The Nutshell

The Nutshell is a creative collective under the government of Holly-Rose and Hannah-Rose with ODD and SPONTANEOUS tamperings by Logie-Bear; made up of writers, musicians, and artists. Here teacups are rife and insanity is always technicoloured.
 
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 -- Catherine --

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Hannah-Rose
Goddess Devine
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PostSubject: -- Catherine --   Fri 2 May 2008 - 8:27

This is fairly shit. But it will freak people out and make them worry for my sanity. And so it goes up. ^-^

Catherine

Called into a vacant dream, she waits for liberation. She has wide eyes that stare, endlessly at you, seeing through you, calling to you. Save me. But I know she can’t see me. Her world is frightening, the shapes in the darkness know her name; Catherine. These shapeless beings in the dark that call for her to join their bloodthirsty games. Feed, you are hungry.

They offer her the baby’s carcass, but she does not scream. She knows this game now. But still the smell of rotting flesh and the infant’s unseeing eyes bring up bile in her throat; she vomits. They laugh. The creatures’ laughter jangles in the dark and clashes with the stillness. Now she screams, not from fear, but from frustration, because she cannot leave this place.

Her eyes are still sightless, she still does not see me, but unearthly torrents of sound erupt from her pale, dry lips. The sound comes from the black nether-realm of her corrupt mind and into this institutional off-white room, and the fading daisies in the corner seem to wilt a little more.

This is the third time I have visited her. Three visits spaced out over three weeks, my weekly pilgrimage to watch idly as the demons consume her soul. The first time, I spoke to her. They had told me, “She doesn’t speak.” But I had to prove it for myself, of course.

“Catherine, I’m Amy. Can you hear me, Catherine? I’m Dr. Amy Smith.”

Predictably, I got no response. Blank eyes watched, but did not see, me. I do not exist in Catherine’s world. But still I continued to talk.

“Is it cold, where you are, Catherine? Is it hot? Is there light? Or is it dark? Is there somebody there with you, Catherine?”

Her eyelashes fluttered closed. It was both a victory and set back, she acknowledged my existence, and refused it. The next week, I had learned to be more careful.

“Catherine? It’s me again, Catherine. I’m just going to sit here for a while.”

And I did, without another word. And she did not speak to me. I watched her for an hour, and watched and did not watch me. The light outside the small, barred window dimmed between the stiff, hospital-white curtains, and fell to grey-blue twilight. We, inside our bright, fluorescent-lit bubble, said nothing for an hour. I held the officiating clipboard, but not making any notes – there was nothing to note, the patient showed no signs of life beyond her silent breath and quiet pulse; she is not even remotely here, she is resolutely elsewhere.

Tonight, once again, we are half an hour into our one-hour weekly session. The darkness outside seems to filter in through the windows, much as the sun’s dying rays had but a moment earlier. But if I closed the curtains, the starched whiteness of this room would become unbearable.

Her scream brought a nurse running, the blonde waif peers into the room, glances at the still-wailing Catherine, and asks “Does she need to be sedated?” I shake my head, no, this could be progress.
As she screams she pours her whole being into the sound. She fills the darkness above her, below her, around her, with shrieking, wailing, harpies’ grieving. And the demons laugh harder still. She screams until her lungs compact in, then collapses into the cradling darkness. Then the sound stops as suddenly as it had begun. Her wide blue eyes fall shut and the resounding nothingness that follows comes as a shock. The blonde girl shrugs and leaves again, leaving the door to swing to a close and shut with a quiet click of the lock.

“Catherine?” I venture, cautiously, but receive no reply from the again motionless figure. She could asleep, or dead. With her eyes shut it is easy to think that perhaps she has suddenly fallen into a slumber sitting up, but I knew this was unlikely to be true. Whatever horrors inside her mind had led Catherine to scream so are unlikely to leave her now to a peaceful slumber.

The darkness around her seems to hold her, quite tightly, too tightly - but warm, like a maternal embrace but something not quite right. In a fleeting vision she is consumed by the darkness, she becomes the darkness and the darkness becomes her and she is baby Isobel cradled in her arms. The arms of the darkness tighten around her in anxiety, too tight, too tight, and she cries out in a stringy feeble wail, the pitch of it drilling into her skull like nails on chalkboard and she simply can’t stand this child anymore. The shrill wailing combines with thousand voices in her head whispering their wretched, violent and perverse thoughts day and night and she cannot bear it anymore. The darkness that encloses her lets out a shriek of frustration whose pitch equals her own pathetic whine and it throws her to the floor. Her whole body shatters on cold lino and at the same time she falls through an eternity of blackness with no end. Then the sudden hallucination has vanished once more within a second of appearing, and she has returned to this eternal nothing-state, listening to the echoes of laughter left behind by the demons, who have left her to her own mind for the time being.

After another half an hour, Catherine’s breathing has slowed and evened, and her body slumped in her chair, head hanging down under a straggling curtain of dark brown hair. She has now truly gone to sleep, it seems. But our hour is up anyway. I move to the window to pull across the curtain – shut out that infecting gloom – but then reconsider, it is unlikely one of the nurses will bother to open them in the morning, and I want the dawn to reach Catherine whether she was aware of it or not.

I take the key from my pocket and unlock the door, stepping out into the harsh-lit corridor. The nurse on the desk looks up at me with dull eyes, I attempt a weak smile that wears instantly thin under her clinical inspection.
“Same time next week then” I say, trying to pull some vestige of humanity out of the mousy blonde statue. She nods blankly, then says, “Though I don’t know why you bother. If it were up to me, she’d be in gaol.”
“She’s ill, though.”
“Someone who kills their child deserves to be ill.”

I could argue, I could point out the faults in this statement, the catch-22 of the concept. But it isn’t worth it. I merely bow my head – a gesture which she can take as acquiescence if she wants – and head out the door.
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TimTam
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PostSubject: Re: -- Catherine --   Sun 18 May 2008 - 8:30

Hmm... that ending seems very light in comparison to the rest of it. I don't think you're crazy, though when I started reading I did wonder where such morbid ideas could have come from.
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xAnastasiax
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PostSubject: Re: -- Catherine --   Thu 25 Sep 2008 - 5:40

I quite like it! Tammy's right, the ending is lighter than the rest but I like that about it. I like the way that things are slowly explained, and even at the end, there's still so many things left unsaid.
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