Marcus looks at the man sitting across from him, his wet eyes sparkling in the sun light. He wipes his face clear, and a manic smile replaces the prior devastation. “Okay, Pete. I am here aren’t I? But Wait…” he holds up a finger to put emphasis upon his words “you will have to really listen to understand, really listen. You got me?” Peter looks back as if trying to determine some future result “Okay, Marcus, I won’t say anything until you give me the go ahead.” Marcus nodded his head in reply and settled on the edge of his seat. Looking out the window to his left, he began to speak.
“Pete, you aren’t real. None of this is real.” Marcus uses his hands and head to further his point by waving at Pete and the room about him. “But it’s no matter; I will tell you what happened anyway. I must tell you where I really am.”
Some hidden emotion flows through Peter, his eyes betray him for a moment, but Marcus is already telling his tale and notices nothing. Peter leans back in his chair, studying his friend and patient. He pushes his wire rimmed glasses upward to rest in focus with his eyes, and he waits as Marcus speaks.
“Sometimes, if you let it, you can feel mindlessness and madness ripping at you in tandem. It’s like hail and fire falling from the sky that crashes into your chest, and exposes your heart to the ash filled air. I feel like that now. So empty and lost. I no longer know how I ended up here, and the bed I lay upon is cold as stone. The window is open and it is letting in a mist from the rain outside. It wets my body a little. I hear the slight rush of water, possibly the tap from the sink.
Strangely, the lights were on when I woke. I never sleep with the light on, and I’m bleeding again. I look down to see the small lines of red flowing freely down my chest from tiny holes and slits of flesh. On the side table, rests a rust colored wood block with a smiling rag doll sprawled across it in the manner of a sacrificial process. A blue button up hangs upon the back of a tiny chair and black one stars rest on the seat itself. There is no reason to pretend, they are just like my own on the chair next to me. Like me, the doll is also wearing blue jeans and white sport socks. I find it more than a little distressing that its clothes are so much like my own, and I notice, as well, that it has a pin sticking from its body with holes and slits upon its chest area that match my own.
I have been here before, I know I have. Some distant memory is calling from inside but I just can’t place it. From the corner of my eye, a dark shadow crawls from the floor to stand upright by the doll. It is phasing in and out. I can’t make out any true features, but somehow I am sure it is a man and I am terrified. I am more scared than I have ever been in my life. I want to speak. I want to call out to the fear in front of me, but my mouth is dry and the taste of iron almost gags me to the point of vomiting.
I try to get up but as I do so, the man thing pulls the pin from the doll and stabs it in the shoulder. I am instantly thrown back in pain. A new slit opens in my shoulder area and fresh red liquid dribbles down. The man thing walks away and out of sight. There is the faint smell of Clive Christian No. 1 hanging in the air and I know that he, or it, whatever, is close enough to watch me. I let myself relax a little, even though I am now feeling the pain build in every part of my body, and I try to hide my fear.
There is water rushing again. I hear a women laughing but it seems so far away. I can’t scream. I can’t move. I am starting to feel a chill creep onto my exposed parts. I must close my eyes. I’m so tired. I open them and a shift in the shadows tells me he isn’t done with me. I feel a brush of air and he is at the doll again, a tiny pebble rests between his fingers. I can almost see a smile through the phasing particles before me. He lets it fall. The pebble lands upon the cheek of the doll. A sudden rush of pain smacks me, as something smashes into the side of my face. I can’t see. The pain is too much. Everything is dark.
“And now, here you are. Do you see it now, Pete? Why you’re not real?”
“No, Marcus. No, I do not.”