Chapter IV

When I go to bed at night and transition from wakefulness to the altered state of consciousness known as sleep it seems as if I fall into another reality. I never really feel as if I’m resting but rather feel as if I’m living another life congruent to the one I live while I’m “awake”. I rarely feel rejuvenated upon waking whether I have been in bed “sleeping” for eight hours or twelve. And yes, I have discussed this with Dr. Worth, but he simply declared that I suffered from a non-specified sleep disorder and handed me a prescription for Klonopin. Yes, another medication, just what an adolescent female requires; more drugs.

Last night while “sleeping” the experience was horrifyingly memorable. I was being chased through the city by a gang of people from my waking life: Brittany, Chloe, Josh, Dan, Dr. Worth, Mr. Stokes (my tutor), my parents, and two other men that I recognized as colleagues of my Father. They all pursued me through the streets and into an abandoned movie theater. The building was dark except for the dim light of the movie that was being projected onto the screen. As I ran down the aisle I realized that the theater had transformed into an alley. A closed gate stood ahead of me. I slammed my body into the fence and tried to pull the gate but it wouldn’t open. I kept jerking it as I heard the noise of people running towards me. With a forceful tug the gate flung open and I ran through, tripping over a dead deer and falling to the pavement. As I scrambled to stand I saw that I was trapped. The alley ended. It was a dead end. An owl swooped down from the roof of the nearest building and landed on the dead deer. It pecked at the flesh jolting the animal’s body with every tug. I stared at the owl mesmerized by its actions. Suddenly it jumped towards me and began pecking at my head ripping out chunks of my hair. I screamed as I hit it with both of my hands. Dan ran over to me as he pulled out a rusty knife from his boot. I was expecting him to kill the owl but instead he jumped at me slicing my throat with his blade. I screamed silently and clamped both my hands around my throat to try and stop the bleeding as I pushed past the crowd that had gathered in the alley. I ran trying to open every door I found. Exhausted I pushed open an unlocked door and fell into a room. I recognized it as a morgue. I stumbled over to a table where I found a body covered with a sheet and ripped off a strip of cloth. I tied it around my neck and walked over to the sink to wash my hands. As the water cleansed me of the blood I looked in the large mirror that hung on the wall above the sink. The glass was broken. I reached into my jeans’ pocket and pulled out a tube of red lipstick. I wrote across the broken mirror – Virgin Mary.

This was the most obscure and alarming experience I have had and I don’t know whether to share it with Dr. Worth or not. I realize this would be your suggestion and I do appreciate your concern for my well-being but the more sessions I have with him, the more his incompetence becomes apparent to me. He believes that these types of experiences are simply my overactive imagination, and a symptom of my paranoid schizophrenia. Of course he hasn’t verbalized this conclusion to my parents or me but I am fully aware of what he believes, of what he thinks. I hear his thoughts as clearly as I hear the whispers in the darkness of the night and the voices of the composers captured within the music I play on my MP3 player.

My Mother received a call this morning from a distraught Carolyn Keyes. Josh was in the hospital. Around six-thirty when Josh wasn’t up and getting himself ready for school Carolyn had knocked on his bedroom door. She had assumed that he had overslept but when he didn’t reply she entered his room to find him in bed unresponsive. She frantically called 911. Carolyn didn’t understand how this was happening. To her knowledge Josh had been home since returning from school the day before. He had mentioned that he had a project due for American English the next day that he hadn’t completed. If he didn’t turn it in he would fail the class. He had come downstairs for dinner at six o’clock then returned to his room per his usual routine. She checked on him around ten o’clock when she went to bed for the night and though he seemed frustrated, which she assumed was because of his project; nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

The physicians weren’t sure what caused his coma. The numerous tests proved inconclusive: there were no signs of trauma, no history of seizures, nor any brain swelling or bleeding. They had found no indicators of stroke, oxygen deprivation, infection or toxins in his blood. It seemed as through there was no injury to Josh’s brain and yet he remained unresponsive to stimulus. Regardless, they were confident that Josh’s prognosis was good however they did caution Carolyn that it was very difficult to predict anything about her son’s recovery, each case was as unique as the patient. Josh would be kept comfortable and be provided full medical support in the Intensive Care Unit while he remained in the coma. Chances of a full recovery would depend on if the cause of the condition could be identified and corrected. If the problem could be resolved the neurologist believed that Josh would return to his prior level of functioning without any permanent brain damage. Obviously the longer Josh remained in the coma, the worse the prognosis.

Mother’s words rose and fell, the pitch of her voice shifting as she explained Josh’s situation while I sat beside her on the sofa in our living room. The baby grand sat in the corner the phantom notes of the instrument accompanying her lyrics as I stared out the large bay window overlooking the front lawn. My thoughts were scattered a fragment of something more imposing and threatening than that of its splinter. Mother sang Josh’s ballad to me mezzoforte until it was complete. We sat together in the silence that followed for just a beat. For years unknown to Mother, we had been and would continue to compose our own symphony.

“I will go visit him.”

My simple pronouncement hung in the hushed air. Mother nodded, patted my denim-clad knee and left the room, the heels of her Christian Louboutin’s clicking on the hardwood floor. I am most certain that my mere presence in his hospital room would incite a response from Josh perhaps making a profound change in his current condition.

Be warned, Caroline, surely ‘tis rightly The Blood Omen.”