*Whelp. This makes things awkward.
A wonderful thing happened to me, starting three days ago.
Ladies and gentlemen and readers of indiscriminate or expanding gender...
I... am on a JAG.
Writer's block is as common and frustrating as fender-benders, taxes, common colds, headaches, insomnia, period cramps, and many many other things.
But ladies, gents, etc... A writing JAG is a beautiful thing, with feathers.
The last time I had a jag was one year ago. When in three days, I wrote File 66.
A writing jag is when your creative brain cells are on cocaine. When every new idea isn't just fast, but GOOD.
This jag has managed to cover the writing needs of Onus, Blue, and even a new story that forced it's way down the birthing canal.
And this fifth chapter only took me a week to write, while the last one took me several months.
Fate is a bitch with a messy filing cabinet and a substance abuse problem. But today, THE BITCH CAME THROUGH.
So here's Onus chapter five. A miracle of nature. The creative thought-baby of a JAG.
All Characters are 18+*
Coming up from the drugs was like waking up.
My lids were like weighted metal shutters. Stiff and rusted shut. I imagined the thin skin of my eyelids wavering and waving like shutters in the wind, and I could almost hear the banging noise with every twitch of my eyes.
I knew that I was covered by something light and less restrictive than my clothes, but it took so long to realize that.
I faded away for a bit. Not really sleeping, not really thinking. Not semi-aware. Maybe five-percent aware.
I came a little bit further awake. Under the influence of the anesthesia, coming awake felt like my entire body had become immobile and ponderously heavy, like a sandbag wrapped in woven tough plastic. Other than my observation of being unconstricted by clothing, I couldn't feel anything. I couldn't discern if I was completely naked or not. I didn't know if I was warm or cold.
I tried my eyes again. A rusted metal shutter wasn't quite right. More like...
I imagined a string of gum. Gum chewed so long that it had become hard and rubbery. Pulling on it with both fingers, it took more and more effort, until the gum suddenly snapped in two.
I pulled. I pulled at my eyelids. I pulled and pulled until I reached some point where the gum that had sealed the lines of my lashes together broke and my eyes creaked open.
Right away I snapped them shut. My eyes prickled and afterimages made no sense. Filling my head with light and blowing out the cobwebs.
I tried to make a noise. My throat was stupendously dry.
"hm." I made a tiny noise.
I could feel a plastic edge digging into the corners of my mouth, my chin, the bridge of my nose. I was wearing an oxygen mask. When I breathed out, I could feel the hot air around my mouth, when I breathed in, it made a hissing noise.
I wiggled my toes. I wiggled my fingers. My body was encased in itself. Little by little, I was waking up.
I fluttered my eyes open again. The light didn't hurt as much this time, and it wasn't nearly as bright as I had thought. My eyes adjusted, while I blinked furiously.
I was in a reclining hospital bed, swaddled in puffy white blankets. I had an oxygen mask on my face, and Sam was by the side of my bed.
He was sleeping. His head was leaned on his hand, the fingers splayed over the soft cloth of his face-patch. His one eye closed, his mouth slightly open.
The room was quiet, the lights were off. The only light came from the window. Outside, it was snowing.
I stopped fighting. I stopped struggling to move my drugged body. I closed my eyes again and fell back down.
I felt safe.
"I don't think we need to worry about respiratory arrest. I've checked the machine, and he never stopped breathing on his own." Sam's voice. It was pulling at me, waking me up.
"I gave him too much. Damn it. You'd think I've done this enough times." A woman's voice. Soft and stressed.
"Celine... Don't be upset with yourself. I could never have done this without you. It was a difficult dose to calculate, and he'll be okay."
She sighed. I blearily opened my eyes. I saw three people by the foot of my bed. Two of them had their backs to me. I saw Oliver's eyes get bigger in his head, and he made a gesture to me. Sam and the anesthesiologist turned around.
"Looks like someone's returning to the land of the living." Oliver murmured.
I blinked my eyes a few times so they could see that I was awake. And then I rested my lids. I felt so very tired. I was more lucid now. Just drowsy.
"Hey... Shiloh?" Sam's voice was close. I opened my eyes again. It felt like I had weights on each lid, pulling them down.
