Three Days Ago

What was I doing three days ago? Bailey sat at her desk pondering.

She cannot even recall what she ate for breakfast; how was she expected to remember what she had been doing three nights ago? She had been sitting in the same spot for an hour, reading and going over the letter that rested in front of her. She peered over at the alarm clock on the stand. Ten’ o ‘two am Michael would call her, he regularly called her in the morning. He insisted it was because his day could not commence till he heard her voice but she learned he was checking in on her. Bailey needed to find her cellphone, it was not plugged in next to her bed like it typically was.

Then again, she was a master at losing her phone. She vowed that thing was a ninja, in her mind it had legs of its own and found places to hide from her. Jacob would become frustrated with her because he would call her and she would not answer. Bailey’s cellphone would be dead under some clothes somewhere and the only measure to uncover it was to turn the apartment upside down and deep clean it. He teased her about implanting it to her hand so she would never lose it. She heaved herself up out of the chair and launched her search and cleaning. She was already behind schedule for the day and she would pay for it if she didn’t get to stepping.

Bailey suffered from manic bipolar which in her case was a severe depression. She battled this illness her whole existence, Jacob was the only person she had ever met that had a necessary awareness of what she went through regularly. She chose to let her mind have a rest from this uneasy note. She needed to get started with her routine or her day would be ruined and would end in a breakdown. Bailey didn’t need to put Jacob through another one of her break downs and routine was important now that she altogether stopped taking her prescription.

It was time to start with tidying her apartment. Glancing at her bed, her blankets were flung here and there. She noticed from looking at her bed she must have had bad dreams. She picked up her comforter and stuck it in the laundry bin, fresh sheets made for a decent nights rest. Bailey picked up the clothes spread out on the floor. Bailey grew discouraged, she did not recall making such a clutter. Memory loss was normal when a manic break down happened. Its like your brain does not wish you for you to remember your performance.

She chose the outfit she preferred to put on after her shower and arranged them precisely on the bed and started her way to the kitchen. She had a couple of containers in the sink, it took her 10 minutes to tidy and throw the trash into a bag, she set the bag by the bathroom door.

She spun and faced the living room; she admired how small her apartment was but it made it look so trashy when she skipped cleaning. She carried trash to the bag and straightened up the cushions on the couch. She sat down for a minute.

“Why can’t I remember my days?” Bailey groaned out loud.

She was agitated with herself for losing record of the days. She had ceased taking her prescriptions two weeks ago. It had been a settlement she passed with her boyfriend. Jacob had become upset with her for not caring about his emotions, she had to point out to him that the pills controlled her attitude. She did care; she certainly did, but the medicine staled her reactions. He had committed to helping her wean off of them. Dr. Hillman had pleaded with her not to just quit cold turkey, but she was tired of enduring life like a zombie.

For three weeks, Jacob had remained right by her side, but suddenly his grandmother had to have surgery so he traveled to be with her. She needed to stick around here; she had a job and could not take off anymore. Bailey called in a bunch with her down periods, some days it was physically impossible to get out of bed. Her coming off the tablets had been tougher than she imagined. The voices that had been muffled thanks Dr. Hillman’s meds. She would have to discover a more natural process to hush them again but for right this moment she desired to uncover her phone and figure out what she has accomplished for these three days. The restroom was the last area on her list to clean, her cellphone was possibly in there.

Bailey liked to read columns and play games in the bath and on the potty. She reached to turn the knob…it was locked.

“Damn it.” Bailey growled. She had shut herself out of the bathroom again. This was not the first occasion. The latch was so iffy that it slid into the locked position at the slightest breeze. Stompping off to the kitchen to grab the trusty butter knife that she used so many times before to break into the cramped room. The wood had nicks in it; she had done this time and time again. After five minutes of fighting it she decided she did not have the patience to battle this lock; she would call the landlord and have him change the whole handle. Her day was going to be rough; there was no chance of preserving it. She took a deep breath and headed towards her room.

She dressed herself while mental accepting her phone was most likely in the bathroom. She turned and faced the laundry basket for her dirty night gown when the note snagged her attention anew. She paused in her strides. She mentally debated about reading it again. Bailey sighed, she had nothing better to do at the moment, everything was at a stand still.

She drifted over to the sheet and explored it further.

It was a hundred percent in her handwriting; she noticed her signature at the bottom. She studied the paper, torn from one of her journals. It was part of her therapy to keep a diary to further maintain a log of her depression, with that thought she opened the drawer of her desk and plucked it out. Maybe she could get answers and fill in the blanks for her. The last journal entry was three nights ago.

November 14, 2017

Tonight is my first night alone. Jacob’s grandma has become sick, and he has left to be by her side.

He tucked me in and gave me the softest kiss he has ever given me. It felt like a goodbye forever.

