Chapter One

Chapter One

A Chapter by Ocularfracture
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When psychological therapist Miranda gets a call from her best friend's boyfriend, she discovers that her friend appears to be having some sort of mental breakdown.

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Blank. White. Unchanging.

Such is the wall.

A plain, flat surface without any pictures… without even any scratches, or smudges.

If one were to look closely, they could just barely make out the slight bumps and imperfections in the paint.

But Alice isn’t close enough to notice those things. There is nothing at all interesting about the wall as far as I can see, but in the last three hours, she hasn’t taken her eyes off of it.

She hasn’t spoken a word, or moved from the spot, and for the last three hours, she has barely blinked, just stared at the wall, some song on loop.

I take another look at the clock and decide it’s time to try shaking her again.

Alice,” I say, softly. “It’s been three hours. You gotta snap out of it some time…”

I squint at her against the evening sunlight, flooding in through the windows. Her eyelids flickering, nostrils gently flaring… she remains rigid, not speaking. Barely breathing.

Alice,” I repeat. “You’re giving me the freak out. I can’t help you if you don’t speak to me.”

Even as I say these words, as I reach out and place my hand on her cheek, she remains completely rigid, as through I’m not even there.

“Well,” I say. “That’s alright. I’ll give you a few more minutes. I’m going to go talk to your boyfriend.”

Her eyelids flutter again, and I can see that she’s trying hard not to blink.

I shake my head and get up out of the arm chair, crossing the room to the back door. Pushing the long blinds aside, I slide the door open and step out onto the balcony where Floyd is sitting on a porch swing, reading a book.

“Anything?” he asks, looking up.

I shake my head, looking away.

“What was she doing when this started?” I ask him.

He frowns and looks back down at the yellowing pages of the old book.

“I don’t know,” he says quietly. “I was in the shower. She was fine before that… We came home from the mall, and she put that new CD on, and she was fine. So I told her to hang out, and I’d take a shower, and then we could go have lunch. And when I came back, she was like that. She had that damn song on loop and wouldn’t move, or look at me, or even speak.”

I continue to look away from him, digging a cigarette out of my pocket and lighting it.

We both knew that this was strangely not like Alice. She had never done anything like this before. She was always the normal one out of the group, always happy.

“Did you try turning off the music?” I ask.

Floyd sighs, still frowning.

“It didn’t really cross my mind,” he says. “Should I be feeling stupid?”

“Nah,” I tell him. “Don’t do that. It might not even help, but I just wondered if you’d already tried it.”

He looks away.

“Since you didn’t,” I continue, “I’m gonna get in there and give it a shot. But I need you to go ahead and stand by in case anything happens.”

“What do you mean?” Floyd looks me in the eye, fear engraved in his face.

“It’s nothing to worry about,” I assure him. “It’s just that I’ve had patients before who kind of cling to a certain object, sometimes a song… sometimes they get hostile when you try to take it away. But it’s Alice.” I give him a small smile. “Alice wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

I flick my cigarette off the balcony as Floyd stands, leaving his book sitting on the swing.

I slide the door back open, and together, we walk inside.

Alice, still as a statue is still sitting in the same position, as though I never left her.

“Hey,” I try once more, kneeling down in front of her chair, and placing a hand on her arm. “You gotta snap out of it, hun. You’re scaring your boy toy. And you’re scaring your buddy here.”

The muscle inside her arm twitches slightly, I assume from holding her knees up to her chest for so long.

“You’re gonna break eventually,” I say. “You can’t sit like that forever.”

Alice does not move.

I look at Floyd and give him a small nod to indicate that he should turn off the music.

I watch as he cautiously presses a button on the little CD player, and then suddenly, the room is flooded in a deafening silence.

I smile at him and then start to turn my head back to Alice, when I’m greeted by something whacking me in the face.

I gasp, falling backward onto the floor.

“WHAT THE F**K!”

