Your fingers seem longer, thinner
alive in their own right, as they crawl among the pill bottles.
For a moment, you feel like Alice:
labels are meaningless, but you’ve tried them all.
The tall green one will cause strange words to tumble
over and under and from your lips,
while this orange one brings dreamless sleep.
And as you mix yourself
a cocktail that rattles in your palm
you wonder –
how did she climb back out
the rabbit hole?


Dream: Part Seventeen

She is standing at the sink when he comes in.  Her back is to him, she is humming faintly.  He pauses in the doorway briefly and watches her.  She is lovely in her rhythmic motion, hands circling plates as she cleans away the residue of last night’s dinner.  He watches for just a moment more before he moves towards her, grabbing a towel so he can help.

“Hey there,” he leans in to kiss the back of her neck playfully.

“Reese, stop that, I’m all wet.”

“Just the way I like it,” he gives her a lascivious grin and picks up a bowl.

She glances at him out of the corner of her eye, watching as he haphazardly slings the dish rag around.  She smiles, tilting her head towards him, beckoning for another touch of his lips on her skin.

“How was work?” she asks, putting down the plate and turning to face him.  Looping his arms around her waist, he pulls her to him.

“Boring.  I kept thinking, if only my lovely wife would stop by.  I have my own office you know…with a door and everything.”

She laughs, “You are ridiculous.”

“Fine.  If you won’t come to work to satisfy me, I will just have to start coming home earlier.”  He sweeps her over his shoulder, carries her screaming into the bedroom.

He tosses her on the bed.  He unbuttons his shirt, slips his jeans down, as she starts to pull her dress over her head.   Arms raised, eyes covered, he stops her.  Grabbing hold of the fabric, he leans her back, exposing her throat to him.  He kisses her softly, moving out along her collarbone, back in along the line of her bra.

“Reese, please.”

He silences her, kissing her more intently now.  His tongue finds hers, and the taste of him is exquisite.  He lets her go.  And then they are wrapped tightly in one another.  It has always been this way.  She can remember nothing but the feeling of his skin on hers.


His voice sounds strained, harsh.  She looks up at him.  Red.  Everything is red.

“Why, Lana?”

He pulls away from her and she can see the gaping wound.  There is blood, pouring from him, running down her arms, settling in the creases of the sheets beneath them.  She can feel the cool of the metal in her hand.

“No.  No.  No.  Reese?”

She rolls out from under him, feels the slick wet of blood, so horribly familiar now, as he lies back on the bed.  There is a ragged gash of torn skin and raw flesh crossing his chest.  She watches, frozen, as Reese raises his head to see, fingers fluttering vainly over the laceration as if willing it to heal.  It must have shocked him, the extent of the damage, because she can see his muscles tense and the skin parts even further.

He looks back up at her then.  There is nothing but pain and confusion on his face.  He opens his mouth to speak, but he chokes.  She wipes away blood from his lips.

The room fills with an indistinct haze.  Lana reaches for Reese’s hand, but she cannot find it.  She is overcome with a sense of panic.  The feeling that she must run, and she must run now.  She takes off, slamming into the doorway as she sprints through the house.

She runs, until her lungs burn and her vision is blurry.  She doesn’t know where she is any longer.  It is dark.  Trees lash out and she can feel the blood coursing down her face.  She loses her footing, and suddenly she is falling.  Her arms spin out, grasping for anything to grab hold of, but there is nothing.  She is rolling, smashing head and side and back into ground.  It does not stop.  She is dizzy and cannot breath.  Everything is black.

When she can see again, she is immediately struck by a devastating pain.  It pulsates through her, piercing every piece of her.  She tries to lift her head, but can’t.  A sharp, blinding burn radiates from her throat.  Shaking, she reaches up, and screams.

Her fingers run over the course grain of the wood, the sharp green of pine needles, follow it until they meet the soft flesh of her neck, wet and slick.  Her breath becomes shallow, frenzied.  She gently pulls at the branch, trying to free it from her skin.  The pain is unbearable.  She cries out, screaming for Reese, Dean.

But no one comes for her.


    It’s almost funny.  You could almost say I’d been preparing for this my whole life.  I had seen every movie.  Read every book, every comic.  I had video games.  I even recorded mini-series. My costume was a staple at every Halloween party and Comic-Con event.  People expected to see me in my best gaping wounds and shuffle step, they talked about it afterwards.  Who could blame them?  I really committed when I was in character.  So when I came home to find one in my kitchen, I suppose I wasn’t entirely surprised, not really.  I suppose I’d been waiting for it for a long time.

