Not Listening, Just Hallucinating
The apartment's living room was dark, just like the sky outside. A window had been left wide open, allowing the chill to bite at TK's skin. He slumped onto the sofa and set the plastic bottle on the coffee table as the pills took affect, draining him of his reserves. Matt's prescription said to only take two, but having felt particularly depressed that day, he had taken four, not that he remembered counting. Not to worry, it'll only last a while. He stared at the television, which was running but buzzing as the pixels flashed different shades of grey at him. He sighed, recalling why he had become so sad. No one's listening to me. Bitterness filled his head, arguing that if he had real friends, they wouldn't assume he was fine, they'd at least ask if he was feeling ok. But he couldn't blame them – he was good at playing the part fate seemed to have written out for him. Staring at the television, he noticed that pictures were forming…
'…and now I don't know what I'm supposed to do, TK. I love him.' cried Yolei, her face falling into her palms. TK had put a reassuring hand on her shoulder, telling her 'I can tell you for a fact that he loves you.'
Yolei looked up and a smile threatened to form. 'Does h-he r-really?' she had asked and TK nodded, smiling gently. 'Of course he does.' In a joking tone he had added 'You tried seducing him in every possible, remember?' and she had chuckled. He had wanted to have a similar breakdown to her about Kari, but that was out of the question as soon as Yolei got there first. He sighed, and started 'Could I ask you-'
'Thanks TK, you're a star. No, an angel. Better talk to Ken. See you!' she had squealed, quickly running off. TK groaned in dissatisfaction, having thought 'When I called her to talk, I didn't think I'd be the one to solve people's problems, again.'
Through the haze provided by the drugs, TK could remember how stupid he felt, thinking that he would have a chance to express his concerns. It's not my place, I'm not allowed to complain. He looked at the back of his hand, where Kari had scribbled something earlier. His eyesight was fuzzy and blurry, and TK blinked in frustration till he could focus and make the numbers appear. They had been carved on with black ink, and his hand looked a tad sore. He felt increasingly dizzy, but dismissed the feeling to watch the new video that had started on the telly.
Kari had invited him to walk with her through the park, and then back to her house. He knew he'd have to make it back early, his mom had left a lot of chores that needed to be done, but somehow, he knew he would manage it, and his mother would compensate with words. 'Oh, what an angel, I didn't even have to ask!'
Kari took his hand, leading him to a secluded bench near the footpath that went through a miniature forest overlooking the city. He let her move his hand around her waist, and didn't resist as her body pressed against his own as they walked. It was then that he wondered whether this was love, or their pre-determined compatibility, that had them fall into each other so easily. She had talked, about their relationship, though he hadn't listened. He was too busy wondering whether Kari was his girlfriend out of choice, or necessity. He was obligated to love her, but he felt like that wasn't fair. He pondered whether he'd ever be able to cherish her on his own terms, when her voice broke into his train of thought. 'Are you even listening to me?' she asked playfully. He had casually replied 'Of course. That's what I'm for, right?'
TK had been disappointed when she replied 'Yeah. Anyway, I was thinking about college…'
He went back to day-dreaming, realising that his life was being planned out before he'd even said anything. Having caught some of her words, he noted that Kari expected him to get some qualifications and accompany her to university, where she'd become a teacher, and him a writer. TK wasn't sure he wanted that, but didn't complain. It wasn't his place to crush Kari's dream for the future. She asked 'TK, you're not sick are you, you look a bit pale.'
He gave her a fake smile, and replied 'No, I'm great, just thinking.' He expected her to probe further, and half of him wanted her to, so he could share his thoughts. But instead, Kari smiled, and returned to her conversation. She then gasped, and informed him 'By the way, my phone number's changed again. Here's the new one.' and she pulled a pen from her pocket, and took his hand. He hated when she did this; it always took weeks to get whatever she cared to write off, and he hated how she would carelessly prod his hands with her surprisingly sharp pens.
The numbers came into view, and he groaned as his head began to throb. He tried to sit up and relax, but now all he could feel was a sense of panic; he felt like he was falling, and was about to hit concrete. He wanted to pick up the phone and ring her, but he went against it. Kari wouldn't listen. He reached for the remote, but didn't have the strength to press the buttons. He felt agitated, but suddenly something came from behind him and ruffled his hair, taking away his fear.
Matt walked over as his younger brother watched a basketball game on the television. He snuck up and messed up the boy's already untamed hair, taking his attention of the television. TK hated being interrupted; being dragged back to reality, he had muttered irritably 'Can you not?'
'Calm down, lil' bro, you need to relax.'
