I see their faces. All about me. Their eyes look back, staring at me. What do they see? Do they see in me what I see in them? Surely not! I’m not like them. I can’t be like them. I have to get out of here.
When they brought me here, they told me I’d be safe. That I’d be with others like myself. But I can’t be like them. No. They’re – they’re insane. I’m not crazy. I know I’m not crazy. Ok, sure, I occasionally sing the song. “I am slowly going crazy 1-2-3-4-5-6 switch. Crazy going slowly am I 6-5-4-3-2-1 switch.” Repeat now. It’s actually a fun little song. It gets my mind racing. “1-2-3-4-5-6- switch.” But, singing that song doesn’t make me crazy. They told me I could take it easy here. That I could get some rest. Rest my mind they said. They told me that I was safe now. But, how could I be safe with their eyes on me. Their insane eyes. Looking at me. Watching me. Safe? Here?
I’m watching one girl. She’s sitting by herself next to the white wall. With her white dress on, she almost blends in. Blend. Bland. The two words are so close together in spelling. But they’re different. One’s a cause. The other the effect. Blend. Bland. Blend. Bland. Bland. Bland. Blend. Bland. Bland. Blend. Together. Different.
This girl. This girl in the white dress melting into the wall, sinking back. Fading away. Almost. Her hair won’t let her. The dress, the wall, her chapped, pale lips. They wash out her skin, erasing it. Like bones left in the desert sand. Eroding away. But her hair saves her. It won’t let the wall swallow her.
I’ve never seen hair alive. But hers is. I know it is because it winks at me. She sways forward then backward, forward then backward, blend, then bland. Forward. Backward. Like a confused pendulum caged inside a clock, trying to escape. Forward. Backward. Blend then bland.
Her hair though. Not black, not brown. Just dark…and infinite. It wraps itself about her shoulders. Tendrils, snaking around her ears, her neck, her breasts. Some strands, the winking ones, fly free. Medusa would be jealous.
Looking at her hair, I think it might kill her. Strangle her during the night as it snakes its way around and around and around her neck. Blend. Bland. Backwards. Forwards. Or maybe, maybe it will choke her, suffocate her, drown her. Its thick waves refusing to budge from her pale, chapped lips. Snaking its way into her mouth, down her throat. I see the hair moving around, up, through, in, out, only now its wink is a threat, warning me not to tell on it.
The confused pendulum goes faster and faster. I want to cry out for someone to help her, to save her as the hair makes its way into her mouth. I hear her moaning and stand up. “STOP.” I start to cry out. But the hair. It’s getting bigger, rising. The winking turns into a menacing stare as the cobra arches its neck. I put a hand over my mouth and bolt down the hall to the white room assigned to me. I go into the far left corner, next to the bed, and crouch down to hide myself from the cobra’s eyes.
How can I be safe here? The cobra. It will kill me in my sleep. Kill me like it’s killing that girl.
I’m not hidden for long. A woman in a white coat, a nurse I think, comes over to me and puts her arms around me.
“Hush now.” She whispers. “There’s no need to cry.” Maybe she’s not a nurse. Maybe she’s crazy too because I’m not the one crying. It’s the girl who is crying. The one with the hair and the cobra who is trying to kill her. I want to tell her this, but I remember the stare.
“Shhhhh.” She continues whispering to me. “You’re safe here. You’ll be just fine in the morning.” But I know the truth. I’ll be dead in the morning. The cobra will find me. All that hair. Savage.
I can hear the girl’s moans all the way in my room. But then I feel a pinch from the nurse. She’s attacking me. I try to call for help, but I can’t remember how to speak. Or, rather my lips refuse to move. My tongue is heavy. I reach to touch my tongue, and I see my fingers, struggling to free themselves from the invisible weight of the crazy woman. She did something to me. She poisoned me. Big, blue, purple fingers. Heavy. So heavy. I let them fall, and try to stand, but my swollen feet won’t move. Two big blocks of blue ice.
And I know. I know. The girl. The nurse. They killed me.