Enough Pain to Feel Alive by D. I. Jolly

The warm water ran over his head as he sank down to sit in the shower. His eyes closed and he focused on the water as it rushed over his ears, letting it drown out all other sound. He then focused on pushing out all thoughts, all feelings and tried to just be in the shower. Tried to just feel the water, listen to it, and enjoy the smell of peaches that came from the newly opened bar of soap that was getting steamed alongside him.

But as hard as he tried, he still felt the shiver slowly start to make its way up his spine. Even with his eyes closed he could still see the lights go out in the bathroom, and even with the shower on full, he could still hear the whisper.

“Sebastian? Sebaaaastian… This isn’t going to work Sebastian.”

The words washed over him along with the water and although they were only words they insisted upon his mind, and pried at his eyes. But he managed to keep them closed and shifted his focus to his breathing, taking long slow breaths. In for a two count and out for a four count, in and then out.

“Look at me when I’m talking to you!”

Screamed the voice suddenly and the plastic shower walls rang with the sound of the panels banging against each other. This time Sebastian couldn’t stop himself and his eyes shot open.

There, staring at him from just outside of his plastic box, was a white skull of a face shrouded in darkness. Its eyes wide and burning red, and its mouth hanging open with a slender tongue flicking around inside.

“That’s better, you know you can’t hide from me Sebastian. You know you can never hide from me. You’re stupid for even trying. Wasting your time when you know you will fail. Stupid, stupid Sebastian.”

The words echoed around the shower and through Sebastian’s mind, bashing against all the other thoughts and feelings, filling up every empty space. But still he said nothing, and focused on the water, and his breathing, forcing his mind to be clear and empty.

“You’re not special Sebastian! Do you honestly think you can just shut me out, shut me up. God above, I’d be embarrassed for you if I wasn’t so fucking embarrassed by you. How did you ever get this pathetic? This useless? Like everything else you do, you’re going to fail, because you always fail. You fucking loser. You’re such a fucking loser.”

The figure in the darkness banged its hands against the shower sending wave after wave of sound to crash again Sebastian’s senses, making his breathing jagged and forced. But he maintained himself, and pushing the tip of his tongue against his teeth he began reciting a small mantra in his head, giving himself his own words to focus on.

“I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you…”

Sebastian closed his eyes again and forced himself to calm his breathing and focused as hard as he could on his own thoughts.

“Oh you’ve got to be fucking kidding me! Ha, this is pathetic, you’re pathetic. How does someone get this useless? Honestly the only incredible thing about you is your ability to make the wrong choice every time. Fuck, I’m so ashamed of you that it makes me sick. Sebastian, Sebastian, Sebastian! You’re not even a waste of potential, you’re just a fucking waste. Useless! Pathetic! Failure!”

It banged on the shower again and screamed.

“Look at me!”

Sebastian’s eyes shot open, and his breath caught. He stared into the things burning red eyes and began to whisper his mantra out loud.

“I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you…”

Then slowly, terrified, he reached out a hand and placed it against the shower door. He forced his mind to make the face of the thing in the darkness become his own face, and imagined it putting its hand up against the other side of the plastic.

“I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you…”

He continued to stare at it until all he saw was himself looking back at him, repeating the mantra in time. He listened to the water raining down on top of him and smelled the peach soap that was now melting in the steam. Then he closed his eyes and took one more long breath in, held it for a two count and let it out on a four count.

When he opened his eyes again the creature was gone, the lights were all back on and he was sitting alone in the shower.

Slowly he rose and finished washing himself, then turned the water cold to break the spell and wake himself from the last moments of dream before starting his day. He then turned the water off, wrapped himself in a towel, and left the bathroom.

In the hallway he found his girlfriend, half waiting and half playing on her phone.

“That was a long one, you feeling alright?”

She smiled at him and standing behind her was the creature, smiling.

“I’m still here Sebastian.”

He smiled at his girlfriend and said cheerfully.

“Yeah, I’m good, how are you?”

Like this story? Share it on social media!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *