Radiance: TwoMature

(Some things are just too broken to ever be repaired.)

It was cold when I awoke. I was used to the chill these days; winter had long since set in, and the walls could never hold in warmth anyway. I struggled to keep my eyes closed. In the dark confines of my mind it was easier to pretend.

Sleep had been coming more and more, however uneasy it was. At first I’d tried not to shut my eyes, fir then the memories so readily plagued me. But now…now the memories had escaped. Now it was when I was awake that I was haunted. I could not hide. There was nowhere to go. Not with bars on the windows, on the doors, on my soul.

What I needed was a cigarette. That wasn’t allowed, they said. When I trembled from the nicotine withdrawal, they were quick to brush it off as just another side effect. In the place where they tried to heal the broken, everything was a side effect. When existence started to slip away, that was too.

Footsteps set me on edge. By then I had sat up in my pathetic excuse of a bed, pushing back thin covers despite the goosebumps on my arms and legs. My steely gray eyes scanned the room nervously, but naturally it was the same as ever. White walls, single window, clock with a second hand that forever seemed to be laughing in my face. No, things did not change here.

"Ryan." The sound of my name in a low, alluring voice made me jump. The reaction was followed by a light an airy laugh. "Someone’s a bit antsy today, aren’t we?" The woman smiled at me in a friendly way. She had a face made to look reassuring by natural makeup and the constant upturn of the lips. If she was supposed to be making me feel secure, she was failing. Instead I withdrew in wariness.

"Come on now, Ryan. You know the routine," she said, her tone growing in impatience. Pushing them was the only form of entertainment we had around here, and so we did. When she saw that I wasn’t going to move, she sighed a bit and came to me. In one hand she held a Dixie cup filled with a delightful rainbow medley of pills. One to make me calm, one to make me happy, and so on. In the other she held a glass of water.

Snatching both with a scowl, I took the pills one by one. All the while she watched me, eyes scrutinizing my every move. When the last pill was placed upon my tongue, a shiver ran up my spine.

"What’re you doing, baby?" I winced against the pain that suddenly throbbed in my chest, squeezing my eyes closed tightly. In my head, I kept on telling myself it wasn’t real. They said that was the only way. But who could deny the brush of hair against my cheek, the icy fingers gripping my forearm? Pleading. That was her way of pleading.

"You know what that will do to us," she murmured, lips grazing my ear seductively. I knew the nurse must have noticed something. So why did she just stand there and let me suffer? "Don’t let them take me away from you."

Tears were threatening, stinging at my eyes. Before they too could break free, I swallowed hard, chased the pill down with a lengthy sip of water. By the time my eyes reopened, and the thin trail of light allowed in by the window struck me once again, her presence had already started to fade. She whispered she loved me before she slipped away.

The End

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