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AGWL IV - GGW IIX - Round 4

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FrostedMidnight's avatar

Dangerous Darling

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It’s subtle—

It creeps up between the keystrokes

that denote a rhythm

as steady as your heartbeat—

An insidious ennui that causes you to


One more click,

one more key, one more heartbeat lost to the pulse
of technology’s ever flowing stream—

time slips away, flowing forward freely as you hesitate,

your heartbeat stutters for one more

Yume The Loving creature's avatar

Familiar Businesswoman

Entry, barely in time!

A Taxing Marriage

Upon these hands
I made a death
appear as seamless
as my wedding dress.

Stripping off skin like a bear belt
lapping the bloods plasma
as I need its wealth
brings me a painful yearning
of more lopped bodies,
and cries of others
seem not to help.

I cannot decide if I should slice the knife
downward to dig
or upward to skin
diagonal to make a pattern
all options seem bland.

My days go on as I hang my treasures
floating lifelessly
hanging steadily
tied upon piano strings,
their sways in the wind
reminisce to wind chimes.

The empty hollow in my heart
seems only to whistle
when I tear another apart.

Theses fingers, always shaking for attention
get it from the unsuspecting
in a snare or a trap of detention.

The other entity,
slouched daily in an office box
loves me no more.
His heart has forgotten
the one he had loved.
The one who he had choked
The one who he had hung.

It stays there, empty,
lost of all feeling.
Rose gone from the cheeks,
blood supped up by a mop
then immediately thrown in a garbage heap.

The sharpness of my teeth
only serves him
to open his bottles of alcohol,
tear open new, plastic wrapped things,
and the occasional vacant stare into my mouth
as if to find
words left unsaid.

It must be unsettling, unfair
for him to live in my fantasy.

It must be a fancy, fantastic
to live with all of his wives
old treasures
and make her a citizen
Yutora's avatar

Gracious Stalker

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Writer Selbe

Initially it seemed like a lot of fanservice disguised as pivotal plot points... Then I realized the fanservicing moments were pivotal plot points. I wonder how accurate the show actually is...

I honestly only started it because I was waiting for the new season of Downton Abbey.

Wing, did you go somewhere exciting?

EDIT: and the hobbit trailer is here and now i really wish i didn't actually get it because it looks too good.
TheVoiceOfCreation's avatar

Newbie Hunter

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So.... this is my entry. I have no more to say about it.


Note To The Reader: This piece is untitled as of yet. It is something that I originally started working on to express some of the destructive feelings I’d been battling with at the time, but upon coming back to it at a later date, I realized that it was perfect for an original character whom I created for a roleplay story with a friend.

The character’s name is Zaliyah and she is a “dragon,” or a shapeshifter. She is born in the form of a human and many years later amasses the power to be able to change into her true form, but she’s long been running from her kin because they are corrupt in power, and so she doesn’t want to ascend to a higher form because she is afraid that if she learns to shift back and forth between her two shapes, she will become consumed with the power like most other dragons.

The Elder, who is the leader of the High [dragon] Council, is her father. He conceived her with the most powerful weaver who ever existed; thus, making Zaliyah more powerful than any other dragon or weaver alive. A weaver is a human who demonstrates the ability of “Breath,” which is similar to that of a dragon’s firebreathing. Due to the magick in their blood, they are able to learn to breathe more than one element and control its shape.

Dragons are only supposed to be able to breathe fire, but their lifespans are much longer than weavers, who are considered human, and a dragon’s breath is stronger than that of a weaver’s. It kind of balances out, though, because more advanced weavers can learn things like water and wind in order to douse or redirect a dragon’s breath.

In Zaliyah’s case, she is granted the ability to wield as many elements as a weaver, if not more, because her strength and durability (and family blood) allow her the extra power to do so. As far as anyone knows, she is the only one of her kind left.

After she turned on her father and the High Council, it was forbidden for dragons and weavers to reproduce together. There was a mass genocide that Zaliyah just managed to escape. All children born to a dragon and weaver since were executed at birth, just in case they had the same capacity for Breath as Zaliyah.