Before I can get my bearings, I find that Alice is standing over me, looking fierce. I hear Floyd telling her to calm down, and to stop standing over me in a dress.

“YOU SHUT THE F**K UP!” she snaps, raising a foot into the air, and looking down at me. She brings the foot crashing down, and I flinch, preparing myself for another kick in the face… But the blow never comes.

I open my eyes to see Floyd wrestling her on the floor, trying like hell to keep her restrained.

“Help!” he shouts at me, as I sit up, wiping blood from my upper lip.

I grab my black leather bag from the chair I’d been sitting on and dig through it, looking for the syringe case.

“Miranda, what are you doing!?” shouts Floyd again. “She’s pretty effing strong here!!”

I can’t find the damned case in my bag, and time is of the essence, so I fling myself at the pile of squirming human being, instead, and pinch the base of Alice’s neck, firmly.

She shrieks and tries desperately to throw me off, until finally, she goes limp and no longer fights us.

“What--- what is wrong with you?” she breathes. “What did you do to me?”

She’s slurring, slightly.

“Did you have anything to drink?” I ask her. She doesn’t answer me, so I look to Floyd, who just sort of shrugs.

“Not as far as I know,” he says. “But anything could have happened while I was in the shower…”

I roll my eyes and hoist Alice up off the floor a bit.

“Can you help me get her in bed?” I ask.

Floyd grabs her feet, and together we heave her up off the carpet and carry her down the hall to the bedroom.

Alice is starting to cry.

We lay her gently in bed and I ask Floyd if he can leave the room for a bit so I can talk to Alice in private.

“Make her some dinner,” I tell him. “If she hasn’t eaten since breakfast, then I imagine she’s starving by now.”

Floyd steals one last worried glance at Alice, and then shuffles out of the room, closing the door behind him.

Sitting down on the edge of the bed, I wipe a tear off her cheek.

“Listen,” I say softly. “I’m here as a friend, not necessarily as a doctor. I do want to help you in any way I can, but you need to remember that first and foremost, I am your friend, and you can trust me.”

Alice blinks, tears trickling down her face as she does this, her eyes focused on the ceiling now.

“I’m not going to haul you off to a nut hut, or anything like that. I just want to know why you’re suddenly having some sort of breakdown… and on such a beautiful spring day. You should be out having lunch with Floyd… What happened to you?”

She sniffles and more tears leak out of her eyes.

“Okay,” I tell her. “Sit up a bit, when you feel comfortable. I’m gonna go get you a tissue.”

She nods and I venture back into the bathroom, looking for tissues, only to find none. “Looks like toilet paper’s gonna have to do the trick for now,” I mumble to myself. I grab the whole roll and bring it out to Alice, who is sitting up, her back against the headboard.

“Good to see you moving,” I tell her, ripping off a length of T.P. and drying her face.

“They don’t deserve to die…” Alice’s voice is low, and hoarse.

“Come again?”

She brings her hands to her face and begins to sob.

Alice…? I tentatively reach out a hand and pat her gingerly on the shoulder. “Who doesn’t deserve to die?”

My voice is drowned out by her sobs, and I sigh.

“I’ll be right back again,” I tell her, my voice slightly raised. “You sound like you need a drink of water.”

I leave the bedroom, closing the door behind me, a bit harder than intended, and march down the hall and into the kitchen, where Floyd is cutting chicken on the counter.

“Any luck?” he asks.

I tell him no.

“She’s crying, though. Which is a good sign. I think she needs some water, though.”

Floyd uses the knife to point to the fridge.

“Bottom shelf in the door,” he says.

I wrench open the fridge and extract a cold bottle of water.

“Miranda…”

I close the fridge and turn to face him.

“Yeah?”

“Is… Do you think Alice is going to be okay? I mean…” he clears his throat. “You’re not going to have to commit her, or anything, are you?”

He’s thumbing the blade of the knife, and I can’t quite tell if he means to be threatening or not.

All the same, I straighten up and look him in the eyes.

