The summer solstice had passed a few months back now, and the days were short. Twilight was setting over London, the air was very brisk, and the people around pulled their clothes ever tighter to stay warm. Connor always had a problem staying warm. He was too skinny, almost frail, sometimes it made him feel obsolete. His clothes begged at him to ask how they were supposed to keep him warm, when there was hardly anything at all to wrap around in the first place.
Finally he was in, as soon as he opened the door the first thing that hit him was the smell of home, and then the safety and security that followed. There were no people here he did not feel comfortable around, or safe. There was no-one here that could perceive him in ways he did not feel he was, and judge him for that. The first thing he did, just like every day, would be to open his laptop and check social media, not because he enjoyed doing so; but because it was almost to socialise. It felt almost anti-social not to, that and just the habit of it. He scrolled down frivolous Facebook stories and trivial tweets, uninspired by all. Maybe it was that he resented everyone else for having things to talk about, happenings to explain, and good times to share. Or perhaps it was the mind-numbingly dull celebrity posts that got to him, the advertisements and the gossiping indirect status’ about people.
He’d done enough browsing, anything he was looking at now were just the things he’d already seen and that was the most tiresome. He lay on his bed and blankly stared at the ceiling, as if waiting for something to happen, and in that nothingness something did happen; he started to dream.
Connor was on a huge beach, unfortunately it was a pebbly beach and slightly overcast. This didn’t particularly bother him though, he couldn’t feel the pebbles that would uncomfortably push into his feet, he just floated along the edge of the sea. He gazed out, far, far into the distance, and slowly, almost impossibly slowly an object began drifting towards him. He was growing ever more frustrated waiting for this object to drift nearer to him so he could make out what it was. He turned his back to the object, now more quickly closing in on him and picked up a pebble. When he turned back he saw it. It was magnificent, a huge ship, reminiscent of the Titanic, even though Connor had never seen the Titanic, he assumed that this is what it would look like. He looked back at the pebble in his hand, it was incredibly detailed; iridescent and shiny, with hues of blue and black coasting around the edges of it. A beautiful pebble on such an ugly beach, it caused Connor to form a wry smile on his lips, he felt like this pebble wasn’t beautiful here. It didn’t belong here, it wasn’t what this beach wanted, it was alien, a foreigner that had become lost and ended up in the wrong part of town. Connor decided the cruelly beautiful pebble had to go. He inspected the ship in front of him, and spotted a small window, the only window with a light shining through. Connor took a few steps back and grinned, then fired the pebble at the window, it hummed through the air before it struck the glass. The glass didn’t shatter nor even crack however, the pebble ricocheted off it, and it began flying straight back at him. Connor gasped, and stood there in awe at how the pebble was impossibly soaring directly back at him. Then it struck him right in his smug face. He started fingering his face for injuries, his eyes were fine, his nose was intact but something felt wrong. His tooth was chipped. Alarm slowly began to engulf him. Every time he checked a different tooth for damage, it would chip away in his hand, and as his panic rose so his hands did flail around his face, knocking tooth out here, and cracking other teeth there. He was terrified he was going to lose all his teeth, and that was when his hands no longer could feel his face. It was but a small relief, as what happened next was much more uncomfortable. His two front teeth began slowly bending and twisting around each other, becoming more brittle and fragile every moment, but tightening every other second still. He knew they would snap, it would happen and that was the most frightening part, his inevitable fate. He slapped his hands wildly at his mouth, but to no avail, his hands and arms seemingly going straight through his head, they were completely transparent when he looked at them. His teeth started to splinter, and then they began to crack. Tighter and tighter they wound themselves around each other, he knew it was soon now, he knew he would be a toothless, gummy sap now for the rest of his life, which wasn’t far from the truth. However his front teeth stopped entwining themselves around each other in the sick affair they were partaking in, and simply fell out. And then so did all his other teeth. This is when Connor screamed. And then woke up.
