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  • Brionna Bennett

Until We Meet Again

Content Warning: Anxiety, Blood, Lilapsophobia, Somniphobia, Ommetaphobia

All the mirrors are cracked, and shards of glass lay bloodless amongst the floor. It’s Friday night, and the Fall breeze slips through the gaps of your window. Each bit of air fogs the reflective shards surrounding you, giving you the excuse you need to not leave your bed.

A brisk chill burns you from the inside out as breathing becomes your last chore. The tiny bumps on your arms rise, allowing the sweat that was on your brow just hours prior to race down to your fingertips. The very fingers that are grabbing at the blanket encasing you like the remains of last night’s slaughter before shipping you off to the market.

You’re alone, but all those you care about are close by. Those you love, you cherish, are nearly a voice away, but as you cling that blanket closer to your chest, the palpitations ring through your ears like a gong that echos calling for help. It races through you, making every pulse stronger than the last. The banging of your chest is so loud you can’t hear your thoughts. That may be your only salvation. As your mouth moves...silence because the air sticks in your chest. As you push the air upward, it settles in your throat like a knot, tightening, tightening, tightening. You swallow hard, but the lump is still there. Your breath struggles. Cough one for the knot, cough two for the breath, cough three for...

You try to disappear, vanish, but you realize the only thing between you and sinking deeper into the floor is the lush bed you don’t want to escape. It’s pulling you in the sound of you sinking into the mattress is like a siren call. You know the dangers, but there is no saying no. The pillows and sheets have you held captive with its false sense of security, leaving you with a nearly fleeting comfort. The more you squirm, the more the sheets get tangled with your body. Legs under fitted sheets, arms wrapped around the comforter. Fingers laced together in the hopes you will save yourself. The sweat increases and lingers on your nose. The beads fall slower than your breath. The longer the bead stays, the more your eyes focus. Your vision blurs from the attention given to the single drop of sweat, reminding you that you and that sweats are one and the same. Alone, toxic, and slipping away.

You blink twice, but as you do, the pressure of your eyelids feels like shackles. Shackles that tighten as you squeeze. Allowing the white-edged orbs to choke, sputtering out salt-filled droplets, Droplets that linger down your cheek, resting on your chin before landing on your hand. Landing only to remind you of what put you here in the first place.

It was the whistle. The whistle that sounds like a train. The same whistle you hear before your brain tightens like your demons wrapped a rubber band around your head three times. Once for your existence, twice for you living thrice for you trying to survive. As you remember the whistle, it all comes flooding back, the hue of the grey sky with a mouth. It’s circular, and as the air gets cooler, it gets hungry. It takes the powers of the winds as they dance a killer dance. Where each partner is a different temperature, and neither is a leader. They both fight against each other to hit the surface of their path of destruction, carrying out damage and chaos just to fulfill a mission.

You take a moment in an attempt to calm yourself. Your right hand finds a way to untangle itself from your sheets, just enough to find your phone. One new notification. You swipe up. It’s a text from a writer friend sending you their daily dose of inspiration. The world is even farther than you know, and the people you care for are even further. The text reads, “Aren’t they dreamy?” You scroll down only to see a picture of a pair of dark brown eyes. You throw your phone across the room and dive under the blanket. To your friend, the eyes may appear to be dreamy orbs of chocolate bliss. But to you, they are pools of oil waiting to spill, surrounded by white glass choked by red veins that just want to escape long enough to strangle you.

Your hands wrap around your knees as the whistle gets louder. Rocking isn’t enough to comfort or soothe you. Instead, it speeds up the rushing of water in your head. Creating fog over a sea of thoughts, leaving your hands shaking. You know what this whistle means, but you don’t want to admit it. The clashing of rain on a tin roof enters through, under, and around your blanket. Your shield gets soiled by the rouge droplets that have found a way to partner with the wind. An alliance that not only sends chills throughout your body but it sends a tingle. Like your flesh is being bitten from the inside out. Like tiny bugs have found a way to burrow into your flesh and are bitting piece by piece and inch by inch. You jab at the spots hoping to get them, but no maggots or mites escape; only the tingling and itching continue.

You want to escape your flesh as you scratch and pull, hoping it’s merely an irritation, but no bumps or rash cover your body, just scratch marks from you attempting to get it away. There is no way to leave the body you are in as well as survive the storm that’s afoot. The rains keep falling, and the sound of the tin roof gets louder until you can’t hear anything else. Not your breath, not year heart, not the whistle.

It stopped. The whistle. The rain. The wind. You pull the covers from over your head; your hair is no longer close to you but wild from your movements. You look to your left and see the shards of reflective glass still sprawled on the floor. You look to your right and see the shoe you used to kick them. Memories of why are nonexistent because the fact is you felt like you needed to. You move to the right edge of your bed, your bare feet touching the floor, toes followed by sole, then heel. As you walk forward, you walk over to the left side of the bed, your steps avoiding the shards. You hesitated, but in the end, you kneel, your knees inches away from the fragments. You pick one up and raise it high only to remember why you broke it in the first place.

It was your eyes. They say they are the windows to the soul, and at that particular moment, you didn’t like what you saw. The demons that strangle your brain told you to do it because, for once, you believed they were right. Their words begin to loop in your head. “They’re talking about you.” “You’re not good enough,” “Sleep won’t change anything.”

The whistle returns as the questions swim louder, splashing through the rain on each part of your amygdala.

Do you still think they are right? Do you still doubt your existence? What do you expect when you can’t even look at yourself in the mirror. Sunlight creeps in before you can answer. You stand from your distress, whipping the stray pieces of glass from your knees. As you walk over to your phone, you pick it up and look down. You open your texts to look at the messages from your friend. Nothing. There is no recently read message, no set of oil spill eyes, just texts dating back three days ago. You press your home button. It’s a new day, Saturday, 6 am. You nod your head and walk towards the door. Another sleepless night, whistle until we meet again.


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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Brionna Bennett is an African American writer born and raised in rural Virginia with a love for magic, fairies, and nature. She is the organizer of DC Creative Writing Read & Critique and a DC Writer’s Salon member. When Brionna is not writing, she is a Middle school special educator helping students with similar disabilities she struggled with growing up. She loves all things Disney, superheroes, and music. 

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