The High Council swears that they are the peacekeepers of the realm, but really they are out to destroy all those who oppose them. The Elder raised Zaliyah to be their greatest weapon. She never knew her mother because when The Elder fell to the corruption of the dragons she ran away to escape his wrath, unaware that Zaliyah was even still alive to be saved.

Zaliyah hid for centuries, using potions to mask her true appearance. She refused to use her breath, even on the brink of death. Instead she learns to wield human weapons and use potions created by the young witch, Kima, who took her in and helped her lay low. One day, she meets a lone traveler who came from the city with news that there was someone stealing the breath from dragons and weavers alike. Zaliyah takes an instant liking to the stranger and is finally compelled to emerge from hiding and fight the good fight.

When Kima is shot by an assassin from the dragon city, Zaliyah finds the rage to unlock power the likes of which no one has ever seen before. Something that is not Breath, but far stronger. Something capable of creating caters and shriveling corpses. A power so strong that it makes Zaliyah sick to use it.

This power is the key to Zaliyah’s dragon form and begins her inner struggle against the darkness that comes with changing. Below is a piece of inner dialogue concerning this change.


I am stuck in the middle of the desert. There are no rocks, no hard places, just a bunch of wind storms and blinding dust. I'm afraid that if I don't find my way out of this desolate landscape, I am going to catch fire. The concept of turning my vessel into dust and emerging from it, as if it has really been a sarcophagus all along, terrifies me. If I fear the exposure of my Hellfire against these abandoned dunes, how can I be expected to show the world what lies beneath this mask of clothed flesh?

Fire is uncontrollable. The bitter burn that ravages my make-up is but an ember gathering strength. One cannot reason with a spark, with a flame, with a forest fire. Guide it, maybe, give it direction, if it heeds your sign, and sometimes, just sometimes, it can be snuffed out before it causes too much damage, but reason with it? That’s absurd.

So what does a child born to fire do in that respect? This world cannot afford for me to be controlled by it, so I must learn to live in harmony with it, and that is a lot harder than it sounds- for the might of such an element does not recede with time, it grows. Grows and glows, until I am the size of a pebble in the eye of a sandstorm, with an inferno billowing out around me, and nothing to direct it at. Nowhere to unleash it. All I can do is hold it to my chest- the skin and bones that once were, lost to the tirade.

I wonder if it’s possible for a phantom to hold its shape. People doused in burning gasoline can run for miles before their legs give out, but I don’t have legs, anymore. I am a shrinking piece of coal, whose existence is determined by how much of myself I can find to destroy, and in what order.

All my organs are going to melt away, liquidating, as I fall to my knees and choke them up. The bitter fluid is going to take my breath away, and I will become soul-trapped in the darkness of a perishable vessel. Nothing but the sound of the wind whistling through the caverns of my empty head.

There once was a spark that guided my footsteps, but I am no longer aware of it. I have no idea how long it has lain dormant, buried somewhere in these sands like a lost treasure. I have no ideas at all, only the ephemeral musings that pass me by. I am not sure if they are the ghosts, or I.

The sands beneath my feet won’t stop moving. Those that travel inside them do not stop moving. Only I have stopped moving, and I have lost my way. I understand the depth of change taking place inside me. I am not an object. I am just a Being, and that makes me more manipulatable than the ground beneath my feet. From the soul to the vessel.

I could let go. This vessel I inhabit was only meant to be temporary, and I have strained it far beyond its capabilities. I could molt and be re-born. Rise, like the dragon that I am, on wings of sulfured breath. But I don’t want to be that creature by design. I want to not be that creature by choice.
Yutora's avatar

Gracious Stalker

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You're going to hate me because this is 5k words, and I'm sorry.
But yes, I finally got my entry...it happened. I nearly missed the date.

I also thinkt his is the most I've used italics again...Gaia makes me stop using them because I am too lazy to actually find them when I copy this.
[i need to start accepting that trying to add horror elements just isn't my thing, saldy. hey, i tired?]

pencil promises fade

I feel like the only human being in the universe when I stand naked on the balcony at four in the morning. The wind whips my body like a slaver. If I look close enough, I can see the world turning at the end of the horizon. I remember how much you liked the view.

