“Black” by Calum Armitage

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You stand, undressed, in front of the fogged bathroom mirror. The shower has been running for nearly five minutes, but you haven’t got in; haven’t even really noticed it’s been on. 

You have been staring at your reflection, unaware of any time passing. You know that it’s you in the mirror, that those eyes you’re gazing into are yours (who else’s could they be?), but it just doesn’t feel like you, anymore. There’s something off, something not quite right about what you’re seeing, what you’re feeling. 

It’s been like this for a while now. This feeling of being underwater, almost. This feeling of life not so much happening to you but more around you, and you’re just an observer looking on.

If you could compare it to anything, you’d say it’s a little bit like a video game you’re a character in; someone else is controlling your movements: what you say, do, eat, drink. The places you go. 

You watch yourself through this unknown player’s eyes in the mirror: raise an arm, turn your head, wiggle toes, fingers. 

The buckle on your belt rattles as you do this last movement, the wiggling of your fingers. You look down to your left hand which is gripping it and slowly, very slowly, raise and hold the belt out in front of you. You study its shape: the metallic clanking silver buckle, the feel of the faux brown leather, faded slightly where you pull to tighten it. Cheaply made. You’ve only had it a couple months. 

Then you throw it behind your neck, like you would a scarf, and do it up. Just to see how it feels; how much pressure this player can withstand. 

You pull it hard, cutting off your air supply completely. Eyes begin to water after only a handful of seconds. Then, a little after that the bathroom takes on a vibrant, pulsating red glow at its edges. It throbs in time with your heartbeat. Lungs burn, crying out in desperation for a fresh breath of oxygen. 

Once you let the belt go slack you fall forward, coughing and gulping air. Your palms cling to the cool white porcelain of the sink. A hand moves towards your neck, rubbing gently the rough red line left behind. 

You press your forehead against the steam covered mirror, breathe deeply. You step back, push greasy hair behind ears; sigh. 

Step into the shower and let the warm water rush over your face. 

 


Calum Armitage is a journalism undergraduate from Northern Ireland. He is a writer of short stories, flash fiction, and articles. He runs his own blog at: https://medium.com/@calumwriting67