Watered Down

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Interpret this, please.

Submitted: October 28, 2014

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 28, 2014

















|Austin Mathew|



I awake in the most comfortable bedding that I could get my hands on. Its price could stave starvation in an African village. However I cannot avoid the uncomfortable feeling that my skin has adopted. The creatures that live in the dermis, the bugs that peek through follicles and the raw nerves rubbing against the product of my gluttonous pursuits. My room smells like campfire from the incense, whose remnants fall into a pile underneath their stand where I’m constantly burning them.  Next to me is an empty indent in my mattress where my wife, Gina, sleeps. She is probably already up and off gossiping with her fake friends about their unimportant lives. Either that or fucking her personal trainer. Whichever one it is, I’m glad she’s anywhere but here.

People always wish that they could have money like me. They wish they could buy anything they want, and not have to do a single thing for a penny of it. My dad made all of this money, not me. He was rich as hell, deceiving as Satan and I swear he never died, he just left his body to haunt me.  

Until I was 20, I had always seen the money as an escape. In the back of my mind, I knew I was like an open wound, which oozed money like thick blood, leaving a crimson handprint everywhere I slithered. The sludge in my soul coursed through my very being. Soon I grew very tired of the safety and mundaneness of my pathetic and parasitic life. However, the ease is so hard to leave. Now I’m 27 and stay in a reclusive state, painting to sustain some sort of sanity. I know you aren’t going to sympathize with me, and you shouldn’t. I was born in to most people’s dreams, and happiness still eludes me. I am the worst kind of person. I am the bugs in my skin and the sludge in my soul.

I stay sitting on my bed in the dark for a presumably large sum of time, staring at the dust particles that float in the slivers of sunlight emitting themselves through the gaps in my blinds. I often envy those particles, floating in no particular direction, with no place to be and just falling. They’re always just waiting to be kicked up again and start another journey. I envy them, and feel like one of them at the same time. The only difference between me, and the particle of dust is that the particle of dust is content floating with no sense of direction. The dust is ok with just falling through their very existence. Dust is not susceptible to boredom, depression or thoughts of self-worth.

Unfortunately I’m yanked out of my seemingly lobotomized state to the ungodly sight of my wife and the eardrum bursting noise her high heels clapping against the hardwood. She used to be beautiful honestly, until she filled herself with silicone. She reminds me of dogs when you pull the skin behind their head and stretch the skin on their face so that their eyes squint. Only with huge fake lips… and tits. She bursts through the door, sending my beloved particles swirling chaotically. She goes in to her master bedroom sized closet searching frantically for an outfit that, in her words, won’t make her “look like an underprivileged youth”. Apparently, they wear a lot of Gucci and Prada, because she must have been searching for a good 30 minutes. Eventually the plastic monster found something that she miraculously made look somewhat decent. Alright, she made it look somewhat decent to moderately shitty. She throws out one of my suits on to the bed and says “we’re going to a party tomorrow”. I knew that this would be a party filled with rich assholes that I can’t stand. Surprisingly, a year ago I would’ve cared enough about appearances to be concerned about this party. Now, the sheer thought of talking to those rich bastards makes the bugs in my skin not only crawl, but run and jump like they are trying to escape having to join me at this obnoxious gag-worthy gathering.

However, I thought it would be a nice opportunity to expose their sophisticated, art-appreciating facades. I chose one of my least favorite paintings, it looks like the one curly hair on the head of stereotypically drawn babies, with a poop green blob at the bottom of it. It is truly the most atrocious thing I’ve ever seen.

I get up from my bed and leave the room without saying a word to Gina.  I walk down the hall way, bare feet being separated from the marble floor by a plush red carpet, down the curling steps of my stairs until I finally get to the door. Humans shouldn’t have to walk that far to go outside, it’s disgusting. I left because I had the sudden urge to visit to the nearest convenience store. I don’t know exactly how that coerced me to get out of bed. Usually I hate the sun, but right now I wanted to feel the warm rays on my face. I step out in to the palpable heat with my bare feet on the hot pavement and wearing nothing but sweat-shorts. I walk through the valley of the shadow of mansions and sprinklers, acknowledging neighbors with a smile and nod, but they just stare back in abhorrence. It’s dark by the time I reach the store, walking under the palm trees, with every few steps being illuminated by the street lights. In my mind, they are shades of vivid blue and purple. It makes the monotony melt away, while I dance in the warm colors.

I enter the store and it occurs to me that I need shoes and a shirt to be allowed in there. I buy a bright pink shirt that says “I <3 Cali.” (Being as how that was the only one available) and some flimsy sandals. The cashier looks at me and my dirty feet as I hand him my black card. Clearly puzzled, he asks to see some ID. Once he looks over my ID and compares my face to the picture what seems to be a hundred times, he shakes his head and swipes my titanium card. Now that I’m properly dressed, I get a pint of caramel ice cream and a plastic spork, flash the ice cream at him and throw a hundred dollar bill on the counter. Not in a rude way, just in an “I don’t want to spend time on getting my card out again” type of way. Ok, maybe a rude way.

By a force other than my conscious self, I’m placed on a curb. I sit their watching the purple and blue lights dance with the orange moon in the background as steam rhythmically blows out of manholes like there were little people blowing steam through quarter sized flutes. I watch this gorgeous show as I wait for my ice cream to soften for my plastic spork. At this moment, the bugs in my skin are finally able to rest.

Although I awake at 6:00 A.M being nudged by an officer’s shoe, on hot concrete, covered in ice cream and in some of the worst clothing money can buy, I am comfortable and cannot escape the overwhelming happiness I feel. The bugs have evacuated my skin, finally the unrelenting crawling subsides. I’m ushered out of the area by the officer and sent on my way.

While I’m walking towards the nearest clothing store to get some clothes that won’t scare away people, I see a man asking for change. I hand him all the change I have and shake his hand. His hand felt like leather, and was covered in dirt, he looked to be about 60 and his hair looked as if he hadn’t taken a shower for at least a month or two, his shoes and pants had holes in them and his stench was reminiscent of a bucket full of old mayonnaise and onions.

“I have something more than a few nickels for you man, Come with me” I said and motioned with my hand for him to follow me. We walked to the nearest hotel. I got a suite and took him up to the room and told him to wait while I got him some things. I went to a nearby store and got some body wash and a loofa, then I went and got four bags of clothes including some suits that are a little too nice even by my standards.

 I went back up to the room and the man was gone. “He must still be somewhere in the hotel” I thought to myself. I walked out and started down the hallway. I’ve always loved the feeling of being barefoot in a hotel, the nostalgia it brings and the soft carpet under my feet. It’s one of the only things that comforts me and makes me happy nowadays. After walking for a little bit, I find him at the vending machine. He had gotten Chex-Mix and water with the change he had gathered and looked pretty happy while polishing off the bag.

“We are going to get breakfast you know” I said.

“Why are you doing this? Is it so you can feel better about yourself? I saw your black card, are you trying to relieve some of your guilt?” he replied.

I was quite taken back by this, I felt like this homeless man had more insight to my life than anyone else.

“I just thought it’d be nice to” and before I could explain myself, he cut me off.

“It’s not going to work”

“What?” I said, feeling pretty disappointed at this point.

“You doing all this for me won’t make you feel any better.”

I felt crushed after he said that, because I knew it was true. It might help for a little while, but what about when I get back to my undeserved mansion? The bugs that had finally let me rest started peeking out from their hiding places, ready to borough in to my skin once more.

“So you don’t want me to help you out?” I said, sounding like a sad child who made a gift that their parents didn’t like.

“No, I’m enjoying this while it lasts. But I know when it’s over, I’ll be back out there, just as broke, just as hungry and just as dirty. I just wanted you to know that you’re going to experience the same.” He said, as he nonchalantly tilted his head back and finished off the bag of Chex-Mix.

