Sitting at the edge of my single bed, my bony fingers fumbled with the corner of my sleeve—a habit I had recently developed. My legs were dangling down the side of the bed and I was having a hard time controlling them from moving to and fro. I didn’t want to accidentally hit the nurse who had been checking my vitals for the past few minutes.
“All good. You’ve shown remarkable improvement, Gia.”
‘After all the mind drilling you guys put me through, wasn’t it inevitable?’
I wanted to scream this in her face yet I only nodded a bit in acknowledgment, my loose raven locks bouncing up and down with my bobbling head; they had lost their shine. My body was in a similar condition as well. I had lost weight. Deep dark circles were marring the skin around my eyes. My lips had become pale and chapped. The little amount of life that I had in me, left me the day Hysteria disappeared.
“Put your hand forward, Gia. I want to see you consuming these. Don’t fake it like last time.”
Smiling to myself, I let go of the cotton sleeve of my plain uniform, extending my palm in front of her—Martha. She was a nice, middle aged woman, working as a caregiver in this asylum for the previous two years, one year before my admission in here. She had two little girls, both a handful. That was all what she had told me, in hopes of striking a conversation, in hopes of getting something out of me yet she could never succeed. I never opened my mouth. I didn’t talk to anyone.
Fortunately, the man I had fatally injured was an infamous serial killer who had already killed two girls before me. My attempts at injuring him were considered as self-defense, but the little show I had put up in the town’s square along with my frantic state in the morning the teenage boy found me in the carnival didn’t really prove to be my in my favor. I was made to go through different psychiatrists, but I was unable to provide any valid reason for my actions. I couldn’t tell them why I was doing what I did. I couldn’t tell them how I ended up in there. Nothing.
In the end, it was decided for me to be put into a health care center; A fancy name for a mental asylum. My parents couldn’t do anything either. My mom only cried whenever she came to visit me because I kept repeating the same words again and again,
“Let me go. Hysteria is waiting for me.”
I caused a fair share of ruckus in the starting months, but I had gotten better with time. They tried their best to brainwash me, I couldn’t blame them, it was their job after all. There were long, long sessions of therapy, trying to make me believe that no Hysteria existed in the real world. It was all in my head.
Well, that’s what Hysteria does. You only know him as much as he decides to reveal himself to you.
Maybe I’d have ended up believing them eventually if I didn’t see a man with amber eyes standing in one corner of my room whenever I was creating a scene, tearing and throwing things, screaming as loud as my vocal cords allowed until a pair of nurses came in; to hold me down while one of them injected me with a tranquilizer. Each time, the last thing I saw before losing consciousness was his silently pleading eyes.
In those rare moments I got to see a glance of him, he didn’t have his face covered with ink markings like before. If it hadn’t been for those beautiful ambers, I wouldn’t have been able to recognize him. The beautiful pale man who stood in a corner of my room, didn’t talk to anyone, just stared.
After months of injections and pills filled with sedatives, I had succumbed to their will. I had confined my life to this room. I had stopped taking the only name that I used to call.
“Come on, dear.”
Blinking back, I realized Martha had already placed the pills in my hand and was waiting for me to take my medication.
Keeping gaze glued to my lap, I took the glass out of her hand before placing the pills at the back of my tongue, trying not to cringe at the bitter taste as I washed them down with the tasteless water.
“Sorry for hurrying you, Gia. It’s just that I need to go back early this evening. My girls are waiting for me to return so they can go trick-o-treating.”
“What did you say?”
If Martha hadn’t used her great reflexes to catch the glass slipping out of my hand, it would’ve brutally shattered down into several transparent shards.
“Trick-o-treating, dear. It’s Halloween.”
For the first time since I could remember, a small smile tugged at the corners of my lips hearing the name of Halloween. I would’ve never thought that the ominous night could ever bring me this amount of joy.
“Happy Halloween, Martha.”
I could tell Martha was visibly shocked, maybe even freaked out by the smile gracing my dried lips.
“H-Happy Halloween, Gia.”
Collecting her things in a noteworthy speed, she was out of the door in record time.
Letting out a sarcastic chuckle, I let my back hit the hard mattress, covering my heated eyes with the pad of my cold fingers. The room had suddenly turned quiet, too quiet.
“Welcome to my kingdom, darling.”
I was hearing this voice after a whole year, but it hadn’t changed a bit. It was still as lively and playful as it was a year ago, and it was still stirring the strings of my heart as it had on the last Halloween.