You are everywhere in this apartment. It’s sickening how I can’t actually get rid of you. I look over to the aquarium we bought two years ago. You said we needed the company, but since we couldn’t afford a dog this would have to do the trick. I don’t know why exactly, but I decide to take all the goldfish out. I spread them around me on the floor, watching them flop and flop and flop. I mimic them. I imagine they’re dancing with me until they stop moving.

And I’m not sure what’s going on, but something inside of me cracks and I feel guilty. I feel like I just lost some part of you. I feel like I wanted to lose you. I feel like the lack of sleep might be going to my head. I feel like a killer, sick and wrong and I think I’m destroying you. So I pick them up and eat them whole, always careful to keep a portion of you anchored within my chest. I end up brushing the scales from my teeth and lips and feeling satisfied.

Tonight, I won’t be building a man out of blankets and pillows, pressing my face where your chest would be. I won’t close my eyes and pretend to feel your warmth and pulse and the beat of your heart right beneath me. I won’t bite my lip and try not to cry.

Five weeks of that was enough, I think.

So tonight I go through each room and smash every single bulb within this godforsaken apartment because seeing everything we bought together kind of makes me angry. It’s actually quite rejuvenating. The dirty rose madder carpets get sprinkled with glass shards.

I go right back to the balcony afterwards, breathe in the air and try to smile.

I think of the nice little house down the street with the picture perfect white picket fence. I only blink so often because my eyes are going dry, not because I feel like I might break down. Maybe I should get a fence, you’d probably like—

I am in an apartment on the fifth floor, room twenty. I won’t have a fence.

The rain pounds against the window like a thief ready to break in. The glass is an equable rival. It doesn’t manage to change the fact that every smack against it makes me twitch though, and with the heavy downpour it’s a constant twitching. The windowpane itself casts a shadow on the opposite wall; a shadow I am not quite fond of.

It isn’t the smacking that’s the main reason my head pounds, it’s that damn beating of my heart—ba-dum ba-dum—that’s the cause of it; it’s like an aphonic, self-righteous chant whose assurance I do not need. It is cold like a fusillade—volumes of bullet holes to the back of my head making my mind bleed between vigilance and lassitude. It is a rotten touch, vague and brittle. It’s a disgusting aftertaste on the tongue, bitter and sour with bits of pus.

I slam my head against the edge of the tub, only increasing the rhythmic pounding. My salvia tastes like wool when I try to swallow. I eye the mirror above the sink, skipping the whiskey bottle sitting on the edge. Thick obsidian bugs, monstrous in size and appearance, drag themselves along the wall by it, leaving slimy black trails behind wherever they go. My gazes flickers to the reflection of the light bulb swaying within the smeared, fogged up glass.

Someone’s watching me from the other side. At least that’s what it feels like. It’s paranoia with a deep riddled fact that the movie industry likes to play with. A mirror is everything, all that is vulnerable. And someone is sitting behind that glass, jotting down notes of all my failures. When I look long enough, I see your reflection, and it isn’t a pretty one.

My gaze goes back to the windowpane.

You haven’t been home in exactly forty-four days, three hours and a couple of minutes. I’ve been counting, spending the last few hours in a maggot infested bathtub. The brittle, white knots of bleached bodies leaves me squirming. They twist around each other’s limbs, digging into a few cuts on my legs, down to the bones until I gasp out every so often while their dry flesh creeps underneath my own. God, we’ve been meaning to get out of this shithole.

The rust clinging to the bottom of the tub leaves rashes on my skin when I slide down, wanting some space from the heads shooting up from behind my shoulders. The maggot by my neck goes up further until it falls from the edge of my ear and right into it, finding a new home to lay its nests. I ignore it in favour of curling in on myself.

I’ve chosen this spot because we don’t spend much time in here—because it is an escape from that ticking of the various clocks placed around the apartment, not that it completely blocks them out. I have never actually questioned why we own so many, but now I do. Right now, I wish we didn’t have a single one. Right now, I curse the oaken Gustav Becker grandfather clock you thought necessary to buy.

You said it was vital we owned such a fine piece; I don’t know why.

