The Demon Inside
That night I called you, I was terrified, I thought I was going crazy, I didn’t know what to think. I stayed at your house for a few days, you were so lovely, you kept asking what was wrong but I just couldn’t say, you didn’t push, you looked after me, waited for me to be ready. I wish I had told you everything that first night, I wish I could have. I know I wasn’t the best house guest, we had only been together a few months, I know I spoke too little, ate too little, slept too little but still you didn’t push me, you were calming, grounding. I fell in love with you a little during those times, not a hot, passionate love, not even in a forever and ever love but a love in it’s own way. A comfortable, warm love, like a log fire burning low after warming you all night.
Someone was messing with me. Something was haunting me, whether person or spirit, something was there! I swear on my life.
You picked me up on the corner, half drowned, barefoot, shivering, shaking so hard I thought I might shake apart, teeth clicking loudly together in the July sunshine. You wrapped your hoodie around me, put the heating on in your car even though I could see the sweat dripping off of you. You took me home, gave me some clean, dry clothes. I’m so sorry Dave. Sorry for everything that came after.
Stace called me that night while you were out picking up dinner.
“Charlie, what the hell did you do to the bathroom?!?!” she shrieked in my ear
“Bathroom? What about the rest of the house?”
The rest of the… oh no, you didn’t have Dina over again did you? I love that girl but damn she is a human wrecking ball if I ever saw one”
I was a little confused, what about all the noises I had heard? That commotion must have left a mess somewhere, that banging, clashing, ripping was real, right? Apparently the rest of the place was fine? I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.
“Earth to charlie, anyone home?” I heard Stace giggle
“What sorry, I’m just a little distracted… um about the bathroom, I kinda just left in a hurry… I’m going to stay at Daves tonight so don’t wait up K?”
“Ooh lala moving in already are we?” Stacey teased me, I didn’t have the heart to return the banter.
“I gotta go, talk to you tomorrow”
“Use condoms!” she shouted down the phone just as I hung up.
Despite everything, she still managed to bring a meager smile to my face. God I miss her, more than you could ever know. If I had known that was the last time I would ever talk to her, god I would have stayed on the phone for hours, I would have run back to the flat, hugged her tight, told her how much she meant to me, she was a sister to me. I often wonder what would have happened if I had told her, could I have saved her?
You came home, you tried to get me to eat, you tried to get me to talk, you tired to make love to me but I wasn’t all there. I couldn’t drag myself out of my internal monologue long enough to participate in the world. I was going crazy or had gone crazy. If I was drugged the night of the party, it would have long since worn off.
The flat was fine, nothing broken, nothing amiss. If someone or something was there like I was so sure of, there would have been signs. Physical signs of the chaos I had heard.
Madness was the only possibility. I knew I had to go back to the doctor, tell him what had happened since I had last seen him but I put it off… who wants to admit they can’t tell reality from dreams anymore? Just a few more days, I just needed a few days to get my breath back after the whirlwind of horror sweeping my mind. My life was being ripped from under my feet.
I waited until Friday, I knew if I put it off over the weekend, I would never go at all. So after staring at the ceiling all night I got up, dressed in your soft tracksuit bottoms, pulled one of your t shirts on and slipped my feet into those flip flops you dug out for me, I crept out of the door, hoping not to wake you. This time at the doctors, I didn’t slink to the back of the line when the regulars gave me the stink eye. I was sick, very sick and needed help.
I saw Doctor Hassan again, this time I told him everything, it was hard to say at first, I spoke in spurts, rushing through the words at times, then going silent and brooding over what to say next. Dr Hassan asked a lot of questions, made a lot of notes. He booked me in for a mental health assessment later that day and gave me a mild sedative in the meantime.
“Get some rest, come back here later and speak to Miss Jefferies, she’s going to ask you a lot of the same questions I did, if she comes back with the same result you’ll be referred onto someone who can help you better, she’ll let you know what happens next, if you really feel like your life is in danger for whatever reason, I want you to go straight to A&E”
I thought about going back to yours, I thought of the relief on your face seeing me sleep for the first time in days. I knew if I told you, you would have taken the day off, came with me to my appointment and held my hand but I’d seen the look in your eye the night before, the worry, the pity, I can’t stand that look. So I didn’t, I didn’t reach out to you. I thought about going home, setting an alarm on my phone, taking the innocent looking tablets and getting some much needed rest but the thought of stepping foot into that place before I knew exactly what was happening turned my stomach. No that was out.
I walked to the park instead, somewhere bright, filled with children’s laughter and chatty mums, dogs chasing balls and skateboarders on ramps. I just didn’t want to be alone.
I chose a bench out of the way, the furthest end of the green, I could see everyone in the distance, hear their faint cries of laughter but I had space, space to think, privacy to break down if I needed to. Time went a lot faster than I thought it would, you called me 7 times before giving up, I was going to call you straight after my appointment I promise. By now you know that wasn’t possible. After hearing what they said about me, I don’t blame you for the way you reacted but I wish you could have believed me, seen the truth in my eyes. I did not kill her Dave, I swear on my life! It did it, the thing!
I just sat there in the sunshine, minding my own business, I must have fallen asleep… I don’t know what happened, I don’t know how I got back to the flat, I didn’t take any of the damn pills.
What happened to me Dave? What happened to Stacey?
The nurse is calling, I have to take my meds now. Good timing, I don’t think I can face what happened tonight.