The bugs scurried off, for now.

After he cleaned up, he looked very scholarly and wise. It was obvious that he was, after talking to him. He had such a great mind. I called a taxi for us and we drove off to the café. While driving there, I saw him crack his first real smile since I’ve made his acquaintance, although brief, the picture of him smiling has resonated in my mind and made me grin innumerable times thereafter.

The aroma of coffee, pancakes, bacon and French toast filled the air of the café when we walked in. The sound of coffee being made and the sizzling food being cooked was oddly peaceful. Laptop keys are being mashed, taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi, minds are buzzing like generators, books are being read and chess pieces are moving across boards as valiant warriors. I got stuffed French toast with whipped cream, juicy strawberries, drizzled in maple syrup and coated with powdered sugar. However, when I looked at it a second time, the French toast was covered in mold, the strawberries had rotted and the maple syrup had transformed into coagulated blood. He got fluffy scrambled eggs, brown sugar and cinnamon pancakes, hash browns, a slice of French toast, fresh fruit, orange juice and a cappuccino. At a second glance, his food just improved.

“I never asked your name by the way.” I said.

“Lucas; and yours?”


 I was curious how a man like him ends up in his position, and before I could ask he says “Drugs, that’s what landed me where I am, heroin mostly. It’s crazy how something can induce such euphoria, make you feel incredible, and at the same time give you the feeling that bugs are infesting your skin. I knew you were going to ask, so there you go.” I could connect with him on this more than he’d ever know, however I didn’t want to compare having money that I didn’t earn to a life destructing drug. He went on about how he’s clean now but he hasn’t gotten back on his feet. He’s older and it’s hard to find good work for people his age, especially in this economy.

“I will pay for you to stay in that hotel for three months. If you still haven’t found a job by then, come by my place and I’ll figure something out.” I pulled out a napkin from the dispenser, wrote my address onto it and handed it to him. He thanked me and told me how he expected me to just throw him out on the street and forget about him after getting my self-righteous fix. We went back to the hotel and I gave him money for food and transportation to job interviews. He gave me a hug and thanked me again for all I was doing, I shook his leathery hand one more time before leaving.

I decided to ride the bus home to remove some of the disconnection I usually feel with the average person. While sitting at the bus stop surrounded by people that most of my peers would find revolting, I feel relieved. Nobody knows that I have millions of dollars to my name, nobody knows I have mansions in multiple states and vacation homes in multiple countries and nobody pretends to give a shit about me. However, after looking at the faces around me and seeing that they aren’t any happier than I am, I feel worse than ever. For me, this is a nice break. To them, it’s part of the struggle. At that time, I felt like I had transformed in to one large phallus slumped on a seat. The bugs start to crawl back in abundance. They come from every crevice, from peoples’ bags, mouths, noses and ears and begin embedding themselves into my pores.

The bugs crawled under my feet at my stop to carry me off the bus and take me home. People stared, and I assume because it is quite odd to see a large phallus being carried by a fleet of bugs. I imagine how I’m going to look, being a giant penis in a suit. Normal I guess, all the people I converse with have gotten so used to seeing us all be giant dicks. We started to think that’s how everyone is. It was only when I was in the presence of normal and anatomically correct human beings that I realized the form I had taken.

I regain my normal shape and the bugs begin to carry me up to get dressed. Sitting on my bed in my suit I watch the particles I love so much. They are now lit up and brought to life by moon light that varies from shades of orange, red, green and blue. The variation changes speed in sync with the songs running through my head. That party is the most beautiful thing, the burnt orange transitioning to teal, far better tha… “Ian! Where did you go last night?!?!” The light snaps to its normal pale white and the dust is disrupted once more. Without time to wish the particles a good journey, I get smacked in the back of the head being asked to at least make up an answer. I told her I went for a walk, she said “If your excuses are going to be that lame from now on, then I’m leaving you” and with as much apathy as I could muster, I responded, “Oh no, baby please. I can change I swear”. At my apathetic response, she storms out of the room, sending the dust tumbling through the air.












