There are voices, but I don’t know what they say. They are either distant whispers or my ears are clogged with water. All I hear is, someone sobbing — often for hours. Sometimes, I think it’s not just one person, they are out there in numbers; because there are different crying patterns. Some moan with intermittent hiccups, some endlessly curse and howl. The voices that are clearer, also sound familiar, and although it’s someone or the other weeping, I hate to admit, that it’s mildly comforting. But the one’s that come from far-off, are unfamiliar and upsetting. I wish, they could hear me, and for once, just shut up, the way I hear them, and beg them to shut up — all the time.
There is also very little or no light here. But that’s okay, I can still see what I want to. Maybe this is how it appears, when you’ve lived in the darkness for a while — your pupils adjust. They adjust to the idea of darkness and then you see a whole new world that you thought, you could only see with your open eyes or in bright light. And although, I can’t see what is out there, I know that I have seen, sometime in the recent past — the vast world, beyond these four walls, where these voices come from.
There is this pungent smell, of grass and cement, of mildew and wet mud, sometimes it smells flowery and beautiful, as if it’s spring outside. But the other times, it smells of petrichor, that slowly turns grubby and swampy, as if, someone has splattered mud all over my roof and made a slush with the rain water.
When I touch, what seems like the nearest surface, in my room or the cabinet that I think I live in, I feel the roughness of the scrubby wall on my fingertips. Often it’s damp and soft, but sometimes, it is also thick and wooden and then it moves and crawls—but very little, or maybe these are just the insects, like leeches and centipedes and other sinewy slippery worms that I also assume — feed on me.
I don’t know, how long has it been in here, but there is no food. There aren’t even signs or remains of any. Not that I can move and grab or cook something for myself, but it’s just surprising, that I haven’t been hungry in a while. I must’ve eaten a lot before I came here. In fact, I think, my last meal must have gone terribly wrong. I feel pukish all the time, but I know what will happen, when I vomit. I will throw up blood, everywhere, mostly on myself and some on the roof. Because when the vomit is almost in my mouth, it tastes coppery and foul and is semi-fluid with meat chunks in it — like a lamb stew.
This blood, isn’t the blood of a cut on my fingers. It’s not red and fresh and warm; it’s dark black and brown, and viscous, often mixed with other body fluids. So when it is almost in my mouth and I can’t bear the taste of it anymore, I don’t vomit it out and make a mess everywhere — I hold it in, and when the urge of throwing up settles, I swallow it. It goes down to my guts, only to come back the next time with a worse stink and a more violent urge. But I swallow it back again — every single time. At first, I did it out of necessity, now it’s more of a habit and absurdly entertaining.
I stroke my hair or the portion of my head, where I think my hair should be, but I don’t feel it. My scalp is not tender as it used to be, it has reduced to mostly the texture of a bone, but then, so have my nails and fingers. These insects must be feeding on me when I sleep — and I think I sleep a lot, often for days.
The roof is so close to my face, that it feels like my head is trapped in a weird suffocating helmet and my breath hits my face, like the itch of a whisker or like the itch of sweat drops — on a three weeks long beard. I think, I inhale the same air that I exhale. Claustrophobia, has always been on top, in the list of all of my nightmares, but this one isn’t that bad. What is bad, is the same bloody breath trapped inside a foul helmet forever.
I don’t remember which day it was, and although it seems like yesterday, I am sure it has been a while, since I came here. I have started to forget names and faces. When I think hard, the last thing I recall, is the feeling of uneasiness, in the form of blood, gushing from my feet, all the way up to my head, and then probably out of it. And since then, my voice has reduced to a mere whinge, I think, I have not spoken in a very long time. No one has bothered to check where I am; it’s like I have been kidnapped and put in isolation.
But I have found a disturbing comfort in my dreams; they are all that I am left with. I have dreams, in which, I am sleeping on my bed and my dear ones, who I can’t distinctly recall, are crying next to it.
In one of my dreams, the one, that is quite recurrent and vivid, and the one, unlike the others, I doubt is a dream, and the one, that I think, I am having right now — she, who is my age, and who is the most beautiful girl I have ever known, is crying next to me, and although I tell her not to cry, she pretends to completely ignore me, and instead, mutters a silent prayer before she takes out white flowers from her purse; they are more of a bouquet — of chrysanthemums and lilies, of carnations and white roses, and the petals of which, she has innocently or out of her habit, torn from the edges, and she keeps them on my feet that I can’t feel, and walks away, as if, she can’t hear my voices, that beg her to stay.