Mind caps

My name is John Hades. If you’re not familiar with Greek mythology you might be mispronouncing my name, or not, but technically, yes. The name has always brought along some sort of post-apocalyptic vibe to my life. Every time I hear someone say my name, it’s like the end is near, and I’m the one responsible for it. A girl I used to date once wrote a very dark story called, ‘Through the Eye of Hades’. I told her to change the title to something else before publication otherwise I’d leave her. She did change it, but I ended up dumping her anyway. Her name was Denise – an irritating girl, as irritating as her stories in which she would over-reference her favourite writers in a way that it was so obvious. That wasn’t the reason why I dumped her, though. I loved the sex, but she was allergic to my cat. So, in a way, I left her, but I wouldn’t let her leave me. I wouldn’t let anyone that entered my life, go. Not that there are many people in my life, despite being in college. I just loved watching how I brought out the darkest in her. When we first met, she was this inexperienced, happy small-town girl. I literally seduced her like the serpent in Eden by feeding her magic mushrooms for dinner. (Important note: The serpent in Eden is proof that there is always evil lurking in something good. However, harmless evil, because here, temptation is portrayed as bad, but the decision is yours. Pure evil will grab you instantly by the neck.) Everyone reacts differently to the effect of psilocybin. I didn’t trust who she was on the outside and believed that the mushrooms would tell me the truth. If you were a genuinely happy person you would normally experience some form of euphoria when you eat mushrooms. Denise, on the other hand, went through a drastic change of perception, which eventually led to a panic attack. It started with her pupils dilating, followed by her seeing cockroaches crawling down my walls. She imagined the fast-creepy crawling sounds and immediately jumped on my couch, screaming. “They’re going to kill me, they’re going to kill me!” she kept whining. It struck me that her biggest fear was death, which didn’t surprise me, because her dad owned a funeral home. She told me about her childhood nightmares and how she once saw her dead grandmother waving at her from down the hallway. Interestingly enough, that mushroom trip inspired her to her first piece of dark...

Megalomania

“We are in a world where you have to pay for sunlight. This is when you believe that capitalism can’t get any worse,” Tom says. I look at him and his SunMaster tanning bulbs, which he has just bought for his tanning bed. We leave the store and look at the artificial atmosphere above us, simulating dark grey clouds. It’s as if the sky was a giant flat TV. But to me, it’s just another day in England – nothing special, except that it’s very hot for September. “You don’t handle it well, do you?” I ask Tom. “Think of the Scandinavians.” “Ha, I feel for them!” “The fewer people the better it is for the world.” “What do you mean?” he asks. We are on the way to his place to kill some time, play video games. That way you won’t even think about outside. When staring at the clouds I can’t really tell where the sun is. Being a winter person, I have no problem with daylight on cloudy days at all. My skin has always absorbed the sunlight well, even through the clouds. All these people, Tom included, are overreacting. They would swallow numerous vitamin pills every day to make sure they don’t have any deficiencies. “Don’t you realize that they want the suicide rates to go up?” I say. Tom doesn’t understand, and I don’t think he ever will. He is a smart kid, an engineer-to-be and happy enough despite the clouds above us. It’s the panic of others that make him go with the flow. “My uncle is making big money at his funeral home…” he says. “I assume that cremation is a must these days, eh?” “Yeah.” There are a lot of cemeteries here and the government plans to either get rid of them or build on them. We have already survived the period of the Purge, but all the rich people in the government will always have more in store to wipe out the poor. There is a resistance group that is mostly active at night. Some of them are often seen with Guy Fawkes masks, and people refer to them as, “What is left of Anonymous”. They are not criminals, not in my eyes anyway, as they feed the poor. However, they did light up fireworks with an attempt to destroy the screen in the sky. A couple of them were caught, and we never knew what the government did to them. We find Tom’s mum on the sunbed and his little sister Lily in front of the TV, watching an...

Drive

She is a nurse at the hospital in the Northwest and doesn’t own a car. I later learned that she can’t drive and doesn’t have the time to learn, either. Her hours are from four to midnight and often she misses her last bus. Since a lot of drivers don’t like going all the way to the Northwest I go instead. Interestingly enough, she often asks for me, although I have never introduced myself to her. I watch her come out of the hospital walking towards my car. I unlock the doors. She always sits at the back; a lot of women do that. And once they have buckled themselves, they would grab their phones and start typing or swiping until I have taken them home. But she is different. She usually picks something to focus on like the back of the passenger’s seat or she looks outside in the calmest way. Every now and then she asks me a question, and it catches me off guard. She breaks the silence when I least expect it. “This route must bore the hell out of you by now,” she says. I look in the rear-view mirror and see a smile on her face. I instantly smile back at her, trying to think of something to say. “I like it in the Northwest. It’s less busy.” Her gaze is glued at the passenger’s seat again, and I’m not sure if she has actually heard me. She lives south of downtown, which is about fifteen minutes drive. This is usually the most peaceful drive for me. With her in the backseat, I don’t have to feel like I need to initiate small talk like with other customers. By the time we reach downtown, there are more people about – all dressed up for their Friday night out. Some are waving at me to stop without realizing that my lights are off signalling ‘occupied’. I stop outside her apartment building. “Thank you. Have a good night,” she says and hands me the cash with 20% gratuity. “Thanks, you too.” As she gets out of the car, I see a man running towards me, waving. I don’t usually take random people that haven’t ordered via the phone or the app, but weekends are different. He opens the door on the passenger’s side and hops in. The entire car wobbles at his weight. “Good timing bud! To Jameson’s pub on Seventeenth, please.” “Sure thing,” I say. I make a U-turn and before I lose sight of the apartment building, I throw a brief look at...

