artificialaorta

Canada

[intp + 18 + they/them]
a gotdamn disaster

Message to Readers

give me. your opinions. i will digest them with my cold intestines and make them into something better. it's the cycle cycle cycle i am just a vessel

#r&scontest || start by the end

July 29, 2019

FREE WRITING

9
Crack.
Hiss.

Boom.

Universe-shattering pain, like the world has never imagined, like the Earth will never know. 
    Take a pill.
    The world comes into focus, slowly. The pain that digs deep into her skull fades only slightly when she opens her eyes, only to give room for a dozen other pains to settle in. It's the way the colours shine so brightly and the shapes and contrasts scream sardonically - the world is violently drunk, giddy with this sort of vibrant-electric-motorized life, and Maya...
    Maya is awake. 
    God, another fucking migraine. It's the thirteenth this month, although she doesn't quite know why she keeps counting; it's not like she can afford to spend more on frugal visits to the doctor. Maybe one day she will, and she'll say, 'I've had five hundred and forty-seven migraines in the last two years.' Maybe they'll prescribe her another pill with side effects including (but not limited to) nausea, sleepiness, fatigue, an increased heartbeat, nausea, loss of appetite, increase in appetite, weird dreams, nausea, nightmares, balding, growing a beard, trouble with thinking, trouble with existing. Maybe they'll take a look at the yellowed pages of her medical file, shrug their shoulders, and ask if she has tried yoga, vitamins, essential oils, meditation, healing crystals, going to church on Sunday, all weekend, every-day, maybe an exorcism (or two, just to be sure). Doctors have become a luxury she simply cannot afford anymore, so for now-
    Take another pill.

Three thunderous knocks against her door rattle the foundations of the building, unravel earthquakes of the largest magnitudes on the planet, make Atlas quiver as he holds the world in place. Three knocks announce armageddon itself.
"Maya, honey, are you awake?" chirps the squeaky southern drawl (yes, all vowels nasalized) at the other side of the door.
    Take the cold coffee over there, in the kitchen and under the cupboards, and pour the two-parts vodka into it. Drink up.
    Take another pill. 
    "Unfortunately."
    "Oh, good! I just have a couple-o'-clients coming over and wanted to check on you before they arrive," says the voice, sweetly, and Maya just sighs.
    She starts to move to open the door when she realizes there is no need, really. Mrs. Greene's already walked in, privacy be damned, and she's well on her way to make herself at home.

The migraine pains tell Maya that Mrs. Greene's outfit should be a criminal offense; the woman's clothing has more colours than it is humanly possible to imagine. Scarves and veils and layers of skirts all wrap loosely around the stout frame of the lady, assaulting Maya's vision with vibrancy. There are coins sewn into the fabrics which rattle with any hint of movement. Mrs. Greene sticks out like a big, human maraca against the bleakness of the muted apartment walls - and if Maya hadn't had a headache before, she definitely would've by now.

A sorry excuse of a building apparently makes for an excellent psychic office. Mrs. Greene says it's the aura of the place that draws them in. Maya, personally, thinks it's bullshit. Mrs. Greene (although when there's clients around, she's Madame Astra) is a full time psychic, part-time waitress at the diner just around the corner. She comes up to Maya's apartment every morning to ask about the people who will come to her, looking for answers. Really, it's a very confusing system, but at least Maya gets free rent out of it. 
    Mrs. Greene discreetly takes out the notepad she always carries, as if the act of doing so overtly would somehow disgrace her profession - would somehow make her more of a fraud than she already is. Everyone has to make a living somehow, and Mrs. Greene takes notes when Maya speaks.
    Maya says, her first customer will want to contact his dead pet hamster. She says, tell him hamsters don't leave ghosts behind, but if he'd like to talk to his dead brother, Mark, who follows him everywhere, the one that died in a bungee-jumping accident - his brother would sure appreciate it.
    She talks about Mrs. Greene's customers while sipping out of her cold cup, trying to sober herself up, drown the world out just a bit. She talks with an air of resigned confidence, weaving people's futures with her words; Mrs. Greene scrawls every little thing into her little notepad with her little, scrunched-up and claustrophobic lettering. 
    It's not a thing that Maya does consciously. She's just good at guessing.
    She's always been.
    Mrs. Greene rises from her seat, coins rattling suddenly as she stands, and thanks her profusely; calls her 'my good girl'; leaves, still with that sound she wears like a shadow chasing at her feet.

When the door snaps shut, something else does too. Maya still stands in her kitchen, still physically looking at the rusty metal door, but her vision is elsewhere. She knows better than trying to fight it. 
    She just watches.
    Maya is looking into a fishbowl with no light in it, save for the occasional neon-coloured beam. People are packed here, and she can smell the salty sweat stink of the place - a bar, then, or maybe a disco. People dance over there, in what must be the center of the dance floor; over there, in a corner, people huddle over a gasping man - a boy, really. His eyes are open, pupils blown up like he's trying to fit the whole night sky in him.
    Boom.