It was dark when Connor woke up, even though it was 7am; winter daylight hours putting the days into seemingly perpetual darkness. He quickly dressed himself in the same thing he wore yesterday and went to the bathroom. He stared into the mirror for a few moments, trying to wonder why he felt so odd. He looked down and picked up his toothbrush, he began to lift the toothbrush towards his face, and as soon as he opened his mouth and glanced at his teeth in the reflection of the mirror, he remembered last nights dream. At first he only remembered the most painful parts, but slowly as he rewound the events in his mind it began to return to him. He felt uncomfortable and didn’t want to brush his teeth now, ironically to not damage them. He didn’t want to touch them at all, in case they fell out or broke, but he told himself to stop being a psychotic lunatic. He chuckled to himself in this mad moment with a grin on his face and began to brush his teeth.
Connor stuffed his red fingers into his coat pockets to keep them warm as he walked out of his house and onto the road. Frustratingly he had to bring his shaky hands out into the frosty winter air to tap open an app on his phone to put some music on. Walking to college was as long as it was boring, and Connor usually just tried to ignore the whole affair before it drove him insane.
College was thankfully heated, however this would regrettably cause Connor to start to sweat. Due to the fact he was walking fairly briskly to get out of the cold, he’d started to become warm and used to the outsides frigid temperature. The sudden change to the blasting heat of the college, while wearing multiple layers was intense. He quickly removed his coat, and wiped his brow. He’d made it however, another day he thought.
It was in his fourth and second to last period of lessons that Connor couldn’t manage it anymore, he pushed the keyboard away from him, and gently rested his weary head down on the desk. He was hoping his teacher wouldn’t react, and at this point, they didn’t, but for Connor, at this point; he didn’t care.
There was no-one else in the class room, it was completely empty, and bizarrely quiet for a school. He could hear footsteps; people hurriedly walking down the corridors. But still in his classroom, there was no sound. Connor started to think he couldn’t hear the footsteps of the people outside the room, but actually feel the vibrations from them. He stood up, momentarily disorientated by all the pulsing vibrations. He looked at his watch but it didn’t read a time, confused he pressed one of the shiny metallic buttons on the side of it to switch the modes back and forth to try and fix it. Nothing was happening, and his attention on the watch lessened. Somewhat cautiously he walked over to the large wooden door, painted in a dull grey, with a window about a quarter of the way down from the top. Every step Connor took towards the door, it grew. The window progressively becoming too high up to see out of. He felt something poke his side, and then again in his leg. The classroom began to fade before his eyes, everything becoming dim and blurred. Connor attempted to run for the door. He was moving his legs as quickly as possible, rapidly trying to push himself towards it, but it was a futile attempt. He was using all of his energy, all of his strength to run, but it felt as if he was moving in slow motion. Not even moving at more than a walking pace. Unsure of what to do, he closed his eyes, and nothing happened, everything was just black.
In what felt like an instant he was on the other side of the door. But there were no people here either. Not a sound to be heard, the corridors were completely void of existence. He looked down the corridor, the brown drab wooden floor ceaselessly running down the never-ending hallway, lined by green lime and viridian walls. All of a sudden there was an inaudible abrupt shout from somewhere along the corridor. Connor couldn’t figure out where it was coming from, and it dissipated into the silence as quickly as it arrived. It almost seemed like it specifically wanted his attention but he couldn’t figure out why, or what the noise was trying to say. Unsure of what to do at this point, Connor looked back at his wristwatch. The watch read the date April the 17th 1996, but no time. This wasn’t an important date to Connor but it felt like it was his birthday, it wasn’t his birthday at all, but right at this very moment, it felt like it was. Like it had to be. In this world the watch honestly read the truth, and whatever information being inferred from it, was totally accurate. After eyeing the watch for a few moments Connor decided to draw his attention back to finding out where he was, but as he walked aimlessly down the corridor he became restless with the frivolousness of his casual stroll down what he believed to be a corridor in his college, but looked like nothing he’d ever seen before. He wasn’t sure if this was because he’d never paid much mind to the walls of his college, or if it was because just somewhere in the school he hadn’t ventured into before. Connor again heard the inescapable sound of the shout. All of a sudden he felt so heavy, his head almost weighed down to the ground. He decided to lay on the ugly floor of the corridor for a while, trying to come to terms with the sudden increase in gravity pulling solely on his head. While Connor lay there, the weight began to gradually lift from his eyes and he could blurrily see his arm, and the brown wood of the floor, or perhaps a desk he lay his head upon.
