The mind screams louder than the body ever could.
|This is pathetic. Who do these bastards think they're dealing with? I mean, pull out my fingernails, break my legs, cut off my balls - that sorta thing might work - but lock me in a room and turn out the lights? What are they gonna do, flick them back on and irritate me to death?|
Don't get me wrong, I'm not an idiot. I know what this is. Sensory deprivation. Nothing to taste except the gruel that slides through one of the walls, nothing to feel except the firm padding all around, nothing to smell except my own body, nothing to hear except my own breathing... Nothing to see except for that glowing clock on the wall.
Why is that even there? It's not like I'm gonna be late for anything. In fact, it's kinda nice not having to worry about anything any more. No more complex procedures, no more secret messages, no more fear of getting caught. All I have to do is wait for the cavalry to arrive, and bust me out of this little suite. I'm far too much of a liability to just leave lying around, after all. I'm the government's number one errand boy, I know a bit of everything...
It's really not that bad though. Personally, I think it's all a myth - these jokers probably saw it on some T.V. show and thought "Yeah, that sounds cool. Plus we don't have to see any blood or anything! Sweet!". I mean, sure, it might get boring once in a while, but I'm a freaking professional! I've been trained to deal with all this... pain, torture, agony, it's all been done. There's nothing they could subject me to that I wouldn't be able to ignore. See, I've got this handle on pain - I just change it. Change how it feels, how it effects me - I've managed to override the instinctual reaction of "this is bad", and replace it with a certain nothingness. Sure, I still feel the pain, but I can live with it. Embrace it.
At least, that's what I believe. Maybe that's the real reason I'm so untouchable - I believe that I cannot feel pain, and so I don't.
Hmm... starting to get all philosophical now. Haha, looks like I'm starting to crack! Way to go, boys! This is such bullshit...
Oh well, at least it's killing time before I'm rescued. What more could I ask?
Guess I'll go to sleep now... the padding's surprisingly comfortable...
* * * * * *
Sigh. More gruel, no cavalry. Not that I'm worried. If these guys think they can make me sweat just by sticking me in a dark room, they've got another thing coming. Still, what I wouldn't give for a steak dinner right about now. Funny though, this gruel stuff must be pretty damn good for you - I feel great! I feel fresh, healthy, energetic. When I think 'disgusting slop', I usually don't factor it into a balanced diet, but this stuff seems to cover all the bases, like some kinda miracle food. I just don't get why they're giving it to me - you'd imagine they'd want me to be all sickly and down-trodden...
Whatever. The important thing is, I get to work on my abs. The room's too small to stretch out and do push-ups, but I have enough room for some sit-ups, and that's good enough for me. With all the energy I've had lately, I've been doing a lot. If I stay in here much longer I'll be able to stop bullets with my abdomen...
It's also given me a lot of time to reflect on my life. And I suppose this is the part where I break down and start crying about never having a wife and kids, or never seeing the Eiffel Tower, eh? Gimme a break. The truth is, I've led a hell of a life. Exciting, interesting, adventurous - all the things I promised myself when I was 16, growing up in a trailer in Nebraska. I mean, sure, I could've gone for a nice, safe desk job, but I probably would've swallowed a pistol long before now. I'm a renegade, a rogue, a maverick, and I always will be. And that means I'll probably die young. It's just something I've accepted. I knew someone like me wouldn't last long, or as long as I'd like, but I also knew I couldn't fight my nature.
And so here I am...
Still, it's not like it's over. I'll be getting out of here eventually, if not by Navy SEALs, then by frustrated terrorists, ready to drag me off to be the subject of some other half-baked idea. Maybe they'll try tickling it out of me next...
My face is probably all over the news. Maybe it's even an international incident, with people rioting all over. That would be awesome. Maybe nobody knows you're gone.
Nah, mustn't think like that. That's when these bastards start winning... Still, it's times like these I wish I had someone to pray to. Sometimes I envy those mindless sheep - the believers. Like they say, ignorance is bliss...
* * * * * *
It's been about... a week or so. What's that, 14 trips around the clock? Doesn't seem like much when you think of it like that. But things are getting a little... weird.
I've always sorta had 'voices' in the back of my head - memories of what people have said, or even imaginary conversations I might have. Everyone has that, really. Sometimes I even think to myself, and hear my own voice, like an inner monologue. But lately it's been different - I mean, I physically hear stuff. Sometimes I hear shouting, or high-pitched noises, and my ears actually hurt from it. Sometimes it sounds like my ma or my sister or my handler is standing right next to me, talking, and I just can't see them.
