Chapter 4: Into the Bunker

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: True Confessions  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 216
Comments: 2

Sunlight broke through the shades and bled light into the dim room. The morning birds chirped cheerfully outside, rousing me from my slumber. The door was cracked ever so slightly, and the sound of whispering voices could be heard from outside the room. I tried to tune into their silent conversation.

“So this happened last night?”

The voice was Dawn, the tone easy enough to distinguish as she always had a calming demeanor about her. I focused on the second voice.

“Yes, around 2:00 in the morning.”

It was undoubtedly John. I shuddered when I recalled the livid expression on his face he other night. Last night was such a blur, but his sharp and angry voice was crystal clear, an inescapable ringing in my ears as he had shouted at me.

“Thank you for telling me John. I will let the nurse and Doctor know.”

“No problem.”

She paused, and I quickly slammed my eyes shut as I felt hers on mine, the slight creak of the door as it opened further.

“I would hide your stuff if I were you.”

He laughed. “Its fine, im leaving tomorrow anyways.” And with that, the door closed. I shot up from under the covers, glaring menacingly at him.

“You sold me out??”

“Hey man, I’m only trying to protect you. When you tripped out like you did last night, sure, I was a bit angry, but I was also concerned. I want you to get the help you need, and hiding how you acted isn’t going to get you out of here any sooner.”

He was right. If I ever wanted to leave that place, I had to report any changes in my behavior to the people who were there to help me. If I hide my actions from them, they won’t know until after it escalates. John sure seemed to know a lot about this place. I wondered how bad he was when he first got here, but I knew it wasn’t my business to ask. I felt terrible for wrongly accusing him though.

“OK John, you’re right. I understand and…I’m sorry”

He smiled. “It’s all cool dude. But breakfast is in a few minutes, and Dawn asked for me to wake you, so hurry up and make your way to the double doors.”

My stomach rumbled. I was hungry, and didn’t want to wait until lunch to eat. Quickly rolling out of bed, I fumbled with a white T-shirt and headed out into to hall; around the corner, the kids were already lined up. I joined them, my back erect against the wall like I was standing at attention. IT was awake just in time to give the orders.

Hey, I like you stance there kid. Have you every thought about joining the army?

I tried to block him out, but his voice was very powerful today, almost as if he was real.

No.

No? Well I guess you like being pushed around then huh? To be unable to fend for yourself because everybody does everything for you? What a shame…

I hated to admit it, but he was right. All my life, I’ve been coddled by my mother and everyone else, that I never really got a chance to do things myself. 


No….please… I begged, I don’t want to be treated like a child anymore! Teach me to be strong, to stand alone, on my own.

IT grinned devilishly. Perfect. Suddenly, IT’s voice was gruff and authoritative, his dominating personality making it impossible to resist. Then attention maggot!

My reaction was automatic, as I saluted bravely. The kids stared at me with strange looks; even Alaina knew something was different about me this morning. But I didn’t care, as I was convinced that I was a soldier preparing for the war. The only war going on was the war inside my head.

Yes sir!

From now on, you will call me sergeant, do you understand??

Yes sergeant sir!

Now drop down and give me 20!

I got on my hands and knees and began to count off. Part of me hesitated as I looked at Alaina’s worried face, but my body didn’t care. I continued to heave myself off the floor, and back down again. Alaina slowly walked up to me, and I froze in place.

“Josh, is everything ok?”

Oh crap, what should I say? That I was following my sergeant’s orders? No, that make me sound like a nut. I gotta say something!

“Just doing my morning exercises. Gotta stay fit you know!”

Alaina raised an eyebrow, but walked away.  IT was silent, as he always was when she was around. She made me think clearer, and filled me with peace. But now that she disappeared into the background, he came back with a vengeance.

Are you getting soft on me soldier?! Does that girl have control over your body? Well? Does she? 

No serge…

Then why the holy hell did you stop? Did I tell you to-

Before IT could finish ostracizing me, Dawn walked by to open the doubledoors. A sigh of relief washed over me as we all began to head down for breakfast. 

I’m not finished with you private! I have a new mission for you when you get back!

