Raw panic claws at her throat and throttles her breath at the sight of Michael.
He has stepped forward, an emissary for all of them, ignoring her closed eyelids, her plea to be left alone. The imploring gaze from bulging eyes holding her captive. Dropping his jaw to disclose the pool of spittle forming in his labial cavity.
Don’t. Stop. Breathing.
She hums tonelessly. Hands pressed to her ears. Willing them to block the harsh staccato of his voice from entering her mind.
You’ll kill us all if you do.
But there is no us, Michael, it’s all in my head they say.
Breathe. Do you hear me? Breathe.
Oh my, aren’t you dramatic today, Michael? I am in control the white-robed ones say. I don’t have to listen to you. What is this red liquid running across your cheek? Is this your pathetic attempt at crying? Don’t you know that tears aren’t red, and if you really are crying, why not with both your eyes?
The crimson stream grows thicker and reaches his earlobe. Still only on one side.
If I’m in control as they keep telling me, then why can’t I make you cry crimson rivers from both eyes? Come on now, Michael, let the sanguine rivers flow from both eyes.
I’m not crying! My eye has burst. Because. You. Stopped. Breathing.
Michael’s face dissolves and reshapes itself to Suzie’s puckered lips.
Too much lipstick. Again. Despite the recent failure to seduce the white-robed shrink. Mouthing toneless words she cannot shirk.
The twins are too weakened to appear. Because. You. Stopped. Breathing.
Suzie’s mouth splits in two and opens like a French door in an old Georgian house. The twins’ lifeless shapes lie twisted on the queen-size bed.
She has regained control. There is no us.
(c) Ash N. Finn, 2017