Red Pill or Blue Pill?
Blood spluttered from her lips as she lay sprawled across the grimy tiles, crimson blotting too pale skin. The pills sat scattered out of reach.
Her fingers feebly clasped on air. She closed her eyes, dry lips moving in silent prayer. One arm clutched about her burning stomach, she struggled to get closer to the pills, but every time she moved they seemed to get further away.
The voice hissed from all corners, echoing off the tiles from beneath the hanging shade. Light from the hanging bulb hollowed out the room. She panted, sweat clamouring cold upon her forehead.
Her eyes squeezed shut, blood flecked teeth tightening. Her fingernails bit into her palm. “You’re not real,” she whispered and continued to pray again.
She glanced at the tablets, trying to reach for them, but again they seemed to move further and further away. It was as if the room was growing longer, stretching and testing her. She needed her pills. She needed to get rid of the voice.
“They won’t get rid of me.”
The voice was too confident. A low laugh trickled around the room, shivering down her spine. She tightened her fist. Nails sliced deeper into her flesh, blood squeezing from the cuts.
“I’m not imaginary.” The voice paused. “You remember your grandfather… You know what they said about him…”
“It’s not true,” she whispered hysterically to the dark. It had just been a story. The people in the village had always told stories about him, calling him Loony Larry.
“Grandpa Lawrence didn’t! He didn’t!”
Tears leaked from her eyes as sobs balled in her chest, a taut knot of emotion. They’d said her grandpa was crazy. He wasn’t crazy. He wasn’t. She couldn’t be too.
Her guardians had brought her here, lips pressed together with wide open eyes as she barely breathed. It was for the best, they’d said. Only until she got better…
She reached for the pills again, but they squirmed away from her. If she didn’t take them, she would only bleed more. It would only get worse.
“They won’t make me go away…” The voice echoed wistfully. “Did you throw up before you took them?”
The girl started crying, shaking her head and clutching her stomach. She could taste it on her lips, a mixture of blood and bile. But the tablets would make her better. They would.
“It’s one of the side effects… I used to be a doctor, you know?”
She breathed slower, listening without meaning to.
“The pills will make you do that… But they won’t stop you hearing me. You have a gift.” The ghost sighed, the noise rattling around the room as the pills dissolved and then solidified in her hand. “I didn’t mean to scare you any more… I just want someone to talk to.”
She stared down at the pills, her feverish eyes twitching for some kind of sleep.
“Take them if you want to. I won’t stop you…”
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