Creative Works

Flash Fiction: Drowning

“So let me guess, your friends convinced you to leave the house again?”

Shane diverted his eyes away from the bathroom mirror. He could not stand to look at himself. It had been two weeks since he had gotten out of bed. Two weeks since he brushed his teeth or washed his hair.

By day 14, he finally decided to get up and check his phone. The phone he had thrown across the room days ago in a fit of unprompted rage. It was dead. When he charged it, he was overwhelmed by the number of unanswered text messages from his friends checking on his well-being. The phone felt heavy in his frail hands. He knew he should have felt cheerful, joy, or even hope, but he felt ambivalence, which was better than nothing at all.

“What’s out there for you? Your friends? The people that are supposed to have your back. Did they really check on you? Anyone can send a text, they don’t really care. They think you are pathetic. They’re right. You have nothing to offer.” The voices in his head always pushed away any semblance of a good thought. “When was the last time you were genuinely happy? You will only be lying to them. They mock you. They see right through you, the real you. Do you want to know what they see?”

“No,” Shane said out loud, defeated.

“They see nothing. You are nothing. You are worthless.”

Tears began to well in his eyes, he closed them tightly as he could not bear to cry anymore. He constantly felt like he was drowning and the tears streaming down his did nothing to alleviate that. Shane took several deep breaths. The pain he felt, it was not physical. It was something else. What’s the point? He thought to himself. All he felt was dread and loneliness. He had almost forgotten how to smile. He was not living, he was simply existing. He ran his fingers through his hair, an overgrown, matted mess laid upon his head where his thick, curly locks used to be.

“Honey?” His mother meekly called from his cracked open bedroom door. She let herself in, gently kicking wrinkled shirts and shorts to the side. “It’s good to see you up. Are you hungry?”

Even though she was only a few feet, it sounded as though she was further down the hall. Her voice crashed among the waves in his head.

“Shane, Honey?” She took two more steps towards him. She was always mindful to give him space. At times he would become so angry, other times she felt one touch would cause him to crumble before her.

“What does she want? ‘What’s best for you’?” The voice said in a mocking tone.

“Honey, you listening? Are you okay?”

“She is insufferable, she is suffocating you. She likes to watch you suffer, just like everyone else.”

“I can wash some of these clothes for you or your bedsheets.”

“I can think of something better you can do with those bedsheets. It can be all over.”


All the voices stopped, his mother’s and the voice in his head. The sound of birds outside. It was finally quiet again. For a moment he felt he could catch his breath, then the undertow pulled him down. He proceeded to weep. He wept for his mind. He wept for his loss of happiness. He wept for his friends. And he wept for his mother.

With tears in her own eyes, Shane’s mother ran to him and wrapped her arms around her son. She had been praying his spirit would be healed. He had been slowly falling apart for months.

“It’s okay baby, we can get through this.”

“I need help, mom. I need…help.” He said between sobs.

She did not know what this was called, she felt helpless. He said he needed help and she was determined to find him exactly what he needed.

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