Creative


Creative writing: skits, short stories, essays

Waking

Oh. Oh, man. What did I sleep on? A couch? Where am I? This isn't my apartment. Did I go home with someone last night? That isn't like me. How drunk was I? I don't remember drinking. I don't remember much of anything, come to think of it. Yesterday, yesterday… was I at my mom's house? My sister's? Everything is so foggy.

This is the hangover from hell. I feel like I haven't eaten in forever and my eyes won't focus. My arms and legs aren't working right, either. They're slow and feel like they're sleeping, which doesn't help the lingering dizziness. My left hand is swollen, one of the fingers is almost at, well, for lack of a better word, an awkward angle. I can still move it, though, and it doesn't hurt. I guess that means it can't be that bad.

I don't think I feel nauseous, that's at least one thing going for me. I need to get something for this headache. That could help clear up my thoughts a bit at least.

Oh, gross, this apartment is a total wreck. There's no way I would have come here willingly, right? Maybe I was drugged. Could I have been drugged? Should I go to the hospital? Hell, I need to get my phone and get out of this place. Where is it? It isn't by the couch, maybe in it? Hm, I think… feels like I might… got it! And my wallet! Yes! And the phone's dead. I don't see a charger around here, just… mess.

I think maybe try the bathroom first. See if whoever kidnapped me at least has some Ibuprofin or even Tylenol.

Oh, this bathroom smells foul. It looks like no one has flushed in a long time. What is wrong with this person?

I'll just… I'll just look through the medicine cabinet.

My reflection looks horrible. My eyes seem sunken, almost glassy. My hair looks like it hasn't been washed or combed in months. Some brown-red stain covers the bottom of my face. I try the tap but nothing comes. Figures. Well, that wasn't why I came in here anyway.

It's like this cabinet was booby-trapped. A half-dozen empty prescription bottles, spent deodorants, and empty toothpaste containers hit me as the tarnished cabinet swings open. For a moment I feel lucky: there's a bottle of Advil among the debris. Hope flares out though, it won't open. I don't know if this is because my hands aren't working right or if some unnatural epoxy has sealed the bottle. There's no relief in here.

At least the kitchen doesn't have anything on the floor. I don't see any creeping things either. Based on the rest of this apartment I would almost expect four-to-six-legged creatures. They might have just been scared off by the rest of this place. Is there anything in the fridge worth eating? It seems like it isn't running. Maybe the power's out.

Wow. This fridge doesn't look awful, and the food looks like it might even be edible. But it seems that looks are deceiving. Even the food that looks fresh smells of rot. It's disgusting, absolutely disgusting.

So, there's no food; there's nothing to help with this pounding in my head. I have to find an exit. Maybe that door behind the couch?

This is weird. A brown-red splatter coats the area behind the couch, there's a small puddle of it spreading towards the door, streaks of it along the knob. Whatever it is, it sticks to my shoes. Doesn't smell foul though, I like it more than the rest of the apartment.

The door is in bad shape. Something forced its way passed one of those jimmy proof, "three and two interlocking", deadbolts. It's still locked, it's just no longer part of the door: the frame is splintered and shredded, now divorced from its former union. That's… kind of scary. I don't see an axe or anything like that on the outside, nothing that would smash a door. Could someone have just kicked it open? Hell, I hope my apartment door doesn't give way like this. I hope that whatever forced its way in here has left. At least I was lucky enough that the thing left me alone.

My stomach's moans drew me back to the problems at hand. I'm thinking food first. I'll live with the headache.

Frosted glass filtered sunbeams illumine the small landing outside the apartment. I don't know what's in either direction, I must have been really gone when I got here, but the only real choice is down. Down will lead me out of this building. Down will lead me to the street and… who knows? There has to be somewhere around to eat.

The stairs seem in good repair, I wonder if the other apartments are in good condition. I almost want to stop and knock on a door, see if someone else is home. Maybe someone can talk with me about the resident of that mess I just came from. I don't know though; it might be better to just go. I just want to get out of here. Food, cure headache, rest. That's what I need.