I'm starting to get a little run-down, too. I've stopped exercising... It's not that I don't have the energy; I just don't have the heart. I feel depressed and, well, kinda lonely. I've forgotten stuff, too. I'm having a hard time remembering the outside - what my hometown looks like, what sunlight falling on your face can feel like, my... my mom. Sure, I still remember her, but I can't quite figure out her face. It's pretty bad. Maybe there's something to this stuff after all.
But they've gotta take me out sometime, right? I mean, why do all this if they're not looking to interrogate me? I dunno, I know it's stupid, and I know this isn't as bad as I think it is, but I'm kinda... scared. Not of these bastards, not of dying, not of going insane, even, but of myself. There's one person, and only one person, on this planet that truly knows me - my fears, my secrets, my desires, my weaknesses... and that's me. Most of my life, since my dad blew his brains out in the back of our trailer, I have always been looking out for myself. Always on my side. But now... I'm afraid I'm splitting apart. I'm working against myself. Attacking myself, like one of those autoimmune diseases... only of the mind.
I dunno, I'm probably just being paranoid. Hah, guess I can add that to the list, too. I just have to keep my spirits up, like I've been trained. Get angry. I mean, it's not like me to go down without a fight. I can resist these dumbass mind-games. They don't know who they're screwing with.
I just... I just don't wanna die in here.
* * * * * *
Not feeling much better. Things have gotten creepy. I'm just not strong enough anymore. It's not only voices - voices I could handle - but I'm seeing things. Horrifying things, tempting things, beautiful things. The voices are constant. Sometimes I talk to them, even sing to them, just so I have something else to hear. Something to hear. But there's not much of a difference any more. It all might as well be happening, whether it's in my mind or not. I'm starting not to be able to tell the difference.
Sometimes I feel like I'm not here. I'm somewhere else. I can touch, taste, smell - I can't even see the darkness anymore. At a carnival with my beautiful wife and daughter. But I don't have a wife. I never did. I've never even been to a carnival. Where is this coming from? Maybe this is the dream, maybe I can't wake up from it. These hallucinations are really memories. I just have to...
No. Because there are other things. Things that can't be true. Can they? No, bad things. I see myself, tortured, battered... but I enjoy it. I feel the pain. Relish it. The release from nothingness. I can breathe again. It's almost as... pleasant as the other fantasies. But they always end the same way: Darkness.
I don't know what hope is anymore. I don't know what life is. All I have are glimpses... and I don't even know which are real. Maybe none of them. Maybe this has been my life all along: Darkness. Maybe I've woken up. Died. And this is the afterlife. The beyond.
I don't know my name. Did I ever have a name? I can grab names out of thin air, but I don't know if they're real. James Aldwin. Barry Scott. John Reynolds. Which one am I? Probably none of them. I probably never had a name... only this: Darkness.
I see the devil sometimes. At least, I think so. I don't know. I don't know anything for sure anymore. But I think so. It's laughing at me. I'm in his domain, his prison, his Hell. I want God to save me. I scream for him. But does he hear me? I don't know. I've never prayed before. At least I don't think I have. I'm not sure how. Maybe... maybe if I do it right, God will save me.
Damnit, I need to concentrate. I think I'm going crazy. I need out. Why am I here? Why am I still here? I don't know anything anymore. I'm afraid.
* * * * * *
Tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock. The clock stands on the wall, taunting me. Tick-tock. Time passes on, but not for me. No, time is the same for me. It hangs, stagnant in the dark air. Heavy with my own breath, and lost time. It doesn't slip away, unnoticed, like with most people. Oh no, I watch it. I have little else to do, so I watch it. It circles my head, floats through space, but never leaves. Nothing leaves.
Most people think time is invisible. They're wrong. I see the time wash around my head. My head. My hair feels prickly as I run my hand over it. My hand. The middle finger is still missing. It was infected. I could feel the darkness run through it. Up my nail, into the bone. I had to remove it before the darkness overcame me. It felt warm in my mouth. It tasted... the taste I cannot describe. It just tasted. Not the taste of the food from the slot, but the taste of taste. But that was not all. I can feel the darkness slithering out, down my hand. It slithers down my arm, and then drips to the floor. The darkness slithers away. Yes. In its wake, I can feel the residue. This also tastes. In the next few hours, more darkness slithers out of where my finger once was. The infection must have been severe.
But that is when I realise: the darkness is me. As it leaves me, I grow weaker. Has the darkness been within me all along? I try to stop the darkness from leaving with my other hand, but it is difficult. The darkness runs strong now, pulsing between my fingers. It feels silky. Almost pleasant. But I know there is evil in it. In me.
It's too late now. The darkness wants to return from whence it came. It rushes out to join the rest of the darkness. It has eaten me from the inside out. The darkness is all that is left inside. I can feel it now, coursing through my body. Rhythmically.
But it grows fainter. And I fall.
Word count: 2000 +/-
Prompt: Glowing clock