“I can’t commit anyone against their will,” I tell him. “Not unless they’re an obvious danger to themselves or someone else. And right now, Alice doesn’t seem like she’s going to do anything like that.”

He sets the knife down on the cutting board.

“What about earlier?” he says. “When she was attacking us?”

I blow out a huge breath.

“I don’t really know, Floyd. She’s stable now. But until I get her to talk, I really don’t know what’s going to happen with her.”

I turn to head back to the bedroom, when I’m stopped in my tracks by a pair of arms around my waist.

Floyd rests his head on my shoulder.

“Thank you,” he says. “For taking the time to come make sure Alice is okay…”

“Well, she’s my friend… There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her.”

He lets go of me and I turn around to face him.

“She’s lucky to have that kind of friendship,” he says.

I smile, blushing a bit.

“Well, you know... She’s lucky to have you in her life, too.”

Floyd grunts a little, frowning, and brushes his blonde hair out of his face.

“I’m nothing special,” he says. “But yeah… you should get back to her now… make sure she’s okay.”

“Yeah,” I nod. “Well, you’ll be the first to know when I shake something out of her.”

I give Floyd a little grin and then head back toward the bedroom.

I push open the door to find Alice looking fully alert.

“Ah,” I say. “You’re looking a million times better! Here, drink this.” I hand her the bottle of water. “And let’s see if we can get that voice up to par, hm?”

Alice smiles halfheartedly and uncaps the plastic bottle. Taking a deep breath, she starts to drink.

She continues to drink.

Before long, she’s finished the entire bottle, and sits, staring at it, as though wondering where all the water went.

“Thirsty much?”

Alice coughs.

“It’s okay,” I tell her. “So… How’s your voice working out now?”

“I don’t�"okay, I guess…”

“That’s great, Alice! Now… Take your time, here, I’m not going to prod you, but… when you feel comfortable, I’d like it if you could try to tell me what happened that ruined your day so badly.”

Poor Alice

The moment I make mention of that, her blue eyes begin to fill with tears once more.

“Listen,” I say, softly, “You’re around people who care about you. Your man is in the kitchen making you what looks like it’s going to be one hell of a dinner. And I’m your best friend. Whatever is on your mind, we’re not going to judge you for it, okay?”

Alice nods and looks at her hands.

“It’s that song…” she says.

I smile patiently.

“What’s it called?” I ask, trying to take things slowly.

“It’s called… ‘Congratulations,’ I think,” she says with a sniff.

“That song you were listening to on loop out there?” I ask, to which she nods.

“But that song sounded so calm and relaxing,” I say to her. “How could such a pretty song make you feel so sad inside?”

“Because…” Alice hangs her head so that I can no longer see her face. “When I listen to it…”

“Yes? Please continue…”

“Can we go outside?” she asks. “I don’t want to talk in here… I need air.”

I nod, and I nod, and I help her out of bed and lead her out of the room and past the kitchen where Floyd has something sizzling in a pan.

He waves as we pass, but doesn’t say a word.

Together, Alice and I emerge onto the balcony and sit side-by-side on the cushiony porch swing.

“You smoke, right?” she asks.

I tell her I do, and she asks if she can try one.

“What do you wanna start smoking for?” I ask. “It’s a dirty habit. And it’s expensive, and hard to quit.”

“But it relaxes you, right?”

I shrug.

“It relaxes me,” I tell her. “But I’ve been smoking for years…”

“Just give me one,” she says firmly.

I shrug and pull out the crumpled package, drawing out a smoke and lighting it for her.

She takes it and sucks in a huge puff.

Within moments, she’s doubled over, coughing her brains out.

“You see what I mean?”

Alice shakes her head vigorously and takes another puff, trying desperately not to cough.

As she blows it out, though, she collapses into another fit of violent coughing, yet refuses to let me take it away.

“So what about this song?” I ask, trying to distract her from taking another drag off the cigarette. “When you listen to it…”

“When I listen to it,” she says in barely more than a whisper, “I can… I can see them dying.”

