One// revised 4.7.21
December 25, 2000
‘Crazy people don’t know that they’re crazy.’
I used to think that that phrase was complete bullshit but, the longer I remain locked in my room with nothing but the voices inside my head to keep me company, the more I begin to believe that it might ring somewhat true.
They have told me that I am ‘mentally unstable’ and that there is something wrong with the wiring inside of my bead but I just don’t see it. Then again, that makes complete sense being that crazy people don’t know that they’re crazy.
Maybe they’ve got it all wrong and they’re the crazy ones, which would explain how I saw this coming and they didn’t.
My mind is a broken record; so scratched from the wear and tear of being alive that it often skips and repeats itself over and over until I feeling like ripping my hair out, which is something I have done before and don’t recommend to anyone.
It didn’t solve anything, in case you were wondering. In fact, it made things worse because, as a result of the hair ripping, I ended up zip-tied to my bed for two days until I was clear-minded enough to promise that the next time my brain began to skip I would solve the issue in a more productive manner.
A week later it skipped again, reacting the word ‘hollow’ over and over until I put my fist through the large window in my bedroom and drug my wrist along the jagged edges of the freshly broken glass.
That was one hell of a rush.
She made him bring me to the hospital that night, worried I might bleed out on my bedroom floor.
I hated the smell of that hospital. It was nothing but death, disinfectant, and liquid medication. Then men in the blue jumpsuits who cleaned each night believed that the bleach would cover up the stench but it doesn’t; it just adds a sting to it.
Can other people smell death the way that I can and, if they can, do they smell it everywhere the way that I do?
The white-coat wearing doctor and his sad-faced nurse stood in the doorway of my hospital room, asking my father questions he was sure to lie while answering.
“Do you know what might have caused her to do something like this?”
“No. As a kid she was a bit odd but it was never like this. This is the first time she has ever done something this extreme and I have no idea what triggered her.”
I have been this way for over a year now, waking up to a cluttered mind.
There have been monster inside of my head for over a year now.
“Has she suffered any recent traumas that you can think of?”
“No. I work a lot these days, you know, trying to provide the best I can since everything happened. There are good men out there fighting every day to bring us back to where we were but they just don’t have the support they need yet to get the job done. I am not strong enough to join them but I do what I can.”
There is a mile long list of things that the doctor might have considered ‘triggering’ enough for me to attempt to saw my wrist in half and my sister topped that list.
It has been almost a year and a half since she went missing but my father yells every day as if it just happened, always blaming me for it. He says it is my fault and that my sickness drove her to leave.
He had come home that night, stinking of booze, and kicked down her bedroom door to find her room empty and her vanished into thin air. He woke me up that night by ripping me out of bed by my arm and then my mother locked herself in the bathroom, turning on the shower as he decided to explain his anger towards me using his fists instead of words.
“Any illness on yours or her mother’s side of the family that this might be linked to?”
The biggest lie of them all.
My mother might not be the wreck that I am but she is far from being the same woman my father made her out to be. Normal mothers would have refused to leave their child’s side after an incident such as mine but my mother was at home, crushing up painkillers so that she can shove them up her nose to ease the pain of the broken arm that he gave her when she decided to steal the pills he keeps locked up for me.
He had ignored me the night he found her taking them, using his fists to explain to her house much the men on the corner had charged him for those pills.
Things like that, shady men who lurk the streets, weren’t allowed before my mind broke open and the monsters spilled out but, now, all the men who drove the red and blue topped cars have been killed and there is no one left to keep them in line. There is no one left to stop those men from peddling their magic cures to mindless kids in search of escapes. There is no one left to stop them from luring those kinds into van, never to be seen or heard from again.
These kids, the ones who gladly climb into the same vehicles their parents warned them not to, never come back.
My sister loved those pills, doing all that she could for another taste of their magic. I never saw her with those men but she always found her way back to those pills, coming home a new person each week because of them.
One day her hair was the color of coal, like me, and then it wasn’t; now the same fierce red colors as the monsters who hunted the streets she loved to roam. One day her skin was pale and flawless, like me, and then it wasn’t; her arms covered in poorly drawn tattoos that didn’t look right on her. Her face began to hollow, covered in thick layers of makeup that didn’t belong there.
None of that mattered to her though because she was older than me. She as her ‘own person’, or at least that is what she shouted at my father when he finally took notice of what she had become. By then she was no longer my older sister but some thing inhabiting her body.
Something had always been different about her but never the way it was before she went missing.
Or did she run away?
I can’t tell anymore which is which because my thoughts are rarely my own and, most days, things just swirl together until my head is pounding like an off-beat drum.
People go missing all of the time and most of them never return home. Sometimes they are found with pieces missing or just in pieces. Other times they become memories, ghosts in the wind.
Isn’t that a song? It should be.
I wonder where she went. I wonder if she is still in one piece. I wonder if she is a ghost yet.
