Short Stories

Short Story: Release Me

Do you hear that? Please tell me you do. I beg you not to ignore it. Please release me from these doubts. You must hear her whispers. You must.

Do you hear that? Did I ask you that already? I did, didn’t I. Did I ask you what day it is? I’m not sure. Do you hear my words, or are they just an echo inside me? I can see you there, lurking next to my bed. I try to grab you, but you walk away before I can even move my fingers. I fall asleep waiting for you to come back.

The next time I wake up, it is night. It has to be. There is no light, only shadows painted by the absence of it. At first, I think I am alone, but I know I am not. She never leaves me. She has been there for too long, ever since she walked into my life, picking me up from all the rest. I was flattered. I am not anymore. She doesn’t go away. I have asked. She just circles around my bed, looking for a weakness to make her last strike.

I used to fight her, or I think I did, but I am not so sure any longer, or I wouldn’t be laying here. I wonder, can you hear her laugh the night away, mocking me until I cannot take it until I wail. But as always, there is no sound, or you would run to me. Or would you? Maybe you are in service to her? You do nothing to drive her off. All you ever do is change my beddings and wash me. I try to beg you to unhook me, but you refuse me. You pity me. You never say it aloud, but there it is in your eyes as you look away. Unhook me, and I’m gone, and so will be her, the reason why you don’t like to linger in my room.

But no, you don’t see or hear me. So I have to welcome her back again and again, even when I think I’m losing parts of myself every time she comes. Then there are the times she comes without my approval. Yet, while I hate the sight of her, I relish that someone sees me. She doesn’t pity me. She licks her lips like I matter. I know what that gesture means. I accept it. I accept her threats about setting rats loose on me if I resist. So every night, I let her take a piece of me not to be alone. Then you come, when the curtains are drawn, and we start again.

I ask you what day it is? You don’t answer. I ask you if you can hear the reverberations of her laughter. You look away. Please, I beg you to release me, but you walk away.

She comes back. She sits next to me, letting her wide smile spread from ear to ear. When I could walk, when I had a person, I adored that smile. Now I see as it is trapped into this horrible bed inside a disinfected room. She mocks my existence, letting me know that I’m nothing. I am nothing. She is right. I try to touch her. Unlike the nurse, unlike you, she doesn’t pull away. Instead, she reaches at my immobile arm with her cold fingers. I feel something leave me. Perhaps a memory of who I was, but I can’t tell. All I can do is smile as her harpy-like nails dick into my flesh. She knows I cannot hold on any longer.

The game is over. She has won. If I ever thought I could survive, banish her to the damnation she belongs, it is gone. What does it matter if I give myself to her now or later? My life is the only thing I can provide. What do I care about it? I cannot remember what it ever meant? Just a flesh to nourish her.

I nod an approval, or I think I do. The machines near my bead scream as she bites into me. I feel nothing. In the distance, I hear you come, but let me go, I beg of you. One of you has to release me from this limbo where nothing thrives.

Thank you for reading. Have a pleasant day!

© K.A. Ashcomb

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