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XI. Lightning

It was extremely painful. That I can remember.

Do you want to know what else I remember? The very first time I had wires plugged into my head. You know that feeling when you are standing near a large speaker and the bass on the song playing is too strong. You suddenly become more aware of your heart like it’s right out there with you beating out of your chest. The same thing goes for electric current running through your body. Ever witnessed lighting on a cloudy night sky? The slow ones where you can literally see where all the ends of the light crawl. It’s a quick second yet your eyes are able to see exactly where they go. Well, that’s how well you become aware of every vein in your body. You feel the current flow through your veins that you know exactly where they end. From your head to your toe, it’s like mapping out your whole body. Every wave rippling in your skin, it sends your muscles moving to a scattered direction. Lightning. It must be how it felt to be struck by lightning.

You see, the way the brain works is like visiting a library. It has sections for every memory you have stored. The more important they are the easier they are to find. Mundane ones are tucked away deep in view difficult to pluck out. There is an archive section and while some are easy to find cause they are sticking out, others are lost within the shelves. What electroshock therapy does is not exactly cause chaos by knocking over the shelves or sweeping all the books down to the floor in a pile. It does not cause a mix up this way. What the electric current does is rearrange the shelves, spin and move them around. You can still walk on the aisle and find your way in and out of your brain. It’s just that what you know and where to get them is completely mixed up. Some shelves get lost and are harder to find but they’re still within you. What happens then when you get the therapy more than once? That’s when it becomes really confusing for the person causing them to just go with memories they can easily pick out.

Do you want to know why I know this?

Last night, when Lucian made his confession, it was not the only lie that I heard.

In my sleep, I felt people put a gas mask over my mouth and nose, tied me up to a stretcher to be brought to an ambulance. It was without a struggle due to the sedative but I was aware. God, I wish I wasn’t. He lied. They still proceeded to taking me on that code 5150. A psychiatric emergency reserved for mental breakdowns or as the media like to call it, a meltdown. Spiraling out of control. They just waited until I was unconscious because I was a ‘threat to myself’. That’s how they always play scenarios like that. Make it seem like they care for your well-being.

I was supposed to just wake up from a bad dream. But I remembered everything. I remember the moment the first zap of electric current flowed through my body. I remembered the many lies that were hidden in the past three years by constant rearrangement. Not all but some of them definitely came back to me that night.

What scared me the most was while I was in pain. I saw a woman underneath me. She was drowning while I stood in a clear layer of ice. She knocked as hard as she could as she flailed in the water. There was a lightning storm above us. They were taking root in the sky for every sharp pain that I felt. Channeling all the pain I felt into my hand, I pounded the sheet of ice with my fist and it formed a crack. As the current went through my body for another wave, the cracks moved in a jagged formation escaping the center. Then it broke.

I fell into the cold water as the woman struggled to claw at me hoping to use me as her way up. She gasped for air while holding my head down underwater. I fought hard for air but she kicked and thrashed about creating ripples that sent the ice away from us until we were both in the middle of an ocean. I took one chance of breath and embraced her while she resisted, sending us both submerging. Only when she stopped fighting that we found ourselves rising back up. And when our heads reached the surface, we took one deep breath in unison.

She had my face. And I had hers.

“Who are you?” I asked.
“You were me once.” She cried.
“I’m still you.”
“No. Not anymore.”

For some reason, her face was different than the one I was wearing. I wasn’t sure if it was the glamour. But something about her seemed different. And she’s right. Maybe I’m not the same girl I was before all this. But I know she still lives within me. She’s free now as I am.

I looked in the mirror as I put on my earrings. My skin sparkled from all the lights pointed at me in the dressing room. From the dark behind me, I felt hands rub against my soldiers until they reached the side. A kiss was planted on my neck and a whisper followed, “It’s time, Glory.”

Lucian’s lips did not feel real. Just like his lies. But I know better now.

He left and closed the door behind him. I pull the drawer in front of me to find an empty vial of pills. So this is what Jagger meant by being awakened. And damn, my eyes are open.

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