Monday, November 7, 2011

One: Vertigo



“Eyes and ears and mouth and nose,

mouth and nose,

mouth and nose.

Eyes and ears and mouth and nose.

We all clap hands together!”

The nursery song rang through Lisa’s ears very clearly as she stood in front of the mirror. She touched the contours of her dark eyes, full lips, and pointed nose. She mouthed the lyrics softly and closed her eyes.

Like a thick fog, a mild darkness surrounded her, forming a cocoon enclosing her body. Rays of early sunlight pushed their way into the walls of the cocoon. There were glimpses of faint light in that darkness, followed by splotches of color here and there. Dark lines rippled in and out of the dark, like sea snakes dancing in the black waters of the deepest oceans. The Ocean. Yes, that’s where she was. In a cocoon shaped underwater vehicle sinking through the trenches of the ocean.

She kept feeling her face. She saw something appear in her ocean. The two eyes. The mouth. The Nose. It was creating a face before her. Her face. There was a softness in her eyes. They were kind and calm and reserved. She looked back at the face she knew so well and smiled.

They said she had her mother’s eyes, pretty brown eyes that emanated warmth and compassion. They were eyes that sparkled when she laughed. They were eyes that were honest - and innocent, like those of a child. Age could not deprive them of youth, but supplied them with wisdom.

The two eyes stared back at her. Her mother stared back at her. There was a characteristic look upon them. It was the look she wore when Lisa had done something good, like the time she got straight A’s at school or when she won the talent competition. It was also the look she wore when she was listening to her story about how she fell in love with the boy next door. It was open and understanding.

The face smiled at her. It was her smile and her mother’s smile. A dimple dug itself into her left cheek. Then the mouth split open, revealing an array of white teeth, and it transformed into her father’s smile. This smile was wide and full of merriment.

Suddenly, the splotches of color around the cocoon started to move faster, appearing and disappearing rapidly. It was magenta, blue, and green all at once. Then they swirled into a frenzy while the snakes swum in and out of the walls, glowing like bright neon lights. It was chaos. The sea had gone. But the face remained, smiling widely at her.

A low rumble started to sound, shaking the inner walls of the cocoon. The sound waves bounced off the walls echoing the noise. It was cacophony and ecstasy at the same time. It was painful. But strangely, there was something exciting about the animated vertigo.

The face started to laugh. With its laugh, the cocoon shook uncontrollably, spinning wildly. It was both earthquake and cyclone at the same time. More color’s appeared from a volcanic eruption. The face disappeared in a whirl of color, but its laugh remained… and the song came back…

“Eyes and ears and mouth and nose, mouth and nose, mouth and nose…

The song repeated itself and the storm persisted. The tempo multiplied itself, peaking in a crescendo, while the volume increased. Amidst it all, a small voice uttered a plea for help. However, it was soon drowned by the sound of clapping. Then there was laughter. Who was it? Beneath the shelter of her eyelids, she could not recognize the high pitched and slightly sinister laugh that reverberated across the walls.

As the curiosity began to engulf her, a blinding light appeared amongst the chaos. It pierced the current of colors, forming a straight white line in the middle of the wall. The spinning came to a halt and everything exploded into a final burst of color. A thundering bang followed shortly afterwards.

Lisa opened her eyes.

She could see only white. She was in a bright mist.

The mist dissolved slowly. She could see the silhouettes of the objects in her room coming to focus. First, it was her bed. Then her desk. Her cupboard, coat stand, and the rest of the contents in her room followed soon after.

Lisa was sitting down on the floor of her room. Everything was back to normal. But it was also alien.

She knew she had just experienced another seizure. It was getting more frequent. It was real and definite, like falling asleep and eating. Thus the time in between the attacks were getting slimmer. It got difficult to determine what was supposed to be normal and what wasn’t.

They happened often, more so when she was alone. The self-therapy she had tried didn’t seem to work. Maybe it was because there was no sure reason of how it came to be.

“It could be stress,” they said.

“She’s too tired.”

“She just likes the attention.”

“There’s something terribly wrong with that girl.”

People didn’t know how to regard her illness. It was not a normal headache – she’d exchange it for that any day. She never saw a therapist. She knew she wasn’t crazy. It wasn’t an act. But some people doubted her.

She stood up and looked at herself in the mirror. There she was, same as ever. She was moderately tall for a twenty year old, but rather scrawny. Her skin was pale and looked even more ghostly beneath the black clothes that covered her body. She didn’t like her current reflection. They said she used to be prettier, healthier. She wanted to look away from the sight in front of her.

Instead, Lisa took a step forward, and another, until she was an inch from the 6-foot mirror. She could see her face very clearly now. Her lips were dry and chapped. Her cheeks were sunken pits resting on each side of her face. And her eyes… There was something new, something strange about her eyes. She leaned in closer towards the mirror…

Panic closed in on her. She couldn’t comprehend what she was seeing. How could it be? She rubbed her eyes and looked again. The reflection didn’t change.

Her heart raced and she took several staggering steps backwards, distancing herself from the mirror.


In the depths of her soul, a small voice cried out.


Those eyes. Those eyes aren’t mine!



- end of first segment -

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