Not this again, not these hallucinations. He couldn’t tell if he was awake or dreaming. It had been at least fifteen days since he’d let himself drift to sleep. Not wanting his demons to sneak in and steal a little more of his sanity. He couldn’t keep anything straight, They always snuck in sideways. He certainly wasn’t fit for duty like this. Was he even in the navy anymore? He seemed to remember a dishonourable discharge. Was that real? Was anything real? The flowers surrounded him now. Coiling around the window, buds sprouting in the sunlight. Spiralling up around the table legs, the chair, whatever they could climb. He kept getting up and pacing, worried they would grab on, take hold of his legs if he sat still for too long. So he didn't sit still, fearing a last delicate coiling touch. Fear was wearing him down, robbing him of strength. He kept popping uppers, wired and wakeful, but after two weeks they weren’t taking much edge off the desire to sleep. His eyelids kept getting heavier, lead bars pulling them towards the ground. He swore he heard a scraping sound when he blinked, grit sliding against his cornea, scraping images free, blank slate. Dry desert sand falling from his eyes as they slowly dried out inside his skull. Nothing he could do, just had to stay awake, his mind would straighten out. It would! He would come down, really! But how long? He couldn’t take much more. He kept buying sausages from the vendor downstairs. Dried out, stale. The shopkeep was starting to eye him suspiciously, kept reaching under the counter when he was in the store. Couldn’t he feel the vines coiled around Jack's throat? It wasn’t helping, the food, just sat, a rock in his gut. An undigested mass, solid and pulsing. Or was that the flowers? Did he eat any? He couldn’t remember. Flowers? Or food? Oh what was the difference? Slumping against the table, chair bending on its plastic legs, he stared out the window. Seeing the entire world and seeing nothing. People, just across the road, creatures that never existed. Just blankly looking out across time and space. Memories bubbling up out of the liquid deep, reaching for him, trying to drag him down again. Coiling around him as they sought to bring him down beneath the surface, back down into the water.
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