Connor’s best friend Maurice was unforgivingly mocking him for the weird murmurings he’d been releasing after he drifted off in class as they walked to the bus stop. Connor could never be bothered with the effort of having to walk all the way home after a long day of learning, or in his case daydreaming and nodding off. He accepted the quite irritating banter wholly, he couldn’t even be bothered to say anything in his defence, in such a way that it caused Maurice to stop ridiculing him at all after a while. Connor tried to find a seat on the moderately busy number ninety six bus, he scanned the back of it and spotted a viridian green and brown chequered seat. Connor extraordinarily did not plunge into sleep on the bus, but he was trying to recall his dreams from his earlier nap, in an attempt to try and figure out what he might have been murmuring on about, to no avail. He tugged at his wristwatch as it had slipped around to the underside of his wrist. When he faced it the right way up he glanced at the time which read 4:17 pm, he’d be home soon.
He fumbled with his keys trying to push them into the locks of his door struggling due to the fact of how frozen the tips of his fingers were. He was in quite a good mood though, and he couldn’t quite figure out why. It made Connor uncomfortable contradictorily, he was suspecting something to happen, and he should know what would happen, for what reason he felt particularly bemused. When he finally managed to open his door it incredulously felt like his birthday. And when he went downstairs into the living room, he almost expected cake and presents, today wasn’t his birthday. His birthday was months ago.
Disappointment engulfed Connor. The quiet anticipation of something exciting happening disappeared. It was an absurd notion to believe it was his birthday today, why would he think that? Why would he trick himself into such a thing, to trick himself into believing there was something to look forward to? In that moment his ridiculous, perplexing dream came flooding back to him and he could remember almost everything.
It was the morning, and Connor would have work soon. Work wasn’t so bad honestly. It was just having to wake up at a set time, being out of his power. He wanted to decide when he wanted to do things, but he had commitments, he had to work, he had to make money. So, off he went. It was different from dragging himself out of bed for college in the morning, he felt more like an adult, he had more purpose, and the prospect of making money felt more heartening, perhaps that was just a rouse though. He thrust the door open, as if a bright new world await him, but all that awaited him was a dark, frosty, December morning.
Every time he gazed into another empty lunch-finding worker’s eye he wanted to scream at them. Nothing Connor could say could please them because they weren’t happy with themselves, and nothing they could say would soothe Connor because he wasn’t happy serving them. You’re fine he thought. They’re fine, they could have an unsatisfactory lunch, but he was the unsatisfactory lunch. Connor peeped over, again, for the god knows how many time at the drink isle. It wasn’t the drinking that was a problem, and hell he knew it wasn’t a solution, but it was an acceptable escape. He was waiting for Saturday to end, so he could have his Sunday off. He had to stay focused, Connor had people to serve. He had lunch time woes to fulfil.
He glanced down at the grimy till. He only wished the buttons could press themselves, as if every finger movement was painful. When he eyed back up at the customer in front of him, he saw a middle aged man, who he assumed is what you can imagine a father looks like. Connor only made out a slightly balding man, with black spectacles of an average height looking back at him. He opened his mouth and asked the same phrase he’d ask every human being that approached his till: “Hello, can I take your order, please?” Sometimes he didn’t say please, it really depended on the person. The man’s answer was simple and plain, somewhat like him. A cheese ploughman’s sandwich. Perhaps it was for his squeamish looking daughter, and two bacon rolls and a coffee. Everything was brought up to serve off to him for, minus the coffee. He fingered the till and it made the wonderfully irritating ‘ping!’ sound as it took the order down. Connor hated making coffee, he was the brewer of the drink that made the world go round. That felt like a lot of responsibility, but ultimately he felt like an enabler. He could be as angry as he wanted but he was continuing the cycle. He handed the man his receipt and change and looked away.
