the 6 towers (DEMO)

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

An excerpt from a book I'm working on.

The 6 Towers by Lex Smith

I wake up shivering with clattering teeth, and frozen streaks of snot down my face. I move my hands to my lips; they’re caked with cracks and secreting fluid across the cuts. Disgusted with myself; I reach underneath my pillow and grab the shirt I had worn the day before to make it into a handkerchief. I grab the arm holes and whip my shirt in the air to lay it flat down on the bed. This is not my shirt. Or is it? I’m almost positive that this was my shirt. I flip the shirt over to see if it matches the words, I remembered being on it. The front of the shirt reads in bold capital letters, DO NOT CHECK YOUR PARENTS ROOM, where the original words “Teach me Empathy” were placed. My eyes widen and I dart off the top bunk. My legs trip over each other and I slam into the tile floor.

My head and right shoulder take most the fall and the world starts to fade away from me. I feel my body getting weaker as I try to regain consciousness. I move my arms underneath me and roll myself onto my side. My teeth grit and an involuntary grunt protrudes spit from between my teeth as I use my remaining strength to sit up. Once sitting, I use my arms to push myself away from the bed as fast as possible. My back slams into the wall and my breathing grows heavier. I place my hands over my chest and my heart feels as if it’s about to explode. I wrap them around my legs and push my eyes into my shaking knees.

I breathe in as deep as I can and hold my breath, the frigid dry air surrounds my body and floods my lungs. The temperature of the room paired with the breathing exercises my therapists have taught me helped to defuse the beating bomb inside my chest and bring my hyperventilating down to a steady stream of shaking breaths. I lift my head up and look around the room. Beams of moonlight shine through the blinds and light up the room almost perfect. The door is closed, and the AC is off, so why is it so cold? I unravel my arms from around my legs and stand up; leaning my back against the purple painted plastered wall for support. Once I arrive halfway up the wall the world starts to swell again, and my head begins to pulse every other second with an extreme amount of pressure in the place where I had hit my head.

The bottom bunk lays vacant and is made without any faults. Blankets from my bunk lay scattered around the floor. When I had woken up the covers were wrapped around me, so I took them with during my spill. I walk over to the blankets and throw them back on my bed. Did I hallucinate? I’m positive I don’t have a shirt that says that. My heart begins to pick up again.

I stumble over to the bed and pull down the shirt. I hold it out with the back facing me. I breath in and blink my eyes a few times to prepare myself for whatever it reads. I turn the shirt with caution; each inch it comes closer to face me I take harder breathes. The sides of words become visible and I start to hyperventilate. My mind sinks and a fog begins to form in my head, I doze forward but rip myself back up using all my willpower and force myself to look at the shirt. “Teach me Empathy” is placed where it’s supposed to be. I toss the shirt back on the bed and let out a loud sigh of relief.

My episode is over, all that remains now is a heavy migraine and light concussion. I place my right hand over the pulsing region in my head. A thick liquid has begun to dry and fringe my hair. I dart my hand Infront of me to get a look and its painted red. My thick hair absorbed most of the blood and stopped it from dripping down my face, but once I placed my hand over the wound it became irritated like petting a moody cat. Blood begins to fall down my forehead and drip to the tip of my nose.

My head starts to flow a rivulet of liquid; the weight of the blood on my nose sends drops into a freefall that splatter on the white tile floor. I stand emotionless and stare down at the blood collecting into a puddle on the floor.

Am I going crazy? Have I finally reached my breaking point? That I’m seeing things now?

I take a minute to recollect my thoughts. Faint memories of a childhood start to form in my hippocampus. I remember I used to see things; worse than what just happened, but I thought I had gotten past all of that. Could I have just misread? There’s no way; the font size, boldness, color, position of the words. That would have to be an extreme flagrance in my vision. So, am I forced to conclude, I’m going crazy? I don’t want to overwhelm myself with this, so if this happens to me again, I’ll focus on it more. I don’t want to upset myself to the point of no return and wake up my parents with another episode.

DO NOT CHECK ON THEM, DEL.

A booming voice erupts inside my skull and my ears start to ring; even worse than the time a gun was fired in the same car as me. The thunderous head splitting symphony inside my head sends me into a manic state. I place both hands over my ears and arch my back forward, leaning my neck farther down to the point my face is vertical with the puddle on the floor. I force my eyes to shut like a prison cell and let out a shrieking yell through my clamped jaw. Blood is leaking from my ears, breaking through clenched fingers and flowing down my face into the puddle, which is now growing much larger.

I can’t do this. What is this pain? This sound, that voice? What’s happening? I refuse to believe this is reality. I’m having the worst episode of my life, and I can’t even calm myself down because of blood leaking from my head. The more it drips down and expands the puddle, the worst I feel. The pressure of my hands on my ears retreats the flowing stream into a kitchen sink that’s not been turned off all the way.

I need to calm down. I really need to calm down. Why haven’t my parents come? Something is wrong I can feel it. There’s a lot of factors about my setting that don’t make any sense. The ringing resides to a hum and I stand up straight to sit on the bottom bunk. I stare down at the pool of blood, sitting shell shocked alone with my racing thoughts. My mind is blank, but there’s so much going on in it. Every time I try to produce a full thought it gets wreck by another oncoming thought. If you could look inside my mind, you’d see what once a flowing intersection now lays as a desolate battle ground of wrecked burning cars.

