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From the Veiw of Paranoid Schizophrenia
The voice, crackling and cruel, breaks through the sleepy haze which lies over me.
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but you'll have to move. We can't have people staying here. You have to move off of the street."
I open my eyes to look the presumptuous officer in the face. He's with Them, The Friend whispers in my ear. He's with Them, look at his eyes, it's the same, and you need to get away... Fear, that same terror, seeps through me. They've found me again, They have, I have to find a place to get away... The officer glares at me, his twisted face and flaming eyes, the same that They all have, burning me, burning into my eyes, burning my face...
I leap to my feet, my long coat flapping in the cold air. "No!" I shriek. I can't go with Them, They'll use me again, and They'll hurt me! "I can't go with you, you won't take me back!" And I run. Running, running again, get away, get away!
Keep running, you have to get away from them, remember what They did to your parents! They'll turn you. You can't let them use you. The Friend keeps me going, The Friend always keeps me going.
I run until I reach an empty alleyway, dirty and infested, but free of the ones that are after me. Breathing heavily, I crawl into a space between two dumpsters, and I'm glad that They broke my nose when They caught me the last time, because the painful swelling is protecting me from what must be an awful stench. Now next time, don't be so stupid as to stay out in the open, you hear me? "Yes, yes, I hear you. I promise, I won't let them get us." You had better promise, because I won't warn you next time and then you know what will happen? They'll change you. They'll change you like they did your parents. Then you'll have to go back and I won't be able to protect you. "I know," I whisper back to him. "It won't happen again... I was stupid. It won't happen again, only don't let Them catch me..." I won't, The Friend promises me. The Friend can be mean, but he always promises. He protects me the way Mom and Dad couldn't, because they were weak, like me, but The Friend is strong and he cares about me and wants me to be away from Them.
But I'm still afraid, because I can still hear Them, hissing voices on the edges. Plots, plots of betrayal, of hate and pain, the things They are doing out there, building Their army, because they put that Thing inside, They need the Army to get it back... and The Friend cannot protct me if They find me, and I know that. He can only help me get away for now. They will get me eventually, and then all will be lost.
"I don't know what to do," I whisper. "I need your help, I need you. I'm not strong or smart or brave enough to keep Them from getting it." I know you aren't, that's why I'm here, dumba**. His voice is exaspered, and I'm sorry for upsetting him, but I don't need to say it, because he already knows. We need to find out what they put inside of you. I've told you, that if you listen to the others, you'll find the answer. You need to concentrate. "I'm frightened..." I know you are. But you need to stop whimpering so we can get rid of the Thing. That's the only way it will go away.
I do not answer, but simply sit. If I only wait, just sit and wait, maybe I will find it myself and I won't have to listen... I know The Friend is disappointed, but he leaves me to think anyway. He hopes that if he lets me be, I will realize that he is right...
I do not know how long it has been. I can feel the hunger crawling in my belly, because I haven't eaten in a too-long time, but I know I cannot leave. So I remain, curled among crumpled wrappers and rotting food, with the occasional rat scurrying over my feet. I do not mind the rats--They do not like the rats, and so They stay away, most of the time.
Footsteps... I can hear the footsteps outside my haven, and the loud voices that tell me someone is there. They found you again, I told you, you needed to listen, now They've got you! A rush of panic comes over me, and I can feel the adrenaline rushing through my veins. A scream of defiance tears from my thoat before I can think to stay quiet, and I scramble up, running at Them with hands outstretched.
And then They surprise me.
They run. Relief fills me, until I see why.
The Army, the Army that They have been building, it's behind them, behind them, pretending They can't see me but I cknow that They can. They are trying to confuse me, and The Friend tells me to run, but I'm surrounded, on each end of the now empty alley...
But I run anyway. Sneaking, sneaking along the walls of the grubby brick buildings. The Friend tells me things the entire time, whispering things to me to keep me from losing my hold on the reality I know I cannot lose...
Because now I see, I see only too clearly that the Thing is helping them find me, and now I know I have to listen. I'm at the bridge now, the bridge that goes over the river. There's no other choice. I knew you'd see sense, The Friend says. His voice seems cruel to me, now, not the helper he once was. I know that I'm being ridiculous--He is still The Friend, and he still is trying to help me, but I'm frightened of the Others, the Ones that he tells me to listen to.
I take a deep breath, and let go.
The rush of voices, voices that make no sense, mocking echoes of The Friend, murmuring terrible secrets in a language I do not understand, I don't understand...
And then They start to come together, echoing all in one, whispering, taunting, encouraging, and though I do not know what Their words are, the horrifying inflections of the way the strange language pulls up in unexpected places paints grotesque pictures inside of my mind, of the Thing inside me, and The Friend's voice is the loudest, not as mixed with the Others...
No! No, no, I can't take it!!! I can't take it, the pictures that are building in my head. I am trying to shut them out, to turn it off, but it's too late for that, too late, too late to save myself and the Thing they put inside of me, and I cannot get to it though I claw at my chest, at the place above my heart, the flesh ripping under my dirty fingers and the blood dripping down my clothing...
There is nothing left for it...
I hear the screams behind me, the furious Army, angry at their failure, as I run for the edge...
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The lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. -Ashrei