    What did shock me was to see my wife sprawled on the floor, hands pushing feebly against its back, mouth gaping noiselessly, as it ate at her. Her eyes met mine for a moment and there I saw the fear, the panic.  The floor was wet, sticky, slick.  The smell was grotesque.  I found her eyes again.  Silent, pleading, tears streaming.

    I never questioned my next move.  Most days I still don’t.

    I reached for a knife from the counter and lurched unsteadily towards the grotesque pair.  I could not take my eyes from her.  She made a sound then, I think she was trying to scream, maybe call out to me.  But fear caught the noise in her throat and it trailed off helplessly.  It never even noticed me.  It just kept eating at her, its teeth and jaws working away as she struggled to push it from her.  My arm seemed to move on its own accord, plunging again and again into the base of its skull.  For the first time it turned its attention on me, arms flailing as I hacked indiscriminately.  My wife screamed then, harsh and hard in my ear as I brought myself close to finish it.  

    Once it lay still on the ground beside us, I took her hand in mine.  I wiped tears, snot and blood from my face, tried to make myself a little more presentable.  I even tried to smooth my hair down.  I pulled her in close to me, to calm her harried breathing.  Many of my haphazard strokes had cut her as well.  Across her face, arms, hands, neck.  But the damage had been done long before I arrived.

    She blinked at me.  She tried to speak but only managed to spill blood from her lips and her ruined throat.  Her hair was plastered to her skin, red and wet, clinging to her face.  It hurt me more than it hurt her, I am sure of it.    I think I whispered something to her, there at the end, but all I could concentrate on was what had to be done.

    I retched when it was over.  Doubling into the sink and emptying myself.  I sat on the floor then and held what was left of her, sobbing until my throat hurt and I was dizzy.  That was when they came for me.  Or maybe it was later, it became hard to keep things straight.  I may have gone outside to breath.  They must have been attracted by the blood.  Or maybe I didn’t, I honestly don’t know.

    They came for me all the same.  So I ran.  I ran until my lungs burned and my head was swimming.  I can’t even remember how I ended up here.  But here I am and I have sat in this room, alone, for weeks now.  Or maybe it’s been months.  I can’t keep track anymore.

    And they are outside.  Still, after all this time.  I can hear them.  Maybe they can smell me.  I tried to wash the blood away, but somehow they can still smell it, they still know I am here.  They are always there.  They never leave.  There are more of them every day.  They know I am here.

    When I first found this place, before I had the sense to barricade the door, one of them almost made it inside.  I had been sitting, staring blankly at the wall for what felt like days when it came.  

    Its arm, shoulder and head were through before I could throw my weight against the door.  I slammed myself into the metal, heard the crunch of what must have been bone.  I pushed as hard as I could, only letting up to slam down again.  I struggled to keep my feet, slipping on the suddenly slick floor.  The air smelled strongly of iron and it made me think of my wife.  

    I reared back, for one final crushing blow, when just as suddenly as it appeared it retreated.  Howling and writhing, pieces left behind.  This time I made sure the door was locked.  I pushed the bed against it too, just in case.  And that was the last one I saw.  But I hear them all the time.  Just outside the door.  The low murmur of their moaning.  Sometimes pieces of them make it through the break in the door as they try to get to me.  Rotting flesh that lies piled and untouched on the mattress.  It taunts me.  

    I haven’t eaten in so long.  Some days that growing heap of putrid parts looks almost appetizing.  Once or twice I have reached my hand out to take a bite, just one bite, but I know what I would become.  So I sit in this corner, as far from the door as I can, and I wait for them.  I know they are coming.  Just like I always imagined they might. It’s only a matter of time.  It’s almost funny…

April 18, 2010

    Patient was admitted upon mental break following the murder of his wife and her lover.

    Patient is considered extremely dangerous and attacked an orderly soon after admittance.  Since that time, no staff has been able to enter the room.  Attempts have been made to introduce sedatives through food but patient is currently refusing all food.

    Patient has developed a disturbing new habit.  He has not ceased laughing for three (3) straight days.  

    At this time, due to the extreme violent nature of the situation, it is the recommendation of this doctor to wait and allow the patient to drop himself into a sedative state – a natural result of mental exhaustion, dehydration, and starvation.  Then we will be able to safely transport the patient to a more secure environment where his needs will be better met.

    I will revisit this issue if it does not resolve itself soon.

                   Daniel Watkins M.D., M.M.M

[scrawled in pencil at the bottom: “If I knew what the hell was so funny, maybe I could help him.”]