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That Numbing Feeling

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C17H19NO3. Morphine, a very powerful drug, will help those in a hospital feel little to nothing during an operation. Its usage comes at the cost of addiction, though, and often withdrawl can lead you into depression. This only makes you want something to ease the pain of depression. Can I even explain to you how desperate people are? Sometimes when we can't reach a state of euphoria, we persuade ourselves there is no point being alive without those feelings. We feel numb.

Helise woke up on the ground, scattering her eyes along the ceiling and noticing the one flimsy lamp hanging loosely from the center. She began to sit up and caught a glimpse of the wall in front of her before rubbing her eyes and seeing the aged green walls surrounding her.

“Where am I?” she said still half asleep under her breath. She looked around the room to check for cameras or a way out, but sadly it was just a closed room. She stood up feeling nauseous and collapsed to the ground as if she was hit in the back by an arrow. Helise breathed heavily on the cold linoleum floor, watching the moisture form and disappear with every inhale and exhale. She heard a sound like a latch being locked behind her. She slowly rolled over and pushed herself from the floor to see what it was. It was a metal door, and it had been locked from the other side. She heard another click and turned around again.

That wasn’t there before, she skeptically thought to herself. She crawled over to it, struggling and slipping on the moisture from her breath on the floor. She pushed it open, feeling a cloud of fog touch her exposed ankles. A breeze gently threw her hair behind her shoulders like a delicate hand. Helise struggled to see in front of her with her large grey eyes that remained in a state of attempted focus. She took a step forward, drawing in a breath of fog that felt like a wet scarf being jerked into her lungs. She coughed and stumbled forward into thinner air. She looked around at her surroundings and became puzzled. It looked like her neighborhood in Sacramento. There was the Safeway across the street next to the Laundromat with the Thrifty's a block away. She stepped onto the street and felt that the pavement was dry and warm. Cars were scattered everywhere like a broken plate on the ground.

“Hello?” she called out. There was no reply.

“Can anybody hear me?” there was a rustle in the trees yet no wind.

“Please… I’m afraid…” she confessed, looking at her feet. To the right of her was a hill that went upwards at a steep angle and disappeared into a line of mist. To her left there was a juncture with two paths. She kept debating on what to do: Go up into the unknown or down into another split decision? She stared at her feet. They were cold and bare, and the street wasn’t warming them. She took one step forward with her right foot and froze. She heard the sound of a river. “Funny,” she said, “this part of the city is nowhere near the river. I must be hearing things.”

She rose her left foot up and put it back down fast, feeling splashes of liquid settle on to her ankles and legs while a pool of a thick, warm liquid formed and enveloped the sole of her foot. She felt a shock of utter disgust shoot through her body as tears formed in her eyes and started to slowly roll down her pale cheeks. She knew what was at her foot, but she fought with her curiosity to try not to look. She struggled with this for a few seconds, but finally looked down forcing her neck to fold over to see the blood. A single stream of warm flowing blood came running down the steep street towards her. It was diluted from the steam, coming down from the air to collide with the running fluid.

She jolted backwards in a panic, whimpering under her breath. Helise looked up and saw the fog breaking up its density as a body came rolling down the hill. It pressed the blood on the ground like a steamroller and made a path as wide as the body itself. The corpse came to a stop on its stomach two feet in front of Helise. She gagged as she kicked the back of his lifeless head and heard a crack in his neck. With hesitation, she flipped the heavy body over using her foot like a spatula from under his shoulder.

The man was missing the skin off of his face, more or less any detail or profile to say he ever had one in the first place, and the flesh above his heart was cleanly cut as if an operation had been done prior to his expulsion from the top of the hill. His neck was cut deep into the jugular, and his trachea was exposed and looked like it was dry, exposed to the air for some time. His fingers had no nails, and the skin was peeled off in a tapered fashion, getting thinner at the tips. His entire body was exposed, and his organs seemed to have never existed, but a great amount of skin was stretched from his pelvis to his rib cage, where it even sunk in towards his lungs a little.

Helise hyperventilated and felt her stomach start to churn. She grabbed her own face and kept her jaw up to keep from screaming too loudly. She figured that, although mutilated, this man was still up the hill and would hear her if she screamed. She started to fall forwards, about to faint, and caught herself with her hands and elbows, scraping them harshly. Her hands hit the puddle violently, causing a huge splatter of blood to go all over her shirt and arms. She pushed herself up and backed away. Finding a stance to keep herself standing, she began stroking her hair and mumbling to herself. The blood ran rapidly, and more rushed through the streets and slapped up against the body of this man as if he were a dam. It eventually flowed over him, and crashed down near Helise.