So now I am stuck with the damn Whittington Chime every once in a while because the damn thing doesn’t turn off. I really wish I had told you to ******** off because it makes me want to ram sharpened pencils through each ear.

The funny thing is that I actually started liking it a few months back.

It isn’t even the sound that drives me mad, not the ticking itself, it’s the fact that I have to continue to think breathe, breathe, breathe with each beat of my heart, with each tick-tack-tock, so it’ll fit the rhythm and I won’t actually stop breathing.

In here, you only linger within the bathrobe hanging from a hook on the door.

I unfurl myself and stretch out my legs, which burn with the movement. I throw my arms over the edge of the bathtub. The glow of that single fluorescent bulb is already so dim it barely counts as a source of light, scarcely hanging on by a few wires.

I could count the flecks on the ceiling again. I stopped at three thousand five hours ago. I could, it might help get my mind off of you again, but I don’t. My head is filled with too many weightless words left to mull over lost meanings and early mornings caught in requiems. The nights leave me hollow and loose and weighted all at once. There are cracks in my bones, fractures to my spine—and then there’s you and you and you.

Warmth never seems find me, and I ache.

I can’t even recall ever feeling so exhausted, drained, bone-weary, on the border of insanity. How long does it take to go insane for that matter? I’m not sure, but I laughed the last time I saw you—in a suit you would usually never wear.

Every now and then, the tub seems to shake. I know that’s just my mind being flaky—or maybe it’s the maggots, but they couldn’t move a tub, could they? I blink away the heaviness to my lids. I look over to the mirror; everyone has one. There’s a sticky note on mine, on the top left corner. The bright yellow stands out against the dull scenery surrounding it.

I don’t actually remember placing it there, but it must have been me.

My handwriting has always been awful, but it seems especially doctor-like on that note. I can’t read it. What was it I wanted to remind myself of? The dishes? I should probably wash them. They have been sitting out for days to rot, not even the mice come. I checked them a day or so ago, they were piling. I think I might have written it to remind me of something right before—

I look away again.

I don’t like the shadows playing within it, nor the bugs crawling about.

My back aches, but I don’t really want to go back to bed because I had to burn holes into the sheets to prove that I was still awake. My skin was the next thing that suffered, only after the trick with the sheets didn’t reassure me much anymore. My inner thighs are just beginning to heal, but the process is interrupted by the maggots that dig deeper and deeper, forcing their way through fat. I close my eyes. I take a few deep breaths and concentrate on the maggots.

Sometimes, when I looked up at one of those damn ticking clocks, I felt like I was running out of time to sleep. The medication that litters the bathroom cabinets—empty bottles on my nightstand, kitchen counter and coffee table—don’t help.

Nothing actually helps—your absence just makes it harder.

I scratch my leg, digging into a cut and trying to pull one of the little buggers out. It slips between my fingers, caked with fresh blood, and scurries back into the wound. I let it, sinking back into the tub and letting them gnaw away at me. At least they let me know I am still in reality. At least the pain confirms that I am still alive. At least I stop thinking of you that way.

I look back at the mirror. My thoughts go blank. It seems like the edges of it chip away every time I do so, creating a portal to some new dimension that holds no light at all, a world that doesn’t hold you. I can see myself, just a little; the hollow cheeks and black bags and bloodshot eyes. To be honest, I look sick, pale, torn around the edges. There’s a crack in my vision as the mirror appears to be splitting, melting and reforming.

I have never been much for bravery, so I concentrate on the ceiling, instead.

I should count the flecks. Where did I say I stopped?

There goes the ******** Whittington Chime again.

I wish I knew how to turn that thing off. Can you even turn it off? I throw my hands against my ears, trying to block out the sound and the tick-tack-tocks, the smack smack smack and the ba-dum ba-dum of my heart, but all that I manage to do is squish the maggots residing there, pressing them deeper into my ******** head. Tiny bodies splatter against my skin, haemolymph drips and sticks to it. My stomach flips and I swallow the bile in my throat.

I press harder, broadening the depths of my headache.

At this point, it doesn’t actually matter because those sounds are like a grain to my memory and even if I squeeze my eyes shut and blast music they are still there. I’ve tried, many times before, and it does not matter. There’s no manner of escape from it. The chime goes on and it grows louder and louder and—

My vision blackens for a minute. I need food; I need water.