I am sad he left. cannot sleep without him next to me. I realize I gripe about him stealing the blankets but I am so lonely without him. I wish I had just left with him. I detest my job anyways why do I care if I lose it. They would not even notice if I did not show. No one acknowledged I was gone. I believe I will watch a movie and I can rest and text him till I fall asleep.

It will be a lengthy night.

Wish me luck.

Bailey closed the diary and remained there in silence. The image of that night rushed back. She had seen a romance movie, and the voice shrieked at her. It was a rough night. She had struggled to busy herself with eating but ended up making herself sick. She stood bare in the bathroom staring at her body in the mirror and growing sick with herself further. Jacob had gone in the hospital and had stopped texting her back. She recalled how she felt dismissed and sobbed.

Bailey was yanked from her gloomy reflections by the noise of keys in the front door bolt.

“Jacob!” she was up and rushing to embrace him.

“Where have you been?” He said walking right past her heading towards the room

“Why have you not been returning my phone calls? Did you lose your phone?” Jacob sounded genuinely concerned.

“I misplaced my phone again, I had a break the other night, and I lost track of the days. I am sorry baby,” she said following him into the room.

He was pausing over the desk, he was standing over the note. She could not see his face but she felt it fill with sorrow.

“I don’t remember writing that love. I don’t recall moments from the last couple of days, I am so delighted to see you.” Bailey murmured.

“I missed you so much, I am overjoyed you are home.”she proceeded.

Jacob did not reply, he pulled out his phone.

“Hi, did Bailey show up for work?” he was talking to one of her co-workers. He stood there listening the person on the other line.

“I don’t remember going to work.” Bailey was answering from behind him.

He did a walk through of the whole house. She followed him.

“I cleaned it to surprise you. How was your grandma?” she tried to ease the mood.

Jacob tried the bathroom door, he was frustrated it was locked. He didn’t get the butter knife, he kicked it in.”Are you insane, they are going to make me pay for that damn it.” Bailey yelled at Jacob.

He went to his knees. He started wailing.

“Baby what is wrong?” It startled Bailey.

She peered past him. In the tub she laid. Her skin looked porcelain under the water.

Her mind flooded.

She had chosen the little black dress she had sported on her first date with Jacob. Bailey had thrown the clothes from the wardrobe searching for it. Then she carefully collected the pills that was suppose to help her learn to relax and swallowed them. She hurriedly drew an icy bath and settled in it. It was intense but not for a long, she drifted peacefully into a forever sleep. Bailey stood over her body it made sense now. She could not relive her days because she was not living. She had not been through them.

Bailey strolled past Jacob on the floor dialing 911 and floated into her bedroom straight for the note she had left behind on the desk.

My dear love Jacob.

I am so grateful for your existence in my life. I love you more than you could ever understand.

You are my rock when the river is trying to engulf me.

You are my light in the dark.

You make getting out of bed worth it with your lame jokes.

I cannot overwhelm you with my condition any longer.

I know the toll it holds for us.

I don’t prefer you to suffer any longer.

I am going to silence that voice once and for all.

Where I am going the voices cannot follow.

I am going to be set not only myself free but I am setting you free.

Please don’t mourn me.

I am content now.

I am free.

Live your life and be joyful.

I love you

Bailey

She realized the room was still messy.

Bailey had not cleaned.

The whole day was something she imagined.

The room started to spin.

Then she saw his face, and it stood still.

Jacob came back into the room; he started to go over the message.

Bailey leaned in close and gave him a peck on the cheek.

“There are no more voices.” she confided to him.

She turned and strode out of the room and thus wandered out of her apartment.

She was ultimately at peace.

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They are in me…

It is so dark all the time.

I remain here and think of my existence and what I’ve achieved.

I was a well loved middle school educator.

I prefer to think I reached a number of students; I single-handedly inspired them to be better in life.

I look back on one pupil. She cared for writing in her journal. I swore not to read what the students wrote, but I read hers.

Her name was Morgan. Her home life caused her misery, and she found comfort in creating stories. The day she left my class, I advised her to never quit creating. I know before I surrendered it all, I browsed books at a local library and noticed a book with her name on the cover. I purchased it; she distributed a notebook loaded with her short tales.

I can hear them, they can’t hear me.

It sounds like mice scratching on the walls.

I cannot speak.

I cannot force a simple sound to intimidate them.

My mind drifts to all the students I showed them their voice. I was a debate coach.

There was this student, Maurice. He was quiet in all of his classes. The other teachers talked about how he had something awry with him. I did not even acknowledge that. I urged him to compose a debate about  gossip around school. He wrote why he considered that it was actually beneficial. Why gossip was effective, how it could possibly change someone’s life, and in a good way, if done right. He evolved several minds and established the positive gossip movement. Build people up when you talk behind their back, don’t be a secret bully. It was something altogether unheard of. Our small school made the local news. Maurice found his passion.