He was bending down, right next to the cot. "I know you're sleepy. But I just wanted you to know. The surgery was a success. We have your foot wrapped up in a walking cast, and the other foot in a light boot, just so you don't re-injure yourself. We removed all of the piercings. They look like they'll heal well."
I gave a sleepy nod.
"We've been here for eight hours already, so Oliver is going to help me put you in your chair, and get you out into the car, so we can drive back to my house. You can sleep in the car, if you'd like. Are you in any pain?"
I shook my head twice. For the first time in a long time, I could barely feel anything.
I must have greyed out a little, because the next thing I knew, I was in the wheelchair. I was shivering a little, because I was only wearing a hospital gown. I looked down and saw my skinny white legs poking out the bottom. I leaned precariously to see my feet. One in a big black boot, one in a small grey boot. My knees were both badly skinned. Scraped and scabby.
"Arms up, Shiloh."
He had slipped a coat behind me as I leaned forward. Now he gently led my hands to the sleeves and I held my arms stiff so he could slide the jacket on. Then a pair of sweat pants that were baggy enough to go on over my boots. Then for good measure, a blanket tucked in around me.
The last measure was a cap pulled down snugly around my ears. I felt cozy.
The movement of the chair made me feel like I was gliding, flying.
I had another druggy nap in the car. Every nap made me feel a little more alive. A little more awake.
It was also a little bit like time travel.
When Sam shook me awake at the house, my mouth was as dry as a leather pocket. My head only felt a little fuzzy, and dismayingly, I was starting to feel pain again.
Not all of it. But my back and abdomen ached dimly. Although, part of that was that I hadn't gone to the bathroom in a while.
Sam opened the car door and I flinched from the cold winds. I put up my arm and he carefully helped me out. I leaned on him like a crutch and took feeble hurried steps with my plastic-booted feet.
Once inside he set me down on a couch and went back to close the door and bring a few things from the car into the house. It was the first time I had a moment to take a long look around.
The house didn't have the same sterile feeling down on the first level. I could see a few folders and notebooks scattered around a long shiny table, and the couches in the living room had a look of being dusted, and sat on. I could see into the kitchen. He had forgotten to put away a few things from his breakfast, and there was a basket which had some fresh produce in it. Apples and bananas and onions.
I eyed the sink in the kitchen. I was so very thirsty.
Sam came in with a few shopping bags. He must have gone out for at least a little while while I slept my over-drugged sleep.
He set down the bags and reached into a cupboard for a tall glass.
He filled it from the sink, and walked over to me. It was dark outside. The light from inside on the windows only illuminated lone puffy snowflakes.
"Thirsty?" He asked me quietly. I nodded and lifted my noodle-arms to try and take the glass. I didn't trust my arms. So I let them go limp and he brought the thin edge to my mouth. I drank, slurped.
To steady his hands, he put one hand on the back of my neck. His fingers were cool from out-of-doors.
I had so many questions. But I was too stoned to even put them together in my head.
The biggest question. The only concern that I even had the power to think about, was a number. There was a number I was trying to remember. A number that was really important, but I was scared. I was scared to remember.
"I think it would be dangerous." Sam said quietly. "To try and get you up to your room tonight. I can get you plenty of blankets down here, and you can try to rest on the couch. Are you still tired?"
"Do you want me to try and get you up to your room?"
"It's been a long time, and I don't think you want me to put in a urinary catheter. I'm going to take you to the bathroom."
His first floor bathroom looked a lot like the one on the second floor.
"Shout if you need help." Sam mumbled. He looked embarrassed. And so was I.
I managed without help. My genitals were sore and prickly. All of the piercings were gone, but they were still marked, still wounded. I didn't look down after the first quick glance. I only had a trace of blood in my urine.
Standing in the boots was awkward. I felt like I was wearing platform shoes. I was standing with only a twinge of pain from my feet. I could mostly only feel pressure. The warm water from the sink felt good on my hands and fingertips. I carefully used soap, trying not to get it in my sensory patches.
I wiped my hands on the so-soft green towel and tapped at the bathroom door.
As I tapped my fingernails on the door, I remembered the number. Two thousand and thirty seven.
As the door opened, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and I stared numbly at Sam as they started to fall.
He offered an arm to lean on. His speech impediment became worse when he was distressed. "Are you okay? Are you in pain?"
