Word Count: 804
Me and Rayn went off in the search of morphine. We shuffled tiredly through the corridors, looking for a nurse’s supply cabinet or something. There had to be something. I didn’t really look very hard, or very long. The box of codeine pills I found would do for a couple hours until I had the energy to really look.
We knocked back a few when we found them. I forced myself to swallow them dry, trying not to cough them back up when they got stuck in my throat.
Shambling back to the staff room felt like walking from one side of Reno to the other. By the time I got back I was exhausted, like I’d never been to sleep. I popped a couple more pills when I got there, washing them down with a more than welcome mouthful of water. Joe was talking. Maybe he’d hate me less if I talked with him more.
“It’s the drugs, you know,” he said.
“The hallucinations and the way you’re feeling now,” he replied.
“I’m not hallucinating,” I protested with a frown, “I’m fine.” Rayn was frowning at Joe, looking confused.
“Cancer’s fine, you idiot. The worst he’s feeling is a bit sick because he needs another hit,” he tried to tell Joe for me. He went totally ignored.
“You’re not fine, Cancer. You’re living in two different worlds, reality and whatever world your hallucinations are providing you with,” Joe continued like he hadn’t heard a word of what Rayn had just said. I glanced around, looking for what could be out of place or some hint that I wasn’t seeing the same things Joe was.
“Well we’re in a hospital, right?” Joe nodded. “There’s a coffee table over there, and a sofa covered in blood, a coffee machine, a fridge, a microwave and a sink,” I glanced at Joe again and he nodded once more, “and you’re sat on your mattress with a book and your bag next to you. I’m sat on mine with…” I looked down and saw a needle I’d already used too many times, a spoon and an empty wrapper with a few specks of brown on it. “Well, I’m sat with my stuff,” I skipped over the details, not wanting to admit that I was in a fucking mess, “and Rayn’s sat between us on his bed in just his boxers because everything was too big on him.”
Joe shook his head, letting out a frustrated noise. I felt like he was angry at me for something in there that I’d said, but I couldn’t understand how what I was seeing was any different to what he was seeing. We were all here, everything in the room was right… What was going on?
“Rayn’s not here, Cancer,” he said bluntly. I blinked. “He died.”
“He’s right there,” I scowled, “don’t fucking talk like he’s not in the room with us.” Rayn looked at the floor, looking kind of lost.
“No, he’s not.”
“He’s sitting in front of you.” Rayn bit his lip, shrinking into himself the way he did whenever I started to lose my temper. It upset him when I got angry. Sure he’d deal with it, but it was as much for himself as it was for me.
“Cancer, look at me,” Joe growled. I found myself doing as he told me, meeting his gaze. “Really look at me. I’m the only one here with you, Cancer. Rayn isn’t here.”
“Of course he is,” I persisted.
“No, he’s not!” Joe was getting angrier, “he died, remember?”
I shook my head, my eyes widening. I looked back at Rayn, but for a split second he wasn’t there.
“No,” I staggered to my feet, realizing what was going on. Joe got to his feet too, closing the gap between us. “He’s not dead, Joe, he can’t be, okay?”
“Well he is!”
Don’t do this to me, Joe. I wasn’t sure if the words left my mouth. I was pleading with him not to do this to me. I needed Rayn to be alive.
“He’s fucking gone, Cancer, you’re just hallucinating and it’s tine you woke up,” Joe was shouting at me now, squaring up to me despite the difference in height. I backed off a step, tripping over the mattress and landing on my ass. The look on his face as he followed my fall with his eyes was of shock. I had plenty of weaknesses, but I don’t think he’d ever seen me back down from a fight before, or crumple like that.
“Joe, please don’t,” I mumbled, too sick to be embarrassed. I looked around and couldn’t see Rayn anymore. Just an empty bed. I closed my eyes, feeling like my chest was about to cave in on itself. “Don’t fucking do this to me.”