SUNDAY, AUGUST 16. 11:27 PM It all starts with the water leaking from the faucet. It's DRIP DRIP DRIPPING so loud that it jolts her awake at night. She's so disoriented at first that she nearly falls out of bed. There's hardly any light; hardly any time for her to rub the sleep from her eyes so they can adjust to the darkness, not when all she can focus on is the sound that makes her flinch as it echoes off the basin and the bathroom tile. Her too-long legs are wrapped up in the bed sheets and she has to untangle herself before swinging her legs over the side of the bed, feet flat on the carpeted floor and toes curling into the berber. She grimaces, pushing herself up when she hears the sound again, her senses honing in on it like a bloodhound on a scent. She stumbles around her room and into the bathroom.. except, there's no water. The sink is dry, and the shower is dry, and the bathtub is dry. But she can still hear the DRIP DRIP DRIP and she thinks she must be going crazy as she falls to the floor, covering her ears. When she wakes up in the morning, it's to a cold, aching back and bruised knees.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19. 2:33 PM Strategically covering her bloodshot eyes and her dark circles with sunglasses perched carefully on the bridge of her nose, she walks into work wrapped up in a thick jacket due to the freak cold front that's been rolling through the city. If anyone had asked her her opinion, she would have said that there was a lot of weird shit going on this week. As she hangs her coat and throws on her apron, she knows she should have called in, but she also knows that she can't afford to call in. So she put up with the ringing in her ears, with the harsh sounds she has never been so in tune with, and braved the walk from her apartment to the Starbucks down the street. She visibily cringed every time a car honked or slammed on their brakes so fast that the car came screeching to a halt. She's been living with a constant migraine since Monday that not even ibuprofen can manage. She thinks a distraction is what she needs, except as a customer laughs too hard and too loud, she knows there's no way to drown out the noise, no matter how much she throws herself into whatever she's doing. The coffee cup she's holding in already unsteady hands, falls to the ground and smashes to pieces. Even the sound of it breaking has the hairs on her arms standing on edge, her body immediately going tense. A co-worker leans down to help her pick up the broken shards, the glass eerily representative of the way her mind feels at this moment, and looks at her face. Really takes a good, long look. Go home. She doesn't need to be told twice, even forgetting her coat in her rush to leave, the cold breeze biting angrily into her skin. She doesn't feel it though. When she leaves, it's with tears silently streaming down her face.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 22. 8:45 PM By the end of the week, she's a shell of herself. She is so hypersensitive to sound that her whole body aches, her muscles sore from the constant tension. At this point, the slightest change in the sound waves around her is enough to make her want to curl into a ball, whether it's the thundering footsteps of the neighbor who lives above her or the shrill voice of the neighbor below her who spends hours upon hours talking on the phone. She doesn't know how much more her body can take. She's already pulled the plug on her refrigerator and her television, the constant humming driving her even more mad than she already is. She's closed all the blinds and covered all the windows, living completely in the dark since Friday, the lights too bright for her overstimulated senses. If only she could fall asleep, so that she could sleep through whatever the hell this is, but all she's been doing is tossing and turning. She's going crazy, there's no other explanation for it. Or she's being punished; tortured for something that she's done in this life or the previous one. Her tears run down the side of her face in rivulets, wetting her hair and pooling underneath her ears as she stares up at her ceiling, imagining the water stain that looks like Africa in the back of her mind. Maybe if she can concentrate enough, concentrate on that water stain enough, it'll help her block out the rest of the sounds. Breathe. Concentrate. It starts as a mantra in her heard and just when she's on the verge between sleep and consciousness, when she's finally focused enough that she can almost hear herself think, it hits her. She doesn't think it can get any worse, except it can. And it always does. She takes in a sharp breath, blue eyes opening and pupils dilating. It's the noise of the city, voices of friends and strangers, those hurting and in pain. She presses her palms over her ears and lets out a silent scream. Now there's nothing that will drown out the sound, the floodgates are open. She crawls to her phone resting against her nightsand and dials the last number she called and waits.
CALLING... B. GOODWIN...
But no one answers, it's only the machine.
"I.. I don't know.. what to do anymore," she cries into the phone, her voice breaking between her harsh and ragged breaths. "I can't.. I can't stand it. It's too much, it's too loud. It hurts.. so.. much. Help me. PLEASE. Help..." It's the last word she says before her phone dies and the world shrinks to her tiny apartment, the edges of her vision slowly becoming cloudy until the only thing she can focus on clearly is that bodysuit she found last week, the giant S taking up most of her vision until her entire world finally goes black.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 23. 5:51 AM When she wakes up in the morning, she's confused. She doesn't remember much, just that she was in a lot of pain. She pauses for a moment, pushing herself up from the hard floor so that she can sit on the equally hard bed that sits directly in front of a large window. She notices it's still dark outside. Pain is such a strange word. One syllable, meaning physical or mental suffering or discomfort. It's strange to think about it; she hasn't felt pain in such a long time, at least not like that. Being invulnerable makes it pretty hard to feel anything sometimes. The longer she's awake, the more she's beginning to remember. This whole place is wrong. She shouldn't be here. There's a moment of anxiety, a moment where she realizes that she's alone and she's afraid. But she takes a deep breath, a calming breath, and watches as the tip of the yellow sun touches the sky, casting the city in a soft orange and pink glow. She's been alone in a completely new and different world before, and she survived. The dawn is breaking. I'm a superhero. I don't scare easily.