I can feel them crawling all over me.

They are in me.

I can do nothing to hinder their invasion on my body.

I cannot move.

I should have been more active. If I had taken better care of myself, perhaps if I had worked out, I would not be in this position.

I found enjoyment in the thoughts of juicy hamburgers. My wife and I had gone out to one of those fancy restaurants; the kind you cannot show up in jeans and tennis shoes without getting stares. I ordered an enormous, fat steak and chased it down with a great glass of beer. My wife made a joke about it being the death of me. I rolled my eyes at her and leaned across the table and gave her a kiss. I would give everything to have that night back.

I wonder what she is doing right now.

It is so lonesome here.

I had occupied my life with people.

I had a wife whom I loved, and she blessed me with two incredible children.

I spent 19 years teaching; I had children come into my life for four years at a time and later leave me.

Some came back and visited, some hated me. Mostly, I want to speculate, I was liked by most.

When I retired, they had a huge party for me; a banner saying “Sad to See You Go. Mr. Jenks.” I cried. I was sad to go.

I lay here as worms invade my body. It had taken them months to dig through the woods and fabric of my coffin.

I was unable to prevent them getting to me, seeing as how I was paralyzed.

I had laid here all that time listening to their progress.

If I would have known it was going to be like this, I would have been cremated.

I would have had my ashes scattered in my favorite places.

I lay here alone in the ground.

Is it like this for everyone?

Let Prey

Ashlie’s ears perked up when she heard a twig snap to the left of her.

He was close.

Her breath fogged the crisp air in front of her.

She took a deep inhale and held it.

Matthew followed her from the wedding into the woods. He was quite stubborn about being with her that night. Ashlie had been heading home when he came at her. She went deep into the Brailey Bottoms and he pursued. Hunters had become lost in these woods and were never heard from again. Thanks to her father, she would not be following them.

Another twig cracked, this moment a slight further away.

Matthew was advancing further away.

Ashlie reflected about the events at the wedding and the discussion she had with him. He made it obvious from the minute they made eye contact; he would come for her. Matthew winked at her while he was best man strolling with the maid of honor at Olivia’s wedding. Ashlie had struggled to remain free of him but he ultimately cornered her. He started out subtly flirting but as the night continued on and he had more drinks in his system, his flirting got way more forceful. She had tried to leave the party when Matthew caught her by the arm and tried pulling her to the dance floor. Ashlie had refused him and now not only was he angry but he was shamed and he would take what he craved.

“You can run, you can hide, but this town is small and someday I will take you,” Matthew bellowed out.

Ashlie peeked around the edge of the tree and caught sight of his cell phone’s light up ahead of her. Her father prepared her to hunt when she was a teen and it was paying off. He couldn’t find her. She walked towards the next tree, being conscious of each step she took; she made little noise with each stride.

“I wager, you consider yourself unique. I’m here to inform you, you are not. I have preyed on many women like you. They assumed they are strong by telling me no. Well, I broke them like I will crush you,” Matthew yelled into the night air.

Ashlie noticed what sort of man pursued her. He was a particular predator. She settled her back against the tree and tuned in to his heavy footed steps lead away. It was obvious, he had never been hunting. Otherwise, he would hold still and observe his surroundings, but instead he was going the wrong direction .

“You will fight back but you will give up. It’s getting colder and you are becoming fatigued. I prefer a decent struggle from you and can’t give that if you are too cold and tired,” Matthew taunted.

Ashlie took a step and her foot found contact with a broad stick and it snapped.

He heard it.

His light met her.

She couldn’t see his face but felt his nasty smile.

“Ah, there you are. Decided to come out and participate?”

The words that fell out of his mouth were threaded with hatred.

Ashlie ran.

Matthew ran after her.

Her heavy breathing and the pounding of her heart muffled everything he was hollering at her.

She made a left at the scarred tree and was right where she needed to be.

Behind him.

Matthew’s cologne filled her nostrils.

He halted in his steps.

Ashlie could sense his apprehension. She noticed he understood he was now her prey. She lifted her nail and passed it down the collar of his neck.

He twisted so fast he stumbled over his own feet.

Matthew was lost for words.

Ashlie lowered herself till she was on top of him and face to face.

“My people has hunted hunters of these woods for generations. You are not unique. Many men like you have assumed they were capable and could overtake us. Yet they realized the desperation of their position and accepted their failure,” she growled

She plunged her teeth into his throat.

His fear pushed the blood in her mouth.

She moaned as her venom paralyzed him.

Matthew went stagnant.

Ashlie pulled aside for the one more second.

“Thank you for such a wonderful night. I have not had this much fun in a long awhile. My papa would be very proud. ”

She slashed at his pudgy belly and filled herself with Matthew’s body.

*

Ashlie emerged from the woods satisfied. She was drained. She felt she would sleep completely. After all, she did have work in the morning.