And then Emily smiled at him. All of his angst almost entirely dissipating from him.
Work wasn’t so awful, he could easily sink into the comfort of cliché; being in love with the girl at work.
Emily had shoulder length black hair, usually parted down the middle, however because she was preparing food for people, she had to have it tied up in a ponytail. She had pale skin, and endlessly blue eyes. For some reason, Connor preferred her with her hair up. She looked so confident, taking orders, whisking herself around at rapid speeds getting people their food so efficiently. Mind you, he wasn’t in love with her because she was an excellent waitress, even though there was something captivating about watching her make labourous work look elegant.
Connor had been staring at her now as she effortlessly moved from table to table, cleaning up peoples rubbish and washing down the tables. As he’d been thinking about her, he realised he had been gawking at her and she looked right at him. They made very brief, almost painfully awkward eye contact and Connor quickly looked away. He looked back to see if she was still looking – she was. She must think he was totally weird, especially considering the fact that they’d hardly spoken to each other at all. When they made eye contact the second time she smiled. Connor was baffled, he had no idea how to react, he should have just smiled back, and he tried to. But every time he twitched the lips of his mouth to create a smile he failed. The muscles in his cheeks didn't have the strength to raise his lips into anything reminiscient of one. In a panic he just waved. Why did he wave he asked himself? It wasn’t even a proper wave, he sort of raised his arm half way up and shook his hand a little, he imagined how he looked right now and he could feel himself turning red. Why couldn’t you just smile he cried internally to himself! She looked at Connor and laughed. She wasn’t laughing at Connor in a malicious way, it wasn’t a mocking laugh, simply a slightly embarrassed, adorable laugh.
All Connor could think about as he served people their food was her, and her laugh, and her smile, and nothing else at all. In fact he was hardly paying attention whatsoever, and the other half of the time he was daydreaming, a vacant expression overtook Connor’s face as he fantasized about the possibilities of what the future could bring with Emily.
The incessant sound of people chattering began to fade, and no-one was ordering to come and disturb him as he eyes glazed and he began to let his mind wander.
Connor conceived an elegant house, almost overbearing in its grandeur in his mind's eye. White brick ran across every wall, the building was castle-like. Connor began walking up the path toward the residence of whom he was not quite sure. It was a surprisingly dirty pathway, rotting away, the mould eating at the wooden planks. Connor reached the huge mahogany doors and paused. He could only reach the regal knocker if he stood on his tip-toes but he did not feel inclined to knock. He wandered off the pathway to the giant, imposing stained glass window. Stained onto the glass was Mike, standing in a very grand heroic pose, clutching onto what appeared to be a coffee cup. Mike was Connor’s general manager, a tall, middle aged man who smoked too many cigarettes, but was surprisingly or perhaps unsurprisingly relaxed. He peered through Mike’s legs in the window, everything he saw was tinted red because of the stained glass he was gazing through. Inside was the café he worked in. He could see Emily cleaning the tables again, but this time they were huge timber dining tables, fit for a medieval feast. She looked up at him as he watched her work, this time Connor managed to smile, but she looked straight through him. Confused Connor walked back around to the now ominous looking door. Where the knocker once was, was now replaced with a rusty coin slot, the kind of slot you would see on video games at an arcade by the seaside. Instinctively he shoved his hand into his pocket to retrieve a coin. He thumbed the coin into the slot, the metal on metal twanging as it rolled down the slot into the door. Then the worst possible sound you could hear rang out. The noise when the coin hasn’t correctly gone through the slot machine. The coin dropped solemnly into the little holder that stopped the thing from running away after being ejected from the machine. Connor impatiently rubbed the coin against the door, which creaked in annoyance as he did so, forcefully then shoved the coin hard into the slot, again the coin rolled out into the stopper. “Hello?” asked the door tiresomely. “Boy!” shouted the door this time.
