Corban and the Psychologist

It is over. His fear has let him escape from me. But I watch him, now, from the darkness beneath the arm chair where my body is twisted flat against the floor.

"When I scream like that, I always wake up from my nightmares. And no matter how vivid, this was no exception."

"And this dream recurrs?" asked the woman in the arm chair.

"Ummm... n-no, I wouldn't quite say that. I don't have the same dream. But I am in the same place, again and again, night after night. However it's never quite the exact same place. This... Hell... it's organic, I guess you could say. It adjusts to what I fear most."

"And how often do you have these nightmares?"

"Every Sunday night. And only on Sunday nights," he paused. "I can't for the life of me figure out why."

"Well, your life is very busy. You've made Sunday your only day of true rest, the only day when you're actually alone. Perhaps if you made yourself busy, these dreams would stop entirely?"

"Perhaps," Corban told her with doubt weighing heavy in his voice. He wasn't looking at her. Rather, he was staring up at the stucco ceiling, with his arms folded on his chest as if he were a corpse in a coffin; the padding of the therapy couch was just too similar. It delighted me.

"Any hallucinations?" she asked, as she folded her legs and stabbed the floor with a stiletto heel just barely an inch from my masked and crooked nose.

"No, doctor, not since you persuaded Doctor Singh to adjust my medication."

"Damn it!" I yelled, realizing that I could not be seen. "Curse your putrid anti-depressants, Corban!"

"Did you say something?" Corban asked her, as she scribbled more notes.

"No, I didn't say anything," she said.

"That's funny..." he said, his voice on edge.

"Corban, why do you look away from me all the time?"

"It's nothing personal, Doctor Cameron, it's just that... well, I prefer you ceiling to be honest. There are no shadows. And when I saw him, he hid in shadows."

"Who hid in shadows?"

"My brother," he said with conviction.

"Corban, you do know that your brother's in a --"

"Of course I know he's in a frickin' coma, Doctor! I'm not crazy!"

She began to tap her heel against the floor. "Of course not."

I knew she only did that when she had to tell a lie. Clearly, she was beginning to suspect that he was more than just depressed, and more than simply afraid to look at her bare legs and make-up covered face.

"Our time is up for the day, Corban."

I began to laugh. And I usually don't laugh on Mondays.

"Very well," he said as righted himself to a seated position and stretched with a yawn.

The sound made my mask itchy, my face itchy, one of the two, one and the same. I scratched at the leathery flesh below my eye, and it tore.

Then, as he stood, I dove into his shadow. And there I remained until he was in the driver's seat of his pick-up truck, my body pressed into the shadow below the gas pedal.

I fell asleep, then. I napped, longing for Sunday's inevitable approach, and longing even more for his depression to once again eat away at his busy life until it fell to pieces, so that Sunday would not be his only living night in Hell.

The End

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