When have I last eaten?

I think I had wine earlier; the kind you really liked to drink. I am sure I had a glass of whiskey as well. I might have had two or three, maybe even six. I lick my lips to wet them, but my tongue’s just as dry. I look at the mirror, it’s judging me. It is, I know it is.

I stare long and hard, challenging it to do something, but I am not brave, so when the shadow in it crawls by, I look away again. The stutter of my heart scares me. My gaze goes up to the bulb that keeps flickering, swaying and casting too many shadows on the wall. Only then do I drop my hands from my ears to hug myself, wiping away tiny white bodies.

A maggot comes up from behind my neck, it goes further until it reaches the edge of my lips. I’m thirsty. I think it’s goading me to drink. I kick at the faucet handle, efficiently managing to turn it and a stream of hot water comes gushing out. The maggots go flying in each direction with every splash that hits them and I watch in great amusement, giving them a toothy grin.

I take a deep breath, watching the water, listening to the chime die down.

There’s only the smack smack smack and ba-dum ba-d-d-dum.

I move into an upright position and lap at the water, a reaction that runs deep into my muscles and burns, stinging and itching. I cup my hands and drink from them. The water burns, making me sputter and cough and gasp out as it makes its way down my parched throat. My stomach churns. The temperature is too high, but I can barely move so this will have to do.

I lick the droplets from dirty hands; my tongue going into some cuts. Only when I feel satisfied do I lean back into the tub, ignoring the hot stream pouring down my thighs when I stretch out once again, resting my head against the porcelain.

Even my heartbeat feels foreign—did a maggot reach it? Did you let it go?

The water echoes in the entire apartment, reinforcing the other sounds. The faucet is hissing with the pressure pouring from it; the lime-encrusted inside of it leaves dark spots to drip down as well. There’s red on the handle, mixing with the brown rust of it. I think that’s my blood. I peek at my hands: nothing. I watch the water spin down the corroded drain. I look at my legs and realise the red is from my feet. My skin is open, so deep I can see the bone—a tiny white body with a black head sticks to it. A nail has fallen from its place, just barely hanging on the edge of my big toe. When did I—

The light flickers again, casting shadows that no longer bother me, but the sudden buzzing of a cicada does. It is a very loud vibrating like noise. I quirk a brow. The window is closed, all of them are. I made sure there weren’t any cracks anywhere when I found that those thick black bugs were crawling through my sheets, eating away at the cushions on our sofa. I sealed the cracks with whatever was good enough: old chewing gum with ants stuck to the pieces, clear tape, duct tape, electrical tape, any tape, latex, glue, cotton, super glue—

There were even seconds, maybe minutes, but I think probably hours—days?—that I considered super gluing my eyes shut. I just needed to stop thinking, to sleep. I could staple them, but I tried that with the long cut I dug into my right thigh with a spoon and closing the skin with the staple hurt like a b***h. I believe that was three days ago. I think so.

Was it three days ago that you left? I think it might have been longer.

I think I might have lost you some time ago.

My eyes flicker to the cabinet above the sink. I could try a pill again, and again. One has to work eventually. The whiskey bottle is still sitting next to the broken faucet. The bugs are clambering around the glass, sloshing through the content. If I could reach for it, I probably would. Now that I think about that cut, I realise that it might be infected because it’s a bright glaring sort of red and it does throb—but maybe that’s the hot water?

My eyes go from the whiskey bottle to the mirror. There’s a shadow in it.

I look away.

It’s too loud.

It is buzzing and ticking and humming and shrieking—and where the [******** is the shrieking even from? I sit up, turn to the mirror and glare. Absentmindedly, I kick at the faucet handle to turn the water off, failing twice before success strikes. The steady whoosh immediately vanishes from the orchestra going on.

I concentrate.

Someone’s screaming in low undertones that wash through the marrow of my bones and whoever is walking on those creaking floorboards above me at this godforsaken hour deserves to be drowned within their own piss.

I glare at the ceiling.