It changes again, again, again. She sees Marylin Monroe, sees Kurt Cobain, sees Amy Winehouse, River Phoenix. She sees an old woman in a hospital bed, a woman who is more tubes, mechanical wiring, life support than she is woman; a young girl just barely sitting in an alley with that drip-drip-dripping viscous stain on her shirt shining brighter than the car lights beside her; a man fighting against the stinging, cutting salt-waves of blue before he's knocked down, sees him battle again - each time the balance scale tips heavier on desperation, lighter on time. She sees smoke, fire, rain.
    Hiss.

She sees the boy from the beginning, the very first one, reach farther than she can see; sees him seize up into nothingness - into everythingness. She sees his chest arch up ever so slightly, gasping one final time and clutching that last whiff of air like a rabid animal. She can see him clutch to that small breath with claws and teeth, viscerally holding the air in his lungs for survival. It's instinctual, raw. He exhales. He is gone.
    Crack.

Maya sees the moments before death. She sees resignation, sorrow, desperation, relief. She stares at death from every angle, watches with the morbid curiosity of an anatomy student watching their first human dissection demonstration. Time and time again, she is shown that same final exhale - slices of death on repetition, fragments of not-quite-life flickering before her eyes like TV channels snapping, crackling with static. 

Maya draws a raspy breath, the cold air abrasive against her dry throat. It aches.
Maya draws a breath

and the world shifts to focus on her old, beige-coloured apartment. 
A very deep, instinctual part of her understands, staring into the door from which Mrs. Greene just walked out, that time is running out.

Take another pill.
hello i'm back it's a long story. working title for this was magic and migraines. i think the 'breath' bit is pretty obvious here. partly inspired by gerard way's 'Maya the Psychic' - go give that a listen. i'm feelin kinda eh about my writing style right now but at least i'm writing...... Right? depression sucks lol 
anyway thank you rainandsonder for hosting!!! i was going to go for all three keywords but i'd end up writing a mini-series and i'm sure i've tortured you enough with this much writing. maybe i'll do the other two chapters (corresponding to the other two prompts) but for now... enjoy (?) this!

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6 Comments
  • The Bubbling Pen

    hauntingly brilliant. your piece begins and ends with subtle twists in between that makes the reader yearn for just a bit more.. i loved every moment xx


    over 1 year ago
  • rainandsonder

    contest results are now up!


    over 1 year ago
  • r|A|i|N

    i'm tempted to copy and paste everything rainandsonder and anha said into this comment; i couldn't agree more. this is a wonderful piece, chilling in its repetitiveness. every single line is beautifully constructed. even simple descriptions add something to the piece; as rainandsonder said, the interesting tone is a key feature to what makes this so great. in particular i like "mrs greene discreetly takes out the notepad she always carries, as if the act of doing so overtly would somehow disgrace her profession" and "his eyes are open, pupils blown up like he's trying to fit the whole night sky in him". this is a genius piece of writing. i'm going to be rereading this one over and over again. great work.


    over 1 year ago
  • rainandsonder

    was this a long piece? i honestly didn't notice, i was so enthralled by your writing. this is definitely a contender for first place, and maybe as the contest host i'm supposed to say that to everyone, but here i really mean it; i love your sarcastic writing style, i love the vivid, three-dimensional characters, and i love the story you tell, the world you bring to life. i would devour the other two chapters if you posted them (please do). again, fantastic work!


    over 1 year ago
  • Anha

    holy fucking shit. pardon my profanity, but if this isn't the best goddamn thing i've read in the longest time - since paperbird left, i think. you never disappoint with your signature poignant style, succint and concise language draw the reader in with a promise of something more, cleverly placed and out-of-the-box metaphorical descriptions serves your writing well, helping me empathise with the protagonist, and laugh out loud at her observations (human maraca had me dead). i'm in love with your writing, every paragraph, every sentence, every well placed semicolon leaves me reeling and mentally begging for more to fill my insatiable appetite for your work. reread gay pirates recently to quench the thirst, but this should keep me grounded for at least the next month.

    favourite lines include (but not limited to) :
    Maybe one day she will, and she'll say, 'I've had five hundred and forty-seven migraines in the last two years.'
    Maybe they'll take a look at the yellowed pages of her medical file, shrug their shoulders, and ask if she has tried yoga, vitamins, essential oils, meditation, healing crystals, going to church on Sunday, all weekend, every-day, maybe an exorcism (or two, just to be sure).
    (the repetition of) take another pill
    It's not a thing that Maya does consciously. She's just good at guessing.
    She's always been.
    She just watches.
    ...a man fighting against the stinging, cutting salt-waves of blue before he's knocked down, sees him battle again - each time the balance scale tips heavier on desperation, lighter on time. She sees smoke, fire, rain.

    can't say with all my vocabulary how cool this is. guess i need to learn more words.


    over 1 year ago
  • artificialaorta

    i am so thirsty for feedback & validation PLEASE write here


    over 1 year ago