Breakfast went by fast. I slowly savored my pancakes which I generously slathered in syrup, and ate two blueberry muffins. I loved blueberry muffins, especially when they had that soft and gooey texture to them. Then, when I was finished, I emptied my tray. IT waited until I was out of the cafeteria to bark orders.

I want to see you march soldier! Understand?!

Yes sergeant sir!

Forward…MARCH!

My left foot raised high off the ground and landed in front of the other, and vise versa, as I mechanically marched down the corridor. Its not that I wanted to, I just didn’t have a choice. I swiftly pivoted my right foot as I made a perfect 90 degree turn, then continued all the way past the double doors. As Dawn watched me come in, I ceased my march and smiled at her. Then I headed into my room, where my untidy bed awaited me. IT was enraged.

Whats the meaning of this soldier? This commode is disgraceful! Fix it immediately!

I ran to my bed and began to straighten out the wrinkles.

The creases must be crisp! The edges must be neat!

I didn’t really know what an army bed was supposed to look like, and I really didn’t feel like being there all day making my bed. IT was watching, however, and I was afraid of him. I tightened the bottom corners, neatly tucked and folded. Then I evened out the sides and proceeded with the comforter. IT looked at it in disgust.
Terrible! Do it again! 

Another voice in my mind cried out in protest.

No Josh, you did fine! Don’t listen to him!

Who should I believe? Myself, or others opinions?  Even if IT manifested itself from my psycho-depressive thoughts, he still didn’t own my heart. My self criticism fed the thoughts, but if they were starved, I would build confidence. I didn’t even realize this, and took the tiny compliment as insignificant, tearing the entire bed apart. 

The next 30 minutes I spent evaluating and reavaluating my work, still unsatisfied. It had to be perfect, I thought, observing every wrinkle and crevasse. Something was still missing, and I pulled a wandering Dawn into my room for a second opinion. Only other’s opinions mattered to me, and even then I doubted myself.

“Dawn, is this how you make a bed army style?”

She looked it over for a second and nodded. “Looks good to me Josh. Why? Do you want to join the army?”

“Yes ma’am. I’m in training right now.”

She looked at me and frowned, then left the room.

Ok soldier, now that your beds done, its time to work on stealth tactics! See that alcove under the drinking fountain? I want you to make it under there without being seen! GO GO GO!

Crouching, I flipped headfirst into the hall, rolling on the floor as I made my way to the fountain. To my surprise, somebody had already  beat me to it. A boy huddled against the wall, eyes filled with fear.

“What are you doing here?” I asked

“Hiding…” he replied

“Hiding from what?”

“I don’t know. Just hiding”

It was at that moment that I realized, I was no different from him. And if he was acting out of character like he was, truly I too was not being myself. I decided to get up, and find something to distract IT from getting to me. I went to the daily routine chart, and traced my finger to the 11:00 spot. It read, “Music Therapy in the Schoolroom”. I went up to the nurse to inquire.
“Excuse me, where is the schoolroom?”

She looked up at me from her charting. “Oh, easy, follow this hall until it ends, and it should be on your left.”

I smiled at her. “Thanks!”

I headed into the room, nostalgic of the typical classroom setting: a chalkboard, rows of desks, motivational posters, and of course, a teacher. I took a seat by one of the desks, and grabbed a paper and pencil from inside the desk. I thought about my high school, and just how much work I was missing. I didn’t care about the kids, no, that I could care less about. I missed the challenge homework posed to me. I missed the satisfaction of expressing my knowledge in new ways that proved my well-rounded understanding of the subjects I objectively studied. The excitement of making the ‘A-grade’. That’s what I missed. I wondered if I could possibly work on some of my homework so I could stay caught up. I approached the teacher before the rest of the kids filed in.

“Youre the teacher, correct?”

He scratched the back of his head. “Of sorts, yes. What is your question?”

“Could I possibly work on some of my homework here?”

He smiled, impressed by my dedication. “Sure, what’s your name?”

“Joshua White.”

“Hold on. Let me get what your high school sent over.” He went to the other side of the room and sifted through the files. “What subject do you want to work on?”

