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Plans and Nightmares

By Armando Garcia (12/07/2012)2815 words
Tagged: creative, fiction, narrativ

The below story is fictional and has not been modified in any way through the editorial process. Any similarities with persons living or dead is purely coincidental. The content below may contain explicit material not suitable for children.

It had been years since the last time she woke up from a nightmare and, this one, was a particularly disturbing one.

Elizabeth's heart was beating out of her chest, her breathing was heavy and her hands kept running up and down her pale face and black hair with an uncontrollable tempo.

"That dream was so real" she though, while she mustered up the courage to check between her sheets.

Maybe it had been real; at that point she could not know. All she was aware of were her heart, the adrenaline cruising through her body, and her last thoughts before sleeping.

She closed her eyes and tried to go back to sleep, unsuccessfully; her mind was overpopulated with thoughts about the plans she had done for the next day.

The dream was quite vivid: She was sleeping soundly when she suddenly felt a small bump between her feet. Elizabeth ignored this and continued sleeping until she felt something horrible: The bump was rushing towards her. She jumped out of the bed and threw her covers to the threatening presence folding them above it. "A rodent, or possibly a snake" she feared.

To the unease of her mind, she was now making up ways to justify that act as a real one, maybe there was actually something beneath the covers and was now cowering under the bed. Whatever the case, she was convinced that she did not want to know.

Time slows down when you are sitting down with the lights off, your heart beating as hard as it can, while you try to sharpen your senses to listen to unusual noises. Unfortunately for your sleepless self, even silence appears to be a personal insult to your worries. All that's left is for you to remain there, motionless, trying to hear something that will not sound.

Television trained us wrong; it is not the creatures that make noise we should be afraid of, instead, we should fear those that don't. Creatures so tiny and stealthy that possess the ability to creep up to any place, inches away of our bodies and our sharpened senses, and be completely ignored. It's not the creature itself causing you fear, it's its unpredictability.

Elizabeth thought of all this as she slowly fell asleep again, her chest pressed against her folded legs like a terrified five year old, a blanket above her head, protecting her from the horrors of the night.

The next day after work, she got home and poured herself a glass of wine as she sat down in front of a turned off TV screen on top of a short bookcase that was almost empty.

"Am I ready?" thought Elizabeth. Such question had been eating away at her for at least six months now. She was not doubting before, but her nightmare made her feel slightly insecure about her plan, albeit she decided to ignore the feeling.

She got up, glass in hand, and walked over to the kitchen, where a small bottle of white pills awaited. She picked it up from the counter and gulped the wine down as she emptied the bottle and pills scattered all over. Elizabeth took four in her hand, and placed them inside the empty wine glass.

In a matter of seconds, she was back in her living room, the glass now full of wine and with floating white intruders that affected its peaceful nature with clinking noises as Elizabeth walked towards a mirror. "Cheers" she said to her happy reflection, and drank until she emptied the glass once more.

After that relaxing cocktail, she walked upstairs hastily to get ready before the pills started to work, opened her closet and took out an exit bag plugged in to a helium tank. After checking that the bag closed properly, she turned on the knob that would slowly release the helium into the bag. Elizabeth put on the bag and laid down on her bed, the gas slowly made its way inside it, as she breathed slowly, then heavily on purpose, her body began to tense up, which was the only thing that was not a part of her plan, she was supposed to go calmly, completely unaffected, she imagined slipping into a pleasant slumber that wouldn't see her wake up again, but she was feeling pain, her stomach felt like it was on fire, she tried to remove the bag but her arms flailed around uncontrollably, completely numb. Her vision blurred as she found it more difficult to breathe. She felt a tight hold on her neck and she threw up. She could not decipher whether she did it because of the pills or because of the shortness of breath. Her only hope was to have miscalculated something, for someone to see her agony and release her before it was too late. She fell asleep.

Elizabeth woke up in a hospital bed, arms and legs strapped to the sides of it; the hospital had those precautions stated in its inner rulebook: "All patients who are a potential danger to themselves and others should spend at least a day in observation. Their arms and legs secured so they cannot harm anyone with the erratic behavior that might accompany the experience."

