Series I: Chapter 12 – Behind Closed Doors

The guest room was small with only a bed and a dresser against the wall that shared the doorway. There was a mirror above this dresser that expanded the room’s dimensions a bit, but mostly just reflected the sole window that had blinds draped over it, collecting dust.  As soon as Thomas entered the room, he was steps away from the foot of the bed and with a slight glance to his left; he naturally turned toward the mirror to see his reflection. He saw that the sleepless nights were growing on him, represented by his drawn eyes and slouching posture. The couch downstairs, oddly enough, supplemented enough sleep for him to sustain standing, but that was all. He felt the sleep dawn on him like a pendulum’s last swing, right before severing the gut’s tissue and like the dark purpled blood that expels from such a cut, he saw that same color underneath his eyes.  He stared into this color as his pupils dilated and when he walked closer to the mirror, the dark purple blotched to a frozen blur. He then drew his eyes from this directly to his pupils. A reflective reflection on his life was found within those pupils; how they posed at the center of the red-veined sclera. His eyes pulsated and the back of them hurt. He rubbed them again and again and a heat wave crawled up his back and over his shoulders, so he took his shirt off and stepped backwards, crashing into the bed.

He stared at the ceiling in utter silence. It was that kind of silence he found himself comfortable in with no one wondering what was on his mind but himself; a void that he constantly strived to control, and at times he did and those were the times that he could fall asleep.

“It doesn’t take that long does it?” Thomas said watching Darren. Darren had a lighter underneath a spoon and they both were watching the heroin fused with the water, waiting for it to boil.

“Nah, a minute or two,” Darren didn’t take his eyes off the spoon and Thomas, gripping his knees toward his legs as he sat against the motel wall next to Darren, darted his eyes off the spoon and onto Darren, then back on the spoon.

“Are you sure it’s ok to take . . . I heard dealers lace it with rat poison,” Thomas said while scratching his nose against his shirt sleeve. His arms were crossed around his shins.

“Chill man, this guy’s legit,” Darren glanced at Thomas while still holding the spoon above the flame, “besides, that shit’s in cigs too . . . don’t worry about it,” he said and the lighter went out. Thomas watched him flick it again and again. It sparked on the third flick and Thomas winced at the spoon as soon as the bottom of it started to blacken from the heat.

Thomas woke up with his clothes still on and his head jammed with reflections of his dream. It blackened out when he slipped into the deeper portion of his paralysis under the vague impression that he was being watched; expected to come back down to the dinner table only minutes after he had left George and Kristen, but it was morning now and that paranoia carried over into the next day.

He turned toward the edge of the bed to position himself up and after scratching his eyes clean from sleep, he listened to the sounds of the house and nothing came from inside its walls that caused him to panic or to continue sleeping. He stood up and went downstairs.

The creaks in the wood were amplified for some reason, which caused him to carefully step down each stair with a keen alertness. The first thing Thomas noticed was that the dinner table was wiped clean, not even the white tablecloth blanketed its surface. Instead, the only change of scenery was a white post-it note on the table’s surface that immediately caught his eye as he continued down the stairs. He almost slipped down the final step that landed him to the first floor when he realized what it may read and he didn’t take his eyes off it as he walked closer to it, all the while feeling the thrill of almost falling dissipate from within his chest. When his eyes landed Kristen’s hand writing, the thrill was gone and his chest remained still. Lock the door when you leave, was all that it read.

Thomas drew his eyes off the note and onto the door, seeing that George’s jacket was gone as well as Kristen’s near its threshold, he deduced that they left for work earlier in the morning and then he naturally caught a glimpse of the clock by the window. It was 11:45.

Thomas walked toward the couch and grabbed his jacket, slung it over his shoulder and walked toward the door. He didn’t even take a gander at the place before he opened the door to leave. He shut the door only to open it again, slightly this time, and reached around for the inside knob’s lock. He felt it and twisted it and then shut the door once more.

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