I had five classes back at Dakota High: Precalculus, which I didn’t especially care for but was pretty good at. Then there was Physical Science, which was mostly common sense mixed with formula application. French was one of my favorites, but was a lot of memorization, something I felt was too much for me at the time. Creative writing was simple and came natural to me, and Choir was, well, choir. Precalculus seemed the most trivial but pertinent to my high school career. Dakota put much emphasis on mathematics, so I was almost certain it would show up in my college studies. 

“Precalculus.”

He sifted through more files until he found a familiar book. There was a note attached to it, and as he gave it to me, it was clear to me that it was a list of assignments I had missed. The note was from my Precalculus teacher, Mr. Demorest. It read:

Josh, 
I am sorry to hear what happened. Here is a list of problems we’ve done in class. Do what you can, and don’t worry about the rest. Feel better.
Best regards,
-Adam Demorest

I cracked open the book, and flipped through the pages. The first few chapters I recognized and understood completely, but the further in I got, the more hazy the material seemed. I didn’t know why, it was so easy before, why does it all of a sudden make no sense? The symbols, once fresh in my mind, were alien to me. I picked up my pencil and started to work on a problem, only to stop and stare at what I had written. I consulted the book, the hidden language of formulas and variables closing in on me as I started to breathe heavily. The problem wasn’t hard, so why did everything seem so overwhelming? I tried to analyze it, but my brain wasn’t cooperating. My hands started to sweat, and the pencil started to shake in my quivering hands. My leg trembled, and my eyes darted frantically across the page.

Cmon Josh! Its easy, just focus!”

But I couldn’t focus. My mind kept drifting. I tried to redirect it, but IT kept pulling me off the train of thought.

You cant do this. You’re nuts now like the rest of them. Give up and give in.  

My conscience was quiet. I couldn’t find a reason to continue. Everything seemed hopeless and every question seemed impossible. Had I lost the only thing that gave me purpose? Had my one motivator vanished up in smoke? What if I could never excel at school ever again? Was I destined to be a failure? Am I trapped in this place for the rest of my life, doomed to rot away in inferiority? The spiraling depression coiled around me like a snake, squeezing every ounce of hope from my body. I had to escape. I had to leave myself behind. I slammed the book shut, chucked my pencil across the room, and stormed out.


Submitted: December 26, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Joshua White. All rights reserved.

Chapters

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

unmasked delusions

Yay :) I didn't know you had another chapter up. I wasn't disappointed at all. It just gets better and better every time! I think the point of the delusions is to scare the reader but in a way I actually like them because it's so unique and like you said before it's cool having the protagonist and antagonist in one. Plus it might be because of my pen name- unmasking the delusions haha. I loved the delusion of the sergeant in this one it really made the chapter. Oh and I had a question, is all of this a true story about you- or did you add a little fiction?

Wed, January 7th, 2015 4:55pm

Author
Reply

Thank you! Yes, I actually did, would you like me to keep you updated? And yeah, I do want to give the reader that sense of fear but I try to do it in a way that makes them want to read more. Yes, your pen-name definately does relate, and yes, i did add a little bit of fiction, because in honesty, I acted more than I thought, so to just have the character acting impulsively without some sort of motive would make the story random and nonsensical. Im hoping i dont scare my readers though, theres a positive message in this story, like any story. I try to not keep it too depressing either :)

Wed, January 7th, 2015 10:51am

unmasked delusions

Your welcome, and yeah if you can I would love to be updated. :) But if you forget I probably wont forget to check every so often. Oh and yeah you did the fear thing in a perfect way and I get what you mean about having the character act a certain way without any motive but to so far you haven't done that and I really do enjoy the main character and even all the little characters on the side.I don't think you'll scare your readers haha, I love this genre and I'm sure whoever decides to read this will too. I actually like depressing but I understand what you mean. Anyways have fun writing :)

Wed, January 7th, 2015 9:38pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for your continued support! :)

Thu, January 8th, 2015 9:02am

Facebook Comments

Other Content by Joshua White

Short Story / True Confessions

Poem / Poetry