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Morning. Sunlight sifting through the blinds, burning my eyeballs through the lids and making it impossible to sleep.
I can't remember what I did last night. I damned sure don't remember going to bed. I'm still in my heavy, black, full-length rubber coat and my black t-shirt with the bloody eyeball on front. There's change in my black jean pockets, and my black boots are still muddy.
There's mud all over the sheets... the blanket...
I sit up with a groan and realize there's something crumpled and damp in my hand. I open up that tiny slip of paper and ready the sweat-blurred note written upon it.
"note to self: STOP SCARING EVERYBODY"
Okay, I'll try... whatever that means.
I drop the coat on the floor, impossibly weighty thing it is. I don't know why I would've worn it out of the shop... away from work... I hate wearing that thing when I'm being PAID.
I drop the shirt to the floor. Boots, socks, pants, underwear, it all comes off and I still feel like I'm dressed in a fine, tight bodysuit of my own grime.
I put the note on the bathroom counter and step into the shower. The hot water on my skin feels bad... but right... I feel like I deserve to be burned and cleansed in the most painful way possible.
I don't know what I did last night.
I don't know WHO I did last night.
At least she (he?) wasn't here when I woke up.
It hasn't always been like this... the black-outs, I mean... I used to just suddenly go limp and fall the floor. It was stress-related, mostly brought on by cruel teachers or the threats of bullies. As I grew older, however, stress was EVERYWHERE. Home, work, on the way TO work, it just kept coming and coming until my body couldn't choose a single moment at which to shut down.
Now it's almost always at night, when I'm tired. The black-outs have gotten into the same routine with sleep, and now the two are indistinguishable from one another.
"STOP SCARING EVERYBODY"
Did I scare someone? Who? I've startled people before, mostly when my head suddenly hit the floor, but I don't think I've purposefully frightened anyone.
Did I get violent? If someone pushed my buttons, I guess it could've happened. I get around fine when I'm unconscious, now. The days when I'd wake up at the bottom of a staircase or in a dumpster downtown have long passed!
I towel off in the bedroom and flick the television on.
"We're getting reports in now," the News Anchor says frantically, "Another... Another THREE bodies this morning..."
Bad news again. How routine.
"Police say they're on the trail of a possible suspect... someone with access to a torch capable of creating the strange, identical symbols in the victims' flesh..."
I freeze. I drop the soggy towel to the carpet.
Dashing for the bathroom, I nearly catch my foot on the doorstop and fly head-long into the ceramic tub. I grab the slip of paper from the bathroom sink and once again study it in my hands.
The shower's steam has blurred the letters even more, and now I know the awful truth. My own sweat had obscured the real message. The police are honing in on the person who has been leaving strange markings on the corpses... that's their only clue... the only thing that connects the murders...
"note to self: STOP SCARRING EVERY BODY"