What's going on out here? It's the middle of the day, the sun's not even at its zenith, but the streets are empty. I don't mean uncrowded; I mean vacant. There aren't any moving cars, no pedestrians.

It's silent, too. I don't hear anyone or anything. Usually, even when there aren't many people around, there is at least the sound of machinery — the buzzes and whistles of the technological monuments, the churn of the subway coming up through grates, even the recycling of air conditioners — but right now all I hear is the wind.

Strange. The trees are all different colors. I thought that only cherry blossoms colored in the Spring. Why are the maple trees changing colors in April? What sort of surrealist nightmare am I in?

Of course, there aren't any food trucks around. It looked like someone had looted a nearby pharmacy: broken glass decorated the window, and the shelves were upended and in disarray. No one seems to have tried to fix it. I didn't see anyone, didn't hear anyone.

I finally saw someone. Just outside the grocery store, there was a woman in a sundress. The printed flowers brought a surreal hint of life to this ghost town, but her pale skin let her fit right in.

She was trying to get something free. It looked like she was fighting with a bike chain that wouldn't get free. I saw tear lines on her cheeks, but the rest of her, the tension, the rapid movement, even how she kept looking up and looking around, told me that she was not just afraid, she was terrified.

She didn't see me at first, not surprising considering how she kept having to adjust those coke-bottle lenses, and she apparently didn't hear me when I called out to her. I wanted to help her if I could, but I just couldn't even get her to turn towards me. As I got closer, it was clear she had no idea I was even there, despite my frequent calls.

When I finally stepped into her field of vision, she didn't take it well. She snapped up, moved backward, and almost tripped over a small gym bag. She screamed, though her words made no sense. I was still a few feet away, but I offered help, trying to speak slowly and clearly, answering panic with calm.

Her breath was panicked; I could almost feel the adrenaline that had to be rushing through her system. I can't imagine why I would be so frightening, but she was terrified. I took a step closer, trying to reassure her of my good intentions, but in reaction, she squatted and snatched something out of that gym bag, then she pointed it at me.

It took me a second to realize that I had a gun pointed at me. I'm not sure if the delay was because I didn't expect to face down a revolver, or because my mind was still foggy from the headache. Either way, I didn't even think to stop moving until she had already fired three shots at me.

I'm glad her aim was awful. I was at most ten feet away, but none of her shots hit. Her hands were trembling, and I think the recoil was too much. I thought about getting away, turning and running, but part of me was pissed. Part of me wanted to stop this woman from attacking anyone else. Part of me wanted to make sure that she never did this to anyone again.

Instead of retreating, I advanced. Faster this time, though not in a run. It only took me two steps to get close to her. I didn't even bother going for the gun, I just lunged at her, pressing into her neck. I heard the gun clatter off to my right as she tried to bring her arms around, hoping to get some angle to push me away but she failed.

In my rage I shoved her, forcing her off balance. She stumbled, tangled in her bag and fell flat onto the sidewalk. Her head thudded into the pavement, loud in this otherwise silent city. I might have been tempted to go, to let bygones, but instead of just staying down, she turned over. Her movements were sluggish; I knew she was reaching for the gun, the same gun that got her into so much trouble before. She wanted it; she wanted to use it to hurt me.,

I jumped on her, shoving her into the ground again. She turned over, once again, trying to find a way to fight me. But I had had enough. I slammed her head into the concrete then lifted it and repeated, and repeated until well after she went limp. Red splatter painted the surrounding sidewalk, covered my hands.

There was an intoxicating smell about it. I remembered how hungry I was and how long of a day it had already been. I couldn't help it but take a bite of that tear-streaked face, then another, and another.

That felt… so very good. I'm not hungry anymore, just satisfied. My headache seems to have passed as well. It's still hard to think — everything is all still so fuzzy — but I feel so, so much better.

It's close to the evening now, that took longer than I expected. It would be best to find a place to spend the night. I think a bed might be a little optimistic. It might be better to just try to find a place to sleep, somewhere close, anywhere close so that I can have some more of her for breakfast. In fact, behind the counter in the grocer's wouldn't be a bad idea.


Oh. Oh, man. What did I sleep on?

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