Maybe they are talking about me—did they say your name? I can hear the whispers mixing with those agonisingly loud shrieks. My gaze wanders back to the sink, a grimy one at that, the original porcelain barely visible to the naked eye. The small bar of soap is thick with blood, hair and skin particles—it sticks to the surface from days of negligence.

Last I picked it up, there were beetle larvae underneath. I should clean it—the entire apartment for that matter. The cold tiles are covered in dust and dirt, brown stains on the toilet and spider webs sticking to every corner. The wallpaper is a peeling green, originally a vibrant yellow. I should renovate. I look back at the mirror; I’ve never liked them.

The headache is getting worse like two thick aspiration needles digging into the back of my skull. The sweat feels like bodily fluid leaking from that none-existent wound onto my shirt and piercing the skin down to my abdomen to slice my organs.

The hunger is back. My stomach growls madly. I should eat. I shou—

I look at the fluttering sticky note to get my mind from—fluttering sticky note? I stare at the window. The window is closed, all of them are. The sticky note flutters.

I look away.

I’m tired of everything.

Reaching out to the monsters and then remembering they’re just in my head is one of the worse things that could have possibly happened. I’m exhausted. I’m weary. I no longer feel like waiting for my mind to crumble from underneath me. I’m burnt out from closing my eyes and seeing nothing but feeling everything.

I had some solution a day ago—or two?—when I slowly started sinking: loading my revolver. I was close. I had the barrel in my mouth. You know, no one ever tells you how heavy it is. Gulp, gulp, gulp—my Adam’s apple went dancing. But the ringing of the phone interrupted me. The shrill sound scared me. I let go of the trigger instantly; the safety was still on.

I realised then, I wasn’t ready for that option yet.

I realised, I was ashamed for even thinking that. You would have hated me. So I ran to unplug the phone, ripping the cable out of the wall because I knew it wouldn’t be your voice.

I stare at the ceiling; it’s the only thing safe to stare at. I count the flecks again, for the first time realising those flecks are tiny patches of mould, growing in size the longer I stare. Are the patches reaching down? Somewhere in my head there is a grating, an itch. How deep did the maggots go? I scratch at my flesh, nails digging deep enough to draw a little blood and scrape off the skin. I can’t feel them, really—the crawl and squirm.

They’d even scream if they could.

There’s a numbness to every particle of my being, a tingling even, and somehow I don’t feel as naked anymore. My body is clothed in each mistake I have ever made.

The last one was loving you.

The smack smack smack has become quieter, but the buzzing of that single cicada louder. It’s sitting on the edge of the tub just staring at me, judging me. I should tell it to go, but the words stick to my mouth. My voice is long scarred; my eyes are tired. My brain is keeping secrets from me, and I can’t remember how to let go. I can’t remember dreams, only nightmares and your voice, your touch, your skin and warmth and smell and I will die with your name on my lips because that’s all I’ll be left with.

I kick at it instead, my bare leg whipping the air. Ba-dum ba-dum, my heart stutters. I focus on the beat because otherwise I will stare at the cicada again that didn’t move. Maybe it’s willing to listen? I blink; my eyes ache. You never left a cut that didn’t heal, that I couldn’t bandage or overlook. Loving you was hard and helpless and so ******** nice.

I liked it.

I laughed at your funeral. I laughed at the suit you wore. I laughed at your family. I laughed at your face and cold skin and the way they folded your hands. I laughed at the music and when they lowered you into the ground. I got told to go home in the end.

God...I laughed at your funeral.

I look at the cicada. “Hello,” I urge it. It doesn’t answer me. There’s only the ba-dum ba-dum, tick-tack-tock, smack smack smack—shriek. “Good evening,” I try again. My voice is sharp and rough. The words are long and drawn out. “Do you have the time on you, sir?” My eyes flicker to the mirror, there’s a shadow dancing there, and then to the window. The silence comes crawling. I cough, giving it a crooked smile of unbrushed teeth.

I don’t want to think about moving your things.

“Will you be my company tonight? May I tell you my worries?” I ask, shifting to sit up and leaning forward to stare at it’s tiny body. I don’t like being ignored—or the honking coming from outside, the damn floorboards creaking from the apartment above. “I need to sleep. I need to stop thinking of him,” I whisper, afraid that the mirror might listen—that the chime might return to beat its way through my skull.