During the drive to the party, Gina and I shared not a single glance, a single utterance or a single gesture. We arrived and walked in, I had the canvas that my horrendous painting resided on and a stand to put it on display. I walked to the center of where everyone was conversing of very adult things, telling very pretentious jokes and (to me, at least) looking and sounding very silly. When I got to the center, I set up the poop ball growing a curly hair. Nobody saw me set it up, they were too enthralled in their pompous discussions.  It wasn’t long before people started circling it, appearing to be deep in thought, rubbing their chins, hands on hips, getting out glasses to examine it closer and they started making guesses as to what the artist (me) was trying to convey with this “piece”. One said it was a social commentary on how we’re changing the earth in to a bleak ball of garbage that could only sustain a few plants, some thought it was a self-portrait, some didn’t know what to think but didn’t want to seem like they didn’t get it, so they just tried to appear deep in thought and nodded their heads.

One of the contemplative apes was a man who held a special place of loathing in my heart. His name was Steve, and he thought he had this painting all figured out. He even went around correcting people on how they were interpreting it. “No, see that’s wrong because the ball is this shade of green, and that’s meant to represent envy” and other nonsense like that. The incredibly sad thing is that people were eating the garbage he was feeding them. I walked over to him to talk about it. “Hey Steve, what do you think of the painting?”

“Oh, well I think it’s a self-portrait of a balding man who has low self-esteem and is plagued with ubiquitous envy. It’s just gratuitous, you know?” Steve loved using big words, even if he didn’t know how to use them correctly. I would call him a pseudo-intellectual, but I think that very term makes a person come off as a pseudo-intellectual.

“Oh, why yes, extremely gratuitous. By your interpretation it even sounds a little anthropocentric wouldn’t you say?”

“Exactly!”  Man he is such an idiot.

Nobody else at the party had anything bad to say about it. They either talked about how they loved it, or how they interpreted it. I laughed to myself and could feel the bugs giggling along with me. I found myself wishing that Lucas was here accompanying me, to laugh at all of these people. Adults being peer pressured in to pretending like they understand art, so much so that now instead of laughing at ridiculous paintings, they see it as a work of genius.

I go to the bar and ask for some water. Thrown off by this rare request within the company of this party, he says “sparkling or regular?”

As a joke for myself I say “what do I look like? A peasant? Sparkling” he gives me the bottle of water, with a look of disgust on his face. Soon people were offering to buy the painting, most likely to flaunt the amount of money they’re willing to spend. The offer went from $50,000 to $1,000,000. My amusement of the situation turned to depression. I stormed over to the painting, disassembled the stand and walked out with it before anyone could say a word to me. I walked back to my place and threw the painting in my garage, shut the light off and slammed the door.

I slowly and despondently climbed each step of my stairs until I reached my second floor and placed myself down on the window seat. There I sat, head tilted, eyes wide open and transfixed on the moonlit carpet as I witnessed my floor cave into itself. I fell with it, in to an empty and wide abyss. In it I saw rich and poor, happy and sad, strong and weak, old and young and those in between. All those people, falling. Nobody had an advantage, nobody was at a disadvantage, and we were all, just… falling. You could go faster, by orienting your body in some way, but this would never help you. You could slow yourself down, however, this will never save you from your inevitable unending fall. If anything, the oldest are at an advantage, they are closer to the bottom.

During our descent, most people were in complete dismay, including myself. Although I looked over and saw that a few were more than jovial. I looked at one of these composed fools and asked them,

“Why are you so fucking calm? As far as we know, we’ll be falling forever!”

“You just have to enjoy the fall. Do you not feel as free as you could ever imagine? Think of all that is possible now that we aren’t bolted to the ground!” he replied.

After he asked me this, he started doing flips and began to fly around.

“But doesn’t it all scare you? The thought that we are falling towards nothing?” I said.

