*This short story dives into the mind of an individual who struggles with Schizophrenia, a mental disorder that affects one’s ability to think, feel, and behave. They often feel disconnected from reality, corrupted by hallucinations, thought and movement disorders, as well as a loss of emotion and motivation. This piece has strong descriptive language that could trigger some readers. Proceed with caution.
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“Hello? Did you even hear what I just said?” Piercing words cut through the hushed voices and draw me back to an annoyed Ashley, her hands waving frantically in my face.
“Mia?” She repeats. I blink once, then again. My eyes still work. I blink once more. Before I know it, my eyes are batting constantly.
Through the rapid flickering of my surroundings, I see Ashley lean back, her eyes widening in . . . fear? I look away immediately, careful not to keep eye contact for long. As they say, eyes are the window to the soul—souls are where the demons are kept within.
I shake my head and slowly smile, lips spreading to show my teeth. I want to tell her that I’m okay and to forget about it, but my tongue is plastered to the roof of my mouth.
She gasps, “What on earth was that, Mia?”
I shrug, “Nothing. Just wanted to see better; eye sockets get so clouded up, you know?”
My fingertips dance maliciously on the table. I get up, scratching my chair against the floor. I squeal and shove it back. The voices grow louder. I’ve angered them. Ashley scrambles out of her seat and hurries me out of the café.
The drive to my house is silent. Ashley grips the steering wheel so tightly that her fingers turn white. Her immense eyes stay trained on the road. Wide eyes full of disappointment and dark shadows. I can’t think, breathe. I watch as a small hand pushes open her eyelid and out into the air, grasping for something, anything. Her demons want to get me. I quickly duck my head down and focused on my nails. They’re jagged with dirt encrusted beneath them. I pick at them until she stops abruptly in front of my house. Ashley purses her lips.
“Mia, I don’t know what’s going on with you. I haven’t seen you in a couple weeks, nor has your family. You look, well, not to be blunt, but, disgusting.” She reaches out and grabs a clump of my hair, examining it.
“Your hair is practically dripping with oil and snarled with knots.” She glances at my picked nails and grimaces.
“What’s going on?” She asks in a softer tone. I meet her eyes and hastily turn away to look at my house. I force the corners of my mouth to turn down. Funny that I can’t just frown naturally. Nothing works right anymore.
“Just tired. I haven’t slept well in a while.”
Ashley frowns; the crease above her brows furrow deeper. Don’t look down to the eyes.
“Why? Are they talking to you agai–”
“I’m fine. Stop watching me, okay?” I spit, launching myself out of the car and into the house. I know the demons within her soul are coming for me. Just as my demons came, fought, and won. I don’t know how everyone else controls them so effortlessly. They rarely let them loose while mine slip out my eyes and dance freely on my brain. I hunch on the floor and breathe in a pattern. In, out, repeat.
My door slams open.
“Mia?” calls Ashley. I look up to see her standing in the doorway. Her hands are tightly clasped and she’s looking at me with pity. But her face distorts and twists into a snarl. The eyes. God, the eyes. They widen, the skin around them peeling upwards to show her entire eye socket. She takes a step towards me and I slide back.
“Don’t come any closer,” I warn. Skin from her face falls to the floor in pieces as her eyes grow to fill the space. I can see the demons inside, their hands reaching through her mutilated face.
“What’s going on?” asks her muffled mouth. I watch, paralyzed, as the demons force their way out, cracking her skull in half and climbing through the mess of bloody skin hanging in strands from what was her face.
A demon pulls itself towards Ashley’s crumpled body while the others wrap around me, pushing my lifeless self into a circle. Hands grip my wrists. I manage to look down. They twist tightly and I cry out, squeezing my eyes shut. The hands multiply and claw their way up my arm, fingers burrowing into freshly made cuts. They reach my face and wrap around my throat. The hands pull back on my hair and as I open my mouth to scream, the cold and dead fingers shove their way inside. I can’t breathe. I can’t think. Two hands rip open my eyelids, forcing my own demons to crawl out and join the rest. My head falls back with a crack and I ready myself to meet death.
James Heginbottom. Title: “You will see the future”