I wanted the first thing I told Sam to be my name. I wanted it to be a thank you. A thank you for rescuing me, a thank you for fixing my foot. A thank you for the simple dignities he had put back into my life.
Instead, it was a number.
"Four." I whispered.
The word clipped out of my mouth. Brief and bitter. Like crunching a pill between your teeth. I had spent four years in captivity. I was twenty-two years old.
He was hovering. Tentative to touch me when I looked so upset. His brow furrowed with confusion. "The c-couch?" He stammered. He bit his lip.
I took a few shaky steps on my own. Then I took his forearm to steady myself.
I lay out on the couch. My feet were bricks inside the boots. My misery weighed me down.
I didn't say anything, and I refused to gesture. Sam was worried about me.
He hovered around me for a bit. He brought me blankets and hot tea and a plate with slices of apples and slices of muenster cheese. I didn't touch any of it. Which was what really worried him.
I had been with the ordinary man for four years. I was twenty-two years old.
Almost a fifth of my life.
"Do you want me to leave that there?" Sam was pointing at the plate of food. I didn't not or shake. I didn't react.
"I... I'll leave you alone?"
I didn't react.
"I'm in my bedroom. It's right down the hall."
The last thing he did before he left was to set up a reading lamp close enough to my head that I could turn it on if I wanted to. And he set the paperback-my paperback-on the table near my head.
He left. I could see the light from his room, and his shadow as he moved around a little bit. Watching his shadow made me think about bitter thoughts that I had repressed out of sheer instinct.
Why had he bought me? Why had he bought me and why was he fixing me? He was being kind to me, and fixing me where I was broken, but why? Why was he doing it?
I could only think of two reasons. And both of them made me scared.
I suddenly felt very cold, and very alone. I turned the reading lamp on, so I would have a little light. I wrapped the blankets very tight around me so only my nose and eyes stuck out. So I could breathe.
He wanted to have sex with me.
Or he wanted to kill me.
Once, long ago, I might have weakly rationalized that he didn't want to hurt me, because he had taken care of me. But after my long captivity I knew that his kindness could mean nothing.
Back in the barn, Rudy and the ordinary man had both been excited because my testes were intact. That never once stopped the ordinary man from hurting me with them. It might have even been a point in my favor, in his eyes.
He wanted me fixed. But what did he want me fixed for?
I wanted to run away. I wanted to be free, but I wouldn't be any safer if I was free. I was scared to be back in the streets, because eventually I would get hungry, or careless. The men who had snatched me from the Onii, they had been EOs. I had thought I was safe.
I was just so scared.
I remembered all of the time, all of the time that I had tried to repress or hibernate through. All of the time during my imprisonment where I had been weakened by hunger.
Then I forced myself to eat some of the cheese and apple slices. They tasted good.
I turned off the reading light. As I was falling asleep, I saw Sam standing in his doorway, checking up on me.
I slept for twelve hours.
I knew that because when I woke up, there was a note on the table, pinned under a small digital clock. The clock said 8AM.
'I should be back home by noon. I'm in the city on some business. Here is my cell number.' My eyes skipped over the digits. 'You can eat whatever you want, be sure to drink plenty of water.'
He signed the bottom of the note with a little flourish. I found myself smiling a little.
I felt strange. I felt a little woozy and tired, even after sleeping so much. All I had been doing was sleeping. I blinked my eyes to try and get the sleepiness out. I stretched under the blanket, and it was so warm.
I rolled out of the couch and winced.
My feet were all muffled up and twingy inside the boots. More pressure than pain, but the residual pain in my body was back. Achy bruisy skin, sore muscles, thudding headache.
I saw that the plate of cheese and apples and my untouched tea had been taken away.
I walked to the kitchen and poured myself a tall glass of water from the sink. I drank it down, before pouring myself another. This one I sipped at, while looking inside the fridge.
The fridge was well-stocked. I looked around. I took out the gallon of 2% milk and poured the rest of my water into the sink, filling the glass with milk instead. It had been so long since I had milk.
I ate at the long polished table. I felt calm. It was nice to be alone. I wasn't always looking over my shoulder, no one was watching. But now I had an entire house to explore.
