6 | in which he whimpers like a girl

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You hurt me so bad,
That pain lost its meaning. 

.\.|./.

Ryan Falls

|in which he whimpers like a girl|

It doesn't take too long for me to know I'm dreaming. And I'm not just dreaming. I'm having a nightmare.

But so what? They don't scare me anymore.

Okay, maybe I'm lying. They scare the shit out of me and that's that.

They're always the same kind, different in content but similar in matter. Whether I'm drowning, or burning in an inferno, or suspended in a limbo between life and death — it always means the same thing; I'm trapped and I have no way out.

The unconscious mind works in strange ways. I've read about it, trying to figure myself out and employ some sort of self-medication. I would give anything to get rid of the memories, the only childhood memories I have.

Psychologists say sometimes people block trauma out. It's a defense mechanism for them, unintentionally being like they were never in that place at all. The trauma exists in the mind somewhere, but it never resurfaces. It's hidden. Buried deep within the folds of the unconscious mind.

Why couldn't I have been one of those people?

Why couldn't I have repressed all my traumatic memories and gone around without a care in the world? I'd be like everyone else.

I am like everyone else on the surface. Even better than everyone else in some aspects. I look perfect, and nobody who didn't see the seven-year-old with the broken soul would never see me any different. But this is only because I'm so good at pretending. I pretend to be perfect. I don't let people see my flaws or come face to face with my demons. I keep that side of me hidden, pretending it doesn't exist.

But pretending is hard. Pretending gets tiring. Pretending doesn't help for too long.

That's why I moved to Alaska in the first place. To get away from my demons and from my own pretend 'Ryan'. I didn't want to be him anymore.

As the dream goes on and the feeling of bondage limbo prevails, I wait for the jerk of wakefulness to plunge me back into reality. It just has to be a trigger.

That's what my therapist called them — triggers. Small cues and reminders that can bring back the memories of the trauma and, with it, all the pain. The heat is a trigger for me, so is darkness. That's what that basement was like — dark and hot. It scares me. It has seen me at my weakest.

So I wait for the dream to be flooded with the triggers, just as usually happens. It finally does.

It's music this time.

My breath hitches and I don't attempt to move, even though my entire body is breaking down in cold sweat. I swallow down the screams and hold on to my sanity, refusing to crumble under the weight of what wasn't my fault. Or maybe it was. I might never know.

I feel his breath in my ear, his breath that smells like cardamon cookies. I can't tolerate that smell. It makes me stop breathing. Stuff a bunch of garlic into my nose or put me in a tobacco factory, I won't wince. But the scent of cardamon is poison to my soul.

'Got ya,' the voice whispers in my ear, a gust of warm, smelly wind tickling my earlobe. 'Now, kiddo ... don't move.'

I clench my teeth and squeeze my eyes shut, unable to run. My legs remain rooted to the ground and my hands tied. Literally.

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