I need to calm down and organize my thoughts. I’m not going to die, and the bleeding has stopped. What’s going on is very scary and I realize that, but I can’t figure out what’s happening to me if every other minute I fall into a deeper state of mania. Whatever is making me hear and see things won’t get to me like that again. It’s not real and I know this from experience.

However, some elements of what’s going on don’t look good for me. It’s very possible this isn’t even reality despite how real it feels. I can’t explain what kind of state my physical body would be in right now if this isn’t reality, but It’s something I must consider. Like, why is it so cold? It’s so cold the air on my skin stings and is making lower parts of my body numb. I’ve never felt weather like this, especially midsummer in Miami. Also, where is my sister? It’s not unusual for her to sneak out, but I’ve woken up every time she had opened the window between our bunks. I mean, I guess I can’t be sure that I’ve woken up every time. It’s also possible she left out the front door, so if she did, the door will be unlocked. Wait a second.

I turn backwards and feel the top of the window, it’s locked. There’s no way she could lock that from outside, so the window is out of the question. I’ll check the front door after I’ve fully calmed down, but where are my parents? There’s no way I didn’t wake them up. I’ve never yelled like that, and I can assure myself I woke up some neighbors. So, I guess everyone has left. That’s the only conclusion I can come to without investigating.

I stand up and start walking to the door without taking my eyes of it. My bare foot lands in the puddle and shoots up into the air putting my back on the tile. The crisp air is forced out my lungs, and I let out a broken gasp for air. I put my hands over my bloody face and curl up into a fetal position. Once the tears began to flow, they wouldn’t stop. I hate crying, but I have no idea what is going on. Every corner I’ve turned since I woke up was draped in pain and fear. Also, it’s very evident something is wrong with me mentally. Why am I hearing voices? Clear vivid voices inside the core of brain. I lay on the floor and cry for some time.

I’m not doing this. I’m figuring out what’s wrong. I pull myself to my feet and wipe me face clean of the blood, snot, and tears with my hands. I’m checking on my parents. I open the door to my room and look around the apartment. Everything is so clean and tidy. Even the magazines underneath the coffee table are organized by brand and date. Before I went to bed that pile of magazines wasn’t even there. However, I think I can make out a few that I’ve seen laying around from time to time.

I walk into the kitchen and check everything. The sink and dishwasher are completely empty, and every dish is put back perfect in its predisposed locations. All organized by material and color. I’ve never felt so lost in my life. The deeper I investigate the apartment the more bewildered I become. There’s also no food anywhere. The fridge is empty and cleaned of all the stains that used to cover the walls. I walk towards to pantry… it’s gone. The door to the pantry, it’s gone.

Where the foldable door to enter the pantry would be is now a blank maroon wall. It looks like nothing was even there to begin with. Then it hits me. The text book like made bed, an apartment so spotless it seems fake, and the disappearance of my family. I run back into the room I woke up in and search through every container, drawer, and closet I can find. They’re all empty like I assumed they were going to be. I sprint to my parents’ room and barge the door open. The room is unoccupied of anyone and everything is placed perfect. This is not my apartment.

My heart picks up again and I feel like fainting. My feet move backwards out the doorway and I turn my head left to look at the exit of the apartment. If this is the model room then my apartment should be upstairs with just a short walk down the hall. With caution, I pace to the door and stand in front of it. I look down at the doorknob and every part of me is screaming to leave but I just can’t lift my hand to open it. What if by me opening this I make everything worse. I’m alone here and safe. What if I was moved to this room for a reason… are my parents even alive? I force my arm out to unlock the door and the shaking in my hand is so intense I can’t even get a grip on the lock.

Whatever is happening Del you’ve been through much harder, just remember that.

There’s another voice, but this one is much different in the way it feels and sounds. The shaking slows to a small vibration. Why does that voice make me feel so much better? When the voice spoke it’s like I got a jolt of strength and motivation. However, it’s still a voice and I need professional help. That is if this is even reality.

I turn the lock and push the door open. The florescent lights burn into my eyes and the complex is so much colder than the apartment. It’s obvious to me now that I’m suffering from a concussion. I need my eyes to adjust before I can do anything. I can’t investigate what’s going on if the lights feel like staring into the sun, so I close the door and start looking around the apartment.

I need something to cover my eyes; glasses would be preferable but I’ll take anything. I’m covered in blood so I don’t want to stumble down the hallway blind. I search every pantry, drawer, and closet of the apartment to find nothing. The last room on my list to search is the bedroom that would be my parents. Inside I look through both nightstands, all the drawers, and the closet with no luck. I walk over to the master bathroom and turn the nob.

The door opens on its own to reveal the bathroom. Moving about an inch per second with the henges growing louder the wider it opens. It looks just how I expected it to. Spotless, tidy, and organized. I open the counters underneath the sink only to find busted pipes and heaps of dust. Frustration floods through my body, I searched for 30 minutes to find nothing. I could try to walk down the hall, but I would have no idea where I’m going. There’s also the possibility I’m not even in the model room. I need to be able to see where I’m going, so I turn to the last place I haven’t looked; the shower. I put my hands over the drapes and open the plastic curtains.


Submitted: March 29, 2021

© Copyright 2021 lenoxel. All rights reserved.

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