Darkness had its own way of transcending within my tiny room, and honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it looked like a cell from the outside. I can still hear the sweet succulent sound of suffering from the room next door. I hear the breathing come and go and I smirk when it goes silent because I know that they’re one step closer for their soul to be snuffed out of existence. To some, I may sound vengeful but there’s a bit more than that. The person in the room next to me is the embodiment of my anger and hatred. She took her own form much before my own and I wanted to believe that I was just being delusional. She is a human being after all right? At least that was the general consensus on the surface, but to me this person forsook their humanity long ago. She was once a kind soul who welcomed me into her abode but looking at us now seems to paint a different tale altogether. When I look at this creature my once calm and poetic demeanor immediately shifts into the untamed beast ready to explode from anxiety and pressure. This same beast that is silently caged within my very being just waiting to erupt. “Charles, your dinner is here.” “Leave it at the door Nick. I’m contemplating.” “You won’t have to keep doing that much longer buddy. The way the warden puts it he’s thinking about letting one of you free.” “You put in a good word for me I assume right man?” “Of course, your behavior has been mostly good, aside from when you leave your cell.” He was right, in my room, I could be here and express myself fully within my thoughts but out there with her I could feel this silent nagging sensation crawling under my skin telling me that my existence is flawed. The air out there is tainted and I can feel myself choking on the very molecules that have come to provide me with life. “It’s not my fault she has the defect man. You guys don’t want to let me use a mask so what else can I do? My brain just isn’t functioning like myself out there.” “Look we took you in so you wouldn’t have to be alone out there, do you really want to brave the infection out there as well?” I didn’t and I couldn’t stand that this woman was the cause of this god-forsaken situation to begin with. I thought dementia was supposed to corrupt the mind not the body? “You’re right I don’t but it’s a local thing man. Only area that’s warped is my house.” “Yeah, and we don’t want anyone near it. It may be dormant but that mutation in her is still being researched. Nobodies ever seen this chemical come from a person before.” He’s right, even the bubonic plague pales to the severity she’s experiencing. She kept complaining about eyesight and headaches that I just assumed that was a by-product of old age, but when her demands kept becoming so unreasonable I just had to mention it to her. Unsurprisingly she didn’t take it well and next thing I knew she was convulsing on the floor and a noxious gas emitted from her mouth that filled the entire place with the smell of bleach and chlorine. I ran out as fast as I could but it wasn’t long before the neighbors called for an ambulance when I had passed out at the door. Several weeks later and some phone calls from my mother asking what the hell happened drove me nearly to my breaking point by being stuck in here. It was kind of like my room at first, quiet meditative and appallingly isolating but I tried to make the best of it despite the constant boredom. I heard some coughing on the off occasion but I was so indifferent to the thing in the room next to me that I wound up treating it as white-noise after enough time. Coughing turned to heaving and the gas she once emitted turned into sludge. I can still see it in the hallway occasionally through the filter that they installed, but no matter how easy it was to ignore the coughing, the sludge itself penetrated the last bit of stability left in my rational mind. How could someone just spit that out of them? Science taught me otherwise but fiction kept endorsing the idea that there is always the possibility for the strange and wondrous. Before the incident, I kept her at an arm’s length both out of pity and necessity that I couldn’t help her and that I needed her to live. With no money, I anxiously pondered what would happen if she left. Would I starve? Would I not have a roof over my head? When your only hope is to desperately cling to something you despise you can’t help but wonder if your existence even matters in the first place. Was I destined to be miserable? I asked myself. Or was this the cruel plan of some sadist god? That house was more torture than the cell, with every waking moment an exercise in futility. At least here they gave me a typewriter to let me be myself. “I’ll be back tomorrow morning to tell you the news Charley. And please stay positive my friend. I hate to see someone in your position.” Then just get me out of here if you want to help me out. “Yeah, I’ll do my best Nick but no promises.”

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