For the previous part of this fiction from New Jersey-based Capria, click here. The final installment will follow May 3.
[[[There is a ghost.]]] It looks like me. It sounds like me. But you can tell the difference. The ghost is supposed to distract you, but when it touches your arm, you run away. You only want my fleshy self. But the flesh and blood doesn’t want you. [You ask if I am dead. I am not. I won’t lie to you. Not unless you want me to. And then I will tell you the truth because I never want to give you anything you want.] The ghost pretends to sit at the desk, typing and staring out the glass-less window. It beckons you toward it. I sit in the closet. I keep a thick wool veil over my face. I can barely see through the fabric. I hope you cannot tell it is me in here. You approach the ghost, then back away. The air around her is too cold. Your body temperature drops 20 degrees and your skin turns dark blue. You shiver and sink into the floorboards. You ice over. I cannot leave you to freeze. I climb out of the closet. I crawl to you. I breathe over your skin until you melt. Then you grab me. The ghost pulls you off. It gets between us. Chilled again, you press your back against the wall and wait for the spirit to retreat. I cry. The tears harden on my cheeks. I flick them away. They shatter on the ground and cover the plaster. The ghost holds my hands. She guides me back into my little room. She resumes her seat at the desk. She does nothing but pretend to stare at everything.
[Daily, I think of dying. Always in a painless way though. Sometimes I do not mind pain and other times I do.] Sometimes I am allergic to everything. To you, to the pain. My hands touch and I break out in a rash. [Think of the children who are allergic to water. How their bodies are constantly trying to kill themselves. I think I would like that. I am like that. But I do not like my situation as it does not hurt me. It simply leaves me disfigured and disappointed.] The spider things keep trying to break out of my stomach shell. They crave meat. I slam my hands in drawers to keep them still. They do not know anything about the word no. Someone said the spiders would be good companions as they are low-maintenance. They take themselves for walks. They hiss when things get too noisy. The problem is that they crave the skin of their keepers. [Like the monster in the latest movie. It wanted to eat its parents.] [Is it ironic that the entire time, each parent took turns at having a late-term abortion? The three-year-old creature was drowned but survived. The 18-year-old monster was circumcised without anesthesia.] [It was always crying.] [I am always crying but I lack chicken legs.] [My body is always together.] [That is part of the problem.]
The court system would like me to take me from my room and make judicial decisions. I cannot even decide if I should allow a chair into my room so that someone else can feel free to sit, let alone decree that a man should be jailed. [I could always say the innocent is guilty. Then they could be alone. Everyone should be alone. It is safer. You can trust solitude. But it can still drive you crazy. You are left alone with yourself. It is hard to trust yourself. When I look out the window, strangely shaped mammals start flying. They drop out of the clouds and make a beeline into a body of water. I do not like the stingers emerging from their tails. The appendages whip the air with a loud cracking sound. I think of the stinger puncturing my flesh and cringe. Many look up at me and try to bite. They cannot get me through the glass but the threat is enough. I want nothing to do with them.] [I want nothing to do with me.] [You shouldn’t either.] [All you want is a simple couch so you can sit and be close. I cannot give that to you. It is not that you aren’t deserving. You have done so much. You have been there for so long. But I cannot give you that little thing. There is no room for you. If we are so close, we will inevitably touch. Then I will hate you. I hate everything that touches me. Even the walls keep their distance. Even the floors and the ceilings. They touch me only when I touch them first. I stay on a chair so they cannot accidentally brush against me.] [When the poison animals outside bang against the window, the glass becomes soundproof. Nothing can reach me. The animals spell out your name in blood. They want me to know that they know you. They want me to think they can get to you. But they can’t. They are all in my head. That is why so many of them have my same face. We blink at the same time. We open our mouths the same way. We are hideous beasts. I try to hurt you when you are not looking. You feel nothing. I do not hurt you hard enough.]
<Someone might think I am crazy.> I am not. I am completely sane. There is nothing crazy about hating everything. And insisting on a good amount of distance. That is why so many people live in white rooms. It is safer for them there. They know no one can touch them. Then they get their drugs and feel safe again. They are smart. If I could, I would join them. We could all cry together. But separately. We would not want anyone thinking we are ready to be a part of society again. Because that is not true. Not at all. I would tell you not to visit. I would sit by a large bay window alone and contemplate breaking my body against the glass. [Sometimes, my room has large windows. Other times, they are small. I stick my head through the opening and the frames are either loose or tight around my neck. Often, I can barely pull my head back inside. I stay in place for longer than I should. The animals come to get me. The spider creatures bubble around in my chest and threaten to break out. If they emerge then, I will have no chance. I will be devoured in record time. There won’t be any binding string. Just me and the desiccation.] I am tempted to offer you a couch. To let you sit. Just for a few moments. Just so you can understand my room. [I don’t think you can.] [You do not know what this room means to me. You think I only want to leave you. But I think of terrible things daily. I want to protect you from them. Sometimes, when you are asleep, I think of cutting you, because I want to know what will happen. These are not normal thoughts. I can barely survive. I feel guilty saying I love you when I want to cause you so much pain. You deserve better. I should give you a couch to make up for all those thoughts but then, if you are right behind me, I will only keep thinking them. So many horrible, bloody things have the potential of happening in my room. You are just one of them.]