Awakening [A short story]

Annie was a living and breathing disaster. Wherever she went people stared at her. Avoided her like a plague. Who could blame them. Annie looked like a ghost. Mistaken living world for the underworld. Even goths walked away from her.

A week had passed since Annie had slept. Diagnosis, insomnia. But was it really the illness? Annie coughed in the drug store. She had decided to try sleep medicine again. These little boxes troubled her.

“Are you buying something?” A man called.

“Do you have anything stronger?”

“Do I look like a drug dealer to you?” He reached under the counter. “Get lost before I call the cops.”

Annie shuffled her feet and walked out of the store. Annoying pest, she thought. Midday sun blinded her eyes. She pulled hoodie over her head. Where to go. Where to go. Park. Which way was park. Left. Right. Left. Left. Bus stop.

Bus door creaked open. They required money. Annie had none. What to do?

“Coming?” Driver said.

“Hollow park. No money.”

Bus driver looked at the passengers in the bus, “sorry dear, no freebies today.” Doors closed. Bus rumbled away.

Rotten exhaust smoke settled in Annie’s lungs. She coughed. Annoying pest.

“Freak.” Voices behind her called.

What to do. What to do. Worms crept under her right shoulder. She scratched it. Turned in the direction of fading bus. She felt malicious eyes that observed her. Whispers that were incomprehensible. Worms ate flesh on her left shoulder. She scratched it. Metaphysical hand stopped her. Annie raised her head. Red. What if I wanted to sleep, she mumbled. Who was she talking to. Who was always interfering. Green. Horn sound pierced her ears. Annoying pest.

Annie licked her dry lips. Need to drink. No money. Water bottle on the table. What? I don’t want to steal. She stopped. Worms invaded her breasts. She scratched them. Gazed at the water bottle between a laughing couple across the street. Girl went inside the cafe. The man followed her with hungry eyes and lit a cigarette. Annie rushed across the street. Brakes shrieked.

“Psycho.” Someone yelled.

Annie reached the table and the sitting man.

“Water, or girl will know that you’ll rape her tonight.”

“She won’t believe a crazy one like you.” Man grinned, “how is your itching?”

What does he know. “What do you know.” She asked.

“Sleepless nights?”

“Who are you?”

Man reached for a water bottle. Grasped it. “Take it. It’s yours. When you awaken, remember I was good to you.”

Annie took the bottle. Pressed it to the chest. Shuffled her feet away from the man. Stopped. Looked back. Girl came out from the cafe. Smiling sat across the man. He took her hands. Pressed to the lips.

Annie walked forward.

In the alley she pressed her back against the wall. Looked at the water bottle. Is it poisoned, she thought. Unscrewed bottle cap. Put the bottle to the nose. Inhaled. Smells clean. She drunk all of it with one breath. Dropped bottle on the ground.

“I was good to you.” She mumbled.

Worms ate her thighs. Scratching didn’t helped. Worms just moved around in her. Annie left the alley. Sun burned her skin. She walked faster not knowing why she felt the need to rush. It was a feeling that someone was pushing her forward. Ten hands on her back. Annie could feel them.

“What are you doing?” She said.

“Not your business.” Voice below answered.

Hands stopped pushing. Turned her head in voice’s direction. Another ghost sat between crumbled papers. Excrement stink burned her nose.

“Oooh,” it chuckled, “awakening soon?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Annie said. She was getting dizzy from the smell.

Ghost stood up. Frowning pinched her in the arm. Poked her in the left breast. Stepped back stroking its beard. Began to frantically laugh.

Eight hands pushed Annie away. She inhaled fresh air. Ghost’s laugh rang in her ears. Stop, stop.

“Stop.” She screamed.

“Are you ok?” A bony hand touched her arm.

“Don’t touch me.” Annie shrugged the hand off. Annoying pest.

Hands began to push her even faster. Annie run ignoring red lights. Out of breath she stopped. Horizon swallowed the sun when she raised her head again. On a faded sign was written Hollow park. Annie smiled. Time was stepping on her heels. She coughed. Spat out a wiggling worm that buried itself in the ground. No time. Annie walked in the park. Evening wind that hugged her reminded of grandma. Years ago she said goodbye for the last time and rotting fragrance that lingered in the air never left her.

“Granny is sleeping.” Mother said. First of the many lies that followed from mother’s mouth. Little Annie trusted her but couldn’t understand why they were burying grandma alive. She is alive, she is alive, Annie screamed through the tears.

“She was alive.” Her lips whispered.

Dog barked at her. Barked again. And again.

“I’m sorry. He usually doesn’t behave like that.” Woman said. “Are you alright?”

Forcing a smile Annie brushed her tears away, “never been better.”

Leaving barking woman behind she moved deeper within a park. Gravel crunched under her feet. Annie shivered. Coldness arrived sooner then expected. In the distance a point of light appeared. Hide. Shadow of the willow tree hid her from the approaching guard. Raven on the tree in front greeted her. Show me the way. Raven fluttered its wings catching approaching wind. Annie followed. Other ravens joined them. Shadow of her guide landed on the bench. It’s eyes glowing silver in the darkness. Thank you. Turning in a silver wisp raven sang her goodbye.

Ten hands lay her down on the bench exhausted. Circling ravens landed on her picking worms from her body. Annie closed her eyes.

Behind the story:

A story not set in my Fictional Universe. At least not until I have a human world in it.

It began as an exercise. I wanted to see if I can “free write” a story. That is, write without much thinking. Free writing works well for other thoughts and lately for twitter stories. Apparently for longer ones it might work too. I don’t know. You tell me if it’s any good.

A penny for your thoughts