The middle aged father of two was back to complain about his cheese ploughman’s sandwich. Connor sighed, the man didn’t like that. Connor thought to himself how stupid it was to complain about such a sandwich. Such a boring sandwich couldn’t possibly be at fault, there was nothing complex or interesting enough to go wrong. “What’s the problem sir?” Connor inquired. “To my unfortunate knowledge my cheese ploughman’s sandwich is lacking garnish of pickle, look at this!” The man drove the sandwich towards Connor’s face as if Connor was to challenge such a ridiculous remark. “You’re right mate, let me get you some more pickles, sorry.” As Connor walked to the back of the store, to get some pickle garnish for the man’s sandwich, he genuinely felt sorry for the bloke. Who even buys cheese ploughman’s sandwiches he thought, let alone complains about it after purchasing one? The bowl of garnish Connor brought back for the man seemed to console him. “I’m sorry to complain, it’s just it isn’t a cheese ploughman’s without the pickle!” the man exclaimed as he wandered off. Connor sighed again and nodded.
A week passed.
Connor’s eyes opened, and as they did he imagined the whites of his eyes being visible to all the demons in the darkness of his room. He wanted to shut them again but then he’d be tormented by his imaginations instead. He was sweating and completely naked. As he lay there and stared up at the ceiling his mind began to amble, he tried to piece together parts of his dream, but every time he thought of something, his imagination began warping apparitions in front of him, jolting him out of drifting back to sleep and breaking his trail of thought. He fumbled around his bed for his phone, for a distraction. He pressed the little home button on it and was instantly blinded by the white glare from the screen. There was something comforting about the artificial light piercing the darkness even if it did momentarily leave him visionless.
He opened his window and browsed some trivial social media, hoping for it to help his mind meander away from his childish fear of the dark, to no avail. He tossed his phone onto the other side of his bed and turned to face his blank white breezeblock wall. The longer he stared at the surface of the wall he could almost begin to make faces out of the darkness again. Connor wanted to vault out of bed and turn the light on, for some respite from the faces in the dark. He knew if he did this though, there would be no sleeping tonight. He’d sit up in his bed, encompassed by the rich luminous light, comforted in the atmosphere the shine brought to him, but distressed by the lack of sleep he wasn’t obtaining. Little did Connor know his internal thoughts about the dilemma of how to sleep, or not, was actually helping his mind drift, the irony unbeknownst to him. Connor took comfort that it was a Friday night nonetheless, and as the cool, fresh breeze glided up his posterior; across his back and along his neck, tucking him sweetly into the comfortable position he’d slumber in, his mind peregrinated from the conscious to the subconscious.
Connor woke with an empty memory of last night’s dream, or perhaps a nightmare he speculated. Sometimes he’d remember half way through the day, triggered by an event or a word, a smell or an emotion of a memory that wasn’t quite real. He was content with being ignorant of his subconscious dream-state memories, dreams always had such irreverence to them and could affect how he perceived his day. It was around 11am as Connor walked over to the bathroom and up to the sink. Being a Saturday he should have been working but he had taken the day off work to prepare for this evening. He grabbed his toothbrush and composed the tube of toothpaste in his hand and careful applied the minty white sludge onto the bristles of his brush. He inspected his face while he cleaned his teeth looking for something to preoccupy his eyes while his hands went to work.
Today should be fun though thought Connor in anticipation of the night, it was Maurice’s birthday nineteenth birthday. Anxious though he was at the prospect of having to see a lot of people in one go, he’d already be drunk by the time he got there. In fact, he thought, he might just start drinking now.
