The Twenty-Nine Doses

The Twenty-Nine Doses

A Story by The Cynic
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A man wakes up to take a walk under dubious conditions. His wife follows him. Surreal events ensue.

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At 3AM, she woke up, startled by the noise I made as I stepped on the floorboards that bordered my side of the bed. Two of them, three boards away from the bed itself, were loose, and even though I knew about them and got reminded every night, I still stepped on them every time, waking my wife up.

“Go back to sleep, love,” I said to her. “I’m just getting some water, I think I have a sore throat.” She just stared back at me, estranged. I could see by her expression she had no idea what I was doing up.

Maybe she could tell I was lying. She’s been the only one who could ever tell, really. I’ve always found it easy to convince and sway anybody else; sometimes I get the idea that I could even make them forget things if I wanted to, by simply convincing them that they didn’t happen.

Not her, though. She’s always seen right through me. Which is why I wasn’t surprised when she walked into the kitchen after me, trying to figure out where I went.

In reality, I take walks in the moonlight, as a way of getting inspired. I’ve been doing it more and more lately, since my writers’ block is getting so much worse.

These weeks, though, it’s gotten so bad that I’ve decided to take alternate forms of inspiration. It shames me to admit it, but by now it’s a necessity: I take mild hallucinogens. They’ve been somewhat helpful: some of the hallucinations trigger lasting ideas in me. But I still can’t sell enough of my writing as I’d like, so we can move out of our small forest cottage and into a kid-friendly area, in case we ever decide to have them.

In any case, I pulled them out from behind a cabinet, in a hole in the ground that was obviously a flaw in the design of the place. She was just walking in, and I barely got to see her before she saw the bag I was pulling it out.

“What’s that?” she said as I clutched it with my hand, covering it from her sight.

I sighed. “I don’t want to lie to you,” I said, “I suffer from anxiety attacks. I was getting this bag to help me through my hyperventilations.”

She almost believed it. Almost. But she pretended to.

“Alright,” she said, seemingly going back to bed.

Just as she left, I pulled my dose out and ingested it, fast. One less, out of the thirty original ones. Stashing the bag in my pocket, I ran out, into the night, into the forest.

Effects kick in fast. Concepts become blurred into senses. Abstract emotions can become sensed, through sight and sound. As I walked, the forest blurred itself, and the loneliness of the landscape manifested as shadows. The moon laughed at me, and I saw water start rushing through my feet as I tried to fight the current in a place that was supposedly grass at daytime. I didn’t know what to believe.

I began to get scared, scared that the current would drag me away. The water was getting higher, fast, and I wished somebody would help me before it was too late. I was far from my home, in a large clearing that seemed to be a flowing pond in the bizarre effects of the night.

And then she appeared. She walked on the water, flowed up to me, saw me. She looked angry, as if it was obvious from the way I looked at her that I was hallucinating. Her arm turned into a whip and snapped the bag of drugs out of my pocket. She realized what they were, and her face turned to dull disappointment.

I felt shame. The water evaporated and the blades of grass were laughing at me. The moon wept, and her tears fell on my hair.

Then, my wife fell on me. I was kneeling on the ground, and she fell, placing her hands on my shoulders, placing her eyes in front of mine, weeping, that I would be so weak to succumb to this most pathetic of forms of inspiration. I stared and stared into her eyes. I saw her shame, I saw her pain, and I felt double the pain, knowing how it hurt her. I saw that part of her mind, I saw the leech of pain on her head, and hated it. I wished I could kill it for good. The leech of memory, paining her in the head.

I grabbed it. I squeezed the leech, pulled it off of her head as she stared blankly on. I ripped myself free of her, the leech in my hands, and she fell on the ground, collapsed, her eyes wide open, trembling, while I formed my fist and smashed the leech once, twice, thrice, until the grass around us lay stained with the blood of her thoughts and pain.

I made my way over to her. I grabbed her head, made her look me in the eyes. I said to her that it was fine, it was over. She looked at me abstracted, as if she didn’t understand. Confused, not knowing where she was. I got her to stand up, and we walked together back home, while the grass lay in silence and awe, and the stars smiled at me, recognizing the value of what I’d done in smashing the leech that pained her. The universe loved me, but I ignored it. I lived for my wife.

We got into bed again. She stared at the ceiling, and I just closed her eyes, whispering in her ear to just dream and rest. Having grabbed the bag of hallucinogens before we got back, I went to the kitchen and put it in its place, just for the sake of order.

When we woke up, I expected her to sermon me, to tell me that what I was doing was wrong, and that I should throw away the bag and everything in it. She would tell me that I was worth more than that, that my ideas were far better on a clear mind than with drugs in my veins.

But she didn’t. She got up and kissed me five times, as she does every morning. We made breakfast. We drove to town together. She went to her office, I got busy at the carpentry store. She picked me up after work and we drove back. We had dinner, watched a movie. Did everything we usually do on any day. And we finally fell asleep.

At 3AM, she woke up, startled by the noise I made as I stepped on the floorboards that bordered my side of the bed. Two of them, three boards away from the bed itself, were loose, and even though I knew about them and got reminded every night, I still stepped on them every time, waking my wife up.

“Go back to sleep, love,” I said to her. “I’m just going to get some fresh air. Nothing weird this time.” She just stared back at me, estranged. I could see by her expression she had no idea what I was doing up.

Of course, I was lying when I said the thing about “nothing weird”. That couldn’t stop now, just when I needed another story! Paying no attention to the fact that she seemed to have no idea what would be weird about me getting up (maybe she was too sleepy to remember), I walked into the kitchen. I started to ponder the notion that last night may have simply been a dream.

I picked up the bag, and before I ingested one, I counted the number of doses in there, just to make sure.

© 2011 The Cynic


Author's Note

The Cynic
Criticize anything you can, and if this story should entertain you, then please enjoy :]

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Added on March 31, 2011
Last Updated on August 23, 2011
Tags: Night, surreal, again, drug, hallucinogen, dream, sleep, wake, leech, pain, shame, inspiration, writer, forest