Written by Blue-Eyed Devil
His day started with the screeching of his alarm. Its incessant nagging roused him from his dreamless slumber in its usual reliably rude manner and he reached out towards the table to hit it. It clattered noisily to the ground, its cord yanking away and silencing the vile contraption. Breathing a sigh of relief, he slipped a foot out of bed and yelped, pulling the appendage back under the sheets.
Perhaps he should have turned the heating up before he turned in last night?
It was several minutes before he could dare the chilly air of his bedroom once again. He shivered as the cold embraced his thin form, making his entire body shiver uncontrollably. Dashing to the door, he ripped the dressing gown hanging there free from its hook and wrapped it tight around himself. This lessened the effects of the merciless winter air, but it was still chill enough to send him flying toward the thermostat and turn it up a few degrees.
As the water trickled through the tired pipes, he could feel the temperature reaching far more tolerable levels and sighed. The first challenge of the day was over.
Making his way to the small kitchen, the wiry man pulled the lid of his bread bin off and selected a few slices, slipping them under the grill and turning it up. While the bread turned to toast, he grabbed a few items from the cupboards and the fridge, and set them up, before liberating the browning slices from the heat of the flames.
Crunching away at his breakfast, he poured himself a glass of water from the tap. Swallowing his mouthful, he popped a few pills onto his tongue and took several gulps of the liquid, feeling the tablets squeeze their way down his throat in their usual uncomfortable manner. Wiping his mouth clear of some stray droplets, the man finished off his toast and dropped the plate into the sink.
An hour or so later he was shaved, showered and clothed, ready to go. Striding down the narrow corridor of his flat, he stood before the exit of his home.
And there he stayed.
His heartbeat rose until he could hear it pumping away in his ears. His mouth became as dry as sandpaper and he tried in vain to lick his cracked lips. His chest started feeling tight as his breathing became rapid and shallow, his clenched jaw making an ache that spread from his throat to his jaw. His arm felt as heavy as lead as he tried to lift the hand holding the keys towards the lock, freezing shortly before sliding in. He started to shake, causing the keys to jingle out a cheery tone utterly at odds with the terror mounting in his heart.
I can’t do this. It’s too damn hard. I’m not strong enough. If a door opens to the outside, I’ll die. I’ll just die. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.
I just can’t.
His breath coming in ragged gasps, his heart feeling like it was about to explode, the arm fell back to his side, the key still clasped in his hand so tightly that the metal dug into the flesh of his palm. Shoulders drooping, hand hanging, the man shuffled back into his dull, empty flat.
Tomorrow, he would try again.
Tomorrow, he would fail again.