“Sometimes, but then I think of all we can do now! Plus there could be anything down there!” he replied.

I looked to my other side and saw five people brainstorming on how to kill themselves.

“Ok, if we can make a parachute out of our clothes and find a way to make some sort of noose, maybe the parachute would create enough force to snap our”…

I wake up with the sun beating down on my back and my face covered in drool, along with my carpet. My head is pounding and when I start rolling my shoulder, it pops like muffled fireworks in my ear. God I hate optimists. I stumble to my bathroom, my eyes thick with dried contacts in them. I finally get them out and strip down and trip in to the steaming shower. The water feels like it’s burning off my skin, which is kind of nice, and I breathe in the vapor from the shower. I stand there, watching drops of water fall off of my body. I envy the drops second to my particles of dust, they are instantly attracted to each other and they don’t get tired of their bonds. Not in a romantic way either, just really good chemistry for a friendship. I don’t have that. All my “friends” never want to spend time with me. I talk to them for a little while and then that’s it. Same in high school, even though it was a private school, I was still considered a rich kid. Kids made fun of me until they were old enough to get the concept of using someone. They were nothing like the water drops, they hurt each other and formed a horribly separated puddle.

I stared at the blank, white porcelain for at least 30 minutes. I then washed my body and hair to make me feel like I somehow cleaned up the bug shit that the creatures in me leave around. I get out of the shower and wipe the condensation off of my mirror. Looking at myself, I see green eyes looking back at the eyes of a man who hasn’t shaved in months, hair in a bun and big glasses. Teeth yellowed from indulging in cigarettes at a younger age, and a large scar across his chest. The decay of this man rapidly picks up and soon the yellow teeth go to black and clink one by one in to the white sink that now has drops of blood on it. His flesh starts to rot. I try to look away but those green eyes have me held in place. Maggots feast on the flesh and the rest of the skin and muscle falls off the bone.

I finally look away and there’s one thing I keep repeating in my head.

“I’ll never be like that guy”

I leave the steam filled bathroom with my towel wrapped around my waist and go downstairs, I open my fridge and bask in the cold fog that comes flowing out of it. I grab a bottle of water, snap it open and start to gulp. I sit up on my counter and stare out of the window, I take my glasses off so that everything reflecting light at a reasonable distance turns to blobs. They don’t hold their shape and only vary in their size. This is a part of having bad vision I don’t mind. It reminds me of the man who was making the most out of falling. I quickly put back on my glasses in fear of becoming anything like those obnoxious, optimistic idiots. I then start to think of the suicidal engineers and look at the knives in the kitchen, I then turn once more and begin to contemplate downing a particularly unsafe amount of the plethora of medications my wife abuses. Maybe I should shorten the fall, I’ll never be anything like the dust.

Just as I was thinking this I hear a loud screech and the sound of metal crumpling and glass exploding come from outside. I walk out far too nonchalantly to be considered anything but a wretched being who is void of any morality or decency. One of my neighbors, a pill popping whore similar to my wife, had crashed into a large tree that had its roots embedded in my front lawn. I walk down to the car, squinting to fight the sun rays that are attempting to blind me. With some force, I managed to get the door open, and the lady’s body slumped over so her corpse was hanging out of the car door. Blood was dripping all over the broken glass and twisted metal. While I sat there, staring at her limp, mangled body, I determined that dying was for fools and that I will not suffer this fate from my own hand. I reached for my iPhone and ordered Siri to dial 911.

“If this is an emergency please press any button at any time, or stay on the line” said the automated message. I pressed six, I like six, although it was a little difficult to decide which number I would like to press.

“911, what is your emergency?”

“Yeah, a lady just crashed in to my tree and died.”

“Ok, I need you to stay calm sir, can you do that for me?” she replied.

“Yes.” I said.

“Ok sir, and what is your address?” she said.

“In this day and age can’t you guys just get my position from the GPS capabilities of my phone?” I replied.