The problem with a suicide attempt is not the pain shooting up from your stomach to everywhere else in an intermittent "Fuck you" from your entire system after you start digesting the handfuls of pills that rather than being overloading your digestive tract; seem to have forced it to consume itself. Your mouth dries but your brain has too much on its plate to think about drinking water; not that it'll matter, since your gag reflex begins to activate in a sad attempt to stop your stomach from digesting said pills. Your hands clam up and your elbows lock to your sides; you'd like to scratch the area where the pain is, just so it can go away, but you are unsuccessful to even get your hands to respond to your brain's commands. Your legs get numb as you crawl around the room thinking "This is it, this is the last pain I'll feel". But that's not the real problem; as Elizabeth found out as she awoke: those horrific feelings her body had a few hours before, the depletion from the stomach-pumping, were nothing compared to what she found herself waking up to.

Her mother and father looking down on her, her only child lying there, helpless, with a tiny ray of light still in her bloodshot eyes and her mouth and nose covered by an oxygen mask similar to the one releasing the helium that, in part, brought her there. Their tears were sour reminders of her failure as a daughter; causing so much pain to the ones you love because of your cowardice makes it hard to be proud of being still alive.

Elizabeth wanted to hold them, to tell them everything would be alright, but she could not move, and had no energy to produce any coherent words. She decided to try harder to express herself, but every time she failed, her mother's eyes filled up with tears that rapidly rolled down her face, making her feel worse.

At the moment, she felt like they were the only ones in the world, as if they and the room they were in were just a figment of someone's imagination. That room summed up the whole world for her; she then realized her parents were going through a similar experience.

-You have to leave now, she has to recuperate -said a female voice outside Elizabeth's field of vision.

Her mother and father looked her way and nodded; her mother then leaned over Elizabeth and kissed her forehead, the kiss was as sharp and warm as the pain she remembered feeling earlier. She wondered how much time had it really elapsed from her decision to end her life to that unsettling aftermath.

The nurse that saw her parents out came close to her, "Why do I have to be tied down? I am not dangerous", Elizabeth thought to ask, but as she tried to voice each word calmly she noticed all she was letting out were incomprehensible mumbles.

Lying down in an all white room with no company but yourself, you can't help but reminisce. That was all Elizabeth could do then, she began remembering the events that brought her there: The moment she began searching for new thrills. How she was always looking for the next adrenaline rush, until she realized it was not enough, she still felt that emptiness inside, she decided to take up a final thrill, that was her plan and it was working beautifully, except Elizabeth no longer wanted the outcome.

The day quickly went by as she remembered. When nighttime came over the hospital, the doctor agreed that Elizabeth was not going to be able to sleep without some help, as her emotional pain was too strong, so, he agreed on giving her a gentle medication that would help her relax.

Half an hour in, the twenty-seven year old woman was lying down, restless, fighting sleep as much as she could, not because she was not tired, but because, when you find yourself feeling depressed, there's a part of your mind feeling like it deserves that unrewarding emotion and ignoring it would be a disservice to your own mental health.

When sleep finally took over her she was immersed in a deep sleep. In it, everything looked as if passed through an amber filter; the air was hot and she felt drowsy. She saw her parents walk through the door with bags full of food. Elizabeth followed them into the kitchen where they talked about something she could not very well hear. Suddenly, she felt a pull on her heart, as if someone was pulling it out, and felt a shortness of breath, the amber filter became deeper, involving the atmosphere with a thick fog that made it impossible for her to move freely. She felt heavy, but, as a taunt from her own subconscious, realized she could float. Elizabeth struggled to get out of the kitchen, where her mother and father still conversed naturally, unaware of the atmospheric change. Floating around the room, she aided herself forward with her arms, pulling herself with an imaginary rope. When she got out of the kitchen, she took a turn towards the living room. There, a man stood, grinning at her. His rotten teeth and obscenely large nose greeted her with a growl as he signaled her with his hands to come closer. As she did, she felt the fog getting thicker, her breath being even more impeded and the heat made her sweat. The man's body was a shadow, but his face was a clear and horrific mask of pain and scars, his eyes popped out of his skull and his skin was cracked and slightly tanned. The image itself was terrible enough, but apparently those fearsome eyes were not all, his face also seemed to blur; as he came close to her he pulled her towards him with the same motion she was performing, as if the rope she was pulling was tied around his waist.

