- Vol. 03
- Chapter 02
Image by Philipp Keller/Stelzer Group/EMBL
OverdoseI staggered from his office. The sky was evening lilac. I saw people. Shapes. I was a shape. I heard the words. It wasn’t sinking in. Not yet. There was a dreamlike quality about it. A sing-song lullaby. I felt drunk.
I needed a drink.
I found a bar. It served real ale in flagons. Whatever happened to tradition, I wondered. I ordered a Dog’s Bollocks and a packet of crisps. The ale tasted of salt and earth. The crisps were stale. There were voices. Loud and angry. Some sad. The words were bitter on the ears. I drank my salt and earth and tried to find the bottom of the flagon. It was there somewhere; the meaning. If I could remember what he said.
What did he say?
My skin tingled. I scratched at it. Red blotches appeared. Was it the crisps? The ale? Too much salt and not enough substance. I stared through the honey brown bubbles and spied the identifying mark. I needed another. It tasted of salt and earth.
I drank alone. I cracked jokes and laughed. He had laughed. I thought it was something important. I remember he looked serious. He never looked serious. I tried to remember why I had gone there in the first place.
OverdoseI stumbled into the cubicle, slamming my head against the wall. I leaned on the cistern for support. The world swam. I stared into the toilet bowl. There was a used detergent block hanging from the rim. It looked like a gibbet I thought. There was a stab of pain and I retched, depositing the Dog’s Bollocks into the bowl, I slid down the wall of the cubicle to the floor. Tears pricked my eyes. The acid taste of bile was on my tongue, in my throat. I spat. Someone came into the room. There was whistling. The sound of a zip. I listened to the stream of urine. A face appeared in the doorway. It said nothing. Just stared. I tried to speak. Bubbles came out. The sound of something sharp came to me through thick foamy bubbles filling the cubicle. Angry. It was the face. It looked disgusted. I stood up. Ignoring the pain I lurched forward, toward the face. I touched the face. It spoke. I felt the words on my palm. They sounded wet and violent. I pushed past.
He was there.
He looked disapproving. I tried to smile.
“I meant what I said,” he said. I nodded. “Come on,” he said. I passed out.
There were lights. They were bright. And noise. Bright noise that tasted of salt and earth and acidic bollocks. Behind the noise and lights was darkness. It felt safe there. I felt safe. I found the darkness and slept, curled up like a foetus.
I listened to the darkness.
I remembered what he said. It didn’t matter now. I let the rhythm wash over me. Getting slower. Slow. Gone.