Something was wrong. Was I over-reacting? Maybe. But my arms still trembled as I reached for it.

It was a note, there wasn’t much written on it, just a couple sentences. Not even enough to make a paragraph. It said they went out to get groceries. But they did that all the time without leaving notes.

It was the end of the note that bothered me the most. It said “Don’t go anywhere.” They never said that to me. I never went anywhere. It had gotten too dangerous, too risky to venture out when I could have an attack anytime and anywhere. A memory came bubbling, unbidden, after I had repressed it for so long.

My foot traced a crack on the sidewalk, further scuffing my already torn up shoes. I glanced up towards my dad, while blinking quickly, the sun beaming rays right into my eyes. He gave my hand a quick squeeze and flashed me a small white smile. I went back to tracing the crack, impatient.

Suddenly my dad walked forward and I, our hands’ tethered together, nearly tripped trying to keep up with him. I stared into the side of a ice cream trunk, the afternoon sun dimly reflecting off of the dented and dirty metal. I heard a voice calling to me, “Hey, kid, are you gonna order somthin’?” I looked up, and my eyes widened, shocked. The man was a raging inferno, his eyes were black coals, burning like a dying star. His skin was a field of roiling flame, a mirage of fire. Heat radiated from him, scorching my skin, making the metal of the van sag. He leaned in closer to me, sparks flying out, singing me through my cloths. I opened my mouth, a scream blasted him away, tearing through the memory.

 

I heard the door open. I jumped up, startled. I twirled around towards the sound, the note dropping from my hand and fluttering to the ground. My parents stared at me through the doorway. Their arms were heavy with groceries, but their eyes were brimming with fear.

 

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