For a while you stood there in shock, a spectator to the shambling motions your life was making. You let the quiet onslaught of days take their toll. You closed your eyes, you ignored the signs, you stuck your fingers in your ears and hummed softly and pretended really fucking hard, and for a while it worked. For a while.

And now you stop, step back, and realize that it’s a Thursday night, that your kitchen floor is dusted with scabby crumbs that stick to the bottom of your feet, that you reek of unwashed clothes, that the yellowness of the incandescent light is oppressive but the darkness, when you flick down the switch, is far too terrifying. Your apartment is stale and still, incubating as you wait to get better.

When did you fall off that horse? It’s been a while now, hasn’t it? People have stopped expecting you to return their calls. You have a week left of time off work until you’ve used up all your leave-without-pay, which means you have seven days until they fire you for not showing up. Because now that you have wrenched yourself from the real world you cannot go back.

So tonight you stand in the corner and bite your fingernails, forgetting, in time, to microwave the cadaverous frozen dinner you came in here for. There are no clean forks or spoons, and the thought of doing dishes is too momentous, too scary. These rooms that once felt homey have turned on you, gone sour and shifty and strange.

It’s hard to remember how you got here. Wasn’t it just a few months ago that life made sense? Madness is a cancer. It drags at your heels like the tide patiently growing. Like it knows you better than you know yourself, waiting for the tumble of your body into that yawning black space.

You thought you saw something move. Is there a creature behind the refrigerator, in the greasy darkness? And are the distant footsteps you hear actually a coded communiqué from your downstairs neighbor, some kind of Morse code stomped out on the floor? Some kind of warning?

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