She tried to float away but the pull was to strong, she screamed a phrase that came to her head "By the cross of our Lord I command you to oblivion" The man screeched and stepped back, a black fog took over where he stood and quickly dissipated, taking part of the fog with him, but the filter prevailed, the shortness of breath ceased, but the grip on her heart became stronger, her sweat was substituted by tears. "I'm sorry!" She screamed; her mother came out of the kitchen, smiling, like she had just asked her to give her a second opinion on a joke she came up with. The room quickly filled with known people, all of which smiled at her. However, each smile was like a small dagger that slowly punctured her body. Her tears became more acute as the fog returned.

Floating around his friends and family she encountered the man again, this time her voice acted automatically "By the cross of our Lord I command you to oblivion", yet, the man did not leave; he laughed and walked towards her with his arms stretched towards her. She tried to scream, to repeat the phrase, but her vocal chords appeared anesthetized. She felt anxious and desperate, while moving her body away from him; after a quick struggle, he disappeared.

Elizabeth realized she had to get away from him as efficiently as she could. The room cleared and all that remained was the living room, her mother and father sitting down, and her, standing up in front of them. The man made an appearance once again, this time there was no fog, or an amber filter, now, as clear as day the man came close to her, a wave of fear took over her and all the symptoms were back. The heavy breathing, the squeezing of her heart, the impossibility of speech and the phrase "By the cross and blood of our Lord I command you into oblivion" playing over and over in her head, the fear became much too strong as she tried to call out the attention of the room, who did not notice her in the slightest.

Full of fear she tried closing her eyes, but her eyelids were see-though and the man laughed loudly, showcasing his rotten teeth; for the first time, she noticed they were not teeth at all, but amalgamations of worms that unfolded and crawled out of his mouth, marking the black, wet and hideous snake that was his tongue.

She found herself lying down on a bed, unable to move, a TV screen above her showed a show called "Plans and Nightmares".

The TV showcased the episode as a "Series finale". Elizabeth saw in horror as her memories were played for her, as vivid as they were the first time, pain and all.

She was at home, lying down on her bed, every one of her senses sharpened, her vision became clear and her ears picked up every sound as if they were amplified. She reckoned she would have been startled by the way she was listening to her surroundings, if her limbs were not completely nerveless. She regretted her decision to wear the bag as her vomit was stuck to it and it dripped down to her face; the disgust she felt from this made her want to throw up even more, which resulted in more pain from the medication her stomach was struggling to absorb.

The last thought that rushed through her mind was that she regretted doing what she had done, she wanted to tell her parents she was sorry, she wanted to tell herself to stop, but most of all, she regretted that last message which, for the time life was leaving her body, was nothing more than a disturbing headline that once seemed like a good idea, even fun. The message, thought up as a sick joke for whoever found her, was written in a wall with hideous brown paint: "Your princess was happy to see you too; now that she's gone what are you going to do?"

The TV continued with a scene Elizabeth found unfamiliar: In front of her coffin, father Jonathan, an old, bald man with bulging eyes and slight symptoms of Parkinson disease spoke the words that are usually heard at a funeral, and his speech with some that had never been used before, and Father Jonathan prayed that he never had to use them again:

"By the cross and the blood of our Lord, I command you to find the peace you did not find among the living; I pray for your soul to be forgiven for what you did, may it not be cast into oblivion".

Elizabeth tried to scream, to get up from the bed, but she couldn't. She looked around trying to find something that would help her release the straps, but all she could see was the face of that grotesque man. There was no sweet release, no light at the end of a tunnel, no heavenly choirs. For her, there was only that hospital bed; that screen, replaying over and over her experience; that man; and a terrorizing laugh every time she felt the excruciating pain.

After the second time, the funeral scene ceased to come up. Elizabeth reckoned it was there only to show her that she was dead, there was no-one coming to tell her everything was going to be alright, she knew it wasn't; her parents, her job, all the things that brought her stress and made her worry did not matter anymore, she succeeded%u2026 She learned success is not always rewarding.

Author - Armando Garcia (thumbnail)
Author - Armando Garcia
Armando Garcia is a writer and apprentice novelist. He often likes to play video-games when he can break the symbiosis between him and his computer, he also enjoys writing short stories as warm-up and still mourns the loss of his first novel draft to a virus he swore revenge against.