Chapter 5: Natasha (Entry 2)

Cognitive Dissonance

I was in a room made of steel and scorn. The cold, metallic walls, whispered to me, called out my name, criticized me, mocked me, threatened me. The infernal chorus would not relent, I clutched my legs tight to my body and dug my head into my arms. They wanted to kill me, I knew this without a doubt in my mind. Only I didn't know who "they" were. Everyone a voice in my head told me, including myself. I screamed, and jumped up, convulsions ran through my body. Terrified, I whipped around and clawed at the air behind me, someone had been there a second ago. I felt their breath. Then there was a metallic whoosh, the sound of the only door to this room opened, and Our Good Doctor stood behind it.

"I'm a bit unhappy about last night, Child," he said slowly, he looked tired. Consumed by fear, I retreated to a corner, slowly, not taking my eyes off him.

"Leave."

"I will do no such thing," he responded, taking a menacing stride forward. I fell to my knees and began to sob.

"GO AWAY! NOW!"

"Oh, Child, don't you know?" he took a single step and crossed the room in a flash. He grabbed me by my wrists and dragged me to the middle of the chamber. A stone well had appeared, I knew not how it got there, but I was too hysterical to care.

"No, no, don't," dread had quickly become my companion, and now he was joyfully intoxicating me. Our Good Doctor grabbed me by my hair and forced me to gaze into the water in the well. There were two reflections, one of myself, but his, his was wrong, his features kept shifting. He was Matthias, then my father, then Midas, then my cousin, then Nick, then finally, he came to a stop, disguised as a sickly, cadaverous version of myself.

"I can't ever go away child," he smiled, and then in a deep, guttural voice he said, "I'm a part of you." I my face being thrust into the deep water, it's icy chill drowning me. Horror was the name of the all-consuming liquid beast I now found myself falling through. Then I hit the bottom with a crunch, I could not breathe, my lungs screamed for air, and instinct obeyed. A rush of the freezing water infiltrated my throat. The sensation of drowning became my new obsession. This is fake, I told myself, it's an illusion.

"This is fake, an illusion. It isn't real," I yelled. I was back on solid ground. A highway? But it was colorless, everything had become a gray monotone. Regardless, I released a sigh of relief, I had escaped my watery grave.

"Except this is real, Child," the voice came from in front of me, it belonged to the Trapper-Spider. He stood tall in front of me, extending a hand to help me up. I accepted it, and rose to my feet. "It is very, very real. Do I look fake to you, do I act fake?" He touched my hand.

"No, please, leave," were the only words I could force out, but at the same time I could not bring myself to turn my back on him.

"Do I not cry? Do I not feel? Do I not bleed?" he asked, as he said those words, I felt the heavy weight of a knife suddenly in my right hand, "Cut me Child. And tell me I don't bleed."

"No! NO! Stop, let me be! Please!" But despite my stream of protests, I felt myself moving. It was a bizarre sensation as though I was detached from my body. I saw my hand raise the knife into the air, I saw it swing down, and I saw spurts of red slowly issue forth from the resulting wound across the Trapper-Spider's chest. He looked at me terrified, and staggered backwards.

"How could you?" he asked, the sense of betrayal in his voice was sincere.

"You asked me too! You wanted me too!" I cried, hot tears ran down my face. The Trapper-Spider shook his head, his eyes glazed over, and he collapsed. A second later, two more voices picked up behind me, one belonged to Our Good Doctor, the other to myself, they spoke in unison.

"We aren't surprised are we? This is exactly how we act, we chase everyone away, don't we? We are so afraid of everyone, so afraid. Look at us! We are murderers, we are sick. Look at our friend there, dead on the ground. Look at his blood, we can smell it can't we? And it's our doing." The world around me faded, as did the image of Our Good Doctor, and his voice. But the second me remained.

"Leave."

"We are a monster."

"Leave."

"We are horrible."

"Leave."

"We deserve to die, Natasha. Slowly, painfully, we deserve to feel every piercing blow as the air is squeezed from our lungs."

"Leave."

"Yes, that is exactly what we need to do, Natasha. We need to leave."




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