The Dissociation of Mitchell Hurd
By: Antwan Crump
An Ominous Voice
(Mitchell has been awake for eight days. Unable to sleep, he’s begun to drift slowly into madness. He sits alone; fighting the voices and hallucinations – hoping for death’s release.)
*Whispers* “Michael? Come play with us, Michael. Where else could you go? Michael? Michael?”
Another voice. Cascading across my subconscious. What am I really? Some bag of flesh, traversing the world, deafening its’ own purpose with problems- again.
“Michael. Don’t be scared Michael, I love you”.
My name is Mitchell, I think it’s Mitchell. Was it almost Michael? No, Mitchell. I’m Mitchell, I’m Mitchell.
It doesn’t know me. I tell myself it doesn’t know me. It doesn’t know me. It doesn’t know me! Still, I hear-
“We love you, Michael”.
Did heaven miss? Is it the soul of begotten death, here to send a message to a lost one -again? Am I the culprit, the medium, the psychic, the psychotic?
(A light laugh echoes throughout the dusty room.)
I keep looking, staring, waiting, jerking my eyes, but this one window. This one window in this dusty room -the squeaky wooden floors, they demand my attention, it demands my soul.
Running, running, running, the pitter pat of starving rats circling me. I fall still. Staring, and jerking my eyes -frozen. The pupils separate from the silken layer that binds them, and as they do, the webs on the ceiling and walls, of this dusty attic, recede.
I can walk again. I stand. The pace of the rats stagger. My eyes focused once more on the dusty window in front of me. A lit candle appears in my hand burning just bright enough to illuminate my immediate surroundings.
I proceed forward. But it’s not forward. It’s. It’s circular, I think. So I spin, it’s almost always blissful -until the voice returns. The voice always returns.
“Michael. Michael? Michael!”
Don’t respond. The anxiety always builds and boils over. My stomach turns, I feel this immense heat engulf me. The building is on fire and I refuse to leave the pit of my simmering sanctuary. It’s Mitchell! My name is Mitchell!
“It’s me, Michael.”
Mitchell! My name is Mitchell!
It always laughs, I always fall. The ground usually gives out around then. Last night it didn’t. Last night I dropped to my knees, and there was a gun. Not just any gun, my father’s old Walther. “Twenty-four ounces of, not today buddy.” He used to always tell us. I don’t know how it got there.
I get this wonderful idea. All I have to do, to get rid of the voice, is take that gun and wake up. I pick it up, almost immediately the voice starts- cheering- again and again.
“Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it!”
I pick it up and check the chamber. There was always a single bullet in the chamber. I place the gun to my temple. The flames propelled from the barrel are blinding. I close my eyes, but I can still see everything. I’m not sad, I’m overwhelmed by this feeling of impatience. I feel the bullet pass through my skull, I can see it’s’ exploding shell take its time behind my eyes. The gunpowder signifies my sulfur-scented release. Freedom.
This insufferable voice. It won’t leave me,
“Mitchell. Mitchell, are you alright? Hello?” Snapping? What the hell is snapping, it’s annoying, stop breaking my focus. The snapping and whining, grinding my teeth and it, just won’t stop.
“Mitch?” the lights fade. Papers? I’m sitting, where did it all go? A suited figure knocks on my cubicle.
“Mitch, you’ve been sitting here rocking back and forth. Are you alright?” . I think he smells the sulfur.”Mitch, you’re starting to freak people out.”
I think my head nods, I pray it does, I think it’s gone. He is, in any case.
I look around, trying to recollect exactly where I am. A sea of concerned faces peering over their respective indentured cages. I think I’m okay, I think it’s gone. I’ll just collect my papers and…
“Mitch, can I see you in my office please?”
Another voice, another faceless drone blocking me from my escape. I should go in. This might be trouble.
It’s a long walk, the carpet can’t decide if it’s tile or concrete. I should follow it. A collective fear gathers in my stomach with every step. Sorry Vivica, I may have spilled some coffee on you, I say with remorse to no one. A door’s in front of me, I’ll step in.
“It’s customary to knock, ya know” I’ll nod and sit, at least that seems to work. Does he know I’m not listening?
“Mitch, I understand that at times life can be stressful. I’d hate to do this to you, but it’s company policy that after consistent signs of employee discontent – that an interview be conducted”.
We’ve had this conversation. My boss? He seems concerned, I should listen.
“I get it, you’re going through a rough patch it happens to the best of us. This isn’t a warning, it’s a suggestion to you -as a friend. Please for the sake of yourself and the peace of mind of your co-workers, take some time off to pull it all together.”
He wants me to get help. He shakes my hand and points -let’s follow that- it seems reasonable. I missed those moments, now I’m here.
Is that you? In the mirror, is that me?
“Of course, it’s us, Michael, it’s always us.” I look exhausted. “You should sleep Michael, I’ll get you home.” I trust you.
Reaching into the glass I feel the Walther. I just want to go home and sleep. “Let me take you, Michael”
“You know what to do.” I place the gun in my mouth and pull the trigger, the metal’s gross.
I’ve killed myself eight times today. Why can’t I sleep?