Never Again

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

“The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul.” – John Calvin

Submitted: April 07, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 07, 2017



Fingers drum. Quicker and quicker still against the cold basin. Tiny, tacky sounds, except for when a gnawed nail makes contact with the white porcelain, like a muted bell. Stop tapping.

Skin: clammy. Goosebumps creeping steadily up both arms, under the cotton t-shirt that has become clingy with the aid of perspiration. A sticky sweat dewing an already blemished and flawed forehead. Shake it out.

Breath comes in ragged shudders, forced through cracked, yellowed teeth. Even pulling in new oxygen is a sparkler that sets every nerve in the mouth alight with pain. Breathe through the nose, instead.

Staring into the looking-glass, and a haggard, gaunt zombie stares back. Trembling cheeks are pale and pocked, a result of the bugs that have tunnelled beneath the surface, and the effort it has taken to claw them out with these blunt, bitten-down nails. Are they still beneath the surface now, infecting and irritating still? Snap out of it.

Eyes. Bloodshot, glassy orbs that seem now all too big for the sunken, sagging skin that encases them. They twitch. Overhead fluorescent lights bore down, too bright for this newfound sensitivity to brightness. Blink once, twice, three times and get used to it.

Turn on the faucet, flush down the acrid bile and blood that only moments ago forced its way up a parched throat. The quaking sets in, vibrating uncontrollably, sensitive teeth grinding involuntarily. The come-down is so hard, so revolting that the lie stumbles past those dry, cracked lips once more, as neither the first nor the last time, “never again.”

© Copyright 2019 E Bowshall. All rights reserved.

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