My eyes widen before I can stop them.

“Who?” I press. “Who do you see dying?”

Alice shakes her head.

“I don’t know,” she says. “It’s… not clear. Every time it plays I can see it just a little bit more clearly… All I know is that… two people are dying. Being murdered, actually…”

She looks up at me, searching my face for any sign of doubt. But I just look at her seriously.

“Well…” I say. “I won’t lie to you… That is a bit strange.” Alice looks away.

“But,” I go on to say, “I don’t think you’re crazy, or anything. I know you haven’t lived here long, so it could just be your new apartment. Do you know if anyone died here?”

“No,” says Alice. “I don’t think so. And… I know it sounds weird, but… somehow I feel like… it hasn’t happened yet. I feel like I could stop it, but… I don’t even know who they are! If I just listen to the song some more…”

“That’s probably not a good idea, Alice.”

She looks at me, eyes wide, stunned.

“But…”

“Listen.” I take Alice’s smoke-free hand. “Most likely, it’s a mental thing. It doesn’t make you crazy at all, but sometimes a song, or a smell… something like that can trigger something in the brain and cause a bad feeling, or in this case, a vision. But that’s all it is, I promise. It’s just a vision. I know how real they can seem, but I assure you, it isn’t real. You have nothing to worry about. And the best advice I can give you is to just not listen to that song anymore. Can you promise me that?”

Alice’s eyes water as she takes another drag of the cigarette.

“Can you?” I persist. “Can you promise me that?”

“I don’t know,” she says. “I really feel like if I listen long enough, I can see who is being murdered, and maybe I can save them.”

“But Alice… No one is going to get hurt. It’s just a trick of your own mind, I can assure you. Psychic powers don’t really exist. All those psychics you see on TV are just phonies. They seem real because they ask very vague questions and study your reactions. They’re bad people just trying to make money.”

“I’m not trying to make money,” says Alice. “And,” she checks my face, almost defensively, “I’m not just looking for attention! I swear it… It’s real, I know it is.”

“It’s still fresh in your mind,” I tell her. “After a good night’s sleep, I just know you’ll feel differently. As long as you do not listen to it any more today. Okay? Can you at least promise me that you won’t listen to it for the rest of the day?”

Alice hangs her head, nodding slightly.

“Fine,” she says. “But I’m telling you. Tomorrow I’ll still feel the same, and no one is going to stop me listening if I do. I have to see who they are. I have to try to help them.”

“Alright then, as long as we can agree on something. Now give me that cigarette.”

She takes one more drag off it, and then hands it over. I toss it over the side of the balcony.

“Let’s go in,” I say. “Floyd will be done with your dinner soon.”

I help her up and lead her inside, to where Floyd is setting the table.

He asks me to stay for dinner.

“I can’t possibly,” I tell him. “I think Alice needs some alone time with you.”

“She can have some time with me after dinner,” he says. “Please stay. It’s the least we can offer you after you came out of your way to help us out.”

I take a breath and shrug. How can I say no to that?

I agree to stay long enough to have dinner, and then I’d leave.

Once dinner’s through, I offer to help clean up, but neither will have it, and so we say our goodbyes and I leave.

But before I do, I take Floyd aside.

“Don’t let her listen to that CD,”I tell him. “Can you hide it from her?”

“Yeah,” he says. “Definitely! Do you think it’ll help?”

“I think it will,” I tell him. “I really think it will.”

 

 

 

 



© 2012 Ocularfracture


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Added on April 10, 2012
Last Updated on April 10, 2012
Tags: psychological, trigger song, music, vision, premonition, friends, mental, crazy psychosis, therapist


Author

Ocularfracture
Ocularfracture

Bennington, NE



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I've been writing since I learned how. I'm not saying that 5-year-old work was any good. All's I'm sayin' is that the passion has been there as far back as I can remember. My mother always read me sto.. more..

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