(TW: drug use and graphic violence)
It was a Thursday. A hard worked, dull Thursday, when the nightmares came back. I was on the couch watching a new season of an American show called Outcast on Netflix. I hadn’t realised I was asleep until I started to dream. Everything turned black; I stretched out my arms in front of me and walked forward. My feet were damp and sticky, almost as if I had stepped in warm custard. A light was flickering franticly ahead of me and, as I grew closer to it, I was able to see what I was stepping on. Faces. They were faces all melted together with tar and blood. Some smiling, some crying, and all of them dammed. I ran towards another light dancing in the distance and there I was met with sin. Never breaking eye contact, it peeled off its skin slowly revealing pink coloured tissue and joints. Unsatisfied with this, it tugged on its scalp and tore it off like it was paper. It grabbed the rotten, maggot-infested brain from its skull and came towards with haste. I held my breath and I suffocated inside the brain of sin.
I panicked. I woke in a sweat, eyes wide, and hands shaking. But I did not scream. I crawled to the corner of my living room, allowed myself to throw up, and fumbled for the needle. It had just enough. I looked for the biggest vein in my arm and stabbed myself, letting the toxic mixture run through me. May God bless heroin I thought to myself as my body and mind became numb. I was now at the point of utter madness, obsessed in my own fate. I suffer from graphic nightmares, you see. Yes, my parents took me to a shrink but that did fuck all. The only thing that keeps the monsters as bay is my friend the needle. My good friend the needle.
I attempted to clean up the mess with a newspaper I’d found on the floor. I noticed a small announcement for a doctor who helped those with sleeping issues. There was no visiting time, just an address. And so, I dragged myself out the door and headed towards the address on the paper.
His address was new to me, an isolated area of Hampstead where few seemed to live. His house was the one on the corner; it had a long driveway cobbled with grey and black pebbles. I bravely knocked on the door and waited expecting the worst; the door opened slowly revealing a darkness behind it. I stared into the darkness and a pale, emaciated looking face, and form, appeared.
“You may call me Seven,” he said in a sombre voice.
He ushered me in and I sat down immediately opposite him. He sat there and simply smiled, smiling that smile. He was clean-shaven and well put together in his blue suit. But, a crack in his lips revealed protruding mismatched yellow teeth hanging on to irritated gums. He pushed paper work towards me but I didn’t read it. I know, stupid.
“My dear friend, my methods are somewhat… unorthodox,” he said while looking at me dead in the eyes.
“Money is not an i-issue. Please help me, I i-implore you,” I begged hastily while fumbling for my wallet, exposing my hole filled arms. He looked at me with menace and smiled, smiling that smile.
“For each week I free you from your pains, I will require an item of my choosing.”
My pulse increased.
“For each week I free you from your pains, I want a body part.”
I was dumfounded, my jaw gaping at his request.
“For each week I free you from your pains, you will uphold my payment.”
He was whispering now, “no, matter, what”.
I did not scream. I simply nodded. He explained that he needed the first payment by our next meeting, which was in a week’s time, and I simply nodded.
I was to pay him one blue eye. The week of freedom from the nightmares had been sublime, I didn’t need my needle friend and I could keep my bodily fluids inside me rather than on the floor. I was to pay him one blue eye. My meeting with Seven was the following morning and I didn’t have his payment. I panicked. I dug my needle friend into my arm and went for a walk. I stepped out into the cool night air and let it freeze over my nose. I hadn’t walked far from my apartment when I came across a beggar woman on a street corner asking for change. Her clothes were torn and her hands covered in filth, but something about her captivated me. Her eyes. Her crystal blue eyes that penetrated the night air. I had a sinful idea. I coaxed her to the back of some shops with a ten-pound note promising she would have her pay. When we reached the darkest corner behind some bins, I picked up a rock and started to hammer at her head. Repeatedly hitting her until she was out cold. Not dead, out cold. I rummaged through the bins until I found a dirty plastic spoon, this would do I thought to myself. I leaned the beggar woman over my knee and steadied her head; I slowly dug the spoon under her eye and pushed. I tried hard not to throw up, but I composed myself. Once I felt that most of the spoon was inside the eye socket, I pulled forward with some force. The eye came out almost instantly along with nerve endings and blood. I bit the nerve endings with my teeth so that they would snap, and I ran. I ran home before God could judge me.
It’s been almost a year since my agreement with Seven. My left ear was September’s payment. Three of my fingers were May’s payment. And only last month, as a special Christmas gift, I pulled out a mall Santa’s tongue with my bare hands. Today, Seven wants more. Today, Seven wants something he could never have. Today, Seven wants my beating heart on a plate. So he can hold it, while he smiles, smiling that smile.
Alessandra Podda is the co-founder and editor of Vamp Cat Magazine and is currently working on her PhD at the University of Buckingham, where she is specialising in Shakespearean Literature. Find her on Twitter: @alexandthebard