Copyright © 2016 Val Day-Sanchez
All rights reserved.
It was always sudden. The wakefulness, coupled with restlessness, was first then there was the anger and general agitator at everything and anything. This was always followed by the helplessness, like she was drowning in it. At some point the sadness kicks in but it is so debilitating that she never remembers it. Instead it is what the doctors tell her when she wakes up. They also explain that she was committed but can be released on her own recognizance if she jumps through an assortment of hoops. This is the cycle. This is her version of peaks and valleys. This is her life.
She walks the six blocks to her apartment. Junkie Steve is sitting on the curb in front of her building. It is both strange and comforting how they can spot each other.
Steve liked to refer to himself as a junkie by choice. Heroin kept his voices away. Since he turned twenty-three he’d been hearing them. Demanding that he do the world a favor and end it. The whispers of the burden he placed on others, a needle stopped all that.
She smiled at him and he returned the courtesy. “Supposed to rain today.”
“What they’re sayin’.”
“We’ll then it must be true.” She walked up the steps and her doorman, Bernard, greeted her.
“Long time no see, welcome home.” He smiled and she got the slightest whiff of marijuana. He was one of them. Having to speak to people every day - experience their wrath when their packages were misplaced was a lot to bear for an introvert suffering from anxiety.
“Good to be home,” she nodded making her way to the elevator.
Ian is her next door neighbor. He is kind and generous. He feeds her car when she goes away without ever being asked. He fills a bowl with cat food and leaves it at her front door. He picks up her mail, so the place doesn’t look abandoned. Late sleepless nights she sometimes wonders if he was always this way or if having an IED detonate and removing part of his brain had made him this way? She couldn’t ask him, he wouldn’t remember.
She makes her way into her apartment and she could see that her mother had been here. A high functioning alcoholic her mother was perfect at turning up when her daughter was absent. She’d cleaned the apartment and stalked the fridge. There was a wad of cash on the coffee table. The perfect mother on paper but she couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen her. She thought about what she liked like and the image was nearly ten years old. She went into her bathroom and climbed into the shower. Desperate to wash the hospital scent off her.
With her hair wrapped in a towel she sat in front of her computer and pulled on her head set. It was time to test the latest in PC Gaming. As she immersed herself into the world of first person shooters a bright light encapsulated her apartment. She tried to stand up, go to the window to locate the source but she was frozen in place. All she could move was her head. And then there was a knock at her door and she watched as the door was unlocked from the outside and the door knob began to turn. She felt herself begin to panic.
Two creatures, at least six feet tall dressed in what resembled scuba gear crossed the threshold, shutting the door behind them. A mask covered their face but reptilian like tentacles emerged from the tops of their heads.
“Hello.” Their voice entered her thoughts. “We mean you no harm. We’ve found that our mere arrival can cause some to react violently so we have taken the liberty of ceasing your motor skills until after our departure. We come from a place much more advanced than Earth. The problems that still plagueyou are no longer an issue for us. We would like to extend an offer to you. We have the ability to remove your mental handicaps.”
“My depression?” She was perplexed.
“Yes, we have the power to make you healthy.”
“At what cost?”
“No cost, we wish to help, that is all.”
She thought about it, how different her life would be without all of the interruptions. No more hospital stays, no more loss of control.
“Okay, please do it.”
One Month Later:
She packed the last of her things and stood at her window, waiting for the movers to arrive. She no longer saw Junkie Steve. Shortly after the arrival he had gotten a job on Wall Street. They hadn’t kept in touch. Bernard had also moved on, he was now a jazz musician, touring the world. Ian had been the only one that remained, he had told the visitors that he loved who he was and how he was. She didn’t talk to him anymore. She couldn’t understand how he’d wanted to stay that way. And he couldn’t understand how she could change who she was. But she was more than a sickness she had a life to live and she had only been existing before. She couldn’t get him to understand that. A knock at the door pulled her away from the window and she answered.
Ian stood in his usual trench coat, his curly hair sticking out from his beanie. Right away she knew something was wrong.
“You have to get out of here, the building’s going to be incinerated.”
“What? Slow down, what are you talking about?”
“They’ve been dropping bombs all night, fires through the streets. We need to go.”
“Ian, I was just at the window, I didn’t see--.”
Ian rolled his eyes, “They took your eyes. Don’t you get it? They didn’t fix you, they blinded you.”
Valerie Day-Sánchez enjoys reading and writing across genres, although young adult is her favorite at the moment. Threshold is her first attempt at Sci-Fi. Her other work consists of YA Fantasy Trilogy, Harlow Whittaker. She received both her B.A. and M.A. in Communication Studies from New Mexico State University. Her love of the desert Southwest keeps her close to home although she loves to travel, especially when she gets a chance to try the local cuisine. Playing with her two sons and the family’s Boston Terrier, Winston, are how she occupies her time when she’ not writing.