Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winter's Story Pick, Week 7

This week, I picked Brooke's fantastic story revolving around a bipolar person's pill bottle. Brava, Brooke. The original is here.

That pill bottle is staring at me again from where I left it on top of the dresser. The artificial light glares off its empty, white surface, hurting my eyes, but I can’t look away. To do that would be to lose. And to lose would mean I would have to take one, one of those itsy bitsy capsules that will roll down my throat into my stomach and somehow “fix” my brain.

That’s the deal I’ve made with myself.

It impresses upon me that I have control over my medication. Will I take it today? Maybe. Or maybe not. It’s up to me.

Even though it’s not.

Judge says I have to take it. When he said that, I asked him how he could do that to me. He looked me in the eye and said, “Easily.” It makes me want to cry, picturing that cold look in his eye.

But I don’t.

I don’t cry, because that’s something I can control. And control is everything. Just ask the Judge. He knows all about it.

The sun is starting to come up and it’s coming through my window. The pill bottle shines brighter. And I want to blink. My eyes get down on their knees and beg me to blink; they’re burning alive they say. But my brain yells at me. I didn’t know that such a small three-word command could be so impossible to follow. DO NOT BLINK! Simple.

I blink.

No! No, no, no! It’s not fair! I let the tears fall now as I grasp that wicked bottle in my hands. The lid has a little smile inscribed into it; it stole that from me. I stare at it for a long time, wishing I could snatch it back. When I can’t take that torture anymore, I open the bottle, my hands shaking.

And there they are.

The smooth blue pills rest at the bottom of the bottle, stacked on top of each other, jostling for my attention. How eager they are to destroy me. I spill out a single one into my hand. It rests in the center of my palm, an ugly discoloration. I jiggle it around, stalling. As I watch it move this way and that, I get an idea.

You can’t take a pill without water.

I take slow steps to my kitchen; ballerina type steps, lining them up toe to heel. My assassin rests in one hand, its container grasped in the other. The tile is so cold under my feet; my toes may freeze off before I get there. I don’t care. I should care though, because this teeny, tiny little abomination? It will make it where I won’t care about anything.

I get to the kitchen and turn to the cups. I test every single one in my hand. This one is too wide, this one feels strange, this one is too tall.

My selection, in the end, is a shot glass.

I plop the lonely pill into the cup and trudge to my bathroom, taking the cursed pill bottle with me. There’s water in the kitchen, of course, but I’m going for later rather than sooner.

I’m engulfed in a deep, deep blue when I walk into my bathroom; it’s much prettier than the speckled blue that’s sitting in my glass. Blue was calming to me once upon a time. Now, it just reminds me of the monsters that I’m forced to put inside.

I splay it all out on my spotless countertop, setting it up carefully. I turn the facet and clear water gushes out instantly. The pill falls onto the small tiles surrounding my sink. I push the shot glass under the water. Then I notice it out of the corner of my eye.

The pill is rolling.

It captures my attention, entrancing me. I feel hypnotized; I can’t move, I can’t look away. It falls right into the sink, spinning around and around the porcelain racetrack. My eyes widen as it gets ever closer to the drain.

It’s on the edge. It wobbles. Then it falls.

And it’s gone.

I smile big enough to crack my face. It’s like watching all my troubles melt away. It’s wonderful, exuberant, amazing, insightful. It is so absolutely perfect. A glow I have not felt for a long time wells up in me.

Then the pill bottle catches my eye. It’s staring. Again.

I deflate like a balloon; I can even hear the air leaving me. I sag like a puppet with its strings cut; I think I hear the snap.

Then the anger swells up inside.

The anger is scary. The anger is mean and hurtful. The anger is controlling, consuming. The anger is unstoppable. The anger is wrong.

I know that.

But I don’t care.

I grab up my pill bottle, my evil, twisted pill bottle. My grip is so tight the lid pops right off. I look again at the rocky, blue mountain inside.

And I laugh.

Now, it is at my mercy. I will give it none.

The pills sense this and they start to shake, shake, shake. It makes a rattling noise when they hit the side. Giggles fly up and out.

What should I do with them? I look around.

The sink catches my eye.

A grin splits across my face. It’s a genius plan. They’ll just follow their brother.

I poise my hand over the sink, tilting my hand by degrees. I want them to feel my terror, my dread. More giggles.

I catch sight of myself in the mirror as the first pill comes to rest on the edge of the bottle opening. My hair is wild, my eyes crazy.

My left hand slams into the glass.

It rains down around me, reflecting a million surfaces. I pay no attention to the tiny cuts and bruises left behind. My gaze is back on the pill bottle.

One more millimeter and the first victim falls.

I can’t resist turning it completely upside down. The pills stream down like rain.

It goes on and on. When the flow slows, I give the bottle one more shake.

The last one falls.

“You lose.”


  1. I thought this was an amazing story, too! Loved it.

  2. Well done, Brooke! The prose really evoked a manic personality. I could feel the "presence" of the pill bottle from your words.


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