White Coats and Bright Lights
Now he was standing before his bathroom's sink, staring at himself in the mirror. He noticed he really did look like shit.
His hair looked like a black rat's nest, his face looked sunken and his eyes looked baggy and tired. He stood there awkwardly, trying to avoid eye-contact with himself in the mirror. He took the packet of pills and noticed the label was sticking out.
For adult use, take two tablets one hour before sleeping, He read it in his mind and looked at himself back in the mirror.
He needed this, he needed to rest. He was exhausted, irritable, and he knew if he kept it up, fatigue would sooner or later overwhelm him and that would just worry his mom even more. He couldn't do that to her. The problem was that he'd had these tablets for three days now and they hadn't worked so far.
He'd followed the instructions, but it seemed his body was physically fighting to stay of high alert all the time. When he closed his eyes, he'd find himself reliving Tartarus over and over again.
His hands were shaking and he reminded himself of an old drunk that used to live one floor above his mom and him when he was younger. Whenever he wasn't drunk his bloodshot eyes would search the room frantically and his hand would shake. That's how Percy looked, he looked manic. Maybe he was becoming delusional from all the nightmares or maybe the lack of sleep had finally kicked in, either way all he knew was that he wanted to close his eyes and not think for he'd pass out for a week and he'd forget what it was like to be Perseus Jackson for a while.
He took the packet and propped a few pills in his mouth. Then, he propped a few more. He looked at the packet in his hands. How many had he even taken? He didn't know, he guessed more than two. He felt dizzy, yep, definitely more than two. He was tired, he was so tired, all he wanted was to get in his bed and let the days pass by him.
He stumbled out the bathroom and into the hallway to his room. His vision was blurring, and he could feel his heartbeat slow down. He was almost in his room, but he lost his balance. Thump! He couldn't reach the door handle.
He heard someone call but the voice felt too far away. His eyes were beginning to close, but this time he could no longer see the monsters. He no longer felt real, he didn't feel like a concrete object, instead he felt like a faraway dream.
As he lay on the cold wooden floor, Percy wondered if this was what it felt like to die.
When Percy woke up he was in a bright white room and he had no idea how he'd gotten there.
The light was blinding him and for a second he thought he'd actually died. Was it awful that his heart had raced just then, maybe. He thought he was inside some weird room in the Underworld, Hades had specially reserved for him, until he saw his mom and Paul and guy with a white coat.
"Name: Perseus Jackson. Age: 17. Caucasian. Male. Blood Type: AB. Status: Stable. Found unconscious in his home with low blood pressure and respiratory distress after an overdose of sleeping pills. Suspected suicide attempt–"
" I wasn't trying to kill myself." Percy interrupted the guy in the white coat before he could finish reading.
"I wasn't trying to kill myself!" He repeated cutting of his mom.
Her curly hair was pulled into an unruly bun and her eyes were wide and bloodshot, her lips were pursed. Paul was standing behind her, his arms were crossed and he was leaning against the window. Neither of them looked like they had slept very well.
Percy remembered what had happened. He was just trying to sleep, but apparently no one else seemed to care. The lab coat guy, who Percy assumed was a doctor of some kind, lowered the file and looked at Percy. He looked like he was in his mid forties, with grayish blonde hair, a five o'clock shadow and big pale blue eyes.
"Mr. Jackson, the recommended intake of an over-the-counter sleeping pill is two tablets, maybe five at most. What logical explanation could you possibly have for taking eight tablets?"
His voice was stern and his eyes were fixed on Percy.
The truth was, Percy didn't have a logical explanation for much of anything these days, but he wasn't about to give him the satisfaction. He ran his hand through his hair
"I hadn't been sleeping well, I just wanted to get some rest. I guess I must've counted wrong…" He said.
"You counted wrong?" The doctor repeated and Percy nodded.
He didn't look at his mom while he spoke. He wasn't exactly lying, he had miscalculated by a lot how many pills he'd taken, but it hadn't been completely accidental either.
"Percy you had us scared to death!" His mom said and her voice wavered for a moment.
"I wasn't–I'm not lying, I wasn't trying to do anything! I just wanted to sleep!" Percy said.
His voice grew more agitated. He looked at his mom, trying to find some sign that she believed him, but her face was emotionless. Everything seemed like a bad dream, except it wasn't, it was his life and the mess he'd made of it. The doctor, Percy noticed, was writing something into his file.
"Have you've been experiencing any irritability, anxiety, maybe a decline in past hobbies, aside from your restlessness, Mr. Jackson?" He asked. "
Um, no, no, I'm fine." Percy hesitated.
That was a total lie, but he hoped the doctor believed him.
"I see…" He nodded and wrote something else down.
"What are you writing?" Percy asked looking at the folder, the doctor looked at him and shrugged.
"Just my observations." He responded.
He closed Percy's folder and turned to his parents.
"Normally in cases like this, we require the patient stay for a period of seventy-two hours under observation, just to be safe. It would also be propitious for him to acquire some sort of psychiatric or psychological treatment.
"What? Seventy-two hours? Mom!"
He looked from the doctor to his mother who was still sitting in the chair, Paul was besides her.
"Guys, that's– that's insane, I can't spend three days here, what about Annabeth or my friends…"
He wanted to keep making excuses so that his parents would believe him, but it seemed the more he spoke the less convinced they seemed. His mother looked at the doctor and stood up.
"Thank you, Dr. Norton, if we could further discuss this outside." Sally said and the doctor nodded.
He gave Percy a cordial smile before heading out his room, his mom and Paul began to follow him. "Mom! Paul! Guys c'mon…" He said, his mom just turned to him and sighed.
"We're sorry Percy, but it's for the best." Said Paul, his glasses were crooked and he gave Percy a small smile.
They left without saying much more. Percy slumped himself on the bed, he head was throbbing and his eyes stung. He'd fucked up, he'd fucked up incredibly. He couldn't help thinking two things: One, that Annabeth would kill him when she found out, and Two, he'd never felt more alone.