Connor strolled down the dark road, tinted orange from the glow of the street lights. His belly rumbled as he took another sip from the red tipped bottle of vodka swaying in his grasp. Connor was pretty numb at this point, the alcohol was making him callous and indifferent to almost everything, and his attention longed to be held. His phone vibrated in his pocket, Connor slipped his flask sized bottle of vodka nonchalantly into his large coat pocket. With his other arm he reached into his left pocket and withdrew his phone. Connor stumbled on the task of unlocking it a few times, cursing the first and third times at himself as he got it wrong, but on the fourth try, cracked the code. It was a text from Maurice telling him to bring some alcohol. He eyed the half-drunk bottle of vodka impartially and thought it’d do. While he had his phone out and in his hand he flipped through it, reading some recent texts, until he came across a message from an unsaved number reading: “it’s Emily! x” Connor hadn’t noticed this text, sent a few hours ago. In his drunken stupor he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. How did she have his number? How had he missed the call? What should he do now? His inebriated logic came to one conclusion – call her.
Connor took a swig out of slowly emptying vodka bottle and winced, the after taste causing his throat muscles to spasm and his throat to make an awkward little gurgling sound as the grim liquid passed down his gullet. The phone was ringing now and Connor’s heart rate had picked up the pace, he felt a little sick as the adrenaline began pumping through his veins. He began unintentionally striding towards Maurice’s house, his legs uncomfortable to stand still. Every two or three strides a beep rang out from his phone, coupled with the pounding of his heart in his chest. Which was caused by the rapid momentum he had built up under the influence of the alcohol and the anxiety of the hopelessly infatuated boy.
Beep, beep. Pause. Beep, beep. Pause. Beep, beep.
He stopped marching down the irrelevant street.
“Hello – You’ve got through to ‘Emily’s’ voice answering machine, please leave a message after the tone…Thank you!”
All that anxious energy instantly dissipated from Connor's body, in its place came a drunk bitterness which was quickly turning into a drunken rage. He stared blankly at his phone, wishing for some kind of stimulation to distract him from his burning drunken desire to cause reckless damage to his surroundings, but nothing occurred. Connor looked up from his phone and began to run in no particular direction, he wasn't bothered about Maurice's party, he wasn't even thinking about it any more. In this mood swing fuelled by vodka he had somewhat lost his mind briefly, he was not thinking about his actions, he was just acting with pure emotion with no evaluation of what these impulsive activities might result in.
As Connor sprinted down the dimly lit residential London street, he passed many family cars. In an outburst of meaningless aggression Connor balled his hand into a fist and senselessly drilled a lazy punch into the side-mirror of the Silver Honda Civic, and off it came and smashed into the cracked grey pavement. But he still was not satisfied. He continued to run, the cold wind rushing into his face causing his eyes to water and stream down his cheeks. Wheezing and exhausted from sprinting down the road he began to slow down and tried to take in his surroundings. He had no idea where he was, not because he had run particularly far but because he was inebriated much more than he realised. He began slowly walking, trying to find anything that he recognised in an attempt to ascertain his location, Connor could have sworn Maurice lived around here somewhere. He eyed a low red brick wall surrounding a small park and sat down on it. He briefly thought about calling Maurice but decided instead to sit on his own and wallow in his self-pity, drunkenly believing Emily was intentionally ignoring him. He caught his obscured reflection in a slightly tinted car mirrored and walked over to it to inspect himself more. Standing there for a few moments his vacant mind glossed over the warped features of his face formed by the bad lighting and angled car window. His attention drifted and his psyche was overtaken by the alcohol once again, he lifted his arm and swung his fist full speed into the passenger door window and then yelped in excruciating pain as his hand deflected off the unscathed glass. Connor was not a particularly strong young man, and his punches weren't incredibly powerful, even more so when drunk. The blow was not hard enough to damage the window, but as he looked back at his hand he could see swelling beginning to form on his knuckles, and when he turned his hand over he saw purple bruising coming through on his palm. Hopelessness began to overwhelm him, this night had supposed to have been a fun evening at a friends party but alcohol and Connor never boded well together. He lost control of his emotions, and they in turn controlled him. They would spasm at any given moment from all outside interaction and mood swings were common. Connor began to panic at his loss of self-control and from the reckless damage he had caused to people's property. He ran and ran and ran, and then he was home.