How long before I am in pieces or a ghost? The monsters have already done damage to our town, tearing things apparent while we hid in the shelter created to withstand catastrophic event, but there have been stories about how they sometimes return to finish the job.
Will they come back to find me before I figure out a way to lock them back inside of my head?
I hope so.
Today is Christmas, or at least I am assuming that it is based off the way that my mother has been crooning along with the carols on the radio all day. I am not sure when she got a new one after I smashed the old one during a fit of rage, but she has been playing those wretched songs on repeat since the sun rose.
I hate the holidays more than I hate most days.
I wonder if he will let me out of my room today. I have been locked in here for nine whole days now, ever since I killed Frank, our neighbor, with a gardening shovel.
It was my mother’s fault because she read something in a magazine about how nature can heal someone like me. She ran into town to buy everything in the lawn and garden section of one of our last remaining home improvement stores, eyes full of hope.
Frank should have known better than to sneak up on me, his callused hands snaking up the front of my dirt-covered shirt. He should have known better than to wrap one hand around my mouth, whispering a command for me to ‘keep my damn mouth shut’ as he tore me away from the garden and back towards the shed.
He should have known better because there are monsters lurking the streets and, sometimes, those monsters look like humans.
My father dug a whole behind that same shed, covering the punished man with a large bag of soil and seeds.
I wonder what kind of flowers will grow from a man like Frank; a man with ice water in his veins and the kind of eyes that make you feel like there are bugs burrowing into your skin.
Sunflowers? Tulips? Daisies?
I hope it’s orchids; great big ones with blue and yellow petals.
He stopped letting me watch television that day. He thinks that allowing me to see the images that flash across the screen have caused me to grow violent, which is why he found me perched atop Frank’s chest burying the handheld shovel into it over and over again.
It hadn’t bothered me one bit that the man had stopped struggling fifteen stabs prior because there was something comforting about the way the motion felt and, quite frankly, I don’t think the television is to blame for that.
If anything, he should blame the monsters for what I have become because they are the real culprits behind this mess.
Though, to be fair to him, I had watched television the night before and then had to be ‘taught a lesson’ because something I had seen made me feel like the kitchen table needed to be lit on fire.
I couldn’t help myself, that was just the way I got when they replayed the footage from the night the monsters became real.
Someone managed to capture the entire thing on their cellphone, sending it to everyone they could before the power went out and didn’t come back on for eight whole months.
Some places still don’t have power. Or water. Or life.
I had watched the video that showed their giant bodies hitting the water-logged ground, the earth shaking so hard that it actually split.
Those who gathered to bear witness to the event should have been wary of the newcomers, but they weren’t. In fact, even though local law enforcement strictly warned against it, people began to run from their homes to greet them.
Then they opened their red eyes and stood up, my freshly freed monsters, and began to rip those people apart just as they had told me they would doo when they were still trapped inside of my head.
Just like paper.
My nightmare became real.
My father, who was not the least bit pleased with the manner in which I chose to punish our hands neighbor, used his fists instead of his voice that night to say the things he couldn’t bring himself too.
A split lip said ‘I regret allowing your mother to give birth to you.’ A black eye said ‘you are nothing but a burden.’ A broken arm said ‘you should have given Frank what he wanted because now I have to clean up your mess.’ A kick to the ribs shouted ‘you deserve the kind of life I have given to you.’
He believes that people like he and Frank should be given what they want the moment that they want it. He takes from my mother the same way that Frank tried to take from me, but I am not my mother. I am not her and I buried my shoved deep into his chest before he had a chance to get what he wanted.
My father once told me that people like my mother, sister, and I not serve one purpose and that purpose is to give, even when we don’t want to.
I have nothing left to give, so why let someone try to take?
I never knew monsters were real until they took up residence inside of my mind. Up until that day I thought they were nothing but a mere myth but, the morning of my seventeenth birthday, I woke up a completely different person than I had gone to bed as.
I can’t remember much of who I used to be but I like to this she was nothing like me.
That morning I woke up to the sound of their voices inside my head; a cluster of sounds. They whispered to me in different tones, showing me what they were planning for the world.
It was a simple plan: kill everyone.
I told my father about the monsters but all it did was make him angry. He disappeared for a few hours and then returned drenched in the smell of booze with a bag of multicolored pills. I didn’t want to take them, so he held me down and forced them down my throat. I thought I was going to die as he pinned me there, holding my nose closed until I swallowed.
He sat on the edge of my bed that night, his fists balled tightly until I stopped trying to cram my fingers down my throat to throw them up.
Once they kicked in I slept for two and a half days, trapped in a nightmare the entire time.
My mother was there when I woke up, my bedsheets stained with sweat and vomit. She handed me a bottle, smiling as I drank the burning liquid. She cleaned me up but I couldn’t focus on her smile, not with the fresh purple bruise under her eye.
She told me that when she couldn’t wake me up and I had dirtied my sheets he had gotten angry, taking it out on her as I slept.
He doesn’t like hitting things that don’t know they are being hit.