...a deep and lengthy appreciation of sleep’s tranquillity. Consciousness is rejected again and again in favour of that healing slumber until my brain starts signalling urgent bodily needs.
Groaning scuffs a tongue drier than the Sahara Desert around my mouth. Each waking intake of breath aggravates a basketball-sized bladder. A cooling dampness beneath me indicates at least one impatient release has occurred. I smell rank.
Opened eyes fill with crumbled sand from caked eyelids. I blink rapidly in semi-darkness and find I’m enveloped by a bed-sheet. Kristine has cared enough to cover me then? Or is it a shroud she’s wishfully wrapped me in?
Pain cavorts, stabbing my prone body like a hyperactive, stick-wielding child on a sugar high. The whole idea of getting up is too hard. Who cares if I wet the bed again? I’m going back to the Land of Nod.
Just before the impossible is achieved I sense someone sneaking into the room. An adrenaline rush ruins sleep’s beckoning seduction for good.
“I heard you. I know you’re awake.”
An ever-so emotionally distant voice speaks above me, nasal with blocked sinuses and dulled by anti-depressants.
“Where’ve you been...you foun’ a baby...?
“Whaddeva. Don’ wan to talk to you ever again anyway... just ged up an’ shower... you stink!”
The bedroom door slams. What’s her problem? She used to hide her contempt and disgust of me better than this. Maybe she’s got her period. Why does she sound drugged? She doesn’t usually take drugs.
Oh wait. Yeah, now I remember. Vividly. I’d knocked her out so I could kill Shanna. And then I’d abandoned her to go out and pick up a tree, leaving pills instead of caring enough to be there for her. Thinking about these events too deeply might reveal more reprehensible actions. So I don’t. The worst part of her hating me is I won’t be nursed through my pains. Probably have to cook my own breakfast too!
Rising from my filthy bed involves bending and twisting parts that aren’t ready for such actions. The accompanying cracks, pops and groans could fill the sound track to a torture-porn movie. Gravity must have tripled. The looser parts of me droop towards the floor. I stand; sagging like a stringless marionette, except for one part holding back the contents of a pressurised bag of urine.
The urge is unstoppable. I rush the last few steps to the shower stall, releasing a painfully strong yellow stream on the way. Twisting water taps freezes then scalds me when I overcompensate. I dial a groan up and down my throat until the temperature is corrected and the shower’s fullest pressure blasts over my head. Loose dirt and Parasite shit erodes from my body until a brush is needed to scrub the last of it away.
The man who exits the shower is no sprightlier than the one who went in, but he is cleaner. Even so my reddened skin still smells ‘off’. I cover the weird odour liberally with deodorant.
The bathroom mirror is as unkindly honest as ever. My gaze drops shyly from the puffy, bent and scraped-up features to find a familiar orange bottle next to the sink. I gratefully spin the lid off and swallow the last three pills within. OxyContin. Perfect for all occasions
I slowly dress in a grotty dressing gown. Kristine has objected to its propensity to flap open in the past, but it’s the closest piece of clothing available. Anyway, I doubt her disgust at me can be cranked to a higher level. I leave the bedroom, attentively monitoring pains that recede in front of a chemical broom.
Kristine is nesting. I am not greeted from her couch-curled position. She wears a cute, pink track-suit; the daggiest clothing her standards allow, and cuddles the tiny new-born. The way she turns her head away when I front her is telling. I eye the baby in her lap. She’s clean and wearing a fresh nappy. Kristine’s mental turmoil isn’t preventing her looking after the kid anyway. I give the tot a little wave.
There’s only so much silent treatment I will stand for. I should open a conversation with her about some of the stuff I’d been through. I mean, Jesus! The past few days have been life-changing. I fume to myself while standing there, opening and closing my mouth, mulling over how to start.
“Stop standing there. Stop looking at me.”
Her angry words untie my tongue. I’m confident she’ll have to forgive me after hearing my extraordinary exploits. She’ll snap out of her depression when the sheer incredibility of my transformation and exultant victory is told.
“You won’t believe what happened...”
Kristine stands up, cradling the baby with care, and walks towards her room.
“Don’ talk to me. I hate you.”
“Ohh? Well. OK. I understand you’re still a bit upset, but this is important...”
More door slamming. Maybe I started the story wrong. The excitement of relating the discovery of my telepathic skills and monster killing activities wanes. Kristine is going to need a little longer to get over what I’d done to Shanna.
At least she’s out of bed. But, let’s not forget, while she’s been lying around feeling sorry for herself, I’d been out fighting the good fight. Maybe I’ll give it another go later. I’ll need time to work out a way to explain my underhanded tactics of drugging her, killing her possessed girlfriend and breaking her spirit. I’ll do this after I clean up the site where I’d burned Shanna’s dismembered body.