Fluorescent lights seemed to create an emotion in me that stuck around like a bad cough. The store glowed with a sickly tone and my eyes drooped as I entered. It was late and it had been a long day, but still I needed something to eat once I got home. There were very few things that interested me in food. Ignoring the strangers I cut into the aisles and began searching the constantly changing shelves.
Each one shifted back and forth like on rails. Left and right they ran holding their produce and plastic goods that most confused with each other. The movements were dizzying, but I knew it was all in my head. I needed to do was focus on moving forward and they would shift back to their still positions. Sure enough they did and I began drifting from shelf-to-shelf. The low reverberating sound of the non-existent air conditioner hummed loudly as I searched and the aisle extended before me. The floor inclined with the shelves and I was soon walking along blocks of shelves ever upwards till my foot slipped on the linoleum.
Instead of sliding backwards I only fell forward, the jolt sending my mind back to reality for however long it would stay there. I climbed to my feet and turned my head sharply to see if anymore saw me. A terrible sadness came over me realizing the difference between me and the others in this store. I had a mind that wanted to work against me. Why was I doing this? Hunger is less of a pain than this.
Still, I was here now and continued my strange journey, turning around the aisles, but stopping just in front of a freezer. There was some appetizing looking fish so I slid the panel to the side and reached inside. The darkness of the ice-box stretched upwards, surrounding me and a wet, clammy tentacle wrapped itself around my forearm. It was grey and an unhealthy purple, squeezing and pulling me into the dark water. I floated there for a long moment, watching the boxes float around me and trying not to stare down into the void.
I soon realized I was unable to breath and so I closed my eyes. My eyes were being tricking, but not my sense of touch. I felt the cold water around my face, but not the rest of me. Raising my head sharply I whipped backwards. My head out of the ice-box, but a chill ran through me as droplets slid down my cheek and my wild hair stuck to my head. I hated the feeling deeply and decided it was time to go home. I turned my head to see a concerned woman holding her child behind her. The girl held her mother’s leg and looked at me curiously. Why bother to reason with people who are like this? I don’t know, but I felt the urge to let her know.
“I have a condition,” I replied pointing to my head.
Her eyes widened in realisation, but her worry never left her. My lips pressed together and I nodded, walking away from the fish after sliding the panel closed. Going back through the last aisle I grabbed instinctively at the food that had attractive looking covers and threw them into a basket. Taking it to the checkout I place the basket in from of the tall, slim, old man. He crooned over the basket and plucked the food out with long fingers, scanning them silently until the total buzzed on the small screen in-front of him. The number was below fifty dollars so I gave him the bill without thinking, took the items in their plastic bags and left.
I had spent close to two hours in that store according to the time on my watch, but I can only recall what felt like twenty minutes of being in that mad house. I sneezed into my sleeve, already catching a cold from my dip amongst the deceased sea critters. I knew the streets better than my mind fully realized. Changing names here and there of the street signs or blocking turns didn’t work. If there wasn’t the threat of walking into traffic I would do it with my eyes closed. My eyes closed...it was an idea.
Climbing the steps to my apartment I noticed a new trick. The steps continued upwards forever, never reaching a floor. I felt along the wall as I walked and soon my hand slipped through the illusion signalling the hallway to the first floor. I repeated this action till my hand slipped beyond for the third time. I heard a lady shriek and a hand flew out the wall to slap me. I stepped through the wall, ignoring the sting and the cold look and walked straight to my apartment.
Within a few seconds I was in, shutting and locking the door. I tested the door, pushing against then pulling the door knob. It held strong and I proceeded to make my food. From what I collected I could make boiled shrimp and peas, so that’s what I did. A small pot filled with tap water and twenty minutes later I had a meal. The shrimp crunched terribly, I wasn’t sure how to eat them, but I was spitting what felt like glass onto my plate. Drool stuck to my lips and ran down to the ever so appetizing meal. I continued until I could eat no more, wiping my mouth of spit and blood.
I had no further reason to keep myself awake so the bed called me. Thankfully I reached it in only fifteen minutes, climbing into the welcoming blankets I was too afraid to ever wash. The coolness welcomed me and I lay there in funk of depression as I stared at the wall. Purposeless and lost I realized I would one day destroy myself if my mind continued like this. Before I could slip into slumber and full understand the meaning of that statement the doorbell rang.
I sat up and climbed out of bed sharply constantly calling that I was on my way, not knowing how long it would take me to eventually reach there. Staring through the peephole I saw the woman from the store with her small son.
“Yes?” I asked through the door.
“Sorry, I got locked out of my apartment, could you call the super?” she asked
Now here I was, stuck in place, deciding whether or not to open the door.
“I don’t know where my phone is,” I told her honestly.
“Uh...can we look? You’re the only one who has answered when I rang,” she reasoned.
Closing my eyes I reached for the light and turned it on. I stared back at the mess of my apartment and sighed.
“If you can find it, you can call him,” I told her opening the door.
She immediately recognized me, but how could she not? I didn’t even dry my hair upon arriving. The cuts on my lips didn’t look good either. Shuffling past her I walked to the steps.
“I will be over here while you look,” I murmured. Once more she held her son back protectively watching me sit with my back to her.
Is this the way I would spend my entire life? In fear of everything with everyone afraid of me?