My fingers dig into the flesh of my legs the more I lean forward, carving reddish outlines. The cicada doesn’t move, it doesn’t speak or flutter away. “Sleep hates me, doesn’t it?” I question, pressing my palms flat against the inside of the tub. The cicada just stares at me in silence. “I hate it too.” I push at the porcelain. The space feels much too little now. “Talk to me?” No answer comes, and I let out a small sound, a much-needed whine that ends up in a gasp and then I’m crying. Every emotion comes banging in sums—and I’m finally crying.

I hide my face, curling up in the bathtub once again, pressing my cheek into the rust riddled bottom of it. “I’m a little scared,” I mumble into my arms. The tears won’t stop. They keep coming, more and more and I’m afraid. The maggots squirm underneath me while I crush them with my weight. The rain is pounding loudly again—smack smack smack. I bite my lip, the bitter taste of blood drips onto my tongue and down my throat.

“Will you help me?” I peek out from underneath sticky black strands of hair. The cicada is still watching me, sitting there. I tighten the embrace around myself, trying to make my body seem smaller so the mirror won’t see me. So the man can’t jot down notes. So the shadow can’t grab me. So I don’t actually fall apart. “Will you help me, yes?” I ask again because I really, really, do need the help. I need to be told how to let you go. I need to know how to stop this.

The Whittington Chime rings through the apartment, drowning out the ba-dum ba-dum of my heart that has increased within the last few seconds. It makes the smack smack smack seem all too quiet. The clock is laughing at me from my dark living room, chuckling loudly and chipping at my sanity. It’s too much. It’s too loud. The noise is like venomous snakes biting into my mind, slithering through my nerves like it’s ripping them apart and I cry. There’s a gut wrenching drill within my stomach, dark and deep and painful.

Gravity reaches for me, goes right from my fingertips to my lungs, pulling them forth and whispering with a misty breath that clings to my skin.

There’s the shriek—loud, so ******** loud. The throbbing in my head grows; the pain is harsh and raw, beating down into my fists. I feel nauseous from the lack of food. My vision spins and I rush to sit up, reach out and turn the handle. The bitter taste of blood mixes with a salty tinge from the tears dripping down my cheeks and into my parted lips.

The initial blast of water sprays out from the edges of the tub. It’s cold, much too cold.

My eyes wander to the mirror.

The lights flicker.

I duck down into the tub again, curling up into a foetal position. The water’s gushing out quickly, much faster than it should and the cicada is still staring at me. A chill shoots up my spine, tugging at my limbs. The sound of my own saliva sloshing around the back of my throat as I swallow nervously, forcing it down, seems far too loud within this space.

I inhale both drops of water and oxygen.

The whooshing mixes with the smack smack smack, and the Whittington Chime doesn’t stop. It grows louder, more distinct. There’s the tick-tack-tock of the other clocks joining in on its chanting. It is a different rhythm now, like my heart: ba-dum-dum-dum, ba-dum-dum-dum. It’s all growing and the cicada takes off. I close my eyes, keep them closed. My body trembles to the ticking of those clocks, to the sound of time ticking on without you.

I sway, my entire body rocking.

My heart pounds. My head throbs. My limbs ache.

The smack smack smack grows louder—ba-dum-dum-dum—and the whooshing is too much. The water completely covers my left knee now, quickly rising to my right. The maggots are floating around, a few clinging to me, going through the open wounds and sucking at the muscles underneath. I feel nauseous, like dying—like you.

There’s a subtle sound of movement; it’s the mirror. I know it is. The whiskey bottle crashes to the ground, I squeeze my eyes to keep them shut.

The rhythm changes: tick-shriek-ba-dum-dum-dum-whoosh, smack smack smack.

It’s getting too frigid now. My bones start shaking and hurting. The water shoots into my ears, my nose and down my throat when I gasp out at the sound of the mirror splitting. I feel nauseous, like dying—like you. My heart stutters. The cold is erasing my headache, slowly and carefully gripping at the nerves within my system, cooling them down. The Whittington Chime is gone, but the sound still rings in my mind, hauntingly so.

