What is this? How did I get here? The panic spreads through me from my fingers to my bones. Breathe, just breathe. Do I know this place? I certainly don’t remember getting here. The bed feels warm, I must have been sleeping. When I sit up my head feels woozy. Then, pain shoots up my neck. I need to think. Thirsty, so thirsty. There is a sink in the corner but I can’t see a glass anywhere. I put my mouth to the tap and gorge myself. Better. There is a desk in the corner of the room. I need to investigate. Who lives here? Do I know them? It’s a mess, papers, dirty plates, a coffee cup with a new life forming in the bottom. Jesus, who does live here? Wait, what’s that? A photograph under one of the plates? It peels off, with a little effort. Laura, it’s Laura. It’s been so long, since she left me, us, the world. What is this doing here….?
What now? It feels like there is no air. And cold, so cold. I am spinning around, trying to keep my balance. I fall, hard. More pain, but this time something warm on my cheek. My head rests on a jagged stone and all I can do is blink, blink the pain away. Until I can finally focus. How did I get outside? My head is not so bad. As the pain subsides, I realise this place is familiar. Ben’s cabin is near here. I have many memories of here. Once happy, but those memories stopped a few years ago. When she left, I could no longer face this place. A sudden surge of guilt. He had lost her too after all. And then we lost each other. But how could I go back now. But maybe it is not too late….
Not again. Is this sickness or madness. Maybe both. I feel lost in reality but so many old feelings are coursing through me. No I don’t want to be here. I haven’t returned since she left. Just the sight of the cold stone, now covered with moss, sends chills through me. When she left, I had to turn a page and not think. But now it seems I have no choice. It was never solved. We just found her sitting there, alone. Silent. I can’t look anymore….
Here again? But something is different. The room has changed. A wallet is lying on the table. I rush to open it, I must know something. This is beyond me. It’s Ben. I see his picture as soon as I open the wallet. How could he live here? How could he descend from his cabin in the woods to this? From idyllic nature to this, this filth. It must have affected him more than I thought. Guilty feelings overpower me. Could I have helped him more? There is a diary next to the wallet. None of this was here before. I open it and…. No, it can’t be. He wouldn’t. How could he….?
On the edge. Looking down. This seems like the perfect spot, for how I feel. I don’t know how I have kept this inside for so long. And now this? One foot hovers and then….
© Neil Hayes and neilhayeswriter