The four chambers

This room has the flair of an operating theater and I think I will stay. I have nowhere else to go. The halogen bulbs are nice and dim, throwing light on the examination table. However, the light does not reach me. There is a pool of blood forming in front of me, but I feel no pain. Perhaps it’s not me bleeding after all, but her. I believe that you can make your own God out of your very own blood. I close my eyes and see this beautiful child floating on the surface of the red sea. I have been there. It’s where I fell in love. She is staring at the sky, mapping out her future. I see how in the future she will grow up to a successful woman like me. Her father loves her very much and yet he doesn’t know how she really feels. Unfortunately, I will never meet her and I can’t tell her that I am sorry. According to the map on the wall, there are four laboratories on this wing and they’re all connected, but I haven’t got the energy to visit them all. At least I’ve made it into one of them. My heart rate is going down. There is not much blood left in the left ventricle to pump into the aorta. My body is still fighting as I watch internally. I feel how it is compensating. It’s trying to maintain blood pressure by pumping whatever is left to my brain, my heart and my lungs. It’s drawing away all the blood from my skin and my limbs. I have a conscience after all and it’s paying attention to what keeps me alive…   Paula Deckard (c)...

I’m scared of losing meaning

Louisa hurt herself. It was ok. She didn’t feel anything. The knife simply cut through flesh. Before that incident, she was at her doctor’s office where he showed the PET scans of her brain, which indicated little activity compared to other people’s samples that he had on file. All she thought about was why everybody had to compare her to others. He asked her whether there had been any recent traumatic event, which could have triggered such a state of mind. She answered that she had divorced her husband a few weeks ago, but didn’t explain that it was for his own good. Her husband was all a woman could ever dream of – handsome, kind and loyal. Unfortunately, her view on life changed one morning when preparing two fried eggs for breakfast. They reminded her of a painting that she did in which she mixed yellow with a little bit of orange in order to paint the sun. Soon the frying eggs became scrambled, but she didn’t like scrambled eggs, so they burnt on the pan. If she had done something about it, it wouldn’t have happened, but something else would’ve happened – the eggs would’ve rotted. She merely decided that she didn’t want them to rot. It wasn’t just any decision. In fact, a world had fallen apart – her major internal nociceptors were no longer sending signals to her brain. Just like that. Of course, she got nervous; she believed that nihilism had physically invaded her and that it was punishing her first with sexual anhedonia. She masturbated to a James Deen video, using everything possible, including her father’s golf club, but she felt nothing. Of course, she didn’t tell her doctor that part. He wanted her to come in for more tests, but there was no point, there never had been. At home, she grabbed her kitchen knife and cut the inside of her forearm. Paper cuts used to hurt, her first tattoo hurt, but this cut didn’t. Hopelessly she opened her childhood treasure chest in which she’d stored all her favourite CDs. How could she forget about all the music that had shaped her art – the only thing that really defined who she was? She listened to one CD after the other and eventually found herself shedding a tear. Love at first sight is possible, so are miracles. Something in her stirred during a Nick Cave song, it could be the only stir she’d ever feel again, so she began to paint. She cut deeper into her forearm, grabbed a clean brush and painted her...

The Kill that made me feel Good

The kitten doesn’t like me. When Dad found her this morning on the doorstep, he thought it would be a nice idea to wake me with her. But instead of a pleasant wake-up call, the kitten scratched my head. When I come back from school it stares at me as if I weren’t a part of the family. We have decided to keep her in the carrier at nighttime.             I’ve just brushed my teeth and I’m ready to go to bed. Daddy has placed the kitten in my room. Her evil eyes are scrutinizing me.             “Hey princess, look, you have company tonight.”             “But cats rob little children’s breath, Dad!”             “Don’t be ridiculous. I’ve told you not to read horror books, haven’t I? She’s just a little baby; give her a chance to get used to you.”             I never used to be scared of the boogieman, candy man, hollow man or even the postman, but she? This is the first time I’ve had a living creature at the end of my bed. Dad gives me a kiss goodnight, then turns off the light in the hallway.             The kitten doesn’t make any sound until 3 a.m. I wake to hear her pitiful meowing and switch the night lamp on. I notice that her head has got stuck in the bars of the carrier. “Shut up, otherwise you’re going to wake up my parents!”             Carefully I try to push her head back into the carrier.             I don’t know what I have done, but all of a sudden her meow stops, her eyes close and she hangs her head down as if dead.             “Kittie?”             Two seconds later she opens her eyes and pulls her head back forcefully; she continues to meow even louder.             “Shut up! Shut up!”             I desperately grab for something from underneath my bed and find the pair of surgical scissors that I stole from one of Daddy’s colleagues. I hate this creature; I never realized that animals could even express anger, agony or anguish.             “Shut up!”             Mindlessly I stick the pair of scissors into the carrier – turning and twisting violently.             “Shut up! Shut up!”               The sharp end of the pair of scissors has entered flesh. I hear a small groan and then feel no more movement. There’s blood on the tip of my pair of surgical scissors. I hear no one down the hallway, either, and no squeaking of coil springs. It’s dark inside the carrier. Touching the blood, it looks like cranberry...