I drank milk, had an apple, and two pieces of toast that I spread with butter and strawberry jelly.
When I was finished, I rinsed my dishes and placed them in the sink. The small clicks seemed loud in the silence.
My radio was all the way up in my room.
I contemplated climbing all those stairs with my new brick-boots but then I saw a cardboard box next to the couch. It was near the foot, and I hadn't even seen it when I got up.
I realized that it was my box from upstairs. It had my radio, my new laptop, and all my books and DVDs.
I spent a moment looking through the box again, cataloging what I had in my mind. Then I turned on the radio and fiddled with the dial until I reached a station that was playing something catchy and electronic. I bobbed my head a little, looked both ways, and turned the volume dial up as high as it would go.
I caught my reflection in the glass of the window, and I was smiling like an idiot.
I decided that before I settled down to explore the laptop, or watch a movie, or get some reading done, I would explore the house.
The house really was huge. Built like an uppercase I on it's side.
Both of the small 'wings' had large non-bedrooms. One was a fancy dining room with two long shiny tables that made where I had been eating look like a card table. A chandelier hung from the ceiling, covered with a massive dust-cloth so it looked like a ghost.
A few boxes were lying around. I looked in a few of them. Fancy conversation pieces. Vases, an odd elongated african statue. A lamp base of stained glass. One box was full of deep red cloth napkins, scattered with waxy white balls that made my nose crinkle up at the strong smell.
The other wing at the ground floor was a glassed-in porch. Light wire tables, glass walls, lots of light and space. The porch felt more lived-in. I could see a few things lying around that Sam had probably left there. A mug full of pens and pencils. A calculator, a file cabinet that was dusty, but it had fingerprints on and around the handles. Scored in the dust.
The carpet was soft and white. I got down to feel it with my hands. To sniff it. I could smell dust. Taste some kind of bitter carpet cleaner. I found a long black hair. I picked it up and looked at it. Confused.
The porch was huge, and kind of chilly, despite double-glass windows. Outside the walls, I could see the pond surrounded by willows. The furniture was all made of natural-textured wood, with white cushions.
On a vase, on a round table, was a bright bouquet of dried flowers.
I touched the flowers with my fingertips, and then with the tip of my long grey tongue. It was an interesting perfumy taste.
I didn't want to leave the porch. The dining room had felt closed in, dark, like a funeral home. The porch was bright and naturally lit. Comfortable.
I got bored, and decided to check down the hallway that connected the two.
The living room where I had slept was right between the two wings of the house, it bulged out a little to the front. The front door, kitchen, and the living room were all in the same place, and only on the first floor.
I checked the hallway that connected the two. There were ten doors.
Two of those doors were bathrooms. Almost identical, but flipped. Like bookends. Six of them looked like storage space. Empty, dusty, filled with cardboard boxes and dust cloths.
One room was a laundry room. Bare tiled floor, washer, dryer, a shelf with detergent and dryer sheets. I twisted the top off the detergent to sniff it. I dug through a small trashcan so I could draw the so-soft lint pads over my skin.
One of them was Sam's room.
I peeked in the room
Nothing made it different from the others. It wasn't bigger, it didn't have an attached bathroom, or anything. The only thing that made it different, was that it was the closest room to the front door.
He had a desk by one side of his bed, with a reading lamp. The shelf across the top was full of heavy medical textbooks and journals. One wall was taken up by a massive, detailed poster of the human nervous system. Another poster showed an anatomical drawing of a bisected eyeball.
The desk itself had some small clutter of paper and office supplies on it.
The bed was king-sized. He had made it this morning, but not perfectly, the top covers were a little rumpled.
A few chests of drawers hugged the wall. A half-full laundry hamper near the door.
I felt like I was intruding. This was the only truly lived-in part of the house, except for maybe the kitchen. I sniffed. I traced my fingertips over the doorknob.
I could see a small framed picture on the desk, but I was too far away, and light was glaring off of the glass.
I looked both ways, and stomped back to the living room so I could check the digital clock. Barely an hour had passed since I woke up.
My boots clopped on the wooden floor of the hallway, and then padded on his black carpet.
The music echoed in from the living room. It had been on commercial for a while, and now a woman was crooning about a yellow dress, and the green light, and how she would cry and cry and cry, over the love of you.