“Yes we can sir, however, it is faster if you just tell me your address. We can only tell where you are within 50-100 meters” She replied, sounding so flatly toned that it made me and the bugs enraged.

“Ok… I’m on southeast Pine Street, go from there. I’ll leave my phone on this chick’s car.” I said, as I placed the phone down on the least fucked up part of the car and walked in to my house to get dressed. I put on my normal outfit, which I wear so often, I am sort of like a cartoon character in that respect. This cartoon outfit consists of some brown leather sandals, blue shorts that go to just above my knees and what has to be the most comfortable thin, off-white, heathered shirt in existence.

I get down to my door, and when I open it I feel my heart sink with worry for the first time for as long as I can remember. Lucas was outside and he was running up to my neighbor’s corpse that was hanging by her seatbelt. He got to her, got on his knees and checked her pulse. Once he confirmed she was dead, he held her and started bawling. He released her from being suspended by the seatbelt and by the way he was acting you’d think that he was her husband. Although, her husband probably would have just cried for appearance, but this, this was real. He looked up at me with the most disgusted look, like he was detesting my very coming into existence.

“Sad, huh?” I said, trying to act like I was truly upset, with the exact opposite of success.

“You fucking piece of shit…” He could barely speak past his tears of desolation and pure rage.

“I’m sorry man, this happening made me realize that I didn’t want to die. After that realization, I just really didn’t want to deal with this. She was a bitch anyway” I said, slowly realizing my characteristics that resembled feces.

“Are you that selfish?!? Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME!?!” He said, projecting spit and snot with every word he screamed.

“I don’t know. You don’t know these people like I do Lucas. They’re selfish, pretentious, greedy, soulless and just rotten people.” I said, defensively.

“Aren’t you one of them?” He said, now in complete awe at my ignorance.

No, I mean, technically, but I’m better than them, I recognize that I’m a piece of shit.” I said, internally wincing at my own words.

“Are you? What’s better, being an ignorant asshole; or an asshole that is well aware of it, and continuing to be one and then judging those that are doing as he is?” He asked, glaring at me, stunned that he had so poorly judged me after our first time meeting.

“Well… Fuck” I said, standing there with my man bun, facial hair and glasses feeling like the epitome of an idiot.

 “I want to show you something.” I said. I went inside and opened my garage door, grabbed the painting and walked out to show Lucas.

“What do you think about this painting?” I said.

“It sucks.” He replied.

“Really?” I said. Somehow, I was deeply offended by him saying that. I had been starving for a person to tell me the truth about what they thought of this painting, but once I got it, I felt angry and like I wanted to puke. Like presenting a malnourished child with a feast, it was overwhelming. “You know, someone wanted to buy it for a million dollars.” I said

“Doesn’t make it any less shitty” Lucas said with a straight face.

Before I could express my anger, an ambulance, fire truck and police car pulled up with their red and blue lights flashing. I went and grabbed my iPhone and walked back in to the house.



Chapter III: Decay


When I got inside, I was fuming. What would Lucas know about art? The most art he is exposed to is probably graffiti. He knows nothing about abstract art, nothing of my complex expression. I fling my fist in to my wall, creating a hole which releases millions of pests. Millipedes make their way through my nasal passages, causing me to gag as I feel them wriggle though my cheeks. I run upstairs to my bathroom and lock the door after blocking the bottom of it with a towel. I turn around and glance at the mirror, standing there was the rotten man I had seen before. His barren eye sockets peering in to my polluted soul, jaw unhinged on one side, his body starts to disintegrate and I hear his screams that sound like amplified cries of genocide victims. I cup my ears, but this only makes the screams louder, as if the screech were internal and it bounced off of my hands and back in to my ears. The withering holes where those green eyes once pierced in to mine, have me locked in place. I begin to scream back at him, like a chorus of humans belting out cries of horror. My scream drives away all occupants of my skin and I soon overpower him and he disintegrates to dust. 

