by Anne Varez
Chapter 1. "A game of cat & mouse." Request honest reviews.
The first stage is always shock. A numbing sensation that starts in your fingertips and, like an electrical current, shoots through the rest of your body. First it hits your arms and your feet, then your legs until it reaches into the pit of your stomach. It sits there a poison churning, threatening to come up and choke you. In that crucial moment you dual with it. That moment decides whether you conquer it or drown.
I drown. I want to.
The poison makes its way to my throat. I inherently choke gasping only once then I’m silent. I always thought shock was a blessing. A gift your mind gives you when you can no longer cope. As a peaceful ebb of calm waters slowly over-taking a parched land, shock is a flow of quietness forcing out all thought and feeling leaving you with nothing. Just existence.
Not so. Shock gave you an appearance of tranquility. Inside, you are screaming with agony like a thousand knives digging and twisting into your flesh. You are in such torment that it seems improbable that the world cannot see it too. But no one ever does. All they see is a mask.
“Olivia?” His voice was gentle yet full of concern. I could feel rather than see his eyes searching my face. When I did not reward him with a response, he became urgent.
“Olivia.” I felt him move to my side.
I wanted to scream, yes, yes, yes! I’m here. I’m here and I’m terrified. It hurts inside, and I can’’t make it stop. Make it stop, please! Make it stop.
I know pain, and I know fear. These were constant visitors in my short life that stayed too long and returned too often. But this was different. This was grave desperation that led to something even more sinister and foreign - hopelessness.
“Olivia, we can fix this.” He emphasized every word. The confidence in his voice should have been enough. It always had been before. But not now. The game had changed.
“Olivia.” He moved from my side to crouch in front of me. He held my hands in his. I craved the warmth they offered, but I was made of stone, unreachable.
“Olivia, we can fix this, but you have to be strong. You have to…”
The wild shaking of my head halted his words. Strong? I had no more strength to give. I looked crazily at the four white walls caging me in my miniscule prison. I had contemplated escape once before. As useless as it was, it helped pass the time of endless waiting. Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for the truth of why I was here. Waiting for him.
Now I knew, and it was worse than all the horrific possibilities that I had conjured up. Yes, the game had changed, and there were no rules.
His hands cupped my face on either side slowing the violent shaking. He caressed my cheek with his fingertips and occasionally stroked my hair until, eventually, my head calmed to a muted quiver.
I stared at the locked door that he came from. No window. Just white. Endless white.
Something in the way he said my name this time grabbed my attention. For the first time since I received the news, I looked at him. My body went still, and my eyes focused on his. What I saw in them chilled me to the bone.
My vision blurred and my muscles tightened. Oh God. I wanted to run, run from the enemy. But I couldn’t.
The enemy was me.