Been a long while Sorry, here is “Intrusion”
****Content warning, graphic and disturbing descriptions *****
I step into the bathroom and see myself reflected in the long mirror. I stop and face the mirror head on, “Who is this?” I think. I mean, not really, ‘who is this’ like I don’t know this person, I know the person I see is me but who am I anymore?
I scrunch up my forehead, wrinkle my nose, stick my tongue out and then allow my face to settle back to its normal state. I don’t know this person anymore.
I sigh. My eyes show the sadness that hides behind the face. I’m not sure if anyone actually sees it, but I do. A face. A face is just a facade, the mask we show the world, something we use to hide behind so the world can’t intrude on our personal space. The only true privacy we have is in our own heads. The place no one else can get, just us.
I lean forward onto the vanity and put my head down, staring into the sink. Drain hole. Dark. Black hole. Black smoke. There was black smoke, very thin, but it was there. I smell it. Burned. I can’t think of another word. Rubber?…….Toxic, for sure. There’s another smell. I can’t describe it, reminds me of steak. I don’t eat steak anymore.
I close my eyes tight. My heart is beating ever so slightly faster. I can feel it building. I can’t push it away. “Go Away!” I tell myself, “Just, please, Go Away.”
She’s there. A little doll. Chubby little dirty legs. Angelic little face. Dusty. Dark curly hair. Green eyes. Happy screams. Kids nearby chasing a ball. Dusty road. Hot sun. Boom! Chaos. Terror. Screams. A mother wails. My hands are shaking.
I am gripping the countertop on the vanity with all my strength. My breath is coming in short gasps. I feel like there is a vice around my chest. My eyes are wide open. I see the drain. I tell myself, it’s a drain, it’s the sink, I’m okay. I’m okay.
But she’s gone.
I’m on my knees in the dirt. Pieces. What do I do with just pieces? I start to gather them in my hands. Soft. Warm. Clumps. I pile them. I have to get them all. I have to get them all. Screaming all around me. Wailing. A little arm. I crawl over to it. All intact. Not a scratch on it. Not a burn. I stare at it. Doll’s arm. I pick it up. I place it in the pile. I just do it. It’s my job. I do this. I put them back together again, it’s what I do.
My teeth are clenched stifling the moans. I feel like they will shatter. My arms are aching as my body fights. Each muscle is taut and shaking. Tears are streaming down my face. My heart is pounding. “Why! Why!? Why this!? Just stop!” My mind is screaming as my body betrays me. “Please, just stop this!”
There’s a hand on my shoulder, pulling me backward. I’m falling over backward and struggling to stay on my knees. I have to finish. I have a job to do. I have to do my job. I have to finish. I struggle to get away from the hand pulling me. Words. Far away. “Get on your feet. Leave it. There’s nothing you can do. On your feet, we have to get moving again……” The person sounds agitated, scared, they could be screaming, I’m not sure. I have a job to do! I’m angry. I’m doing my job!
My head hurts. It feels like it could explode all on its own. My jaw is aching. My teeth bared. My knees are beginning to shake.
I am yanked to my feet and spun around. “What the hell are you doing!? We have to leave. It’s dead, leave it.” I am being dragged toward the truck. I see my feet moving, kicking up dust. “It’s a doll.” I say hollowly, “It was just a doll…?” I look toward the person roughly dragging me forward. His face is contorted, anxious, terrified. His eyes are searching. I’m thrown roughly into the back seat of a truck, there’s another loud explosion nearby, people shouting in the truck. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. The truck jolts forward roughly, throwing me backward.
My knees buckle. I struggle to stand again. The mirror shows a pained, tear streaked face, eyes wildly searching the room reflected in front of them. A hand reaches out to the taps. Right side. Turn on the right one. Arrrrgh.
Obscenities all around me. Panic. I’m being jostled back and forth as the truck bounces over ruts in the roadway. My hands are warm. I look down slowly and unfurl my hand. It’s a piece. I turn and look over my left shoulder at the place we’ve just been. Nothing but dust. A cloud of dust. “I have to take it back.” I think. “It belongs back there.” I start to say it, “We gotta go back…..we gotta……get her back……” I hold up the piece to show them. A voice breaks the through the fog, “For Christ sakes Medic, toss that shit out the window and get a hold of yourself!”
The water is cold. Ice cold. My hands begin to throw it on my face, soaking the countertop, my shirt, it’s falling onto the floor and forming a puddle. It’s cold. Ice cold. I feel my elbows on the counter. I can breathe. I begin to gulp in air. I soak my head, my hair, my neck. I breathe in air hungrily as the tension in my muscles begins to break. My heart is pounding.
I see myself reflected in the mirror. I don’t know who that is anymore. It’s not who it used to be. I don’t know this person anymore.