TK had thought darkly 'Finally, some advice…' as he turned the telly off and turned on the sofa so he was kneeling on the seat, facing his elder. 'Anything specific you wanted to talk about?' he asked, his tone stressing tiredness. This of course was ignored, as his brother began 'Not really, just been busy doing stuff with the band, and college.'
'Yeah,' TK agreed bitterly, noting that his brother was living comfortably. His brother left the room to put his guitar in TK's bedroom, where he was allowed to keep it. TK still thought of this as a slight – his mother had forced him to let Matt dump some of his stuff in the apartment, despite the fact that he didn't even live there. TK waited for his brother to return, to see if he wanted to hang out. When he asked, his brother had replied casually, 'Sorry, man. Got another date with Sora tonight. Catch you later.', about to leave.
He was about to grab the door handle when TK called 'Wait.'
'No one has time for me anymore.'
Matt had thought for a while, before responding 'Call Kari, she's probably sitting at her phone waiting for your call. You guys are such angels, I'm sure you will find something to do.' And he hurried out of the apartment.
I don't want to be an angel anymore. He felt dismay at the idea of spending the rest of his life being ignored and treated like a psychiatrist and always having to be perfect. TK leaned forwards and fell to the floor as he felt a huge mass weigh him down. It felt extremely painful, and he pulled of his shirt to ease the tightness. Immediately, there was a flash of white as TK was pushed further against the floor. He reached out for his back, and felt something soft and bony. He pulled, and when he saw his hand next, it held a handful of crumpled white feathers. No, I don't want the pressure anymore. He used all of his strength to drag his body across the floor towards the kitchen drawers. Struggling, he pulled himself up using the draw-handles, accidently pulling out one of the draws, so that utensils fell on to the floor, spread out like a doctor's tools. It was then that he spotted it – the gleaming knife, which happened to have serrated edges and a clean blade. He picked it up and let it sit in his hand. I'm not going to be an angel anymore, I'll be human. He took the knife and slashed behind him until he felt a searing burning, and saw feathers fly around him. He cut again, feeling the weight fall off as he chopped the wings down. His back was killing him, but he bore the pain and carried on, trying to stop the tears falling from his eyes. I don't want to feel ignored anymore. Before he knew it, years' worth of tears were precipitating in the apartment, mixing with the puddle of angel's blood on the floor. Dropping the knife, he watched in horror as thousands of white feathers fell about him. Surrounded, he cried in absolute fear of never being able to escape.
Matt and Kari carried the groceries to TK's as they caught up with each other, talking about the on-goings of their lives. They were not in a hurry – they hadn't seen each other in a while and they didn't want to bother TK much. Kari had bumped into him in the convenience store and after realising they were going to the same place, decided to walk together. It was a sunny day, though there were a number of fluffy clouds blocking some of the rays.
'What's everyone been up to at college? Tai, and Sora?'
'I'm not surprised Tai wouldn't tell you,' Matt joked as Kari smiled, 'we've had a lot of crazy nights!'
They laughed and continued walking, reaching the stairs. 'Have you got keys?' asked Matt, as only Kari had a free hand. 'Yeah, TK gave me one about a month ago.'
They reached the apartment door and Kari opened the door. The two were immediately hit by the cold smell of rust and held their breath. It was dark, but the light of the broken television illuminated the hallway, where Kari flipped the light switch. 'What the hell…' began Matt before he saw TK, and dropped his groceries, glass breaking and packets falling. TK was sprawled on the floor, lying in a pool of red. He was awake, his blue eyes pouring as blood continued to seep from two large, parallel gashes that spread from his shoulders towards the small of his back. Kari would have screamed if she didn't stay calm, kicking the knife away from her boyfriend's hands and trying her best to calm him down. Matt was stunned; there was blood everywhere, and the deranged boy in front of him was crying something about 'cutting the wings'. His eyes caught a flash of orange as he looked around, and he recognised the bottle that had been put on the table, in front of the non-functioning television. 'Oh no…' Matt realised, as he knelt besides his brother and gently asked 'TK, bro, how many did you take?'
A meek reply came. 'I d-don't… remember… I'm sorry.'
'What for?' asked a confused Kari, who was too worried out of her mind to think.
'I don't want to be everyone's angel anymore. Can't you see the feathers? I cut 'em off…'
Kari looked at Matt, her own tears were falling. 'He's hallucinating, and I don't know how many of these he's taken.' Before Kari could ask, he informed her 'These were for depression, years ago. These cuts are dangerously deep and the drugs, they're probably expired…' and extracted out his phone, where he called for an ambulance.
TK smiled as his eyelids began to drop, wanting to laugh though he had no energy. He was finally human, and now everyone would see.