My house starts to shake and the lights flicker on and off. Every time the light is on, I see a different person in the mirror. A child and then me, a child and then me, a child… and then me…

I open the door to the rubble of my guilt provoking cage, there stood a younger Gina. She was untouched by the scalpel and she was beautiful. I didn’t want her to go; but she started to walk away, and despite the destruction happening around us, she was smiling. I ask her why she’s so happy, and I get no reply. She starts to undress as she walks and I get the privilege of once again seeing her imperfections I missed so much. She reaches the front door, which is the last standing thing in the midst of a collapsing mansion. The wall and ceiling are hailing stone and splinters of wood as they crumble. I start sprinting towards her when I see the light poor in as the door opens. I’m blinded by the light but I keep running and I finally reach her and grab her shoulder. I could feel it, it was so real, so smooth and so warm. As soon as I felt it, she disappeared, and the overwhelming flood of light turned in to dusk. The woman I loved is gone, my house is back and there’s a lifeless body of an innocent woman being placed in an ambulance.

I fall to my knees and start bawling. A paramedic comes over to comfort me, I can’t feel his touch and it scares me.

“Somebody must love her.” I said

The paramedic looks down at me, but stays silent.















For the next few days, I obsess over Gina’s smile. Not the current Gina, but the one I loved, the one that died years ago. She was so happy to see my mansion crumble, so happy to see that the man in the mirror had withered away. I was happy too, but she hasn’t been happy for years. I did that to her, she wasn’t plagued by currency before we got married. She was a weird, cute, middle-class awkward girl I met and fell in love with when we were both eighteen. The termites inside me ate all of my bridges, including the one to Gina.

I infected her, I created something else for me to hate. Seems to be the theme, after all, I created who I am today.

I can’t fix this, I can’t go back. I need to start over. Maybe I’ll go to Siberia, all alone where I can’t hurt anyone. I would just live in the woods and the only other ones occupying my cabin would be my lovely dust. I would make a tin roof for it, so that when it rains I could hear the drops of water dance together as they fall and hold on to one another to form their beautiful puddles. I’ll never venture off to an area where there’s a possibility of human contact.

I start to pack, get my ridiculous amount of painting supplies and stuff them in to a large luggage case. I go to leave my house, my feet pressing in to the velvety floor runners for the last time. I go down the spiral stairs and open my door.

I’m stricken with a heart sinking terror when I open the door only to see the entrance to my mansion peering back at me. The only difference is that the lights are off and it’s night-time. I make my way towards the backyard. I slide open the glass sliding door, but as I do this, the night sky changes to a chandelier, the fence turns to walls and the grass turn to a wooden floors. Once again I’m in the entrance of my cage. This time the lights are on and it’s unfurnished. I stumble up to the wall and lean against it. I feel my mind buzzing. Blood rushes to my face and my lungs start to expand and contract like I’m trying to breath above the earth’s atmosphere. I slide down the wall, panicked and all hope dismissed.

I crawl to my garage. It’s pitch black, So I reach for the light, but it’s not there. I drag my suitcases in and realize that it’s not dark, just black and empty. I can see all my things as if it were daylight, but there is no source of light.

I think to myself that this is better than Siberia. This way I don’t even disrupt the dust, nor do I ruin the puddles. I shut the door and lay down. I feel calm, ready to die. Not wanting to die, just ready for it to happen when it does.

The beautiful woman I had loved so long ago appeared from the darkness and sat beside me.

“Is this really what you want? To be alone, left to your own mind and imagination?” she said.

“Sounds like my life these last couple of years.” I replied.

“Sad, we used to have so much fun. We used to be so insane about each other. We lived life.” She said, deeply saddened by what I had become.

“I know…” I replied.

“I still love you” she said.

I simply looked at her and nodded my head, then looked back in to the never ending darkness. Her body then collapsed, transforming into a pile of roaches. They began to scurry over to my mouth, wriggling down my throat while hissing in rage. They make their way inside me, antennas tickling my insides. I just lay there, still gazing into the abyss invinting them to crawl inside of me. Just more companions, I suppose.



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