“Darling, good girls shouldn’t cry.”
I hadn’t let out a single sob, my hands were covering my eyes yet he had still managed to know that I had started crying.
‘Come closer to me, please.’
It seemed like he was hearing everything I was whispering to my soul by the way his voice had definitely inched itself closer to me,
“Big bad wolves love it.”
Not being able to control myself, I sprung myself out of the bed, almost throwing myself in the arms of the man leaning against my bed. He seemed to be prepared for it too as the moment my arms wrapped around his strong shoulders, his big hands clutched the curves of my waist, catching me midair.
“How has my darling been?”
“Shut up. You left me.”
Placing my head in the crook of his neck, I started sniffling uncontrollably as big fat droplets slowly trickled down the corner of my moist eyes, soaking the stuff of his tailcoat.
“I was here, darling. I never left you. I just couldn’t reach you. You hadn’t given me the permission.”
Sitting on my bed, he had lowered me down on his lap. I was practically straddling him. One of his warm hands had stayed locked around my waist while the other one had started stroking the top of my head.
“I-I thought you’d n-never return.”
I still couldn’t believe that I was in his arms. My hands were continuously rubbing the length of his back, trying to engrave his feel in my mind, trying to make myself believe that it was all reality, not what the workers had been trying to feed me for the past one year.
“How could I not? I had a taste of you once, it was impossible to keep myself away now.”
A year had passed, and it was by far the most difficult period of my life. Every single day was pure torture; a mixture of sobs, screams, mental breakdowns and sleepless nights.
‘But not anymore.’
Placing my hands on his shoulders, I detached my body from his, putting some distance between us so that I could stare straight into his eyes,
“Do you love me?”
“I love you, Gia.”
The reply had come in a heartbeat. He didn’t take any time to contemplate his answer. The surety was clearly visible in his eyes.
“Love doesn’t give you a particular date or time. It just happens,”
Pausing for a mere moment, he pushed some stray strands of my hair behind my ears, his touch lingering on the back of my neck, rubbing it with his fingers,
“My soul had awakened your senses. You could see and touch things that others couldn’t. At first, I only stayed with you to protect my soul until your body was powerful enough for me to suck it out of you without causing any serious damage,”
His eyes had started glowing in the dark, much like a cat’s,
“But it all changed as I saw your struggles, your helplessness. The day you ran out of your first Halloween party, you were hiding behind the dumpster, crying out loud, asking for anyone to just come and make the pain stop. I hugged you for the first time then.”
My fingers clutched the fabric of his coat, fisting them in my hand as I looked at him with my eyebrows raised,
“I wasn’t imagining it? There really was someone letting me cry on their shoulder?”
“Yep, that was a lot of mascara for a vampiress, by the way. You ruined my ascot.”
I missed that teasing grin. I missed these soft lips.
Bending forward, I quickly stole a chaste peck from his smiling lips, making them part in surprise,
“So, is the deal still up?”
I was trying my best to appear calm and composed despite my embarrassment quite visible through the light shade of pink covering my cheeks,
“As sure as you are while choosing red lingerie.”
That earned him a slap to his shoulder.
“Ouch. It hurts! What have they been giving you? Hulk’s steroids?”
It wouldn’t be Hysteria if he wasn’t being this crazy.
Pressing my lips to hide the smile threatening to spread over my lips, I lowered my head, placing a soft kiss on his stubbly cheek before leaning the side of my head on the adjacent shoulder,
“Take me with you.”
For a moment, he didn’t say anything. I could hear nothing except for my rapidly beating heart drumming inside my rib cage.
Rustling of clothes reached my ears; his hold on my waist was tightening as he tried bringing me impossibly close to his frame, keeping me caged inside his arms for a moment too long before separating our perfectly molded bodies away from each other,
“As my darling says.”
He had sat up straighter and was peering down at me with his beguiling gaze, his ambers kept flickering between my eyes and lips,
“Kiss me, darling?”
It was me who had said this, trying to tease him with own words,
“I embrace my Hysteria.”
Bringing my lips closer to his plump ones, I lightly grazed them with my mouth, inciting him to end what we had started a year ago.
“I love you, Hysteria.”
That seemed to be the last string of my sanity and his control which my words had cut and tattered into several pieces. Without wasting another moment, our lips met each other in a hungry kiss, much like how two people joined hands, held onto each other before jumping down a cliff into a lake.
But this was no lake. This was a sea— a sea of hysteria.
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