Connor was sprinting for the commuter packed train, bolting down the station at a careless speed. Men in suits barked at him as he clumsily knocked into them and their belongings in his struggle to catch the early train home. He was nearing the automated doors now as he heard the shrill whistle call out for the train to depart. As his legs began to fail him he threw himself at the closing metal and plastic doors. His legs were redundant pieces of jelly. He lay in the doorway his legs on the platform and body in the carriage and looked up at the faceless commuters staring back at him. He struggled with all his might for his legs to pick him up, to push him onto the train as the atmosphere on the carriage became more tense, but they would not budge. He raised a vain hand out to one of the featureless passengers in an attempt for some help. All of the commuters turned their back on him in synchrony. Connor began clawing at the grated metal floor of the train trying with all his strength to get his lower limbs inside. The whistle rang again. And again. And again. Each time it called out Connor's strength was taken from him until he was powerless. He laid defeated, half on the train, half outside of it, and passed out. And then woke up.
Connor's mother knocked on his door. He composed himself for a moment and managed to croak out a hungover “I'm fine mum”. He heard her turn and walk back downstairs. He drew his turquoise curtains as little as he could to allow a drop of light to stream in. The first thing he did was look at his phone. He turned it over apprehensively, not particularly wanting to see what it had to say, but not being able to withstand the agony of not knowing. His anxiety was unwarranted but in his hungover mentality he simply expected the worst. There were two texts on his phone, both from Maurice. The first just asking where he was, early in the evening. The other asking how come his missed the party and if he was okay. Connor felt immense self-resentment wash over him, poisoning each and every part of his mind which dripped through his head, down his neck and straight into his stomach. It began to churn and flip. Nausea was now clawing at his belly, asking him for escape. Connor wanted to throw himself up, to escape from the emotions and physical pains he was enveloped by. But there was no escape from this illness of his body and mind, and the only cure was time. He had been in this place before, he knew it would be over within a day and night, but the torture did ensue relentlessly.
It was six o'clock in the evening now. Connor's stomach pains had subdued a little but his psyche was still perplexed at his reckless actions from the previous evening. As he was curled up into a ball on his bed, trying to evaluated every single blurred drunken memory he felt worse and worse. The loss of control he felt that night, scaring him into submission. He tried to make sense of it all but he failed at every step. He needed to ease off himself a little, but this was the punishment for the unpunished. His consciousness was the judge, jury and executioner and they were all calling for him to be prosecuted, found guilty and hung. He rolled onto his other side and closed his eyes. He heard his phone vibrate across the bed from him. He did not want to look at it for as long as possible but every moment left in wait, another needle was stabbed into his stomach and he could not put it off any longer. Connor illuminated his LED screen and saw the name Emily pop up and instantly locked his phone and turned off the screen before he could even read the message. He groaned softly and dug his face into the mattress. He lay in this position for awhile, his mind completely blank, his anxieties did not need to run around his head whilst they possessed his entire body. Connor drew on some strength, found from the thought of 'fuck it'. Fuck Emily, fuck Maurice, fuck my mother, fuck College, fuck the fucking world. He turned over and picked up his phone and read the message. “Hey, you okay?”. This pushed Connor over the edge. This isn't the message he wanted to receive. He did not want Emily to think he was not okay, he did not want to be a weak man who lost his mind when he drunk too much vodka. He wanted to come across to Emily as confident and strong, a man who lived with purpose and was well respected. However, Emily had only sent that text in genuine care for how he was.
But to ask the broken if they are okay is to ask fire not to burn. They do not know how they are, or why they are and why they do these things, but act only on natural impulse, driving them forward, or back, for something to set them alight.
Author Notes: It's my first short story I've written so I would love some constructive criticism and positive feedback to help me know what I need to improve on and what i'm doing right.