A Short Story by Melanie Grudzinski
Amber and golden leaves flying through the air with each sudden gust of wind slowly fade to a blur. This can’t be happening again. The smoky, gray sky gazed upon me like a judgmental weight. I had promised Dr. Polera I was okay now, and I was stable enough to go home. It’ll be fine, I tell myself. Once I get home, it’ll be fine. I had just been released from Manhattan Psychiatric Center in New York. My mom told me that it was for the best, and that I needed the finest of medical care. The trip was really long, but I wasn’t sure exactly how far. The train seemed as though it kept going through the same places over and over, and I would never get there. I had never been on a train before.
My head filled with too many thoughts; good and bad. I had been given many pills and lots of treatment sessions to make sure that the bad thoughts wouldn’t come back. I really liked Dr. Polera; he helped to keep away the bad thoughts. He told me that he would fight them off with me, and that I wasn’t alone. When I first arrived there, I overheard Dr. Polera and his assistant analyzing my statistics. He’d explained to her that I am mentally unwell, with an illness called schizophrenia in it’s highest degree. Some days, it felt as though my demons were begging me to give in. Dr. Polera told me to tell them to go away and believe me. I did. No matter how much I would say, “go away! I don’t want you here!”, I knew Sebestyen wouldn’t respect my wishes. Sebestyen had always been there. Whispering those thoughts in my ear that I had worked so hard to repress.
Sebestyen had always been the one who remained as the others left. He was always the strongest and his words had the most effect on me. He would jumble up my thoughts and make it hard for me to see what is real and what is not. The trees began to melt to the ground in a great quantity of a dark brown substance. My heart began racing as the tar-like matter was inching closer and confining me to a single square of pavement. The other squares began falling into a dark nothingness, and with the each square falling the tar fell along with it.
“Sebestyen!” I screamed, knowing he was responsible for my deliriousness. My heart thudded in my chest with each heaving breath, knowing that this was unnatural. He arose from two squares over, appearing from the darkness. His eyes were a dark, piercing color and I felt it like a needle to the chest each time his eyes flickered toward me. His skin was pale and lifeless, with his bones easily defined through his scrawny figure. I didn’t even have to talk, because Sebestyen was just as much in my head as I was. “I want you to leave and to never come back,” I exclaimed boldly while looking directly into his eyes. The smirk that grew on his face was enough to tell me that it was not a part of his plan whatsoever.
Sebestyen casually stepped next to me and whispered in my ear, “you would be nothing without me, for I am what has shaped you to be the reckless girl you are.” I reached forward to grab his wrist, but he was back to his safe distance before. Fury boils within my chest, and I can feel myself beginning to regain relative state of mind.
Without hesitation, I yell to him, “you are not real. You are here to make my life miserable and that is your only reason for existing. And for that, you can go sink back into your nothingness, because I do not want you!”
By the time I had finished my small rant, I was breathing heavily and clenching my fists. I closed my eyes, knowing that he would still be there, taunting me with his deepening stare. I opened them, only to see everything normal. The trees swayed gently in the wind, as they had before Sebestyen had appeared. An old woman emerged from her home, peeking out of her porch. Her soft tone asked me if I was alright, and I simply nodded and continued walking. The steady sound of my feet tapping on the pavement gave me small reassurance that everything was real. I began to pick up pace, hoping it would get me to the comfort of my bedroom sooner.
My mom had told me that it wasn’t normal for me to still be showing these signs. I begged her to not send me back, and that I was okay. Sebestyen had gone once I had told him to, and I would be normal now. No matter how diligently I tried to tell her that, she told me that I would be returning to see Dr. Polera. Within the week, I was back on the same train which felt never ending.
I hope you enjoyed this Flash Fiction story by one of the eighth graders at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Port Washington, WI! Keep checking back each Friday for more stories by more awesome students!