She raised her arms in front of her and watched her tears dilute the blood on her stained palms and forearms. She tried stepping forward on her left foot and fell backwards due to the rush of the blood from the street. She fell back and closed her eyes expecting a wave of red liquid to envelop her body. She tightened her lips and plugged her nose so that the blood would not enter her lungs. Her body hit hard floor and her exposed skin slapped down causing an echo around her. Her back hit hard and knocked the wind out of her. She gasped for air like she had just come up from suffocating under heavy water and looked around. “Green walls,” she said, “Linoleum floor.” There was no blood. Not on her, not on the floor, and not pouring from the street. She was back inside where she had started. She looked around the room and saw a note lying on a table near her, one that looked eerily familiar and alarming. She closed her eyes, then opened them abruptly, but the note was still there. She tried it again.

The note remained in its place and did not change, but when she had her eyes closed the room was inverted in colors. She stood up and cautiously walked over to it. She felt a stabbing pain on her spine the moment when she picked up the note, like a thick, dull needle. It did not bother her to a point of serious pain, so she decided to ignore it for now. She closed her eyes as she began to whisper out loud what the note said and slowly made out the words. “Helise,” she started, “I want you to know that you are the most pathetic, disgusting…” she groped her back with her clutched hand and noticed that the more she read, the more pain she felt. There was a faint grinding noise, a machine that didn't quite work, that operated as she read the note.

She continued, “Completely worthless human there is.” She tried to stop the pain and hoped that it would go away if she were to open her eyes, but she found the task was impossible. Why can’t I open my eyes? she thought, panicking. She noticed a shadow manifested in the left corner of her vision. She ignored it and kept reading,  “Nobody… wanted… you. You… are… a… mistake.” At this point, every word felt like a knife plunging endlessly into her back. This figure jolted, and ran behind her with ungainly legs. She tried to turn, but her entire body was paralyzed, only her eyes and mouth could move. The machine noises came closer. “You are a waste of… air, space… and ma-matter.” She coughed up thick blood that looked black, thick and dead. there was a heavy breath down her neck. The figure came into her vision, placing its tall body below the letter. It crouched down and its head pointed towards her. She looked at it. Its top right half was missing, as well as the sockets that would hold its eyes. Its neck was full of holes, and its skin was a maroon crimson. Her back felt torn and broken, with a painful amount of weight pushing down her shoulders.

“With love…” she tried to breathe, and felt a lack of a heartbeat. The machine noises came from the figure who now was touching the paper, cutting its skin on it and letting a dark green fluid fall onto the paper and Helise’s hands. Her pupils tightened and shook at the signature.

Her last breath made out the name, “Helise.” She fell to the floor and felt a numbing sensation as she hit the ground. She found that she could now force her eyes open. The noise, the letter, the pain, the thing, they were all gone. She swallowed, or at least tried to. She was hungry, thirsty, tired, and cold. There was a very high-pitched ringing that moved around the room. Helise slowly scooted her body to a corner and began to cry, feeling her stomach rumble in pain each time she inhaled. She heard a door open. There was a shadow that was alone, unfolding and stretching from a shape of dark mass. It took the silhouette of a human and walked in front of her. She tried to talk to it. She hadn’t even finished saying “Excuse me” before it vanished before her. The door opened again, this time with three silhouettes coming forth. They made noises that sounded like a prerecorded tape of children laughing.

“Can you…” she said as they disappeared. The door flung open once more, releasing three dozen or so dark figures into the room. Helise stood up, tired of being ignored and tried to touch one of the figures' shoulders. It morphed into a pile of dust that took the stance it was last in. She pushed it over and made a cloud of dust spread onto the floor of the room. Frustrated, she ran around the room and bumped or hit every moving thing in the room. Eventually she found that she had done this to all the figures and looked them over when she was done. She jogged briskly around the room and pushed them all over, creating a dust bowl of air much too thick to inhale. She coughed and wheezed in the thick opaque air and fell backwards, feeling all tension fall off of her as she was dragged down with it.

“Ma’am, are you all right? Please answer me!” the officer said lifting her from the bathtub. Helise coughed up the bloody water from the tub. She raised her arms in front of her face and saw the rows of cuts on her arms. The water had diluted the running blood that still pumped from her veins throughout her wrists. She looked over to the table in front of her, with the note still on it right where she left it. Her entire body dripped bloody water onto the carpet as three ambulance workers helped her into the vehicle. There were about fifteen people crowding the street as the sirens went off and Helise drifted off again to the sound of the wheels pounding the street.

“Dear Witnesses, These are my final words. I feel useless. I’m a waste of air, space, and matter. I’m pathetic and disgusting. Everybody thinks I’m completely worthless anyways. I am worthless. I am a mistake.

Forever, with love, Helise F. Menderson"

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