The rhythm is different within the water: tick-tick-tick; buzz; shriek; splitter splatter—there are footsteps by the tub—ba-d-d-d-um; whoosh; smack smack smack.

I breathe out in panic. There is water in my lungs, sending shocks of energy through my system. I don’t move, though. It’s too cold to move. My body is stiff and the shadows is here.

I know, I know.

The frantic pounding in my chest slows. I feel nauseous. I feel the water move, splash over the tub and I scream out, thrash and kick but I am drowning—within my own problems, within my tears. I am the one who’s shrieking, screaming, trying to say your name.

My eyes whip open underneath the water and it’s there, hovering above me: skeleton-like—bones slick with acid dripping from it, claws for hands and blades for fingers, mouth wide in a sharp and bloody grin with its tongue slithering and eyes pulled back into it’s sockets—deep and hollow. It laughs, sending chills through every pore of mine. It—

“Sera?” My mother pulls me to the surface. I stare at her, unblinking and afraid. I think of all the times I watched you splayed across the living room floor, whining about how we should think about moving, but we never had enough money. “You weren’t answering the phone,” she says, desperately trying to avoid looking at my wounds and questioning my state of being. “I’m sorry. I got...worried.” She tries to pull me up, tries to guide me out of the tub and I think she manages to do just that, but all I am doing is looking at the mirror and the sticky note that’s still stuck to it. There aren’t any bugs, though. There aren’t any maggots.

But there is whiskey and there are pills and—

“Sera?” I look at my mom. She looks so much older, like she too had died, and I wonder just how hard it’s been on her to stay away from me, like I asked. “I’m sorry,” she says. I wonder what she thinks about the apartment and how dirty I’ve let it get since you just—

“I can’t leave you here alone any longer,” she forces through her teeth.

And I know she can’t. I know she shouldn’t. I look at the mirror and the sticky note and I know I didn’t write that. I know you wrote it. I know it says I love you, sweetheart, see you later.

And I know that it is a ******** lie.

I found a dead cicada in the tub yesterday.

I cleaned the apartment, but it still smells like you. Sometimes, I pretend you’re still here with me. When I wake up alone, I act like you are making me a cup of coffee. My wounds are healing and the sticky note is still on the mirror—and I can’t say I love you too. I haven’t showered since thursday, again, another three weeks without you. My hair is sticky and sprayed and dull and limp and my god it’s a good representation of how I feel.

My mother stays with me now. Currently, she is cleaning out your things, packing them in boxes like I asked her to because I can’t bring myself to do it and it’s been five months now. I can barely recall your heartbeat, though it wouldn’t be too different from mine, would it? Still, I always thought it unique.

And it’s not like the first day was hard without you because today is much worse than back then. Every day seems to get harder to overcome. I can’t tell you things and hear your voice answer. Losing you continues to happen, over and over again. I wake up and lose you when I look at your favourite cup. I lose you when I see your shoes by the door or when your set of keys stays in the same spot, the same position, cold and untouched.

I keep losing you, and every day it gets worse.

I stand in the middle of the kitchen, looking at the clean dishes and hating myself for being too cowardly to let you go just yet. I’m sinking in aches, in your absence, retreating into the memory of your arms when I wrap myself in your thick sweaters, trying to breathe.

The coffee stain is ingrained in the wood from where you’d put your cup every single morning, overflowing because for some damn reason you always poured in too much—just like you always loved too much, felt too much, held me too much, smiled too ******** much.

Your jacket is still at home on one of the chairs. I don’t even bother to throw away the cigarette that’s halfway burned out in the ashtray. This is the third time this day I’ve walked into the kitchen, wanting to open the window because the smell of your cologne is strongest here for some odd reason. I’m honestly trying to let you go. You can’t say I’m not. I look over to the pot of coffee, it’s still full, then to the chair by the window, which is still empty.

And I accept that you're never coming home again.
FrostedMidnight's avatar

Dangerous Darling

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I think we all squeaked in under the radar this round lol.
Round is closed by the way!

5th Qual activate!

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