#Chapter 98: Hypnotherapy
Minutes passed, then hours. Soon, it could’ve even been days, I had no way of knowing how long I was down there As time ticked on, the bright
fluorescent lights in my cell never
faded, making me lose all sense of time I felt myself beginning to lose my grip on reality.
I couldn’t cry or scream anymore. Not only did my tears dry up and my throat became too sore to make another sound, but also I began to realize that it was useless. No one was coming for me Maybe Edward was right, maybe none of the people who I had come to know over the past four years were even real Maybe it was all just a figment of my imagination…
If they were real, wouldn’t they have come to save me by now?
After an indistinguishable amount of
time passed, the voices began. They were soft at first, barely even whispers.
A voice called my name. I ignored it at first, but it grew stronger over time.
I shook my head. “It’s not real,” I whispered to myself, my throat so raw and sore from screaming that the words hardly came out. “It’s not real…”
I jumped. I knew that voice: it was Jessica. She sounded scared, like she was screaming for help. “Jessica?” I called out, but there was no answer.
The voices stopped for quite some time. I eventually began to think that I never had really heard them to begin with Maybe I was dreaming, somehow, I must’ve fallen asleep despite the bright fluorescent lights beaming down at me from the ceiling.
But then, they started again. And it
wasn’t just a voice this time.
Jessica stood in front of my bed, clear as day. Her clothes and hair were disheveled. Her skin was bloody and bruised, and there was dirt under her fingernails. Her eyes had a whitish color to them, as if they had been glazed over with a thin coat of white paint.
“It’s your fault that I died,” she said. ” It’s your fault that all of us died.”
I swallowed the knot in my throat. It hurt to even swallow. “You’re not dead,” I whispered, shaking my head. She couldn’t be dead. Surely Jessica was home right now with Lori, if they were even real…
“You’re selfish,” Jessica continued. She walked over to the side of my bed and
reached out her cold, dead hand. It smelled like dirt and congealed blood. ” All you ever cared about was yourself You should die, too. Make it easier on the world.”
I pulled my head away and scrunched my eyes shut, repeating my mantra in my head.
This isn’t real… This isn’t real…
When I opened my eyes, Jessica was no longer alone. Behind her stood Lori, James, and Matt. They all reached their dirty hands for my throat. I tried to scream, but nothing came out — so I turned my head in the other direction and waited for them to strangle me, because that was all I could do.
On the other side of the bed, however, stood my mother and my brother My mother was holding a baby wrapped in the strangely patterned blanket from the photograph. She was bouncing it and shushing it, but it kept crying louder and louder
“Shut up!” she screamed as she began to shake the baby violently.
Its screams turned into animalistic snarls. I went to open my mouth to tell her to stop, that she was going to kill it, but only the same snarls came out of my mouth. Then, to my horror, she lifted the baby over her head and threw it as hard as she could down to the floor.
All the while, Taylor choked to death behind her. I watched as his body withered into nothing. His flesh melted off of his bones, leaving only a skeleton.
The skeleton stared at me. It opened its jaws to speak, but only worms came out.
I shut my eyes again, wishing I could cover my ears as the wails of my loved ones filled my ears.
This isn’t real. This isn’t real….
Then, all of a sudden: silence.
I opened one eye first, then the other. I slowly looked around and let out a sigh of relief to see that I was alone once more; for the first time, being alone was a comfort.
“I loved you, you know.”
Enzo’s voice made me jump. I lifted my head, my eyes wide, to see him standing at the foot of my bed. He looked exactly the same as when I last saw him, when we retrieved Justin’s file from Edward’s house. He was even wearing the same all-black clothing. His curly brown hair was still ruffled from running through the streets as we sprinted away. If I lifted my head more, I could even smell him: smoke and leather He had smelled like that when I laid my head on his back during our midnight motorcycle ride all those weeks ago.
“I loved you…” His voice was distant, bitter. “…And you couldn’t bear to love me back.”
I shook my head and opened my mouth to speak, but I couldn’t. I gagged.
Worms spilled out onto my chest in a wriggling, muddy heap. I gagged again, and more came out. If I kept gagging, I was certain that I would soon be buried in the disgusting things.
Enzo walked around my bed to look down at me. There was a deep pain in his eyes, and I knew then and there that I had been the one to cause that pain.
“Are you ready to cooperate now?” he said.
I furrowed my brow “Cooperate with what?” I asked. My mouth was no longer full of worms, and when I looked down, my chest was clean. There were no worms. My voice was my voice, not a strangled, animalistic snarl, although my throat was still raw and it burned when I spoke as though I had swallowed hot coals.
“With your treatment.”
I looked back up. Enzo’s voice had changed, and so had his appearance. He was no longer Enzo.
Enzo had become Edward.
“I-I thought you were–”
“Enzo, I know,” Edward said. He pulled the rolling stool back up to the side of my bed and sat down with a gentle, open expression on his face. He almost seemed to pity me. “Well?” he asked. ” Do you want to give it another go?”
I hesitated, looking down at the leather straps around my wrists and ankles. I had struggled so hard against them that my skin was now dark purple underneath where the leather met my wrists, but I couldn’t feel the pain. In the same way that I couldn’t feel the pain, I imagined that it was perhaps indicative of my mental state. If I couldn’t feel the pain in my own body, how could I trust the images in my own mind? One moment ago, my room had been filled with people who I thought I knew, but now, it was empty again. It was just me and Edward, and I was sick Edward could fix me, just like how he fixed Justin.
I looked back up at Edward and nodded slowly
“Yes,” I whispered, my voice still a weak croak. “I’m ready to cooperate with my treatment.”
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