The combination of substances I’ve taken begins a roller-coaster ride of numbed, then heightened, awareness. The DVD I watch is a riot of colours which is soon forgotten in preference to counting dust particles that drift before my eyes. The urge to draw fills pages of a writing pad with scribble. I depict dead human bodies and intently staring Parasite eyes. Frightened by the hypnotic effect even the poorly drawn black orbs have on me, I tear the paper to confetti.
This room is too small for my expanding consciousness. I foolishly decide to go outside and let my mind merge with the fury of the tempest still raging out there.
My memory blurs as I leave our wing and run down the halls, whooping. At the height of the storm I burst through the loading dock doors and face the young man’s corpse.
I run from the blood and open the gates to fall into the arms of the night. The wind conceals my insane howls and the lashing rain provides privacy for torments I have held in too long...
...Prying my gluey eyes apart is the first task of most mornings. Today’s opening reveals the floor… which is rising rapidly! My slack face slaps against a filthy carpet. I lie still momentarily, squinting uncertainly at the ancient, musty material under my nose.
What’s going on? Where the fuck am I? And why are my legs twisted above my head?
I kick weakly to free them causing something heavy to crash against my back.
I’m being attacked!
A hefty squirt of adrenaline turns me into a bucking, kicking machine. Panic leads me around like its bitch until my focusing eyes locate the threat. I’m fighting a pair of clerical chairs. The one I’d fallen from continues to pin me to the floor, and my legs are entangled in its twin brother where they’d presumably been propped up overnight. Considering the embarrassing circumstances of this situation I check that I’m alone.
Yes. All alone, in an unfamiliar room.
I wrestle the chair on my chest and chuck it away. It bounces off a nearby filing cabinet and eagerly returns for another vicious attack. I try to fend it off again, squealing like a frustrated pig when the tightness of space refuses to allow me the satisfaction of aggressively flinging it from me. With a massive effort I calm down enough to still its movements by setting it upright.
The sudden and frantic activity has given rise to a thumping headache. It has waddled in and settled into a favoured position. The centre of my skull.
Irritatingly, my feet are still caught in the second chair. A broken arm rest is cruelly pinching my flesh. I lift a lead-balloon head and figure out a way to disentangle them. The procedure is successful but the effort takes its toll.
Freed at last I allow all parts of me to collapse uniformly to the floor. So much pain clamour to be acknowledged that I’m unable to think. Instead I stare at the sneering, dead fluorescent tube above me. The stained acoustic ceiling tiles around it slowly bulge and ripple unnervingly.
I’ve got to get a grip.
This horrible hangover is exacerbated by codeine withdrawal. A familiar sensation of late. Sleeping in strange places isn't an unknown event either, though I usually find a comfier place to make my bed. Tilted back executive chairs. Mahogany desks to prop my feet on. Nothing as grotty as these surroundings. Although there was that one urinal incident.
What’s this all over my hands? Dried blood? It’s all down my front too! Under my fingernails! In my hair!
Fucking Hell! Am I bleeding?
Grey morning light seeps through a filthy window. I use the dreary illumination to check the bits that hurt most when I pat myself down. With no fluids leaking from me, and all limbs accounted for, I check my pockets for even more important presences. I’m most aggrieved to find my pill container is missing.
Wind gusts blow a curtain of thin rain against the windows glass.
I get up. The swearing and groaning involved in this simple act would fill the sound effects needs of an entire porno movie. Two steps take me to the dirty window where I press a hot, aching head against the cold surface and look into the misty distance.
Uh-oh. I see the imposing edifice of the Detention Centre. Which means I’m not in there. I’m out here. Wherever ‘here’ is.
Thinking hard I finally place myself. I must be in the handyman’s makeshift office beside the maintenance shed. Tools, equipment manuals and other bits of hardware are recognizable when I cast my fleeting interest around me.
I rehydrate at the almost empty water dispenser in a corner, crushing the tiny plastic cup into my hand when the dregs are drained. I worry at my memory which still refuses to engage. Last night’s misadventures sidles around recall’s search beam, like a curfew-breaking teenager dodging a sensor-light.
I have to piss. A convenient pot-plant receives a dark-orange stream of urine, delivered with indiscriminate aim. The poisons shouldn’t affect the plants’ growth. It’s been dead for months.
Oh, wait. A few past events are making a comeback, revisiting in disjointed segments viewed through a shattered lens.
We went into town. I copped a flogging from a loony. Saw enough Parasites to fill a lifetime of bad dreams. Came home. Had a shower. Hmmm, hold up. If I had a shower, why am I covered in blood? Nope, no further details are on offer.
I’ll ask Kristine…
Ohhh… Jesus Christ… what have I done! Surely this blood isn’t...!
I zip up hurriedly, miraculously not catching delicate skin in metal teeth, and stagger out the door of the tiny office into the shed. I am unprepared for the view that assaults me. The confrontation is a graphic murder scene from an R-rated splatter movie. A gutted human carcass spills its entrails before me. Bloody garden pruners and a ratchet lopper lie in a sticky pool of gore. A chainsaw, caked in blood explains why sprays of minced meat and blood paint the walls and ceiling.
The full horror and shock is not forthcoming. This new age has diluted sights such as these to mere distaste. Of course I am saddened by what I have done. Not only have I failed to protect Kristine, now I have murdered her.